This review contains spoilers.
Kompromat. Kom-pro-mat. Kompromatkompromatkompromat. Hypnotically, episode five swung the word like a gold watch on a chain in front of our drowsy eyelids. Entire scenes used it as their only noun. “Kompromat!” declared Sgt Budd. “Kompromat?” replied his boses. “Kompromat,” all agreed, nodding with concern.
Bodyguard is hypnotic television, and we are all under its power. It snaps its fingers and we start babbling about briefcases. It snaps them a second time and we instantly forget the briefcase—what idiots we were to worry about the briefcase—and start obsessing about the Range Rover, or the CCTV, or the faked death, or this week, the kompromat. This show has its audience mesmerized, willing slaves the lot of us.
This time next week though, we’ll be free. The Rt Hon. Julia Montague MP will have emerged from behind the false bookcase in her flat, or have chucked a rope ladder down to David from a helicopter and flown him far away from London and conspiracy and trauma so they can live out their lives in an idyll of sex and conflicting moral viewpoints on overseas military intervention.
That, or she’s dead (she is dead, isn’t she? She has to be) and Sgt Budd will have left the heroics behind and embarked on a course of intensive counselling, having caught those responsible. If the BBC takes its duty of care seriously, it won’t give David Budd a second series, it’ll give him a holiday.
The Chief Super has done exactly that, following a tip-off from Tom Fenton (the one with the haircut of a low-ranking Nazi in a WWII film, definitely Up To Something) that Budd may not be in tip-top psychological shape. If Craddock failed to detect that on her own, we have to call into question her fitness to be considered either Chief or indeed, Super.
Episode five left Sgt Budd on indefinite leave, stripped of his firearms ticket, and with a back pocket full of kompromat. Foreseeing danger, the night before her speech Julia had stashed the incriminating tablet inside a photo frame and dropped David a clue in the native language of the thirtysomething male: Star Wars.
Now the bullet-stopper really does have one over on Richard Longcross, how is Budd going to play it? One thing’s certain: not by the rules. Ordered away from the bomber in episode one, he moved closer. Told to sit tight at Thornton Circus, he launched a one-man SWAT team. Tasked with protecting the principal, he shagged her. Budd does what he wants, and what Budd wants to do is find the bastards who did it.
Episode five added a new entry under that heading: those familiar Line Of Duty swines – the organised criminal gang.
A shiny penny to everyone awaiting the return of Chanel the disgruntled aide and her mysterious Range Rover chauffeur. He’s a criminal kingpin named Luke Aitkens, and there’s every chance that he and his pals have been trying to bump off the home secretary to stop her invasive new security bill in its tracks.
After all, RIPA-18 and all the increased power it brings would be Christmas for the Security Services – so why blow up Santa Claus? As Commander Sampson said wisely, Oliver Bonas: who benefits?
Roger Penhaligon, Mike Travis and the PM benefit from Julia now being just a photo on a corkboard, but according to Rob, they only plotted to embarrass her, not to explode her. A spot of manhandling by the recycling bins and the special advisor confessed all.
Richard Longcross (Ron Bigcon was, presumably, already taken) is the key. Like a vampire, he doesn’t appear on CCTV. Unlike a vampire, he drives a Ford Estate. Did Longcross really supply Nadia’s husband with the October the 1st bomb, or did she lie when she identified him from that E-fit? Longcross gave Julia the tablet and is currently going to a great deal of effort to get it back. Why would he have blown her up without first retrieving it?
And how does Luke Aitkens fit into all this? And Andy Apsted? Why have SO15 not yet made the connection between Budd and Apsted serving together in Afghanistan?
Who can tell. In my hynotised, enthralled state, certainly not me. My cat probably has a better grasp of what’s really been going on.
I just asked her, actually. The interviewee is shaking her head.
Read Louisa’s review of the previous episode here.