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Spooks Rewatch s1
Missy and 12
Whelp. We're getting started this month [profile] nightbulbs, [personal profile] novindalf, [profile] twcardiff and everyone else keen to go back to the start when cats and hairdryers and Malcolm and Zoe were a thing... sorta.

That's right. July is the month of Tom, Danny and Zoe, the deep fat fryer, hard nosed Tessa and Harry being a great character. Let's go... Spooks s1 in July starts NOW!

This entry was originally posted at http://dweomeroflight.dreamwidth.org/103292.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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Starting tonight, probably :D

Awesome- I'm starting Friday only because I have two work dinners in a row (had one tonight and another tomorrow)
I'll make episode threads now!

Post your 1.1 episode thoughts here.

This is my least favourite Spooks episode in s1 ironically - it seems to take awhile to take off and I find it a little slow. Things I noticed and/or loved:

- Love how they open it with the training session even if the trainer is a dreadful actress
- Ha Zoe and the landlord. Mems.
- Malcolm and Zoe is so random. What the hell writers, I love you.
- I forgot how new Danny is at first and also how kind of a brat he is. But he gets better.
- TESSA. I MISSED HER IN LATER SERIES. YES. I DID. SHUT UP. I liked her cool and manipulative ways. She complemented Harry as his darker side.
- *Sniff* Muskett's Hold me tight piece STILL gets me. It's beautiful and sums up angst ridden Spooks the best for me.
- I love that Tom's story was so clearly plotted from the start. He is the only one who appears planned. When Maisy calls him a liar the look on Tom's face is so sad. They spent series 1 highlighting his competence even as Matty McFayden gradually shows us a man un-ravelling in time for series 2. It's beautiful and perfect.
- Yay for Zoe in disguise and gunless.

Post your 1.2 episode thoughts here.

God. This episode. God. It still hurts. It is still one of Spooks best. Over a decade later.

I wanted to tie Tony Abbot to a chair and make him watch this. He's not far off being an Osbourne. And as for the the government response at the end, it shames me to say that this is the summation of current Australian politics in relation to asylum seekers.

Helen was so naive and beautiful. It is still shocking. Still.

Tom and Danny running together is kind of nice. I had forgotten how new Danny was in this series.

Zoe being stolen in that manipulative way by Tessa and yet I can't hate her... I still remember that episode with her ex lover and feel only pity...

Maisie and Ellie - God this is pitch perfect. I've never understood why people hate this story line. It was the perfect story to help us see Tom unravel. The more Tom wants to be with Ellie the more lies he tells.

I hate that Tom can't tell Ellie about Helen. I hate that he is sitting alone with their faux wedding ring silently wracked with grief. That scene was so sad.

Zoe comforting Jed at the funeral, Zoe crying in her shit hole of a flat made me remember how Zoe was the bleeding heart of the grid before Ruth was. Danny is a bit of a cold jerk about Helen dying. Zoe calls him out thank God and reminds him to feel.

Harry and Tom disobeying government and having Osbourne assassinated is such a nice gesture. It's so Tom. He was so British and upright and cool and collected and... imploding in his proper straight-laced way, each episode imploding some more. The more I think about it the more perfect 2.10 is as a kind of ending.

Edited at 2014-07-13 12:28 pm (UTC)

Post your Spooks 1.3 episode thoughts here.

This episode is actually one of the ones I find myself coming back to more often, mainly because of Tessa - Spooks first ever example of the wasted casting opportunity. I never remember much about the plot of the week (average) but I do remember an awful lot about the way Tessa looked in those final scenes with Johnny.

Though it was fun seeing Zoe in the field...

Post your Spooks 1.4 episode thoughts here.

Edited at 2014-07-02 02:03 pm (UTC)

- Wow - I am currently reading The Spy Who Came in From The Cold and though I haven't finished yet, the similarities to this episode are a little scary. I wonder what Le Carre thought of the very early series?
- There is a harsh authenticity to this episode in particular with the way everyone gets screwed over, MI6 fights with MI5 and no one really knows what's going on. Even Tessa's phantom ops felt real. God damn it spooks why did you get rid of her so soon?
- I found it interesting that the plot of the week took up maybe half of the episode max. Instead, we got solid characterization for Tom, Harry, Tessa, Zoe and Danny
- Harry had some great grisly boss lines
- Tom's eyes tell us so much. Good job Matty McFayden
- Ellie is kinda annoying in this episode, especially with her insistence on Tom telling Maisie the truth (telling young children vital secrets is such a terrible idea y'all), but at the same time, I kind of get it
- Ha world weary Giles! I don't really get how MI5 resolved the plane problem though - unless this episode is a two parter and I've forgotten...
- God. This episode is the perfect parallel to the slow burn way Tom implodes and leaves across s2. The great thing about Tom, but even to a lesser extent Danny and Zoe, is that their story lines are planned out from early into s1. Danny's hopeless love for Zoe gets more and more heartbreaking with each episode
- lol at Danny picking up Zoe's underwear and the earl grey convo
- Tom. Tom. Tom. You see your relationship with Ellie reflected in Giles and his radical chick (and incidentally in a later parallel to Christine/Tom and Le Carre's Leamas/Liz). God that's so perfectly sad. This show.

ps: where the bloody hell are you novindalf and nightbulbs I'm behind as it is but you guys ;)

Edited at 2014-08-05 01:23 pm (UTC)

(I offered a Skype joined rewatch to Nia but I let her down after that because last week was busy as hell :/)

Haha I sympathise - but the early series are really great plus I am excited to rewatch how Ros and Connie entered the fray as I've completely forgotten.

I do think that after this proper re-watch I'll just re-watch the series that are actually good. Life's too short to waste on bad tv ;)

SOOORRRRYYY! I have an exam to revise for and I'm living out of a suitcase and up and down the country like a yo-yo for the remainder of the summer and I have no idea where my DVDs are :'(

Awww never mind. Join in when and if you can! We'll be here a while at this rate!

Post your Spooks 1.5 episode thoughts here.

Wow. What an episode. Strangely I'd completely forgotten this one!

- It's less thematically bleak than 1.4, and the contrast of the futility of spying vs. the drama of the characters lives didn't quite sit right for me this week
- I have a feeling that this is why, though I greatly enjoy s1, it isn't one of my favourite series. It felt like the writers were still trying to find their feet with some episodes and this only really got resolved in s2.
- I found Tessa refreshingly entertaining this episode. I don't know what's wrong with me. The more I think about it, the more I regret we didn't see more of her conniving ways.
- Loved the attempt to shag in the camera's blind spot. Classy Tessa.
- I had completely forgotten this story. It is quite similar (but less exciting in some ways) then that episode in series 4 where there was an ex spy murdered over memoirs.
- I totally am having my PI drink spirits out of teapots and tea mugs in my crime novel next year
- Danny feels all wrong for me in s1. This episode certainly didn't help with the random one night stand. Zoe broke my heart when he said "I just wanted to be normal" and she said "I know"
- Look, can I just say, Danny and Zoe were such a lovely couple. I am still a little bit sad they never worked out, though I am relieved Zoe escaped someplace sunny.
- Wow Ellie annoyed the shit out of me this episode. What a brat. If your partner is a spy of course he's not going to blow his cover to your ex husband. I didn't mind Ellie in early s1, but again, her writing is quite uneven and I was glad when Tom lost her. Christine/Tom worked surprisingly well.
- Jools and the opera: how I had forgotten you and your quips to fellow audience members. Jools felt a bit funny for me this episode too - the mix of pure bastard and razor sharp comedy wit was quite an odd mix. It worked though.
- Like last episode, this episode had a powerful feeling of being permeated by spying reality. This particular story had me feeling a little dirty. When you stop and think about this episode, a man died because MI6 wanted to one up MI5 and get rid of a dodgy politician. Did the means justify the ends? One to ponder. I lean towards Le Carre's view which is no it doesn't.
- The saddest part of all is that the operation was so meaningless. Everyone in this episode uses their position of secrecy and power to get something they want; Tessa kills a man (buying into MI6's concocted paranoia), Tom roughs up Ellie's ex, Zoe has received money to keep quiet about Tessa's phantom op and Danny is trying to bounce back after his credit card scams
- For some weird reason, I thought series 1 has 90 minute episodes. I wish it did for real. Both 1.4 and 1.5 would have benefited from more time in my opinion. For example, Maynard and Tessa comes out of nowhere. If the writers had put him in the story earlier there could have been quite a sadly bleak but fitting story about role reversal (Maynard as a CIA spy playing Tessa like a piano and the consequences of her finding that out - look I know I keep banging on about Tessa, but she felt like quite a realistic spy; cold, pragmatic, cruel, power hungry and her buy in to the game of secrecy her downfall)

Edited at 2014-08-07 01:23 pm (UTC)

- One of the things that never felt right to me about later series was the abandonment of the acknowledgement of the cost spying has on a person's humanity; and early spooks didn't just mean, a so called 'normal' life, they meant something deeper about morality and value systems. The paranoia and the secrets and the lies start to become you until there is nothing else left. This is why s10 and its shitty ending will never ever work for me. There is no heroism, not really, in that kind of job. There can't be. That is the true cost of being a spy. When you start to play the game too hard, when you start to have stakes in the game, you find yourself in the cold. It happened to Tessa, it happened to Tom and it happened to Zoe.
- The really compelling aspect for me of early spooks was the tension between doing the moral and right thing, and sacrificing those important human values for an elusive concept of an ill defined greater good (god the movie is going to be so shit - have they learnt nothing from Craig's Bond's? The world isn't interested in nations any more and even M knew that. The only justification for a secret service is to deal with the shadow realms.)
- I have found it really interesting how Harry isn't the writer's god in this series at all. Tom, Danny and Zoe are a united front of moral reason in many of the episodes, only for Harry to take them down a notch. In fact, I remember watching the special features years back and the MI5er they'd enlisted to help them mentioned that that would never go on, the trio would have been kicked out into the cold as rogues
- The end of this episode really cemented the relationship Tom, Danny and Zoe shared. In my opinion, no other team came close to that kind of shared understanding, except perhaps for Lucas and Ros.
- Jenny Muskett's gorgeous music still fills me with an indelible sadness. There was something so sharp and bitter and bleak about a lot of the early spooks episodes which was in the same vein as stories like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the old spooks music personifies that sentiment for me.

Edited at 2014-08-07 01:28 pm (UTC)

Post your spooks episode 1.6 thoughts here.

Hmmm not much to say on this one. 1.1 and 1.6 are the weakest episodes of this series for me.

- The story of the week frankly dragged all the way until the bomb in the laptop
- Harry was really fucking annoying in this episode. Thank God they evened his characterization out in series 2 onwards. Maybe it's just because I'm part Irish but I found some of his comments to be racist and ignorant; typical of the way the English have treated the Irish all along really. I am no terrorist or IRA sympathizer, but I can understand why they got mad. If you take all means of political expression away from a person/s, they will react in the limited ways that they have available to them
- Tom's meeting with the DP (what does that even stand for?) was frankly uncomfortable. Would anyone do that to someone. Really?
- Tessa's characterization was off at the start of this episode too. Why did she come over squeamish at Harry killing the guy; surely she would be on his side?
- Tessa really is Spooks first wasted character. The first time around, I had no reaction to her leaving because I had no idea what to feel about her.
- This time around (and hindsight is a lovely thing), I sympathized with her feeling that Harry was a hypocritical arsehole (nice delivery Jenny), because for one thing, I know that later on he seriously is, but also because he let's Danny, Tom and Zoe off the hook for various misdemeanors, including credit card fraud, beating up civilians for personal gain, and rogue operations. Why does he let those three off but not Tessa? Because she's been around longer? Because Harry has a past with her that we don't know about? She's fucked up before and he knew about it? Really show - you needed to give us something here
- This might have been Spooks first example of the nonsensical plot. The plot of the week (which continues tenuously into 2.1) made no sense. Again, a 90 minute episode may have helped here, but as it was I was left with my eye brows up saying 'owl really? So you think you should let 50% chance nuclear destruction happen, Harry' and 'wow guys going behind boss's back to DP would so equal secondment to a different section'
- Jed is so random. He is so just on the Grid to fill a numbers quota. Again, series 2 remedies this by having a fully fleshed out team
- It occurred to me that out of the six episodes of series 1, only 1.1 and 1.6 are actually about a real threat to national security. (1.2 is only of concern because politicians are tired of illegal migration and don't mind that someone else does their dirty work for them, with MI5 only involved to tick PC boxes, 1.3 is an ex spy setting up a mock attack so that he can steal MI5 agent codes and bank details, 1.4 is a spy gone rogue and 1.5 is a turf war between MI5 and MI6) The episodes 1.2-1.5 most engaged me, which says a lot about what I watched this show for.

Edited at 2014-08-08 02:02 pm (UTC)

Saving for a rainy day - currently on holiday, trying to make the most of the good weather :)

Just so you know, my rewatch comments will probably be more squee/nostalgia than serious thoughts/meta!

Haha no worries - mine will be a mix of both most like!

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