Spooks series 10 episode 5 review

Ruth’s loyalties are split and Harry may well have crossed the line this week, as the penultimate episode of Spooks leads us to what looks like an explosive finale...

This review contains spoilers.

Wow. Now, I have enjoyed Spooks for many years, and have said on numerous occasions that Harry Pearce is one of the all-time great spies on television. But now? Forget your Bauers and other gung-ho Americans that fill the screens with quips and one-liners, Sir Harry is up there with George Smiley as far as I’m concerned.

As unflappable gentlemen agents who never lose their calm go, Harry Pearce can usually be trusted to do anything for queen and country, but it seems that even he can take things a little too far on occasion, and after this week’s events, the old spy may never be the same again.

Throughout the season, we’ve seen a shadowy cabal of agents plotting to derail talks between Russia and the UK, and finally, it seems that all the plots, plans and potential traps were set up by Harry’s former friend Jim Coaver, an intelligence head at the CIA. We left last week with Harry all but accusing Coaver of running the cabal, and in unsubtle terms threatening him. Harry then has Coaver disappear while he tries to get to the bottom of the situation.

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However, not everyone is on board with the idea, and while the newer recruits are happy to go along with Harry’s plan, Ruth, in her new role as liaison to the home secretary, is split between love and commitment to Harry, as well as her new role (it’s a good role, she even has a PA called Margot). So when Harry orchestrates Coaver’s disappearance, Ruth is left to pick up the pieces, leaving the entire team in a predicament, and a very difficult situation for both Harry and the intelligence service as a whole.

While it would spoil the entire episode to reveal the fate of Coaver (okay, he dies), the importance of his demise leads Ruth back to exactly where she does not want to be – under the control of Harry. And letting her heart rule her head, too, as a tense situation in the US Embassy leads to her once again putting her life on the line to get a laptop that was essential to Coaver – who, it seemed, is not the big-bad of the series after all.

This, of course, leads us all the way back to the Gavrik family, with Ilya, Sasha and even Elena all now in the spotlight to potentially be the boss, controlling the rogue network of terrorists. With an attempt made on the home secretary’s life, and a bomb threat in Russia, the entire team is put on high alert as the talks are on the edge of breaking down. The laptop Ruth retrieved, it seems, was important, but for the wrong reasons, as Sasha finally finds out who his father is, and that his mother may well have been lying to him all his life.

With Ilya trying to mend bridges, Elena keeping quiet and Sasha finally pushed over the edge, the suspects are lining up for the big reveal next week. Who is the main villain of the season, and could the operatives still eluding the Spooks team bring about a terrorist threat on a huge scale?

With the end of the season and, unfortunately, the entire show, I will hazard a guess that things will go out with a bang, and from the predicament Harry finds himself in at the end of this episode, it seems that the British intelligence service will not have their best man ready, as his rendition (sans orange boiler-suit) to America is well underway.

Will he make it to America, save the day and finally get the house in the country to retire to? Well, we’ll all have to wait and see…

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You can read our review of Spooks series 10 episode 4 here.