SPOOKS Series 9 Episode 8 Review

Spooks 9.08

SPOOKS Series 9 Episode 8 – The Spooks and Lucas North play a game of cat and mouse that ends series 9 on a whimper instead of a bang.

The series 9 finale kept me engrossed, barely wanting to blink in case I missed something important. This was the episode where we got answers – why was Lucas doing all of this? What was Albany? How would it all end? The problem is that those answers weren’t very satisfying.

After Vaughn’s death, Lucas had no real reason to get Albany, except to buy himself and Maya a new life elsewhere. With that goal in mind, he set up an elaborate scheme to track Harry Pearce, manipulate him into handing over Albany, and get away scot-free, while the rest of the team chased their tails.

It was a fairly good plan. The addition of Alec White, a mostly unlikeable former agent who Beth takes an instant dislike to, was a good one. The problem is that we don’t see him actually do anything. He brings results, formulates theories, has Tariq carry out one of his plans, but we only see the results when he has little left to do, making everything feel very anticlimactic. I can only assume that he was brought in now to be carried over to the confirmed series 10.

But this didn’t affect my enthusiasm whilst watching. I was gripped. The Lucas/Ruth interaction was fascinating to watch, especially when intercut with those unstable flashbacks that made Lucas look even more unhinged. When he told Ruth that he was only worried about her finding out his secrets, I was waiting for him to spin her a line, tell her he loved her, work Stockholm Syndrome into his plan and get her on-side. When he instead drugged her and left her to her possible death, I honestly feared for her life. Lucas was really looking like a cold-hearted bastard. But not cold enough to actually let her die, thanks to Maya.

It made Maya’s death vaguely interesting. My biggest problem with Maya is that she was brought in to act specifically as a catalyst for Lucas’ actions. We were told that he loves her, he told her that he loves her, Vaughn knew that he loved her – but we never really got to care about them as a couple. So Lucas’ grief at Maya’s death, right after she convinced him to do the ‘right thing’ and giving Harry Ruth’s location, made him seem more human and made us give a damn about Maya. And it was a nice little death scene too, reminiscent of the death of James Bond’s wife. I was half-expecting ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ to start playing.

And it was this human side that made us understand why he would threaten to blow up a tube station. (A ballsy move from the writers since the 2005 tube attacks are currently back in the news.) It also gave him a reason, albeit not a great one, to kill Harry. He supposedly blamed Harry for Maya’s death, and while this would have been out of character for the old Lucas, it was plausible for the unstable Lucas/John.

Lucas’ bomb being a fake made complete sense. He had the team away chasing their tails – still – and had Harry right where he wanted him. It was looking like Harry would die. The twist of Harry hearing a scream instead of a gunshot and realising that Lucas had jumped to his death was brilliantly done.

But this is where the episode unravelled for me.

We leave the Spooks of Section D in limbo. I’m not entirely sure whether they’re upset because they think Harry is dead or whether they know Lucas jumped. Either way, instead of some resolution like Harry going to see them all or us seeing the team picking up the pieces a few days later, we’re instead given a scene between Harry and the Home Secretary.

Albany was a fake. Harry telling Lucas that earlier could have stopped all of this. Harry telling the team that at the start of this episode could have stopped all of this. There was no reason for any of this to happen. It could be argued that Harry wanted to know who exactly Albany was going to or that he wanted to see what Lucas would do, if there was any hope of him being the ‘good guy’ again, but Harry has been at his job long enough to know better.

With Albany being a fake, the series just faded out: Lucas is dead and clearly not returning as an antagonist in series 10. The Albany weapon is a fake, so it wasn’t set up to be retrieved next series. Harry’s job is in jeopardy, but even if he loses it the events of the episode make it seem more likely that he and Ruth may get married, or if not, have an even tighter relationship. There was no goodbye to the team, no hint of their thoughts about the events of the episode or what they plan to do next. It just ended.

As I mentioned when I first started reviewing Spooks this series, I hadn’t watched many episodes in the past. I certainly haven’t watched entire series and have never see a series finale for this show before. This type of ending may just be the shows style, but as someone who had grown to love the series over the course of a mere 7 episodes, it was a disappointment for episode 8 to end on such a flat note.

But I’ll be watching the next series. The tone, style and casting of this show has me hooked. I’m willing to overlook the flaws of this episode and accept series 9 for what it was: a twisting, turning thriller that made the hero of the piece into the villain, something that very few television series on either side of the pond ever have the courage to do.

What did you think of the series 9 finale of Spooks? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Former spooks lover

    It is clear from reading this article that if you entered spooks only this series then you would love it. However, as a fan of spooks and having watched every series to date I can say that series 9 was a bit of a disaster. This finale has to be the worse one yet and I hated the turn of Lucas to the “dark” side, it completely unravelled previous storylines especialy Connie’s betrayal in series 7. Roz’s absence has been keenly felt and Beth definitely has not filled that space. All the new characters have not really been developed either making the viewer not really care about them as say we cared about Malcolm or Zak. Oh well one can hope for better in series 10.

  • Pixie

    Is Lucas really dead? We heard “an accident down below” and we saw Ruth crying (but she would have been worried about Harry) but we didn’t see a body (and they’ve never been shy of blood and gore before have they? Possible twist?

  • steve phillips

    LAST EPISODE IN FACT LAST TWO EPISODES WERE V DISAPPOINTING. NEW WRITERS – RAN OUT OF IDEAS – WHO KNOWS? BUT SOMETHING HAS GONE WRONG SINCE THE HEADY DAYS OF THWE FIRST FEW SERIES.

    THIS FINAL WAS PEDESTRIAN – WILL HARRY BE FIRED, WILL HE POP UP AS A CONSULTANT OR WILL HE BE AL AL QADEA MOLE! WHO CARES – SPOOKS HAS LOST IT’S EDGE. WHAT HAPPENED TO lUCAS nORTH – DID HE JUMP – I HOPE SO. WE NEED SOME FRESH IDEAS.

    SHAME – I WAS A FAN.

  • nissa

    I love this show too, but I was left as little flat with this finale as well. I think had they cast an actress Richard actually had chemistry with as Maya – it would have made a huge difference. I was just never convinced that he loved her above all else. That element would have at least made me see the “why” of all his actions: betrayal,letting the American girl die, kidnapping Ruth, etc. He supposedly did all of this for true love. And why would he not have killed Vaughn 6 episodes ago? Doesn’t make sense. But I am sooooooo sorry Richard is gone. He was such a very, very good spy.

  • Martin Waterhouse

    What a contradictory review. ‘Spooks’ is a piece of dramatic television entertainment and on that premise succeeds on all fronts. Moreover,it is in its 9th season and the law of diminishing returns still applies,but unlike say ‘Lost’ or ’24’ the quality of the show’s scripts and the excellent acting from the ever changing ensemble has more or less been maintained (I’ve been onboard since series 1)
    So, I would like to say that notwithstanding plot holes and flaws, stick your tongue in your cheek and be royally entertained … or go and review ‘New Tricks’ or some other contrived rubbish.
    Kind regards.

    • Spooks fan forever!

      I agree with all except your last sentence. Spooks was the best at keeping you on the edge of your seat. New tricks was hoot. Great characters, great acting, and great stories. Here in the states we only saw one or two seasons. Is it still on?

  • Betrayed

    Though I found this series gripping and the acting superb, I was disgusted by what the writers did to the character of Lucas North. In the last two series we saw him as a difficult and lonely man, but morally upright and noble to the core. It is utterly ludicrous that such a true hero could be a violent murderer underneath. This complete character assassination betrayed the viewers who had come to invest in Lucas over Series 7 & 8. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – looking around on Facebook and Twitter, there are a lot of angry viewers out there. I’ve watched Spooks from the very beginning and never missed an episode, but that’s it for me – I’m never watching it again…

  • westiemom

    i am going to eliminate the storyline of series 9 completely from my mind. The story was so full of holes and their was no chemistry at all between lucas and maya. It was a shame that they ended the season like this. Hoping he threw someone else of the roof an got away.
    Watche from the beginning with series 1, but I no longer will look forward to a new season.

  • Bring back credibility security

    Time for someone to blow-up “The Grid”….Spooks has turned into a now sporadically well plotted cross between the turgid .. save the world each episode of the new Dr Who and the sudsed-up The Bill….Such a pity….The Matthew Macfadyen era had grit and integrity….Forgive me for not actually knowing his back-story…but he came across with an authentic military(Special Forces at that) bearing….Upon his departure .. the show began a descent into glossy soap..and an apparent move to broaden its appeal to women…..Losing its superior/boy’s own quality…Good example of the show’s sad decline: the seriously gorgeous but utterly lacking in credibility Jo Portman character….Yeah right!…aspiring journalist to MI5 field operative(no comprison with the credible and haunting Zoe/Keely Hawes…Just doesn’t work!….Can’t believe Spooks is still on air and seemingly headed for a TENTH season….Seasons 1/2 and bits of 3 sadly missed/lamented…..

  • Spooks fan forever!

    I have read all 7 comments at the end of season 9, and am quite surprised. I have watched every episode from the beginning. Though I felt the series sagged a bit around season 4 and perhaps season 5, since then it has gotten steadily better, episode by episode. Season 9 is undoubtedly the best, because of all the unexpected plot twists and turns. I thought it might be the end of the line, but am glad to see Season 10 is in the works. I am concerned as to who will return. How can we go on without Harry, who should lose his job. Will Ruth be the new chief? She has the guts to do the job. Beth is a great addition, capable and caring. The new “consultant” can add color. In my view, Spooks/MI-5 is the best show of its kind…ever!