Well, I finally did it. More than a year after watching up through Spooks series 9, episode 6, I watched the last two episodes about two weeks ago. I knew the plotlines, had seen the caps, and had watched video excerpts before. Two things came to mind: 2) Richard Armitage as Lucas North/John Bateman was brilliant, and, 2) the writers were on crack.
1) Brilliant Richard Armitage!–Of course he was. He gave us a heartfelt portrayal of a man self destructing with every bad decision that he could possibly make–allowing himself to be manipulated by that cretin Vaughn, lying to his colleagues, betraying them to a foreign power, kidnapping them, and then leaving them to twist in the wind. No one could have pulled off this nuanced powerhouse portrayal, but Richard Armitage. But RA had to twist and contort himself artistically so many times to make the illogic of the scripts work that it was painful to watch at times. I mean really, how does a man like Lucas be disgusted by Sarah Caldwell becoming a rogue spy during Spooks Series 8, when in essence, he is the same thing? So much for continuity. Lucas beating himself in the head when Malcom’s home was cleaned out because he was on to Lucas being compromised comes to mind. I was doing the same thing with each new Spooks series 9 episode.
2) The writers were on crack–we know this because of the implausible and illogical plot twists and turns. Let’s discuss a couple of those twists:
a) Spooks series 9 focuses on the central concept that Lucas is not Lucas North, but John Bateman who killed Lucas. John supposedly took the real Lucas’ place after the initial spy application stages had passed him to the hiring point. Does this ultra spy machine called MI-5 not do fingerprint comparisons of new recruits? Lucas and John weren’t even the same height–not even close. Check out the three inch shoulder height difference present despite the angle perspective of this cap in the graphic at right. Please! No wonder MI-5 has so many villains to go after if they can’t do the basics of law enforcement in terms of perpetrator identification. No, all Brits do not look alike. Hhhhh! Or did the Spooks casting people purposely choose the other actor because he didn’t look like Richard Armitage? That would help set the stage for my fan fiction exploring Lucas’ identity in “Lucas: True North” that I hope to serialize here on my blog in the fall. But the casting made little sense otherwise.
b) The Lucas North who put his life on the line for his country and colleagues in Spooks series 7 and Spooks series 8–not to mention those eight years in prison–counted for nothing? For nothing. Is that really the message responsible storytellers want to send? You can never reform yourself and make amends–so why even try to be and do good? What about Sydney Carton? Was Sydney wrong to give up his life to make amends? Oh sorry, that is a “literary” reference–not pertinent to the Spooks writers. I’m sorry. That was a low blow. Chalk it up to me being facetious.
c) Lucas/John suddenly wants to rekindle his old college love Maya who is now a doctor as if she is the only woman on the planet. Lucas/John isn’t using his brain, but his heart to guide him–or maybe something lower. Please! These two actors had some chemistry, but not much. Both of them were beautiful (her) and handsome (him), respectively. But love–like beauty–is more than just skin deep. And one picture of Lucas/John attempting to “roger” Maya on a picnic table didn’t do it for me. Like I always say, the only thing that should be hard in love scenes is not the furniture. Come on writers. If Lucas/John loved this woman with a tender yet burning passion, would he want her to get splinters? I think not!
d) And another thing, a successful doctor like Maya–let me say again, medical doctor–would not leave everything she has worked for professionally to go on the run with a man she hasn’t seen for fifteen years. Have women progressed so little that their best interests can be thrown out the window on a whim? I hope note. And if the sex with Lucas/John was that good, the writers didn’t give it to us–again the splinters. Nor did the writers even really convey the essence of why John/Lucas and Maya loved each other back then or now. Though Richard Armitage gave it his all in that slow kiss in episode 3. Sighhhh!
The Spooks series 9 writers eradicated Lucas North and all the good work he had done–the role model and example of courage through adversity, overcoming deep emotional and physical pain, working for the greater good. That was all gone. Scumbags! And in the end, the writers had our Lucas dissolving into a cry baby on the roof–who then throws himself off of that roof? No way! Lucas was made of stronger stuff that that. I want Lucas saving the world and making it safe time and again. I want my hero Lucas North back. Period. By the way, I give Lucas a parachute in my fic.
Tom had his graceful hero’s exit and so should Lucas.Lucas deserved better–and so did Richard Armitage. My oft mentioned theory is that the Spooks producers and writers were not pleased with losing their main star–Richard Armitage–to bigger and better things. Which at the time was the Strike Back Miniseries (series 1, of course) and maybe The Hobbit films. So rather than them thinking ahead about being able to capitalize on their future skyrocketing international star with cross promotions, my conjecture is that the producers and writers submarined the character of Lucas North in an annoyed huff. Very catty of them, if you ask me.
That said, I may certainly be wrong in my perceptions about the Spooks writers and producers intentions with regard to the Lucas North character in Spooks 9. But they gave us fans little else to go on but our perceptions since the twisted shift in the Lucas North character was a sucker punch into our stomachs as fans. It was a very low blow. Lucas was a beloved hero character–flaws and all in Spooks series 7 and 8–but he still strived to be good, to keep going despite enormous personal and professional struggles, and to fight the good fight. That is an example that we should all follow. We need more fictional/literary heroes like Lucas North to reflect and influence society. And we need more of the real, good guys like Richard Armitage who portray them.
Sorry, I know that I am late to the party, but I just had to rant. Ha! No Cheers! Grati;->
P.S. All images in the large graphic are from RANet, Spooks 9: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/Spooks9/album/index.html or Spooks 7-9 Promo page Gallery: http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/index4.html