Spooks: “Be Ready For Anything”

Lucas and Maya

“WHAT if there was one time in your life when everything made sense?

“What wouldn’t you do to go back?”

Lucas / John tries to explain to Ruth why he’s risking everything for a new life with Maya (Laila Rouass).

Before giving Ms Evershed (Nicola Walker) marriage advice.

Spooks series nine, episode eight, brings the 2010 season to a close with Section D hunting one of their own.

Sir Harry tells his team: “I regret to have to inform you that as of this moment our former section chief Lucas North is to be regarded as a rogue officer.

“Our main priority is to find him and bring him in, whatever the cost.”

Next Monday’s conclusion is Richard Armitage’s finest hour as the tortured spy who has lived a lie for so long.

Harry has a glass of scotch on his office desk even before the opening titles roll.

Betrayed by the man he trusted.

“We cannot allow him to find the Albany file,” he says.

“By seeking it, he has made himself a traitor.

“He’s highly trained, fragile and desperate – he is now our enemy.”

But even at this late stage, can Harry still save Lucas?

And will he commit treason in exchange for Ruth’s life?

Harry and Ruth

A search of Lucas / John’s flat reveals nothing of personal note, aside from a well thumbed old paperback – The Poetry of William Blake.

We finally discover what Albany is.

As Lucas meets up with a Chinese man.

Harry calls in decommissioned MI5 internal affairs specialist Alec White (Vincent Regan) to help track Lucas down.

In a breathtaking 60 minutes where the lives of Harry, Ruth and Lucas hang in the balance.

Both Richard and Nicola deserve plaudits for their performances.

And it almost goes without saying that Peter Firth is spellbinding as a compromised Harry.

Leaving a message on his daughter’s voicemail, including another for his son, during a lonely drive to a high level rendezvous.

Bringing a tear to my eye, and maybe yours too.

The final scene had me on the very edge of my seat.

Or what I assumed would be the final scene.

Spooks being Spooks, there is a postscript.

Giving us something to think about on the long wait until series 10 next year.

*The final episode of Spooks is on BBC1 at 9pm next Monday.

Lucas and Maya

Spooks: Nicola Walker Interview

Spooks BBC Site

Spooks Blogs

William Blake

Spooks Fan Forum

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22 responses to “Spooks: “Be Ready For Anything”

  1. Pepe

    Nicola just kept getting better and better in this Series, which confirms something I’ve known for a long time – that there is no role she cannot play and make it her own. She is an asset to any film or programme. Time to give Nicola her own headlining show and I hope it will be a comedy!

  2. Lynn

    Hi Ian

    Great teaser blog, as ever. Not sure I can wait till next Monday but I’m going to have to, lol. If this episode is anything like ep 7, it’s going to be phenomenal.

    I know there’s been criticism of this series from some quarters but I think it’s been superb – quite possibly the best yet. Yes it took a bit of time to get to the Lucas/John reveal but it was worth it. And now I’m really looking forward to the finale.

    Thanks so much for your blogs. You always manage to whet out appetites but never give anything away.

    Roll on series 10.


  3. RegencyRomantic

    I’m still reeling from episode 7! =O

    Have avoided spoilers all throughout the series… until this one! Can’t wait for the final episode…

    If Lucas/John turns out to be a real baddie, I hope they don’t kill him off, so that he can return if and when they decide to do Spooks, The Movie. He can be Sir Harry’s arch nemesis… Every hero needs one… =D

  4. Michael Forde

    I would like to make mention of my dear dear friend, Tom Cummings, who served in the Middle East.
    During WW2 as a member of the SIS, he referred to William Blake’s poems as being his method of communicating with London, could this be why John Bateman/Lucas North has a well thumbed copy of William Blake’s poem, ummm oh the possiblities.

  5. Leslie

    It is the best and worst time for us Spooks fans – the end of a series. Where we can’t wait to find out what happens and yet we face the prospect of having to hold on for another year before getting more. It all passes so quickly! I hope you’ll do a wrap-up blog of the series.

    Nicola Walker, Peter Firth, and Richard Armitage have done an outstanding job this series and I hope the BAFTA people are paying attention. Episode 7 had me on the edge of my seat and I have every expectation of episode 8 being much the same.

    I am still holding out hope for Harry and Ruth! However grim things might be!

    Thanks Ian! I’ll continue to read –

  6. Mary

    Thanks for the blog.I just hope there’s another twist coming that gives Lucas some redemption.Great episode last night,brilliant acting by RA.He was amazing durring his ‘confession’ with Harry.

  7. nonsenseandmischief

    Hi Ian,

    A fabulous blog, as always. After such a brilliant episode last night (plus the teasers) I couldn’t wait to read your insights today.

    I’m so excited for next week, and oddly optimistic about it all, despite how awful it all seems. Sometimes you have to go to through the rough times to earn some happiness afterwards. I’ve crossed my fingers there will be some light in it all. Anyway, I know that whatever happens, it’ll be a cracking hour.

    Thanks for all your blogs this series, yet again. Here’s to you bringing us news of a Series 10, soon, I hope!


  8. Thank you for the not quite spoiler info. I really appreciate that about your blog!

    Regarding Spooks, I completely agree with Pepe about Nicola! Not sure what I think of the rest of the show. Perhaps I’m still reeling from Ep 7. It just seems there is so much to accomplish in Ep 8.

  9. Abigal

    I have only discovered this show recently and love it. Have enjoyed your blogs from 4,000 miles away, and yes I buy DVDs, would not want to steal. Never have I enjoyed a show more and only wish the BBC had done more with it on BBCA. Now it has moved to PBS where it truly belongs along with such greats as Upstairs Downstairs the original. I watch shows with much larger budgets and know that this show out-does them all. Excuse the U.S. intruder, but just wanted you to know that I truly appreciate the exporting of Brit TV. (except reality programs).

  10. Julia Fox

    Oh for Pete’s sake, it’s supposed to be Spooks, not the Richard Armitage Show. Lucas’s personal life has dominated the last two series to an annoying degree, and the latest revelations about him are beyond ridiculous. The Lucas/John story is series-invalidating nonsense on a par with Bobby Ewing waking from a dream in Dallas. The only good thing is that this series finale must surely be the end of the road for Lucas. Please heaven! I dearly hope to see the next series focus on the rest of the wonderfully talented, sadly neglected cast for a change.

  11. Giada

    Wow….can’t really wait for the final episode!
    I’m especially looking forward to the scenes with Lucas and Ruth and Lucas and Harry.
    I love Richard Armitage,Nicola Walker and Peter Firth,they are such amazing actors.
    It is such a pleasure to watch their fantastic performances.
    I am still holding out hope for Lucas/John,that he will not die and that he will get redeemed somehow.

    Thanks so much for your great blogs Ian. I will miss them!

  12. Rosemary

    I can’t imagine the concluding episode being any less than extraordinary – with three such outstanding actors together on screen, how could it be otherwise?

    I agree with Giada, Peter Firth, Richard Armitage and Nicola Walker are a real pleasure to watch.

    I would love to say the same about Max Brown and Sophia Myles, but they are nowhere near the same quality. I do wish people would be cast for their acting ability (see above) rather than their looks …

    I look forward very much to reading your blog after the series ends!

  13. princesslilliput

    Thank you for your great blogs. I have watched Spooks from the very start and with only a very few exceptions (mostly series 8, which for some reason I didn’t enjoy so much, but maybe me)) it has been one of the most dynamic and brilliant series on british TV, with excellent dramatic performances by so many talented actors.
    I remember being slightly reluctant in my welcoming of Rupert Penry-Jones as Adam Carter, and then, felt the same way about Richard Armitage as Lucas North, but both continued to excell in their roles, and I am now already hanging off the edge of my seat, waiting for Monday. I couldn’t bear it,if this was the final series.
    Thanks again

  14. jclucas

    Sorry Spooks writers, I’m not having it!!! While you have taken me on a phenomenal adventure over 8 series, with Series 9 I’ve crashed into a wall. Lucas North, a card carrying member of the Anti Social Personality Disorder club? No way! No how! The sheer manipulation of the “It was only a dream” literary device is so beneath you. Of course strong narrative can suspend our disbelief. For one hour a week we know international conspiracies abound, a click of the mouse can avert all danger, and the team can escape bombs, bullets and machetes. BUT, playing fast and loose with psychological integrity and emotional truth — now that’s the suicide bomb of worthy storytelling. If you had decided years ago on Lucas’ character arc, you could’ve hidden some clues along the way. We could recall, or better yet, re-watch, earlier episodes and note a glance or enigmatic piece of dialogue and exclaim, “Ah Ha! Now I get it. How brilliant!” But nooooo. We’ve been fed a steady diet of heroism, compassion, empathy, heartbreak, emotional vulnerability, William Blake and recitations of Hindu scripture. Even in unguarded moments we’ve borne witness to Lucas’ humanity. When subduing Sarah Caulfield’s assassin he desperately demanded “Why did you kill her?!!!” Not the usual query for a sociopath. (We all knew, of course, that it was her caustic sarcasm and even more caustic voice. Ugh! Good riddance.) In episode 1 of series 9, during Lucas’ reunion with Vaughn, there is no hint of the perpetrator in Lucas. His energy and body language are born of fear and shame. Also, I can’t buy Lucas’ gullibility in that encounter. I checked — Kevin Spacey won his academy award for his portrayal of Verbal/Keyser Sose prior to Lucas rotting in prison. Lucas knew of what Vaughn was capable. He would have suspected something. But alas, we are left to ponder how courageous, compassionate and loyal Lucas kept greedy, deceitful, murdering John hidden for 15 years! That’s okay. His ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, torturers, interrogators, and highly trained espionage colleagues didn’t suspect either. I can only surmise that Kudos mandated that you all “out-Spooks” Spooks. Lucas’ metamorphosis into John was this season’s deep fat fryer. You writers have taught us well. Betrayal comes in many guises. Just because it’s literary makes it no less painful.

  15. dotsela

    Dear Jclucas — at first I felt equally betrayed, but rewatching episode 7, I saw in those flashbacks enough missing information, and enough shell-shock and ok-tell-me-what-to-do-next idol worship in the young lucas/john that I just think we might get a surprise in episode 8 or episode 1 of season ten….fingers crossed….dotsela

    • jclucas

      Oh Dotsela, I hope you’re right! I confess that I’ve only viewed through epi 6. I’m in the US and at the mercy of my 17 yr old son’s Tariq type wizardry. His college apps have put me behind. I’m hoping that the writers are snaring us, only to shock once again in epi 8. One can only hope… janet

  16. Spookette

    Ian, thanks for all your wonderfully witty blogs the last few weeks. I thought the acting from the main leads in particular was excellent especially in the last episode. I really hope BAFTA are taking note as I think it is criminal how all too often Spooks is ignored – especially in the best actor and actress, category, usually without even a nomination. Peter Firth and Nicola Walker at least deserve a nomination in next year’s awards for their outstanding acting. Any chance you can put in a good word? Being in the media and not just a humble viewer like myself?

  17. Mary

    Must say i’m devastated how the writers drastically changed Lucas’s character.He went from hero to zero.I think new writers came in for this series & i’m sorry but i don’t think they must have watched the last 2 series.So sad Lucas went out in disgrace & not heroically.
    As much as it’s been distressing to watch,Richard Armitage has been nothing short of outstanding.He’s been amazing,portraying the dual personality his character became.
    Three scenes must be singled out:the tenderness he showed when he injected Ruth;the roar when Maya died & the rooftop scene with Harry.

    I’m going to miss Lucas so much,it won’t be the same without him.

    • Rosemary

      I agree with Mary about Richard Armitage’s performance. Not easy to play two people in one character, and I thought he did it beautifully. The tenderness he showed while injecting Ruth was chilling (Nicola Walker was outstanding too), and Lucas’s confrontation with Harry was a masterpiece – from both actors. That little exchange of ‘I wish you’d met me first’/’So do I’ was the most moving piece of dialogue in the whole episode. Wonderful.

  18. dotsela

    But you sure are right about the new writers — even the Armitage couldn’t get past lines like “look Maya, we’ve made it, we’re free” artificially avoiding looking at her…the scene was horribly written…I used to write the soap ONE LIFE TO LIVE.. trust me, this was below anything we sank to….those actors did VERY heavy lifting indeed. Shame on those writers. and shame on the director. All the poor team were stuck looking dazed and helpless — it really was a slapdash job for the rest of the team….the old MI-5 would have had the whole group emotionally integrated. Time for the producers to take the team away on a retreat, force feed them 9 years of episodes, and make them understand the essence of ensemble writing, rehearsal, and directing. With only 8 episodes to shoot per season, I have no sympathy — to throw the actors new sides the day of the shoot is pathetic. I used to write 2 shows a week, and we shot 5 of them, one a day….that’s an excuse for sloppy writing…these guys have 9 months to prep….I hope they redeem themselves for season 10.

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