Yeah, I’m crying. Wanna make something of it? [Spooks 9.1-9.7 spoilers! pw=spooks9]

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.

Wow, 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 still in my throat, thirty minutes after I finished watching this the first time. I hope your folks are still proud. This was a stunning performance in another really convoluted script situation, and thanks to you, I totally fell into the trap the script set up for me. Details below.

Also, in the discussion about the ongoing dilemma between making the Spooks script exciting vs providing a consistent characterization of Lucas, despite some pretty massive implausibilities in this script as regards Harry’s behavior and/or MI-5 operations, I am back over on the side of praising the scriptwriters. This script just gets some fundamental things right for me on the level of life observations that apply to how many people think about their pasts — not just spooks or criminals running away from their malfeasance, but me, too. I don’t like this Lucas, or rather, who I understand John Bateman to be, because I never would have loved John Bateman; indeed, I think I am crying because I am mourning the Lucas North I’ve now almost definitely lost, the one who John Bateman appeared to be, whom he succeeded at being for two series, despite the way that the final scene with Vaughn threw his statements in the interrogation scene with Harry into question. So maybe I don’t despise John Bateman as much as I think I do. Obviously, that is one of the many questions that remain to be resolved at the end of the series, a week from tonight.

But this script kept me on the edge of my seat for practically every minute of the show on a day when I’d reached the end of my constitutional rope in terms of work and couldn’t even start watching the episode until 9 in the evening my time and got interrupted several times after that by students and colleagues who sought me out. For me, THIS EPISODE, and my surprise when Vaughn revealed that John’s story to Harry was a lie, justified for me all of the labor involved in averting my head from every potential spoiler that came my way since mid-August, and in avoiding internet outlets where I knew spoilers were being discussed. (Mr. Armitage, shut up about episode plots in your advance interviews. I’m still annoyed with you about this!) In other words, the fact that I bought the end of the episode is a tribute both to its script, and to Armitage’s performance. I couldn’t be more moved.

I know it sounds mushy, but: Mr. Armitage and Spooks scriptwriters, thanks for a show that made it worth surviving today in order to see it.

I do want to say as a final general note that I’ll now be completely on edge next week. A reminder to all readers of “me + richard armitage”: NO SPOILERS (there can’t be many left!) or discussion of anything you already know about 9.8. Once again I didn’t watch scenes from next week or read the BBC synopsis of that episode. Finally, a reminder to the scriptwriters, though it’s too late now: don’t mess up the final episode! Pactum serva! If you make the human stories in the penultimate episode of the series this convincing and then totally flop on the end, e.g., by not answering all of the questions raised here, or by giving lame, stereotypical answers, or by concentrating on the bomb of the week at the expense of resolving all of these dilemmas, I am really going to be angry. Not that that has any impact on the scriptwriters, of course. Not that they care about my poor, abused nerves.

That’s kind of how I felt, Harry.

***

The episode:

Lots of plot this week, but not at the total expense of characterization. See, Spooks writers, you can indeed advance both plot and characterization without having to sacrifice one for the other! On the one hand, we saw some deft comparison of and comments on both the identities and the capacities for change among the spooks (die Fรคhigkeit, รผber den eigenen Schatten zu springen — an idiom I’ve always liked, literally, “to jump over one’s own shadow”). On the other, it really was a week of Quidquid latet, apparebit, and not a moment too soon, as the information politics of earlier episodes strained credibility in terms of what we (or at least Lucas fans) were willing to believe was motivating Lucas to behave so strangely.

[Excursus: I want to note that I am still not completely reassured on that score — I still don’t buy Lucas’s succumbing to Vaughn’s blackmail as motivated by his suddenly remembered love for Maya or his desire to regain his past, especially because who’d want to regain this particular past? Ick. He was better off as Lucas North and he must have realized this, and he showed no inclination to fall into Vaughn’s trap (as, e.g., in 9.1 and 9.2) until he was confronted with the photo of Maya, so Maya is really the only explanation the script is giving us. It’s not clear as yet how that could have been triggered so suddenly, however, even by the end of his marriage to Elizaveta, the Sarah Caulfield fiasco or by PTSD after his Russian prison days. I’m not saying it’s impossible as a reaction to those things or their combination — I just need more of an explanation and more of a process, maybe a little bit more information about Lucas’s inner life. I remain on record as disliking this repeated “destroyed by love” theme as a motivation for the character — though I suppose the deprivation he felt he suffered over Maya could explain his eagerness to leap into Sarah’s arms. It seems to me more likely, though, that after the end of his relationships with Elizaveta and Sarah he’d swear off women forever.]

Just a nice picture of Lucas (Richard Armitage) in profile, in Spooks 9.7.

We knew that whatever the secret was, it would have to be big to justify Lucas’s distress over Maya potentially finding out about it. And indeed: It was certainly big. Involvement in an embassy bombing — though we still don’t know why. And I suppose all that’s really required is that John believes that she would reject him over it. Lucas / John certainly has had more than enough life experiences to make him distrustful. I’m laying aside the question of whether finding this out earlier in the series would have succeeded in destroying her renewed relationship with John. To me the big question (and this is a potential script complication for next time) is how she sees herself in relationship to the events of 1995 in Dakar. When I initially saw the suitcase contents in 9.2 I noticed a place name on the stuff inside that referred to Morocco (not Senegal), and I know that Laila Rouass’s ancestry is partially Moroccan, and so I was thinking this subplot was going to turn out to be about Morocco and that Maya’s life was going to have been touched personally by whatever John had done. Like maybe that he’d been involved in an activity that caused relatives to die. That seems improbable now. But I wonder why he’d have doubted that she’d have believed or accepted the version of the story he told Harry? I’d potentially be inclined to forgive someone on that basis, assuming all the harm he had done was detached from any effect on my life or those of my loved ones, and that he had lived a life that signaled his attempt to atone since then. Of course, I would insist that he come clean and take the consequences for it. But honestly, even murderers and genocidaires find people to love them. At this point, I am relieved that at least so far, she seems to be “worth it,” in the sense that she appears to have been surprised by the information that Lucas was a spy, and thus doesn’t appear to have been in cahoots with Vaughn / Michael. Of course, there’s one more episode to go, and to some extent given the laconic quality of Laila Rouass’s performance one suspects at this point that she wouldn’t be particularly troubled by any information these men give her.

[Excursus: really, all of these plot complications as I understand them up till now could have been avoided if Lucas / John would just have killed Vaughn / Michael as soon as the blackmail attempts started. That he didn’t do that, I hope, is evidence that there’s still a little bit of the Lucas John became in that body than the original John. There are a few more clues: for example, the fact that he didn’t return to Maya after his return to England as Lucas North, because he was afraid of hurting her, if that backstory is still applicable. There’s still more than enough that we don’t really understand about this story, despite all the revelations tonight. I guess we’ll see.]

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) tells Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) that he was in Dakar when the British embassy there was bombed in 1995, in Spooks 9.7.

This is where the episode begins: with Lucas admitting to Harry that he was in Dakar during the bombing. What a bizarre opening to the episode– and one that suggests that on some level, Lucas really does want to tell Harry all about it. Testing the waters? Admittedly, this tidbit of information is necessary to make the plot work, since we have to have the spooks digging into Lucas’s past behind the scenes in order for Beth to discover what’s going on and set up the whole interrogation scene. At this point, we have the reappearance of Vaughn in order to accelerate Lucas’s pursuit of the Albany file, and then Harry’s statement that he’s going to have Beth look through the Dakar file so that Lucas won’t be “tied up.”

Keith Deery (Trevor Cooper) spies on his neighbor in attempt to catch her in the act of dog fouling in Spooks 9.7.

Then the episode inserts a subplot about a “council snooper” (I had to look this up, as presumably most non-UK viewers will have to) who is also an MI-5 wannabe. He inadvertently (as we learn through the course of the episode) stumbles upon a dead drop. We are initially annoyed and we are meant to be.

A French hitman (Dave Legeno) observes Derry observing the woman who makes the dead drop, in Spooks 9.7. I paused the playback at this point to look at the tattoo but didn’t get much from it. It IS so convenient how all of these baddies continue to use Latin and other classical references in their self-awareness, though. Makes me feel like my education was worth something.

The primary purpose of the council snooper plot at first seems to be to tell us a story about Ruth, but I think in the end it’s further-reaching than that. Dayenu — even without the extrapolations I’ll make later this would have been a nice dramatic move. At first, it’s introduced in tandem with the information that her murdered lover George’s (reference Spooks 8.1) family is trying to contact her to sell her shared home with George, and she gets a packet with papers to sign that include a picture of, and a letter from, the unbelievably adorable Niko. (Plus points for cute childish handwriting in Greek, although since my acquaintance with Greek was terminated rather abruptly in my second semester of grad school, just after I’d learned the alphabet, I have no idea what it says.)

“What’s the time limit on grief?” Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker) asks Dmitri in response to his remark that Deery is an unreliable source because he seems to have been unbalanced by the death of his wife, eight years prior, in Spooks 9.7. The answer? It’s different for spooks and normal people.

We then get the info that as we have suspected for quite some time, Vaughn is trying to supply “Albany” to the Chinese, when two Chinese men come to his house and threaten both him and Maya. Then a conversation in which Ruth admits that her surveillance about Lucas was unethical, but not unfounded — “it doesn’t mean I’m wrong about Lucas,” she insists. This important line later connects this plot back to the “council snooper” problem. And another big Ruth and Harry scene ensues: Harry hypothesizes that Ruth is still angry at him for George’s death and his failure to protect her, and perhaps that her concerns about Lucas relate to a sort of jealousy that Harry is protecting Lucas in a way he was not willing to shield her. I don’t buy this explanation entirely, but I found this scene very poignant, although I am trying to stay off the HarryxRuth ship until I’ve seen series 4-6. What’s clear here is how underutilized Peter Firth is in Spooks generally — we see Firth here give Harry a capacity for much more depth than we often see in the character. He’s not just a brittle, jaded, middle-aged spook after all; he does experience loyalties and (as we will see a bit later) suffer from betrayals. Harry insists to Ruth that he would do the same for Ruth as he’s done for Lucas, but she can’t accept this level of personal interaction from him. The camera gives us one long look back at Harry, and the only muscle we see moving is the slight but tortured working of his lower lip. Impressive restraint while communicating with total clarity, Mr. Firth.

Harry (Peter Firth) responds to Ruth’s statement, in response to his insistence that he’d protect her a thousands time over, “and you’d be wrong,” in Spooks 9.7.

And then we get the heartbreaking scene in which Ruth is unable to speak when she calls the phone number that she finds on Niko’s letter to her. I, like her, presumably, read the inclusion of this information in the letter as a tentative willingness to reach out despite the circumstances of George’s death, and it’s a killer that she can’t speak when she calls. (I’ve been in this situation of not being able to speak with someone who offers a reconciliation, most recently on Sunday morning, and so perhaps I’m unusually susceptible to this plot line, but I felt this was finely drawn — not only her abortive attempt, but also her own reaction to her failure, the deadness that one feels inside in a situation like this, the wish for a green branch in one’s soul that is just not there.)

Lucas reveals at this point that he hasn’t given up on Albany, and Harry gives Beth the charge of figuring out what Lucas was doing in Dakar. Beth won’t believe that Lucas would betray his country, and Harry quickly backs her off of that — we’re all caring people here, he says, and we have to help Lucas. Vaughn tells Maya that Lucas is a spy and kidnaps her. Then, while Ruth is contemplating her incapacity to contact George’s family, Keith Deery happens upon her again.

“Listen,” Keith Deery (Trevor Cooper) tells Ruth Evershed (Nicola Walker), “I miss my wife. But that doesn’t make me wrong about this,” in Spooks 9.7.

Ruth suddenly finds herself hoist on her own argumentation to Harry of only a few minutes previous, and it gives her the capacity to think about the information that she’s obtained from him. Again maybe I am unusually susceptible to this kind of plot line, but I often find my students making arguments to me that I’ve made unsuccessfully elsewhere. Everything here sets us (or me, anyway) up to overidentify with Ruth.

Then the initial approach to Lucas from Vaughn over Maya. I am not thrilled with the script here, as it’s a repeat of 8.4 with Oleg implying to Lucas that he’ll torture Sarah if he doesn’t get what he wants, and I resent that Lucas is always a fool for love (see above), but I like how Armitage deals with this repetition on the gestural level (see below). At this point we get introduced, at least visually, to the “real” Lucas North, played by the visually adorable but not-near-as-dangerous-looking-as-Armitage James Daffern (worth clicking over to see his still; it is really nice, and I feel like this was a nice physiognomic choice for “flashback Lucas”).

Lucas gets called out of the office to deal with Vaughn and Maya, whose been chained to a pillar in a warehouse. Tariq starts face recognition on the object of Keith Deery’s surveillance, and coincidentally mentions that Ruth’s dead drop fragments are preserved on nitrocellulose, whereupon Ruth takes off to track Deery down. Beth, having informed Harry that there was another Lucas North in Dakar in 1995, pursues Lucas to Southwark Park to witness the end of his very violent meeting with Vaughn. I discuss the strengths of this scene from a performance standpoint below, but I will interject briefly here a note about an editing point that I really like. After Vaughn escapes and Beth tells Lucas he can expect MI-5 help, he points his gun at her, and it takes him several moments to relax completely. There’s one false move at the end, where Beth gets too close to Lucas, and he raises his handgun in threat against her, and we see on her face (as opposed to on Lucas’s) the substance of what he has become to her: unrecognizable.

Beth (Sophia Myles) reacts in shock as she realizes that Lucas might be prepared to shoot her, as well, in Spooks 9.7.

I feel like the script gets the sentiment right here, but not the language. When Beth tells Lucas she can’t believe he’d shoot her, he tells her she knows nothing about him (which is in essence true), but she insists that she has seen him act altruistically in the past, and ends with, “I believe in you. We all do.” This is the right sentiment but it’s so pop psychology that it makes me twitch. No matter. She said what she needed to say, and her look of puzzlement is genuine and communicates, again, what Lucas has become via her own physiognomy. Nice mirroring here, Ms. Myles.

The end of the park scene puts us on a big arc of viewer manipulation which I did not realize while watching the first time, although signs are hidden in Armitage’s performance that suggest that could be where we are going — again a matter of what he doesn’t do vs what he does (see below). But first we have to see Ruth into Keith Deery’s flat and knocked out, and return Vaughn to Maya, who practically watches him exsanguinate (another word I have always really liked the sound of).

The episode donates well more than a sixth of its total minutes to the Lucas North / John Bateman backstory and Harry’s reaction to it, and in terms of the Spooks episodes I am familiar with this is quite a landmark scene both in length, quality of performances, and interest. (We can ask whether this is really a good script strategy — they did this in series 8, as well, giving us most of the concrete information we got about Sarah Caulfield only minutes before she was murdered. I will admit that although I again wondered whether MI-5 is outsourcing its personnel vetting to the Keystone Kops, I totally bought this version of the Lucas backstory (see below), maybe partially because Harry also seems to want to believe it — to want not to be betrayed, or at least not to be betrayed any more than he already has been. So it’s not just my own inclinations of affection for the Lucas character — it is, indeed, that Lucas enjoys the support of (many of) his colleagues. This is perhaps one of the saddest aspects of this whole script; that while Lucas believes he has nothing, that he lacks something so radical at his center that all he can think of to do in order to reclaim his identity is to go haring after Maya, indeed, as the beginning of 9.1 reminded us, echoing a statement Ros made at the end of 7.3, his “colleagues are ok.”

What we don’t realize at the beginning of this scene — and I am saying this from the perspective of what I now know, as it seems there could be at least one if not two major plot twists that immediately pop into mind as possibilities, and that’s not accounting for the dangling thread of who exactly it is that put the contract out on the Italian mafia boss that generated the dead drop that caught Deery’s attention in the first place (did I miss something there, other than that the hitman was French?) — is that we are not seeing real backstory, but backstory either as Lucas would like Harry to believe it, or as Lucas would like to remember it himself. Vaughn not only dies because he’d rather keep his claws on Maya than risk having her offer medical attention and escaping, he gets a lot of good lines in this final episode — one is his statement, as he’s bleeding to death and Maya offers to look at him, as he holds on to his own tourniquet, what resolution, that the consequences of pulling the knife out are worse than putting it in, a statement that is metaphorical as well as literal. This line echoes in our brains as turn to the final cut of the Lucas / Harry encounter. The script is way too much here, though I’d like to believe it, and it’s perhaps this unbelievable oversentiment for either John or Lucas that should clue us in to the problematic nature of the claims Lucas is making — would either of them really say that John had tried every day to do the good that Lucas had meant to have done?

OK: but that was the first time I started crying. Call me a sucker. I’ve earned it.

Thank heavens for bizarre, random coincidence and the fact that Keith Deery just happened to have a hot iron on in his apartment. Resourceful Ruth (Nicola Evershed) frees herself from her bonds, effectively preventing her own and Deery’s murder at the hands of the French hit man, all of whose remarks are pretty bland or cryptic, in Spooks 9.7. No, you don’t find out who ordered the hit if you understand spoken French.

Once the pieces of the mafia plot line fall together, Harry and Dmitri rush in to save Ruth, arriving just a little too late to be of any real assistance. It’s unclear how exactly Lucas finds Vaughn, but he does, and then another version of events in Dakar comes out — according to which it was not Vaughn who manipulated John, but in which John was cognizant of what he was doing and murdered the real Lucas North.

John Bateman (Richard Armitage) garrotes Lucas North (James Daffern) in Dakar in 1995, as shown in Spooks 9.7.

Just before dying, Vaughn gets to offer his second acute observation, that Lucas probably doesn’t know, any more, what the truth is — a statement that marks upon the very real way that we tell ourselves narratives our lives to fit our own needs, and forget what doesn’t fit. “You’re a killer, John,” Vaughn persists, even as he knows he must die, “who fell asleep and dreamed he was a hero. Now it’s time to wake up and remember the truth.” And then, after a montage of the embassy bombing, Vaughn continues, “the dream is over now. And the killer is awake.”

John seems stunned by this revelation — but we, of course, saw it clearly at the end of last week when Lucas burst into Malcolm’s empty house. And in the end of the episode, he concedes when Harry tries to get back in contact, that Lucas North is dead. Twice dead, I suppose he means, and I again started crying here.

It’s fascinating that the show doesn’t leave us with the John / Lucas plotline, but tags on this leftover bit about Ruth visiting Deery’s room while they are both in the hospital. I think this is quite significant, because it’s the scene immediately after Vaughn says Lucas is really a killer. Because of course Ruth herself has killed the hitman, if in self defense, nonetheless in an extreme orgy of violence. Deery can’t deal with what he saw, and I think it’s not per se about his unfitness for MI-5, but rather his horror at Ruth, which Ruth sees when she reaches out to touch his hands and he withdraws them in pain. I think the script is asking us to view a number of things on a particular continuum here. Ruth, like Vaughn, will kill without compunction, apparently — but where is Lucas? If the second version of the backstory is true, is he then indeed the killer Vaughn wishes us to see him as? Or this is a variation on the cut-rate Rashomon scheme of 9.2, in which elements of both Lucas’s and Beth’s narratives were true? If elements of John’s story to Harry were lies, does that mean everything about them was a lie? What does it mean that Lucas / John, in whose sincerity we want to believe, is lying, while Vaughn, who has lied all the way through the story, so often offers nuggets of essential truth (as in 9.4, when he points out that Lucas is betraying MI-5 for himself, not for Vaughn)?

Ruth describes herself, or “us,” as “strong, stable, and dead inside.” In the end, if we juxtapose the Ruth plotline about Niko with the Keith Deery story, and with Lucas, we see that Lucas is by far not the only one who is plagued by the need to deal with his past, and by far not the only person who has made a severe hash of it. He’s been either unlucky — or has ended up by his own volition on the side of moral and ethical error — but of all of these characters, he appears to have made the most valiant effort to actually deal with his past actively and creatively. At the end of the day he is neither lamed by circumstance, nor incapable of feeling. Is this one sense in which Lucas is “basically a hero”?

Or is this dead look on John’s face, after he announces Lucas’s death, what we should take away from the episode?

I thought two weeks ago that there was no way this script could be salvaged. Now I am burning to know — and aching not to know — how the plot resolves.

Mr. Armitage’s performance:

Obviously, a ton of stuff to comment here this week, and an astounding performance in the interrogation scene, I find. Leftover issues from previous weeks: how is Armitage handling the Lucas / John transitions, and to what extent does the continuing plausibility of the script end up being born out on his back? And of course, that one very big new issue: the interrogation scene, and how Armitage gets us there in a position to believe what he is saying.

In what I say below I have largely abandoned the Lucas / John distinction, except insofar as I feel there are a few points where Armitage is flitting between the two personae he’s established. By and large I accepted the reintegration of Lucas and John at the end of the last episode — the resulting personality problems notwithstanding — as accomplished. Eventually when I do a postmortem on this series, I’m going to have to think again about the question of emotionality vs apparent personality disintegration. We just don’t see the same level of convulsive violence in Armitage’s performance here that we were being pointed to last week. Anyway.

The episode starts off very calmly, with the meeting with Harry’s information, who turns out to be Vaughn. Lots of Lucas nervousness here, not of particular interest to us any longer, since we already know that Lucas knows that Vaughn is trying to manipulate him. But at fifteen minutes in, we see that Lucas has not left behind his attempt to obtain “Albany,” apparently being so ruthless as to continue to try to track down Malcolm via his mother’s prescription drug pickups. A really brutal look here:

Here we see the desires of John to achieve his ends operating with the coolness of Lucas. But the transformation is not entirely complete. Even now, Lucas / John is not a numbed killing machine. Witness the scene where Vaughn contacts him to let him know that he’s kidnapped Maya and threaten that he will deliver her to the Chinese:

Mr. Armitage can pack so much into a short telephone conversation. A half-second of dread on the lips with the inverted u-shaped mouth as he picks up the phone call, followed by three seconds before he actually answers the phone. These seconds hold calculation, still, at 0:11 (will Beth notice this?), fear at 0:12, moving into a deep breath at 0:13 that then allows him to answer the call from Vaughn calmly with “This isn’t convenient.” At 0:16 in the split screen, with “Listen,” continuing the calm voice, “I’m doing everything I can” even as he pushes in the nervous lip lick, and then the statement that “but I’ve run into a brick wall and we need to work together.” Note what we see only implicitly, to the point of it almost being subliminal here, which is that on the right side of his face, Lucas / John is struggling with his eyebrow. Obviously he’s working on a bluff here, and he’s putting it together with his voice, even as his expressional repertoire is confronting the need to stay calm in the office atmosphere where conceivably anyone could see or hear him.

Now, what I’m afraid of here is how Armitage is going to deal gesturally with the clear recapitulation of the plot line from 8.4 (see above), but what we see here at first is really interesting — that is, Lucas of 8.4 is completely beside himself at what’s going on and has to resort to help for Harry. In the scene in 9.7, we are dealing with a qualitatively different Lucas — not surprising, since John has been out and fully capable of doing anything on his own at the very latest since the final scene of 9.6 — and he’s not only capable of putting together a bluff and suppressing his own nervousness, we almost see a microexpression of cravenness as Vaughn rings off.

No hand-wringing, hand to face, severe emotional distress Lucas here. This is clearly John, at least as long as he’s at Lucas’s desk. Then he feels the need to flee, and we see, in sequence, these moves:

You can probably guess what I’m going to say here: that I think moves 1, 2, 3, and 5 are right on target, and I have reservations about 4 (hand to face). At 1, we’ve got the character trying to catch his breath, and then at 2 and 3, these signs of personality disintegration that I pointed out last week as particularly interesting. In the end at 5 we’ve then got the calculating, aggressive character back. The question for me is what 4 signals. This is classic Lucas distress language, and given that I’ve been reading the character as John (or John in control) ever since the phone rang, I am a little bothered by this move. Then again it’s not typical Lucas distress — the whole hand over the face is a bit more extreme. Anyway, it’s certainly evocative, I’m just not sure it isn’t sending a slightly confusing message here. (Of course, if you don’t buy my whole “Lucas vs John” dichotomy, it won’t trouble you.)

As the episode proceeds, I feel like we see more clearly both the extent to which John and Lucas are tied up with each other, but also the lines between them. As Lucas emerges from Thames House, we see him confident and in control of his bluff again:

“I was bluffing,” Lucas North (Richard Armitage) informs Vaughn in Spooks 9.7. “I’ve got the file.”

But at the same time, almost immediately afterwards, he undermines himself in terms of body language, with the class “male under threat pose” of hands over genitals:

Perhaps he’s trying to lull Vaughn into a false calm, because his next move comes out of nowhere from my perspective and when I saw it I was so stunned I had to pause the computer for several minutes before I could continue watching.

In one of the most performatively contradictive moves I’ve ever seen Armitage produce, John calmly, almost clinically, informs Vaughn that he’s never considered the role of passion in manipulating people, and then there’s a fifth of a second, maybe only one frame, where you see Armitage’s throat move only very slightly, and then — the knife goes forcefully, but entirely dispassionately into Vaughn’s thigh.

Ooomph. Wasn’t expecting that. Nor Armitage’s cool delivery of the next lines, in which he warns Vaughn that sudden movements could be dangerous. I like the face that follows, again, not something we’re so used to seeing from Lucas:

Concentration, interest, that weird effect where his eyes almost cross, the gentleness of the lips, as the character says to Vaughn, “Now. Tell me where she is,” and observes Vaughn’s reaction.

The passion comes out in the follow up, and I like how Mr. Armitage plays this scene:

You’d think by this time, with all this blood, he’d be ramping up his intensity immediately, but the first line is still calm. You see that John feels no qualms about torturing Vaughn, but the second line reveals an extreme emotional with reference to fears of the Chinese, an instinctive reaction of both twisting the knife and exclaiming “Where?” as Vaughn refers to the possibility that the Chinese would kill Maya. We can see here the ways in which the character’s emotions are pooling with regard to the potential loss of his wish-object, as opposed to of his ethics. Interesting and really effective in terms of letting us watch what’s going on in the character’s mind without having to make big statements. You’ll note that the biggest statement (“Maya means more to me than either my job or my reputation”) is delivered with the least emotion, and this seems like a deliberate strategy, cool, pedagogical, but drawing attention to its meaning through later gestures and emotions rather than by pointing to itself.

Nice shifts in the next part of the scene between angry and desperate, as Beth enters the park and inadvertently allows Vaughn to escape.

And then just when you think Lucas has resigned, and accepted that Harry (and Beth) want to help him …

… we realize that the murderous rage is still there. Well-played. Even so, there’s still more depth in his reactions here. After Beth insists that he won’t kill her, his declaration is almost bitter, as much a lash to himself as it is a warning to her:

“You don’t know anything about me,” Lucas / John spits out to Beth. Armitage is using the very, very lowest register of his voice here, which increases the cutting quality of the statement, and also the challenging quality of his tone. As he responds to Beth’s statement that all of Section D’s members believe in him — a direct opposition to his insistence that his closest colleagues know nothing at all about him — his gaze weakens and drops.

It’s not clear if what he is feeling here is resistance, exhaustion, or disgust at being misunderstood — a lot gets packed into those seconds:

But in the end, it’s apparent surrender, as he falls to the ground, his back turned to Beth.

That I read this as surrender and not as a ploy, it seems now, was a direct response to Armitage’s success in using these microexpressions and gestures of connection to me as viewer throughout. In fact, he’s not using his sincerity repertoire here at all — but because his body-language and tonal repertoire statements of pain come through so clearly, I still want to believe that there is enough integrity here that he can accept being “taken home” by MI-5, that he can accept Harry’s help out of this mess.

The subsequent scene, cut in two pieces, a longer one where John offers his version of the Vaughn & John backstory, and a shorter one, where the focus is on what can be done, is too longer for me to analyze anymore tonight. As I noted above, I fell into it completely, and I even started crying when John said that he tried to do the good that Lucas would have done. I’ve now been thinking and writing for seven hours, so I’ll just note that my major thought at this point about the performance aspect of this is that Armitage is pulling out every sincerity gesture, every register on that particular series of emotions he has in this scene. He mobilizes Armitage equilibrium repeatedly, for instance, as well as pain, and he doesn’t turn away from Harry’s accusations that he’s whinging or evading responsibility but mostly meets them head on:

here, interestingly, the expression as John tells Harry that he bore his imprisonment in Russia because underneath, he felt that he deserved it, the most defiant expression in the whole scene.

This last expression in particular kills me, because it’s capped as John says that he tries to do the good that Lucas would have done, and that “that’s never been a lie.” I so want to believe this. This is really sincerity repertoire for Armitage. It’s as open as his face gets, the vulnerability of the eyes sort of up there on the level of Guy when he’s suffering in closeup.

And yet, this is all apparently a lie. Knowing that makes it even more painful to watch the second time.

There are an awful lot of microexpressions in 12 minutes, and I’ll have to look at this segment a lot more before I say anything more, but for now I have two meta-observations about the use of Armitage equilibrium here and the sincerity gesture repertoire:

First, that the sincerity language is a lot more toned down here than in 9.6. This choice is interesting. I postulated in my discussion of that episode a sort of cognitive trap in which Armitage’s acting as Lucas / John has to appear plausible to the other characters in the scenes but hint to the viewer in subtle ways that something is wrong, because the viewer in fact knows that he’s lying. I wonder how this works itself out in Armitage’s mind here. If you are Armitage, do you decide to play this scene with all of your sincerity language, even though as a character you realize you’re lying? But at the same time you’re not signaling to the audience any lack of sincerity, becauseย  you need them to fall into the trap for the sake of the script? Or is John just an especially good liar, since he’s lying for his life here and to be set free to continue to find Maya? I imagine some people will argue that the filming of a lot of this scene in silhouette has to help both actors, but actually I don’t think that’s the case. It means that Armitage is much more dependent on his posture than he usually is to get his performance across — which means he’s dependent on it to an extreme extent.

Second, it seems to me that once you perform this way as a character you’ve essentially killed the character. That is — once you take all of a character’s sincerity language and mobilize it on behalf of a colossal lie, there is no way for the viewer to ever look at that character in the same way again. I’ll never be able to look at Armitage equilibrium when it appears in Lucas and believe it, ever again — and even in my beloved 7.6, where it shows up with the scene with Dean, I’ll have to tell myself that Lucas is playing his most sincere John. I wonder if John here is thinking that he has to act as Lucas in order to convince Harry, for instance. In any case, there is no more Lucas. Armitage has completely consumed him with this performance. Whatever emerges now, in the final episode (and if this character really doesn’t get written out after this season, which I now find well nigh impossible, whether he’s killed or imprisoned or retired to a sheep farm near Manchester, in any subsequent ones) it will have to be virgin territory. This scene for me was the sort of thespian equivalent of jettisoning all of your rocket fuel and setting fire to it. It’s not the kind of thing you see an actor do very often.

I’m almost sure I’ll be writing a closer analysis of this scene, soon.

Clothing Armitage:

Our old friend, Belstaff jacket, is back (licks lips).

I must say that this streamlined jacket makes Lucas seem a lot more ruthless than he did last week in that odd combination of coat and short jacket underneath. Was that supposed to make us more sympathetic to him? Especially the blue / purple t-shirt that harmonized with his eyes?

I have never really liked the wing collar on Armitage. I think it has something to do with the proportions of his neck — like it somehow shortens his neck by drawing a line across the middle of it?

Suit with two rear vents. Just the thing for the man of generous rear proportions:

Random:

This is all we get of the steamy scene on the kitchen table?

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) examines Chinese surveillance photographs taken of himself and Maya Lahan (Laila Rouass) in his house in Spooks 9.7. Look at how big his feet are. Oh, and coincidentally, a thumb shot.

Like all of 9.6, this scene is too seriously reminiscent of Strike Back (in this case, John Porter’s prison dream sequence with another olive-toned woman, Danni [Shelly Conn] in 1.3), and given the acrobatics required to get that huge Armitage blody onto this table along with Maya, it seems like this is an act more reminiscent of any gymnastics Mr. Armitage might learned for his stint in the circus than for successful copulating. Seriously, how would they have ever managed to get tab A inserted in slot B in this position without Armitage falling off the table and hurting himself? My only serious prurient regret — that we didn’t get to see her kissing him with his shirt off as we did in Strike Back 1.1.

John Porter (Richard Armitage) dreams of an intimate encounter with Danni Prendiville (Shelly Conn) in Strike Back 1.3. My caps.

Seriously, if I am going to get slammed as a fan of Armitage from the Hobbit crowd for only esteeming his unbelievably desirable body, then I want to see more of it! (J/k).

Nice smile, and from a brunette Armitage to top it all off. This is the kind of Armitage I could see moving in next door to me and coming over for dinner occasionally. I like that slightly more round-faced, younger, almost potentially dopey happiness.

Of course, this is how Lucas / John wishes to remember the John of those years, the John he wants to have been still untainted by his participation in the Dakar bombing and all of the travail it caused him as he became Lucas North. That last layer is still waiting to be peeled off in the last episode. At this point I really do wish Lucas would die. I can’t see how John can get out of this situation in a way that won’t leave me sobbing.

Kudos, kudos. You’ve pushed me further emotionally in this episode than you ever have yet. Kudos, Mr. Armitage. I’m waiting to see what happens next and I almost don’t care, as long as I can see another performance like this one. You, at least, definitely took pactum serva to heart. Lucas may have betrayed Harry, but despite your reservations about these scripts, Armitage did not betray his audiences. Thank you for that.

~ by Servetus on November 2, 2010.

311 Responses to “Yeah, I’m crying. Wanna make something of it? [Spooks 9.1-9.7 spoilers! pw=spooks9]”

  1. I’m going to be the first to comment and say there was way too much in this episode to comment on in one post. This is c. 7,000 words and I could have written another 7,000, except that I didn’t get to start watching the episode till late and wrote all night and I have classes to meet. I’m really looking forward to hearing people’s comments on stuff that I couldn’t treat — I anticipate picking this up again later in the week. Look forward to what you say, but will probably be awol myself most of the day.

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  2. So much to think about, so much to process. Just read through all your analysis quickly servetus, don’t have time until later and I want to have time to take it all in and understand. I’ve watched just the Lucas/John and Harry scene now 4 times. I may think later that I’m wrong about this, but I think they set the scenes with Ruth and how she kills the hit man and what she says after in the hospital to Harry to make us think about the moral dilemma, both of having a “license to kill” as MI5, and as John Bateman, maybe a killer for hire. We don’t know what all the political motivations were for the bombing, do we? Is that what Albany will tell us? As for Lucas and John, for me I want to believe redemption is possible, because I can’t let go of my love for Lucas, of those 15 years and those 8 years in prison. But can John Bateman atone for his sins. I don’t know. My thoughts are confused and I’m still emotional about last night.

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    • No rush. I’m just taking a quick break before I start my next twelve hour day, sigh — but yes, I think that we’re supposed to see Ruth and John Bateman in juxtaposition to each other and I think that’s why the script is drawn out so long around the Ruth plotline in the end. It’s frequently been the case that Spooks seeks to cloud the moral categories we usually operate in — it’s just usually not quite as successful as it is this time. There are so many different levels of comparison and complication in the second half of this script that it makes our heads spin.

      I am still emotional, too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Can I just say, I loved Harry in this episode. During the interogation, when he stood up suddenly..classic.

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  4. So, if John (yes, I accept that Lucas is well and truly dead) has Maya back then why does he still need the Albany file? Why does he prohject fear when the Chinese are mentioned? And let’s remember that it was John’s picture that the chinese assassins had, not Vaughn’s.

    There is still so much that has not been resolved, e.g. Dasharvin “knows every inch of Lucas’ mind but doesn’t discover that he’s John? Wouldn’t the prison experience have served as penance? What the H*ll happened to Nightingale?

    Well, I have to accept that it is not that the Lucas North MI-5 agent has died, he never had a chance to exist. The real hero, the real patriot, died in Dakkar.

    Sigh…

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    • There is one more episode, and though there isn’t neough time life, I assume it is likely to resolve the issue with the Chinese as well as telling us who the red haired woman is. I think we’re going to have to give up on the Darshavin problem — we’ll have to accept that Oleg didn’t know every inch of Lucas’s mind. I suspect the writers wrote that one off. As to Nightingale, that’s 50 / 50 for me. Writing the beginning of the series in the way they did to me suggests they have to answer that question. We’ll see.

      And we don’t know yet what happens to John. It seems possible, for example, that he could die in a way that would atone for some of his sins.

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  5. I prefer to live in the Land of Denial. Richard’s performance was bravura but for me, Lucas North as I knew, loved and admired him is still alive. John Bateman is the lie. And while the writing improved, I still detest the scriptwriters for taking such a fascinating, complex and promising character and turning him into this. Sorry, still emotional. Still shattered. Just want it all to be over and done with at this point.

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    • I’ll meet you there, in Denial. Dear Angie, please love Lucas back into being and goodness!

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      • There’s room for us all here, N. I am already talking with Lucas and letting him know all will be well, that he is not dead, that he is real and still my hero. All the other lads are rallying around him, too. Even Harry has volunteered to go on a black ops mission to take out those scriptwriters if necessary. They may eat me out of house and home, but they are a great bunch of Characters.

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        • Glad to hear the guys have been so supportive. I feel like Sloth Fiction was invented just for this eventuality. ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • John P hates to see a fellow servant of Queen and Country whose been through so much pain and torture done so dirty–after all, he’s known the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune himself–Guy and Lucas have the bond they developed during my “TAC” and both have struggled to regain status, spent time behind bars and loved so unwisely . . . and Harry, sweet Harry, suffers when his fellow characters suffer. They are good lads. They will look out for each other and I will keep looking out for them.

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    • Angie, dear I am with you and I second Nietzsche’s call to preserve “our” hero.

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      • It will take me a while to do my own version (heck, I’m having a hard enough time getting my Truce epilogue completed with my current work schedule. What’s a weekend off?!) but I am sure many others will answer the call and restore “our” Lucas–the real Lucas–back to the stature he deserves through fanfic.

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  6. Thank you for your wonderful analysis. You always get RAโ€™s emotions while acting so transparent to me and discover things I would have overlooked.
    I really enjoyed episode 7, which I did not expect after episode 6.
    What disturbed me in the previous episodes was that if you are blackmailed, you would try to get ahead of your opponent. Lucas / John never tried to do that, at least not as far as we know yet.
    This is what really disturbs me with series 9 and why I see the Lucas character not scripted up to his potential. Not that I do not like RAโ€™s acting. His acting considering this script is excellent and in episode 7 he was just brilliant. I especially loved his way to express the devastation to be able to cope with 8 years of prison in Russia. Though I think Oleg would have found out this major flaw in the mindset of the imprisoned โ€˜Lucasโ€™ and would have mercilessly used it to his own advantage.
    But at least in episode 7 Lucas / John once again is forced to actively act and not only react to Vaughan, though that is due to Harry finding out about his involvement in Dakar.
    And that is the main objection I have concerning the characterization of Lucas / John in series 9 in general. I can in no way believe Lucas / John would only react and wait for Vaughan like a sitting duck. Lucas did not even try to find out something about Vaughan and his connections so far. Though I think such kind of efforts on Lucasโ€™ part might come to light in episode 8, as Vaughan is dead and cannot be utilized to bring new information. So perhaps Lucas would have had to find out some things on his own during his time at the grid. But what speaks against that possibility is that Lucas seemed astonished when he saw Vaughan as the contact of Harry.
    Johnโ€™s whole background does not support a passive attitude to life. He takes what he wants, if that is with the drug dealer during his university time, during his time at the gaming tables, during his time with Vaughan or with the real Lucas North. He acts and tries to change his life and fortune.
    To passively sit there and wait for Vaughan to catch him and force him into doing something he does not want to just seems so out of character to me.
    In episode 7 I would more likely accept Lucas/Johns passive way of behaving, if the explanations he gives Harry were true. But with these being a lie and he being actively involved in the bombing of the Dakar embassy, I do not think Lucas / John a stringently built character.
    I am really looking forward to 9.8, as I hope this part will bring light to a lot of loose ends. Though I absolutely agree with you, Servetus, I do not see a chance for Lucas/John to come back to MI-5 or Spooks after 9.8.

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    • You’re always so kind, CDoart.

      I was also blindsided by how much I liked this episode, though I was cautiously optimistic after last week. You raise an important point about Lucas’s passivity as scripted, particularly because the juxtaposition with Ruth points us toward the active way in which John / Lucas deals with the blows of fate.

      Hoping for some resolution with 9.8. But I feel like Armitage was forced by the script to torch his characterization of Lucas. It will be impossible for us to determine any kind of credibility for him any more. It’s weird, most of the time I feel like I’ve overcome my desire to interview him as illusory and silly — but after these last two episodes I feel a real need to ask him how he planned this all out in his brain.

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      • Oh, I definitely want to pick RA’s brain about all this . . . how he dealt with these huge changes to the background of the character we knew, that he knew, and adapted his performance to take in these two, if you will, dueling personalities. The script has forced him into a bit of a corner (which once again puzzles me when critics blast his performance as LN. Excuse me, he didn’t write or direct this thing, he’s just acting the part as best he can–and doing a damned good job of it).

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        • I absolutely agree with you both. I think RA’s acting is really wonderful. With Servetus help I see more details in it than I would on my own. But I think he gets the twists and the ambiguity of his character so well. It astonishes me, that he can play that depth and multitude of layers of his film character. – I really would like to listen to the interview between Servetus and RA questioning him about his preparations for this role.

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          • I can’t imagine ever having the guts even to send an email and ask … ๐Ÿ™‚

            Maybe Angie could write it as a fanfic. ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • The list grows longer and longer . . . so many ideas, so little time. *sigh*

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            • Couldn’t we start a petition?
              – But a fanfic also does sound nice, though I normally do not read fanfic or at least did not so far. But your descriptions just might get me started ;o)

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      • If before I’d like to ask …ahem…for an explanation…ahem.. ask him about Lucas-Sarah relationship, now I want/need to ask him how he approached all this Lucas/John. I’d like to know when he read which script/part he trew it to the wall, I’m guessing it was with a Spook script because is what I wanted to do to my laptop while watching this ep.

        It rang so true to me what Beth said to Lucas, that ‘*we* all (believe in you)’ that as you said it adds to the sadness and (difficult for me to understand) of Lucas’ storyline development how he feels so lonely as to become this other person (John) for Maya. I think it doesn’t help to Maya’s cause that their scenes together have been cut out in editing. I feel Maya has ended up to be just the reason given by the script, like the Albany file, it’s there what we don’t know how it fits, at least I feel like that.

        “Itโ€™s not clear if what he is feeling here is resistance, exhaustion, or disgust at being misunderstood โ€” a lot gets packed into those sec”
        In those seconds (I have seen the ep only once) I saw him re-listening to Beth’s words, following realization that it might be true (they believe him, whatever name he has and finally John’s lack of control defeated.

        Now if Vaughn’s version of the story is true, has everything been a like, has John been always acting? As I said above, I felt John&Lucas finally surrended in that scene, so in the interrogation I thought I was finally knowing the truth, why did John not say the complete truth.
        What I can’t understand is if John had that character&morals that lead him to Dakar+bomb+murder of real LN and then joined MI5 as LN, how could he set foot into british soil and just erase who he was/what he thought and ‘do the good things LN wanted to do’ (paraphrasing), you might pretend to believe it but to earn the reputation we learnt of in S7 LN had, you really must believe it or be a darned good actor, so has everything been a lie?

        How can I armonize this lie with ‘I was MI5 in Russia, I’m MI5 now’ and to LN’s speech to Connie?

        I know I’m just in rant mode now, sorry.

        I liked the ep because everyone did a great job, Peter against Richard is so great to watch but I’m crying with you servetus for the loss of a hero.

        OML
        (Who has just realized how much she cared for Lucas)

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        • OML, honey,

          You know I am totally with you. Great acting,yes, exciting, sure– but oh, how it hurts to see this happen to Lucas, whom we all seemed to care for more than some of us might have cared to admit.

          I’d like to know which scripts he tossed at the wall, too. As much as he relishes great acting challenges, surely at times, these last two series, he has been frustrated at the direction this character seemed to being going in and the lack of support in the script as to WHY this was all happening.

          I think back to all those heroic words and deeds as well and think to myself, “It doesn’t add up. Manchurian Candidate storyline or no–it doesn’t wash with me.”

          It’s perfectly natural to grieve the apparent loss of someone you care for and love–even if they are a fictional character. Richard has made Lucas real for us, and we can’t help how we feel.

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        • Just on a logistical level, the substitution of John for Lucas is not credible. Like they wouldn’t have fingerprinted the real Lucas as part of the application process? We have to suspend so much disbelief to make this work. So 15 years of “reformed” behavior?

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  7. Dear Dr. Servetus, your article is wonderful, but right now I can’t write a comment, and I am not sure I will be able at all. I haven’t even watched all of the episode, only the interrogation. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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    • Reaching out through cyberspace, Nietszche, to clasp your hand. I know how you feel. I had to watch it in two installments due to time constraints, but it was so painful in so many ways.

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    • I agree that it’s hugely painful. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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      • I was feeling the constriction in my throat, biting my lips, blinking hard–all signs Angie is very agitated and fighting to retain her composure. Very, very few performers have ever caused her to feel so—bereft.

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        • We ‘re now at 36 hours out and I am still feeling emotional about the episode.

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          • It wouldn’t take much to get me crying again, I fear, if I dwell on it too long. However, I have now reached the point where I find myself really picking through plotholes and questioning what I’ve seen so far and just what is the truth? Who is telling the truth?

            Wondering whether the “real” Lucas North would ever have been the principled man of action and brave and resourceful hero that John gave us? Maybe he would have evolved into that; maybe not.

            Heck, I don’t know. I just know I want answers and I don’t want the Lucas North I know to turn out to be this cold-hearted killer they are implying he is. I can live with him as a young man still finding himself and making some very bad choice along the way, as has been suggested, and ending up in seriously hot water; then trying his best to make amends, haunted about past misdeeds.
            Just let him get some kind of redemption, please. Guy was a baddie from the start–we all knew that–and he got to die proud and free.

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            • I am so with you, angieklong. I wanted to rewatch the ep tonight, but was not able to do so, partly because I was busy with other things, but also partly because I am stalling, and am just filled with trepidation.

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              • I wish I could let go of thinking about it.

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                • The election last night helped keep me busy until I left for home close to 11–and then thoughts of “my” Lucas and his dilemma started haunting me again, along with FMS pain from the weather systems–which seem as crazy as the Spooks storyline of late. What I realize is I am in the early stages of grief, which I know all too well. Desperate hope, denial . . . feeling as if I am in a sort of limbo.

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                  • I’m finding the second viewing is not as bad as the first…I’m now more watching his acting acumen than worrying about the storyline. Or perhaps I’m becoming Ruth-like numb about all this….Sigh.

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  8. Did anyone think he looked particularly dashing in that black shirt in the interrogation scene? I had a hard time concentrating. I am going to have to re-watch.

    @Angie — could you lead a big virtual hug?

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    • The shallow part of me thought he looked damned attractive in that black shirt. Loved it with the sleeves rolled up and the bare forearms. A girl must take solace when and where she can under such extreme circumstances. He looked beautiful and dangerous and desperate . . . I did love that seemingly genuine smile on his face as he followed the real Lucas out the door . . . he has such a lovely smile.

      A question. “John” apparently dyed his hair to match “Lucas North,” OK. The Russians let him keep dying his hair in prison? Maybe Oleg preferred having a dark stallion to torture?

      *sigh*

      And I don’t recall flip phones like that one he purportedly used to set off the bomb being around in 1995 . . .

      @Rob and ladies, gather around your computers, stretch out your arms, and all together now–HUGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG . . . .

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      • Well, Oleg also presumably knew every inch of Lucas’ mind. NOT.

        But I am not going to have episode 8.4 ruined for me by musing on the inconsistencies of series 9.

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        • I know. That was a shining–if painful–spot in S8. Richard was brilliant in that ep, and this debacle can’t wipe that away for me.

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          • Come to think of it, Oleg may really have preferred blackhaired Lucas. They had an interesting relationship because in my opinion Oleg was in love with Lucas, though in an extremely twisted way. S&M, but with more chemistry than the whole sorry SC-affair.

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            • Good point, Nietzsche. Remember how upset Oleg was when he found Lucas trying to hang himself? It wasn’t just the reaction of a man who almost let a prisoner kill himself on his watch; he really did seem to care about Lucas.
              And when he and Lucas were in the car together, there was also the sense of a real connection. In the end, Lucas almost seemed to feel sorry for Oleg, in spite of the hell he’d put him through.

              It was a sick and twisted relationship, but, yeah, I have to agree–more chemistry than with the Evil Popsicle B**ch, that’s for sure.

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            • There’s a fan fic about this that I’m aware of that’s really chilling.

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      • Maybe John was bleaching his hair in the Morocco flashbacks and he just let it grow back in dark?

        I had the phone thought, too. I was living in Germany in 1995 and most everyone had a bar phone there.

        ((((ladies))))

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    • He was SO sexy in this episode.

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    • He was at his most beautiful in the interrogation scene. Such brilliant acting too. It reminedd me of scenes in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, so good was his scenes with harry.

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      • He reminded me of a beautiful but deadly panther in the interrogation scene.

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        • He’s always reminding me of a great cat. Coincidentally, in the Highwayman Guy fic I have planned, he is known as The Panther.

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          • Something to do with the way he walks in certain roles, esp. Lucas.

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            • With cat-like tread . . . also in Guy slinking down the castle corridors clad in his S2 leather from head to toe . . . a big, black cat, stealthy, sleek and dangerous. But what fun, we can imagine, to play with, too.

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    • The quintessential bad but oh so sexy guy!! O yes!

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    • I’m so happy the feeling is shared. I couldn’t help staring at that black shirt, it fitted him very well in my opinion, there’s this scene before the interrogation, I can’t remember what was happening but Lucas is seated at his desk in the Grid, the camera is filming from the side of the desk, so Lucas is turned to the camera and I couldn’t take my eyes from his chest in that black shirt ๐Ÿ˜›

      Oh, the man is gorgeous!

      OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. Hmm. I’m identifying two binaries in the comments I am getting here and off blog:

    1. being upset by the way the Lucas story is written vs experiencing sorrow as to Lucas’s fate

    which seem directly related to

    2. accepting the plot implausibilities of 9.3/.4 as the prerequisites for 9.7 or not being able to get beyond them.

    Fascinating!

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  10. Don’t hate me, but I never really “connected” with Lucas. I connected more with those tight jeans. I liked tunning in for my weekly does of The Armitage and the show is entertaining and the acting top notch.

    The plot holes in this one are jarring, as the more erudite commentors have touched on and I am just a simple girl who likes tight jeans. Like I said, the writers were serving the plot first and the charactors second, maybe third or fourth.

    Yes, it made for engaging entertaining TV. Okay, maybe that Lucas/John (whatever your name is)!! Got under my skin, and a bit of me was holding out for a hero and I am just upset. Not sure, really. Maybe humans are waay more complicated than that, there’s no black or while just grey, lots and lots of grey. At least, and I can’t believe I am saying this, this is a strong indicator that I am NOT myself today, the RH writers explained WHY G of G was a baddie. Maybe it will all come together in a robin’s egg colored box and a white bow next week. Maybe not, in any event, I still have those jeans to hang my hat on.

    Thanks for the laugh…my fav part of this post is…

    “Seriously, how would they have ever managed to get tab A inserted in slot B in this position without Armitage falling off the table and hurting himself?”

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    • I do think we are going to get some kind of explanation next week — this script leaves us begging for it. The question is always whether we are going to get the explanation we think we need.

      Thanks for the compliment. That anyone could think of that particular position as steamy defies explanation. There are basic laws of physics at work in sexual intercourse, even when you have it with Lucas North.

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      • I actually think I wrote a scene in “Dangerous to Know” where Guy and Marian are role-playing and have a go at it at the kitchen table which turns totally comedic–the table breaks, as I recall. Sexy time should have light-hearted moments along the way, methinks.

        If we don’t get some kind of explanation, I’ll scream, I really will. And sadly, I suspect it isn’t going to be one I want.

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      • My only response to this are bawdy and inappropriate even as an annoymouse poster. So I will leave it at that.

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        • Oh, @rob, if you only knew what all I get up to . . .

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          • Bionic penis…they are standard MI5 issue. Can’t have spooks wondering around NOT pleasing women, one never knows when you’ll be forced to perform coitis on a kitchen table. One must be perpared for these situations when “passion” over takes duty to Queen & Country.

            Okay, I went THERE. Just had too.

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            • *cracking up*
              Well, in that case, @Rob, there’s nothing to worry about. Lucas will certainly be, er, up for the job!

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            • This makes the possibility of Lucas servicing all the women who are imprisoned in the UK for injuring or killing the Spooks scriptwriters seems much more plausible. (I’d also then be much less worried about STDs).

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              • I think if John spent more time “servicing” the ladies and smoking pot — did you notice how he licked that joint??? Can’t believe THAT wasn’t in your re-cap and less time blowing S#$% up, he wouldn’t be in this mess now would he?

                I think as Lucas’s punishment he needs to use that bionic penis and service women in the UK and in the US. That would be his just desserts!!!

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                • I like the way you think, @Rob. He can pay the penalty–and we can all be satisfied (that he’s, uhm, doing proper penance for his crimes. Of course).

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                • I’m so naive I almost didn’t notice it … ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Like

                • Thanks for bringing our attention to that…I just paid close attention on my second viewing and, erhum…my concentration was off the show for a few seconds as I enjoyed his expertise in joint-licking ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • @Rob, don’t hate ME, but I am a heretic for whom John Thornton is not my favorite RA character–nor second favorite–nor third . . . I love JT, but I don’t quite connect to him, either, as much as I do to other characters.

      Of course, I saw Richard in RH first (yes, Guy is my number 1) and then VoD, Sparkhouse and N&S in close succession and not necessarily in that order. I’ve loved Lucas from the first ep of S7 and that’s what hurts so much about this turn of events.

      I am starting to have a greater appreciation (I can’t believe I am saying this!!) for the RH writers, too. As ridiculous as some of those scripts were, at least we got some back story and knew what circumstances had turned Guy to the Dark Side, and we got to see him redeemed in the end.

      They deconstructed Guy on RH; they’ve assassinated Lucas on Spooks.

      Like

      • @Angie — how could I hate you? Got nothin’ but love for ya sister! Thornton was my entry point for Armitage and he holds a special spot for me. Kinda reminds me of my hubs.

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        • BTW do you think hubs would be alarmed if I asked him to wear a cravat? Hmmm…

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          • LOL My husband, realizing my adoration of Sir Guy, once paused, tilted his head as he raised a quizzical eyebrow, and asked, “So–do you want me to look for a pair of black leather pajamas?”

            Well, dear, now that you mention it . . .

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            • Angie, I hope to God you said “YES, PLEASE”! ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • But of course! We just haven’t been able to find a pair of black leather PJs yet . . . but I DO adore it when he puts on the buttery soft black leather jacket over the black silk shirt . . . *sighs*

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                • Stop. You’re going to make ME want Benny.

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                  • LOL He would be highly flattered. And he IS pretty adorable. Can’t wait for it to get cold enough for him to haul out said black leather Lotus jacket . . . *thud*

                    Should I add he can also grow quite a nice dark beard (it does have a reddish tone to it, although it probably would be streaked with silver nowadays)?

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                    • Man!

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                    • And, bless his heart, he was my knight in shining khaki and navy today when my car tired literally shredded . . . first question out of the car . . .”Are you sure YOU are OK?” *sigh*

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          • unfortunately you’ve revealed to him the source of your fascination. If you’d just randomly asked him … ๐Ÿ™‚

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            • So if Thornton is the cravat, Lucas is the jeans and his expensive jacket (can’t remember the name), Harry is the sweaters (aka jumpers) — what is JP? His boots?

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              • Rob, for JP I love those bracelets he wears, 2 on the same arm. Are they like dog tags? Does anyone know. Me likee…

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                • I like those bracelets, too, Ann Marie. Can’t see my hubby wearing them, however. I do have to confess taking great delight in seeing my young co-worker in Hubby’s old AF flight suit for Halloween and remembering the good old days . . . oh, dear, RA–with his height, broad shoulders and excellent rear assets–would be absolutely yummy in a “green bag” (it would also bring out the green in his eyes). *sigh*

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                • Doesn’t he wear a vest thingy too?

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        • thanks, @Rob.

          It’s actually Harry Kennedy who is the character who reminds me most of my husband. He’s a business and finance manager for a car dealership so he’s good with numbers; he loves teasing his ladywife, has a marvelous sense of humor, and a basically sunny disposition. You can’t help but like him. He also looks good in sweaters (jumpers). *grin*

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  11. I just want to clarify something for myself…Lucas exists for me but before S9E3, after that there is John who I want nothing to do with at this point.

    Also, has anyone else noticed that our dear man is getting back up to sexy Guy of Gisborne weight? The younger “John” pictures almost look like John Standring’s weight class.

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    • They filmed those flashbacks, or most of them, in July, I think. I had the impression that Lucas’s look in a lot of this episode was related to where Armitage was on the trajectory away from John Porter’s body.

      Like

    • Servetus, I’m going to have to go back and re-read my own steamy Lucas fiction to make me feel better after I get this dratted election coverage out of the way tonight. I am so sick of politicians right now it’s a good thing I’m not holding a rock and they aren’t standing close by me.

      Like

    • Yeah, John Bateman is a stranger I don’t want to get to know better–at all.

      Like

      • Your comment about the politicians brought the idea to me, that John Bateman during his student years could have shared your feelings and actively planned Dakar. Perhaps ‘Lucas North’ (the real one) could have been on to him and not Vaughan? Perhaps the Chinese are just the forces like in the “Zauberlehrling” which they (John and Vaughan) called but could not control. – You see I will have plenty of speculations left to do till next week. I fervently hope for a worthy conclusion of series 9, so that my wildfire of speculations can go to rest.

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        • CDoart, you bring up such interesting points, an something that was in my mind and I couldn’t put into words. Yes, what about the real “Lucas North”? We only have John Batemans’ word for what a great guy he was, all said while trying to convince Harry to “trust” him. Really, would a guy who just applied to MI5 and is about to get his face to face interview suddenly take off to Dakar just to take in the spy ambiance and hang around the mysterious Vaughn Edwards??? All he had to do is hang out near Thames House to see spooks- a-plenty! Thinking about it now, I don’t buy it. We never hear Vaughn’s feelings about “real Lucas” do we? So yes CDoart, what if he was there to spy on Vaughn or John? Yes, what if John Bateman was an anarchist in his college days? Thank you for your “wildfire of speculations”!

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          • Thank you for your nice feedback to my musings.
            I also think that the explanation and perspectives of the actions in Dakar have to shift some more. The explanation of Vaughan for Lucas / John’s actions in my opinion cannot be the final one.
            We did not really see Lucas/John’s memory, only the version he wanted to create for Harry as he explicitly says to get back into his favour.
            What also makes me wonder when Lucas North (the real one) wanted to apply for a position at MI-5 would he be allowed to talk about it to others? What secret agent would that be if anybody knew? Or else their friendship really was very deep, but that would make John really bad. So I speculate a bit, that the real Lucas had a cause to tell John to get a specific reaction. But presumably he did not want the one he got.

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          • I have many questions swirling in my head about the “real” Lucas North, too. Is Dakar some sort of final fling before settling down to be a spook? He’s talking about becoming a spy, when he probably should be keeping such info to himself . . . makes me wonder if he would have made such a great spy to begin with.

            It doesn’t gel together. Who is the real Lucas North 1.0 and who is the real John Bateman? The real Vaughn, for that matter?

            And will this all be answered in the final ep? Stay tuned . . .

            Like

        • Me, too, CDoart. I hope dearly for a worthy conclusion. If the Kudos people wanted to ramp up their ratings and create a lot of buzz, they certainly seem to have accomplished that.

          Like

          • I am also awaiting a big finale with lots of new perspectives and first of all the real John-perspective without the necessity to make the past sound good for Harry. I hope not to be disappointed and keep my fingers crossed!

            Like

        • for readers unfamiliar with the expression “Zauberlehrling” the English equivalent is “sorcerer’s apprentice”. Think of the Disney cartoon …

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          • Thank you very much, Servetus, for helping with the explanation of “Zauberlehrling”. I first just wanted to translate the term, but was not sure about the English context. In Germany it is a main theme, as Goethe wrote a very famous poem and Ducas’ music (also used in the Disney comic) was part of school education.

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            • I didn’t know it was a Goethe poem till I was in grad school, sadly ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I assumed as a kid that it was one of Grimm’s fairy tales or something.

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        • Also want to add that the Chinese have been playing a big covert role in African politics for at least the last decade. E.g., apparently they are heavily involved in what’s going on in Darfur on some level. This is not covered in the news in the West all that often but is potentially an important context to keep in mind …

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          • Your point with the Chinese influence in Africa to me seems to be a very important clue. On Skullyโ€™s Spooks fan blog there was also a reference to the French foreign legion. This was the interpretation of the tattoo at the neck of the killed abductor of Ruth.
            So the political ensemble of Dakar might slowly come together again and assemble to give us a great showdown.

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            • Interesting. See, you suffer from the fact that I am watching hugely out of genre. I should have googled that motto. ๐Ÿ™‚

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              • Legio,Patria,Nostra:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Foreign_Legion
                The hit man was a member of the French Foreign Legion. Senegal (Dakar) is a former French colony.Previously, the Legion was h eadquartered in North Africa. Until 1962 the Legion headquarters were stationed in Sidi-Bel-Abbes, Algeria. Does it mean anything that the camera focused on the tattoo of the guy for a long time?

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                • Surely it has to? I didn’t know what I was looking at, but that long close-up of the tat seemed to bear some importance to the story.

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                • Impressive you could make out the words. I could not read them or make out what the triangle symbol was. – I am also quite sure, that the French Foreign Legion involvement does have some main significance. I do not know what, as they normally come in as a last resort to clean up some mess left over by others.
                  But for Ruth to be able to fight a guy from the Foreign Legion quite impresses me.

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                  • Indeed, Go Ruth! That actor played Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films.

                    Like

                  • Here’s a link to another website’s Legion tattoo, we can see more details: http://yfrog.com/77tattoo5paj
                    I think I need to study Lucas’s tattoo’s again,make sure he doesn’t have a Legion one? For research purposes only of course.

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                    • How thoroughly selfless of you, dear Musa. I know it is a chore to spend time carefully going over every square inch of Lucas’s tattooed flesh . . .
                      Of course, a dedicated student in the Richard Armitage Field of Study must be diligent.

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                    • If you’d like to write a term paper on this topic I can ofer you three hours credit.

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                    • I’m just selfless that way Angie ๐Ÿ™‚ I just might write that paper – LOL

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  12. I also want to say that “me + richard armitage” still loves commentators who hated this episode. These are just my impressions. And I know I am going to have a lot to say about series 9 in the many drought months ahead.

    I will also confess that I read some steamy Lucas fiction to console myself today.

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  13. I’d say post a link, but the last time that happened I nearly chocked on my oatmeal! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. This post is getting a crazy number of hits.

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  15. I have to say that servetus, you saved me from utter despair with the “tab A into slot B” line. Thank you!

    I am “steamed” too that after all the ballyhoo of the steamy kitchen table scene all we get is a poor, grainy glimpse of a photo. Which is ok, because it looks awkward, uncomfortable (from my own experience) and leaves me somewhat embarrassed for my lovely Mr. Armitage.

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    • At this point, a steamy scene anywhere in or out of the house couldn’t save this series for me. While I truly enjoy RA in his ardent lover mode, knowing it’s “John” and not Lucas anymore . . . and that photo looks rather–yeah–not so comfy or sexy, actually.
      And as Servetus will tell you, I do know how to create a good sexytime scene.

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      • Yeah, reading Angie is often better than the actual script of the stuff we watch.

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        • Thank you, dear Dr. S. You’re great at detailed and in-depth analysis of these matters; I’m great at detailed and in-depth . . . sexytime! Not too bad with character development and other niceties along the way, too. *wink*
          We all do what we can.

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      • I know you know how its done girl! I’ve read your stuff!

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        • “This is how we do it, baby . . .” LOL Thanks, Ann Marie. If it doesn’t make the author tingle nicely, then it doesn’t stay on the page. That’s my secret. *grin*

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      • @angie,

        I love you! ๐Ÿ˜€ That table scene did looked horribly uncomfortable. I was wondering why that was cut, and now I know. LOL!

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        • I suspect the lack of chemistry with Maya also has something to do with why so much of this scene was left on the cutting room floor…we need to be told of his passion for her because seeing the two of them together doesn’t convey it enough. Having said that, the kissing scene in his flat was hot…not because of her at all…just him. But at least we could imagine ourselves on the receiving end of ‘close your eyes…’

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          • Why, oh WHY can’t we see an RA character on screen again with an actress where it all seems to click, chemistry-wise? I had high hopes for LR, but those have fizzled out over the course of the series. She is so–passive. So uninvolved, it seems. Was trying to lay blame on script and direction, but—not so sure now.

            RA had it with Shelley in SB, but I didn’t buy a relationship developing based on a honey trap (which is why I paired him with Layla) . . .

            Makes me pine for Lucy, Dawn and Daniella.

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            • I think it’s because he hasn’t met one of us ‘on screen’ yet. There would not only be chemistry, there would be fireworks!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ …..I’ll just have to do a lot more pilates, yoga and cardio to get both the physique and stamina to keep up with him and make those ‘table scenes’ work.

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              • I should add…for a bit of piquant…I’m French Canadian so I don’t know the word ‘passive’ – high energy octane is more how I’d describe myself…Besides, didn’t RA want to learn French? I say pillow talk is the best way to learn…. OK, time for a cold shower…I think the general lack of sleep I’ve had for the last weeks is catching up with me so I’ll sign-off before I say anything too ‘osรฉ’.

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                • Exactly. If he were on screen with me, the film would burst into flame! ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Of course, we’d have to clear Ann Marie out of the way first. She’s from New Jersey and scrappy.

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                  • If I got to be on screen with him, I fear I might turn into a cougar. No, not an older woman lusting after a younger man. A REAL cougar. Who would lick the dear fellow from the top of his dark head to the tips of his quite handsome toes. I purr very, very loudly while I was doing it.

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                    • Yay, the North American women getting very saucy and naughty when the rest of us are safely tucked into our beds!

                      Angie; Re licking. My fantasy is glimpsing once again (and slowly licking) Gnothi Seauton before it disappears from our screens forever!

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                  • Yes, I am!

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        • @RAFrenzy,

          Why thank you1 Love you back! That little table was far too small for a strapping 6’2″ lad like Lucas/John to pursue amorous activities . . . it just looked–ridiculous. NOT sexy.

          At least I gave Guy and Marian a nice big sturdy oak table in my fan fic (and they still had problems LOL)

          I still say Vasey’s little black-varnished hands are involved in all this. He’s still smarting over Guy getting to “die” (so NOT dead) a hero in S3. Nasty little troll . . .

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  16. re: getting crazy number of hits because we are all trying to makes sense of the madness….

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  17. @All who’ve made “shallow” comments focusing on RA’s looks in this ep., it’s the only way to go! :\ At least until the shock wears off. That’s my panacea and I’m sticking to it. It’s either that or call the trauma unit.

    If that backstory isn’t tied up in the last episode….

    Like

    • Focus on his masculine beauty, his sexiness and his mad skillz as an actor . .. block the rest of it out. It’s the only way I can cope. That, and knowing that he is going on to bigger and better things.

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    • I’m still willing to back off having enjoyed this episode if I don’t get my satisfaction in the final episode.

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      • The boys are poised and ready in the event of The Episode That Dare Not Speak Its Name, Spooks Style. John Porter is heartily sick of driving around in the desert, anyway, and ready to kick **s and take names. Even my peace-loving sweet Harry is champing at the bit. Heck, I’ve got my own black ops costume prepared. Lady Writer is not messing around, folks.

        Like

    • @fitzg,

      Thank you for this comment. I am really skeptical of the backstory being dealt with satisfactorily. I also thought there was a moment in the interrogation which was strained, and I don’t mean that this was the intent. It’s almost like Richard Armitage couldn’t quite believe the story himself. I hate this, or maybe I’m picking up on something that I shouldn’t. I HATE when I feel this way about a piece, and to date I have never felt this way about a performance by RA. Never — until now.

      Out of great respect for him, I’ll be watching the entire series before Episode 8 gets here on Monday. I’m really curious how I will take it the second time around. I have to rewatch out of pure cussed curiosity about why so many are so enthralled. I really don’t get the fascination, and I want to. LOL!

      I’m sure there are some rabid fans who will dislike me for these comments, and I find that extremely sad. Shaking my head that I actually got a couple of nasty e-mails for my last post, and I’m thinking. What the heck was that about? LOL! Yeah, I really did just laugh. Good ’cause I don’t ever want to take something like this so seriously that I couldn’t laugh.

      @Servetus,

      Glad you still love me. ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • One reason I’ve been delaying finishing the Sarah Caulfield posts is that I feel like “the flat scene” that everyone loves so much is a disaster. You see them both acting, and that’s not standard for Armitage.

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        • I didn’t love the flat scene–except for how nice RA looked against those dark blue sheets. The dream sex was disturbing, not arousing, to me. SC seemed like more of an alien than ever to me. The whole “American Beauty” rose petals thing? It was just–strange. I never found any of their scenes together, clothed or not, to be sexy. He had much more chemistry in his little flirtations with Ros, in my opinion.

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          • Hell, he had more chemistry with Tariq, Oleg, Harry and that stone wall he put his hand against while waiting for Oleg than he did Sarah Caulfield.

            Like

        • By ‘flat scene’ you mean the blue sheets+dream sequence or their fight at his flat after Oleg leaves… I like the ‘flat scene’, which to me refers to the latter, sometimes a little voice tells me it’s because Lucas is mad at Sarah but in general I think GOR has more expression in that scene than in any other.

          If you mean the same scene I mean and you don’t like it, doesn’t mean I (or anyone else…) will hate you and stop visiting your blog or something, so please share with us your thought on that scene.

          OML ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience with some posters, but sometimes you are right, you just have to laugh, RAF. Richard strikes me as someone who takes his craft very seriously, but himself, not so much. Which is one of the things I do adore about him.

        Like

  18. LUCAS/JOHN

    “Listen Harry I know this looks suspious.”

    HARRY

    “Somewhat.”

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    • @Rob….how silly this seems now…

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      • One of the things I liked about that scene is the “fatherliness” of Harry, though he is not Lucas’s father, and their “familial” relationship is complex. I often have students who’ve messed up on something come in and say something along those lines, and all you can do is agree with someone who states the obvious … ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

        • I loved Harry in this episode! Actually, I have been developing a crush on him this season, if I continue to watch once RA is exterminated (no spoilers, just me “guessing”), it will be for Harry. He just has had some stellar “moments” this season.

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          • I feel like he deserves some better plot lines — based on having seen 1-3 and 7-9 now. The plot he got with his daughter turning out to have flirted with terrorists was interesting but I want to know more. There’ve been references here and there to his family life that I hope are filled in 4-6. The first season 4 DVD arrived in my mail today.

            Like

            • I don’t think Harry’s had many great plot lines over the last few series. Not up to the standards that Peter Firth is capable of.

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              • I finally googled him and he had a really starlike career in the 80s on the stage in the award winning productions of Equus. Obviously there’s a lot there that’s not being used.

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                • Try looking at yotube for ‘The Double Deckers’ a British children’s programmec c.1970 and see if you can spot him. It was his first break.

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  19. Thank you Servetus for your thorough (as always) review. At the moment I am still taking it all in, and I still have to rewatch, and then reread. I found myself growing quieter and quiter during the ep, I was so sad that Lucas turned out to be the legend, and John the reality. I really think there are way too many plotholes, and questions to be resolved in one final ep. And for me the character arch is not believable, for all of the reasons mentioned above by you and other commenters. After 9.6 I was living in hope and fear, for me that episode had it all, I was really hyper after watching it. Now I am just sad, and feel empty. I will miss Lucas!

    Like

    • Elizabet,

      I truly know how you feel. It’s very hard to think of this character we invested our intellect and our emotions in having turned out to be so totally different from what we believed–not a hero, but a villain. It really isn’t, for me, a believable and plausible character arc and I think the writers have done the character such a disservice. While I try to hope for the best, I am also preparing myself for the worst in this last episode.

      I am sure no matter what they do to him in the script, Lucas as we all know and love and admire him WILL live on in fanfic and fan vids. We’ve loved him into reality.

      Like

    • Thanks, Elisabet. I think you’re absolutely right that anyone who can’t get over the character implausibilities will have a really hard time with 9.7. I think when I was writing this post I started out on that path and decided for whatever reason that I was going to suspend disbelief, I think because I found so many of the scenes on their own tremendously affecting and I wanted to find a way to make them “fit.” But that is my own impulse.

      Only one more week. I’m hoping against hope that the last episode is not catastrophic.

      Like

      • Maybe it’s b/c I spend so much time with 18 to 24 year olds, but I can’t conclude from this episode that John is supposed to be either a psychopath or a villain in the sense that someone like Vaughn is. In the flashback he is supposed to be in his mid-twenties — advanced university student or recent graduate. A lot of people do stupid and terrible things at that age. (I watch them do it.) The redemptive question is: how do they recover from it? We don’t know yet *why* John participated in this bombing, and it seems to me that it doesn’t matter why John decided to become Lucas if in the end his actions moved him toward redemption. This is, of course, a Jewish point of view (as opposed to a Protestant Christian one), but good deeds have merit on their own, apart from intention. John being Lucas, for example, doesn’t mitigate the significance of Lucas’s rescue of the Pakistani prime minister and pushing the world away from the brink of nuclear war in 8.8 (for instance).

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        • I don’t think John Bateman is a psychopath.(Well, maybe it depends on how you define a psychopath). Vaughn said he was a killer, but from what we know he doesn’t kill for pleasure or at random, even when he was John, yes, even the Ortiz woman he let die to protect himself. Quite a horrible thing to do, but there was still a purpose, and he refused to kill her when “fake Harry” ordered him to do it. Vaughn was a mercenary, who may have worked for MI5 before, because Harry seemed quite familiar with him. So maybe John Bateman became a mercenary like Vaughn, a killer for hire, and depending on who paid, either with the “good” guys or the “bad” guys. He also put to good use the skills he acquired in Dakar with MI5. I believe in redemption – is it enough to be the hero for 15 years, and tortured in prison for 8? Maybe if I felt Lucas/John felt genuine remorse for what he did in Dakar I would believe in his redemption. We’ll see Monday I guess.

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          • Vaughn certainly worked for MI5 before, because Harry mentions that his information generally is reliable. So he must have used him before, and they also meet like ”old” aquaintances.

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      • Maybe that’s my problem, I am trying to find logic and reason and connections . . . and they may not necessarily be there.
        But I never find RA less than compelling to watch. And I was glad to see Ruth doing something other than serving as a walking encyclopedia.

        It made her more human to me when she screamed “shoot him, shoot him!” and then filled the French assassin with lead . . . tried to soothe Deering, and admitted to Harry she felt dead inside.

        Nicola’s performance was very good, too, I thought.

        Like

  20. I’ve had a massive spike in hits on my blog too.

    Glad to hear that you’re sitting on the edge of your seat now ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like I should send flowers to all the ladies grieving Lucas North. It’s like a big messy divorce when one half finds out what a right bastard the other half really is. It hurts. I’m really surprised that I’ve been so “Ruth” about it all, given that I’ve been such a big Lucas fan. Maybe I’ve been on the grid too long ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

    • Yesterday was my biggest day ever. I’m assuming things will calm down again a little after next week. Not that I am not happy to have the hits, but the more hits, the more pressure / obligation I feel.

      Still not convinced that Lucas is a right bastard. Or rather, it’s certainly the case that the Lucas we knew wasn’t. And I need to hear more about John before I come to any conclusions. If version one was how Lucas wanted to rememeber it, version 2 is Vaughn’s version — or what Vaughn could say about it. I guess we’ll see in the end …

      Like

      • The Lucas we knew definitely wasn’t a right bastard. Not perfect, but not a total rotter. I just refuse to believe that. Does the truth lie somewhere between Version 1 and Version 2?

        Like

  21. This episode had me on tenterhooks and RA really delivered a great performance.

    I just wish Lucas/John made more sense, especially the complete willingness to give up every damned thing for Maya. Is she really worth it or is he desperately trying to grasp what once was? Because I’m still dumbfounded by the sudden turnabout.

    One would think 8 years in a Russian prison would redeem some of his sins.

    I guess I’m just trying to make sense of it all, all the while knowing far too well life consists of many shades of gray.

    I also had think of the fact that Lucas clearly wasn’t the man RA once thought him to be either; and I truly wonder how he managed to wrap his head around it all. I’m still puzzled and I’m a mere observer, let alone acting it.

    Whatever the outcome, I will miss the flawed Lucas.

    Like

    • RA said on one of the talk shows, “Lucas isn’t what you thought he was; he isn’t what I thought he was . . .” with a rather chagrined expression. And I thought throwing a sister into the mix for Guy when he was supposed to be without family was a big deal . . . what they’ve done to Lucas makes that pale in comparison. It’s as if RA had to burn that autobiography he wrote for Lucas and start all over again.

      What a real acting challenge for RA and kudos to HIM (NOT to kudos; sorry, still can’t quite forgive them) for taking it on and doing a fine job.

      Like

    • CC, I think this comment about “shades of grey” is really important. We still lack information to know exactly where those lie, I feel.

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    • CC,

      You just illustrated something that I missed before. You wrote, “Is she really worth it or is he desperately trying to grasp what once was?” Well, that is exactly a great question. Episode 7 would have us believe that “what was” consisted of bombings (!!), shady dealings, possibly drugs, murder (!!) and this is what he wants to recapture. Hmm…methinks somethings fishy…

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      • I’ll have to think about this some more, but I still think it was Maya that he wanted — and what he says in 9.2 about not being able to come back to her after Africa suggests that he associates her with the time before Africa, i.e., what he is trying to recapture is her and the sense of himself then. That would include, if his self-narrative is true, drug sales. But not yet bombing. Of course, we will still have to find out whose story of the Africa time is the correct one …

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        • While I am relieved to know Maya apparently was not in cahoots with Vaughn–the character is leaving me frustrated and confused.

          She doesn’t strike me as the sort of personality that would leave such an indelible mark on a man–bring him that passion that makes him willing to give up everything that seems to mean anything to him to get her back.

          I still very much need to know more about their earlier relationship and see more of that connection.

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          • I’ve been thinking all along that part of Lucas / John’s tragedy is going to be discovering that the past is not at all as he remembers it — that he has this pristine picture of Maya, who to some extent is laden with all the baggage of that period of carefree life in the phase between adolescence and responsible adulthood that will turn out only to have been generated by his sorrow about everything that happened afterwards.

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  22. I wonder what our lovely man thought of John Bateman?

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    • Given the performance of Bateman that he offers in this episode, he must have found a way in. Perhaps by thinking of his own younger self?

      I find myself often telling my students about how I felt about Monica Lewinsky (that broke when I was 29) — that at the time, I thought, so many people do highly questionable things in their early to mid-20s because they think they are in love. It’s just that mine weren’t exposed to the nation by grand jury. I’m not excusing John, I’m just noting that when he says “at the time my morality was fluid,” he’s making an acute observation about how many people experience that phase of their lives. It’s an age of intense conviction, intense attachment, and intense suffering for many humans, and it’s no coincidence that many terrorists are in their mid-20s as people try on different identities. Most of us are fortunate enough not to get caught up in something with devastating moral consequences (like bombing an embassy), but I would argue that that is mostly circumstance, and not will. I’m not saying that 20 year olds have no obligation to resist moral evil — just that the emotional states of most mid-20 year olds make that more challenging than it may seem from the perspective of two decades later.

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      • I thought of what John told Layla in “Truce” about his tattoo-“I was young and drunk and stupid and I thought it was cool,” something along those lines.

        I don’t know, maybe John is trying to recapture some joy, some passion, intensity of his lost youth after all those years of not being able to feel anything; not being able to hear the music anymore (oh, gawd, I am going to cry again) . . . maybe his memory is painting the past as better than it truly was. You’re right, we aren’t necessarily the same people in our mid-20s as we are ten, twenty (*sigh* twenty-five) years later. We wouldn’t make some of the same decisions, engage in some of the same actions.

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        • and yet many of us see those years as the best of our lives. I am to some extent guilty of this. I never pine for my childhood — but to be 25 again! That’s a wish I could get behind.

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  23. Hunour apart, I suspect that I’ll appreciate this episode (eventually) for the extraordinary and dramatic preformances. As a Lucas “fan”, I simply wanted the character to develop as I wanted. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for the Hairy Dwarf, we would have had at least another Lucas season.

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    • He has said he wanted to do more Lucas; I wonder. I am able even now with the rawness of it all to realize what a fantastic performance it was by RA and also Nicola, Peter and Ian (as much as I despise Vaughn) . . . I just hate for it all to end this way, with a character I really liked turned into a baddie. Ah well, onward and upward.

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      • I really want to see more of Lucas / John. RA’s acting is just so brilliant, that I even want to see him in a bad John-version.
        Though I think there is still quite some room to redeem him. We only saw third perspectives and a censored version for Harry. The real background still has to come out and I do not trust the real Lucas North.
        Why would such a nice guy as John who could behave for 15 years kill an innocent bystander? I still do not see John as totally bad. Also the motive of Blake with distrusting systems is missing. As I do that as well, I do not really see that as bad, but very thoughtful for a young student. But here I do not see China in it, as that really is a very big system. And why where such a lot of spies in Dakar during that time? What was going on there?
        Just some more of my musings and speculations ;o)

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        • I also don’t see John as totally bad — I need more information about why he is bombing the embassy, which I assume we will get soon.

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      • Though he also said he wanted to do more John Porter. I kind of think he has to say that.

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        • And he mentioned that he misses Guy and wouldn’t mind going back to that role once more.

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          • I think he has a genuine affection for all those characters after living with them so intimately for so long . . . and yeah, he probably can’t say, “Oh, man, was I ever ready to stop playing that wanker.” ( :

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            • Hmmm. Paul Andrews.

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              • Well. Yeah. But in his hands we got a Paul we could still feel (well, I could) some sympathy for. Someone else in the part might have just seemed a nasty perv. I suspect RA always finds something decent inside every character to relate to–even the libertine Lovelace.

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                • He did say in an interview when talking about playing Guy, but it probably can apply to any bad guy he plays, that he has to find a reason why the character acts this way, and that he became quite protective about Guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgqgnvDWbbo

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                  • Well, we know he looks for the bad in the good guy, to make him more interesting and believable (because perfect would be boring) and the good in the bad guy, because, as he said once, even a serial killer often have a family he loves. I do appreciate the shades of grey he brings to the characters. I just don’t want Lucas to became completely dark, please!!

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  24. Sorry to arrive late at the party but here are my thoughts.
    OK, Iโ€™m afraid I knew there was something off about the picture we were getting of who Lucas was. This came from the elements of self-disclosure in our favourite episodes, 7.6 and 8.4. When he is in the safe house with Dean he talks about his father, a Methodist minister in Cumbria. For those from outside the UK, Cumbria is in the North West of England, is predominantly rural and contains the Lake District national park, one of the most beautiful places in England. In 8.4 we find ourselves on the North Kent marshes in the Thames Estuary outside London. Lucas contends that his father took him here on holiday! What!! Nobody goes on holiday to the North Kent marshes. Why did they go on holiday there โ€“ to watch grebes. Oh dear, the ornithologist in me smelt a rat โ€“ quite possible along the Thames Estuary! One thing the Lake District has in abundance is grebes (both great-crested and little) who like freshwater lakes and rivers. One thing singularly lacking in the brackish tidal North Kent marshes would be grebes โ€“ loads of fantastic waders โ€“ but no grebes.

    This has been nagging at me since the end of 8.4 and now confirms how much a fabrication our lovely Lucas was. Maybe Elizaveta was right when she accused Lucas of being cold โ€“ since she was may have been the only female to be close to him after Dakar and before Russia, she may well have seen โ€œLucasโ€ forming in a way he could disguise from โ€œcolleagues.โ€

    Of course this is tosh โ€“ the script writers write for the thrill of the episode first and the continuity/canon of the characters second. And should we feel sorry for Richard in all this. I suspect not. Assuming he jumped from Spooks, rather than was pushed, he gave the writers free rein with Lucas as long as he had a dramatic ending. So thatโ€™s what they have delivered along with at least a Bafta nomination if there is any justice.

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    • Pam,

      Wow. I read this and really had to think about it. This would mean that the deception was intentional all the way back to the start of the series 7 with Mr. Armitage. So they wouldn’t have told him what the plan was for the character? Hmmm… I now envision that there was one phrase that was posted in the writer’s room when they began writing series 7 and has remained there all along: :”A killer went to sleep and dreamed he was a hero.” Sums up the whole thing and I think we will start to see how all everything, in retrospect, supports this.

      Really good point, thank you-

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    • Pam – great insight into Lucas/John in Season 7 and 8. I still wonder why the writers have Lucas/John, and then Vaughn, mention his father several times. Is there something more to be revealed about this? So grebes are from Cumbria! Maybe John Bateman is really Uhtred of Bebbanburg!

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      • Bebbanburg or Bamburgh is only a few miles away in North East England, Northumbria rather than Cumbria.

        I’ve been thinking about when the Muslim lad calls Lucas “Liarman” towards the end of the Series 8 (8.7?)- hit the nail on the head, didn’t he.

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        • 8.7 is a favorite episode of mine precisely for the questions it raises about honesty and honor. Of course Lucas is a liar — he’s a professional liar — and now, we know, he was also a private liar.

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    • Great post, Pam. As an American, I missed those clues you pointed out when viewing, even if, as you say, it’s all tosh. And while I feel sorry for the character of Lucas (they all become so real to me in Richard’s masterful hands), I don’t feel sorry for RA, because, yes, he wanted Lucas to go out in a big way — “They owe me that,” I believe he said of the scriptwriters. He’s always managed to take whatever they’ve thrown at him and spin gold out of it.

      He definitely deserves that BAFTA. End of discussion.

      I would like to think somewhere deep inside RA feels a bit sad at what has happened to the spy we knew as Lucas North. He’s always seemed a bit protective of his characters.

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    • You may have been late but I am so glad you came. This is fascinating information.

      I wonder, of course, if this is another instance of us caring a great deal more about the consistency of the script than the writers do.

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      • Do the writers even know their grebes from their waders ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Well, I obviously don’t. I am one of those people who only notice the wildlife from where I live. And I think many people who have spent all their lives in cities are a bit unaware.

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      • I strongly suspect that it is–we care more about all those little details (and big ones) than they do.

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  25. Pam, so right about the marshes and estuary landscape! Not tourist territory. I only passed through on the way north to Constable country. It has its fascination, but wouldn’t wish to live there. Perhaps the “Methodist minister” was a birdie?

    No reason to feel sorry for Mr. A in this. Whatever the scriptors throw at him, the cream always rises to the top. Though, with this character, it would be more satisfying (one ep. left) to have all those loose ends tied up. And have a clearer view of the character. Otherwise, unlike Thornton, Gisborne, the audience is left with an incomplete character. (Perhaps that reflects Real Life, and the so-far inability to explain human motivation etc. in psychological terms; obviously, we’re not there yet.)

    Still, it’s also in our nature to wish for explanation and resolution in drama.

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    • We do like the loose ends to be tied up so we aren’t left hanging, most definitely. Here’s where I once again wish with all my heart there were more than eight eps per series. I still think they try to do too much in the limited time they have and it leaves viewers feeling cheated along the way–well, this viewer, anyway.

      I know times are hard and budgets are tight, but I do long in my heart for 13 eps or even 10–to give the scriptwriters more time to flesh out story lines and character arcs and still get the obligatory bomb of the week in . . .

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      • That’s my secret fantasy. That they announced at the end of ep. 8 that there are one or two more episodes in this series.

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        • Oh, yes–what a delight that would be!! More RA and more time to sort this very tangled web out . . . more tight jeans for Rob!

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    • yeah, even if the script ends up making almost no sense (as in series 8), he’s really convinced us with his acting in a couple of different places.

      I’m trying to delay judgment on the series 9 script as a whole because I still feel of series 8 that although it was a failure, it failed at something much larger than series 7 even attempted.

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  26. Just one word about the scriptors: while ready to join the military wing of the Armitage Army, and court-martial the writers: perhaps it’s worth considering the weekly pressures under which they work, probably with a very broad storyline from the producers, and of course, the ever looming ratings. Then there are the constant scene notes from the actors (for which Mr. A apparently has a reputation – please let fly him his wings in production and direction, while please not retiring from in-front), and perhpas I won’t join an AA/SAS-style raid on the poor (underpaid?) scriptors.

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    • As a newspaper writer, I do know about deadlines and pressures and boy, do I know about being underpaid AND overworked! Perhaps it is a thankless task, I don’t know. Perhaps I just want and expect too much. *sigh*

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      • @ Fitz — I am a writter as well and that’s why I am PO’d about this episode. It was compelling TV it just didn’t fit into the larger context. I read that the writers of Lost knew how the series was going to end and they used that as a starting point.

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        • This is an interesting question, I think. If you don’t know for starters how long a series is going to go, how can you set up these long arcs?

          I haven’t seen any of Lost, but most of the people I know who watch it were so annoyed by the direction it took in the last season that they stopped watching halfway through it.

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          • Several people I know watched Lost, and they griped heavily about how unhappy they were towards the end. One said he would never have wasted his time starting to watch it in the first place if he’d known how it was going to turn out.

            Some US series do plot out for several seasons–at least a basic plot–but of course, ratings will determine whether all those seasons are actually filmed.

            It does bother me when I feel as if the scriptwriters on any show don’t pay any heed to what has been developed in previous seasons (series) re character development and story arcs. It makes everything seem disjointed and makes them seem lazy.

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            • Okay, I changed my mind the writers ARE brillant 255 comments later and is is FRIDAY and still we are talking about this episode.

              I never watched Lost either, was just using is as an example.

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              • Oh, they are very cunning in that respect, @Rob. Put all the Armitage fans on tenterhooks wondering if he is going to make it out of this alive and/or in any way redeemed and will we possibly be able to make sense of it all? . . . putting general Spooks fans on tenterhooks wondering how all this madness is going to play out, whether or not they like Lucas as a character . . . yep, they are crazy like a fox.

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              • This is shaping up to be one of my most hit and commented posts of all time. I’m a bit stunned!

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  27. Do we have any reasons to believe Vaughn’s version of the events more than Lucas’s? Vaughn is clearly manipulating him with his strange speechcodes. I think there’s still hope out there.

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    • My head feels well and truly messed with at this point by all involved. I certainly don’t trust Vaughn. I certainly don’t feel as if we’ve seen the whole picture. I hope we get it, or a lot more than we have right now, in that final ep. I am feeling slightly more lenient towards you, scriptwriters–please don’t let us down.

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      • Vaughn has been the arch manipulator all along. Why should he let Lucas/John off the hook as he dies from a wound inflicted by him? Maybe the doubt of his own understanding of events will tip L/J further over the top. If Vaughn’s story is true, where was the motivation for Lucas to make MI-5 work past the first couple of years to keep his cover. Wouldn’t filthy lucre have beckoned him elsewhere? Must go and do the washing up now. Bye.

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        • Pam,

          Methinks you are either Mr. Armitage or a Spooks writer or producer (woe be to you if it is one of the last two). Your comments are insightful and really have my blood and imagination going.

          Time for a lunch time nosh…ta!

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          • Can’t claim to be any of the above! Maybe the vibes waft across South London. I’m going to the Tate Modern tomorrow to see the Gaugain exhibition. I’ll be right by Harry and Ruth’s footbridege across the Thames so may sense some deep truth about their relationship!!!!

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            • Let us know if you learn anything about them. I find that relationship, well, more than mysterious. Even though I think Ruth is seriously a lot more beautiful than one initially notices.

              My one reservation about this explanation is that John must know that Vaughn will either die or that he (John) will kill him. So why be worried about that version of events getting out unless there is someone else who is still alive who can finger John as the bomber?

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              • Just got back from London with aching feet – 18 degrees C at the beginning of November! Revelations about H & R – no but three amusing things happened. We had coffee before the exhibition on the balcony of the Tate Modern overlooking the Millenium Bridge and my friend said she and her hubby were going on a short break to Market Bosworth, had I heard of it? Quick as a flash I came back with ‘Battle of Bosworth, 22 August 1485’ and then explained the other significance (she is a Spooks fan). Then the first room of the Gauguin exhibition was entitled ‘Identity and Self-Mythology’ which seemed kind of relevant and raised another chuckle from me. Finally, the clincher for me was discovered when we popped into the loos at the Royal Festival Hall on the way back to the station. I know what Albany is! It is the company that supplies sanitary bins to the RFT. I’m sorry Harry, CSS why all the fuss!

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                • Yeah, Albany is a city in New York State. I’ve been wondering if the Chinese are upset that the local university there cancelled all its degree programs in foreign languages other than Spanish there this last month ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Glad you had a nice trip and good weather!

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  28. I have not read anything but your piece, Servetus. As usual you emphasize some wonderful aspects of Richard Armitage. But I have to be honest and say that my first impression of this episode was well, uh, I’m not that impressed. Yeah, who am I to say that? I guess a pretty devoted fan, but this is the first time I was not thrilled with his acting. Perhaps I’m now holding him to an unrealistic standard, and I’m totally willing to be called on that, and maybe that’s why I’m making this post. Maybe I want someone to tell me I’m wrong and how.

    There was a point in the scene with Harry where he recounts what happened in Dakar where I grimaced. It did not ring true.I mean it was painful to watch.

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  29. I should clarify that I thought the episode was good. It was RA in particular who left me wanting. Maybe it was the writing. I don’t know. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to ponder it yet. So my previous comment is my first impression without tons of thoughts given to the intricacies of the plot or the writing. I do think there are some interesting possibilities for the ending twist, and I said as much on Skully’s blog. But I haven’t thought too much beyond that.

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    • I do not want to convince you in any way, as I can imagine, why you are not impressed. The unbelievable part you mention, is what I think is the most brilliant in RA#s acting, as – at least how I interpret it – is exactly how RA wants to play it. I think we will have quite a bumpy road to go in 9.8, as a lot of twists and turns will force us to interpret the whole story from a completely new perspective.
      RA once mentioned in an interview that as an actor who plays a spy he is acting in so many layers. What fascinated me in 9.7 is that he can keep track of all the many layers of his role and still give such an excellent performance.
      I know this explanation does not make those scenes any better for you. Though this makes the part of Lucas / John explaning he somehow deserved the 8 years of prison so precious to me, as I totally believe him in this one sequence.

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      • Still have yet to read all of the comments. I’m about to start on them — I hope. LOL! But I did want to respond to this first and clarify further. I did not have a problem with the scene with Harry but only one part of it. I’ll probably explain more later. Until then, I’ve put my explanation of where I’m at on my blog.

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        • Thank you for your clarification. I am looking forward to your more detailed explanations. I am following your blog as well and do like your unique approach.

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  30. Wow servetus, I just read your post but not the comments yet but first I want to congratulate you on a complete tour de force. Totally brilliant. I hope that non-RA Spooks fans and Spooks script writers are reading this too.

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  31. Hello all,
    Sorry to be entering the fray so late…It’s been a crazy week and am now finally at home with a glass of wine, reading all these wonderful posts. I’ve also calmed down enough to be able to watch episode 7 again (which I’ll be doing in a few minutes).

    I’ll be checking about something this time too: When the chinese call someone at the beginning of the episode, the person at the other end seems to answer saying ‘oui’. So they are calling a Frenchman? A clue that all this is linked together: Dakar, the Chinese influence in S.9, the French assassin in e7….Also, am thinking back on that interview that RA did at some point and he was talking about some kind of weapon that doesn’t exist yet (in RL) but could and that is what they are after this whole series (Albany?). Does anyone remember this?

    Speaking of interviews, I suspect the interview he did for TV.com – made available on Sept 18 but shot in June (which by the way is one of my favorite interviews) was filmed on the same day he was shooting this interrogation scene with Harry in e.7 (he’s wearing the same sexy black shirt, hair is the same style and length, same rolled up sleeves, all very yummy). So some clues he might be giving are: He refers a lot to ‘hoping for a non-violent death, done well; He says he still doesn’t know if he’ll be around for series 10 (so perhaps not a death at the end of e8?). He also mentions that he thinks the scripts are really exciting this season and he seems pleased as punch in this interview. So what I gather from that is that he was really enjoying the challenge of filming these episodes. And while we mourn for Lucas, he might be finding it a particularly juicy role to get his hands on; one that he has executed wonderfully in my opinion (even with script flaws and the radical shift from the character he thought he was playing in s.7 and 8).

    One last little parting tidbid…Anyone notice in the opening titles at the beginning of each episode he and Beth are the only two characters that are juxtaposed on the same image…she’s looking up angelically and he’s looking down a bit evily…So is a final showdown going to put these two characters against each other again or was that it (e7)? Also (NOT SPOILERS, just my musings), since Beth was a private contractor, how do we know she really isn’t working from another employer (like the Chinese, etc.?) She was not really vetted as many of you have noted when she first joined the team. (here’s my last ditch effort to convince myself there is a way back for L/J…) When the whole thing with the Chinese comes to a head in e8, will he put his life on the line for the greater good and try to redeem himself?

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    • Wow, you are a careful watcher!

      It would be kind of interesting if he turns out to be a villain, then escapes, and then shows up at some point in the future playing John Bateman the villain. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I would think that it could potentially become boring to play the same character for a long period of time — that’s part of why actors leave lucrative settings where you’d think they would want to keep going.

      I haven’t been able to watch it again since I read this post. My feelings of pain are just too acute. If I don’t start feeling better about it by tomorrow I may have to write a post about that ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I just can’t seem to move on.

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      • I feel bad that you are still upset about this. I think you need a dose of John…Thornton that is…or perhaps a bit more sexy Lucas fanfic??

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      • Forgot to add….I love that idea that he escapes and evil John comes back in the future (perhaps in the Spooks movie?) Also, RA has always mentioned he likes to explore both the good and bad in each of his characters. So in RH (which I’ve only watched a few episodes – I’m reserving the series for when we are in the desert with no new RA stuff on the near horizon) Guy is supposed to be a baddie but then ends up redeeming himself; in Spooks Lucas is supposed to be a hero but really he is a baddie?….Perhaps that’s why RA finds this season so exciting….

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        • Well, he’s definitely been given plenty to work with this season, just as he was given plenty to challenge him in RH S3. And you could be right. Evil John may pop up in some future version of Spooks.

          But I am still feeling sad over the Lucas I knew. Or thought I knew. As I said in another post, it’s the grieving process.

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  32. I had a (well some more, but for now one) question: why do you think that Lucas mentioned to Harry that he had been in Dakar at the time of the bombing? I mean, that really started up the investigation into his past in all seriousness.
    And I read somewhere (I think it was on the Spooks Fan Blog) that when Vaughn and Lucas shook hands they used the freemasons handshake. Does anyone know if that is true? OK, that were two questions… I’m off to bed now. Its past 1 AM.

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    • I honestly don’t know, and that’s part of why it took me so long to start writing — I finally said above that it is necessary to make the plot work. If Lucas doesn’t tell Harry that he was in Dakar, then Beth won’t be researching Lucas, etc., etc. I also noted that it makes it appear as if Lucas really does want to tell Harry.

      No idea on the freemasons’ shake. Anyone? ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • O yes, I remember now that you had mentoned that (I really need to go to sleep).
        I remember also that when I saw that handshake it looked ”strange” to me, from memory it looked like they shook hands and they twisted them somewhat.

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        • Yes, go to bed!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Those poor freemasons, they get blamed for so much.

          Sleep tight.

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          • My dad was a Mason for years; of course he’s gone now, or I would ask him about the handshake. Hmmm, I may have to ask one of my Mason acquaintances to drop by the office and take a look at that scene on my laptop . . . and you’re right, a lot has been lumped on the shoulders of the poor Masons. I swear my daddy was never involved in any major world conspiracies!

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            • Dear Angieklong. I’m sorry about your dad. My dad passed away a long time ago, when I was 17 (I am also approaching the big five-O).
              I’m also still thinking about the fact that Vaughn seeded to be a regular source for Harry. But I am puzzled by Harry’s remark that ”you need a long spoon” with him? I’m not native speaker and I don’t know that expression.

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              • If you want to sup with the devil, you need a long spoon, i.e., the person is dangerous and/or corrupting. this is a very old saying, I think it precedes even Shakespeare.

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      • I totally agree that it doesn’t make sense that Lucas/John would tell Harry except to get the story moving forward. However, there is another option. John is still looking for Albany so he needs to keep up the pretence of being Lucas and a proper spook so he can continue to have inside access to try get his hands on the Albany file. He needs to play along with what is going on and perhaps he’s hypervigilant (given everything that’s been happening with Vaughn) about things related to his past. So when Harry talks about the bombing he (John) needs to keep the conversation moving so he can see what Harry knows about this…And also, a good way to lie, is to stay as close to the truth as possible. Maybe that’s why he mentions nonchalantly that he was in Dakar.

        Another thing I’ve been thinking about: if you look at John’s version of the events in Dakar and then look at Vaughn’s version (speaking of just the visuals mind you – not what they are saying) the images don’t overlap, they actually flow into each other. So a couple of questions come mind: did the real Lucas die of a gun shot (which is how John recounts the story) or did he die from strangulation (which is what is implied in Vaughn’s story). And when you look at Vaughn in Vaughn’s version, he is holding a gun while John is strangling Lucas. Therefore, could Vaughn have forced John to kill Lucas??

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        • In both of Vaughn’s flashbacks he is very passive and neutral in expression and John is the active, aggressive party. I would have thought even if John was the prime mover he would have needed encouragement and validation from the older man in the same way as he has appeared to have craved Harry’s approval.

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        • Good thinking!

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        • @ Calorexa: That could be an explanation. Still, John really managed to be Lucas for 15 years, and he would have to have been very secretive in order to pull that off. As far as I can remember (but maybe I have forgotten something) Lucas never discussed anything personal with his colleagues, at least not in casual conversation, so for him to offer casually that he was in Dakar at the time of the bombing no less, is really a red herring for Harry.

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      • I just watched the scene again and I would say no, it is not a freemasons’ handshake or at least we do not see enough of it to detect that. Part of the handshake is delivered in the palm of your hand and we see all fingers of the participants. So I would rule that possibility out. (To explain, I did some research on freemasonry during my university time.)

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    • Probably someone else has made this connect (I admittedly have tried to read ALL comments but am sure I’ve missed some.) I was curious about Blake’s “The Ancient of Days” so I did a google search and a yahoo search..both turned up hits mentioning the painting AND the Freemasons, possibly explained by the compass being held over the earth by G-d. The compass is also an important part of the Masons. That’s all I know…I have absolutely NO idea if that has a thing to do with the price of eggs in China or not. Hmmm, there’s that word China again. It appears that I am now slipping into some sort of neurosis does it not? Bedtime….

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      • The analogy between Urizen and “The Great Architect of the Universe” in freemasonry is very close (see his holding a ‘square’, a main symbol of freemasonry in his hand to measure the world). It is the idea about a ruling entity setting up the rules of the universe, e.g. geography, mathematics, architecture. In a way freemasons try through analogy and analysis of single rules to understand the whole system of the universe.
        Also William Blake was reported to at least have indirect contact to masonic ideas, so the influence might really be there.

        Where I have my difficulty here to analyse the symbol’s relevance any closer for Lucas / John is, that in general, freemasons quite have a strong believe in systems and rules. But that is something Lucas / John is reported to mistrust. So why Urizen, the creator of all rules?
        This enhances the ambiguity of Lucas / John’s character for me. He is such a contradiction and still a fierce fighter for what he thinks is right.
        (I still have to read William Blake. – My book order did not arrive so far. Perhaps that will shed some more light onto it and give me some ideas about the religious context and criticism, Blake intended.)

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        • He is one fascinating character, CDoart. Which is why I think there are so many posts here and so many RA-related blogs blowing up with comments. He has captured our imagination in a most amazing way.
          Will be interested to hear what else you may learn. Of course, it all may be undone by this last ep, but I suspect Lucas North, legend or not, will live on in a lot of fanfic (and many discussions).

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          • Thank you for your comment and interest. I will love to let you know more, as soon as I find out something. But last time I checked, the book order was delayed for some months as I combined more books in an order. The publishing date of one itemn (Spooks 9-DVD’s) will be approximately beginning of next year, so I still have to wait and be patient.

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        • Thanks for this research; I would not have had time and this is thought provoking. ๐Ÿ™‚

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          • You are welcome. I love to be able to use my old researches once again. Because of my work I had not been able to do what I so liked to do for years. So it is extra fulfilling for me to use them while indulging in my RA-fandom.
            I now have a reason to read all the unread books about secret societies I collected in the meantime.

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            • I’ve still got to finish Acroyd’s Blake bio, which I bought in order to try to understand Lucas better. When i was in grad school everyone was studying freemasons as the ultimate rationalists and supporters of the emergence of popular sovereignty in Europe, but that’s basically all I remember ….

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              • When I was at university studying secret societies was quite unpopular. They had been very popular earlier and became popular again after I left, because of some movies.
                But this did not deter me. What I enjoyed most, was the multitude of obscure and mostly well intentioned mysteries and intrigues, the secret societies of that time engaged to educate mankind ;o) It was a colourful time, the late 18th century.
                I studied the secret societies in the context of the starting point of political parties at the end of the 18th century. It was an event which caused people to recognize that being educated did and does not necessarily mean to be of one opinion. This was something the โ€˜Aufklรคrungโ€™ in Germany had to find out the hard way during that time.

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      • Thanks for this info – interesting!

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  33. Been reading this post and the avalanche of comments all week. Impressive lot you are! I, like, all of you, have a multitude of questions rattling around in my now sleep deprived brain, but one (or 2) keeps coming back:

    Malcolm. Am I reading too much into his presence in all of this? We know Harry trusts him with Albany info. John/Lucas retrieves it & discovers (or so Vaughn says, but do we really trust anything that comes out of his mouth?) what Malcomlm gave him is NOT what he/Vuaghn/the Chinese needed/wanted. J/L goes back to Malcolm’s flat only to find it empty and then goes into a flashback to prison/torture by renacting his attempted suicide. And all this in an eerily lit empty room. DId Malcolm flee because he knew J/L would come back or because spooks protocol called for it? Questions, questions…some of which won’t be answered until next Mon, (we hope!) and some of which don’t have a durned thing to do with any of it. Digressing now….

    On top of of all that, in a preceeding ep, after Malcolm digs up the file J/L wants, he comes into the house shuffling papers and calls Lucas, “John” while speaking to his mum. Really? A slip of the tongue? Was it a slip in that he knew Lucas was John all along? Was it a subtle warning to Lucas that he was meddling in places he shouldn’t. That “slip” just screamed red flags for me!

    And whoever mentioned Beth earlier…right on! Something about her reactions in all of this, especially scenes at the Grid, really bother me. And yes, I do have a life and really MUST get at it. Hungry hubsbands and sons don’t feed themselves. Well, they could but the mess just isn’t worth it.

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    • We never found out who was employing Beth during her stint on that ship, so there’s plenty of room there for speculation. I think Malcolm says in 9.7 that he was following protocol.

      My father has also completely lost the capacity to feed himself beyond putting the food someone else makes in his mouth. This worries me.

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      • My father-in-law was like that, the sort of guy who puts styrofoam plates in an oven to warm the food up, and then my mother-in-law’s illnesses forced him to learn to do some basic things for himself. SHE raised all four boys to know their way around a kitchen and a laundry room, thank goodness.

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    • NovemberBride
      I don’t think Malcolm calling him “John” was accidental. That raises all sorts of questions in my mind. (I did laugh when he apologized to Lucas that the name John was not very original – LOL-another in-joke for RA I think).

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      • It also offers us a characterization moment — we see Lucas / John move toward the gun in his pocket and then away.

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  34. As the discussions turn up such a wide variety of aspects I would have overlooked on my own, I want to post some more points which disturbed me in episode 9.7. Perhaps you can make more sense of them than I can:

    What disturbs me after my second time watching episode 9.7 is the way Maya behaves. As a doctor I would have expected her to behave in a totally different way towards the wounded Vaughan. Her doctors oath (hippocratic oath) cannot be worth much, when she does not even contradict Vaughan, when he presumes, she just does want to flee, not to help him. And she leaves him with John at the first possible moment. And I must add John does not seem in a very friendly mood towards Vaughan in the moment Maya leaves him. She must be aware that anything could happen between the two opponents and rivals.
    Also her passive reaction towards John and the suspicions brought up by Vaughan, seem so unlike any woman I know. Or would you quietly sit there in the car at the end? I most certainly would not, though I am in general quite a quiet and shy person.
    In the end I was a bit surprised by Vaughan’s abrupt death, but glad that John did not shoot him. But in a way I think both Maya and John caused his death in equal parts.

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    • I agree with most all of this — or rather, that Maya is such a tabula rasa that it’s hard to get anything out of that character at all. I agree that it’s odd that if Vaughn was her lover that she wouldn’t try harder to help him. Of course, she’d want to call an ambulance, and he wouldn’t let her do that. Also relieved that John did not actively finish him off — but he gave Vaughn the wound of which he died. So it’s a bit more grave than the way he let Ortiz die the week previously?

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      • Maya is so cool towards Lucas. She doesn’t even smile at him, the heartless creature. Sometimees she even appears embarrassed by his feelings for her. It’s another thing that is painful to watch in addition to all the other pain that character development brings me.

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        • Maya has been a huge disappointment. There has really been very little evidence of any passion on her part. Ok, we’ve seen three snogs between her and Lucas (I really don’t like to think off him as John) but she slapped him on first meeting, ducked her head when he was leaning in for a kiss after the night at his place, was with Michael/Vaughn for an inordinate length of time, in effect two-timing both men, demands “this time it has to be forever”, but shows very feelings for Lucas who seems willing to risk his whole equilibrium and future for her sake!

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          • I totally agree on Maya. She doesn’t really act very enthusiastic about Lucas/John in spite of the fact she told him “this time it has to be forever” . . . most of the time she looks sulky, moody or just plain bored.

            Personally, I would hate for her to be my doctor. She can’t seem to summon up enough interest or energy to actually make a diagnosis.

            Maybe we are meant to see the contrast between the passion Lucas/John is constantly extolling and the reality of how little there really seems to be . . . which makes his actions all the more tragic for me. And exasperated with Moody Maya.

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            • The only thing why I excuse Maya’s actions a little bit is, that the relationship with John had been 15 years ago. She has a bit of a right to regain her emotional connection with John slowly.
              Though I, as a person seeing everything a bit more black and white, would more likely say – either the feelings are or are not right. Not this cold, calculating distance and passive watching of all the developments around her.
              And for sure I cannot forgive her being a doctor and not helping Vaughan. At least she could have put a pressure on his wound and stoped his bleeding. The wound was not one which should have caused death with a doctor available. Even a boy scout could have done a better job.

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              • As I have said, I wouldn’t want Maya for my doctor. She seems so apathetic much of the time and certainly not one to take her oath to do good very seriously. And yes, I can understand holding back a bit if it’s been 15 years since you’ve seen this guy you once loved, but she seems to be sitting back and letting stuff be done to her rather than standing up for herself or questioning John more closely about what has transpired since they were parted (maybe she has and we haven’t seen it . . . there’s a lot about that relationship to be explained).

                Something that is niggling at me is this: (and no, I haven’t read any spoilers about it) do we know for certain Vaughn IS dead? I mean, I know he looked dead. But so did Sherry in Robin Hood.
                Why do I have this awful feeling he might show back up??

                Oh, and did anybody else think the original Lucas looked a bit like a taller version of Richard “Hamster” Hammond from Top Gear?

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                • I totally agree with your description of Maya and also hope some more details of her relationship with John will be revealed in episode 9.8.
                  For Vaughan I also have the slight feeling he might turn up again and just played his death. For me it was so sudden, so I give him quite some chance to recover and haunt John some more. For a dying person he did not struggle very much to avoid death. To me he never appeared to be that selfless to clear the field for Maya and John so easily. As it appears now he did not call an ambulance to avoide Maya and John’s detection by the Chinese.
                  But still, he first thought, when the Chinese came to him, John had been following him and was ‘calling his bluff’. – Perhaps he is not such a bad person after all?

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                  • In my heart, I refuse to believe he is such a wicked person as is being portrayed. Not the Lucas I still admire. I remember too many heroic and selfless moments on his part to toss all that aside.

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                    • I also still give him quite a chance to redeem himself. I do not trust Harry or rather, I doubt him because Lucas/John does not trust him enough to tell him the full truth and trust him with his and Maya’s fate. At the end of 9.7 Lucas/John takes everything in his own hands with the full knowledge that the whole secret service will hunt him down. So his reasoning must be really good and I cannot await Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on when I will find a download. (Please excuse my always calling him Lucas/John. I still can’t decide which name to select.)

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                  • Lucas takes everyithing in his hands knowing he’s going to be hunted down: excellent point. Indeed, one must suspect that Harry let Lucas go not out of sympathy, but because he thought Lucas could bring him to something. Should make for an exciting episode if nothing else: can Lucas successfully evade MI-5s best operatives for an entire hour of television?

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                • Yep, he is definately the Hamster.

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                  • I kept expecting Captain Slow to pop up, too.

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                    • I suspect that RA would rather admire Captain Slow with all his geekiness about the right tools for the job, doing things properly and being sensible when driving!

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                    • @Pam.

                      I think you’re right, I could see RA having a happy chinwag with James May (of whom I am very fond) about DIY and safe driving. *wink*

                      I’ve always wanted Richard to be the Star in a Medium-Priced Car, too–after all, both RPJ and PF did it, so there is a Spooks precedent.

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                • I also don’t understand this whole thing with Maya one bit… she seems to give in to John (I still want to call him Lucas) quite soon after he’s back in her life, and professes that ”this time it should be for ever”, but then she does not show any warmth to him, ever. I have never seen her smile once! And then she is extremely docile, does not try to run when Vaughn is waving a gun at her, nor when John is waving with a gun. I don’t GET her at all.

                  And yes, I thing that Vaugh is going to pull a Vaisey and show up in the land of living once more….

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            • Some men like sulky women / women who play hard to get …

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  35. What IS the POINT of Maya? How does her character (or lack thereof) contribute to whoever Lucas/John is? Or isn’t. All will be revealed in ep.8? We live in hope.

    In consideration of the characters couch-surfing in your home, Angie, the only one who has really appreciated an RA character, is Geraldine. (And the exclusion includes (what’s wrong with this sentence?) Margaret, who was a bit tepid. Not exactly a Catherine Earnshaw, or even Elizabeth Bennet. So, retreating from post-trauma Lucas into VofD therapy. Till next week; when the hope is that something of the character will make a bit more dramatic sense.

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    • I have begun to speculate, @fitzg, that the Spooks writers are slightly clueless males when it comes to how to write a professional woman/love interest well for RA–they haven’t done well by him so far.

      And Margaret was such a prim, lady-like product of her times; it did take her an awfully long time to come to her senses, didn’t it? No, not an Earnshaw or a Bennett (or a Jane Eyre, for that matter). Marian was so caught up in do-gooding with Hoodie, although she undoubtedly was stirred by Guy (come on, how could you NOT be??) At least I genuinely felt chemistry–that tingle RA has referred to before–between him and Daniella and Lucy.

      Harry, sweet Harry . . . he frequently makes references to his darling lady wife when he’s busy whipping up snacks in my kitchen or petting one of the cats or patching up a quarrel between Milord Guy, the Medieval Menace and Soldier Boy John P. . . . Harry’s a happy Character who glows with the satisfaction of a man who loves and knows he is loved in return . . . VoD therapy sounds like a grand plan!!

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    • Important question.

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  36. Thoughts on a second watching of the episode:
    Finally got to sit with my BFF for her first viewing of this week’s episode. An hour long discussion followed. I think it was servetus (if not, I’m sorry) that first floated the idea of a Manchurian Candidate. This possibility seems more and more likely because it explains the irrational actions of Lucas/John. Part of what has been the biggest problem for me has been trying to make sense of things that just don’t!

    I think the trigger may have been the contents of the suitcase. Perhaps the sleeper process occurred during his imprisonment which would explain our confusion of how his “real identity” wouldn’t be known after 8 years of torture in a Russian prison. Maybe the Russians and the Chinese are working together. What would be the end goal of the Manchurian Candidate in this series? Who knows? An assassination attempt on Harry or higher?

    I look for sense and order in chaos…series 9… not finding it yet.

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    • Servetus and I both have been speculating, it seems, about the whole Manchurian Candidate idea. All Vaughn’s comments about the “sleeper” and how the killer has awakened seemed to hint at that.
      I’ve also been looking for that same sense and order in this chaotic madness and it just ain’t happening.

      And Ann Marie, totally agree–Lucas is truly a hero, no matter how flawed and damaged and haunted by the past. Soulless killers do not do the things he has done over these past series. We will continue to admire and celebrate the Lucas we know and love.

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      • I agree with all of the above… for me it’s the only thing that makes sense. And yes, for me Lucas will always remain a hero.

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  37. …and finally, I want to affirm that whatever the outcome, I believe that the Lucas North that we have seen in the previous seasons is a hero deep down where it matters. He risked his life on numerous occasions for others (attempting to run back into the building before it exploded, being wounded and still trying to protect the others during the Connie episode, just to name a few). These actions are not just the result of training. Can you train someone to be heroic or courageous? I don’t think so. I think that someone’s internal mettle is what helps them overcome the instinct to survive and risk it all for others. My Lucas North is still a hero to me. I will celebrate him for those heroic deeds.

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    • “I will celebrate him for those heroic deeds.” Amen sister! And ditto!
      I’m a newbie around these parts, but y’all have thoroughly converted me into an rabid [spooks] fan…note, I said [spooks] not RA fan. (I knew before my arrival here that he is a brilliant actor. Your wise and astute opinions concerning the stellar quality of said actor’s skills thankfully confirmed my thoughts!)
      Plus my education has been furthered. I now know who William Blake is and what “The Ancient of Days” is. Furthermore, I have a new appreciation for black leather pjs…adding to hubby’s birthday gift list!
      Until otherwise proven, L/J is a good guy or maybe a more correct statement would be, L & J are good guyS! Or perhaps only J is the good guy? Hmmm. Chasing rabbits again…
      Making a list of “things to do” and items to have on hand before & as I watch Ep8 Tuesday (please Hubs, don’t make me go after supplies that AM!!)

      1. Kleenex-lots of them
      2. Fresh hazelnut coffee-gallons and gallons
      3. Phone off the hook & turn cell phone OFF
      4. Inform all relatives & friends that I am incommunicado until further notice
      5. One pillow to throw at puter screen
      6. Paper towels to clean spewed coffee off screen
      7. Warn hubs ahead that Tues. could be a bumpy day
      8. Have N&S and VoD at the ready just in case I need cheering up

      Happy viewing,over and out & Long Live Lucas!

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      • I’m with you except for the hazelnut coffee (ewww)…we are not alone!

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        • Well gee whiz, I think you’re the first person I ever “met” who doesn’t like hazelnut coffee! OK, I also have apricot cream and Highlander Grogg…your choice! I’m not a drinking woman, but the Southern Comfort at the back of my pantry may be needed also, depending on aforementioned writers conclusion. Understand, I keep it for cooking purposes only *ahem*…sauce for bread pudding. Maybe I’ll just make a batch of bread pudding so I’ll have a valid reason for the Comfort?!

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          • That’s funny, I have a bottle of Jack Daniels in the back of my pantry for *ahem* cooking purposes (have you ever had sliced almonds sauteed in butter and Jack Daniels and ladled generously over a great brie? To die for!).

            Truthfully, if the writers don’t pull this out, no pretense will be necessary…down the hatch!

            And welcome form me too…your posts are very interesting.

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            • Yumm, sounds good. I’ll have to give it a whirl. Since I have an abundance of pecans (& no almonds), wonder if I could use them instead? Worth a try me thinks. I think I may have Jack in my pantry too, as backup for my Comfort. Us Baptist gals must be prepared for anything! *wink*

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      • NovemberBride,

        You are obviously a woman with the Good Taste Gene and we are happy to have you here–and you’re well organized! (And the hazelnut coffee sounds good, too, especially now that is it cooling off down here.) It really is a learning experience around here in more ways than one. I like to think it employs our little grey cells in very stimulating ways (beyond the pure pleasure of viewing the gorgeous and talented Mr. A).

        I really think I am going to have to indulge in Harry and Gerri next week, too, if the worst happens . . . *sigh*

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        • Yep that would be me, Good Taste along with the inate ability to always pick out the MOST expensive “whatever” accessorized with a beer pockbook! So glad you added the stimulation of grey cells alongside “viewing the gorgeous and (very!) talented Mr.A…don’t want to sound shallow…or anything! Nope, not me. And thanks for the welcome!

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      • I can see you are prepared!

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    • Yes, absolutely. I don’t believe that good deeds only come from “good” people.

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  38. @RAF, I see nothing inconsistent in being a “rabid fan”, while trying to keep a sense of proportion. Which extends to critiquing performances, production, writers. Even critiquing the actors. (oh dear, heresy?) I’m head over heels about Mr. A, but I try to keep the little goat hooves on the ground.

    And now for something completely? different. A friend e-mailed a really nice Daily Mail article with RA. She first brought him to my attention, following N&S on PBS.

    Google dailymail.co.uk. and richard armitage and the heading is I don’t control fate. Some sweet words about a small “crush” on Sophia Myles (just doing the usual winding up of us fans ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry not to transfer this to a highlighted reference. Still struggling with W7 on a new laptop. RIP WindowsXP and hard drive….

    Sorry, sorry, carry on, on message.

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    • @fitzg,

      Just a note about that Daily Mail article, which you can access by going to http://www.richardarmitagenet.com—-

      ******SPOILERS!!*******

      The interview was done back when RA was completing filming of S9 and some comments he makes could definitely be considered spoilers for this final ep . . . also found it unprofessional the journalist made no mention of Captain America or The Hobbit. You need to keep current info on the people you are profiling, even if it’s been a while since the interview. And FYI Sophia Myles is now engaged, so perhaps her fiancee would rather RA NOT ask her out for drinks/dinner LOL

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    • @fitzg,

      Goat hooves…I would have thought a cute little pony…:)

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    • xp was finally a great system after all the years of development, and what did they do? create a new thing. It was SO annoying.

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  39. There’s a very good comment on Wylie’s blog for episode 8!

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  40. […] Posts Dum spiras, speramus (vel spero)Off balanceWowYeah, I'm crying. Wanna make something of it? [Spooks 9.1-9.7 spoilers! pw=spooks9]Late thirty- or early forty-somethings together, or The Way We Live NowOn the ill-fitting suits: or […]

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  41. wow, thanks for helpng me explain my obsession with non spooks lovers

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  42. […] And thinking of that made me remember what Pam said back in the day when we were trying to figure out how we felt about the possibility that something was “off” in Lucas’s backstory: that no grebes are to be found in the Thames estuary. […]

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  43. […] might have had a different quality than his desire to have his posterior exposed in series 8, or to be forced to destroy that character construction as he was in series 9, before he was written out of the show. Additionally, the whole range of […]

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  44. […] blithely disrupts intensive characterization efforts by even the most assiduous actor (example: Spooks 9). In the end, however, this problem (“the drought,” as some have called it, another […]

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  45. […] episodes. (I wrote about this question — how to kill a character’s credibility, the way Armitage does with Lucas North / John Bateman in Spooks 9 — a long time ago as […]

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  46. […] any case, if measured only by number of WordPress comments, the post with the most is Yeah, I’m crying. Wanna make something of it? It’s an extended review of Spooks 9.7 (the episode with the Harry Pearce / Lucas North […]

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