After eight nailbiting episodes, the BBC’s Spooks has ended its ninth series. Former lead spy Lucas North has finally flipped, and when someone goes round the bend in Spooks, they don’t just sit in their room making obscene paper dolls.
No, Lucas leaps straight from handsome hero to rogue agent and treasonous terrorist. Is it the hand-wringing action epic we’ve all been hoping for? (Oh, and caution: I may spoil, or at least imply, the ending of the episode. Watch it on iPlayer before reading.)
Lucas North – Man Of Action
They’ve been trailing this Lucas/John storyline since the first episode of the year, so the finale had to be a super-dramatic event. And sure enough, I was glued to my little plastic seat, waiting to see who might die, only sometimes noticing that surely this ridiculous plotline doesn’t make much sense.
As well as Richard Armitage getting a workout as Lucas, Peter Firth ended up really going through it this week. His Harry Pearce is the beating heart of Spooks, and it always feels tense whenever he’s in danger. To be honest, the bulk of the episode was a back and forth between those two, somewhat to the exclusion of almost every other character.
The exception being Ruth, who would never be left out of a Harry-focused storyline. And she was good too, though she didn’t steal the show like she did last week.
The Bigger Picture (Look It Up, Harry)
So, an exciting ending. I’d have liked a little more clarity on the final fate of Lucas, and some of the contrived spy schemes would surely have required psychic powers to actually work? Especially the one where Lucas enacted a plan that relied on Ruth going out to a field operation, something that doesn’t often happen. Oh, and Lucas was suspiciously well equipped for a rogue agent.
Of course, by far the most exciting news is that my Spooks Series Nine Death Pool was amazingly close to being correct! So, um, I wouldn’t click on the link to that unless you’ve seen the episode, as it may constitute a spoiler even though I wrote it in September.
Coming a close second in the news stakes was the snazzy post-credits trailer announcing that there will be a series ten. Which leaves us with questions, such as: Will the cliffhanger of this episode really take out Harry? Is this Alec chap a new regular character? Whatever happened to Beth’s “shady past”?
Leave your answers in the comments below, along with your thoughts on the episode and whether it lived up to your expectations. And thanks for reading and commenting on the reviews this series, everyone. It’s been fun.
More Spooks on Dork Adore | Spooks: Series 9, Episode 7 – Dork Review
Alec will stick around I think – he's ruggedly handsome and will be a good foil for the pretty boy looks of Dimitri (see, always thinking about eye candy me!). Overall, yes, I liked it. I was sufficiently nervous (although the death of Maya was always going to happen) and it all sort of wrapped itself up.
Nick Bryan says
I guess Alec could be replacing Lucas as the male lead, but usually they go for someone a bit more straight-forwardly handsome for the Adam/Tom/Lucas role. I didn't see the death of Maya coming, but that's just possibly because I continued to forget she existed whenever she wasn't on screen.
My death pool had Harry dying in this final episode to save Ruth/the team/the nation, so I was on the edge of my seat for those final scenes … to be honest I felt Lucas/John crumbled far too quickly and completely … though since we've not seen the body on the ground, it *could* be someone else …
… the point about Harry is that there hasn't been anyone obvious to take his place as section leader, and there still isn't. Alec would seem a very strange choice, and putting in Ruth or, worse, someone we've not really seen before, would be jarring.
And having half a season of Harry in front of House sub-committees and investigative boards is going to be really dull (even if they make it a flash-back series, which would suck), so finding out what season ten is going to be like, and who is going to be in it, …. hey, how about another section leader, played by Helen Mirren? Now *that* would work, and some definite sparks between her and Ruth …
Nick Bryan says
I imagine the Harry hearings will probably be either resolved at the very start of next episode (as is traditional for Spooks cliffhangers) or left in the background until the very end. There's no way they'd give us a whole year of it. I assume they'll need to introduce a new character to take over as section chief, as I don't see any of the current ones doing it…
You can always tell when a series is nearing the end of its shelf life – it just gets impossibly silly. Quite exciting though!
A look on the bright side for fans of Richard Armitage: He once commented that he hoped he'd be able to come back in a later series as a disabled person in a wheelchair. So, who knows, maybe they will take the opportunity to bring him back with a pair of wheels. As written by many others before me “we didn't get to see the body”.
I wouldn't count on Beth's “shady past” being a part of the storyline; I find that the writers have left other lines unfinished before. To name just one: in series 7, with the Russian connection, Connie blows herself up in the end. But Bernard Qualthrough (sorry, didn't check the spelling of his name) who functions as a spy in the Sugar horse affair, is never talked about again after that.
Michael J. Reeves says
Actually, IMHO, a better twist on the fate of 'Lucas North' is the assumption that the body found after a 20+/- story fall as depicted in the final episode is that of our rogue agent. What if it isn't? What if, instead, Lucas planned ahead w/ a body dressed as he was, and he just dumped and disappeared? I am reasonably sure that the physical remains would not be identifiable visually? Whether or not the agency would attempt to perform other methods of identifying our rogue agent, and how long such fail-safe measures would take…
Plots-within-plots… Maybe I should write the resurrection of 'Lucas North/John Bateman”????
Nick Bryan says
I don't think Spooks has yet resurrected someone who has died on camera (or almost on camera) yet. Maybe that's the one barrier of semi-realism that they still aren't willing to cross…
Loved this season, thank goodness the shaky cam is gone! I hope it doesn't return next season – this properly shot season was gorgeous. 🙂
I live in Australia and tonight I just saw the final episode of series 9 play out on ABC TV. (21st May 2011).
My question which I wanted to defer until now is, how on earth did Malcolm (when he was with Lucas and at the time 'dig up' the Albany file), know to call him “John” and then quickly say something like “sorry old habits”, yet Sir Harry did not know at all, and had to bang the table when he found out that Lucas was actually John Bateman.
I waited to the last episode to see if the answer would pop up…. but it didn't.
Malcolm's knowledge really intrigues me. As does his sudden disappearance act which near gets a rarration from the mainstream characters, or prodtagonists.
Denial is such an amazing element in current drama….
I think you missed the point of the use of “John”. Malcolm just picked the first name he could think of. It just happened top be Lucas's real name. That was the irony. The “old habits” that Malcolm was referring to was the idea that spies never use real names with common folk.
There's a scene towards the end of this one that's uncannily like a scene Richard Armitage did as Guy of Gisburne in Robin Hood. I won't say which it is, in case of spoilers, but when I was watching, I thought, “Wonder if he's amused at doing the same scene in two very different shows?”
Nope…that was the end of Season 7. Season 10 (the final season) is in production now. We’re still waiting for seasons 8 & 9 to hit Oz.
Michael J. says
For those w/ a Netflix membership, all 9 seasons are available for ‘Instant Play’ or on DVD.