Season 5 Episode 4

Episode 4

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 02, 2006 on BBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
53 votes
  • Debut review - Spooks is an excellent show but after Series 4 it needed an episode like this to take the show back to basics. In its previous absence, I felt something was slightly lacking but this episode is a breath of fresh air flowing back into Spooks

    Spooks is a superbly crafted show. Well thought out, very close to what one feels the truth of the UK Intelligence service might be, sometimes so very close to the bone. Countless moves and twists in plots, 2nd guessing, MI-5 lives on the line and indeed, often taken.

    For me though, one thing had become far too apparent in the show. That MI-5 lives were now constantly being threatened and at times, taken. Whilst all those episodes are still exciting and gripping to watch, the feeling of the show becoming "samey" began to take with me. We know that each week an MI-5 agent isn't going to be taken and thus, to keep on threatening them begins to make you feel....why bother, you know they'll end up safe.

    This episode took the show back to the very basics. The surveillance techniques, the playing top officials off with one another, the manipulation of situations (I love the way they cut the power off when the Ice Hockey is playing too loud for the Spooks to here them.)

    Also, the twist, upon twist, upon twist, within a twist. The scripting was ideal, the subject matter of Africa and poverty was also a refreshing change from previous terrorist plots etc. And then the final moral dilemma which the final decision backfires on Adam in many ways.

    So many intertwined situations and emotions. Ruth and Harry at the end. Ros' excellent manipulation of Styles. Zaf's ability to adapt to any role (agency worker this week :-) he undertakes in his MI-5 position.

    Many have felt that Adam hadn't quite captured that feeling of top dog, which Tom had previously given us. This episode, if not changed that, then re-enforced it. As this style of episode (one where MI-5 agents lives weren't continuously threatened and was more about Spooks looking out for other departments) was more regular in earlier seasons and something Adams character hasn't benefitted from.

    Although maybe others wish to see Spooks threatened in every episode, (this episodes lower rating to others in this series seems to suggest that) I don't and I felt that this will be one of my favourite episodes of this excellent 5th run.

    Long may Spooks continue and we get more episodes of this nature....frequenting back to basics sometimes helps a show mature even further.
  • One of those stories that Spooks does so well - takes you first in one direction and then twists you so hard round to the other. Good character development. A good, solid episode. Spoilers below.

    This episode started like other Spooks before it - the setup was a reasonably topical event hosted in the UK to aid countries in Africa, and our heroes was providing security for the event. Bit of a procedural, quite solid. What I like was the twist upon twist - maybe you saw them coming, but I think they still led the story well.

    It started out straightforward, and then it twisted once to needing to persuade the US not to scupper the whole signing. Looked intriguing enough to fill the episode, plenty of underhand skullduggery by the Americans, selling arms and putting a behind-the-scenes kibosh on something that wasn't in their best interests. Fairly typical fair now for Spooks' handling of the the US' influence in the world. And we got to see Roz doing her job.

    It twisted again to reveal the presence of a possible assassin. Someone trying to derail the event by killing a key African player. Well handled once more, got to her in the nick of time.

    And then the twist within a twist. The man she was planning on assassinating was planning genocide, using weapons purchased from the Americans. This would happen, particularly now they had all signed in a blaze of publicity. He would be regarded as a hero. What to do. A conumdrum. This is the same question that was raised in the previous episode but a little less shades of grey - to kill one person to save many. Last week's was coloured by the possibility of killing the wrong person, this week's was about state-sponsored assassination. Should they do it? And, more importantly, coulld they do it with plausible deniability? Could there have been another way?

    Just as I was resigned to how this episode playing out - and yes, cheering when the 'bad guy' got his commuppance, I was not expecting to feel quite so upset with the assassin was shot - what a b*****d that UK bloke turned out to be! I didn't even need Adam's Fiona flashbacks to be upset, though really that just showed us how deeply affected he still is.

    I was pleased Harry had something on the UK bloke. Harry must have something on so many people now ;)
    Who has something on Harry?

    And usually I don't watch the 'in next week's episodes' for any show, but come on! Do not do anything to Ruth!!

    (My apologies for terrible memory of character names, I'm still not 100% on the central characters, nevermind supporting ones).
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