Well. [Spooks 9 spoilers!]

[First, thanks to the person who explained to me how to get access to the episode so that I wouldn’t go crazy. You know who you are, and you are a personal hero to me at the moment. The purpose of these posts for me right now is just to mark my initial reactions to this series. They are password protected in order to protect the interests of readers who are hostile to spoilers. I can’t imagine at this point that I will offer any extended interpretations here, though I am also not guaranteeing I won’t. I also may unprotect some of them after Spooks 9 has finished airing in the UK, when I assume that people who want to watch ahead of TV or DVD will have been able to gain access. All this is to say that you should make the same assumptions if you comment here as you do in commenting on normal posts, i.e., that anything you say may become visible to the entire internet eventually. One last thing: I want to express my support for and indeed encouragement of anyone who doesn’t want to discuss in this strange atmosphere. I am assuming most people who really care about this show and Mr. Armitage’s role in it will want to talk about it on the Spooks Forum, one of the Armitage fora linked in my sidebar, or perhaps on C19, if they discuss Spooks there. I am just not a discussion board person, but I fully support everyone who is and prefers that kind of discussion to this sort, and I understand that people have limited amounts of time in their commenting day. These are all my caps but I’m not captioning them with my usual meticulousness. Will do that if I unprotect the posts. I’m writing these after one or at most two views.]

To say I am flabbergasted would be understating it. Ros dead (not a surprise, but upsetting nonetheless), a marriage proposal from Harry to Ruth, which is then turned down, Harry assassinates the old Home Secretary, Harry’s attempted resignation, the Grid gains a private contractor, Lucas almost kills an innocent bystander on purpose, and then, oh, by the way, he’s not Lucas. One almost doesn’t know what to say. I understand now on multiple levels why the summaries I’ve been reading say this is more like the “old” Spooks (also because I’ve now seen a lot more of the “old” Spooks than I had even a month ago). I can also now completely understand why Mr. Armitage might have been disturbed by this plotline — even though I have only seen one scene of it so far. Seriously, I got up from this episode with my world shaken. It must have been much worse for him, since he has a bigger investment in Lucas’s identity than I do.

At first I thought the proposal scene in the cemetery was just too much; no one would be such an idiot as to propose in a situation like that, and it seemed to me like a plea for cheap emotional involvement from the script. I felt like the reading from Pope was just one too many insistences on emotion from the script, as well: we’re already upset about Ros’s departure and the way she died, and to have this poem read about her? I assume in a memorial service like this one it’s picked either by the deceased or his her family. Would Ruth have chosen it? In any case, Ros is not someone who can espouse the perspective of the speaker at the beginning of the poem — it makes the wish for peace seem like a statement from the grave — as the script itself underlines, the things that Ros wanted but couldn’t have. But in fact she did not die unlamented, even if only six people came to the funeral, or without a stone. Too much pathos. So jerking the failed proposal (and implicitly, the resignation) into that maelstrom of emotions was just too much for meΒ  — at the beginning.

Love how the shadow over his eyebrows is cast down upon his face, almost a sort of notional sunglasses that make him look not only mean, but also tired, as the rest of his face seems washed out in comaprison. Also love Lucas in a jeans jacket for a change. Downmarket and sexy, as are the brown denims. Not that I don’t like the Belstaff jacket, but this is more the kind of guy I tend to encounter. Yum.

Lots of moments again with unclear meanings: assassination of Home Secretary: ongoing battle with Nightingale or just settling the score for Ros? “Lucas”‘s (it kills me that I’m now going to have to write that in quotation marks) unnecessary provocation of the “pimp”: attempt to find out why she’s on the boat, or soft heart for abused women — white knight behavior? Plot improbability: Harry hires a private contractor who walks in off the street claiming she wants to get clean, with the explanation that the service needs different kinds of people? Even less probable than him letting Lucas back into Section D practically unexamined. OTOH: nice to have a character who can stand up to Lucas.

Given what we learn at end of episode about the problem with Lucas’s identity, who needs to “get clean”? Is there a parallel character trajectory / contrast being set up here? Also to Harry with his statements about not wanting to be covered in blood? We’ve heard that the theme of the series is identity, but this episode is also hinting strongly at honor themes. Implicit parallelism of MI5 and the terrorists: terrorist who shoots a sailor saying to Dmitri: “you killed him”; Lucas saying to Aala, “please don’t make me do this.”

Funny Servetus moment: Tariq using a p2p method to get the computing done on his decryption algorithm — I used a p2p method for the first time ever to DL this episode tonight. Wondering if the university spooks will be at my door tomorrow to confiscate my computer? Read a bit about how torrents work last night — fascinating. Alternative career for Servetus?

Sympathy or curiosity? Interesting that this gesture begins with a tilt of his head toward the right, which is unusual in the Armitage gestural repertoire. Throws me as viewer a bit off balance as I am not sure how to place it.

Just cause I like this facial expression. Note that we’re back to the left movement here.

Lots of great shots of Mr. Armitage looking up from under his brow — and a couple of microexpressions involving lower eyelid movement to signal concentration or emotion, which he does with such subtle perfection. In SB some of that was too obvious, but here it happens so quickly you almost don’t see it. Yum. (Still think about Lucas vs John Porter comparisons in back of my mind…).

Character arc for Lucas: looks at the beginning like a move away from weird season 8 Lucas, who makes the characterization Armitage established for him in S7 fray at every seam, and about whom I’m still writing in conjunction with Sarah and Oleg. So happy about that, esp. the return to the more compressed gestural range. But then upset Lucas at the very end, in the midst of the move toward cruel Lucas, whom we saw at moments in 7.6 and 8.7. Emotional Lucas at very end: credible, or too much? Big Adam’s apple (pharyngeal prominence, for MillyMe) moves when he encounters that suitcase, another classic move in the Armitage gestural repertoire, but too much here? I’d have guessed the reaction should have been more toward shock / surprise as opposed to upsetness / fear. Hard to know how to interpret this until we see more. Of course, it is a fantastic cliffhanger and may be worth those big throat moves just for that, to keep us thinking about it until next week. But look at the beautiful, moving way that Armitage moves Lucas’s eyes in this scene:

This is over approximately three seconds. Impressive facial muscular control, not just eyes. We see the eyes, but the brow and mouth muscles are moving, too, and the head shifts position , very, very slightly. These moves are so subtle they can’t be intentional, they must be the result of the inner state of the actor. This is really well done.

Armitage’s performance: oh, Mr. Armitage, you look so good. Kaprekar was right. Ich habe Sie zum fressen gern. (Somehow that just doesn’t sound as good in formal address. Hmmm.) And yes, as Judith notes, there are still costuming problems with those shirts.Β Do I have to come after you with my needle and pincushion? Nonetheless, the suit in the funeral scene is not bad. It’s still not very carefully tailored, but in its broad outlines it’s much better: the costumers got that the thin lapel a la the SB premiere jacket is better for Armitage’s chest construction, the waist silhouette is the best we’ve seen in a Spooks costume for him, and the waist button of the jacket is in the right place on this suit. (As per usual, his pants are the right length. Feeling the need to say something positive: he almost always has the right length trouser, and this is great because it underlines the long line of those long, long legs.) Still: questioning the choice to give Lucas a black shirt and no tie under a black coat in this scene, though — it makes him look WAY too casual; maybe the fashion in England is different but in the U.S. a PK would know that this occasion demands a white shirt and tie (as both Tariq, who’s presumably not even a Christian, and Harry, seem to know). Characterization, or not enough attention to detail?

Wait, I got distracted by all of those formal clothes. The performance, the performance. The main things I noticed were:

  • Questions about emotionality in relationship to character arc noted above. We need to see more.
  • I feel like Lucas’s physicality as an action man is much more pronounced and convincing here than it was in Spooks 8: there was always a slight offbalanced quality to Lucas’s run and to some of his motion. (Didn’t help that the camera sometimes filmed his run from unflattering angles, as in 7.5). That seems to be erased now: Lucas’s major muscle groups, esp in the action scenes on the ship, seem to move much more like those of John Porter. Note in particular Lucas’s total ease moving up and down the metal staircases on the ship — and remember places in Armitage’s past roles where his characterization broke up over having to go up and down stairs. I assume that all of the extreme physical training for SB is the cause of this.
  • I also thought he hit the emotion in the scene with Aala / “Talwar” just right — combination of expressions of enervation (the “please don’t make me do this” really hits as sincere; don’t force me into this brutality; Lucas believes he is being forced, and then in the end is unable to carry through his ploy to murder her mother) with rage. Armitage is playing Lucas who is playing a sort of brutality that he doesn’t really feel. The statements about “don’t think I won’t do this” equally threat to his interlocutor and attempts to talk himself into rising into a for him new level of cruelty. Hard to hit this kind of combination of emotions, especially when you’re playing someone who is himself acting, so good job here, Armitage. Very multifaceted and convincing.

Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ll know how hard the penultimate scene hit me and why. Harry can’t resign because (a) he can’t have the simple life Pope talks about in the poem (well, Ros didn’t have it, either!) and (b) as Ruth says, if the decisions are impossible, aren’t you the one in the best position to be making them? The dream of the ethically clean life is illusory. As Lucas says in 7.8, what’s lost can never be found again. Still: (c) it’s only at the end that I come to accept that the pathos of the opening is necessary; and (d) it’s only the plot strand of the potential destruction of Westminster that convinces me that Harry’s rejection of his planned path is even possible. I.e., I have an intensifying issue with these plot lines in which the destruction of all of England is foretold. Maybe it’s because I just saw 2.5, but if I add that to 7.5, 7.8 and 8.6, I’m getting tired of these threats that threaten ALL OF ENGLAND. When they are repeated over time they threaten verisimilitude because it seems unlikely to me that the spooks could always save the day, that they would never bobble anything or fail to live up to the challenge, and in that case, that there wouldn’t be some fairly series dings to England emerging here. Yet in my own life I know that no dirty bomb, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons have ever been exploded in England, and Soros’s attack on the pound notwithstanding I feel like the regular threats to the economy are also overplayed. So I like the episodes with limited threats with serious implications better (e.g., 8.8), but I don’t see those threats as potentially moving Harry back into his job. He wants to resign because of Ros’s death (and, one imagines, the resonances it calls forth with the assassination of Arkady Kachimov), but a minor threat isn’t going to convince him that he needs to keep going.

Anyway. Those are my reactions.

Wait. One last thing. If Lucas North is fake identity, did they have to pick “John” as the Christian name for the real identity? John Thornton, John Standring, John Porter, John Mulligan … seriously. What percentage of British men are named John vs what percentage of Armitage roles? This approaches statistical improbability. By now, Mr. Armitage must be so used to hearing himself called “John” that he turns around when he hears it.

~ by Servetus on September 21, 2010.

149 Responses to “Well. [Spooks 9 spoilers!]”

  1. My response to this episode: YESSSSSS! Spooks is back!! I haven’t had a great fondness for Spooks from Series 4 on. I had great hopes for Series 7, and it did have some bright spots but nothing to equal the first three series. So I decided to change my thinking and accept that Spooks was a different show and I resolved to like it as it was. But I never got used to the melodrama, which reached a crescendo last year. Thankfully, that’s over.

    I have more thoughts about this, but I’ll spare everyone. Suffice to say I’m happy right now. LOL!

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    • Interesting — I feel like the earlier episodes (and this one) are much more melodramatic. Maybe we need a definition of melodrama? I felt like all the was missing in the Ros funeral sequence was the swelling of an organ!

      As I watch the old episodes I find myself thinking that the scripts are more provocative than S7-present (though yesterday may be an exception). However, and I know this is just a personal taste thing, I am absolutely unconvinced by the acting of MacFadyen (sp?).

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      • It’s been a long while since I’ve seen Series 1-3, so I don’t know what exactly it is that seems similar in this series. I just know it had the same feel to it. Off the top of my head I would say I was more invested in the characters than I’ve been in a long time. So now I need to ask myself why, which will entail possibly rewatching Series 1-3 or some parts of it, and sadly, I don’t have time to do that right now. I barely had time to watch this show. LOL!

        But as to melodrama, have you seen “The Usual Suspects?” What did you think of it?

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        • OK — I agree. I’d say (in terms of the distinction you yourself made w/r/t SB) that this episode was character driven rather than plot driven (while most of S8 was about plot), and I would agree that in that sense it shared more characteristics with the episodes I’ve seen from S1-2, in which characters are often put in work situations as a means of growing/developing the character, or where they have to reflect on the nature of their identities. That didn’t happen nearly at all in S8, in which the point seemed to me that we didn’t know who anyone really was.

          I did see “The Usual Suspects,” but only once, in German theatres. I unfortunately figured out the puzzle fairly early on. What did you think of it?

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          • This first episode was definitely character driven. Did we really care about the submarines? I mean really? When the bomb of the week is the recurring plot, how can a show this successful only be plot driven?

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            • After the portable tactical nuclear device in 7.8, a bomb that only destroys Westminster with a confessional explosive is small potatoes.

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  2. Yes, they could have chosen a different name to John.. assuming that is his real name.
    Fantastic first episode. I had a similar response to RAFrenzy.. Spooks is back! Not that I think it went away, S8 was good, but this was really good.

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  3. I am still reeling!

    Wonderful analysis as always. Is it only me or is Lucas harder, more aggressive this season? The man reading romantic poetry seems to be gone.

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    • I think we’ve seen moments of this Lucas before (7.6, when he yells at Dean’s mother to do what he says, for example, or 8.6, when Sarah is telling him to kill the hit man first and when he can’t win the argument you see the flash of his hand as he puts it up to her face for a split second), but it’s more on the table now. Contrast kind Lucas who is willing to mentor Ben over the death of Jawaid vs this Lucas, who says to Dmitri, “walk before you can run.”

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      • It’s as if he has purposefully toughened himself up a bit more, or drawn upon the reserves of toughness inside (heaven knows, he had to be tough to make it through the torture and desolation of a Russian prison)–less willing to show any vulnerability, do you suppose? Once bitten by La Caulfield, twice shy in general? Grooming himself to be the proper replacement for chilly Ros and prove himself once and for all the true Alpha male to Harry & company?

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        • He presumably has even less emotional connection to the characters on the grid now than he did before, as (with the exception of Harry) he’s the only “survivor” of the personnel on the grid when he reappeared: Adam, Connie, Ben, Jo, and Ros are now all dead, and Malcolm is gone. That’s gotta be hard on someone, even someone who appears as radically disconnected from the world of human ties as Lucas does.

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          • I remember looking at my poor uncle at my dad’s funeral and thinking, he’s the last survivor out of ten children who lived to adulthood. How difficult that must be to be the last one standing.
            Lucas had already been cut off from the world basically for all those years, and then begin to make a connection–he and Ros really seemed to reach a level of caring and trusting in each other as colleagues, at least to me–and then to lose that in such a catastrophic manner, after all the losses the Grid had already sustained, well—it’s a lot for anyone to endure. And I think Lucas does feel things deeply, even if and when they don’t show on the surface.

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  4. Well, indeed!
    Haven’t been able to go to sleep due to naughty knee/back thing and Lucas/John and the gang swirling about in my poor head. So I was quite pleased to see you had posted, Dr S.

    Thought RA did a great job–and on a purely shallow note, looked really swell. I also like him in the jean jacket and casual dress–somehow, it made him seem more like a “real” bloke than all his slick designer gear.

    Spooks isn’t exactly realistic to begin with, and I accept and embrace it happily any old way for the escapist fantasy that it is, but this seemed more–real, somehow.

    Not that I don’t shamelessly ogle him in said designer gear. I am but flesh and blood and woman, after all.

    He really does seem to be stepping into full stride as the action hero–it doesn’t seem forced to me at all.
    I’m with you, all that SB training seems to have paid off.

    I guess at some point–since Spooks has been around for a while–there is some degree of necessity of “been there, done that” to some of the plotlines, but geez, does EVERYTHING have to be of bleedin’ national importance intoned in a very serious manner with a poker face? No wonder the cast cuts up in between takes and Peter Firth is making silly faces. I start to feel my eyes rolling and a terrible impulse to giggle at certain times.

    Those occasional dry, wry lines are very much appreciated and ooh, I do miss Ros. *sigh*

    I find Beth interesting and I do like how she gives Lucas as good as he sends, but how she gets on the Grid seems highly implausible–can’t blame Lucas a bit, personally, for being distrustful. It seems foolishly sentimental of Harry to take her on just because they need a different mix of people; this is national security, people, NOT a dinner party you want to keep lively. Of course, they do need some more warm bodies on the old Grid as Alpha Male 1 and 2 *grin* can’t handle saving the realm all by themselves forever, can they?

    When Vaughn called him “John” I giggled insanely. John? REALLY? So–is Lucas really John Porter in disguise? Did John Strandring ditch the unappreciative Carol and undergo a very dramatic transformation from shy farmer to slick spy? Did John Mulligan, charismatic con man, really pull one over on Section D’s eyes? I mean–really . . .
    Of course, NOW I really want to see what the next ep brings . . . and the next . . . and the next . . .

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    • I have to add (as if I haven’t run on enough) I feel another “Sloth Fiction” post coming on with lots of spoiler warnings . . .

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      • Oh YES!!! Please!! Too many exclamation marks, I know, but hey, what’s a fangirl got to do?

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        • Thank you!!!! *giggle*

          It is begging to be written. I may not quite get the last chappie of Truce done before my cruise this weekend (although I have made good headway), but I think I HAVE to address “Sloth Fiction Trois: Too Many Johns . . .”

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          • Yeah, the ongoing repetition of the name “John” in all these roles is begging for a sloth fic. Maybe something that puns on all the meanings of the word “john.”

            Though I worry that I have created a monster … πŸ™‚

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            • Yeah, but the Monster is having a ball! *giggle*

              I’ve already been creating little snatches of dialogue between the Characters in my head . . .

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              • I just don’t want you think that you are under any obligation to write my fantasy or humor fulfillment for me, that’s all. πŸ™‚

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  5. LOL!

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  6. I agree re: the name. RA’s parents should have just named him John Armitage, Jr., and been done with it.

    Re: emotion when faced with Vaughn: My interpretation is that this is an event that Lucas knew would happen, in some form, one day, so the fact that surprise isn’t expressed (other than the initial moment of recognition) doesn’t disturb me. I think his reactions of fear and upset are appropriate because this latent part of his life is resurrecting itself at the precise moment Lucas has managed to reestablish a degree of trust with Harry and he fears the disruption of this tenuous bond. I feel Lucas has been fighting to win approval or just plain attention from Harry since he returned to the unit, much as a wayward son would from a distant father. Whether the writers have good or nefarious purposes in mind for him, I do not know. He’s tested the boundaries repeatedly– dating a CIA operative with clear conflicts of interest (even before Nightingale), the whole Desharvin drama, meeting with Elisaveta to gather information and then unilaterally deciding to scrap her as an informant–but always with one eye on Harry to gauge whether he’s stepped too close to the line. And, he always follows up questionable behavior with superheroics–misdirection, perhaps?

    Now, finally, Harry has given him a degree of approval by promoting him to division chief. It could be argued he was forced to promote Lucas following Ros’s death for lack of a better candidate but we’ve seen Harry bring in “outsiders” (Adam and Ros, after her Russian adventure) to head the teams, so I am reading a certain amount of trust in Lucas based on Harry’s actions. Thus, Lucas is one step closer to achieving whatever goal he (or an outside entity) has set, be it good or bad. His reaction makes me believe that he knows precisely what is in the suitcase and the probable effect the contents will have on his well-laid plans.

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    • Has it been stated that he’s promoted to division chief? Just asking, I could have missed it. Or is that an automatic thing?

      Nice reading of the suitcase reaction: very detailed and sensitive. I guess I would ask: at this point, is your reading plausible to the viewer? (it must be to you, because you offered it, but it also sounds like you have read some spoilers for the remainder of the series, which I have not).

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      • I’d like to know that too, I’ve read he is Section chief but I think I’ve missed. With Ros, Harry ‘announced’ it in their meeting room, right? He hasn’t done that with Lucas.

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        • There was no formal declaration that I recall . . . maybe they had so much other stuff packed into the ep that forgot to add that little tidbit?

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      • I have strictly avoided all spoilers for this season and will continue to do so (don’t even watch the teasers for next week), so my interpretation of this episode and Lucas’s behavior is just that. As the Spooks writers often seem to gloss over or mention in passing critical or important information and events, I just assume that Lucas has been moved up to fill Ros’s role, either officially or unofficially. I use Beth’s convo with Harry as evidence: Though Dimitri is acting as ship’s captain and seems to be the one in command, she identifies Lucas as Harry’s “man in charge” (or some other similar descriptor). She either came to this conclusion on her own (seeing Lucas’s interaction with Dimitri as he boarded, watching Lucas formulate strategies, etc.) or Lucas identified himself to her as such, perhaps expressly, but more probably impliedly (through reference to Dimitri as “my man” or his issuance of orders to D and B in the engine room). And, Harry’s responses to her and behavior towards Lucas on the Grid seem to support this theory. While this evidence may not add up to Lucas being titled “division chief,” given that we don’t see other “teams” operating under Harry, I feel that Lucas has stepped into Ros’s position with Harry’s blessing.

        As for my reading of Lucas’s reaction to Vaughn, chalk this up to my long-time feeling that Lucas has been hiding his true intentions for rejoining the crew at the Grid. It has never washed with me that anyone who was imprisoned and left to be tortured for 8 years could just snap back into his role as crimefighter instantaneously. Further, he was abandoned by the people he trusted–people who apparently wield such immense power they make the call to set off EMP bombs in central London, kill Home Secretaries, etc., but yet “are forced” to leave Lucas imprisoned until they pawn him for a mid-level Russian operative. He just accepts that their hands were tied and they couldn’t do anything to rescue him before his release? I don’t buy it. I don’t feel that anyone as close to the brink as he was in prison would be able to go back to work for his “betrayers” without a seriously motivational purpose in mind. He operated for all of series 7 under the belief that Harry was responsible for his situation, and the idea was clearly festering throughout his dealings with Connie. I still don’t feel he’s let Harry off the hook, given his insubordinate behavior regarding Desharvin. He’s showing up to work everyday and doing his job, avoiding a showdown with Harry–for what purpose? Part of me hopes he means well and part wants the fireworks. I do feel Lucas is a decent man at the core, so if the purpose is bad, I hope it is justified or he suffers a lot mentally during its execution.

        I have no doubt that my interpretations are miles off from the direction the writers intend the show to take, but it is fun to speculate. I like Lucas (and RA) when he’s being bad, so this is probably wishful thinking. All of this will probably be shot down next week. πŸ˜€

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        • Gosh, sorry! It was not my intention to write a book on this topic.

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          • “me + richard armitage” LOVES books, and I liked reading your reasoning. You and I are on the same basis, I also am avoiding spoilers for future eps and not watching “scenes from next week.” I also like the reading you offer of the reaction — I also agree that there’s no way that Lucas can reintegrate so painlessly, though I in fact did not believe that Connie was telling the truth about her having sold Lucas out — her insertion of that information just before her death seemed too forced for me.

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  7. If you’re subscribed to the blog in Google Reader and read it from there, it shows the whole article without needing to put in a password. Just thought I’d let you know. πŸ™‚

    Excellent post, as always! πŸ™‚ That they were going to focus on “the price of being a spy” felt very obvious – I felt as if I was clobbered over the head with it. But in a nice way.

    Also agree on the saving Britain’s bacon bit. It just felt a bit … “dude, the UK isn’t THAT big an issue for terrorists” and it’s always “OMG Britain’s in trouble – MI5 to the rescue! Oh look, we’ve saved the day again”. In reality, I’d say Britain’s terrorism threat is considerably higher from IRA than it is from al-Qaeda.

    “AQ” (as they called it in the show) tried provoking the UK in …2005? Didn’t work very well. They’re forgetting the UK is the country that managed to keep both the Spanish Armada AND Hitler out, and terrorism isn’t exactly new just because of having to “put up with” a number of IRA bombings for the past 50-odd years! (I’m not too clued up on modern IRA so I don’t know if they started fighting in the 1920s when the country was divided or much later.) “You want to scare us? Well, tough, old chap. Here, have a cuppa tea and a biscuit and tell us how you get on. Ta-ta.” I love how resilient the people of this country can be when they’re under threat. πŸ™‚

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    • Hmm. I have no idea what to do with that. I’ll look around on the dashboard this afternoon, but if anyone already knows the answer to my questions, please let me know.

      “price of being a spy” seems to be the theme of every season, LOL!

      I can’t say anything about the actual level of threat from terrorism in any really existing country, but the constant pounding on the drum in this show is tiring, perhaps above all because I know that the narrative framework of the show will be eradicated if the Houses of Parliament are ever blown up. For the show to continue working, certain things have not to happen. England has to keep on existing, for example, even as it is subject to threat. The more times that they threaten England without showing us as viewers the consequences (9 ppl died, but we don’t see it — contrast to 7.3, where we see the explosion of the market and the deaths of the police officers in slomo) the less real the threat seems and the more counterproductive the narrative device.

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    • @servetus,

      RE: the full entry showing for “readers,” this can be changed to “summary” in Settings for Reading. I changed mine when I realized putting “spoiler” at the top of an entry wasn’t enough to keep people from inadvertently reading them. Also, “summary” is a misnomer as it’s actually the first few lines of each post that are shown in a feed. However, there is a way to make a summary, but I’ll spare you the explanation in this comment. LOL!

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      • Thanks so much, Frenz! I guess the only way to do this is to change it for all posts, not just for a particular one. So now people who have been getting the full text in their newsreader only get the summary, which seems unfair to them, but I’ll change it back when I’m done with these posts, which will be in seven more weeks.

        Sad to think that we salivated for months waiting for these episodes and they’ll be over so soon.

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  8. I was also surprised and disappointed that Lucas “real” name is John! I’m with you Servetus, couldn’t they have picked a better name, especially since it brings the inevitable comparison with John Porter. I love the name Lucas North, I think it fits the character and Richard so well. I hope no matter what is revealed about the character, that he continues to be “Lucas”.
    I do think that the UK is a target of international terrorism Traxy, without getting into politics, they are our coalition partners in Iraq and Afghanistan and the UK has a long, long, history in the Middle East. (Though I’m far from an expert on it all).Once again Spooks takes from the real headlines and real events to keep us interested in the sometimes improbable exploits of our MI-5 agents. I thought having the teenage girl be the key terrorist and AQ operative, surprising her parents as well as everyone else, was taken from fairly recent headlines and presented a challenge to Lucas. I thought his line, what was it, “Don’t think I won’t shoot you because you’re a teenage girl” was Lucas convincing himself as well as threatening her that he may have to kill her. As usual Richard did a great job of making us feel Lucas inner emotions. Certainly last night’s episode left me wanting more.
    Yes, he did look great – Lovely Lucas- on the ship or back at the Grid. Loved when Vaughn tells him he still looks the same after 15 years…oh yes…still gorgeous after all these years πŸ™‚
    I’m also wondering if the writers will take the Harry-Ruth romance further. I certainly hope they do. Looking forward to next week.

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    • The UK is certainly A target, but I don’t think it’s THE target in the way that this show would have it. The terrorism threat in general is exaggerated, and the threat from al-Qaeda to anywhere outside London is pretty slim. The risk of getting assaulted in the street by some random attacker is considerably higher than being the victim of a terrorist attack, realistically. So yes, while there is definitely a threat in the UK, it’s really not “oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die”, which is the message we’re being fed through the media and that Spooks are using to their dramatic advantage. My 2p anyway. πŸ™‚ I’m not worried a terrorist is going to blow me up every time I go to work, whereas having an accident on the road there is a much bigger and more realistic concern.

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      • I’m interested in it mostly in terrorist threat as a device that challenges verisimilitude in the context of this show — so it doesn’t matter so much what the real “AQ” threat is (this is the only venue in which I ever hear it called that), but how the threats allegedly made by terrorists, which Section D is commenting, come across to me as viewer. (Obviously I have my own views on the extent to which I should believe everything the media tell me about the actual terrorist threat, but that’s not the topic of this blog :)). I suppose my perception of the actual threat from terrorists in reality influences my willingness to find its treatment on this show credible, but my general point is, I suppose, that it’s almost counterproductive — the more I hear that particular siren, the more likely I am as a viewer to tune it out.

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        • It has started to feel like the boy who cried wolf for me . . . it’s a little hard to take seriously.

          “Yeah, yeah, once again for the umpteenth time, the UK as we know it will be blown to high heavens if this handful of ridiculously good-looking people (particularly the tall, handsome, dark-haired bloke with the beautiful hands) doesn’t step in with some derring-do to save it . . .”

          That’s not to say I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, of course . . . I love my Lucas North and Spooks. I’m just wondering how many more series they can do this before it does turn into, as Richard mentioned in the Radio 1 interview, “Spoofs.” (He said Spooks was not only spooky sometimes, but also spoofy . . .) I don’t think that’s a spoiler, so I thought it OK to mention it.

          On another purely shallow note, when he looked at Beth and said “Are you OK, baby?” in Russian I got all tingly inside.

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          • Think of the fanfic possibilities.

            I was also touched by his apparent concern for someone who’s being represented to him by his own colleague as a prostitute — except I couldn’t decide (in line with new aggressive / cruel Lucas) if this was chivalry or just the need to figure out who she might be.

            And frankly, while we’re on the topic of the fake prostitute: 50 euros for a few hours? Not to be crude, but I’m sure the going price for a BJ has to be 30.

            Like

            • Plenty of fodder there, certainly.

              I wondered if it was a bit of both. Sentimental me sees Lucas–or John, or whatever his name is–as a basically chivalrous fellow. I see that impulse shining through in several of RA’s major characters. And he’s a spy, and there’s this mysterious lone woman o nboard for his assassination mission–of course, he is curious and wants to know more.

              Yep, seemed like awfully low rates for the lady’s services.

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          • If you want to avoid that, that Spooks is not realistic and that it is repetitive, there is really only one solution – you have to cancel the show because there are no new and realistic stories to tell. Yes, my first reaction was not AQ again and not again a bomb in London, not every week but that is what Spooks does. You cannot have it without it.

            Like

            • Oh, @Jane, I know that, I just had to kvetch a little. *grin* Good Lord knows RH had plenty of ridiculous moments and I am still trying to figure out how those iPhones always worked for John Porter in the middle of bleedin’ nowhere (glad to see they relied on satellite phones in Spooks this week) . . . as I also said, I love Lucas and the Spooky Gang and will look forward to downloading next week’s show as a treat when I have to return to dreaded reality after the long-awaited vacation.

              Like

            • Well said, Jane — and it’s why I don’t watch this genre in U.S. tv very often. (Well, I hardly watch US tv at all.) I’m willing to believe that plenty of things go on in my world that I am completely oblivious to — but a major foiled threat to national security every week is a little too much to accept.

              Like

    • I have nothing against the name John. I couldn’t care less. I love the name Lucas but I cringed when I learned that his surname would be North. After North&South it is a bit too much.

      Like

      • also interesting. My reaction to the name Lucas North was that it was just perfect. I did get a little annoyed by the number of times the surname “Thornton” showed up in RH, though. πŸ™‚

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  9. The production values looks better. It looks like a movie. I loved the ending! Yes, I did a internal moan when he called him “John.” But I loved it! I loved the emotion, if he’d shown that kind of emotion for SC then I would have gotton their romance. Oh, nevermind!

    I love the sassy new secret agent too! She’s like the anti-Ross, and it works.

    Like

    • He does, though: but I think part of the problem is that the demonstrative swallow is almost NEVER part of Armitage’s gestural repertoire when he’s supposed to be signaling either love or attraction / arousal. (I’ve found one exception to this, in Spooks 7.8, and I’m not convinced that he’s not just swallowing because the angle of his head is forcing his sinuses to drain.) The “big swallow” is only about shock and emotional upset. This confused me for a long time.

      Like

    • And Lucas and Beth worked as antagonist-protagonists, too.

      There was a spark there that never existed between Lucas and Sarah for me.

      Like

      • Well, Lucas/Beth are pushed together with a classic narrative strategy — male says something impossible about female, then discovers he’ll be forced to work with her. Very different from how SC is introduced: she’s supposed to be his frenemy and that’s clear from the beginning.

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        • Oh, according to my friend Vickie, on the very sparse extras on the Spooks 8 DVDs, in the commentary TPTB suggest “true” Spooks fans “really liked” Sarah. Hmmmm. And here I was, thinking I was a true fan. Silly me.

          One of the featurettes is about GOR (thankfully speaking in her normal accent) and how SC threw her boss over the balcony. Also they did direct her to act “crazy” as Vickie put it “making Lucas look like a numpty” . . . nobody puts Lucas in a corner, baby.

          Nada with Lucas/RA in the extras. Of course, he was shooting SB, but . . . no Harry, Ruth, Tariq, Ros . . . it sounds as if they really shafted us with the so-called extras.

          Like

          • Interesting. Was that a Spooks DVD or MI-5? I ask because it seems they don’t have the same extras.

            Like

            • Sadly, it IS the Spooks DVD from Amazon UK, the same one currently on its way to me. Oh, well, I wanted to be able to watch the eps on the TV rather than my computer, so I will keep them anyway.

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              • You’re right! Don’t know what I was thinking because the US version hasn’t even been released yet.

                What a bummer about that DVD, and it’s the same one I’m getting any time now. May even be at home as I type this.

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                • Yeah, I usually end up buying the UK versions since I have a region-free player and I’m greedy to get them sooner. Honestly, RA is the only actor I would go to this effort for . . .

                  Like

            • which is enraging. Why should you have to buy two versions of the same thing?

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          • wow, bizarre. At least now I can put down some of what I’ve identified to bad direction. Hope those DVDs get here soon.

            Sad about lame extras.

            Like

    • I think it’s good they didn’t try to “replace” Ros with Beth–other than they fact they are both blondes, they’re two very different creatures.

      Like

      • I liked that too, Ros is irreplaceable, I truly missed her, at the end there was this nagging feeling that as much as I enjoyed everything, there was something missing.

        Like

  10. Harry. Gotta love him. Proposing at a wedding, killing the ex-PM, the resigning. What would the show be without him?

    Like

    • I feel like his hair is also more endearing in this episode. Slightly out of order. πŸ™‚

      Like

    • Well, as one reviewer said, it really wouldn’t be Spooks without good old “Let’s propose at a funeral” Harry. Loved the bit with the gloved hands over his face while he poisoned the ex-PM. Nice touch.

      Like

      • I wonder if it would have gone differently if he had just suggested that they have sex. I always have an impulse to have sex after a funeral that I attend with a partner. Hope that’s not indiscreet. There’s something about the aura that sort of demands an “affirmation of life” act (and apparently there’s no wake after this funeral). I’m only up to 2.6 in the backstory, so Ruth has just appeared, and it seems implausible that Ruth and Harry could ever have a relationship, but 8.1 implies that they were not lovers — and it seems like a big step to go from nothing at all to marriage. Wait, wait, don’t tell me. I mean seriously, DO NOT tell me.

        Like

        • Oh dear, the visual of Harry and Ruth doing the nasty, is too much for me, a bit like thinking of a fav uncle having sex.

          Like

          • Oh dear. Now I have an image of a bouncing parked car with fogged-up windows by the cemetery . . . Lucas eying it with a raised brow and a smirk and Tariq’s puppy dog eyes widening . . .

            Like

            • You have an irrepressible comedic streak, angie!

              Like

              • Well, I just spent the better part of the afternoon having a temporary crown put on a broken tooth that may or may not later require a root canal, and not in my usual dentist’s office as his A/C is out and he didn’t want to sweat all over his patients since it is still freakin’ hot here . . . fortunately I know this dentist quite well and he kept me entertained with funny stories and how much he likes my husband LOL

                One must find humor even if the not-so-humourous sitches in life. Keeps me semi-sane.

                Like

          • Hey, Rob, all kinds of people have sex. Old, young, fat, thin, healthy, sick: it’s the human thing!

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            • Exactly so, Servetus. And as my almost 60-year-old sister who just colored her hair a racy red would say, “I may be getting older but I can still admire a good-lookin’ man.”

              *grin*

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            • Agreed Professor. But Harry!!! Harry!!!!

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              • well, you wouldn’t have to watch him. He could have suggested it and they could have gone off camera to do the deed. πŸ™‚

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                • I sort of like imagining them afterward, side by side discreetly under the sheets, holding hands with sweet and silly smiles on their faces.

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          • @@Rob,

            I sometimes have a flashback to Alan Strang when I see Harry, so the scenario is completely plausible to me. LOL!

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        • Okay, I won’t tell you. πŸ˜†

          I think it’s normal to want to “affirm life” after being so close to death, and of course funerals are not the only time that happens. LOL!

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          • I just think it’s funny how you always hear about make-up sex being so great, but nary a word about post-funeral sex. Maybe I’ve just attended an undue number of funerals.

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  11. The scene with Talwar was great, I also could hear his sincerity in ‘not make me do this’ and in the end when he orders CO19 to take them away, he is ‘hugging’ himself adding to the feeling of being forced/not wanting to do that.

    I also thought Lucas seemed more sure of himself/stronger in the action scenes in the ship and linked it to SB training.

    I liked Dimitri and I’m sure I’ll like Beth, maybe it has a little bit to do with the need of more people. Early in the ep, where in the Grid there was only Ruth, Tariq and Harry is looked *Very* empty.

    I actually smiled at another John, we already have 4 John, why not 5? I only hope his last name doesn’t begin with T, S, P or M :P.
    I won’t add the ” ” to Lucas until proven he *is* John, mainly for lazyness, hehe.

    OML πŸ™‚

    Like

    • well, it would only apply to after S9, right, so it would be something like “Lucas” (John) or “Lucas” / John. Man, that is a lot of punctuation to type.

      Like

    • Nothing will make me believe Lucas isn’t an inherently decent fellow, no matter how hard or brutal he has to be in his job sometimes . . . and no matter who he ultimately turns out to be.

      I wonder if the writers purposely chose “John” as a sly wink at all the characters named John he has portrayed? Sort of like having him jump in the pool with Robinov last series?

      Like

      • and you can always rewrite him if you are dissatisfied with the way he turns out. But yeah, I also am going to have a real hard time if his secret identity turns out to be truly evil (as opposed to e.g., some variation on misguided idealist).

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        • Yep, and something tells me I may be sniffing after an AU Lucas, er, Whatever His Name Is fic after this season is over . . . I DO NOT want Lucas to turn out to be a true baddie. No, no, no. Misguided idealist, I can live with.

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      • @angieklong: I’m with you. I believe that Lucas is inherently decent and loyal to his country. He has always put himself at risk first and done what he could to save people. However, I’ve have NEVER seen fear on Lucas’ face as I saw last night. I am looking forward to watching it again but I was talking back to the TV (thank God the dogs are used to it) when he encountered Vaughn. Kudos, please, please, please do not destroy one of my heroes.

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        • There are moments when his essential goodness and decency just shine through–I can’t believe he’s truly a bad guy.
          Lucas and JP are my heroes (well, Guy, too).

          But that look of absolute terror when he realized who Vaughn was really troubled me. I felt so sorry for Lucas, it’s like I wanted to protect him . . . I know RA wants to go out in a big way when he leaves, but don’t turn him into a male Connie to do it, please, folks.

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          • Interesting. I did not feel the need to protect him nearly as much last night as I did during the last four episodes of Spooks 8.

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            • I think I feel the need to protect him pretty much all the time, to be honest. There is something very heartbreaking and haunting to me about that character. Well, I fell for him the first time he came shambling, all dishevelled and scruffy, out of that car trunk.

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            • I didn’t feel like protecting him, more likely to comfort him. With the scene where he sends Beth to his room and then with Talware, he gave me the impression that emotionally he is behaving as if nothing has happened, but he’s affected.

              OML πŸ™‚

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    • After the rush passed, I laughed that Vaughn called him John. LOL! Sorry I guess I’m still laughing.

      What would be a total hoot is if Lucas is an American. ROFLOL!!

      Okay, not really. I’ve found I don’t want to hear his “American,” but that would be a very interesting plot twist, and he could be part of Nightingale and everything. πŸ˜‰ It would be even more interesting if Nightingale was connected to Sugar Horse, or is Sugar Horse destined to be a widow?

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      • He could be an American whose parents divorced so he didn’t have time to perfect his American accent.

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        • ooh…now we’re onto something. ABC TV has acquired the rights to Spooks for the U.S. I can imagine that Lucas is an American and comes to Spooks (MI-5) here…If they try to change his name, I will always call him Lucas, dammit!

          @angie…he is heartbreaking, Series 7 ep 1 was tragic, the eating fish and chips and then he wipes his hand on his stinking shirt was so sad. Do I have a problem that I’ve been reading so much fanfic that I’m getting his back story confused?

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          • Oh, don’t tempt me like that, Ann Marie . . . the thought of Lucas on our shores . . . *gulp*

            Well, they’ve gone and loused up RA’s own back story he created for Lucas with this latest twist . . . who’s to say who Lucas really is at this point?

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          • they can develop whole plot lines relating to ways in which the mangled American accent messes up operations.

            However, given how badly some great things from the UK have translated to the US, my assumption is that whatever version of Spooks potentially airs on ABC will be so altered as to be unrecognizable …

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  12. I’m super excited for series 9 now that the first episode (which was awesome) is over.

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  13. Do you think that they move and change the tattoos around on purpose? What is up with that? Had anyone else noticed?

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    • Actually, Servetus and I were discussing Lucas and the Case of the Mysterious Moving Tattoos in some emails . . . the band moved wa–ay up his arm, the dots reappeared . . . is it sloppy continuity (somehow I just assume RA would really pay attention to those details and point it out if they goofed up on the ones he could easily see, at least)–or are they hinting to us that Lucas isn’t all we think he is . . . that the tats are actually fake after all. Oh, this is messin’ with my head.

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      • yeah, it seems constantly impossible to establish what is a plot element vs what is a continuity error in this darn show — which is extremely aggravating for me as interpreter, I have to say.

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  14. I thought that band was around the wrist. You’d think RA would be like hello, that tattoo doesn’t belong there. I think we should be really prepared for a mind twister this season. LN is probably really John Porter and John Porter is prob Lucas North.

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    • LOL! and Maya is really Dani.

      The cynic in me thinks the tatoos move around because it’s just sloppy work by Kudos. I would love to be wrong.

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      • Well, I fully expected that sort of shoddiness from Tiger Aspect, where the plastic battlements sometimes wobbled dangerously and Robin invented hang gliding *rolls eyes* but I really hoped for more from kudos. And I would think it would bother Richard with his attention to detail . . . but maybe budget cuts have hit the continuity department, who knows?

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        • maybe he was dozing that day while they were putting it on and woke up and it was too late to change it. Or maybe he’s invented some way of moving the chain bracelet tattoo up and down his arm just like a real chain. That would be neat.

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    • It was around his wrist. Remember Elizaveta looking at it in S7 and Lucas sort of self-consciously hiding it? Actually—John and Lucas are identical twins who were born conjoined and then were separated! John/Lucas are one and the same but he has a multiple personality disorder!

      As Kelly Bundy used to say, “The mind wobbles.”

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      • Yep, there’s no question the first tat was around the wrist. I’ve watched that scene too many times not to know that. LOL!

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        • Maybe he had a laser removal and then had the tattoo recreated in a place that he liked better. πŸ™‚

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          • I think Character Lucas North is sitting in my den laughing at me, blast him, while sweet Harry tells him to “be nice” and Guy has another slice of choccie cake while fending off Puddie.

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            • Go with it angie! Does Lucas eventually tell Harry , John and Guy that he’s not really there, he’s just a figment of their collective mind/imagination or that of the Creator?

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              • You guys are giving me too many good ideas! What is real and what is fictional? Does LadyWriter exist or is she, too, just a figment of someone’s fertile imagination>

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            • Maybe they actually knew each other in some parallel universe, when the presentations where due, Lucas was last and seeing there were too many Johns, decided he’d change his name to Lucas.

              OML πŸ˜›

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    • @Rob, it hurts my head to think the JP is really LN and vice versa vibe… πŸ˜‰

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    • I give them so much credit to believe there is a practical reason why the tattoo moved upwards. To start with, where it is now, it does not have to be applied every day as it would be hidden under long sleeves. Another point is that it might rub off in action scenes when it gets touched.

      Yes, I notice that this is a mistake and they should have considered it from the beginning (but perhaps when Lucas first returned they wanted to make a statement by at least one tattoo being always visible?). However I can live with it. All films are full of continuity errors if you look for them. I know that this is an illusion and not a documentary and don’t expect it to be perfect. It is enough for me that Lucas has tattoos and who cares if they move or not? You only notice that they move if you study sceencaps of him slavishly. A handful of people do, the rest of the audience don’t, so they won’t notice. In fact it bothers me more that the way the tattoos are done does not look exactly “Russian prison” DIY work to me.

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      • Maybe they just move the tattoos to give us something to talk about. Keep us on our toes. Th makeup people are trying to psychic us out a bit.

        New theory: “John” is realy John Thornton reincarnated into a super spy that is not British,but is Scotch-Irish trying to take the crown from the Queen.

        Any other theories?

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        • John Standring finally looked at himself in a mirror, realized he is gorgeous, talented, and intelligent, dumped Carol, changed his name to “Lucas North” and joined MI5 to get away from all the sheep.

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          • A truly gorgeous thought on his secret identity! It might explain his difficulty in picking the right woman!

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            • Yeah, you can’t recover from every problem you have overnight — some things need practice. Still I think if Standring were choosing to be someone else he wouldn’t pick Lucas — he’d pick being Armitage himself. Standring would have a really hard time being Lucas, whereas he’s got the Armitage shyness down pat already.

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              • Don’t knock the tranformitive power of tv characters! Remember how Lucas was able to channel glossy, confident banker, Pete, shortly after returning from eight years of incarceration in a Russian prison, all without the benefit of being to Eton!

                Like

        • I think there is mischief afoot on the Spooks set . . .
          Maybe the makeup people give RA a short-term sleeping draught and giggle uproariously as they decide just where they are going to move his tattoos to on any given day . . .
          I like your John Thornton theory. *thumbs up*

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      • We should also note that “continuity editing” (as it is called) is only one option. There are cinematographic theories that don’t stress its importance at all. (Reading a dissertation that discusses this right now.)

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  15. Spooks is back and I loved it! The Harry and Ruth moments were particularly poignant and very well played. As Ruth said, you couldn’t really see the two of them in a little house in Sussex, having the neighbours round for drinks and doing small talk, while the country teeters on the brink of destruction every week πŸ™‚

    It’s sad that Ros with her caustic sense of humour is gone . I miss Jo, too, as the human face of the Grid who paid the price for the demands of the job. I like the new characters, Dmitri and Beth and will enjoy their interactions with the other members of the team.

    I snapped to attention every time Lucas appeared. He seems leaner and more focused than ever. It was all I could do not to cheer wildly when he appeared on the Grid in his Lucas clothes. And the Vaughan character and his relationship to Lucas is so nail-bitingingly intriguing. Actually, I think the choice of name seems quite deliberate. There have been echoes of different characters Richard has played in Lucas’ portrayal and perhaps this is another sly wink to the fanbase.

    @Servetus: Lucas’ casual clothes at the funeral are in fact an exact copy of what Tom Quinn was wearing at Helen Flynn’s funeral after her dramatic death in the deep-fat fryer in Sppoks 1 episode 2, so perhaps this is regulation Spooks Alpha male funeral wear? πŸ™‚

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    • Or all the budget went action stuff so they just recycled wardrobe.

      OML πŸ™‚

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      • That’s probably the real reason. From the US viewer’s perspective the production value of almost all British tv is unspeakably low. British viewers seem to take it in stride, though.

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        • It’s what we’re used to. The money just isn’t there. Thankfully, there’s still a lot of acting talent around in the UK which goes some way to making up for this.

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          • Yeah and honestly, my few months’ foray into British TV suggests that you’ve got the better deal. Seriously, being able to cast many actors of such a high calibre in a drama as regularly appear together in British shows is a big improvement on the US, where there’s usually one star and a bunch of people who’ve been cast because they are attractive or meet a demographic. Give me acting any day.

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    • Didn’t notice this. Perhaps they have a funeral costume at the Grid. Also striking that everyone else in that scene is wearing an overcoat except Lucas.

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  16. I must say that Harry with his distrust of Lucas annoys me no end. I mean, hey, it has been proven that Ros betrayed MI5 and he still trusts her more than Lucas who suffered for 8 years? Give me a break. If Lucas is the grumpiest man on tv (I thought that was Robert Lindsay as Ben Harper??) he has a d*rn good reason for it.

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  17. Oh, and Lucas’ expression at the end reminds me of 7.5, when Harry confesses he knew about Sugarhorse, and Lucas is visibly shaken. “I was tortured for seveteen days, contiously.” There are definitely times when I hate Harry.

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  18. W O W ! RA Came on as Porter walked off as Lucas/whateverhisnameis!!
    I’m off for a blitz visit to my motherland (funny how in Dutch it’s referred to fatherland and native tongue is mothertongue) High priority after hugs&kisses is to re-view this ep on sis’s big screen. Of course I’ve been having a banter w/friends about the “invade Belgium” quote!! Lucas (LUCAS FOREVER!) is welcome anytime!! Yesterday I burned my first DVD (got me some Ricky) can’t get over how easy that was! Alas all the excitement over S9 has turned me into a ridiculous over-excitable fangirl. So pardon my teentalk.
    Must say I like the new assets to the team. Interessed

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    • Oops! Interessing Max’ switching of accents so smoothly even while undercover.
      Harry’s proposal was selfish, it was about him feeling lonely. Ruth’s reaction is understandable but I hope their little “dance” is not over. Right; he should have just tried to kiss her (and re-affirm life too!! πŸ™‚
      Didn’t spot mention of Lucas getting section-chief job either.

      Like

      • Yeah, anyone who marries Harry Pearce should make sure they have an airtight prenup — I wouldn’t marry him either. Some men are just not marriage material.

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    • as a non-Belgian and a historian who thinks most people don’t take history seriously enough, LOVED the “invade Belgium” joke.

      Also liked the line “don’t even get me started on blondes.”

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  19. Y’all have no idea how healing / affirming it is to walk in to my office, flip to this screen, and read all this wit! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  20. […] Lucas is scripted convincingly! [Spooks 9.1-.2 spoilers: pw=spooks9] Same disclaimers as last time. Tonight in class we read Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical […]

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  21. […] in spite of it all [Spoilers for all of Spooks 9!] Same disclaimers as before. My caps. Something you might weigh in on in your comments is how soon I can unprotect the password […]

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  22. […] Same disclaimers as in the past. My caps. It’s half past 11 in the evening as I start writing, and I’ve got some unfinished obligations to students left to complete for tomorrow, which is also going to be a really long day, so we’ll see how much energy I ultimately have for this analysis. My point in doing this this way is to record my impressions before reading anyone else’s, so if I can’t finish saying everything I want to say I may break this up into two pieces and write some more on Wednesday before reading around to see what others have written. Mal sehen. […]

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  23. […] Same disclaimers as before. My caps. Also, just a gentle reminder that Servetus does not read spoilers, has not read the BBC synopses of the two remaining episodes, and does not watch “scenes from next week.” Please indulge me in this folly; it’s only two more weeks. Really, only one more week, since there’ll be no scenes from next week at the end of episode 8. Sob! I missed you for so long, Lucas North, and now you’re about to disappear again. This time, it seems, for good. Mr. Armitage, I hope your parents really enjoyed this episode because it seems likely that you and Spooks are over. […]

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  24. […] Same disclaimers as in the past. My caps. […]

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  25. […] Same disclaimers. My caps. I’ve been noticing while I’ve been drafting this that the comments are piling up on an earlier post. Sorry I couldn’t write faster, gang! I had some professorial responsibilities to fulfill. […]

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  26. […] [Same disclaimers as before. My caps unless otherwise noted.] This got long, as I wanted to document all my reactions before I started reading what others thought. […]

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  27. […] for next week, but couldn’t leave out mentioning that I rewatched Spooks 9.1 last night. (Original reactions here; the ethics theme I noted regarding Harry and his resignation hit me just as hard or harder last […]

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  28. […] Then we’re on a container ship with Lucas, newbies Dimitri and Beth. Things heat up in the action department (they get boarded by pirates, yarrrr!) and John Porter Lucas North gets to do actiony bits and be gorgeous and awesome. All is well in that department. Maybe Strike Back has had a postive influence, as Servetus ponders. […]

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  29. […] original review of Spooks 9.1 was published here on the night of the premiere, but in rereading what was obviously a cursory attempt in comparison […]

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  30. […] as with my series on The Crucible, and I did it in synergy with an analysis of acting choices, as I did for Spooks 9), but that’s generally a matter of critical observation as opposed to critical […]

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  31. […] about it afterwards. We haven’t had that since the fall of 2010 and Spooks 9. But I loved the rush of that episodic writing. I know how the people felt who just couldn’t (for whatever reason) get excited about The […]

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