It’s back! ‘The Harry and Ruth Love’O’Meter’ in The Guardian (woo-hoo!), as well as the last ever series of the show that spawned it – Spooks. At this point in time, I have to say I’m feeling a little nostalgic. It was over 9 years ago that I first clapped eyes on The Grid and fell a little in love with ridiculously attractive MI5 intelligence agents running around carrying guns, diffusing bombs, foiling plots to assassinate various Head of State/Members of Parliament and being all round brave, clever and sometimes sneaky little b*stards in the name of Queen and country. (Well most of the time, but 9 times out of 10 that didn’t end well). As numerous other government employees have met sticky ends including being frazzled to death in a deep fat fryer , blown up and making friends with pavements at a terminal velocity, the one constant at the helm has always been Harry Pearce, now a Knight of the Realm, and now in some rather deep sh*t as a result of trading the national secret code-named ‘Albany’ for the life of his employee and onish-offish love interest Ruth Evershed at the end of series 9. With all this in mind, I’m rather pleased that the Spooks ‘Powers That Be’ took the decision to follow on from last series’ denouement and concentrate their final outing on Peter Firth’s character who, despite his longevity in the show, has always remained somewhat of an enigma. Before bowing out, now really is the time to peel the onion and reveal what’s been lurking under the surface of the man who’s averted the country from countless disasters all these years.
We pick up, evidently, a couple of months after Harry was suspended from duties and Lucas North, or whatever his real name was, thankfully threw himself off the tallest building he could find. (Richard Armitage’s character was pretty and all, but he was also an identity stealing, murdering lunatic, who became rather ridiculous before the end of his stint in Her Majesty’s Secret Service. He had to go.) Long enough at least for the former Section Chief to reject golf, gardening and one can only presume other pastimes beginning with the letter ‘g’. The opening sequence leading up to Harry’s hearing and where he’s obviously being followed by 3 dubious entities was classic Spooks, and just a little this side of self-parody, but also set the scene perfectly for what looks like a series which will be a nod to John le Carré-esque British/Russian stand-offs. Personally I’m all for that. Both politically and culturally the writers appear to be tapping into a zeitgeist as Cameron attempts to re-new communications with the Kremlin after the Litvenenko scandal and Tomas Alfredson succesfully re-imagines the seminal novel and film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I have to take my hat off to them, this is something they’ve always been good at.
Sir Harry is reinstated by the Home Secretary, but not before delivering the most obscure Valentine’s card ever in the form of a performance report on Ruth to the Board, thus attempting to rattify his decision to hand over a state secret so as to preserve a much greater asset to the country and simultaneously declaring his undying love for Ms Evershed. (And who said men cant multi-task eh?) Following on from the execution of an elderly chap and Harry’s trip to the library at the start of the episode it then becomes apparent ‘Tourmaline’, an asset/lover from his Cold War days, who happens to be married to the now Russian International Development Minister, Ilya Gavrik, is both in the country with her spouse and in danger from obligatory undisclosed assassins who appear to know about her indiscretions and want her and her husband to be duly punished. With them is their son Sacha, an FSB agent who isn’t afraid to point a gun in Harry’s face if it means he’ll stop contacting his mother and therefore preserve his family’s reputation. Of course Harry has nothing to do with that – cue pretty mean looking Russians, appearing to have opportunely wandered onto a recently finished new-build on Grand Designs, and with them ominous looking files on both Gavrik Jr and Harry himself.
The main meat of the episode takes place at the reception being held for the Gavriks, and serves as a platform for C-Division to do their stuff and catch the Waiter-cum-Mercenary-cum-Executioner who seamlessly infiltrated the soiree and made an attempt to pull a gun, but instead ended up with Harry’s expert elbow in his face and then the contents of newcomer Erin’s gun in his bloodstream. Live by the gun, die by the gun. So mission accomplished it would seem – but apparently for the wrong people as the Russians from the swanky glass clad pad appear to be out to sh*t-stir Anglo-Russian relations on an epic scale. Why can’t they just play along nicely?! Finally things came to a head this week on the not-so-shocking cliffhanger that angsty Sacha is in fact Harry’s lovechild. Well of course he bloody is! I’ve always suspected he has sleeper/baby cells throughout Europe. The man’s too awesome not to breed, something which is sure to stir up trouble for his and Ruth’s already rocky ‘sort-of relationship’.
Despite the wobble last series, all in all I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with this. They’ve certainly laid the groundwork for some interesting confrontations over the coming weeks and I am genuinely intrigued as to how they’ll wrap up the show in general, as well as Harry’s (and Ruth’s) story.
Finally, things to note….
- Dimitri – he’s beautiful. Yes I am THAT shallow.
- Calum- a newcomer in the vein of Tariq the Techo-Geek. Seems like a bit of a cocky tosser. I have him pegged down for certain death before the credits roll on the final episode. Possibly at the hands of those trendy, but menacing Russians. Bit of foreshadowing going on there with his close shave with the exploding laptop methinks.
- Erin- there’s something not quite right about this one. Why did she hesitate over killing the Gavriks would-be murderer? To me it seemed like there was some sort of recognition between them. Is it simply because she’s a single mother and were she to be killed her elderly mother would apparently be her daughter’s sole guardian? Or was that a dummy reveal and there is something a little more sinister going on?
- The report that Harry handed over on Ruth may be a double-edged sword. Whilst it’s about time that the Home Secretary realised she should be running the country by now, it’s probably the catalyst to kick Sir Pearce out of the Service and into the Cold when he’s no longer useful to them. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if Harry is party to this, the little minx that he is, and it ends up being his parting gift to her as he struts off into a bleak, wet and windy Tuesday down Civvie Street.
- It’s clear that Harry still has feelings for the mother of his child. Expect complications and a rather p*ssed off Ruth. Catfight!!!!
- No light bondage this week. Never fear though S&M fans. At some point in the near future either Harry, Ruth or hopefully Calum will be tied to a chair and gagged, as they are mercilessly interrogated.