Spooks s9 ep 1

It was probably inevitable that Spooks wasn’t quite going to live up to my expectations this week. 

I was massively excited about it coming back, and that’s a lot of anticipation for a single hour of anything to live up to.  So maybe it wasn’t the show’s fault, maybe it was mine, but, despite a funeral, a proposal, a refusal and an assassination all taking place even before the opening credits, a lot of this season opener seemed strangely sluggish and un-Spooks-like to me. 

Harry and Ruth’s chaste “turn around the grounds” could have come straight out of a period drama, with their conversation being the stuff of fan fiction rather than anything he would actually say, and generally, throughout the episode, his self-pity just didn’t sound like Harry at all.  Even spies have bad days, I’m sure, and Harry’s had more bad days than most, but his reactions just seemed a little off.  Still, I guess losing Ros will do that to you.  And, in fairness, his scenes with the Home Secretaries, old and new, were brilliant. 

I wasn’t completely enamoured of the plot either.  It was fine, really – Al Qaeda operatives, grave danger to national security, a floating ship of bombs etc – but it didn’t set my senses alight in the way Spooks can do when it’s at its best.  The last ten minutes were the best, when the action and suspense suddenly jumped up several gears and I suddenly thought, “this is it, this is what I was waiting for. ”  And it was, even if it was a little while coming.

But if this episode was a little downbeat, so perhaps is this review, and it shouldn’t be.  Because despite Harry having an off day, and the plot taking its time to get going, the best thing about this episode was the rest of the characters. 

The new ones especially worked tremendously well.  Replacing Ros would be an impossible feat, but I really like Sophia Myles’ Beth Bailey; she’s sparky, clever, and fun, and she has bucketloads of chemistry with Lucas – something sorely missing from his relationship with last year’s  appalling Sarah.  And I’m not going to forget Adam, but Max Brown’s Dimitri seems capable, brave and, oh yeah, incredibly good-looking.  Result!

Of course, the great new characters are welcome and exciting, but it’s the old ones I tuned in for.  Harry and Ruth seemed back to their normal levels of stoic awesomeness by the end of the episode, thankfully, but Lucas rocked it all the way through.  I did do a little “Should this not be Strike Back?” double-take when I saw lovely Richard Armitage running about on a ship off the coast of Morocco in very John-Porter-like khaki and a very John-Porter-like storyline, but I’ll happily watch lovely Richard Armitage running about anywhere in anything so no complaints there.  He was fast, handsome and heroic as ever, and I’m hugely looking forward to him sparking off Myles and Brown, and duelling with Iain Glen’s mysterious Vaughan.  So yes, this wasn’t my favourite first episode, but the rest of season 9 is still looking pretty darn good.

9 thoughts on “Spooks s9 ep 1

  1. Capt. Harold Dobey September 21, 2010 / 1:14 pm

    I wasn’t worried if it was sluggish. I was quite happy for the hour not to fly in.

    Know what you mean about Harry, but I think he’s been building up to this since the thing with the kid and Ruth’s husband. I saw it as character development, even for an old dog like Harry.

    I want to see Sophia Myles in more glamourous undercover missions than that one.

    Enjoyed. Hope there’s lots of Iain Glen.

  2. CJ Cregg September 21, 2010 / 7:48 pm

    I agree, Capt, Harry has been building up to a sort of crux of despair since the thing with the kid and Ruth’s hubby, and I can totally see him getting sick of it, and quitting, but he sounded more like poor old Useless Jo with all the whining about it so it just rang a bit false for me.

    Surely there’s a honeytrap plot of some sort in Sophia Myles’ future? I refuse to believe what next week’s trailer seemed to suggest about her.

  3. CJ Cregg September 21, 2010 / 7:56 pm

    Harry did have that cracking line about crashing the country’s computers though – “So the country will have to struggle on without pornography and Minesweeper for a couple of hours. Do it.” Hee. Now that’s the Harry I know and love.

  4. Capt. Harold Dobey September 22, 2010 / 12:43 am

    Harry and Ruth reminded me of Ted and Ralph. “Are you interested in Al Quadi, Ruth?”

    I’m thinking Sophia Myles and some Russian Oily-garch.

    • CJ Cregg September 22, 2010 / 7:27 pm

      Capt. Harold Dobey :

      I’m thinking Sophia Myles and some Russian Oily-garch.

      That sounds suspiciously on the money, Capt….

  5. YLizzie September 22, 2010 / 2:57 pm

    Have been on a bit of a downer on Spooks for a while but persevered mainly due to Richard Armitage’s deliciously totured portrayal of Lucas North. This episode, though a bit of a plod till the last quarter, came into it’s own toward the end and even I who am NEVER suprised shouted ‘John?????’ at the screen (making the rest of the family happily ensconced in the kitchen come running into the lounge) I am really happy to see Sophia Myles back on our screens. ‘Moonlight’ had the potential to really sizzle and I was disappointed to see it relegated to the ‘only one series dustbin’. In fairness sometimes she can come across as a bit cold, but for this show – it’s perfect. Jury is still out on newcomer Dmitri. Still it looks like its hotting up and I for one can’t wait to see where they go with all this.

  6. CJ Cregg September 22, 2010 / 7:26 pm

    Hey there YLizzie, welcome to Unpopcult. Am especially pleased to encounter another Moonlight fan! I reviewed the whole of its solitary season run so if you’d like to see what I thought of it, just click on the link in our Archive on the right hand side. Another Moonlight alum Alex O’Loughlin will be on our screens again soon as well – he’s in the Hawaii Five-O remake coming to Bravo in October if you’re interested….

    Anyway, back to Spooks. I do really like it in general, and there were a couple of absolute corkers last season, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the spot and I’m with you about this week’s being a bit of a plod. Although, having said that, the reviews are mostly with Capt Dobey and very positive.

    Hee at your poor family running in! I’m slightly concerned that they’re setting up Dimitri to replace Lucas once we find out “who is John?” – I hope they’re not going to kill Lucas off this year. Losing him and Ros one season apart is just not on!

  7. YLizzie September 23, 2010 / 12:31 pm

    Hiya back! 🙂
    I hate to say it but I do think Lucas may be on his way out plus I hear Richard is looking to Hollywood for his future career so I wouldn’t be surprised. (already looks like he’s doing something on the new Captain America movie).
    I am so looking forward to Hawaii Five-O. I’m a big Alex O’Loughlin fan and like so many others he has had a bit of an unlucky run on series cancellations after first season – hopefully this one will hit it big time. Fingers crossed 🙂

    • CJ Cregg September 23, 2010 / 9:02 pm

      Oh dear. Well I suppose at least we’ll still have Harry. I hope…

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