07 October 2015

Spooks 3.10: The Suffering of Strangers - Micro-Review

God, the finale. What an episode! It’s one of the most stylish, high concept episodes Spooks have ever done (well, so far anyway). Tense as hell, with enemies always one step ahead of the team. And a shocking death.

Yes, it’s Danny – the last of the three, and the end of a busy season for exits! Him and Fiona are kidnapped and held hostage by clever Iraqi terrorists who have concocted a very fiendish and complex plan (and thus dramatic, but not always realistic!). Taken to a grubby but nice house with great wallpaper and big windows, the pair of them held means that it’s impossible to escape or fight back (which they do try to, in a very good scene using the old prisoner-unwell-call-the-guard trick).
There’s lots of Fiona and Danny action. The first ten minutes before they get captured are very fast – in fact, the whole episode is. And it’s her birthday – leading to a wonderful scene at work with Harry and Ruth advising Adam on possible presents, which cleverly leads to a clue when he gets targeted. It all links in with lots of themes earlier on in the series – as the Iraqis justify their actions from the West’s atrocities on them.

Yes, their main plan is with Adam – targeting the PM at a fancy mansion dinner with lots of countries and guests attending. The episode falls down slightly in plausibility (as if such a high concept obviously straight-off-the-telly plot, looking back, was ever plausible!) when the woman is revealed to be carrying a bomb which would ignite chemicals to make lethal gas. But we never see that so it’s alright.

The other slightly troublesome act is the introduction of Zaf. He’s a great new character – but so obviously Danny’s replacement, surely? But, even as I totally knew he was going to die, and die shockingly... god, I did not expect that. He gets shot brutally in the head after making an impassionate speech. It’s a chilling moment, and the characters react perfectly (Sam has to get sedated apparently...!). I remembered the petrol at the end, but not exactly when he’d die.

They rescue Fiona in a helicopter at the last minute – but Danny is dead and the team is in mourning. Lovely helicopter shot though at the end, out of focus going away with Adam cradling his wife, and no cliffhanger either this time Wonderful finale.

Standout Moment: Danny’s death. After a passionate, almost death defying speech (when it’s not even his turn to be threatened!), ending with the line “fuck you, you death loving fascist” (if I recall). Before being shot. Serious stuff.
Guest Star Watch: Not many, and hardly any I’ve seen in other things. Badria Timimi was in The Shadow Line.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Danny’s death (and very nearly and plausibly Fiona’s!) means the original three are gone now – their “replacements” being Adam, Fiona (who are both totally different obviously!) and Zaf, who appears in this one – a very cheeky, young British Asian agent who you immediately liked. And Raza Jaffrey will stick around for a bit, so hooray! (Though I remember the slightly odd, drawn out yet realistic I guess, death sequence in Series 6.) Oh yeah, and Guy Facer turns up again, the government guy from a few episodes back. Wes (Wesley), Adam’s son, makes a first appearance as they threaten him.
Death Count: Four in this one - Danny, the main evil guy, and two guards.

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