Spooks: Series 9, Episode 7 – Dork Review

Spooks - Series 9, Episode 7This is what we’ve been building up to for the whole ninth series of Spooks. Lucas North’s nervous breakdown finally hits critical mass, and Harry has to wrestle with the fact that “John” simply isn’t an exciting enough name for his section chief. Meanwhile, incredibly, there’s time for a whole other case elsewhere.

But this is mostly about resolving six episodes worth of hinting and mumbling, so expectations are high. Did the Spooks team live up to them?

Evil John And The Black Armband

I wrote a few paragraphs in last week’s Spooks review about the mysteries surrounding Lucas North, and many of them are explained this week. Perhaps. It’s strongly implied towards the end that Lucas was not a reliable narrator, perhaps unknowingly so.

To be honest, I’m not taken by the idea that Lucas has some long-dormant nasty personality (“Evil John”?) that is now emerging. His declaration at the end of the episode implies that is where they are going, but I live in hope that it’s a bluff. Regardless, he seems too far gone for rehabilitation. I have prepared my black armband for a big Lucas/John death scene next week.

Oh, and I’m not sure they’ve convinced me of Lucas/John’s love for this “Maya” woman. I keep forgetting she exists whenever she’s off-screen.

Poor Lucas, Upstaged On His Big Day

But although the headline news is Lucas and his strange olden days haircut, he comes close to being upstaged by a secondary plot involving Ruth and a man who works for the council. I kept expecting it to dovetail with the main storyline, but it remained separate, seemingly thrown in to give characters other than Lucas and Harry something to do.

Which makes it sound cursory, but the climax of this subplot is one of the most intense scenes we’ve had on Spooks for a while. Kudos to Nicola Walker, playing Ruth, for unleashing some raw emotion, as well as her speech in the follow-up scene. All very good, and I note Ruth was in peril again during the trailer for next week, so perhaps all that is leading somewhere.

In short, another good episode, although whether I remember it fondly will depend on how they end it next time. I’m hoping they pull back on the Lucas/John personality change angle, myself. So, see you back here next week for one last Spooks review, and in the meantime, do check out the episode on iPlayer and comment below with any thoughts on the likely outcome.

More Spooks on Dork Adore | Spooks: Series 9, Episode 6 – Dork Review

Nick Bryan

Nick learned to read and write at an early age. This has developed into an unhealthy need to either write stories or consume them for later dissection. He reviews film and TV on Dork Adore and The Digital Fix, lives in London and enjoys a nice white beer.

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  • Orangedice

    I agree about the “maya” character, nothing in the story line has really worked for me. Wasn't it not so long ago “lucas” was in anguish regarding his Russian wife. His alleged affection for her just does not feel believable to me. I'm an American in love with this show. But, the destruction of Lucas because of his love for this woman….seriously!?!

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      Yeah, when Maya first appeared, I remembered his Russian wife from a few years back. I guess that must have happened between “Lucas” first joining MI5 and going to prison-land…

  • Dotsela

    Watched episode 7 again, and on second viewing you can see how Vaughn during the flashbacks is playing Lucas/John like a puppeteer, and a look on the Lucas/John of confusion/horror at his own handiwork….I think there IS wiggleroom for the writers to save John for next season….although if he really comes clean and confesses to building the bomb, surely Harry has to put him behind bars. So….John wouldn’t do that, would he? And therefore, he’d stay grey-ish, morally, so to speak….what a muddle….to lose Armitage just when they are finally giving the guy something to act….c’mon, damn them!

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      I think, sadly, what we're seeing here is a typical example of “actor only gets a really good storyline when they are being written out”. If this is his swansong, then at least he's getting a better deal than Adam did.

  • Geoff76

    slightly dissapointed with the way lucas/john is turning out, i had hoped he would repay harrys faith and trust in him but ny the looks of next weeks episode it doesnt look like it… Wouldnt mind a happyish ending to a series for a change but inm still gripped bigtime… always knew there was something funny bout lucac….

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      After all these years, I'd be surprised if he doesn't grapple with his conscience a little next week, rather than going full tilt evil… But yeah, I doubt he'll be coming back to Section D as if nothing happened.

  • Blabeuse

    I watch Spooks on and off – always impressed by the high quality of the serie and of the actors who bloom in it but I can’t get hooked because it’s so bleak – seriously if they are good, they die, if they live, they betray, cheat, kill (the wrong people…) or worse…is it all a metaphore that unless you start the on the job already bald (ie Harry) you can’t really survive your forties…so now that we have a spy who’s so bad he’s good maybe just maybe for once he’ll get redeemed and will avoid the fate of all his predecessors…

  • http://twitter.com/londonali1010 Lady P

    I'm still holding out hope that Lucas has somehow managed to get himself embroiled in a deep-undercover plot to expose the traitorous nature of someone like, say, the Prime Minister…Something so dark and dangerous that he couldn't even tell Harry about it. You know, an elaborate triple-(or something, I've lost count)-cross that will end up with him being forgiven and welcomed back to Thames House a hero. With a guarantee that he will never, EVER die.

    *Sigh*

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      I was wondering if Evil John might end up staying on as some kind of villain for next series, but realistically, I suspect he's dead meat. Pulling off an “it was all for the greater good” reveal now would be hideously difficult.

  • picallilliprincess

    is this the last spooks ever – or is another series planned?

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      There was a trailer at the end of last night's episode, a new series is coming in 2011. Hoorah.

  • Bruce Upson

    sad sad old beeb.

    i know that our M I services are a bit daft at time times but this, Spooks used to be good far fetched but just about believable. but this is complete rubbish.the only one who should shot in this, is the writer.executed for insulting the spooks fans intelligence.

    too far fetched rubbish

    i have just watched the ending of this week total cobblers

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      I think it's been a fair few years since Spooks was “just about believable”. It's been verging on science fiction since about series three or four.
      So yes, the Lucas/John saga was a particularly convoluted exercise, but it's that much of a new low. In my opinion, anyway.

  • Jane 222

    I am seriously not happy that Richard Armitage has been killed off – for gods sake spooks can't we PLEASE keep the good, sexy ones for once! Why oh Why do they keep killing off the leads!??!
    And as for Harry Pearce being up for the high jump ….grrrrrrrr

    • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

      I think in British TV-land we only seem to be able to keep our handsome leading men for about three years, then they get bored. (See also: Doctor Who.) And I don't actually know whether they'll get rid of Harry. It would be a good storyline to end on if series ten is the last one.

      • http://www.dorkadore.com Katie

        That's why I haven't watched Spooks for years: I'm still sulking about Matthew Macfadyen leaving.

        • http://nickbryan.com/ Nick Bryan

          I think the first two series with Matthew Macfadyen were the best by far. I just don't mention it often in the reviews, lest it make me sound (more) like a bitter nerd.

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  • Johnbrown1000

    Ive always liked the plots etc that come along with each new series bur after the finale to this one do harry and ruth get married and retire to the country and live happily ever after I think not…

  • Tollek

    It would have been great to have been able to download this episode because my Sky+ HD box fouled up again and did not record it. Consequently I do not want to watch episode 8. So much for technology: looks like I will have to buy the boxed set!!!

    • Chris

      Too bad you don't live in the US and have access to Netflix. Well worth it for streaming what is known as “MI-5″ due to political correctness.