The review of episode 8 of BS was not really forthcoming for me. I mainly enjoyed this episode of BS for the amount of Richard that was in it. Unlike other reviewers, I was not bored by the episode as such although some of the scenes that were interspersed with the chase plot were indeed very slow – but for me they worked as a deliberate slow-down to heighten the sense of suspense. However, the general criticism of the show remains – where season 1 was choc-a-bloc with too much stuff, season 2 seems lacking in substance – as if the plot is stretched too much.
Rather than discuss the whole episode, I have decided to pick my favourite scenes,
i.e. the ones with Richard Armitage in it *surprise, surprise*. I went a bit overboard with the screen caps, but hell, they will not go unused.
Slapstick in the sack
For once, BS provided some real humour. The scene with Daniel and Esther in bed was funny indeed, from lascivious lovers to active agents in 2 seconds. The wrangling for their phones and the mirror image disbelief upon hearing the news from their respective colleagues, was hilarious. And Armitage and Mina Tander pulled it off with dead-pan aplomb. Nice!
Intense Daniel looks
I’d find it pretty hard to get angry with such a lover… Kudos to Esther for not being swayed either by gorgeous clavicles, nor superangry gazes… However, it must be said that the whole relationship angle is slightly weird. With all this back and forth between the two lovers, I get the impression that the writers have overdone it a little bit. Never mind that the relationship started out in season 1 as a honey trap, in order to get info out of Daniel – at this point it just seems so unlikely that these two ambitious agents are actually romantically in love *despite* working almost on opposite sides. Yeah, yeah, love can conquer all, I know. But somehow I don’t buy it. And as much as the fangirl in me likes to see Armitage in romantic scenes – the more seriously-minded Tv consumer in me is slightly suspicious that that is *exactly* what the makers of this show are doing: I feel fobbed off. Instead of giving Daniel – ostensibly the leading character of the show – some hard-hitting, exciting storylines, I am fed a soppy love story. Once again I think that Armitage is woefully underused in this show. Don’t get me wrong – I’d love to see him in a family or romantic drama. But Daniel with puppy eyes, asking to start over (sorry, I know, that was episode 7) – that is just another idiosyncrasy – or idiocy, whichever way you want to see it…
is worthy of an extra gallery.
Never mind the derp, here comes chestitage
Do I really have to say more? This was a very welcome scene. Can’t remember what Daniel said, but he sure looked good whatever he was saying. Even with that smug smile at the end.
Crappy, fuzzy cap, but this could be the background to a thousand memes of Richard replying to his fans on Twitter…
Wide awake and half asleep. This scene reminded me of Spooks a lot. Lucas sitting in meetings with his boss was a regularly recurring motif in the British spy show. Yet the caps here reflect pretty much what I believe is wrong with Daniel’s role in BS: It is all about reaction. Daniel is only ever reacting to things in BS. For a lead character he has remarkably little room to manouever on his own accord. He is sent in deep cover by his superiors, follows through with a plan that has been hatched by someone else. Then has to react on his feet to whatever situation his target is placing him in. The one autarkic decision he makes – taking Otto and Co. to Spain – is essentially also a decision that places him back in the slipstream of another agent, Hector. So once again he is deprived of any way of driving the plot himself. He is constantly reduced to merely reacting to the actions of others. – Maybe I have a stereotypical ideal of a hero/protagonist, but somehow it grates with me that the character that has been presented (and promoted!) to me as the identification figure of the show, is not shown as a *(pro)active* character, but as a pawn in a game that is dominated by other players. A pity, considering how assertive/questioning Daniel can look:
Boom – this one went straight into the feels.
As did this.
Gun expert Miller?
It follows that the characterisations of Daniel are not always consistent in this show. I didn’t quite understand, for instance, how a character who was initially billed as a desk jockey and no-special-skills agent, now apparently knows his way with guns. Checking and locking the gun in one swift move – where did that suddenly come from? We had been fed hints in season 1 that Daniel was actually *more* than a desk-based analyst from Langley. His expertise with guns hints at that again, as did the early scenes in season 1 of Daniel traipsing around in the Panama jungle. Yet that the jungle scene was never picked up again… Those inconsistencies may seem little details, but they add up, and they mar the viewing experience for me.
What I really appreciated in BS 2×08, however, were a couple of “shady” scenes. As annoying as fuzzy lighting may appear, the play of light and shadow on Daniel’s face is always gorgeous. Both caps remind me of one of my favourite poems, “He wishes for the cloths of heaven”, by WB Yeats.
He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Shoutout to the props department, too: Daniel in front of a world map looked good. Next step world-domination?
for butt… eh plot, PLOT!
As for the plot, well, I was surprised by a couple of twists. I did not expect Lena to be quite so stupid and get herself picked up by the police. She was rather cold and calculating earlier on in the show, not batting an eyelid when her lover was killed, for instance, or perfectly able to be complicit in stealing a van and killing a security guard, so her panic now seemed out of character for me, and getting herself captured was just a neat way for the show to finish that storyline.
The whole chase sequence, starting with Hector and Daniel breaking into the hired assassin’s house, was suspenseful, especially once they started chasing the car.
Special shout-out here for the camera department: Following Daniel at butt-level while he is approaching the parked car in the garage, was ingenious. Fangirl-thanks to you! I also didn’t see it coming that Nick Fisher was behind the assassination of the assassin, so that was a twist for me.
As for plotlines involving other characters: I have never understood what role Noah plays in the show. I get that Robert Kirsch’s son is there to illustrate that spies have a personal life beside their work, too. Yet, the whole teenage son/father conflict is both so boring as well as commonplace, but never drives any of the plot, so that it seems obsolete in the context of the show. Val and Josef’s storyline makes more sense in a way, yet once again I am struck by how unrealistic some of the details are. Josef entirely trusting Valerie with a key to his flat even though he knows she is an (ex)agent? I just can’t believe it. And never mind the recurring issue with how nonchalantly the right-wingers are portrayed in this show! Valerie’s ambiguity when it comes to Josef’s politics, is a real nuisance.
Lots of nice shots for the Daniel Miller fan, but not enough plot.
And now we are on the last stretch. One more episode. It’ll be interesting to see how they tie it all up in the end.