Spooks: Sands of Time

Alice Krige as Elena Gavrik and Peter Firth as Harry Pearce

“I’M afraid we don’t have very much time.”

Sir Harry speaks for all Spooks fans in episode two of the final series.

As those sands of time continue to flow inexorably towards The End.

He’s actually talking to former Russian love Elena (Alice Krige) when they meet alone in a theatre during an exclusive afternoon ballet performance.

Against the backdrop of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

A piece of music the composer dedicated to a student he fell in love with but was prevented from marrying.

Elena and Harry’s FSB son Sasha (Tom Weston-Jones) is backstage, trying to prevent his mother from being exposed as an MI5 spy.

But how far will Sasha go to save her?

Many are hoping that Harry (Peter Firth) and Ruth (Nicola Walker) will waltz off together at the end of this farewell run.

Surviving those bloodthirsty Spooks writers to dance along the Embankment hand in hand.

Viewers of that persuasion will be heartened to hear Harry say this week: “Ruth, you’re the only one I can turn to.”

Among other things.

But those writers aren’t in the mood to give us too many crumbs of comfort.

Tom Weston-Jones as Sasha Gavrik

Ruth has her hands on Harry’s MI5 Personnel File and we get a quick glimpse:

Educated: Oxford. Sandhurst.

Military career: Light Blue Dragoons.

Security Services career: Section A secondment. Northern Ireland Service. Death of Bill Crombie…

Nothing new there. And no sign of any personal surveillance of tea shops in Devon.

Intelligence analyst Ruth has more pressing matters on her mind.

Secret MI5 files on several of their “top grade assets” working in the field have been stolen.

Not good news for those involved as their identities are revealed one by one.

Or for the temper of grumpy Home Secretary William Towers (Simon Russell Beale), who has just one scene – with Harry – this week.

Simon Russell Beale as William Towers and Nicola Walker as Ruth Evershed

There’s no sign in episode two of Towers’ interest in Miss Evershed – professionally or otherwise.

That will have to wait for episode three.

Unless he’s kidnapped by militant members of The Harry and Ruth Fan Club.

Meanwhile a frustrated Tariq (Shazad Latif) is trying to solve the puzzle of just who stole a laptop containing those MI5 secrets.

Was it the CIA? Or will this final series story arc turn out to be a little more complex than that?

Episode two contains a shock or two, demonstrating yet again how ruthless the spying game can be.

No wonder Harry asks Erin (Lara Pulver): “What are your feelings about whisky?”

Adding: “I’ve ruined the lives of people I care about. It’s part of what we do.”

It’s another brilliant “Harry reflecting in his office” scene from Peter Firth.

A lonely father-of-three telling single mother Erin about the sacrifices that have to be made in their line of work.

And a reminder that Peter’s time as this iconic character will soon be over.

So best enjoy what’s left while we can.

Preferably with a glass of Harry’s scotch to hand.

You may need it.

Spooks continues on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday.

"Please believe me, Harry. I didn't watch Downton Abbey."

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