Lucas: How do you get your hair like that?
Ashok: Go easy on the conditioner
Reviewing Spooks 8 is the closest I've gotten to making a lasting commitment. As a tv viewer I'm a bit of a floozy, and when reviewing it's easier to gush about what I love or love to hate. It's harder with vanilla, and everything on Spooks without RA was vanilla until the cling-wrap session with Ros. Unbelievably I've coughed up for 7 episodes, although ep3 was touch-and-go but I've compensated by giving ep6 double time. The painful part is having to pick apart why something didn't work - it feels like the reflective introspection after an argument when I turn on myself, "Was I too harsh about him begging to be Bella-man to her Edward?...Nah"
I feel woefully unqualified to review this episode about unresolved tensions between Britain and its former colonies India and Pakistan. So I'll try and approach it more generally as being about anger and prejudice. I used to think I had lots of one and little of the other, but after an oddly profound moment I realised it could be a chicken and egg thing.
Too bright to be London
Our extremist of the week is carrying around a whole lot of rage and X-men paraphernalia. I thought wrongly that his violent stabbing scene took place in a south Asian country, how was I supposed to know we were still in Britain? People were wearing off-white. For once it wasn't matching navy and black, the usual chromatic proclamation of a London setting. It even took me a while to figure out Midtone man wasn't the guy that got stabbed. Maybe his colour preference was meant to show which side he's really on, but it's hard to look badass in all that beige. Dhillon the demon football coach does a much more convincing job. I've always suspected extra-curricular team sports were a front for evil, if this guy had been at my school I would've ended up a stain on the floor the day I faked a stomach cramp.
Spooks 8 has been touching on the idea that unrelenting actions of MI5 agents can have severe consequences. It parallels the historical mistreatment of British colonies and current involvements in Asia and the Middle East giving storyline a broader scope. We saw some fallout for Ros after Jo's death and now we see it in how they handled this conflict. At first it's Ruth who balks at their treatment of a 17 year old, then we see Tariq cut up about that kid they phone-hacked. Lucas already threatened Ashok to turn up for the meeting and so forced him to pose as attacker and hostage-taker. Of course there's a reason for it that thousands more could die if it didn't happen, but for civilians threatened into a furious corner it is harder to accept certain death as a moral or civic duty. People balk at jury service let alone an accusing terrorist with a loaded gun. Which is why the audience is behind Ashok every step. All he wanted was to chase a ball around and suddenly he's got a microphone in his watch and receiver in his orifice.
As this week's innocent, Ashok was as interesting as Baisley and a whole lot better looking. Look at his peepers! He could be the new face of Maybelline mascara with those curlers. Having read up on series 7 on the net he should know that kids who rebel against their MI5 masters end up gunned down. Rant away but listen to the liarman, Ashok. In return it'll flesh out your character, win the sympathy vote and make that final showdown a far more thrilling experience for us all.
If I live through this it's going straight on facebook
This episode felt like only half of last week's one, much less complicated without Sarah drama. Last week they broke the bar, raised one half and lowered the other. On one hand it's comforting to see our MI5 agents back to their save-the-day spy selves. It's just a shame Ros is a stranger again after reactivating her Adamantium core, nevertheless it's a sacrifice I'd endure again to give Lucas back his groove. We can't avoid her forever...or can we? Would we be satisfied if Lucas/Sarah was resolved through text messaging?
Sarah: I kill u now, take off shirt 4 1 last look
Lucas: No plz, no kill. I <3 u : (
Sarah: I <3 u 2, BFFs 4eva? : )
Lucas: K LOL XOX
(continued here with Bzirk)
How about off-screen references Maris-style?
Ros: Enjoying the party Lucas? Where's Nancy Drew tonight?
Lucas: We broke up. I thought she was the one, but a man can only take so much frostbite. *Sob*
Ros: What. A. Pity.
Lucas: She has a hidden nurturing side, sometimes she'd toss me some lotion to rub on the rope burns.
Ros: *Rolls eyes* And Harry thinks I'm the one who should see a shrink.
Or replacing her footage with something more cuddly.