Spooks: Going dark for the last time

First things first. Do not read this if you haven’t already watched every second of the final (sobs) episode of Spooks. Despite my best efforts I had a thing near the end spoilered in the week and  the emotional punch was weakened as a result. (It still made me cry even harder than I already was though.)

Alright then. Into the valley of death and the vale of tears we go…

In as much as one 60-minute episode can encapsulate ten years of genre-defining, distinctive, shocking (and sometimes very silly) television, this swansong was absolutely classic Spooks.

We had bluffs, double-bluffs, twists, sacrifices, fighter jets, loyalty, death, and those special Section D wormholes that allow travel over large distances in conveniently short periods of time. And, right at the heart of it all Harry and Ruth. More of them later though.

The Russian plot was neatly wrapped up. It wasn’t straightforward but it made sense (more sense than the Lucas North thing last year certainly). No prizes for guessing that Elena was the Big Bad. You can take the Borg Queen out of the collective… (as the saying doesn’t quite go).

Actually, I think perhaps Elena is colder and more calculating than the Borg Queen, but I haven’t seen First Contact in a while, and the fury I feel at her for causing Harry such pain may be impairing my judgement.

The writers get full marks for the misdirection with the suitcase on the plane, btw. After ten years, I really should know better, but I was completely suckered (even as I was wondering why the pilots were still speaking to air control when we’d been told they were out of contact) and I think there may have been about ten minutes when I forgot to breathe while the fate of the plane and Central London hung in the balance.

There wasn’t quite so  much of the Spooks trademark delicious dialogue as usual, but we can’t let Ruth’s line about the Women’s Institute wanting to interview Elena, Harry’s “This is likely to come up in your pay review” to Dimitri when the latter rescues him from the boot of a CIA SUV, or Calum’s brilliant synopsis of both the Rawalpindi briefing (and Spooks in general) “Bad people want to kill us” go past without honourable mentions.

Despite the bluffs and double-bluffs, the revelations about what really happened in the past and the drama in the skies, this was all about people. (I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see Ruth prove Elena totally wrong. She may be a brilliant analyst, but she does know people too, and she can see right through Mrs Gavrik.) So we deal with Harry and Elena, Elena and Ilya, Harry and Sasha, Elena and Sasha, and finally, Ruth and Harry.

For all I desperately wanted a happy ending for ‘Momma and Poppa Bear’, and think that the writers are bastarding bastards for killing Ruth, I also know in my heart it was the right ending for Spooks. To have them pootle off to a cottage by the sea would have been to betray a legacy that started with a deep-fat fryer and has never looked back. The only way to end was with business as usual – the bad people are never going to stop wanting to kill us, afterall.

It’s fair to say I started crying the moment Ruth’s breathing became laboured and didn’t stop as Harry visited the cottage in Suffolk, as Towers offered his unconditional support to Harry, or Tom Quinn appeared to sort out the ultra-nationalist (despite the spoilering, the appearance of Tom just made me cry even harder).

By the time we visited the Wall of Tears in the MI5 basement, I was basically a heaving puddle. It was the nicest memorial I’ve ever seen (if a little reminiscent of the secret wall at ER’s Cook County) and a lovely way to say farewell to all our favourite spooks.

I love that Spooks can still give me goosebumps, make me forget to breath and leave me snuffling into tissues. But, better to burn brightly and briefly, than fade away until nobody cares anymore.

For the final time then: “I’m going dark Control. Alpha one out.”

Posted (between sobs) by Jo the Hat


Filed under Spooks

11 responses to “Spooks: Going dark for the last time

  1. Charliecat5

    Great blog; one thing that upset me about this episode though, was that Tariq’s name wasn’t above Ruth’s on the wall of sobs… Has he been forgotten already?

    • Thank you! And Tariq was there. But someone else had died in between him and Ruth. C Thacker I think.

      • inkface

        CAROL THATCHER! OM & indeed G. There was even more of a twisty turny thing going on than any of us imagined.

        Seriously tho’ – tremendous finale and great write-up.

  2. I was a tad overwrought last night, and can’t believe I forgot to hat tip Peter Firth and Nicola Walker for their wonderful performances. So, please consider this a codicil and apology for taking their talent for granted.

  3. pauseliveaction

    Great post, JtH, fully doing justice to what was a fantastic episode.

  4. Jodie

    Personally I’d like to have seen Sasha stopped not killed. Ruth and Harry back on the Grid because the cottage by the sea wasn’t the life for them but yet we know they did end up together.

    • pauseliveaction

      I’d have liked to have seen Sasha survive and go and work for Section D. I rather liked Sasha, with his mad combover and his walk. He had a great walk.

      For me the saddest part of the episode was seeing Ros’s name on the Wall of Regret. Coming to the show rather late as I did (series 7), Ros was Spooks.

      • I’m pretty sure that Sasha was only shot in the leg… Anyway, I think we need to start a petition/occupy the BBC/send Ros to have a chat with the Head of Drama, and get them to reshow Spooks from the very start.

  5. Helen

    brilliant last episode that had me bawling like a baby. poor Ruth – but I guess killing the nicest spook ever was the best way to go for a huge impact.

    Thought we were going to get rather cheesy with Harry living in the seaside cottage so am glad he came to his senses and pretty much ran out of there!

    I knew Tom was going to appear and it was rather odd as I had that afternoon just seen MM in the new 3 musketeers film.

    ps i thought Sasha was only shot in the leg and therefore stopped not killed?

  6. Omar

    What are you talking about? Sasha was clearly shot in the leg, you see him fall and look at harry while he’s with Ruth.

    All I can say is the bbc should consider scrapping eastenders and create another programme like Spooks. Off topic but luther is great too. 🙂

  7. regards being shot in the leg – you can die from that if you hit a major artery or vessel .and they arent very near a hospital. so sasha could have died