Spooks: Code 9 episode 4 review

After four episodes of Spooks: Code 9 and repeat water-boarding, Mark's finally cracked.

The end of Code 9 is getting nearer...

This week’s Code 9 was a slight diversion from the previous three, because to find someone this time they tried a different approach than just asking around. But that doesn’t substantially alter the fact that every story so far has been a person hunt of sorts, which is getting remarkably tedious to be honest.

The character with most screen time this week was Rachel, followed by the cartoon bad guy (who I predict is also a good guy) Rob. She goes ‘undercover’ to follow a clue left for them in a tree last week by the long dead Hannah (or is she?). The means of sending her incognito was entirely preposterous, having her appeared to be stabbed in a nightclub. This was one of the first things that happened, and at that point they’d lost me.

Surely a good scheme to disappear is to have an excuse where people don’t keep asking about you or asking how you are? Not on Code 9, they need one where all the other characters are the most curious they can be! This was followed through to its most ludicrous conclusion at the end, when Rachel needed a scar so everyone else would believe it actually happened.

But long before this I began to seriously wonder about whatever is presented as logic in Code 9. So much that has happened in this show defied belief, way beyond a point I’m willing to suspend.

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At one point this week the lovely Kylie fought off would-be assassins by shooting at them while riding on the back of a moving saloon car. With the pursuing vehicle only feet away she unleashed an entire clip from her semi-automatic without actually hitting either of the two men in the vehicle! She then changed clip before remembering to aim at them, all without being dislodged from a smooth car body without any visible means of purchase. Typically, TV shows over-estimate the effectiveness of hand-guns, but Code 9 assumes they’re utterly useless unless they’re been pushed up the target’s left nostril.

At the end of proceedings, episode 4 was almost entirely a collection of dumbness, none of which was remotely plausible. Other examples included: a spy who told a complete stranger that they worked for MI5, a public identity database that includes the new ‘secret’ names of people in a witness protection scheme, two shootings in public streets with no witnesses, and spies who are forced to lock-pick their way into their own safe house in an emergency. They should have added a backing track of consternation, with a regular ‘Doh!’ thrown in for good measure.

If you haven’t guessed I’m rapidly losing patience with Code 9. So far it’s proven to be formulaic, predictable, contrived and implausible. All in a fashion that made me hark back to Mission Impossible as a bastion of feasibility. But worse than all those things, it’s broken the cardinal sins of being boring and pedestrian. Spies, as I recall, are supposed to be exciting people living a dramatic lifestyle, even the young inexperienced ones.

It seems best to look forward now to the penultimate outing. Not because I’m especially keen to see it, but because it gets us closer to the end of Code 9, presumably for good.

Read Mark’s review of last week’s episode here.