08 October 2015

Spooks 4.1: The Special (Part One) - Micro-Review

Yes, Series 4! Got some more for my birthday – much appreciated! So, 20 more I think, yippee!

Starting with this one. New series, new characters, and a new twist – this is a two-parter, and this first episode is every bit as epic – and controversial - as you’d think. It’s a subtly different show this time around, with a lot of action (which is odd saying that after the last few episodes!)

Yes, it’s big budget and high stakes. They got into trouble with the horrifically predicted London bombings plotline – here, first in central London killing 17 or so, and then a failed one in a train station roof. Cue typical shots of people milling around, kids playing, daily life, but with a ticking clock in the background. But it’s far, far more chilling than it could have been  what with the real 2005 London Bombings, still in the mind even now, and far more at the time, as this was filmed before yet shown afterwards.

It’s a different structure this one, what with being our first proper two parter. It starts with Danny’s funeral – our second, after Helen’s brief one. Lovely line about him working for Defra, typical Secret Service there. But then – with no obvious emotion from most – the bombs start, leading to the day from hell really.

There’s many plot bits that haven’t all fell into place, obviously – Americans and other people helping out, Anna Chancellor appearing for the first time (hooray!), and there’s a mole in the team (probably Anna’s Juliet Shaw, knowing her baddie status later on, but they make a good go at incriminating Zaf towards the end).

Fiona takes the story off (after Danny’s death, is their excuse) which leaves the field open for a new one-off companion for Adam, Doctor Who style, a waitress who’s encountered the baddies. Played by Martine McCutcheon, who does it pretty well so far, in that kind of ladette way, a bit Billie Piperish actually. It’s a different dynamic, but works, for this bit at least.

Also the enemies are an American-English death cult – indiscriminate killing, or as Ruth says, ‘violent snobbery’. Well, it’s rubbish, but when spoken by Americans or academics seems vaguely plausible, and I suppose such things vaguely exist. Ruth meets said academic, and they go on the run from a gunman – and there’s also another shooting quite shockingly of a suspect, and of a French girl who helped them. And the security services are as ruthless as they seem to be around these bombing events – though not as ruthless as the enemies, it seems, who are basically violent bomb-planting thugs.
Be interesting to see how it concludes. Got mixed up in my head with next series (I think) of the virus plot! Hah!

Standout Moment: The station bomb is primed to explode, the bomb disposal team are trying to disarm it – and the police are trying to lead people outside but stopping them as there’s an alert about a bomb in a car outside. Confusion and panic on the CCTV, and horribly reminiscent of course.
Guest Star Watch: Anna Chancellor joins the team. Jeff Rawle is the Home Secretary (certainly got the voice!) – our first HS, the first of many! Andrew Tiernan plays one of the bombers. Henry Van Statten, aka Corey Johnson, is one of the American guys helping out. Martine McCutcheon is the waitress caught up in it all, and she’s actually good. Nigel Terry, rather good as the professor, was General Cobb in ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ – recognised him halfway through! What a guest cast! Peter Brooke, whoever he was, appeared in ‘Daleks in Manhattan’ (along with Jeff and Andrew and Corey and Nigel obviously – five must be a record!!). Aneirin Hughes was in Young Dracula but I don’t remember him.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Juliet Shaw joins – for how long I don’t know. And our first home secretary!
Death Count: Two and a half? Hard to remember. One guy getting shot in the head, shockingly. 17 in a bomb off-screen, but only shots of rubble obviously. A girl gets shot by security forces, and unarmed too. Guy in the car, but off-screen, though we see Ruth discover the body.

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