I can’t quite believe it’s all over.
In Spooks’ last ever episode, the Elena/Ilya/Harry triangle came to a head, we found out who was behind the big plot to destroy British relations with Russia and who survived to spy another day. Sob!
The finale didn’t start well, to be honest: plotholes galore, too many people acting like dimwits, and a storyline strung out with more painfully and ridiculously elaborate twists and turns than an hour of Strictly Come Dancing. The only thing that kept it entertaining was the ever-increasing incredulity on the suddenly hilarious Calum’s face.
But the last 10-15 minutes or so was different: gloriously sad, heartfelt and – something that’s been lacking all season – very, very Spooks. And I loved it. I wish we could have had a happier ending, but it wouldn’t have felt right; the ending we got, tragic as it was, was far more in tune with a show that, at heart, has always been about loss and self-sacrifice, in pursuit of the greater good, even if no one was ever sure what the greater good was. The tragedy on the beach, that cameo, the memory wall and that last scene in Harry’s office, all made for a fitting tribute to the show so many of us have enjoyed for years.
I can’t claim to have been an early adopter of Spooks. When I first switched it on, Adam was Section Chief, the legendary deep fat fryer death was a distant memory and Tom was long gone. But from then on, I’ve grown to love it and its tortured heroes and heroines, hot-button topicality and genuine, if often fruitless, desire to make a good, thoughtful point or two amongst the high-octane spy shenanigans. It wasn’t always amazing, but when it was on form, it could be spectacular, and in seasons past, that happened a lot.
Last year did show signs of strain, with the wholesale, nonsensical deconstruction and destruction of Lucas leaving an unpleasant aftertaste for a lot of viewers (myself included), but there was still hope that this season would give us a decent last hurrah. Sadly, it hasn’t. Apart from the last 10-15 minutes, this season has been a disaster.
Nothing seemed to work. After ten years of deftly touching on it, the writers decided it was time to bludgeon the Harry/Ruth romance with a crowbar. The Russian story arc was already one season-long conspiracy arc too many, but, worse than that, it – and the entire Gavrik family – was appallingly boring. And they tried to replace the awesome Adam, Ros and Lucas with the woeful Erin: a character wetter than the Atlantic Ocean but shallower than a puddle. Even the brilliant Home Secretary and the indefatigable Harry couldn’t save it. I enjoyed one episode this year before tonight’s finale, and frankly, that’s a terrible ratio for a series I’ve loved for years. So the BBC may have given Spooks a 10th season, but I think, when I look back on it, I’ll be ignoring most of it and remembering the good stuff instead. And there’s plenty of that to remember. So long, Section D. It’s been a blast.