09 October 2015

Spooks 4.2: The Special (Part Two) - Micro-Review

The second part of this two episode long epic – and it’s very much a continuation. It doesn’t take the new-plot-strand route, like they often do in Doctor Who – so it makes the whole thing seems marvellously double length and ever so slightly too long in normal Spooks terms.

However it keeps up the pace magnificently (even if it loses that controversial bomb-victim danger it had last time round). The cliffhanger picks up automatically, but there’s barely any join (well, Adam gets suddenly a bit braver). As Zaf tells all to try and buy them some time, Adam does a Seeds of Doom and shows us how to make a Molotov Cocktail, as a distraction. Odd, but it works. Hanging the bad guy henchmen over the side of a balcony is rather harsh, and typifies the fact that they must be ruthless in order to find the information. It’s a nice scene with Martine McCutcheon – who has similar great scenes in this.

Especially her entering the Grid and meeting the tech guys Colin and Malcolm! It’s almost as if she’s an audience surrogate for all the new uneducated viewers... but it’s halfway through the story and the fourth season, so that doesn’t work all that well, does it? Still, a nice twist on the story – and leads to some not-too-subtle exposition with a gadget jacket...

But before that – the bomb in the tower block is defused (so nice of them to put a timer on it) and the next one planted in a hospital. There’s a traitor – but it’s not Juliet, she’s just inherently nasty! No, it’s the American guy, played by Corey Johnson, whose henchman was the assassin threatening Ruth and the professor. But when the professor bumps into him in Thames House, it starts a chase involving Martine’s character Tash, Adam and Zaf running up and down stairs, Colin with a tracker, and a basement. It goes on slightly too long, but not as long as Adam’s evading followers scene in Series 3, and it’s fairly gripping.

The crux of the story is the bomb in the hospital. They might have captured the bomber, but it has to be defused by a password this time. And Tash is plugged into it. Fairly melodramatic ending really, but the danger sells it – evacuating the hospital takes a lot of time (too much to save her), and so they have to guess the password or get out of there. The professor saves the day by remembering it’s a username (though the way it’s written, it’s not too big a leap from ‘Kronos’ to ‘Kronos2’, especially with Andrew Tiernan’s demonic grin, though that’s despite the obvious extra character needed, and that it’s normally spelt Cronos, isn’t it?

Everything works out fine in the end, with typically two seconds left on the countdown timer. But it’s a standard end to a very pacey episode or two of Spooks. Direction is well handled, though not overly stylish – nice little touches here and there, like the use of split-screen. Great big story is good for them to do too – and they’ve pulled it off, using every trick in the book!

Standout Moment: Tash is strapped to the bomb and left there, but then Adam disobeys orders and comes back for her. He unstraps her from the bomb, which will go at ‘double speed’ if he does that... but then it races very very fast! It’s a real sudden heart-in-the-mouth moment, as he plugs it back in quickly again, and realises he has even less time now than before. And there’s no easy escape.
 Guest Star Watch: See last episode. (Slight irony – the Home Secretary saying he’d hope that Harry will still be in office when the next Home Secretary comes in – hah! Though the four (at least) actors they got for Home Secretaries are some of the best.)
Hellos and Goodbyes: Juliet appears to leave, to go into another job as a security leader... but she’ll be back, right?
Death Count: Four – the man on the balcony (pushed himself off, says Adam), the American assassin betrayed, the Mi5 agent taking Tash home, and Corey Johnson shot at long range by the canal. Some shocks here!

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