16 October 2015

Spooks 4.9: The Sting - Micro-Review

Another brush with the Americans in this episode – as Harry stops them extraditing a terror suspect, and then goes to the dogs... (literally!) No sooner have they released him, he shoots two MI5 officers dead. American files turn out to carry a strong warning against him – the man was dangerous, and Harry’s judgement was the wrong one...

A nicely handled episode, with very good direction (from Julian Simpson). Harry is out of the running for most of it, in plain-clothes and being followed. There’s a lot of good moments for him – nothing to do but cuddle his pet dog, watch telly and cleverly communicate with the team! A very good greyhound track bit too, nice filming there.

Juliet heads the team (always good to have her in it) of Adam and the others, as they investigate the Iranian suspect.  There’s a now typical but well done (and a good length) scene where Adam and Jo go undercover, in order to download files from a computer to a hard-drive, whilst Zaf follows the suspect. But their man has training – and so it’s down to the last few seconds as ever! This bit does about three or four in one, and Spooks handles them brilliantly, cutting between orders, download status screens, CCTV, etc. A staple of the show.

And it turns out, it’s all a plan by a rogue American to ‘fake’ – or at least, fund – terrorists in order to create more war. We don’t really see the other point of view, which is a shame – the nature of the story, yes, is that we think he’s working alone until near the end... and at the end, he seems made up to actually commit the act, even when he’s targeted by the special forces, who shoot him first.

It’s quite a modern episode this one – it looks cool (some helicopter action!! And a car chase in the dark with night-vision and no lights!) - and hasn’t dated too much. A bit of technobabble involving detecting radiation off computer monitors, algorithms that collaborate the links in files, and anti-aircraft missiles... but hey, I’m sure that’s all legit in the real world, especially in the seven-odd years since! And heck – they have the audacity to have someone targeting a passenger plane from the ground as their climax!

Standout Moment: A late ending scene, as Adam takes up Harry’s advice to take Wes to the greyhound racing. Adam backs ‘Sweet Juliet’, who naturally does rubbish! Harry’s wonderfully informal and lively here, very charming, and Wes is quite a good little actor.
Guest Star Watch: Phillip Arditti has, oddly, also been in Spooks Code 9 for two episodes. William Armstrong was in 4.2 as the same character!
Hellos and Goodbyes: Alex Roscoe shows up again, an American guy. Harry almost looks like he’s leaving, but doesn’t. We never expected him to stay till the end, did we? Funny how some of these twists – and also new people they introduce – you think could go either way at the time. (Especially as they bring people back later on!) Oh, and some very nice Harry/Ruth coy romantic looks, probably the most, sweetest bits so far, and outside office too!
Death Count: One. Someone gets shot through a door with a shotgun. The terrorist guy at the end is shot, but, like the other MI5 guy, I don’t think we actually see it.

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