Spooks s9 ep 8

Is anyone else a bit miffed after watching this?

I was expecting to be teary-eyed and emotional, but I’m more annoyed than anything else.  The past few weeks have been turbulent for Lucas North fans as we’ve watched a character we thought we knew pushed and twisted into something unrecognisably horrible.  The show encouraged us to invest in him as a good guy, a hero.  Now, he’s a liar and a killer.  And for what?  Apparently for nothing at all. 

“This woman’s at the centre of it all” but, as we’ve said before, “this woman” Maya, the third of Lucas’ doomed loves in as many seasons, never really rang true as a motivation and without that to anchor the story I’m left wondering what the point of it all was.  Why spend all that time  building Lucas up as someone we cared about then pull that out from under us for nothing?   Giving us a decent reason to make destroying him worthwhile would have been small solace, but it would have been solace of sorts and, instead, we got a slap in the face.

If this week’s episode had been as good as last week’s heartbreaker or the previous week’s rollercoaster ride, maybe it wouldn’t have mattered as much but it wasn’t, and that just made the plot holes and the pointlessness of it all the more galling. 

But I guess I’m just angry because I, and a lot of other people, liked Lucas and the writers stomped all over that.  In fairness, though, this was still an intense and often powerful finale, with plenty of superb moments in amongst the slightly silly ones.  Lucas embracing the unhinged and turning mad, bad, super-villian was somewhat melodramatic and difficult to swallow but, again, wonderful work from the actors saved the episode from descending into farce.  The Lucas, Ruth and Harry triangle was at the heart of it all, with Richard Armitage and the incredible Nicola Walker making their scenes together tragically believable and gripping, while Peter Firth turned in yet another great performance as Harry, desperate to save Ruth, Lucas and Albany, whatever the cost.

Like last week, Dimitri and Beth seemed surplus to requirements as the three older characters did all the heavy lifting, and the addition of new operative Alec to aid the search also seemed unnecessary and clumsy; based on his lumbering contribution to this week’s episode I’m not particularly keen on him as a replacement for Lucas but then it’s always hard to give up a Section Chief.  Given how we lost this one, I’ll know not to get too fond of the next.


6 thoughts on “Spooks s9 ep 8

  1. ladyjane November 9, 2010 / 10:54 am

    I agree with you. Destruction of a character is hard enough to take, but for totally unbelievable reasons, with totally unbelievable things to swallow, like fooling several security services for 15 years, including one that has tortured you severely, makes it insulting. What was wrong with going with some of the remotely believable reasons Lucas had to go rogue? Why did they want the option of most disillusionment? Were they aiming to hurt particularly? Where do they go to top this next time? I don’t think I will be investing in any Spooks and getting stomped on again. The acting was superb but I don’t watch for the acting of itself, it only helps to make the story the best it can be, and it can’t make up for everything.

  2. ahmcguffin November 9, 2010 / 12:23 pm

    Yes. Miffed. So much potential. And the writers/editors blow it again. On every single plot line. I assumed North/Bateman would be leaving when it was announced Strike Back was signed for 10 more episodes. (Then came The Hobbit). The biggest cliffhanger for me is why did the writers/editors toss out plausible plot lines and end up with what was shown. Absolutely agree the acting was superb. And it was refreshing to see Armitage doing something besides brooding. Most of the characters on this series seem so one dimensional. Personnel of such an organization at that level would still be very well rounded individuals even at work. Directors should note however that shaky camera shots, (the roadside), don’t make a scene seem tense, it just comes off as a bad camera shot.

  3. CJ Cregg November 9, 2010 / 9:08 pm

    Hi ahmcguffin, welcome to unpopcult, and welcome back ladyjane. It’s such a shame it all turned out the way it did, isn’t it? At one point, with all the flashbacks and the “killer is awake” chat from Vaughn, I thought they might reveal that actually the “John” persona was the result of some form of brainwashing while he was in the Russian prison and he was indeed Lucas all along. I’d have been delighted with that and I genuinely think it would have made a lot more sense than the mish-mash we ended up with. Maya could have been some sort of double agent and the Russians and the Chinese had been working together earlier this season so it wouldn’t have been that much of a stretch to have them involved. Sigh. It could have turned out so much better in the end…

  4. David H November 10, 2010 / 6:02 am

    I thought when Maya died that she wasn’t really dead but instead had been a setup to stop/trap Lucas. I was rather dismayed to find she was really dead.

    This season has been so slipshod from beginning to end. I have had no problem rolling with the ridiculous punches previously because they took the material seriously & made it believable-ish. This series seemed to be thrown together at the last minute every week with no forethought, and it showed, badly. This was a mess. Turns out Ros was half the show or more. They lost their anchor & set themselves adrift, there was no reliable character to hang on to with Lucas losing his mind. Not to mention that Lucas losing his mind was beyond silly. For cardboard Maya? Right…

    Regardless, Ruth & Harry made it worthwhile. And I’m happy if Vincent Regan joins the show. He’s suitably intense, so long as they give him more than cliches to spout. That’s probably asking a lot at this point.

  5. CJ Cregg November 10, 2010 / 8:58 pm

    Aw, I thought there was still a lot of great stuff this season (particularly the previous 2 episodes which I absolutely loved), David, albeit it wasn’t the best year for the show (and I miss Ros too), but unfortunately the inconsistencies and implausibility of the season-long story arc soured it all in the end, despite some fantastic work from the actors.

    Seeing as being blown up by a bomb was good enough for awesome Ros and lovely Adam, could they not just have done the same to poor Lucas if they absolutely had to kill him?

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