Spooks: Code 9 episode 3 review

Mark isn't upbeat this week about the Spooks spin-off Code 9, as it reaches the half way point of its run.

Spooks: Code 9

Oh dear. I was marginally optimistic about this week’s episode based on the promo, but it turned out to be a false dawn, or whatever metaphor you’d like for complete lack of delivery. Yet again we’re given another Jez-centric story, but with some Kylie mixed in for good measure. They pose as a couple to infiltrate a crime ghetto and unravel the secret identity of the mysterious ‘Zero’. Except his true identity was so obviously telegraphed that I’d guessed who it would be within thirty seconds of his character being announced. But so much in this story was badly handled that having an un-mysterious character was actually the least of its problems.

What is really beginning to bug me about Code 9 is how abysmal they are as Spooks, because they appear to have no idea about espionage or even how to remain undercover. In two episodes now, their approach to finding someone has been to walk into his neighbourhood and then directly ask someone do they know him. Gosh, that’s an original approach! Funny how in both stories the target of the mission knew that they were coming, isn’t it?

I know they’re supposed to be inexperienced, but I don’t recall them mentioning that stupidity was a criteria for joining. So far we’ve seen very little that could be classed as ‘intelligence’, on any level, and I’m getting very bored with the characters treating every mission like they’re trying to find a curry house. Just one of them must have some idea what being a spy is actually about, please?

I also don’t understand why Code 9 has all become focused around Jez, as there seems little depth to his character to reveal. But the biggest disappointment of this week was undoubtedly Kylie, who got more screen-time, but had zero character progress as the end of it to show for it. She seemed genuinely interesting in episode one, but now she’s the girl that takes pills and suffers from that special Hollywood version of radiation sickness where you look completely fine. Yawn.

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The reason I liked Spooks is that it would occasionally throw you a beautiful curveball that would take you completely off-guard. But Code 9 is so pedestrian in it’s delivery that the ball it throws under-arm barely reaches the batter.

For the second week they ran a sub-plot that’s meant to make us think that Rob is a bad guy. Given the unsubtle nature of Code 9, the chance of this being so is virtually nil, but I expect more of this pointless diversion in episode 4. And then we have Rachel and Charlie who think they’ve been employed in a National Treasure TV show, hunting ridiculously convoluted clues. What’s the money the bad-guy is one of them?

In my first review I suggested that this was Spooks-light, but actually so far it isn’t actually good enough for that classification. If it doesn’t buck up its ideas in the second half of the run, I can’t see this getting another series.