Will It Be the Fourth Dimension?

The roller coaster resumes on Sunday night, and I think I’m ready to be jerked around again. :D

Harry’s grave look has me duly sucked in, and no, I’m not being facetious. I saw this promo and felt myself getting excited to watch Spooks, and then I read the interviews with the writers, and I really got excited. I like Lara Pulver despite having been dragged through the debacle known as Robin Hood Series 3 Episode 5, but phew! didn’t she and Richard Armitage look great?

As usual, click to enlarge.

Even if you’re offended by my blatant objectification of RA (as opposed to my thinly veiled objectification), you have to admit that’s a hot picture. They certainly challenged the idea of a “family show.” Oh, I would love to see those two in something sexy and smart. Wouldn’t it be great if we got a little taste of that in Spooks Series 10? I’m not holding my breath.

In the meantime, we might (oh, please with sugar on top) get a little more of Lucas North, and we’re going to get a lot of Erin Watts (aka Lara Pulver), the new section chief. The other cast additions look interesting too, and more to mine with the writers, but I’m saving it. The burning question for now: will Harry detonate a bomb? If I were mean, I’d answer that. LOL!

And speaking of writing, I stumbled onto a web page about roller coaster terminology (yes, the internet has everything!), which gave me an idea. It’s a dangerous thing for me to get ideas, but I have to have fun somehow. So during the run of this last series of Spooks, I’m soliciting examples in Spooks (any series) of one or more of the terms from this rich, ahem, nomenclature. Please make your submissions via the comments on this blog piece. The commenter with the most examples at the end of Series 10, wins a prize. More on that later when I think of exactly what will be an appropriate prize. Oh, I’ll make it something good. :D

I’ll go first with an easy one. An example of Immelmann Roll
(half-loop that inverts coaster cars for a half twist and sends them in the reverse direction. Named after a World War 1 German ace who popularized the flying maneuver)– Lucas North story arc in Series 9.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.Com

edit: this was a bust, but thankfully one of the few on this blog.

In Search of the Story — SPOILERS

Spoilers for Spooks Series 2 and 3 as well as Series 9.

Spooks 9 has ended and left me dissatisfied with the completion of the series and certainly with the completion of Lucas North. A part of me wanted to blame RA. Even though I am fervently biased in Richard Armitage’s favor, I said I’m honest, and I am honest, so I had to honestly look at his performance to see if it passed muster. That is a hard admission, but I’ve been pretty much telling you how I feel, albeit mostly couched in jests, so here I am again being as candid as I am able but without much humor today. His performance was fine in the context of the show, but I have a hard time saying it was great or should garner him a BAFTA. The melodramatic tone of it was a little hard to bear. Then again, I’m not sure what the BAFTA committee judges a great performance.

What I do know is the character’s turning was awkward and supported by a plot so thin it could be used to strain tea. There just wasn’t enough of the story developed to make it plausible for this character, and it left an icky feeling which made me want to cast off Spooks. Almost needless to say I’ve been very disappointed in the writers and believe they are a great part of the reason that RA’s performance is not great. I say almost needless, because, well, I have a great need to say that.

These thoughts as well as a host of others, of which I won’t bore you with all of them, have made this overwhelmingly familiar. Yeah, I’ve been here before, and for the last two series I’ve been fighting off the feeling that I’ve been sort of reliving another story. In very late 2006 a friend of mine had the first few series of Spooks, and she encouraged me to watch them with the comment, “the guy who played Darcy is in this, and you’ll like it.” Well, I did like it until I got to the Series 2 finale, and then Tom Quinn was no more, and his send off was an awkward piece of writing that left me with so many questions and being disgusted at the plot so shakily contrived to bring him down. I was so disgusted I thought I wouldn’t watch anymore.

Last week I had a great rant ready with my disgust of these last couple of series and was about to post it, but I caught sight of a comment that this was the best send off since Tom Quinn. I’m not sure yet about “the best,” but it was definitely similar in its feel and quite a few particulars. In fact, here are the similarities to Tom’s demise from my memory:

A woman who’s a love interest is at the crux
A person from the past comes back to haunt him
A student from university is involved
Some co-workers not trusting him
Harry chastising the co-workers for not trusting him and then doing an about face and having them hunt him down
A threat occurs to his love interest
Love interest is somehow co-opted by authorities to try to catch him
He threatens Harry
He’s in such despair at what’s happened that he kills himself at the end — or does he?
Harry hangs in the balance

And I wonder how many similarities there may actually be. Since I haven’t watched those shows in a while, it might be interesting to watch again and find out. At the least, the ones I remember have me more convinced than ever that Lucas doesn’t die. For those of you familiar with early episodes of Spooks, you know why I’m saying this. If you’re a novice at this Spooks watching, and I would deem a novice someone who has only watched the last three series, then you need to know that the story is never over no matter how it looks. Of course there are differences in Tom’s and Lucas’ stories, but at this point it’s a little hard to believe the writers would lift that much from Tom’s story, whether consciously or subconsciously, and not have lifted the final resolution.

Mostly I simply forgot this is a tv show where a character’s story arc can never eclipse the show itself. The show is only about the experience of an episode, and enough of those strung together can make for a thrilling ride of a series, which hopefully, will become addictive and increase ratings. Isn’t the thrill of a roller coaster the ride itself and never the ending? It certainly seems to be about things rushing at you, pricking your senses, and when it’s over, you are anxious to go again or relieved it’s done.

For those who were interested in my rant, it was a good one. LOL! I just don’t have the heart to post it. This is about as negative as I’m willing to go. Maybe I’ll gut it up and post all that crap later. Hopefully, not.

In the meantime, how about something to lift your spirits:

Photo courtesy of mokulen on LJ.

Can’t Drink the Kool-Aid Yet — SPOILERS

I’m not kidding when I say spoilers. Please take me at my word.

My thoughts as of Wednesday, 11/03:

With respect to Lucas North’s story, the plot of Series 9 has been completely predictable. Almost nothing has been surprising, and unless I’m stupid, that’s the crux of this story — the unexpected unraveling of the web of who he is. Each week I work myself up for a thrilling show, but sadly, I’ve been underwhelmed by the revelations about Lucas. Not one cell in my body was shocked by Lucas/John being a sort of bad guy, and I’m surprised at anyone who was not expecting this. I keep waiting for something really interesting, and yet if it comes, it’s not going to be a big surprise because I’m expecting it! And why is that? Because of the blasted spoilers. We already knew he wasn’t going to be who we thought he was. If that knowledge hadn’t been telegraphed, and then repetitively tapped out for us like a drumbeat by the BBC, I might be jumping at every new revelation and barely able to wait for the finale. As it is, I’m just waiting to see if the ending stops short of being lame. Wow. Is that what Spooks has come to?

Perhaps significant spoilers have always been a big part of Spooks. I don’t know because I watched the first seven series without reading or seeing any promotional coverage. Oh, some things were predictable, but then I cared enough about the characters that it didn’t bother me. But this series has been a lumbering elephant to get to the point already made — Lucas isn’t who he says he is. Yeah, yeah, now what?

Then added to all of that is minutiae that seem designed to do nothing more than make this story look complex, and yet much as I try to make it so, the information looks like simple plot devices to create tension that the surprise of Lucas not being Lucas would have done without all this mess. I can almost hear the writers in a room saying, “Perhaps we can construct this to confuse them?” And yet they confused themselves I think since the character development is all over the place with the plot going in several different directions and yet it really means nothing? Which would be great if the revealed truth were more interesting than what the scattered pieces possibly portend. For instance the whole thing about Blake. Where did that go? What does that mean? Was that supposed to go somewhere? Or was it just something they came up with on the fly and didn’t know how to really pursue? My gut says it was the latter. Yet the possibilities about Blake were so fascinating that I actually broke down and read the biography by Peter Ackroyd. If I had nothing else to do, then that might be fine, but I had to work that into the other 430 things I do on a given day. No, I had no gun to my head to do that, but in hindsight I could have been doing something else, and maybe next time I will be. It just seems the pistol hung on the wall by the writers, or in this case the painting, is going to mean very little or nothing and the big reveal doesn’t mean much either. But I hope I’m wrong and there really is something which the writers take down and use to blow me away.

And my gut feelings about the love interest were right. It was unnecessary — at least so far. It looks like more of the minutiae, and it’s pretty much boring and sometimes downright irritating. Maya has zero personality. She’s almost atonal when she speaks and certainly not inspiring of Lucas (yeah, he’s going to remain Lucas in my mind) doing a 180. Frankly, if she had been blown to hell last episode, then we might see some justification for Lucas going off the deep end. As it is, the more I see of her, the less inspiring she’s becoming. Apart from Lucas looking at his laptop and that first kiss, this relationship is becoming more nothing as it progresses, and damn! we didn’t even get the kitchen table scene. That was a spoiler I could have lived with!

So far, my secret desire has become Lucas really being a bad guy. I mean yank the mask off of him to expose something really ugly at the end. If he’s bad, then chuck the half-hearted attempts at the conflicted officer for someone who really is evil through and through and just boggles our mind. Say something smacking of Keyser Söze? That might actually be interesting and might be easier to pull off for the writers than a conflicted character, and unless the writers are under a rock somewhere, the use of Bateman as the last name was not random. Manchurian Candidate did flit through my mind and apparently crossed the minds of some others in cyberworld, but maybe we should be thinking American Psycho instead. Oh, it’s not believable with the development of Lucas’ character in the other two series and even with some of the episodes in this series? When did that start mattering again?

Further thoughts as of Monday morning, 11/08:

Oh shit! I’ve seen the rooftop spoiler. Stumbled onto it, and yes, I watched it. I was mad at myself when I realized what I was watching. But what difference does it make now? It’s exactly what I thought was going to happen. I cringed. The caged animal routine? Is that all the writers had? This is so obvious it’s pitiful. Well, that and maybe Lucas will fall backwards off the roof or shoot himself, and we won’t know if he’s really dead until next season ’cause Harry’s not going anywhere, my friends. I hope this clip is misleading! But as I watched, I thought that these people at the BBC really don’t want any surprises do they? Haven’t had any so far. I so hope I’m wrong. If I’m not, then what the heck are these spoilers about? I really don’t get why they would sabotage their own show.

Question for the writers: if the character development has to be somewhat obliterated each series, can we at least have a thrilling plot? Maybe you need to shoot the people in the PR department.

Post script: I was not going to post this out of fear of offending some fans, but the spoiler pushed me over the edge. I’ve been so good about staying away from spoilers, but I watched that one, and I’m mad as hell at myself. It severely eroded my hopes of a great twist. I was so hoping to get on this ride or at least get doped up somehow to enjoy it.

I’m still a rabid Richard Armitage fan, but this shows sucks, my friends. Of course that’s my not so humble opinion. :D But give me a chance to redeem myself with a piece on why I don’t think this show worked for RA. LOL!

And I’m serious when I say I want to be wrong. I would be happy to fall over in a faint at a killer ending.

Note: need a new tag, “rant.”

Screencap is mine.

A Mother of a Spoiler

is in this video below if you haven’t seen the first Spooks episode of Series 9. So don’t say I haven’t warned you. But if you don’t care or if you’ve seen it, then enjoy:

I think Juliet ought to have an award for this video. Wonderfully done! and so quickly.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

For the last few days, the major newspapers in the U.S. have been carrying stories about a Russian spy ring that the F.B.I. just busted. Be sure to check out the neighbor’s reasoning for why Mrs. Murphy cannot be a spy. LOL! I’m not sure what I think of all of this, but I couldn’t help but think of Spooks and wonder how stories like this affect the writers, and lo and behold, there was an article on it.

The creator of Spooks on the Russian espionage scandal, its nostalgic spycraft and how fact can be less credible than fiction

David Wolstencroft
Guardian.co.uk Tuesday 29 June 2010 17.54 BST

The Russian spy ring scandal is full of inspiration for David Wolstencroft, the creator of TV’s Spooks, here with Hermione Norris as Ros Myers and Richard Armitage as Lucas North.

I will say this about the KGB: they are the gift that keeps on giving. Particularly, of course, if like me you’re a writer of espionage fiction. Although at this stage of the unspooling lunacy it’s hard to distinguish fact from parody.

Naturally, the Russian foreign intelligence service is now the SVR, not the KGB. As we all know, the cold war finished years ago. And there is absolutely nothing amusing about real people going to real prison.

However, nostalgia is a heady opiate – and where spies are concerned, I for one cannot get enough. This morning, it felt like someone put on Now That’s What I Call Spycraft and cranked up the volume. Or I was watching Smiley’s People, with a laughtrack.

Read the rest here.

He sounds pretty giddy, and although Lucas doesn’t qualify as a guy from suburbia, Harry might. Should be interesting to see what happens.

The perfect cover?

Up next the gift that really does keep on giving.

Is This News? Spoilers I Guess

I ask because this (links below) was talked about in other interviews a while ago, and yes, Digital Spy does reference one of the sources. If you haven’t read the article DS references, you can start here, and you get to read my gushing as well.

Digital Spy article:

Gut Check entry. Then scroll down for the article.

I guess for the most part Digital Spy highlights what is already out there, but there was that one interview with RA in Robin Hood S3. Wow, that was a great one. More on that when I start my dissection of Guy.

Having been warned, now comes the “spoiler” part. Was anyone in doubt that Hermione Norris would not return to Spooks? Seriously, was that a question? Hasn’t she moved on? That was my impression.

As for finding out who Lucas really is, what about Harry? Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Harry were a mole all along and this were the show’s finale? I think it would be great! Or better yet that Lucas thought Harry was a mole for the Russians, so Lucas became a double agent for the Russians, but really Harry is a double agent working for the British or maybe the Chinese? Or maybe Lucas is really working for the Chinese and the Russians and British just think he works for them. Yep, makes my head spin, and I need my head to spin from time to time or things get so dreadfully dull.

Whatever happens, I find the more questions I have about Lucas, the more it leads me to Harry, and in fact in the interview RA did with UK.TV.com where they asked the fans for questions, I couldn’t help but ask, “Is Lucas’ past relationship with Harry explored further?” Is anyone else dying to know about that? And of course I want to know about their relationship now! Will this next series be the Harry and Lucas show? And no, I’m not necessarily talking about anything sexual. Does it always have to be sexual to be interesting? (I’ve skimmed too many Spooks fanfics that seem obsessed with that). In my opinion (yes, it’s my opinion that’s why I prefaced my sentence with the hackneyed phrase), it’s almost too easy to attribute motivation to merely something sexual. It can just be fobbed off to “oh, yeah, it was sexual” and then no thoughtful explanation required. But I want to see something cerebral dammit! Plus, I admit a great fondness for Harry. It’s been said repeatedly that he’s the heart of the show, and it’s true. I can’t help but love Harry, and yes, Peter Firth as well. But I don’t think of Peter Firth when I’m watching Harry. Peter is the guy who played Alan Strang. But I digress.

Hopefully, we’ll get a few crumbs in September when the article comes out — at least enough to keep us alive until November. It is going to air in November? Or do I have that wrong? I can’t remember because all these interviews are starting to run together. I may actually have to write some of this down. No, if I have to start writing anything down for this blog, I may have to can it. LOL!

In the meantime, below is one of the first shots of Lucas and might be my favorite picture of him. It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I’m compelled to ask what’s going on in that head, and I still don’t know! Can’t wait for S9.

Coming up soon a commemoration of Guy.

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com, and I THANK YOU so much because my DVD drive is acting up, and I couldn’t make my own. Arrrgh!