Chauvinist of another kind — SPOILERS

I’ve had a difficult time writing about Lucas North, and I had not fully understood why. There’s been the occasional post about Spooks and some RA interviews concerning Spooks, but mostly Lucas has been ignored. I wonder how many noticed the glaring omission of Lucas on the page Who is Richard Armitage? I didn’t even realize it until a couple of weeks after I posted, and since then it’s been my intention to make him part of it. But I’ve never been able to find a clip that I really liked — that really moved me.

And even though I’ve made a few comments about Lucas, it’s been really difficult to be snarky about him, and if you’ve read this blog for more than an entry or two, you know that snark reigns here. I suppose that’s due to the very serious issues I grapple with on a daily basis. If I didn’t become snarky, it would probably eat my lunch. Well, that and SO is such a challenge. He’s persuasive, very good on his feet, and rarely can I put him in check with my words unless I say something like, “I’m pregnant,” to which he becomes speechless with a huge grin on his face. The rest of the time, I have to keep up with him, and I’ve loved learning to keep up with him. He is my Alpha male with a little Beta thrown in, but I love that he’s predominantly Alpha. That Alpha allows me, among other things, to be snarky with him. Alpha can handle it, but a male who is too much Beta is a drain. Too much Beta carries a neediness that’s just irritating and could never take a joke — not really. Plus, too much Beta just feels like a girlfriend, and I don’t want to go to bed with a girlfriend.

It’s only when Beta is juxtaposed with a lot of Alpha that it becomes fascinating and serves the wonderful purpose of also highlighting Alpha. This is what I loved about John Thornton. That big bear of a man had a sensitivity that allowed him to take note of Margaret’s movements serving tea or to make himself vulnerable to his mother after his rejection, or to develop a fondness for the Boucher boy who was learning to read. But first and foremost, John Thornton was a strong man. If he had not been, then his sensitivity would not have been nearly so dear. It was certainly this strength coupled with his appreciation of the finer feelings that wowed me. Lucas was none of that or didn’t appear to be. I’m not saying I wanted another John Thornton, but I did want to see something other than a guy who was a drain.

From the beginning Lucas was a victim, which would have been fine if he had been redeemed as a man. But as it was, he was not really treated as a man. That was reserved for Ros, and Ros had her own kind of domination over Lucas. It’s my opinion (yes, it’s just my opinion like most things on this blog) the inference that the relationship between Harry and Lucas is sexual is really about Lucas placing himself in a posture of subjection and being needy of Harry, needing Harry to affirm him like a father or as only a strong male can affirm another. All of that would have been great for laying a foundation to the redemption of Lucas.

But then we get to Series 8 where he reverts to being manipulated by his former captor and temporarily switches his focus for affirmation to Sarah, who no doubt was quite the Alpha — definitely a ball buster– and Lucas wanted it so badly. Then it was found out by MI-5, and Lucas is told to play her along, which puts him between his potential redeemers. That became so wearying and the neediness never more evident than when he’s on the floor with Sarah’s gun pointed at his head and he whispers, “Take me with you.” Phew, that has an ick factor. Bark off the tree. I HATE that scene, and it was also the one which made it clear that I liked Lucas even less than Sarah. So when he got to the scene where he said he was disgusted by her, I didn’t believe him. He was too wishy washy to be really disgusted — for long anyway. Sarah had something he wanted — some balls. Even Ros was the one who had to take Sarah down at the end.

All of this has had me dreading anymore Lucas love affairs. In fact, I read this article and found myself nodding at this comment, “His current camaraderie with Beth is much more interestingly and engagingly written than his love affairs have been, and I don’t think the “Who is John?” story needs a romantic dimension when Iain Glen and Richard Armitage seem to be doing brilliantly without it. However, a romantic dimension is what we’re going to get. Oh well.”

But I was wrong, and I’m so glad I watched anyway. He is no longer just a victim so desperate for affirmation that he subjects himself to domination by his superiors and love interests. It’s a somewhat unexplained change from the other series, but I love it. Becoming head of section D helps set the stage for a more forceful Lucas, and then as he encounters his past, it becomes clear he is becoming a man who has wants as well as needs, and his wants will not be denied. He makes it clear he will not be bullied by Vaughn, and then there’s Maya. He’s bent on getting to her, and nothing is going to stop him. Even when she’s resisting him in his home, he does not give up and then at the end the Alpha emerges to dominate Maya in the most elemental fashion. Maya definitely responded, and I couldn’t help but light up. Any female who is immune to that is either not paying attention or not attracted to men. LOL!

But don’t take my word for it; you can watch for yourself:

In case you need that in slow motion, I have a slideshow as well. Feel free to snaffle any of it.

I also have to give Richard Armitage his due. Some of his lines in the scene with Laila Rouass are hackneyed. C’mon, prison, “a photograph of you,” “all those years trying to forget,” and “I had to see you?” Sounds like a David Allan Coe song. But RA pulls it off! Sorry I couldn’t help the David Allan Coe reference. It was probably brought on by Lucas’ western shirt.

Also, my short hiatus has me really maudlin to the point I feel a fake fan letter coming on.

Dear Richard,

See how easy we women are. We love it when a man exerts his dominance. Not in a brutish way but in a calm, assured way. That’s definitely what Lucas did at the end of Episode 3.

Just get ready for women to swoon over that scene as much (and maybe more) than the ending of North and South, and if you hate that sort of thing, well, I guess you should stop making shows that have those kinds of scenes.

What I love is that no one had to shed their clothes. Yes, I’m a prude. Of course I’ll have to see what happens next week. ;-)

Sincerely,
One of your crazy fans

Screencaps and Spooks clips are mine.

55 Comments

  1. Yes, I too much prefer the John Porter-ish new Lucas. Have to admit, I did not like last season much. Lucas was written like a wimp with poor aim and judgment. This time around, he’s a take-charge guy. Much more to my liking!

  2. I LOVE s9 Lucas . . . love, love, love him. The writers finally got their act together and are giving us the alpha male we knew Lucas or whatever the heck his name is, could be.
    He was take charge and in control this last ep . . . and what red-blooded hetero female could have resisted that kiss? Swoonworthy indeed!!

    He is really bringing a new level of Action Lucas to the table largely due to all that training for Strike Back, I do believe. Poetry in motion and very believable and beautiful to watch in my opinion.

    lI should say I have always loved this character–but not always how he was written. But I always thought Richard did the best with what he was given. And I could never hate any character more than I do Sarah Bloody Caulfield. Hated her even more than the Scrofulous Forest Skank named Kate. And that is saying a lot.

  3. @bccmee, Oh yeah! Definitely like this Lucas much more. LOL!

    @angie, Just so you know I’ve never blamed RA for the lack of this character. I agree that he’s done the best with what he had. Just glad the writing has improved. Series 7 wasn’t so bad, but it got worse with the Series 8 follow on. That Series almost ran me off of Spooks.

  4. I still lay a lot of the blame for the debacle of much of S8 on the badly written, directed and cast role of Sarah Caulfield. If she was supposed to be the gorgeous but icy Hitchcock blonde with the volcanic depths beneath her glacial exterior–she failed miserably. Grace Kelly, she wasn’t.

    How the heck did they manage to find the one actress who seems to have zero chemistry with one of the most attractive, engaging actors out there??

    I’m just really glad things seem to be on the right track again for our favorite actor in this role.

  5. You know you’re preaching to the choir. LOL!

    It was a little hard to watch those two kiss. I feel really uncharitable, but it was just awkward. Battle of the noses.

  6. Yeah, bless his heart, you could see Richard sort of thinking “OK, how to I go in for the snog without smacking her beak with my beak?”

    I still wonder who on the Kudos production team she was related to . . . trying to figure out how she was cast.

  7. Fixed chauvinist. Thanks, bccmee. I wasn’t even paying attention to that!

  8. @angie, LOL! No kidding about having a relation. Something happened ’cause she was not right for the part. Not even close. Plus, the writers did not let the characters develop properly. The only way it would have been believable for Lucas to have such a visceral reaction to her is if she was an old love, like Maya, or so dropped dead gorgeous and interesting, a sort of Angelina Jolie persona, that he couldn’t resist. She was neither.

  9. I will always believe there was something fishy about her casting. I mean, for heaven’s sake, she couldn’t even manage a decent American accent! And you and I both know good and well there are British actresses who can do credible accents (or how about this novelty? Hire an American!)

    It all seemed so rushed–from Lucas basically getting involved with her for pillow talk purposes to him being head over heels in love with her. Yes, there needed to be some deep emotional connection between the two or, as you say, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous creature that he simply could not resist. And ladies and gentlemen, she didn’t pass Go in either case. A total stranger with a chilly, bitchy attitude, a frozen face and a cringingly bad accent. Even after eight years in prison–I don’t think Lucas was THAT desperate.

  10. Excellent post, Frenz! Although I liked Lucas in S7 and 8 (the least in S8 thanks to the she-who-must-not-be-named fling), I couldn’t quite put my finger on what bugged me about him… and now I know it was a bit of the wuss factor. I am loving S9 Lucas. The writing has been great so far and I hope it stays this way!

  11. “From the beginning Lucas was a victim, which would have been fine if he had been redeemed as a man. ”

    I think Lucas in seven season epitomised strength and stoicism and was every bit a man. In season eight we see a man in need of love. His manipulation by others was realistic considering what he’s been through – isn’t it an oversimplification to suggest that this is unmasculine? A man without flaws, weaknesses and vulnerabilities is not a real man, nor a real person in my books.

    Sorry, RA Frenzy, I’m not with you on Lucas not being treated like a man! But but it’s interesting to see how you have responded to the character over the past three series. Each to their own!

  12. Always interesting to read different thoughts and opinions. That’s what makes life interesting. RAFrenzy, love reading your blog.
    I truly love Lucas because of his vulnerability. I loved Season 7, my favorite so far. I also love the emotional transition that the Lucas character has made between his release from prison and the character now. I believe that a lack of emotion and sensitivity are not necessarily an indicator of courage and strength, or of being a real man, and what makes the Lucas (or Lucas/John now) character more interesting to me than John Porter for example is courage despite fear. Yes, maybe they’ve made Lucas a bit too vulnerable to women and maybe a bit too in need of love, but as others have pointed out, he was in solitary confinement for 8 years, with only his jailers for company. Can’t blame a guy for wanting to be loved now :) Funny that despite the Lucas emotional roller coaster I always saw him as an “alpha male”. (Of course, doesn’t hurt to have RA looking so devastatingly handsome).

  13. I saw him as an Alpha male in S7, and I loved how they handle his vulnerability after being confined for eight years. It was good, and I couldn’t wait for the next series. It was Series 8 that began to sour me on the character. There’s no question this guy was vulnerable and in need of love, but the show was not well written for that series. It did not ring true. It was the over emphasis on the Beta, on his touchy feely side coupled with a horrible actress playing opposite him that made it hard to watch. Certainly, RA did a credible job with what he was given, and that was damn little.

    I doubt anything would make me like Lucas in Series 8. It was a waste of a year.

  14. And it would be so boring if we all agreed all the time. I know it would bore me, and I want to hear why others like Series 8 at least from an RA perspective.

  15. I mean to say from a Lucas perspective.

  16. Now that I have had some sleep, I’ve done some more thinking on this.

    As I said, I have loved this character from the start and while he’s had his ups and downs, I never have seen him as week or lacking in masculinity. He was like a lean and hungry lone wolf to me in the early days, wounded but not willing to give up.

    I think a man can be very much a man and still have a sensitive side to him. My husband is a strong person–Lord knows he has been through some trying times in the last few years–but he is also gentle and loving and adored by our little great-niece whom he gets down on the floor and plays pretend with in spite of being a 50-something-year-old man.

    Actually, it’s what i love about Richard’s portrayals of all his heroes and villains. JP could have been another cardboard cutout meathead soldier, but RA transformed him into someone I could relate to and care about as a viewer. Guy could have been the pedestrian evil henchman, but RA gave him a heart and a soul .

    I saw S7 Lucas as a haunted man hungry to return to his proper place in the world, to be home again, and “not just back in England.”

    We learned just what horrors he underwent as the series unfolded and I felt a deep sympathy for him and also an admiration that he managed to live through it all and not spill any secrets. The scenes in S8 where he is remembering his attempted suicide are some of the most harrowing I’ve witnessed and I totally believed in their authenticity.

    I have made it clear I hated the character of Sarah Caulfield and never bought their relationship, but I can fully understand the man wanting and needing and craving physical love again. Elizaveta had turned her back on him. And one suspect his personal relationship skills had gotten a bit rusty after all those years in prison . . .

    I loved Lucas before and I love him even more now, perhaps in part because THERE IS NO BLINKING SARAH CAULFIELD TO DISTRACT HIM!
    I love watching the character evolve, as I did with Guy, and when he goes, I will weep, just as I did with Guy. And just as I did with Guy, I long for Lucas to have someone who truly loves him for himself in his life, and not just because he’s beautiful and clever (which he clearly is).

    Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book.

  17. By the way, nowhere have I said that a man who is vulnerable is not a man. A man who is not sensitive enough to be vulnerable is a clod. So certainly It is a good thing for a man to have vulnerability. To reiterate, IMO, it is only when a man does have some strength, and I’m not thinking so much of physical strength as a strength of character or will, that his vulnerability becomes very endearing. But if he is only vulnerable, that is a drain. It’s like people who need to be continually propped up emotionally or who whine incessantly. Those people are irritating and a drain. I just got tired of the drain in Series 8. I found myself thinking alright already, I get it, he’s been a victim, he’s vulnerable, he’s needy. It just seemed like it would never end, and I’m sure the Sarah Caulfield character had something to do with my distaste. I’ve been somewhat kind about the actress until now, but having viewed that Series again — blech. She was a big turn off and did nothing to help along the Lucas character. I was never so glad for it to end.

  18. Oh, and I’ve added a Spooks clip to my Who is RA page. It was a clip that did move me at one time, and then Series 8 made it seem stupid. If I blot out that series, I like it again.

  19. I do have Spooks 8 on DVD, it came while i was on the cruise, but haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. Needless to say, I will hit the mute button every time SC opens her mouth. I wish I could also put some sort of big black X on the screen to blot her out, too. And who do they give us in the extras? Blinkin’ GOR! NO Lucas, Harry, Ruth, Tariq, Ros . . . sheesh.

    I think it was the guy at unpopcult who said she sapped the life out of every scene she was in. And I agree. I tried to give GOR the benefit of the doubt in the early days of 8 but that quickly evaporated as I grew completely incredulous of the character and the Lucas/Sarah relationship. I was frustrated and angry through much of S8, not with Lucas but with the writers and directors and casting people making him look like such a total numpty.

    So I wrote TAC and turned the blasted woman into an alien who dies a spectacularly nasty death (no neat little bullet in the brain. Although I still wasn’t sure she was dead. She looked exactly the same . . .) Felt ever so much better after that, let me tell you. *grin*

  20. I’ve got to read that fic! LOL!

  21. Phew! Working from home today and been writing and sending a marathon session of stories and cutlines for our sister publication to our south . . . just taking a break to catch my mental breath.

    It’s a multi-chapter fic and let’s say my wicked imagination (and I do have one) went into overdrive with that one. It’s actually a RH/Sea of Souls/ Torchwood/Spooks crossover with characters from VoD, Between the Sheets and Ultimate Force also popping up.
    And it has an adult rating. You might be scandalized but you wouldn’t be bored. And Servetus likes it. *wink*

  22. Hi Frenz, glad you are back – I’ve missed you! I’ve always liked Lucas, even in Spooks8 and this year I am loving it more than ever. There are always going to be shows / episodes / seasons / series that you warm to more than others – I see Spooks 8 didn’t do it for you at all though! I’m finding the limited amount of information that we know about Maya both frustrating and intriguing, I am especially wondering if she has any “skeletons in the cupboard” that she will need to tell John about now that she knows he is alive….

  23. Glad to be back. I missed all of you as well!

    @everyone,

    I hope someone listened to that David Allan Coe song. It’s a hoot, but you have to listen to the whole thing.

  24. Whatever problems there was with season 8, personally I don’t think that Lucas’s “touchy feely” side was one of them. My impression from your post was that this element of him somehow detracted from his manhood. I don’t know what definition of manhood you’re operating from but without reading your later clarification in the comments of what your issue with him was, it struck me as being a tad narrow!

    I think what’s emerging with this character is a man who loves deeply. In that context what happened in season 8 makes sense to me.

    Over the past 8 months of being active online in the Spooks and RA blogospshere, I’ve noticed that there is a divide between what Spooks fans and RA fans expect from the the Lucas character. Generally speaking, I’ve noticed that Spooks fans were more prepared to allow Lucas the space to be damaged and manipulated for a prolonged period, where as RA fans want him to be the alpha hero most of the time. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it simply suggests that those who are primarily RA fans may be watching Spooks for slightly different reasons! ;)

    Anyway, whie I’m not with you on this one I’m glad you’re back! I missed your posts. With Mulubinba been away too it’s been a little quiet on the RA blog scene.

  25. “Generally speaking, I’ve noticed that Spooks fans were more prepared to allow Lucas the space to be damaged and manipulated for a prolonged period, where as RA fans want him to be the alpha hero most of the time. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, it simply suggests that those who are primarily RA fans may be watching Spooks for slightly different reasons! ;-) ”

    Guilty! LOL! I did call myself a chauvinist, so that ought to answer your question. When it comes to my fantasies about characters in fantastic shows, yeah, I generally want an Alpha hero most of the time. I admit it freely. :D

  26. And Lucas is officially “Alpha” on the Grid, which must make you smile every time you hear it, Frenz.

    On a purely shallow note, one thing I have noticed with my poor besotted self is RA’s characters seem to become more attractive to me physically as a series progresses. I was panting madly by the time he came stumbling in, a boozy, wild-eyed, tangled-maned mess as S3 Guy after thinking I could never find him more attractive than I did in S2. And when he got all cleaned up . . . be still my heart!. Don’t generally care for long hair on men, but on Guy–yepper.

    I loved the disheveled Lucas in his grubby jumper and trackies in S7 and now that he is sporting black ops outfits and that yummy Belstaff jacket, not to mention that sweet baby blue Western shirt and jeans (ride ’em cowboy!) I find him more gorgeous than ever.

    You know, I can understand why some guys might hate him. He’s super-talented, smart, charming, funny, down-to-earth and amazingly good-looking on top of it all. It must seem so unfair to them . . .
    but I sure am glad he exists.

  27. Angie, You do have a way with words! I’m glad he exists too since I’m having a blast watching him and writing about him. If you knew me, really knew me, you would probably fall over in a dead faint to know someone like me is writing about someone like him. I find myself alternating between being freaked out by what I’m doing and not giving a damn what anyone thinks. I admire you for being “out of the closet,” as it were. I guess this sounds like a confessional, but when you write about RA, that’s how it affects me. I admire you for being an unabashed fan, and I chafe under my anonymity, because normally I despise that sort of thing. It smacks of phoniness to me, but really, I don’t want anyone who really knows me to spoil my fun. :D

  28. I think everybody has to operate at his or her own comfort level out in the big old cyberworld, I guess, because I do write for a newspaper which is also online, it’s not such a big deal for me. If you Google my name, it will come up on the first page anyway (yeah, I checked, I know, I do have an ego) I am used to being in the public eye . . . you read a story of mine online, my chubby smiling face appears by my byline. Sometimes I wish it weren’t, but there it is, reminding I really do need to go on that darned diet.

    I’ve had people rip me a new one because they didn’t like something I wrote in an article and I’ve been told I have no talent and haven’t written a credible article in my life.
    Thankfully, most people don’t think that way. And I know better.

    There is always some crackpot waiting their turn to take a stab at you. What has angered me at times is when those nasty folks hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Someone recently took a lot of mean-spirited potshots at my fanfic — but didn’t direct her vitriol directly to me.
    I don’t think she’d be ballsy enough to say it to my face.

    I think if you are going to attack someone, you should be brave enough to use your real identity to do it.
    That being said, I’ve no problem with folks like you or Servetus or others wanting to maintain their privacy online. That’s an entirely different thing, and I respect it. Like I said, we all have our comfort levels. Hey, at least you can come here and have fun with Unabashed Fan, aka fedoralady, aka LadyWriter, aka –ME!

    And it’s a good thing I have a way with words–might be out of a job if I didn’t. ( ;

  29. I had never looked up your picture before, but I just did. You definitely look like someone I could hang with offline as well. I love that picture by the way. Love the hat!

  30. *grin*

    My hats are my trademark. People do a double take when I am not wearing one. I have maybe three dozen or more.

    I love that particular hat. Bought it for a song at a local outlet. It went on the cruise with me. A darling little English lady whom I helped when she was shopping for perfume at the duty free shop later swooped in on me and said, “I do love the hat–very smart.” LOL

    My boss shot all our mugs at our little studio at the office, and he wasn’t expecting me to wear such a huge hat . . . I had to keep tilting it around to get the lighting to match the other people’s mugs!!

  31. “Very smart.” Yeah, that fits! And it goes so well with your hair.

  32. @RAFenzy – Haha! Well I hope series 9 fulfills your chauvinistic desires! You must be chomping at the bit for the next season of Strike Back!

  33. I’m totally with Skully on this. I also think the idea of Alpha is pretty simplistic; I do know many women find it attractove though. I’m not caring for S9 Lucas so much.

  34. I think alpha/beta is definitely limiting, and generally I hate labels. But there is something that I didn’t realize I was missing in that S8 Lucas, and it was summed up with Alpha. There was just too much focus on his woundedness. Without some contrast, that’s irritating. But I don’t fault Richard Armitage (no I haven’t drunk any koolaid yet LOL!). He didn’t have a lot to work with. He did pretty well considering, but there were times during that series that I wanted to groan at the awkwardness of some scenes. They were almost like nails down a chalkboard.

    But all that aside, wouldn’t it be dull if we always agreed?

  35. I think what Skully said about Spooks fans vs. RA fans is interesting.
    I started watching Spooks as an RA fan but now I feel like I’m a fan of Spooks in general. I have enjoyed watching the other characters (particularly Ros, Harry & Ruth) as much as our beloved Lucas.

    I wasn’t that fond of S8 Lucas… not because I thought him unmanly in any way, but because his weakness for SC was annoying. Ew.

  36. […] “I’m not sure it’s fair / kind to say that.” RAFrenzy expressed comparable reservations about the scripting of Lucas North’s entire character arc on Spooks yesterday (I haven’t had time to read this very closely, but the discussion is interesting. I […]

  37. I’m a new fan of Richard Armitage, and one thing I’ve found noticeable about a lot of these fan blogs and YouTube comments is how their authors are always on about how Mr. Armitage looks so “manly” and how wonderful and refreshing that “manliness” is.

    I really don’t share those feelings.
    When you’re asking for Armitage’s characters to be dominant and “alpha”, you’re also asking for someone else to submit. And that’s always going to be a female or else it’s a male – about whom you’ll be saying, “eww unattractive”. Then there’s Ros being “treated as a man” and essentially occupying the role that you think Lucas should have had.
    You’re a smart person, I think I don’t need to point out the ideological parallels.

    “Lucas placing himself in a posture of subjection and being needy of Harry, needing Harry to affirm him like a father or as only a strong male can affirm another.” […]
    “From the beginning Lucas was a victim, which would have been fine if he had been redeemed as a man. But as it was, he was not really treated as a man. That was reserved for Ros […]”
    “[…] Sarah, who no doubt was quite the Alpha — definitely a ball buster” […]

    Honestly, I’m glad you’re aware (if tongue-in-cheek) of how chauvinist you sound. You, and a lot of other Armitage fans, have built up a very role-structured society in your head. I don’t want to be rude, but the armchair psychology seems to me like a bunch of academics confused about their fangirling, then rationalising their one-dimensional paperback novel fantasies.

  38. Welcome, Lorie,

    This is out of the park*:

    “the armchair psychology seems to me like a bunch of academics confused about their fangirling, then rationalising their one-dimensional paperback novel fantasies.”

    That statement gets better every time I read it! But then that’s just my opinion. I may have to use that in a post. Seriously.

    Rationalizing about being a fan of RA does reach staggering levels at times. It’s amusing really, and it’s one reason I started this blog. I found myself doing it repeatedly to the point of having to mentally slap myself, and I realized over time I was not alone. LOL!

    By the way, the only error in your statement with regard to me is that I’m not an academic. If I were, man, academia has lowered its standards. But there are plenty people hanging around here who are academics, and I’ve grown to love them.

    Hope you hang around for all of our nonsense and sometimes self-inflated opinions. But those only seem to come out when there’s a real self-consciousness about this obsession, or we just lose our heads.

    *out of the park – an American expression meaning someone made a point so well that it was like hitting a homerun ball out of the ball park. FYI: I only put this explanation here because there are people from quite a few different countries reading this blog, and they send me notes about some of my expressions.

  39. @Lorie

    You make so many good points (especially the last sentence)! The idea of an alpha Lucas reminds me of bodice rippers.

    I think Lucas was futzed with in the second season and we lost any consistency in his character. I blame the writers and producers. I think what makes it worse is that RA , I imagine, tried to work within the retcon as best he could but how much Methodical consistency can you bring to a character that is rewritten in almost every episode? I would think you would be hanging by your fingernails just to keep Lucas recognisable.

    At this point, this character just confuses me. Yes, he suddenly grew a very large pair (John Porter style by the looks of it) but I was quite happy with the other package. Nat was on point, I think, in comparing this dynamo to Strike Back. All that artful rendering by necessity tossed into the bin of has-beens.

  40. I agree with you, pi. But when all else fails, fall back. Alpha is a good fall back position when the writers are not good enough to develop a character with more depth. It is certainly a shame they did not use the foundation they laid in Series 7. Actually, I think I already said that.

    I wish RA were in the movies where his characters would have a more cohesive vision.

  41. One more thing. It’s becoming apparent to me that my writing needs lots of work, and that’s okay. I started this blog in part to see how well or how poorly I communicate.

    I never said I wanted just Alpha. That would be the guy who smashes beer cans on his head and throws a woman over his shoulder, as it were, and yeah, probably rips a bodice or two along the way. Boring. I think I said there must be some Beta. But I guess my word choices were such that this point was eclipsed. I’m not saying this cattily but sincerely. I see now that I should have worded things differently since the word Alpha is more inflammatory than I realized.

  42. Frenz,

    Speaking of said hair, I have to ask, did you envision me as having blonde hair? Because Servetus and Millyme both swore I should have dark hair in their imagined picture of me. I am a natural blonde who now helps it along because God is repainting it white.

    Could it be I didn’t seem “dumb” enough to be a blonde? *grin* I love blonde jokes, by the way.

  43. One thing that has frustrated me with both RH and Spooks (and Strike Back) is that lack of cohesiveness at times, not just from series to series but within the same series.

    I could have sworn the RH 3 writers were smoking something illegal or popping Qualudes sometimes the way that story kept bouncing around. And they didn’t seem to have any familiarity with the first two series. Had they ever watched the show?? Guy was still magnificent, of course. Although I will never forgive them for letting the Treacherous Troll and Bunny Boiler each get a hand in killing him.

    Spooks seemed as if it had a completely different set of writers for S8 compared to S7. And apparently an idiot of a casting director, as they gave us She WHo Shall Not Be Named.

    And it was evident to me before I even read it that Strike Back’s last two eps were written and directed by different people. There was a different look and feel to the story.

    I agree, Frenz, a good movie role would allow Richard–who prepares those wonderful bios for his characters–a chance to actually NOT have to go–“oh, wait a minute, I now have a sister/used to be someone named John/actually knew Robin as a child . . .” Of course, he may enjoy the additional challenge such wrenches being thrown into the works causes. But I would think he’d get a little tired of it.

  44. Angie,

    The first time I read your stuff was on LJ almost two years ago, and yes, I pictured you as dark haired. See how chauvinistic I am? But I had read somewhere else that you were blonde, so I knew before I looked at the picture. BTW, I love blondes. SO was blonde when I met him and all of my little SOs have been blonde. Only one of them has turned dark so far and one has turned red, but that was chemical. Thankfully, she’s now back to blonde.

  45. I find that very interesting, actually, that all these people think of me as being a brunette.
    I probably should take it as a compliment. *grin*

    While we were on the cruise, I won my second Carnival trivia contest (yes, I now have two genuine ships on a stick) and tied for the brain twister competition (lovely faux bronze medal for that). My chief competition was a group of brunette women. I was working solo.

    Sometimes blondes have more fun and are pretty clever, too! I’ve experimented a bit with my hair color over the years, but the truth is, blonde suits me the best and now that it is turning white, the roots are much easier to maintain.

    BTW, if you want to hear me, go to http://fedoralady.livejournal.com/ when you get a chance and listen to my voice posting to see if I also sound the way you imagined me LOL

  46. Angie,

    You have a great voice! And not nearly as syrupy as I imagined. So you do not have a thick Southern accent at all, but I can hear traces of it.

  47. Your voice makes me long to talk to an old friend of mine who grew up in Huntsville.

  48. Well, thank you kindly. I can do the real thick-as-a pecan-pie type accent, but it’s not any more my natural one than my faux British one is. Funny, my husband also hails from here and he has almost no discernible southern accent. And he’s always sounded that way. Yet I have acquaintances who really have a heavy southern drawl, including one of his older brothers. Go figure.

    My older sister lived in Huntsville for many years before moving to Foley to be closer to their condo at Orange Beach. Listening to myself, I can hear similarities in our speech patterns, although she is a bit more sutthen than I am. *wink*

  49. […] particularly his naked body: codeword “beefcake.” (A corollary argument, perhaps: the frustration among some viewers over the exploitation of romance as a device for exploring Lucas …. I still haven’t had a chance to read this post and I still want to. Done here soon. I hope.) […]

  50. Interesting post. I’ve been sifting through well over 40 comments here so I’m trying to collect my thoughts on Lucas. When I first heard that RA was going to be in Spooks, I began watching it from Episode 1, Series 1 so that by the time S7 aired, I was familiar with the writing and how they manage their characters. Skully may be able to correct me but I think most of the male leads had their vulnerable moments and rather imprudent affaires with women that imo were often quite annoying. Adam even had a fling with his son’s nanny with the gratuitous “trackpant shot” leaving little to the imagination! I guess therefore for me, Lucas is being written in a similar vein to all the former male leads. Interestingly, Adam went through a really rough patch somewhere in S5 but towards the end of 6, people were dazzled by him and he died a hero with audiences in S7. Tom Quinn on the other hand, started strongly but I was extremely disappointed at the way he was written towards the end of S2 and early 3. Only Harry has remained consistent as a character throughout the entire 8 series. I like what I’ve seen of Lucas so far.

    I’ve watched S8 only on small screen and I will look forward to seeing it properly on the TV in a few weeks. My judgement on GOR’s acting remains reserved until I can take a good look at what she has done with the character. A pity she had to have a US accent – surely she could have kept her own natural accent and still worked for the CIA. (She’s an Australian, btw, and not British and her British accent was great when we heard it in one of the eps.). I think she had to play an unlikeable character and if that is the case, she certainly succeeded :). Was it just RA fans who didn’t like SC or was she generally disliked across the spectrum of wider Spooks fans?

    I’ll see what the Australian Spooks audiences have to say – Lucas/RA still has to earn his stripes over here but the comments were favourable about S7 Lucas.

    Just an aside, I was interested in Lorie’s perspective as a new fan. Great to have your perspective and I hope we hear more from you :)

  51. Academic confused about her fangirling and trying to justify her cheap paperback fantasies=guilty as charged, here at least, in every respect. Academic, confused, unappealing fantasies (or at least ones that I couldn’t justify to the vast majority of my colleagues except those few who are also in the grip of Armitagemania).

    That said, I feel the need to disagree that I wanted to Lucas to be more Alpha in season 8 or elsewhere in the series, and to agree with whoever it was who wrote that the overarching problem for the character –the flaw at the center of his motivation– seems to be his apparent need to be loved. I find the gender dynamics on the grid in the seasons of Spooks I have seen (1.1-3.2 and since 7.1; still working on the intermediate four) of high interest. They don’t seem, for example, to be explicitly problematized in the early episodes I’ve seen so far, e.g., the problem when Zoe accidentally sleeps with the Italian / Swiss banker in the observation suite is not gender-related, but its status as a professional gaffe. In contrast, gender politics are at the heart of the 8th series, as one of the way that show apparently wants us to see which of the Americans are evil is through their gender attitudes as reflected in their attitudes toward Ros. That’s then shown in contrast to the way her working relationship with Lucas works itself out, in which she is very much the boss but he is also her comrade in arms by the end of the series. I think it could be argued that Lucas is definitely inhabiting the Alpha male in 7.7, but in a way that’s not completely obvious, and in a way that’s shot through with questions about race as well. Another interesting question to be asking would be about Sarah Caulfield’s apparent gender trouble(s). All in good time. We’re likely to have plenty of time to ruminate on all of this once Spooks 9 has concluded.

    I am a Armitage fan who came to like Spooks after Season 7, and I feel no compelling need to have him play the conventional Alpha hero. Moreover, I don’t think he feels any need to play that role, either, which is part of what makes watching him interesting.

    This is a great discussion, I’m glad I finally had the chance to read all the way through the comments and was grateful to see the diverse perspectives expressed.

  52. I certainly don’t want him to play the conventional Alpha hero (maybe we need to define that? so I know we’re talking about the same thing), and I should have made that plain in my post. But I did want to see more contrast of alpha and beta. Just beta or mostly beta is a drain (imo). As for the gender politics, Ros is definitely cast as a male by the Americans as made plain by Sarah in her first meeting with Lucas. If it had merely been an American view, I could have lived with that, but Ros was also written like a male, and at times this was cliched and certainly a disservice to strong women.

    When I was rewatching this series (or parts of it) awhile back, it occurred to me that it would have been much more interesting if Ros had been the one in the relationship with Sarah. Yes, I’m kidding or maybe not. LOL!

  53. It wouldn’t be interesting for a character to be purely alpha – not reality. And predictable characters with all strengths or all weaknesses are boring. That said, forget “bloody internet” – “bloody script-writers”. The series plot is, at the moment, over-complicated. Can only hope for a few things to gradually become more coherent.

    From one viewpoint, if I think the plotline is becoming ridiculous, more power to Mr. A for rising above and portraying a range of emotions, while trying to maintain some slightly more coherent character development. I just wish Lucas or his alter-ego would begin demonstrating a modicum of common sense. Not to give up interesting split personality/double life characteristics, but occasionally behave as a Section D chief. Oh well, all will be explained…

    Actually, I didn’t think Ros was all-alpha (she certainly wasn’t in series 5), and she showed considerable concern for Lucas as a person and colleague…

    @angie, with you on the points about SC. While the writers and make-up did her no favours, for heaven sake, acting is a profession; so act, even if the leading man happens not to strike sparks off you!! Just my perception of her.

    @RAF; snark is just fine. Helps to maintain a wee bit of fangirl balance!

  54. […] peace to watch their lovers sleep; waking men are all action and fury. Reference RAFrenzy‘s questions about Lucas’s gender trouble, though I have reservations, and of course de gustibus non est disputandam. Depends to some extent […]

  55. […] 9 about Richard Armitage as alpha or beta male in various roles he played (particularly here and here). I’m not so much disagreeing with her as taking a different, more contextual, […]


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