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Series 3, episode 05
Series 305
1st release (U.K.): 11/08/04
1st release (U.S.):
Production number:
Last update: 02/24/05

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Writer Howard Brenton
Director Jonny Campbell

BBC-1, Mondays 9pm


The tension between Zoë and Danny comes to the boiling point during a mission to snare a scientist who has absconded with a lethal disease that has the potential to be mass-produced by terrorists. As they argue over her relationship with Will, their mission is changed into something far more complex. CustardTV


This synopsis is by Han.

This time last series: the episode when I first fell in love with Ruth, 205, otherwise known as `end of the world, end of the world, end of the world.' This episode wasn't quite as good as that, but there were still some sterling moments.

We open on Danny and Colin at the shooting range.

`I never had you down as a weekend weapons handler.'
`Same goes for you.'
`Yeah well, you know, I'm just quite into ballistics.'

I have a feeling that anything I say here will sound bad, so all I'm going to say is if you think I'm thinking about a certain person right now, you're probably right (if you're not, you don't know who I'm on about).

They have a conversation about drifting which sounds vaguely portentous. They have a conversation about shooting people. The rest of the A story is as cheerful as this. Oh, and we go to titles on a shot of Danny looking in the mirror.

Titles la la la.

Saturday morning recruit orientation. Woman is talking to them about relationships. At one point I was going to apply for MI5. Didn't, and despite the fact that I can't lie and have a crap memory, people still tell me to.

Zoe and Will in bed, she has to leave to go and teach new spies about working in MI5 and relationships.oh dear.

`We thought we'd put together a workshop.' Workshop?

She goes off script a little bit to tell them that they don't have to have someone in the job to understand them, just someone fabulous. Er, okay. I appreciate what she's saying, but she sounds a bit loopy.

Ruth at home!! OMG, House looks exactly as you'd expect, though less books. Yes, I've thought about this. She's watching some old film involving ballet and red shoes. Anyone clever? OMG and then Malcolm comes in. How more perfect could that be? It's a bloody big house for one person. He brings round something for her but it has to be back in registry first thing Monday. It's got something to do with `Karl' (that's a codename, but I'm going to refer to him as `Bloke').

She gets it back into the office without being found out.or does she?

Harry/Tom/Ruth meeting. I am not going to squee right now. I'm not. Um, something to do with a chembio scientist. Oh look, I put Tom there. Of course I actually meant Adam `Loose Cannon' Carter.

H: `He's back in the market for funding and a long term partner.'
A: `Isn't everyone?'
H: `*Research* partner, so we understand from a little bird at GCHQ.'

See now, if you were so inclined, you could posit that Adam is trying to get Harry and Ruth together. And guess what? I AM so inclined!! Adam wants to put Danny and Zoe together to scare the guy off what he's doing, but Ruth says no because of

`.a mission together could be - fractious.'
`Nice bit of tension. Gives the nerves a workout.' Ruth looks puzzled at Adam, but he just smirks. See? See? (actually, neither do I there, but it was quite late at night)

Ruth goes to talk to Danny about the photos, or rather whether he and Zoe and Will are okay, and really, what do they want us to think?

`Oh, right, because I was worried. And now, obviously, I'm not.'

Ruth watches as Zoe get some plant thing from Will. Ah. on both counts. Heh, it took me to goes to get this: Sam brings the flower thing up behind Zoe, and as she's on the phone asking to talk to someone about flowers for a wedding bouquet, he says (pointing) `oh, that was quick.' He he.

Group meeting. Danny and Zoe have to go and scare someone called Dr Newland on a ferry to Norway. He wants to mass produce pneumonic plague for North Korea or something. EW!! Evidently Scientists are this season's genius children.

Ruth's listening to some conversation involving this Karl, I think. Sam comes up and asks what she's working on, and Ruth tells her, muttering about how embarrassing it is. They're watching him because of housekeeping. He has a Phd in economics. He was an athlete at Uni but hurt his knee playing tennis in Spain, and he's a singer.

`I don't know why that should make a difference to me, I just - really like singers.'

Oh my God, I love Ruth. I adore her, so much.

Zoe and Danny in a corridor, Adam hands them a briefcase with pictures and stuff of the guy's family, to remind him what he's putting on the line.

S: `I don't like this one bit.'
H: `Yes, you do.'

Harry and Sam outside having a meeting. Harry asked her to check on Ruth OH MY GOD he's checking she's not cheating on him (or checking out the competition, depending on where in the relationship they are)!! My OTP is intact!! Okay, well really, they know she took the stuff out of the office at the weekend.

`I think she's really falling for him.'
`Poor Ruth.well, just keep watching her for now.'

Ruth's listening to a transcript when bloke says where he's going to have lunch tomorrow.

The flat - Hustler and Zoe being all cute.I can't describe it when they're like that, they're just sweet.he asks her how he knows she's not heading off on some male stripper tour of Italy. She's going away with Danny. Slashers of the world unite. (meanwhile, he's in his room trying to ignore them).

Danny and Zoe drive and they're all smiley with each other. No awkwardness :)

`This is Adam with your wake up call.'
`Ah, so nice to hear your voice.'

That reply there is Danny. Adam gets all `ooh you must take this seriously.' He reiterates that the ferry is empty and they will be highly visible. This will matter later.

Ruth's at the restaurant where her bloke is lunching and she's going mad. Oh, just go out with Harry, woman. You're both hopeless outside of the office, just accept it. Ruth gets there first. Bloke arrives, he looks quite posh and like a member of the Royal staff or something. They order the same drink. Ok, so it's sparkling water with lemon, but still.

He knocks a knife off the table and they both reach for it and their hands touch. She makes sure she drinks at the same time as him. She reads over his shoulder about some Mozart thingy.

Ferry. Weird cameraness. D&Z are bitching and then they find their room and she goes off to be sick. Can you say anvil? (ok, so it could just be seasickness, but.)

Corridor meeting. A money transfer is already occurring, which means that Newland might already be making the pneumonic plague stuff, not just researching it. Harry asks Ruth if she's working on the bank accounts, and when she nods he asks

`Is that a yes, or a perhaps?'
`It's a *yes*.'

People, he's jealous.

Danny goes to the ferry shop where Newland tells him which tablets to get for Zoe.

`Sam, can you keep something to yourself?' (Um, no!)

Ruth tells Sam she had lunch with him, which did if you kind of squint a bit. I really can't say anything here but MAD, can I?

`So what's the next step?'
`Why is there a next step?'
`Why isn't there?'

Newland's emptied all his UK accounts for Swiss ones. It looks like the research is completed.

`We need an upstairs opinion.'

Danny tries to give Zoe some sickness tablets but she won't take them. She's out on deck for the fresh air.

Sam gives Ruth a copy of the sheet music for Mozart's Requiem? Words? Something?

`Er, no.'
`No. This isn't what I had in mind. Really.'

Sam's really encouraging Ruth, and she keeps saying she just wanted to see him. Ahhhhh.

Harry calls Adam. `You were right to plan ahead.' The DG wants Newland taken care of.

Ferry. Adam calls D&Z and tells them that there is now a clear and present danger to national security, gets them to check that they're in international waters, and tells them to remove the false bottom of the suitcase. Ohhhhhhhh he's asking them to kill Newland. Or more specifically Zoe, as she's the senior officer.

`We are within our rights to kill him.'
`We are *nowhere* near our rights.'

She runs out of the room onto deck and Danny follows. She's really, really sick, and she's blatantly not just suffering seasickness. Adam's gradually talking them into it, and Danny says he'll do it. There's some back and forth conversations, and eventually Adam pronounces that Danny will do it. Harry looks really funking pleased with the result, actually. Bastard.

Sam and Malcolm are trying to convince Ruth to go to this Mozart concert thing and Malcolm offers to pretend to be her brother and everything. How much more perfect could this be?? Squee!

Danny and Adam talk. Funny camerawork again, and Adam wants Danny to go and inject the guy with insulin because he's diabetic (which would be why there were syringes in the suitcase, Hannah. Keep up). Danny appears to be having some kind of weird hallucination while he thinks about it, and sees himself in the dress.

Ruth comes to top of stairs wearing flowery dress. Asks Sam how she looks and what she should say.

`To who?'
`Ruth, you've been on a date before, haven't you?'
`Yes, but.not for a long time. Not like this.'


Danny and Zoe talk about having killed people, directly and indirectly. Cheerful. She's still laying down. Bloke's in the bar, as is Danny, and then there's speedy camera stuff, and why are they doing this to me. I hate speedy camera work. Oh, and the ferry being empty - in that case, I'm presuming all the other bar customers (and there are a fair few) are 5 plants?

Sam's talking Ruth through what she's going to say about why she's there and then `Giles' turns up in a tux to pick up `Susan'. Ahhhh.

Back in the bar, Danny and Newland are drinking together. They have one of those talking-at-cross-purposes conversations that people in Spooks have all the time. Danny's legend is that he's in life assurance.

Malcolm and Ruth walking through Trafalgar Square, Malcolm saying she looks lovely and Ruth saying how stupid this is. They're going to St Martin's In The Field, and the only thing my brain can pick out about that is that it's...near Trafalgar Square. Hello, brain? Are you there?

Danny's following Newland back to his room and then we flash to Danny talking to Adam about what he's going to do. Adam's asking about the first time he had to kill someone and for all those of you hating Mr Perfect, we have vulnerability, people! And oh my God, my heart is breaking. Adam tells him about the first ime he killed someone (October 4th, 1995, 8 p.m.) and how he reacted. Collapsing, crying, being sick, apparently. Sound a bit like my Saturday night, except I hadn't killed anyone and there was no alcohol involved. Adam's on his own in the grid, sitting at the table in the group room.

`If I could look myself in the eyes, in the mirror, if I could do that I'd be okay.Looked at my reflection, and here I am.'

Adam talks Danny through exactly what he's going to do, and then he puts the phone down and just sits there. Danny gets the syringe ready, and the camera's having a lot of fun. Then funny music and we go to the church and Ruth really does look rather lovely. Malcolm looks rather swish too, of course.

We keep switching between Danny on the ferry and the church. Ruth keeps looking round for bloke and Danny keeps being beset by funny camera angles, poor boy.

He uses some swishy pda-unlocking thing to open the door. Of course, as Danny gets into Newland's room, the guy rolls over. Cliché alert!!

Danny kneels down and rolls back blanket, and the guy's wearing a sock and a tension bandage. It's not his day, is it? As he's getting ready with the syringe, the guy kicks his foot, so Danny pauses.

Right at the end of the singing, bloke looks over at Ruth and their eyes meet for a split second.

Danny keeps having to pause in uncomfortable positions because Newland keeps rolling.

They end up talking to him afterwards, it's all very posh, with their voices, and then Malcolm buggers off and leaves Ruth, oh and then she says

`Oh, wait a minute, didn't we have lunch together today?'

She's so useless, she's trying not to let on that she knows all about him, and oh my heart is going to burst! She's so Ruth, and she's always rushing in. he says something about his wife having left him, and I think that might be when she decides against it.

They're having this stilted conversation, and I'm not sure whether anything is going to happen or not - it feels almost like she's trying to talk herself out of it. Oh, they're going to kiss!! Oh, no, they're not. Ruth!! For God's sake!! Ruth's going to get a boyfriend.or not. Oh, it's so sweet, she's backing away. He still wants to kiss her :( They say goodbye, and he walks away, and she says `Okay' to herself very quietly, and then she walks away too.

Back on the ferry, Zoe wakes up in the room and Danny's there. She asks if everything's okay, and he avoids it.

`I asked you a question, Danny?'
`Yes you did.'
`So are you alright?'
`Do you a window or an aisle seat, by the way?'

Ooh, Tom alert.

He tells her about the photos and tells her that Will probably told his idiot brother what Zoe does. Then very very quickly he leaves the room. Like, running.

More blurry camera angles (stop it, PLEASE) on Ruth on the grid. Sam and then Malcolm comes over and she springs into life.

R: `We need to an audit of all registry housekeeping surveillance.'
S: `I'll do it now.'
R: `There are major holes in the background checks we're doing on all green and blue assets.'
M: `I'll draw up a list for you.'

I think they're a bit pissed off with her for letting him go, but then they're still trying to make her feel better. They're totally doing what she says, though, even Malcolm though you wouldn't think Ruth could tell him what to do. Then Harry comes over and says

`Ruth, whatever you do your spare time is entirely your business, as long as it doesn't cross over with our business.'
`I understand.'
`I'm sure you do.'
`I mean, can't let that sort of thing get in the way of work, can we?'
`Of course we can't.'

They're looking right into each other's eyes as they say that. OTP still intact! They love each other!!

Zoe goes round to Hustler's place and says she needs to know something. He tells her (honestly) that he hasn't told his brother. Neither of them seem to have twigged that they both left the photos lying around. She starts screaming at him, and if they'd both just THINK they'd see they're both wrong. Funk, she's just dumped him. Wow.

Zoe goes into the flat and calls for Danny, and plays a message from the wedding florists. :( Danny comes back in too.

`So you told him then?'
`I'm sorry.'
`Is that it?'
`That's it.'

He sinks to his knees in the bathroom and starts crying, and throwing up and all. We hear Adam's voiceover. Zoe's crying outside. Everyone needs a hug this episode :(. It ends on him looking himself in the mirror, being able to look himself in the eye.


Unfortunately it seems the crack monkeys have taken over the writing again. The only way this could have been worse is if instead of Mozart's Requiem, flaming Dido has been used instead.

(But before the slating begins in earnest, I must confess there are parts that I absolutely loved. I loved seeing Ruth's house. I loved, loved, loved seeing Malcolm in his casual clothes and then all adorably decked out in a tux with a jaunty scarf as her "brother" Giles who should have been, but probably wasn't supposed to be a librarian [yes, I know in that case Giles was his last name, but that's all anyone ever called him and Tony Head was on the show...]. I loved finding out that Colin is a crack shot and used to do a bit of biathlon, because that is just so weird and perfect for him.)

The rest? Feh. Sometimes I think this show should really be called Worst Spies Ever, because when they are bad they are just totally useless. For a time, I was hoping against hope that the assassination thing was really just a big fake-out a la 2x05 and Zoe's freakout was part of the plan to test Danny, just as last year's fake-out was to test Tom and Zoe. Ditto Ruth's creepy obsessiveness with equally creepy being surveilled guy. If there had been some kind of frame for it, it would have made sense, but this just made her look like a crazy lady with over eager friends with nothing better to do than break departmental regulations and gossip. Harry's behavior bothered me, not so much because he let it go on*, but because he seemed strangely thrilled that Ruth was well on her way to making a fool of herself. I don't like to see Harry acting like that, especially when he should be the one taking Ruth out and relieving her tension (if you know what I mean and I think you do).

The episode was generally trying way too hard with the DRAMA and the TENSION. Like, dudes, not so much, we GET IT ALREADY. Stop shaking the camera around! Stop with the arty damn angles! Stop with the Voiceover of Weary Experience. I knew I wasn't buying it at all when all I could think of when Adam was going on and on and on about looking at himself in the mirror was that he was clearly deluding himself. If he really could look at himself, he would realize how idiotic he looks with his 1987 George Michael stubble beard and he would shave his damn face like all the other men seem to remember to do every day.

Plus, if evil bad guy was really diabetic and was really drinking that much every day, MI5 wouldn't have anything to worry about because he'd very shortly be dead, or at least blind and crippled, from the effects of his disease.

I would say something about Zoe and whoosit, but I just don't care. DON'T CARE! What a total waste of time and energy. I mean seriously, was there ultimately any point to any of that? I think we all learned the perils of falling in love with a civilian back in the Tom and Ellie days and this was mostly just rehash, except for Zoe's absurd lack of discretion in telling all her trade craft secrets to boyfriend. If that really is the end of that particular storyline, I have to say it was a complete failure for me.

Other stuff? Ok, sorry Ruth but your choir dress looked like it was made from left-over drapes. The Papal Bull line made me laugh. Just about every piece of music our public radio station plays seems to have been recorded at St. Martin's in the Fields conducted by Sir Neville Mariner so if that really was the insides, it was cool having a visual to match the sound, as it were. Finally, the promo for next week was deeply frightening. Please let it be completely misleading, or it will make this episode look like a masterpiece in comparison.

* Historically, when Harry sees an agent with a bee in his/her bonnet he has let them run with it until they take it just too far before reeling, or attempting to reel, them back in. Danny with the credit cards and even Tom with his various post-Ellie women are two examples. I must respectfully disagree that Harry gave Tom too little slack on that issue -- he really should have stepped in as soon as Tom started going around with psycho doc because no one with their head on straight would have gone out with that freakshow even once.

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