Friday, November 27, 2009

Spooks 8 - 4 Yay!

Happy hump episode 4. Since seeing the preview I've been chewing my nails. Will it pay off the high not-RA to RA screen-time ratio I've endured waiting for my date with Lucas' inner demons? Finally an episode which clarifies his complex backstory using the whole Richard Armitage package instead of just point-and-shoot action. Any Tom Tariq or Harry could handle that.

Blue Lucas

On the day it screened my panic escalated. What if the writers stuff it up? What if they keep clapping Lucas and his booty call together for smooches and smack-up? What if she falls in love and grows a soul! No way, I don't want guilty twinges while plotting her downfall.

I snuck a peak at an RA forum where people were posting live commentaries. The squees rang thick and fast. "It's wonderful, RA is wonderful, gush gush! Oh and by the by, Sarah Caulfield is evil." I've been very calm up to now but YES!!!! I knew it! I was madly two-fisted air punching all over the place, and why shouldn't I, I was RIGHT!

This episode is all about trust and domination. Lucas' primary Russian torture master has found his way to London, contacts his old slave and wants ...something. I'm sure it was important, but I was preoccupied with Lucas' mental journey. The first time Lucas sees his old torturer Oleg again it felt quite ritualistic, re-establishing a wary unhealthy bond; Lucas is ordered to strip and put on a boiler suit before Oleg will appear before him.

Very Francois Truffaut

Seeing Oleg again draws disturbing memories to the surface and we get glimpses of his horrific past. Let's not delve too deeply into topics of perverted intimacy or trauma-bonding from torture. It's a sickening topic that I'd rather repress than dwell on, and it seems Lucas agrees. The producers have decided that to visually enhance the connection between Lucas' past and present, he should be given gulag-star accommodation.

See the misery and exposed pipes of his Russian cell? Cut to present day and Lucas now inhabits in some kind of decrepit warehouse. The kitchen has bars like a prison. Exposed pipes and wires run all around it, and there's a miserable-looking creeping vine.

Oleg in Lucas' kitchen prison feeling right at home

His love nest has horrible exposed pipes, wires, beams. Like so many half-buried memories, sigh.

The face-off relay in his flat made my jaw drop. It's deliciously tense, dramatic and enthralling. Between Lucas and Oleg there is a fragile intimacy and wariness as Lucas struggles to calmly do his job and Oleg dances around giving tidbits of info. When Sarah Caulfield stumbles in, the scene explodes with danger and accusation. The later confrontation between Lucas and Sarah is electrifiying. When she's also shown the door that's my cue to start breathing again. Whew!

Left alone in his flat Lucas revisits a time he gave up hope and confronts the dark part of himself repressed for so long. Rather than depressing I found it bravely cathartic. It was the emotional release needed after the volatile stand-offs. What a marathon performance. This is the sequence where I was too lost in Lucas' inner life to give a damn about plot holes or corny lines.

Or Sarah Caulfield. I have to sheepishly admit now I'm warming to his booty call. She's sneaky and evil, EVIL! Boy if looks could kill, shut up and give us more death-stares. There is some interesting editing at the start where they intercut scenes of Lucas dreaming of Sarah while Oleg escapes from a detention centre. OMG, does this forshadow how Sarah and Lucas' relationship will develop? That Lucas will perpetuate the slave behaviour and always fall for cruel, manipulative women who prefer to be on top? Suddenly Lucas' strip club crawling doesn't seem so unhealthy.

Run Lucas, she's a shover

It's a good thing we've had to wait for this fire-cracker episode; if it had come earlier the rest of the series would be such a let down! I don't look forward to RA going back to being a glorified extra again like he was in ep 3. My standards have changed.

I went to a Spooks forum where I expected to find the long time Lucas-booing fans suddenly sitting up with a newly discovered urge to rewatch Lucas bits over again. I wanted to stand over their stammering wowing and gloat so hard that my head explodes all over their Hairy and Ruth-shipping faces. That'll show them what RA can do. See what happens when you let him flex his powers of brood?!

But no. As I read page after page of "Hairy and Ruth" my disbelief grew and grew. I thought RA fans were blinkered; these people are chronic!! Their minds have filtered out the best performance of the season and upped a 2 minute scene on a park bench to sum up the episode! HELLLOOOOOOOOO??? Did we not ride the same emotional rollercoaster of what's-his-name Lucas? Talk about deflating, gift horse in the bum shot and all that. Maybe he's too good for this show.

Oh well. I wonder if this is how Jonas fans felt about RA's Guylovers on Robin Hood? Is this karmic retribution for scene stealing the heck out of that one? I suppose you can't win over everyone. I now have a new sequence to add to my favourite RA scene list.

  • The proposal in North and South
  • The necklace blackmail in Robin Hood
  • The Lucas/Oleg/Sarah face-off in Spooks 8/4


Mulubinba said...

Ragtag - excellent review!!!!! I too loved the Lucas/Oleg/Sarah showdown. I was rather hoping Lucas would have been strong enough to maintain his split with Sarah .... but we wouldn't have the tension in the storyline if this was the case. I sincerely hope he is strong enough to resist her!! (Interesting the way RA plays characters who seem to be manipulated by women with ulterior motives ... I'm reminded of the Guy/Marian dynamic).

I visited the Spooks dedicated forum you mention at the beginning of the week and it is all too true - Hairy and Ruth continue to dominated the discussion with only cursory references to RA's superlative performance. (Mind you a few of the RA forums could focus on nothing but peaches so I am wondering what is worse!).

Magnificent work RA! Great review, Ragtag!

Mulubinba said...

MTA: According to Ian Wylie (Manchester News), Lucas wears leathers in episode 5.........

Starheart said...

Thanks Mulubinba,
I knew you'd mention the parallel to Guy/Marian! Yeah it's interesting huh how both Sarah and Marian use him for their own reasons. How about that creepy look on Sarah's face when she hugged him, it gave me the shivers! Like the look on the monsters face before it eats the victim. He's getting ensnared tighter and tighter though. I don't know whether he is giving her the benefit of the doubt before that hug or whether he just can't help himself cos he's so darn needy. Not that i'd blame him if he was, still, cos he's obviously damaged goods.

Phylly3 said...

I truly do love to read your take on things! Excellent review as usual. Interesting about the set design in his apartment, I thought it looked a bit spartan too, but I didn't tie it in with the prison look. Good call. I also like your take on the dream sequence, I was thinking that too, about her being on top...but what's with the rose petals? Red, the colour of blood or passion... That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet-- Sweet? She reeks!! I feel exactly the same as you about him being so needy he can't help but fall into her trap!

Sarah Hilary said...

Excellent review of the episode and you must be reading the wrong Spooks forums because where I hang out the RA contingent is HUGE. And rightly so. I'm secretly hoping that Lucas sees through Sarah - helped along by the fact he saw her creepy cold-rice-pudding face during pov sex with flashback to evil torturer - that was a clue from your self-conscious, Lucas. Also, she overplayed her evil, boss-balcony-thrusting hand when she came out with, "I love you so much," at the end there. I like to think he saw her cold stare of doom reflected in one of his shiny exposed pipes or bars. Almost as big a clue as Harry's hopeless smile of misdirection when he said, 'I have no idea,' while flanked by his reflection of double-faced doom. I hope Harry's exposed - finally - as a traitor. Also, a friend of mine pointed out that the Stockholm Syndrome speech was sweet coming from the man who's provoked it in most of his team. Except Ruth, of course. All she's got is piles from the constant bench dating.

Maria Grazia said...

Great review, indeed! I too thought that flat looked like a claustrophobic prison and tried to interpret Lucas' nightmare at the beginning of the episode as a premonition of Sarah's will to dominate him and her being as dangerous as Oleg. But you wrote it superbly. Well done, indeed! Tonight is Spooks 0805! Lucas wears leathers ? Has that got a hidden meaning I can't catch? What does "wearing leathers" mean?

Mulubinba said...

Ragtag - you are famous!!! C19 has linked you in the "reviews" thread in their Spooks folder. That is a compliment of no mean order from those ladies.

Have just watched episode 5 - it is a nail biter!!!!

Phylly3 said...

@Maria - Lucas is actually wearing leather (besides his usual jacket). He is dressed in a leather outfit as a motorcycle delivery guy. (There is even "glove porn")LOL
@Mulubinba - a nail biter is right!! I just destroyed my nails again! Episode 5 is very exciting -- in fact I liked it better than the last one! Wow! If it keeps getting better, I'll need to wear gloves too! :D

Starheart said...

OMG this is a record number of comments in one day! How exciting!

@Phylly3 I've heard people say it's a reference to American beauty. If it's true, it ties together a middle aged man who rediscovers his zest for life in an infatuation with a teenager. Hmm, there are connections but not THAT convincing. Maybe the rose petals just represent the blood of her victims, or because roses have thorns and she's prickly too.

@Sarah Hilary: I loved the way Hairy's 'reflection of double-faced doom' slithered across the glass, even half expected it to cackle at him like the green goblin. It would've been handy for setting up an insanity plea if your Canary Hairy dream comes true. "Pointy faced mirror man made me do it!"

@Mulubinba, that's cool. I do have a profile on C19 but I'm more of an occasional lurker. I know, my bad. Still not used to forum and blogland. Sometimes it's like stepping inside the tardis and finding neverland.

bZirk said...

You took the words out of my mouth about Truffaut. The 400 Blows definitely came to mind while watching.

Oh, and I agree with Phylly3. Ep 5 is great! I didn't think it could get better, but it does! I can hardly wait for next week.

Phylly3 said...

Did anyone catch my reference to "glove porn" as coming from the Big Guy picspam on Eleveth's Journal?
I wish she would come back and do more for episode 3. Her comments are just hilarious!
Anyway somebody needs to post a screen cap from Spooks episode 5 with the one from RH season 1!!

Starheart said...

@phylly3 I'm pretty sure i'll get round to it, but Mulubinba, RiCrAr or Armitage Admirer will probably beat me to it!

Avalon said...

Good review, cant wait to see this....

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

I still haven't seen any of the new episodes, but I read the spoilers on purpose because I have no self control. I love your reviews the best. This one gave me more insight to ep. 4 than any other... plus, it's fun to read. :)

Anonymous said...

Re: The Glove Porn screencap. At C19 one of the illustrious ladies have already done a signature with the two pictures of RA and glove porn ... the one from RH and the recent one from Spooks. One wonders whether the recent leather/glove scene was meant for his ardent admirers.

Starheart said...

kara52 yes i saw that one! I saw on RACentral a signature with RA that looks like it was taken from Strike Back!!! Don't know if it's a real pic or was photoshopped.