10 October 2015

Spooks 4.3: Divided They Fall - Micro-Review


A very hard hitting episode this – especially topical in recent years, with seven years of similar news stories since.

It deals with a far right political party ‘The British Way’ and their thug supporters including Keith Moran. They’re led by the “housewives’ favourite” but grotesque MP Samson played by Rupert Graves. And it’s MI5’s job to split the party up from the inside, in order to scupper their chances...

It’s a unique idea (well, so far in the series) and one that’s got tons of undercover spy work in it. Adam goes undercover as a ‘white trash’ thug (rather suited actually, far more than Tom would!) who befriends Moran, and Fiona as a lobbying adviser to Samson (advising also on the various MPs supposedly joining the party, but are in on it), who both run rings and traps around their targets. Also joining them are Ruth as Adam’s GCHQ-employed sister, who leaks some incriminating evidence, and even Zaf has a go at doing quite silly things to wind Samson up – turning his water off, painting his door, putting a car outside his house, etc!

It all adds up and comes to a head quite nicely – fast paced this, really. But amongst it all there’s some real menace- the party are leading attacks on housing estates and ethnic groups. There’s a very unsettling night-time driveby shooting with a crossbow targeting a family that Adam gets involved in. A schoolgirl is murdered by an Afghan asylum seeker, leading Samson to cash in on that rather horribly. It’s very uncomfortable watching at times, which shows just how close it is to reality (probably even back then! Quite a few mentions of the IRA, and particularly Nazism parallels flagged up) – and the horrific levels of racism portrayed. And add to that, Harry’s warning at the end that they’ll be many more if things go bad.

But things go bad to worse in this – after they think they’ve ruined the party, Moran and Samson guess correctly someone’s been having them on, and the thugs murder Adam’s ‘aunt’, the keeper of the safehouse that he reported to. (should have known – they gave her a nice, charming character!) And Ruth and Adam get kidnapped and taken to a nature reserve (from an earlier birdwatching scene) and hunted down by Moran... Obviously by the end they knock him out (though it’s close) and arrest him.

Standout Moment: Hard one this. The ending’s rather well shot, with the team in the hub concluding things – but I quite liked the last hunting chase through the woods, which linked nicely back to earlier. Think I’ll plump for the very uncomfortable night attempted shooting – Adam offers to do it for him, and then deliberately misses shooting the man in the leg. Very tense, horrific scene.
Guest Star Watch: Rupert Graves! (also in Sherlock). And in the blue corner, it’s only David Threlfall! (Shameless, which I haven’t ever watched). Two really good actors. Also, Mark Flitton was in ‘Hidden’.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Juliet takes up a very Home Secretary style post as a security chief – filling in old Oliver Mace’s job basically.
Death Count: One – ‘Auntie May’ in a bath, ugh! Someone gets shot in the leg. Murdered schoolgirl only talked about using TV news reports, again with an Iraqi person who was beaten to death. A lot of off-screen violence.

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