Showing the same story a few times from different perspectives can be a difficult trick to pull off successfully, so I was a little apprehensive when I saw the LUCAS title card in big capital letters heralding that Spooks was going that way this week. But actually, this tale of assassinations, intrigue and lie upon lie, was punchy, entertaining, and largely compelling stuff.
The episode zipped along at a much pacier rate than last week’s, with some great action scenes keeping things exciting. The opening shoot-out in the lift in particular was visceral and shocking, even if it did seem like the deaths hinged on our heroes being a bit inept. Plus ca change on that front, I suppose. And the outwit-the-security sequence in the middle was excellent; it’s the kind of thing they do all the time on Spooks as well but, damn, they’re good at it.
But a lot of the real drama was in the looks rather than the running and the shooting. Beth spent the entire episode making such shifty faces she might as well have written “I’M LYING” across her forehead. Ruth’s entire heart was in her eyes at the end of her telephone conversation (about tracking down escaped killers, hardly pillow talk) with Harry – a moment so pregnant with longing that it almost hurt to watch, so kudos to Nicola Walker for some quite superb acting there. And Harry’s magnificent disdain when he found out what Beth was, yes, LYING about was a thing of beauty. No one does utter contempt better than Peter Firth.
But, fittingly given last week’s revelation, it was the brooding, tortured Lucas who got the lion’s share of the “looking” to do. Fear, love, panic, loss, desperation and sorrow – each etched across that beautiful face at various points, as he tried to deal with both the problems of the present and the pain of the past. Lovely work from Richard Armitage as ever.
One thing is really bothering me about this storyline though. I’m really not sure that Lucas having yet another “love-of-his-life” in the form of long-lost-but-very-easily-found Maya is a good idea. Remember drippy Elizaveta and dreadful Sarah?. His current camaraderie with Beth is much more interestingly and engagingly written than his love affairs have been, and I don’t think the “Who is John?” story needs a romantic dimension when Iain Glen and Richard Armitage seem to be doing brilliantly without it. However, a romantic dimension is what we’re going to get. Oh well.