25 September 2015

Spooks 2.8: Clean Force - Micro-Review


An episode set in the army – in an example of the show’s varied stories. There’s a rogue army major who has written a book about serving in Iraq and is a general hero, and Tom goes deep undercover as a soldier in his regiment, as there are rumours that he’s planning a mutiny.

Meanwhile the rest of the team are having to deal with transport strikes – meaning the nuclear waste will have to go by convoy.

Major Curtis  is disillusioned but pretty law abiding. However things go wrong as Tom’s cover (I remember the scene with them visiting his ‘house’, actually, and seeing a fake photo and fake parent) is blown through an interrogation – the other MOD officer in there is less strong and tells all – and everything knits up as the major hijacks the nuclear waste and threatens to bomb everything up just miles from London (well, start an oil fire at least). It’s also the fourth friggin’ episode in a row I think where they mention a “dirty bomb”!

It’s a very, very political episode – many comments are made about the lack of decent supplies such as rifles and army boots (which is accurate given hindsight!) and how the government are ignoring the army, which they are so dependent on at times like 2003.

However – it kind of cocks things up with regards to realism when a celebrated major can be allowed to get near high grade nuclear waste and threaten to blow it up! And then Special Forces come in, Tom talks him down, but they shoot him anyday. It’s a fairly standard ending with pretty unrealistic but exciting stakes. So lots of license taken. It’s not helped by the Major losing the plot – he was already quite mad and laid back, and is taking things not too seriously, which lets some of the tension down.
The best bit though is the last scene with Harry and Tom – and how he’s losing faith with the Government and his job. Things will never be the same...

(p.s: there seems to be a vague Doctor Who connection with names – a Scobie and a Major Baker?)

Standout Moment: The final scene in Harry’s office, in which he disapproves of Tom’s opinions about the Government mistreating the army, and his relationship with Christine. A very powerful and angry scene, and one that sets off the chain of events which leads to the cliffhanger...
Guest Star Watch: Major Curtis is Reece Dinsdale from Coronation Street/Life on Mars. From Doctor Who, Roger Brierly was in it apparently (voice of Drathro!). The informant, Woods, is a very upcoming actor who was the pilot of the spaceship in A Christmas Carol apparently!
Hellos and Goodbyes: Nobody.
Death Count: One - the major at the end. (Plus – sadly – the many, many people who have lost their lives serving in the army.)

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