Jun 29, 2010

Spooks~ 7.1 and 7.2

This weekend, a red Neflix envelope arrived in my mailbox containing the
first disc for Spooks Season 7... or as the series is called in America, MI-5.

Well hello there, Lucas.
My first thought:
WHY did they rename it MI-5 and not just leave it as Spooks?
It's so weird to hear the theme music and then see the [MI-5] logo pop up instead of [Spooks].

My second thought:
WHY has it taken me so long to watch this!?
It has been out on DVD in the States for a while... I just didn't take the opportunity to watch it.

When it comes to Spooks, I've done everything backwards.
I saw Season 8 last fall with the rest of the RA-loving world, even though
I hadn't (and still haven't) seen the previous seasons.
Now I'm just beginning to watch
Season 7.
(I have viewed tons of S7 screencaps and YouTube vids, though...
so I sort of know what happens along the way.)

I will now share my thoughts on the first 2 episodes
contained on that first disc from Netflix, much like I did a few months
ago with Robin Hood, Season 3.  (In other words, point out
random things that stuck out to me rather than write a review.)
The thoughts that flashed through my head
while watching are in italics.

Episode 1:

Adam is hot. 
I like Rupert Penry-Jones.
In my opinion, Adam was still the #1 eye-candy of Spooks
in this episode.  This may be one reason why they left Lucas scroungey
the entire episode... it would have tipped the scales in his favor
had he been cleaned up.

Hey... I have some joggers like that!
I should go put them on right now so
we can be twinners.

My favorite Lucas line of this episode:
"Can we stop for some fish & chips?  I have a craving."
Lucas has cravings just like me!  (See HERE.)
He even shared a chip with Adam...
which inspired me to stop being so food possessive.
(I've been known to hide the left-overs lately.)

Lucas is too scrawny and scraggly
for my liking in this episode.
I know many ladies who love this view...
but the skinny bod and tramp stamps just aren't my favorite RA look.

It was sort of gross when Lucas did this and then wiped his face with that towel.

It was fun to see Lucas do this,
with his jacket flying:

I enjoyed RA and RPJ working together.
Before watching this episode, I kept wondering,
What are those red paper flower-things
Lucas and the others are wearing in the screencaps?
Thanks to Spooks, I've been enlightened and know that they're for Britian's Rememberance Day,
(which is like America's version of Veteran's Day) honoring members of the armed forces. 
While watching this episode, I realized that I don't know too much about other countries' holidays. 
I have a hard time keeping track of all of mine.  (Columbus Day, Groundhog Day,
I Love Lucy Day... I made up that one, but perhaps in the future.)

Even though I knew this was coming,
it was still a bummer.
Adam... nooo!!!

Episode 2:

So that's where Lucas lives!

Yay for first glimpse of cleaned-up Lucas!

After enjoying these smiling Lucas
screencaps for so long (mostly cropped), I
now know that he was chatting with a
neighbor lady. 

And I also now know that Lucas was not
eating a chocolate donut, but peeking
at Malcom's computer screen!
Very sneaky Lucas... very sneaky.

The lighting in the first graveyard scene must have
been weird, because Lucas' shirt
kept changing colors.
First it looked purple...
 and then it was blue.

Why does Elizaveta only wear a ponytail?
I had a hard time picturing these two married before.

I laughed out loud when Ros appeared
out of nowhere and tasered Lucas.
 And I really liked Ros in this episode... especially her freak out
in the hotel room, smashing/throwing everything while mourning for Adam.
I also liked Malcom, whose character I didn't know before this series.

I loved how Harry took care of business
at the end.  I guess he's not just cute and cuddly.

 Another added bonus of finally watching Season 7
is that now when I visit the Spooks Fan Blog,
I can go back and read Skully's Season 7 Rewatch posts
and know exactly what she's talking about!
(She is currently on episode 5, so I have
catching up to do.)

Skully's links that correspond with this post:


Anonymous said...

You have the patience of a saint, Natalie, in waiting this long to watch Spooks 7. (Watch out, it's addictive. I haven't seen any of the non-Armitage episodes, but after Skully's 7.5 rewatch, now I am thinking I should.) In general I am not a fan of thin men, but this Lucas is an exception for me. Yes, i want to feed him. But boy is he hawt.

bZirk said...

The red flowers (poppies) are worn to commemorate the British version of Veteran's Day known as Remembrance Day. It's based on a poem called In Flanders Field.

So glad you're watching Spooks 7, then you can rewatch Spooks 8 and be all ready for this fall. :D

bZirk said...

I must be half asleep or you were updating while I was typing. I think the red poppies are cool! They are so upbeat compared to the looks on their faces. LOL!

Skully said...

Yeah! I love season seven of Spooks.. just wait till you see the last episode!

Australia has red poppies for our Rememberance day too, although we call it ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps).

Thanks for the shout out :)

Anonymous said...

When I was girl, a lot of people where I grew up in the U.S. wore red poppies made of paper on (I think it was) the Nov 11th holiday. Whatever it's called now. Armistice Day? Veterans' Day? They were sold by the VFW and it was a small paper flower on a thin wire that you could twist onto a button. I haven't seen it in years.

Anonymous said...

To answer question #1, I think it is because Nikolodeen had a kids show back in the 1990's called S.P.O.O.K.s and they may have still had rights to the name in the U.S.

And "tramp stamps" (and believe me I had heard by obscene terms for them) are the tattoos that covers a person's tailbone.

It was interesting watch Lucas first take down at the house with Adam because it established his fighting style which you see through the rest of series 7. Lucas tends to appear relaxed and loose until the moment he strikes, and then he hits quickly, efficiently (there are flourishes or extraneous movement), and like a hammer.

Anonymous said...

And Nov. 11th is called Veteran's Day in the U.S.. (And some people still wear the red poppies.)

tyme_4_t said...

Canadians wear poppies as a sign of remembrance - I usually will wear one starting from Nov 1 until Nov 11 which is Remembrance Day in Canada.

Oh Nat - you really should start watching the series right from the get-go...it is so addictive - check out your local PBS stations to see if they are airing MI5. Even though I'm in Canada, I get two PBS stations (one from Boston & one from Detroit) and thankfully they both show older MI5 episodes. PBS is one of my "sources" to feed my [spooks] addiction.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say "there are NO flourishes or extraneous movement" and "and believe me I have heard more obscene terms for them"

Apologies. Haven't had my coffee yet.

Judith Johnson said...

Nat-I don't know why the name change in US but I do know that "spook" can be racially derisive term so I have always assumed that it was changed for that reason. Luv the gnothi seauton tat personally although Lucas is way too lean. Keep up the inspiring blog.

Phylly3 said...

Yay! Nat is watching Spooks! Season 7 really is awesome! Wait till you see some more Ros action, she is quite the heroine!
I have been watching Spooks on PBS since I first saw Matthew McFayden playing Tom in I forget what season. The PBS station was so random about what time they showed it, that I miss quite a lot of episodes along the way, so now I think I should buy a boxed set!
I do have season 7 though.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I just noticed Lucas changed trousers in the middle of the scene with Harry in the men's room.

Maybe is *is* a "sexual thing".

Unknown said...

I'm with judithj I thought they changed the name because it is a racial slur.

I liked Elizaveta and Lucas, I thought they were sweet together but I think that may show up more in the upcoming episodes. In any case she's about a million times better than Sarah.

@anon "it IS a sexual thing" LOLOL

I KNOW I can't be the only one that likes to see him wipe his underarms!!

Nat at RA FanBlog said...

Okay, so then why was it called "Spooks" in the UK and not "MI-5" since they're MI-5 agents and the tie to a racial slur?

esoterica2000 said...

The term "spook" does not have racial connotations in England, only in the U.S. It is just another word to mean "spy" in the U.K.

pi said...

The underarm wipe seemed so authentic along with the subsequent mopping of the face. I bet ya Lucas even has to pee sometimes. :)

It's these little touches that I love, that keep his characters shamelessly human and idiosyncratic, like Gisborne's sniffing in RH series 1- so repellent! Gisborne really had a high 'Ick' factor (as opposed to an "It" factor, hah!)

bZirk said...

Is it just me or are some of you glad that Nat did not even get the racial slur that can come with 'spooks?' I'm so glad we have a generation who does not get that!

Anon @5:03,

I knew what you meant, and I LOVE his fighting style. Really love the scene in the back room of the Russian bar.


No, you're not the only one who likes to watch him wipe his underarms. That seemingly mundane movement is so earthy that it's immediately sexual, and if I'm not mistaken, the underarms are supposedly where pheromones are secreted.

Re: changing pants, maybe it IS sexual. ;-)

Myrtle said...

The macaroon giving neighbour is cute, or is she...................?

Malcolm is adorable and I would thoroughly recommend watching the first 6 series. My favourite (non Lucas)episode features MMcF and is totally centered aroung 'The Grid', it as fascinating.

Anonymous said...

bZrk: That was a good one, but I think my favorite was taking down the assassin sent after Kordad's messenger in the train station in episode 4 (I think it was 4). Quick, clean, and without anyone in the crowd being any the wiser.

I think a good stunt coordinator will/should help an actor develop the character's fighting style as a part of their characterization. In some ways, how someone fights is as unique as how they speak.

kaprekar said...

I'm a long term Spooks watcher, though have never seen the deep fat fryer incident (Series 1 Episode 2) for some reason. I haven't bought any DVDs yet and don't seek out non-Lucas repeats but I have got a free DVD from a newspaper containing the first episode of series 1, 2 and 3 and I was amazed how much it had changed. It's consistently good but there was a point in the RPJ years (series 3-6) where it almost lost me (can't remember why, it probably just got too silly). Series 7 was a return to top form. But it's definitely worth watching from Series 1, especially with the delightful MM as Tom.

Unknown said...

@bZirk - well said... "earthy" and I would add intimate and real and what the heck its just plain nice to watch (and rewatch) that scene!

MillyMe said...

I think the scene in the washroom is so poignant because it is when Harry sees for himself the physical evidence of Lucas' Russian imprisonment in his malnourished frame and strange tattoos and you see him worried about what else these eight years have done to Lucas. At the end when Lucas has asked Harry about Elizaveta and is told that she is well, he has buttoned up his shirt and his arms hang down along his body. So much deep feeling conveyed superbly by both actors by facial expressions and body language!

Joan Crenshaw said...

Veterans' groups still sell poppies for Veterans' Day here in the States -- it just depends on where you are and how active the local VFW et al are. Our area is LOADED with retired military and has two active military schools and those things are HARD to find.

The name "Spooks" would have cause a great deal of controversy in the States as it is a very derogatory remark. At the time the show was first imported here, there had also been a great deal of talk about racial representation on television. It would have probably made the show impossibel to sell.

Enjoy catching up, Nat! Grab a chocolate cake and watch episode 3.

I loved the first trimester of being pregnant -- all I was good for was sleeping and eating!

@Rob said...

I prefer season 7 vs season 8. As for the changing the name of the show, they always seem to do that for US audiences. Maybe they figured Americans wouldn't know that Spooks is slang for secret service?

Twinkling Moon said...

@Nat, I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one stumped by the change of shirt in the graveyard. I kept trying to figure out did he change shirts in the middle of the scene, bad editing or what? Poor lighting never occurred to me, LOL!

Regarding the name change for American audiences, I thought when the show first came out in the States (I think it was around 2003 on the A&E channel) I heard/read that it was changed because American audience were not familiar with English slang and therefore there was a fear that the show wouldn't sell well here. Like Nat, I have never heard of Spook as a racial slur. That's a new one for me. The name change as a way for American audiences to understand what the show is all about makes sense to me, as even the very first Harry Potter book had its title changes for American readers too, from "The Philosopher's Stone" in England to the "Sorcer's stone" in the US.

The thing that grossed me out about the underarm swipe was "why isn't this man taking a shower? Is a sponge bath really adequate after you've just been released from a dingy Russian prison?" Oh well!

And Nat, check out your library for the other seasons of MI5, my library has them all. Actually so does Netflix and you can watch many of them via streaming directly to your computer. You don't even have to wait for the DVDs to be mailed.

Anonymous said...

Actually "spook" has long been slang for intelligence officers, particularly CIA, in the U.S. too.

Anonymous said...

I think of of the use of "spook" as a racial slur as something that belongs to the 50s and 60s, and as an urban word, think Boston or NYC. (That is just my impression.) I've only ever read it in books, never heard anyone actually use it. Thankfully. (Though unfortunately one still hears all kinds of other racial slurs.)

Glad the VFW is still selling poppies.

bZirk said...

I think of spook as primarily referring to a spy, but then I had an uncle who worked in military intelligence and one who worked for secret service. So maybe that's why I know the term. I've also heard it used in some tv shows in the last 20 years.

I also realize it's a racial slur, but I don't think about that until someone brings it up. I have NEVER heard it used by anyone within my hearing, and I grew up in the south where it was supposedly used frequently. Maybe it was just south proper, which Texas is not, or perhaps it was before my time.

Joan Crenshaw said...

I am unaware of any other series where the name was changed for the US audience, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

I was raised in the urban Midwest in the 50s and can tell you that I have heard spook used as a racial slur. It is used for intelligence officers here as well.

Personally, I think those of you who haven't heard some of these nasty little expressions tossed around should consider that we have at least made SOME progress.

Sue said...


Yes you're right about the word "spook" being used as a racial slur. This is, I believe, the reason that the programme makers decided to change the title.

Anonymous said...

I laughed out loud when I saw what Nat said about Lucas and the towel (I never noticed that before), but I laughed even harder when I read the comments of those rushing to his defense. I love this blog and all those who participate. You guys are great.

B* said...

I finished a Spooks marathon last year watching all 7 Seasons just in time for S8 to be aired. I went back to watch them all from the beginning after seeing S7 first and they were all fantastic (the only episode I hid behind a pillow for was the deep fat fryer- OMG).
It took quite a few months to plow through them all with a 2 month hiatus somewhere in the middle (Spooks overload!) Thank goodness my OH joined me as we probably would not have seen much of each other! Lol.
Now my sister and her OH are finishing up their run - all 7 Seasons made a great xmas gift as they hadn't seen any.
She introduced me to N&S, after which I introduced her to Spooks!

DEZMOND said...

Rupert Penry-Jones is such an amazing underrated actor, I might even put him in my next poll, he deserves it.

Anonymous said...

So I was looking for pictures of Rupert Penry-Jones, and what have I to find??? The most sexy pictures of Richard Armitage. I have never seen Spooks, because it hasn't been shown in Germany. I now have to find it somewhere, two of the most gorgeous man playing together ... wouldn't want to miss that!