Ultimate Force

Season 4 Episode 4

Violent Solutions

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 25, 2008 on ITV

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • The episode where Ultimate Force (literally) lost the plot. ITV wouldn't even show it first time round - now I understand why.

    ITV started showing Series 4 of Ultimate Force in 2006, then after two episodes abruptly stopped, apparently due to poor ratings. Two years later they're showing the missing episodes, and although the first of them, "The Dividing Line", is a reasonably good yarn about fighting on the Afghan/Pakistan border, the second, "Violent Solution", is an absolute stinker.

    The plot - such as it is - consists of a gang of East-End drug dealers cheating (and killing) a gang of Dutch arms-and-drugs dealers at a meet in the obligatory disused factory, then hijacking an open-top tourist bus which (improbably) happens to be passing by. This happens in the first half hour, and is followed by 55 minutes of the most unbelievable hostage situation in TV history, as the gang leader parades on the top deck in full view of a dozen sharpshooters, while Henno and the local police commander go through the "we should kill 'em now" - "no, we're in charge here" banter that had by now been worn transparent with over-use in the previous three series.

    In fact everything about this episode is either worn out or just plain bad. Becca is (of course) on the inside, having sexual innuendos whispered in her ear by the gang leader. Red troop's sharpshooter has eye problems but doesn't want anyone to know because he's frightened of being stood down. There's that disused factory, a device so over-used in TV drama now that there surely can't be a disused factory left in England that hasn't had its own show. Henno and Louis stretch bullet-dodging credibility (much) too far on the upper deck of the bus, surviving a storm of machine-gun fire through the floor with nothing more than a sore leg for Louis. And there's a really terrible case of over-acting by the gang leader, who will surely not be including this on his video CV.

    Viewers who stayed the course (or cleverly flipped back five minutes before the end) were rewarded with a hefty dose of Ultimate Retribution, inluding Henno killing the nasty gang henchman by cracking his skull with a pistol butt then breaking his spinal cord, and Becca shooting the gang leader in the soft and squidgy bits (at least it shut him up). Then, of course, they just pack their kit away and head for the pub. After 90 minutes of this you'll wish you'd headed for the pub too. This was the episode where Ultimate Force, stripped back to bare, violent essentials since the start of Series 3, finally ran out of enough ideas to support even that. ITV made the right decision about it first time round.