15 October 2015

Spooks 4.8: The Russian - Micro-Review


Adam is grieving – and not in active duty - but the show goes on...

This one’s relatively cheaper, and not very visual as a result when compared to previous efforts. But direction and enthusiasm and acting win out over the slightly cheap, less action orientated plot.
The NHS is collapsing and the Government are keen to strike a deal with a Russian capitalist to privatise part of it (oh, ever so topical!). But actually some don’t want this deal to go ahead as he’s a bit shady, so MI5’s job is to find out exactly what he’s up to and put a spanner in the works...

It turns out there’s a programmer GCHQ clubbing woman who was giving him information, and to cut a long story short, her memory is wiped. And they can’t listen into his conversations due to a ‘Faraday cage’ style bugging interference setup around his hotel room. The plot moves rather fast, as Adam finds out what the rest of the team are doing and wants to be part of the operation. However Harry wants him to take time off, to go to the psychiatric facility, and also to sort out his wife’s death in his mind.

Oh and there’s also a newly released from jail British ex-Communist agent, played by George Baker (nice!), and an old enemy, now nostalgic friend, of Harry’s. His handler was a Russian agent who was infact the viliian’s secret father, so Harry uses him to get in there...

There’s a lot of talking in this one, and slightly needless techy stuff with Malcolm and Faraday gubbins delaying the action. Zaf gets stuff to do though (and he’s still asking Jo to share his flat with him, sort of unsubtly!). But Adam’s predicament and Harry help propel it, along with most of the regulars and guest cast as good as ever, and the direction is good enough to make it look a bit less cheap. A few stunts and a raid at the end are good, but this episode perhaps lacks the visual spark and high level that’s gone before (hell, it had to happen sometime this series!).

Standout Moment: Diana the psychiatrist talks with Adam: “Have you told your son his mother is dead?” and the line about grieving – “it’s only grief, not madness”, something like that from Adam. A nice scene, if somewhat spoilt by being used in the next time trailer beforehand as a result!
Guest Star Watch: George Baker!! (late, sadly). And also Ben Daniels who was recently in Merlin doing a Russian accent as the baddie! I feel I should know Diana Jewell, played by Phyllis Logan – dunno where from, but she reappears next series in the finale actually! And director-watch: the one of this episode and the last was quite good (as ever!), notably with lots of Star Wars-style wipe-fades. He’s done Outcasts and Paradox and lots of stuff since, and is back for the season openers in Season 5 and 6.
Hellos and Goodbyes: Fiona’s still dead. Sigh. We see her parents for the first time – quite a rare thing really – and Wes again (and Adam tells him about his mother’s death, at the end off-screen).
Death Count: None, I think. A few lost memories (including George Baker rather tragically at the end..) but the villain just gets sent back to Russia.

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