Finally Lucas is scripted convincingly! [Spooks 9.1-.2 spoilers!]

Same disclaimers as last time. Tonight in class we read Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” which discusses the loss of the aura of the stage actor in the age of screen productions. Some of Mr. Armitage’s statements about the difference between stage and screen acting were floating through my head, but one of the things the discussants contested in Benjamin’s interpretation was the extent to which the screen actor loses his “aura.” This is a bowdlerization of what Benjamin meant, but I think Armitage gives himself a real aura here. Here ends the intellectualizing wankery.
Wow. This was simply an amazing episode. I had a lump in my throat at the end. You don’t have any reason to know how rare that is in my life, but trust me, I’m not a crier (I’ve never cried while watching North & South, for instance) and this kind of drama would practically never cause that reaction in me. Lots of stuff to talk about, so I am just going to take the serial approach. This is after one watch-through and then review to get at the points and shots that struck me. But there’s plenty of stuff I will be watching again over the course of this week. Several scenes here are worthy of lengthy analysis, and provide a foothold for intepretive coherency (as opposed to just an opportunity for a litany of confusing moments and missed opportunities, as so often in S8).

Of course, we find out what’s in the suitcase, but not right away. No dancing banana outfit. Can you identify all of these objects? Eyeballing that yellowish thing on the right margin suggests that it says Tinerhir. Not sure what that will mean for us later. There’s a silver-mercury mine there, apparently. Perhaps Lucas was prospecting?

Also intrigued by the backstory created by the suitcase. We now know that Maya studied at Leeds. I’d always figured Lucas for Oxbridge. Guess we’ll learn more soon.

The script:

Obviously, we don’t know how it ends yet, but my preliminary judgment is that we are thankfully back to the script coherence of earlier seasons (of the ones I’ve seen so far, esp S2 and potentially S7) that seemed to have been abandoned in S8 in favor of the exploitation of sentiment. This despite the use of a narrative technique that I was annoyed about when Mr. Armitage’s Loose Ends interview spoilered it for me (grrrr, Mr. Armitage. DO NOT TELL US what is going to happen in the show. I AM NOT KIDDING. One reason I like your acting is the opportunity it affords me to watch the way that you react to things that I am not anticipating in the script, and you rob me of that pleasure when you tell me what’s going to happen) and about which I am still not totally convinced.

Yes, it’s the retelling of the story from the perspective of a different character. I’ll reserve final judgment on it until I see how this story arc goes over the season, but in general one thing that I love about Spooks is having to rethink how I know what I know once a new piece of information is revealed. It’s fun to try to make a list of all of the information that you have to resituate once (for instance) you know that Beth is acting in her own interests in the elevator — so for me the quota of additional information that you get from the renarration would have to be extremely high to justify robbing me of the intellectual exercise of rethinking the story, which I enjoy so much. Now one reason to do this is to control the reception of the narrative; it’s a technique that I use in history lectures occasionally to reinforce the facts vs opinions distinction in elementary historical narratives, and it’s a way to repeat information so that you can be sure that your audience has noticed it. So there can be a useful purpose to it; I am just not yet convinced that we see that here. I’d like to see scenes from different camera angles — instead of the same angles repeated so often. In scenes where Lucas’s perspective shows Beth, Beth’s perspective should show Lucas and vice versa. We don’t see anywhere near enough of that here and it wouldn’t be that hard to do. In particular I found the third retelling, from the perspective of the assassin, essentially superfluous, and my first reaction to the second retelling (from Beth’s perspective) was that it underlined what an implausible plot move it was simply to invite Beth onto the Grid. Seriously, does MI-5 not background check its employees? I had a BF in college who applied to work for the CIA, and I was visited twice by nondescript men in suits (the second time after the relationship was over) and he never even got hired. For me this episode simply escalated the plausibility problems around Beth (once they found out she was lying, why would they trust her in an operation at all? And why would Lucas think, if she had lied, that she would stay in the car when he left her there?). The sum total is that Beth is now completely delegitimated as a sincere narrator. We’re not going to believe anything she says.

It seems possible, of course, that they are using that character to set up a larger problem, with all of these statements about lying near the end of the episode: Lucas: “I want Beth on our team”; Harry: “I don’t like liars”; Lucas: “it’s our business, isn’t it? Lying?”; Harry: “Not to each other.”

Harry (Peter Firth) tells Lucas (Richard Armitage) that Beth has to go after this operation because “there’s no place here for betrayal.”

I like this theme a lot, as I like the scene where Lucas basically claims the position of chief of Section D for himself. It picks up on the discussion in 8.7 between Lucas and Ashok, where Ashok calls Lucas “liar man” and asks how he can trust the word of a liar. Also, the scene is hugely fraught. On the one hand, you have Lucas following up with the management style he’s been using informally for the whole episode, with a person-oriented management that we haven’t seen from most other section chiefs (I haven’t seen any episode w/Adam Carter so I don’t know about him yet, but not from the others); on the other hand we have Lucas saying that Beth deserves a second chance (actually this is a third chance), and one wonders if it’s because he knows that his identity as Lucas North was his own second chance, or because in the back of his mind is the idea that he wants to deserve a second chance with Laila; and then there’s the whole question of trust: Lucas: “Did you trust Ros?”; Harry: “Implicitly”; Lucas: “Could you afford me the same grace?” It’s not clear here what Harry knows about the past of “John,” which we’ve only begun to discover ourselves, but is it going to be a past of betrayal on the same scale as Ros? (and no, I still haven’t seen those episodes either). As Lucas insists on Grade A clearance, there’s a nice move of his eyes up from under his brow so that we catch the significance of this request even if Harry doesn’t. See here:

And then there’s the whole question of what that shake means. Harry says “Congratulations, Lucas,” but it seems to be a bittersweet moment for both of them, as the score in the background seems to signal. It seems clear from Lucas’s face that it’s not really a shake of trust — as if the attempt to create a bond of honesty between two liars is always already undercut, impossible, indeed, a sad form of irony.

But as the scene moves out into the common office area, we continue to the see the multi-layered level of Armitage’s performance — he’s got to manage a lot of different strands of Lucas’s personality and interactions with colleagues at once. Despite the sad tone of the music, at the same time, there’s a genuine, subtle smile here from Lucas that’s not the crafty grin of earlier seasons and episodes.

“Don’t think it’s because I care,” is Lucas’s remark directed at Beth after he informs her that she can stay on in Section D.

The segue to the look of weariness immediately afterwards connects Lucas’s thoughts about Beth (whatever they are) with the sadness of John, whose past Lucas has lost:

But there’s also more than a microexpression of calculation that appears once Beth is gone:

and it ends up, as we see above, directed quite obviously in the direction of Harry’s office.

Armitage’s performance:

On the level of performance: if this episode doesn’t win him a TV BAFTA, I don’t know what will. In general, last week there was an energy to his performance of Lucas that we hadn’t seen for much of S8, and that’s accentuated again here with a crispness of delivery, an openness of style that’s still within the S7 gestural repertoire (not inexplicably outside it, as it often was in S8), and the opportunity for a kind of emotionality in a realistic situation that Armitage’s roles have rarely allowed him. For instance, a glimpse of hope in Lucas’s eyes that we’ve not yet seen, as far as I know, as here, where he glimpses Maya from afar, the first time he’s seen her (apparently) in fifteen years.

Or here, where’s just spoken to her for the first time and she’s touched his chest:

The script and the characterization he’s generating here give him an opportunity for so many more nuanced expressions — a quiet happiness, a sad regret, all with a little nostalgia mixed in. We really see a diverse emotional palette in these scenes that builds on the previous characterization of Lucas and gives us something new to see in his performances of emotionality. We see all the defensive shame with which Armitage invested Lucas during the encounter Elizaveta’s kitchen at the end of 7.2, but stepped up a notch:

So we know this relationship really cuts to the core of who Lucas (in this case, “John”) is. He’s stroking his arms here to self-calm. This entire scene has Armitage pushing “John” to reveal who he is at his core — while simultaneously showing us how hard it is for the professional spy to push aside the accretions of a decade and a half of lying in order to attempt to speak honestly.

I’ll probably write a lot more about this scene eventually — it should definitely go in Mr. Armitage’s show reel — but I’ll bookend it by saying that what makes this intense emotionality believable in the characterization of Lucas (after the disciplined gestural repertoire of S7 and then the frequent bewilderment of S8, which one begins to suspect will be retconned as “the PTSD year”) is that it’s backed up by a new sort of emotional strength in Lucas that we haven’t seen before. At the end of the scene he challenges Maya — if she has a life and doesn’t need him, why did she even come? There’s a calm in Armitage’s portrayal of Lucas here that moves away from the angsty, almost brittle moments of S7 and 8 where we felt Lucas was struggling for control — something that hints of belief, of confidence, of a hope that’s backed up by the sentiment that Lucas / “John” thinks he can get what he wants here.

In sum, a fabulous performance that builds on his earlier strengths in this role but gives us something almost entirely new and yet simultaneously plausible. I can’t say enough good things here.

I know Mr. Armitage has mentioned that he was surprised about having to go to this new place in terms of his character biography and redefine who Lucas is, but I think that whatever is happening here is giving him a new energy in this role. Maybe because it’s not the familiar persona that he’s established, or a fraying of that persona, but a modified characterization that’s inspiring him and giving him food for thought? Maybe because of the re-establishment of the relationship with Maya, and his opportunity to play against someone who was not quickly written out of the script (Elizaveta Starkova), or whose characterization was incomprehensible (Sarah Caulfield), but someone who clearly has a persona with history with Lucas and someone whom he can really play with as opposed to having to create the characterization for both roles himself. I think that what Mr. Armitage is able to do in this episode also relates to a return to a clearly character driven plot in these scripts. He’s got a broader, deeper character here on offer.

One also kind of hopes it will open paths up to him to be cast as a leading man in a film. I want to develop this theme in a separate post later, but I think we’re seeing a dimension of Armitage’s acting here that we haven’t seen before. There was a sense in which the emotional self discipline of S7 Lucas could be read as a sort of mannerism akin to the “pantomime” figure of Guy of Gisborne or the historical drama lead embodied in Mr. Thornton. John Porter never got a chance to be in a real relationship with anyone he cared about over a longer arc; he is only ever shown in detailed relationship with whoever he’s rescuing that particular week, and indeed, this is a fundamental part of that characterization — Porter is the person who can develop quick intimacy with an individual as a sort of moment in an abstract problem related to justice or security or whatever, but he can’t really put himself easily into relationship with people who are going to place more consistent expectations upon him. So there’s a sense in which we’ve never completely seen Armitage in the very human sense that we repeatedly saw in other Spooks leads: Tom Quinn with Ellie, for example. Here he really shows that his style of almost backing away from the screen — of drawing attention to himself in retreat rather than on the offensive — can work in a romantic lead.

I so hope that this series continues on this path and ends well for Armitage in the sense I’ve sketched above. Maybe I’m too euphoric, but this was one of the best episodes of Spooks I’ve ever seen.

OK, enough gushing. Random stuff.

Wondering:

  • why does Lucas give up the poison so quickly and without protest? does this have something to do with his reference to Africa in the final scene of this episode? Does he have a closer relationship with the Nigerian attaché than we realize?
  • What strange continuity error will Lucas’s flat give rise to this season?
  • In the “slap” scene, how did they manage to film it so that she doesn’t appear to be slapping him at all?
  • Why can’t they get the Spanish pronunciation of the assassins right (compared to the pronunciation problems with Russian, Spanish is a breeze)?

Like:

  • the return to concrete portrayals of the nitty gritty of spying (when they toss the hotel, for example, or in the scenes where they hack the security camera system at Westhouse’s “pile”)
  • The slightly snotty tone of Lucas and Harry’s discussion of Beth on their way out to visit Westhouse the first time
  • The difficulty of Harry and Ruth’s conversation late night when it threatens to be a “tête à tête”
  • the way that they’ve scripted Lucas’s management style and his care for his colleagues. He’s not obtrusive, but after last week he seems to be showing both concern for the wellbeing of his fellow spooks, and an open management style that takes into consideration their ideas and inspirations and preferences for working. With Beth maybe some of this is checking up on her, but even if it turned out to be ineffective, it was nice of him to call her to see how she was.Lucas (Richard Armitage) tells Beth to go home and get some rest. This is actually an expression of concern, but something about his coloring and the dice spots on that wrist makes him look quite Mephistophalean. Lucifer, anyone?

Clothing Armitage:

The suit in the first scene doesn’t look bad if you don’t look too closely.

All the way through this scene he’s holding the paper right in front of his waist; it’s like he knows the coat doesn’t fit right at the waist. And then there’s the rear view:

Given the extra breadth in the shoulders (though why is this jacket pulling at the upper arm? Is this Lucas having to deal with remnants of John Porter’s muscles?) it’s hard to see why the waist should be too small. And once again there’s some weird issue with the skirt of the jacket, like it’s been let out and not pressed.

The jacket is still poorly fitted here, but look at that shirt. Almost perfect. Scrumptious — focuses attention on that flat abdomen and its elongation into the hips:

Here’s a close up: buttons well placed at the collar, and no rippling across the upper chest:

Can I also say that I love Lucas dressed way down, as in this scene where he encounters Leila in the exam room of her hospital (even though this is not the jacket he was wearing in the parking lot only seconds earlier, which is permapress and probably nylon. Does Spooks have no continuity people? Presumably they should be able to keep the clothing straight with the help of a notebook.)

This is TOTALLY gratuitous. I actually got it while I was trying to see if I could get a shot of those great big boots Lucas wears into the penthouse suite.

Making Armitage up:

I do like the slightly different sculpting of the jaw via stubble shaving. (Here’s the commentator who alerted me to that issue; it’s worth clicking because it is highly interesting.) A much more geometrical result that reigns in both the hinge of the jaw and the prominence of the chin in comparison to the pattern established S8, making Lucas look a great deal less obstinate than he often looked last year. The haircut here also seems much more square, trim, pricey, as opposed to last week’s rather dashing look. (With the tendency of Armitage’s quite fine hair to clump and curl at the hairline on the neck, this very precise cut suits him well and gives him a similar economy of style to Ros. I always felt like the women on Spooks had expensive haircuts and the men had cheap ones. This now seems contravened. Armitage’s haircut is now keeping pace.)

Freeing up the face visually also gives Armitage a bit more room for his emotions on his face — the scaled back hair and more restrained jaw really lets his consternation come out here because our attention is focused on the bridge of the nose and the eyes:

Occasionally, he almost achieves the peaked, jagged look that Lucas had in S7, all those sharp corners in his face:

Camera angles:

Loved this top down camera angle in the elevator — from a show that IMO has a relatively conventional camera style, apart from the heavy use of handheld, which I hate.

Another great series of shots: the contrasting elevators as Lucas and the Nigerian assassin descend from the penthouse in the Maybury hotel. Very visually exciting.

A nice graphic from the “hacking the Westhouses’ CCTV setup” sequence:

Also in this scene, I really like the addition of the threatening tone of the synthesized bass to the background music (I’m usually neutral to negative on the Spooks score, frankly, but here it really works).

The effect of backlighting makes Lucas’s ears look almost translucent (this note is for you, Jane):

This is series is now one quarter over. If it’s going to keep on at this level, I should already be regretting that we’ve seen so much of it.

~ by Servetus on September 28, 2010.

39 Responses to “Finally Lucas is scripted convincingly! [Spooks 9.1-.2 spoilers!]”

  1. I have not yet seen the episode, so can’t comment on the details, but what I noticed first in Strike Back is how interesting Mr. Armitage’s hairline is at the back of his neck. That little peak at the left side is lovely asymmetry (Rococo-ish?)!

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  2. I have to re-watch with subtitles as I totally lost the plot! Overall I felt this has more of the old school Spooks feeling. Will keep in mind what you said and pay attention to the “detailed acting moments”. Sadly I don’t think an episode of Spooks will ever earn anyone a BAFTA. If they are lucky they get a nomination as best drama series again but the award will most likely go to something new.

    As to his hair (my favourite topic!) I think he has to let it grow on the top for his new role in CA (and those pics of young Lucas?) so it is combed back with some kind of hair product. Noticed the very short hair at the neck as well. I think it had to be a little bit longer in series 7 as they needed something to attach the extensions for RH3. So I think most of the changes in his hairstyle are for practical reasons.

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    • Would be nice if he kept them, when they look good! 🙂

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    • I assumed that the long bangs in the flashback images we’ve seen so far were extensions. Obviously we don’t know what order all of this was shot in. Presumably some of the shortness was hangover from Porter, too. But it just looks a great deal better here than in both S7 and S8. I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

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      • We have seen his hair getting longer, from SB premier to BAFTAs to recent interviews, so I think it is real. If you haven’t seen any interviews to avaid spoiler, it is almost Harry (Kennedy, not Pearce!) length at the top.

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  3. Forgot to say – is the jacket in the hospital the same as in the other scene with Maya? Is this his “John” jacket that gives him a different look from “Lucas”? John certainly seem to be a different character from Lucas.

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    • Great observation Jane. I felt this too, but couldn’t put it into words and you just did. When he’s Lucas/John he seems more uncertain, softer, frightened, hesitant, with Vaughn as well as Maya. Even when Vaughn calls him on his cell after he’s just talked to Beth, there is a difference in his voice and his posture/body changes slightly. I need to watch this episode again, too much to take in one viewing. I do love the new navy jacket/jeans he wears for most of the episode. Makes his long legs look even longer (if that’s possible), accentuates his broad shoulders and then tapers at his waist.

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      • Exactly — the blue stuff gives him a long body line and deaccentuates the posterior.

        I agree there was way too much to think about in only one viewing here. I’m hugely persuaded by the possibility you both raise about the source of the new energy being the need to characterize John as someone different from Lucas — I think that explains a lot of what we see in this episode and a great deal of why it is just so compelling to watch. The final scene with Maya is a real keeper, one I can see turning to in the way that I watch the N&S train scene. But I need to think a little bit more about the issue of a completely separate character, as Lucas and John are in some senses the same person. It’s interesting to me that one could let go of one’s “shell” as Lucas so quickly. Obviously we see him struggling with that in this scene.

        Anyway, lots of time for more analysis, obviously.

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        • As far as I understand ‘John’ is him before being recluted for MI-5, he’s not top notch spy, John is his ’15 years ago’ self with Maya and Vaughn. His emotions seem to me more easily brought to the surface while Lucas is more controlled or…wise?
          We act according to which ‘mask we are using’, that doesn’t make us different people, meaning who Lucas North is, is not an impersonation of the ‘real one’, might be a fake name but still is that (tall, dark, handsome) person who is Section Chief.

          On the other hand, this is accepting John is his real ID, can’t it be LN and John being the temporaly stolen ID?

          OML 🙂

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          • it’s an interesting problem. How do we deal with who we were in the past; how does that influence who we are now. There’s a thread on this below so I am going to write more in response down there, OML.

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    • on the jacket, it’s hard to say. In the hospital parking lot he appears to have on a blue nylon jacket, which we only see from the back. Then when he’s in the hospital it looks like a very old jeans jacket or maybe even just a shirt. Anyway something very very wrinkly. In the final seen with Maya, he has on a jacket that could be the nylon one again, but it seems a darker shade — though the final scene with Maya takes place at night. In any case, you’re right that it’s clear Lucas dresses differently when he is encountering Maya, i.e., being John.

      I didn’t esp like the Belstaff jacket at first — the waist is nice, but the skirt of the jacket I think leads to too much visual emphasis on his hips/posterior, but it is growing on me. Certainly the top half of it looks great.

      But as a fan of the boy next door, in the end, I prefer the jeans look. 🙂

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  4. Tangent: I always saw Lucas as LSE, not Oxbridge. More anti-Establishment?

    The “translucent” ears are rather pointy….

    Can’t get the download sites to perform; system freezes. Hard drive due for stint in re-hab. So why am I reading spoilers? Weak-minded.

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    • LOL! The translucent ears! Thanks for remembering, servetus. It is my pet theory that those pointy ears proof that Mr. Armitage is not or at least nor completely human.

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    • Yeah, it’s like they added in extra pointiness for this episode. That may be something accentuated by the way the stubble is shaping the jaw here. When the stubble makes the jaw look rounder, the ears look rounder, too?

      I don’t think you’re weakminded, fitzg. 🙂

      Oh, and yeah, LSE would be a possibility, too. My friend and colleague the former Cambridge professor has an LSE BA. I think: incisiveness. It’s just: Leeds? The photos from the past that we see in the suitcase IMO make him look like a “toff.”

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      • What is LSE? Would someone from Cumbria go to university in Leeds?

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        • I have no idea how this works in the UK.

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        • See fitzg’s comment below.

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        • Anyone can go to any university in England. The system is that before you sit your A-levels (school-leaving exams), you apply to 5 different universities through UCAS, a central clearing house for university applications, and if the universities are interested they make you an offer of a place dependent on your achieving the marks/exam results they ask for.

          In the light of the recent revelations of Lucas/John’s identity, can we know whether he really does come from Cumbria or whether his father was a Methodist minister? Laila could have done her first degree at a different university and her medical training at Leeds Medical School.

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          • Aha, so it’s more like Germany. What I might have thought about this question was totally based on the US, so thanks for the info.

            I would say it’s safe to say that Lucas’s entire backstory as far as we are aware of it is now at best doubtful knowledge. This makes me sad because I just LOVED 7.6. And I wanted Lucas to be a PK.

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  5. It does seem as though LN is a whole new man, so diff from past episodes. Cna I say that I hate the dice tattoo on the wrist!!! I really liked the band from the past seasons, it was sexy peaking out from his shirt, the dice, is just tacky, even for Russian prison tattoo.

    I found it interesting that he called Beth, to check in on her to see if she was ok. Hmmm…is LN that considerate?

    Harry as always was and is a total bad ass. I loved it when he said, I am going in.

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    • Consideration=checking up? 🙂

      I liked the sort of implicit venom of the last conversation betw Harry and Westhouse. Well played.

      It’s so nice to watch an episode of this and be able to limit real criticisms to continuity errors as opposed to being frustrated by entire plot elements. I’m still neutral on Beth and how she’s being used / will be used, but that’s so minor in comparison to all the successes in this script.

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      • Did Ross ever call her team to see if they were ok? The only thing is is that it never ends well for the section chief, does it? They all seem to get killed off.

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        • If she did, I didn’t see it. She did give Jo a pep talk once when she reminded her that she had killed Boscard.

          Honestly, I have a feeling that Lucas won’t survive S9. Partly on points (a third whole season?), and partly because last season Ros got so many great opportunities — esp the hostage scenario and taking down Coleville (sp?). It was like they were giving her great scripts because she was soon to be eliminated. The better the script gets for Lucas, the more concern I have, frankly. (wrinkles forehead)

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          • Not necessarily. HN did four series and RPJ as well. They got the best storyline and the most screentime because they were team leader, not to honour them before they leave. It is only now that Lucas is team leader and gets what (IMHO) RA should have gotten two years ago.

            If I think that RA might leave Spooks it is because he has too many other plans for next year and it is impossible to do SB2, Spooks 10 and the Rover. But perhaps they play a trick and he simply won’t be in all episodes?

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            • I hope you’re right that Lucas won’t be written out for reasons of plot, but only if Mr. Armitage wants to go. And I hope he doesn’t want to go. I really missed Lucas during this last off-season. Honestly, I don’t see either how he can do a stage play and SB2 and Spooks 10. That’s why I am assuming that that one article misquotes him until I hear something more definite.

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  6. So you buy the Maya story? I choose to buy it as that is the only way to enjoy what we get, at least for the moment I buy the premise that he has buried the past deep in his memory (and could find another love of his life in the meantime) and now after being reminded of the past, everything breaks loose. We will see how it develops.

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    • I don’t know what to think and I don’t think we really have enough information quite yet to make specific judgments. But what I don’t want is a plot where “John” turns Lucas into a split / multiple personality. I’m willing to believe that he had buried the past in a place where he didn’t think of it often; if it turns out that he had repressed memory syndrome I am going to be angry with the scriptwriters. Right now I think the portrayal is going in the first direction, and I am ok with it. And seen in that light, we got a fantastic performance last night, I think. 🙂

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      • I agree and don’t think they’re going to go for the multiple personality “Three Faces of Eve” kind of thing (I also hope not)- at least judging from Monday’s episode. I thought the difference was more subtle, “John” being more the Lucas we saw in Season 7, and the Lucas now more secure, aggressive, and in charge.

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        • Referencing the clothing discussion above and thinking about this now, I find it striking how differently Lucas is clothed when he seeks out Maya — including in that last scene a purple sweater in a tone that Mr. Armitage really should not wear, possibly the brightest color we’ve ever seen Lucas wearing. It’s a subtle difference as we often see Lucas in a dress shirt over a T-shirt, probably seen most clearly in the different jackets.

          So the question for me is, would Lucas go out and buy clothing so he looks more like John did — for this mtg with Maya? Does Lucas own this clothing anyway and we just never see it? Or did he get it out of the MI-5 props and costumes locker? It seems important because it gets to this issue of who Lucas is in relationship to John and exactly how buried Lucas’s memories of being John are. Right now I want to believe that Lucas is remembering a real past. But of course Jane’s comments remind us that we can never believe anything at first glance in Spooks. Perhaps Lucas has left John so completely behind that he’s actually trying to use this reinvigorated connection to put some criminals (Vaughn?) behind bars. We can’t tell — but the fact that all these interpretations seem possible at this moment in our viewing point to the strength of the script and also to the strength of Armitage’s performances in the scenes with Lila Rouass. (I just hope the script doesn’t mess up this beautiful tension it’s created …)

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          • Somehow I don’t think the clothing is a continuity error and I don’t think that we are supposed to believe that Lucas went home and changed cloths before and after meeting Maya to look more like they guy she remembers. I think we are not even supposed to notice it consciously, after all it is jeans and a dark jacket in both cases. We are just meant to notice that he is somehow different, as if filmed through a coloured lens or something, if that makes sense.

            Remember in N%S at first Milton looked very grey and Helston unnaturally bright and in the last episode Margaret’s view on both places has changed and both look normal and there were even a few trees in Milton? Could be something like that.

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            • I agree that we’re not supposed to notice the jacket, either as a matter of perception of the script or as a continuity error (though IMO it is the latter). I think the sweater is a different matter. It’s hard to miss. I hate that my brain is like this — but I’m personally a sequential editor when I read and so I need explanations. The most plausible thing to me is that Lucas goes home after work and changes clothes before he goes to meet Maya. But that means he has to already have this sweater, i.e., the aspects of his persona that are represented by a clothing choice like that are not so incredibly deeply buried that he’s stopped making clothing choices consistent with them (esp since one assumes he had to replace most if not all of his clothing after returning from his captivity in Russia). Or maybe that sweater was in the suitcase — or somehow kept with his possessions in storage all those years. It’s the kind of thing people do when they haven’t seen someone they cared deeply about all those years: put on an article of clothing that they know the person approved of.

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  7. LSE – London School of Economics. Had (probably still has) a fairly radical rep. Pretty left-wing.

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  8. […] say anything about this, just remark that the pointiness of his ears here have caused some of us to doubt in jest that he is completely human, and note that the structure of his ears seem to emphasize qualities in his face that make it easy […]

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  9. […] Mr. Armitage. As I’ve said, I’m not a crier. But I cried, briefly, tonight, when you said, “Lucas North is dead,” and my heart is […]

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  10. […] I liked Sophia Myles and I miss her, even though I agreed with 100% with the explanation given for decommissioning her (and said at the time that it was a reason not to hire her). […]

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  11. […] had become the host body for an alien with extremely pointy ears. The effect was so noticeable that it prompted one blogger to use the word “translucent” to describe Armitage’s ears, the only time she ultimately used that word in three entire years and hundreds of thousands of […]

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