Review: Spooks (Episode 3 – Series 7 – BBC)

For some reason I enjoyed this more than last week’s episode. It still had lots of twists and turns – but it was somehow more satisfying. I did find the inner-city accent of the Jihadi to be quite fake, but I can live with that.

The main plot line is the discovery of British based Al-Qaeda bomb plots, the aim of which is to maximise civilian casualties. Ben is working undercover in the cell that is tasked with detonating the bomb. Initially the expectation is that it’s a dummy run but it soon transpires this is the real thing.

The plot is complicated because Marlin, a Pakistani intelligence agent, is giving the tip-off. Past series dictate that those who give tip-offs can’t usually be trusted.

The even more complex plot line occurs when Lucas has flashbacks to his torture at the hands of Russian FSB captors. He was subjected to water boarding (note that he endured this in real life too) and one of his torturers had asked him about ‘Surgarhorse’, a keyword he isn’t familiar with. After having a flashback he confronts Harry and asks him if he knows what it is. Harry denies any knowledge.

Next thing we know, Harry is in the suburbs in an old book store where his old mentor Bernard Qualtrough works. He tells Bernard he needs him to work on a covert operation because, we infer, ‘Sugarhorse’ has some connection with an Mi5 top secret operation and potentially a mole at the highest echelons of the service – probably in connection with one of Harry’s superiors, called Dalby.

Back on the central plot line, the dummy run turns into the real thing and there are four bombs to be neutralised. Ros does a sterling job as Head of Section D, especially in Harry’s absence as they can’t get hold of him. Connie urges the shut-down of the mobile network but Ros resists. To cut a long story short, they manage to neutralise three of the bombs. The other (real) terrorist who Ben was a faux-accomplice to ended up getting shot.

Unfortunately, the fourth bomb does detonate and Jo (pictured – already traumatised from her ordeal with Adam Carter (RIP) at the hands of torturers) – is at the centre of this one. Two CO19 officers are killed in the explosion but Jo had managed to clear the area of civilians. She herself is again, deeply traumatised, as she is caught in the blast itself – though survives.

By the end they realise that Marlin had set them up and that the handler they’d been chasing had not been the Mr Big. Marlin phones through to Lucas and asks to meet. They do. Marlin acknowledges to Lucas that he is probably a dead man in Mi5’s eyes now. However, he also tells Lucas that he himself is NOT the Mr Big, but yet another ‘Russian doll’. He says he had to organise to oversee the bombing as his superiors had got to his family and this was the only way to protect them. He draws a gun… and shoots himself through the neck.

Ben is deep undercover and discovers the terrorists are planning a bombing campaign in London. He accompanies them on a dry run but soon discovers that this is no practice and that he is minutes away from innocent members of the public getting killed. Ros and the team face a desperate race against time to prevent the terrorists’ bombs going off but, with four bombs set to detonate, it’s an almost impossible task. Jo will stop at nothing to save London from devastation, landing herself at the centre of a catastrophic situation.

This was episode 3/7 and the series is continuing to deliver. Highly recommended.

Watch again on BBC iPlayer (UK residents only) by clicking here.

Reviews of Spooks Series 7