Jul 8, 2011

Friday Photo: A Glimpse of John?

While rewatching season seven of Spooks recently, this scene from episode 7.8 involving Lucas North following the explosion that killed Connie Jones, gave me pause for thought. Given what we NOW know about Lucas North (should you choose to accept that it wasn’t just all a very, VERY bad dream!), I couldn’t help but interpret this moment in a slightly different light. When Lucas becomes emotional here, we assume it is due to having just been told that Connie was responsible for selling him out to the Russians, leading to his eight year long incarceration.

For those of us who adored Lucas and are holding out (in vain) for some kind of redemption for John, an additional interpretation could be this – while Connie’s revelation no doubt contributed to him momentarily coming undone, I wonder whether being so close to the explosion in the underground had an affect as well. With the strong force of its blast and all that dust raining down on him, surely it must have reminded him about the bomb that he was responsible for and witnessed in Dakar. Was the emotion he displayed also a sign of regret? Of trauma related to the senseless destruction of his own creation? (obviously I’m not speaking literally here in the sense that Richard Armitage or the writers knew that Lucas would become John, but strictly from the point of view of the fictitious world of Spooks).

Just as Mulubinba searched for the good in Guy of Gisborne of Robin Hood, by virtue of my affection for Lucas North, I am condemned to seek the good in his true self, John Bateman. Why he saw it fit to take innocent lives in Dakar we will never know, but thanks to an ability for reading too much into things, I hope that this moment can now be reinterpreted as a meager expression of John’s remorse. Perhaps when he said to Harry that he had endured being tortured by the Russians because he thought he deserved it, he wasn’t lying. A deluded fan girl can only hope!


  • Thank you, thoughful officer Skully, for holding the shield for Lucas/John and putting a new layer on that emotional moment. Before your explanation, I thought it was a combination of stress of survival and anger by ConnieĀ“s revelation.

    • Thanks Violet. It could still very well be solely down to Connie, but it doesn’t hurt to speculate otherwise :)

  • This is retconning, but done very convincingly IMO.

    • Retconning… and wishful thinking ;)

  • Works for me Skully! I’d like to imagine some goodness in the Bateman character as well. I have to!

    • Keep the dream alive, Phylly!

  • No way RA or the writer or directors would have known about JB at that point of time!

    As to goodness in the JB character, I have absolutely no problem with that and don’t get why it is so hard for many others. Surely he did despicable things for very flimsy reasons. But as I read the story, by becoming LN he atoned for it. He didn’t pretend to be LN while still being JB on the inside (like Connie pretended to be a person she wasn’t). He believed in LN values and lived them, enduring the prison sentence and risking his life many times. I don’t know if it makes sense under the psychological aspect but for me it was always totally clear that he was that admirable character LN and that I can still admire him and that it was a sad and tragic thing that JB took over again, but not something that destroyed the character unless I ignore it.

    • Well said. Good point about the comparison with Connie, that would be an interesting one to tease out a little in a future post!

      • It is definetely worth looking at. Connie did feed the Russians with information all the time while pretending to be loyal. She didn’t went through what LN had to endure – and no doubt she would sell all her secrets in an instant should she ever get in such a situation. That LN did not do that shows me that he has truly changed, not that the JB backstory is impossible. Usually viewers love a redemption story, I think with JB becoming LN we got one.

  • Total agreement with Jane and Violet. Probably the shock of Connie’s betrayal was the catalyst (sfter all, there were lingering questions about Harry). Coupled with the wound and the narrow escape – a natural reaction to several layers of shok and trauma.

    As for the script, well, we just have to live with the exigencies of series TV. My DVD s9 should be here next week. Won’t make for pleasant viewing, but there we go. And it hasn’t turned me off Spooks – S10 is eagerly awaited and I continue to thank the U.S. PBS service for repeating old series, and kindly broadcasting them north of the border. Despite a “slight interest” in Mr. Armitage :D Spooks/MI5 is one of the triumphs of BBC. Will miss it.

    • A “slight interest” in Mr. Armitage? Oh Fitzg you made me LOL! I don’t believe there is such a thing!

  • We don’t like to go overboard, Skully. Canadian eh? Got to be sensible…(yeah, right :) )

  • Skully, I was thinking of a blogpost about rogue Lucas, but with your insight you pulled me over the edge to post it:


  • I think that’s a convincing interpretation–and in line with a thought I had while rewatching that same episode earlier this week. At the beginning of the episode, when Lucas, Ros, and Harry are questioning Connie, Lucas tells Connie that she’s everything he despises. Rewatching the Lucas episodes in the context of everything that happened in S9, I can’t help but think he was was seeing in her everything he despises in himself.

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This unofficial blog is dedicated to the BBC spy drama Spooks. Created by the fantragic Officer Skully, SFB is often silly, sometimes serious, but never boring. Trust me. Join us..

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