11 October 2015

Spooks 4.4: Road Trip - Micro-Review


Very different one, this. A lot of foreign action – it’s a good twist on the old ‘terrorist’ story... and an Adam episode very much.

Three acts – the first being quite fast! Incredibly pacey exposition involving a dodgy but noble prince (and they bug the room, causing the fantastic exchange with Colin and Malcolm: “Didn’t we bug this suite when Bill Clinton stayed here?” “Yeah.” (sigh) “Happy days...”). A honey trap, caused in order to make him comply with MI5... or perhaps just to provide some humour for the events to come!
The second act is Adam’s risky plan. Set almost entirely in foreign climes (but filmed in this country of course – don’t think they went abroad in the series apart from showcasing Moscow in Series 7, or they’d show it more!), Adam goes undercover with an interesting accent and comprehensive legend, as an illegal immigrant in a truck. A major terrorist is trying to get into the UK – destination London – and comes on board the lorry. Adam’s plan is to turn him (stop it...) into a double agent. Lots of good acting, some subtitles, and trying to fathom the terrorist’s psyche... Quite a serious episode – with illegal immigrants, foreign policies, suicide bombers and jihad, spying...

The truck setup is a fake, revealed after a raid by fake bandits (led by Zaf!) – and Adam and the terrorist guy are conveniently ‘lost’ in the woods together... before he works out that he’s a spy and his cover is blown! With no choice but to give in, a helicopter lands and picks them up (impressive shots, a bit like the ones in Series 2 and 3).
After interrogation he reveals there’s a terrorist plot to blow up Downing Street... but to cut a long story short (and after another, innocent, person is roped in) his main mission was to arrange a meeting with the prince (who he incriminates) and then kills him. Ouch. It’s more plausible than it sounds here – I suppose it was always his mission to come to the country and kill the prince, although how he’d do it I have no idea.

It’s one of those rare episodes where the team loses completely – well, the terrorist guy was held, but he won in the end, and there’s a horrible diplomatic scandal too (not helped by Juliet Shaw wanting to bring the prince in!). Great direction, particularly the lighting, acting and clever script make this a solid episode indeed.

Standout Moment: Hmm... the raid on the truck was pretty cool. But I’d probably go for the final prince/terrorist moment, with him taking off the glasses and suddenly realising he’s the killer... one of those moments where you get the wrong impression and think they’re brothers or something, like A Good Man Goes to War...
Guest Star Watch: Silas Carson (only recognised him towards the end!) as the prince – from Doctor Who (voice artist, the Ood, Kudlak), Star Wars, etc. Khalid Abdalla, as the terrorist, hasn’t been in anything... and was his first role, whaaaat?! He was as good as Rupert! (oh, he does theatre too). One of the bodyguards (who?!) was Russian guy Zubov in The Deep.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Nobody. Interesting that they recap Fiona worrying about Adam... I didn’t think anything major happens until next series? Almost like a red herring... or just to show he’s into danger.
Death Count: Three: someone in about the first minute, possibly the quickest death yet! The old father in the truck dies, sort of on screen; and the Prince gets killed at the end.

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