It was always going to end in a cliffhanger, and – if you’ve heard or read anything about Spooks recently – it was always going to be one particular character whose fate hung in the balance, so the end of this season wasn’t so much a shock as an inevitability. What mattered then, really mattered, was how we got there.
It wasn’t completely perfect. The plot was an interesting one, full of hot-button issues like the threat of India/Pakistan conflict and potential nuclear war, but lots of exposition made the episode a little dense at times, and I found myself rewinding a couple of scenes to try and follow some of the intrigue. The direction didn’t always help either; I like a bit of hand-held camera work as much as anybody, but unnecessary reliance on it during some of the “meeting” scenes (particularly Ros and Harry with the Home Secretary) made them feel like the maiden voyage of the good ship sea-sickness.
But- fittingly, I suppose, given the end – the episode worked best when Ros and Lucas were on-screen. Together. In fact, it worked brilliantly. Hermione Norris and Richard Armitage have fantastic chemistry, with their smart, witty banter a world away from Lucas’ lifeless relationship with the parasitic Sarah (back this week to continue her one-woman mission to induce the nation to put their feet through their tv sets), and they more than made the most of their time together this week.
Ros’s lines in particular were funnier, sharper and just better than usual (and they’re usually pretty darn good), with Norris letting Ros’s playful side shine through, and both she and Armitage infusing their characters’ relationship, despite their disagreements, with an affectionate, endearing camaraderie that was a delight to watch. Shame we don’t have a Best Team category in our end-of-year poll or these two would be at the top of the list of nominees (although they both feature in other categories, if you need another incentive to vote…). Even their striding purposefully along corridors together was awesome enough to merit it.
“All good things” and all that, though. As the episode and the season began to draw to a close, the action and the excitement ratcheted up several gears and my heart rate soared accordingly. Perhaps not quite as astonishing as last week’s episode, this was still uncompromisingly exciting, gripping tv. Well done Section D, and see you next year, I hope. But if you don’t all make it back in one piece, I won’t be surprised. Gutted, yes, but not surprised. This is Spooks after all.