Every so often, Spooks dives into the headlines and confronts religious extremism directly in the face. Unfortunately, this show is a simple beast, determined to keep us all happy with soap opera and explosions, so these are not always the complex issue explorations they want to be.
Well, it’s time for Spooks Vs Fundamentalism 2011, and since this is the final series, it may never happen again. How did they do?
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Last week, it was Dimitri’s spotlight mission, and this week the relatively new Erin gets her turn to hog the screentime. From the preview at the end of that last one, it seemed inevitable that her daughter would be somehow imperilled. Never one to disappoint, Spooks does exactly that, but holds back from a truly horrific outcome.
Aside from Erin’s angstcapades, we get a few stock characters from the fundamentalist terror camp. The basic plot is standard enough, but it doesn’t say anything new about the subject, certainly nothing Spooks itself hasn’t said the last few times they wheeled it out. I think they had extreme Christian terrorism during a past series, which was at least a fresher take.
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The ongoing CIA/Russia storyline, meanwhile, has become sluggish lately. Both this and last episode, they spent the whole hour confirming that the previous cliffhanger revelation is definitely true, which is a pedantic approach to drama. With only two episodes left, hopefully they’ll set the clipboard aside next week.
In the meantime, this was an okay episode, but Dimitri took his turn to bat with more focus and presence than Erin manages here; she’s mostly reduced to weeping at the sidelines whilst stuff happens around her. The climax was tense, but they didn’t get me empathising enough with Ashur to draw me into their ending.