JUMPING on the bandwagon of Harry Potterâs apocalyptic marketing campaign this summer, the TV adverts for the final series of Spooks have been haunted by the phrase: âThis Is The Endâ. [capitalisation of every word is vital, of course.] These days, thereâs a little bit too much love for endings â especially as the world is supposed to be ending next year. And thatâs a horrible bandwagon to jump on.
Talking of bandwagons, if you were teased into watching Spooks for the very first time last night, you would have been thoroughly confused. Bamboozled, even. Conboozled and bamfused at the same time. Last nightâs opener required a lot of pre-knowledge of the past nine series, in particular the most recent where the legendary Harry Pearce (Peter Firth) is ousted from the circus for putting personal matters first and revealing state secrets.
Itâs clear from the very beginning that this tenth series is very much concerned with the life and times of Harry Pearce â which is only appropriate as heâs the beating heart of the show. Heâs practically a national treasure; a stalwart of patriotism, loyalty and honour. For some, heâs a father figure. For others â a young Russian assassin called Sasha for example, Harry is a father. Yes, it was revealed at the end of last nightâs opener that Harry has an estranged Russian son. A son that wants to kill him. Daddy issues, daddy issues.
Poor old Spooks hasnât had it easy in the pre-season build-up. The BBC have thrust it head-to-head against the mighty Downton Abbey, and this final run also coincides with the release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy at the cinemas. Spooks and Tinker are worlds apart, but that doesnât necessarily mean that one is brilliant-fantastic-amazing and the other is âcrapâ?, as John Le Carre said of the BBC show earlier this week.
Spooks is mainly critiqued for its lack of realism, which is quite frankly stupid as it never masquerades as a realistic representation of life in the secret services. Sometimes realism can equate to boredom, and I found parts of Tinker very tedious. Maybe Iâm being a little over-protective as Iâve followed Spooks from the very beginning, but this long running series with compelling storylines, gobsmack twists and complex characters is definitely not âcrapâ?.
In such a tense and uptight series, moments of comic relief are rare but essential. Last night, when asked if he had ever considered a life away from MI-5, good old Harry sharply retorted with, âat one particularly dark moment, I actually considered gardeningâ. The Home Secretary is particularly funny. He is the most bumbling of bumbling fools and can only be compared to floppy-haired Boris Johnson: the King of bumbling and foolery. The Home Secretary almost breaks (under) cover when he addresses Ruth by her real name, instead of her made-up special operation name. âOH BALLS, did I ruin everything?â he says, bumbling.
The storyline for the next five episodes looks absolutely thrilling. Cold War enemies Harry and Gavrik (Johnathon Hyde, Jumanji, Titantic) are forced to become friends, as the UK âis getting into bed with Russia.â? The last time Harry got into bed with Russia, Sasha was conceived. Who knows what will happen this time? There will be death, drama, tears, bizarre gadgets, explosions, chases and lots of tension. Spooks is going out with an almighty bang. This Is The End … of my review.