Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
SilverStormm

London Spy

Recommended Posts

The show went a bit wonky after the third episode.  Especially how they decided to wrap the whole thing up.

 

But Whishaw was so brilliant in this.  He and the actor who portrayed Alex did such masterful jobs

that I was mourning the loss of Alex by the second episode.  The layers of heartbreak and confusion and the struggle both the characters had trying to find and keep each other told in flashback was simply incredible.  It was so odd because I don't think I have ever wanted a character to not be dead no matter how silly and implausible it was. 

 

Ben's simple but effective acting just standing along the river a couple of times was acting and directing at its best for me.  This along with Rami Malek in Mr. Robot, all writing flaws in their perspective projects aside were revelations that I was blown away by. 

 

As much as I found the ending silly, I am sad this is a one-off as I would have loved to see more of Whishaw in this role,   As much as I thought Charlotte Rampling was fantastic I found

the attempt to redeem her in the end offputting and rather sudden.  As if shortly after they started the last episode they found out/decided there would be no more and had to shift her character (and the story) a considerable bit.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
In the series premiere, Alex, an undercover spy, is killed, revealing his cover to his lover Danny, a young man stuck working dead-end jobs, forcing him to investigate the facts behind Alex's death.

Share this post


Link to post

I was able to see the entire series already and I can't recommend it highly enough! The acting is outstanding and the story fascinating, and yes, quite harrowing. Hopefully the BBC America broadcast won't butcher it with cutting for commercials...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

The cast is great, the acting amazing and the atmosphere through the roof, but ultimately I just couldn't finish it. It got boring quickly and I really didn't want to say that. Squandered effort from everyone, such a shame. I did try and I do love slow moving stuff, I swear. I will pay the licence fee forever but it just went nowhere. A wasted effort in the end. Could have been so much better. Especially with Ben Whishaw.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm a little at a loss to interpret Scotty's reaction to Danny's pretend offer of sex. Not the dignified way he ignored that and pushed Danny to get dressed like a sensible person, but his silence. After all, Danny did outright ask, "What do you want?" 

 

When Scotty gets older and his health begins to fail, does the give-and-take in the relationship shift balance, or does Danny bail? 

 

Is this on some level (maybe not even consciously,) what Scotty has in mind for an end game?

Share this post


Link to post

First episode was excellent. 

 

The audience is invited to invest itself in what should be an issue everyone can relate to: Is the One out there, or not? And if they're not, what is the rest really worth? 

 

On a personal level, is Danny the innocent? Or is "Alex?"

Share this post


Link to post

It seems to me that top/bottom is commonly an issue for men. The scenes are rather opaque to me. Maybe I don't have much imagination? I gather Danny is initiating "Alex" into sex but does a fixation on receptive anal sex fit with the S&M motif?

Share this post


Link to post

As a way to clarify, please note that episode topics are based on UK airdates and will contain episode information. If you are waiting to watch in the US, this means there will be spoilers.

 

There is a new handy little Topic Prefix Unaired in USA that helps alert US viewers so UK viewers feel free to post the episode topics with that prefix using the episode format.

 

In the character and other non-episode topics, as a courtesy to the US viewers, please spoiler bar episode specific information. 

 

Feel free to PM me or any mod with any questions. 

 

Enjoy!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Oh, I am all over this. I am 100% in.

 

Whatever boxes I have, this ticked all of them. Great characters, acting, and atmosphere. I was really saddened by Alex's death (?) but am looking forward to seeing how Danny works through the mystery. My only annoyance is that I can't binge it. So spoiled by immediate entertainment gratification these days.

 

When Alex and Danny went to the beach, I assume the old steamer trunk Alex has in the car was the same one the dead body/head was found in? What was in it when they went for their drive? Ready to eat meals? I have a lot of questions but that's what currently bothering me.

 

Also, Danny? Maybe not a such good idea to squish that Saran Wrap stuff before you even know what it is.

 

I saw some reviews that mentioned the "graphic" sex scenes. Pfft. Unless something was edited out only on my TV, that was ... nothing. I've deleted it now, but it must have been less than 15 seconds. No butts, even. Just kissing.

Edited by lordonia
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post

It's available on BBC America, but you'll need to sign in with your DirecTV account. The online version has ads that can't be skipped. Amazon has it for $1.99 in SD.

Edited by lordonia
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I watched it on demand. I thought it was heartbreaking and fascinating. I'm all in. Danny seems like he's pretty smart and will be able to figure some things out. Wonderful.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

It's available on BBC America, but you'll need to sign in with your DirecTV account. The online version has ads that can't be skipped. Amazon has it for $1.99 in SD.

Thanks lordonia! I swear it wasn't there when I checked the other day! Downloading now! Edited by auntstacey

Share this post


Link to post

I pretty much inhaled this series during the blizzard yesterday. My immediate thought at the end was if they could possibly make a second series. I want to see more Danny! Oh and the ending will absolutely break your heart into a million pieces.

Whatever boxes I have, this ticked all of them. Great characters, acting, and atmosphere. I was really saddened by Alex's death (?) but am looking forward to seeing how Danny works through the mystery. My only annoyance is that I can't binge it. So spoiled by immediate entertainment gratification these days.

 

When Alex and Danny went to the beach, I assume the old steamer trunk Alex has in the car was the same one the dead body/head was found in? What was in it when they went for their drive? Ready to eat meals? I have a lot of questions but that's what currently bothering me.

 

Also, Danny? Maybe not a such good idea to squish that Saran Wrap stuff before you even know what it is.

 

I saw some reviews that mentioned the "graphic" sex scenes. Pfft. Unless something was edited out only on my TV, that was ... nothing. I've deleted it now, but it must have been less than 15 seconds. No butts, even. Just kissing.

BBCA probably edited it for US viewing.  ETA{ Just rewatched UK version of the entire series. BBCA definitely edited for US viewing. It wasn't porn level, but was longer than 15 seconds.

Edited by Milaxx

Share this post


Link to post

 

I assume the old steamer trunk Alex has in the car was the same one the dead body/head was found in? What was in it when they went for their drive? Ready to eat meals?

I believe they were maps, specifically hiking-trail maps (they took one with them on their walk). Alex probably had them arranged alphabetically by county and microclimate. See also: his sock drawer.

Speaking of the trunk, we don't know as of the end of Episode 1 whose head was in it, do we? (I may have looked away...)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Okay, the pace is still glacial but I still really like it. I care about Danny and Alex and finding the truth. I was intrigued by Alex's parents, both faux and real. Of course Rampling always brings it, even though Danny wasn't buying -- at all -- her lies about Alex being a sexual user and manipulator.

 

Can we trust Scottie? Not sure yet, but his "you don't know me" speech was pretty heartbreaking.

Edited by lordonia

Share this post


Link to post

I liked the second episode much much better too, I agree it is so so so slow...however with a cast like this, and what seems to be a cool story line, let's try and stick it out. It's only a couple of episodes and British television is generally much better than the norm here, right? I am dying to see what Mr. Broadbent will get into.

Share this post


Link to post

This was really really good. Worth the hype, at least for the first episode. I really like Ben Whishaw, so I figured I would I would like him (and I did a lot) but I thought all the acting was superb. I know its necessary for the story that he die, but I am sad that Alex (or whoever) is dead. I thought his performance was really interesting. 

 

Maybe this is just me, maybe I watch too much TV and movies, but if the person I was dating told me that they work with a bunch of inscrutable people, makes comments about how I seem so much younger and more innocent then everyone they know, and had security cameras everywhere, I would be thinking "holy shit, am I dating a spy?) by date number two. 

Share this post


Link to post

I do like this show, but last night I had to remind myself that this wasn't supposed to be set in the pre-computer era because I couldn't (and still don't) understand why Danny wouldn't have googled Lester's (anyone who was ever in The Wire is forever remembered by his role in that excellent series) company or Alex's family or anything at all! Okay, he doesn't have a computer or a smart phone, but he could stop in at a library or even ask someone to borrow a phone for a minute. Seemed weird to me.

 

Seeing James Broadbent in this and in War and Peace concurrently is a little bit surreal.

Edited by Auntie Anxiety
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Nobody needs the elaborate scam they tried to pull on Danny. There's something specific they don't want him to figure out, not just annoyed at the nuisance.

An American should make you think CIA, which should make you wonder if the guy was offering protection to Danny in exchange for whatever information people think he may have. I'm not sure the guy was threatening Danny but hinting what he might lose.

There is one big problem, which is that contrary to the movies, spy agencies are very wary about killing people outside the colonies and the UK isn't one. (They're not officially colonies.) Traitors tend to be considered fair game by most agencies, but killing civilians a big deal. It's sort of like the Mafia not whacking the families. Also it gives the people who do the murders a hold on the people who ordered it. Although Edward might have been killed for going off the reservation, killing Danny isn't that simple internally.

Share this post


Link to post

Oh...........my.........god.   Could it go any slower?

 

Must have been a breeze for the actors - barely a line to study - gad, how skimpy can they be with dialogue.  

 

I wouldn't spend two seconds with any of these people - pretty unpleasant bunch but, man, I would be bored to death; rather spend time alone.  Good grief. 

 

Great performers - but, I do get why it was not renewed.  

 

Just not interested in the fellow who died as he too barely said a word or appeared - I get mood and I get atmosphere but this feels interminable.  

Share this post


Link to post

I'm obsessed with this show. Wish I could find some detailed recaps, though, as it's so elliptical that I literally think I've missed something half the time. I guess I've gotten too used to shows that spell everything out for you multiple times.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Just the two episodes in (I'm watching on Amazon prime and it's all we have right now -- I don't understand how BBC America has it in total?  If it's aired in Merrie Old, why doesn't Amazon Prime have the whole thing, too?  ANYway.....)

 

Do we find out why Danny's scanner was hacked in the Big Box Warehouse to a weird box with the key?  That seems to be just taken for granted.  Without that anomalous event, he never would have snooped in Alex's apartment and up to the attic.

 

Spoiler tag, if you can answer me, or pm me.  I'm really curious about that.

 

Otherwise, I like the glacial approach to the story.  Nothing is spoon fed -- you have to wait for it.  (I liked The Killing, too.  It's a sort of Scandinavian technique that appeals to me -- it matches the environment and atmosphere of the series' design.)

 

ETA:  

 

Although Edward might have been killed for going off the reservation, killing Danny isn't that simple internally.

 I'm sorry, Edward?  Who is that?  It thought there was on the murder of the guy in the trunk who is supposed to Alex.  Also, while I understand your point of "agencies don't like to kill their own" I'm not clear on what colony of whom you're talking about, here:  

 

 

spy agencies are very wary about killing people outside the colonies and the UK isn't one. (They're not officially colonies.)

 

The UK is not a colony of the US, obviously, so that can't be the reference.  So who, then, are not "official colonies" of whom?  I'm so sorry, but I am confused by this point.

Edited by Captanne

Share this post


Link to post

First confusion "Edward" the actor name instead of Alex/Alister, sorry, brain fart. 

 

Second confusion, by "colony" I mean a country perceived as inferior, subordinate, fair game. For instance, a CIA contractor lost his nerve and murdered two, three? Pakistanis in a confrontation a few years ago. Since it was Pakistan, it wasn't a real problem and the US got him off the hook. A CIA contractor couldn't count on US diplomatic support if he pulled a stunt like that in London instead of Karachi or Lahore. 

 

I've been assuming it was Alex who hacked Danny's box (by a timed program,) precisely to lead him to information he squirreled away. That's also why Alex emphasized his need to replace the battery in his computer. It's a compute guy's way of sending a letter in case he doesn't come back, I thought.

 

A nitpick: Spy agencies are much quicker on the trigger on their own who betray their service, or on defectors to other countries than on foreign nationals. Since Scotty was once MI6 helping Danny will not be perceived as a guy helping a friend in relatively harmless, non-criminal ways, but as a betrayal. 

Edited by sjohnson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

So -- the UK is a colony of the US because it's "inferior, subordinate"?  I'll leave that because I'm still not clear -- do you mean to say that the CIA would kill one of its own but not a British spy because MI6 is inferior or subordinate?  I'm not sure I buy that.  (Which means, I don't.)  OTH, MI6 would kill Alex (no inferiority, subordination needed or implied because that would be "one of its own".)  

 

The name swap! LOL  I'm new to the show so I thought I'd missed a murder somewhere!  (Also, I don't find the actor even remotely appealing so I didn't catch his name.  I just know Alex fumbled between Alistair and Alex -- with Alex as a personal preference.)

 

I didn't assume anything about the hacking of the handset because, a) I thought the "job" scene was poorly explained and dropped on the viewer out of nowhere and b) a constant complaint of mine is how they handle jumps in time - so over the course of 8 months Alex might very well have hacked Danny's job tools and planted the key but -- what?  Why?  How?  WHAT?  WHY?  Unless he knew he was under threat and then, what the fuck about the attic.  He'd know Danny would stumble upon the attic or ... not.  GAH.  The time jump doesn't help.)

 

ETA:  Also, pray tell, what is up with Alex's accent.  He surely didn't get that from Charlotte Rampling or the American Gothic pair.  Although Papa Alex never spoke so maybe it was from him.

Edited by Captanne

Share this post


Link to post

Although I love these British shows, I usually end up recognizing actors from other series and get distracted trying to remember where I last saw them. Sometimes it seems like the Brits have only a dozen actors in rotation. Was the male American Gothic also in that show "The Paradise?" Guess I'll have to google and find out.

Share this post


Link to post

I play the same amusing game with Canadian actors, LOL.  There are only about 20 of them who do things that reach the States and, I swear, they just keep rotating them around.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I do not mind the pacing. I think its atmospheric and interesting, being as slow and dense as it is. And hey there Lester! Long way from Baltimore. 

 

I too, frequently play the "Hey, its that British actor" game. I wonder if there is some kind of rotating chart somewhere. 

Edited by tennisgurl
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

Gosh, this started off so slow that I thought about giving up about ten minutes in (stuck around because of Ben Whishaw, though).  

 

I couldn't tell what the hell was in the trunk (was assuming it was a dead body, of course), but people are saying it was a head, so I guess?  Danny didn't seem to know if it was Alex or not, and the police wouldn't confirm, so I'm wondering if maybe Alex is actually alive?  I don't know (no spoilers, please!).

 

And what is the deal with all of the bondage gear?  Did someone plant that in Alex's house/apartment, or was it already there?  Hmm.

 

I feel like there is something completely shady about Danny's friend, Scottie.  If Alex is really dead, I won't be surprised if Scottie is somehow involved.

Edited by SonofaBiscuit

Share this post


Link to post

I remain very intrigued, captivated and heartbroken by this show, however I generally dislike scenes of hallucinations, dreams, flashbacks, etc., and this was no exception. Yes, yes, Danny has led an active and varied sex-and-drug life. Please spare me the artsy pretensions.

 

It's all ineffably sad, but I'm hopeful that Danny's newfound grit and determination will raise him up in the end. Rooting for you, kid!

Edited by lordonia
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

OMG, this show.  

 

Aside from the general "love the whole thing", I thought the downtown club scene was almost hilarious.  Although I'm not sure why Danny needed to be there at all, I'm grateful that it set up this dialogue:

 

"There are more women in a gay bar."

"Women are not permitted here."

"Is that even legal?"

 

FABULOUS.

 

ETA:  Scottie, I'm lookin' at you.  If you betray Danny,  I.  will.  hunt.  you.  down.

 

EETA:  I watched the first four episodes of I, Robot or whatever that show is called.  I thought it was utterly male-masturbatory-fantasy-Mary Sue dreck.  Why, oh, why is that show applauded by the media critics and I've never even seen a single comment on this show?  There lies the very definition of tragedy.

Edited by Captanne
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I also wondered why Danny was invited to tag along with Scottie to his club. He made a fuss about getting Danny a proper suit and all, but there really was no need for him to be there. I was a little sorry about Scottie being immediately blackballed, just because he seems to have so few recreational diversions in his life. But it's probably a crap place, anyway, all things considered.
 

I watched the first four episodes of I, Robot or whatever that show is called. I thought it was utterly male-masturbatory-fantasy-Mary Sue dreck. Why, oh, why is that show applauded by the media critics and I've never even seen a single comment on this show? There lies the very definition of tragedy.

 

Do you mean Mr. Robot? I couldn't hack that one, either. Talk about plodding and purposefully confusing...

 

For reasons unclear to me, loving this show is definitely a minority viewpoint.

Edited by lordonia
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I assumed Danny was there because his perspective might be useful, or at least some of his knowledge about Alex. And for Scottie to show the flag, so to speak (and maybe to a degree show off Danny.) And come to think of it, as a way to make a scene. It was just a little like taking a hooker into a state dinner. 

 

All the sex scenes I've scene are so discreet I've no idea whether Danny/Alex relied on monogamy for safe sex. If so, Alex could have been infected directly and Danny contracted the virus from him via one of the common routes. That fits the timing better. Not only does it seem more important to first discredit Alex, the infection process, an unexpectedly mandatory medical procedure involving a blood sample, could have provoked the suspicions that led Alex to hide his secret for Danny to find. 

 

I was impressed with how deftly Scottie assumed the mantle of noble hero out to rescue the damsel so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
sjohnson  I assumed Danny was there because his perspective might be useful, or at least some of his knowledge about Alex. And for Scottie to show the flag, so to speak (and maybe to a degree show off Danny.) And come to think of it, as a way to make a scene. It was just a little like taking a hooker into a state dinner.

 

All of this is so very insightful and I completely agree.  I was trying to wrap my mind around what you have put into words.  Especially what I've italicized.  Thanks!  Yes!

 

ETA:  Which really helps me to formulate why I think Scottie was blackballed both so quickly and/or at all.  I think it's twofold -- he had the audacity to ask a favor (at all) concerning a "hot topic", and, especially, to show compassion for a "lesser" human being whom he has recklessly thought to smuggle in, as though he could fool anyone.  Scottie's actions were an affront on a lot of levels -- some of which we can adduce easily and others we have to just go out on a limb about*.

 

*By which I mean, we know "taking a hooker to a state dinner" is an affront but we're not sure, yet, what the "hot topic" is and if it was worthy of excommunication.

Edited by Captanne

Share this post


Link to post

I swear, I will be heartbroken if Scottie betrays Danny. I do not think that will happen, but I cannot really tell with this show. This show goes to such weird, trippy places, I half believe it will turn out Danny is some kind of sleeper agent who killed Alex, then forgot he did it. 

 

The scene at the club really was a little bit funny. Danny and his socks, and then his observations about the club. Then his baffled response to that guy and his joke/clue. Oh Danny. I am rooting for you hard. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I am loving this show. I caught up in a binge watch today and though I can't remember ever seeing Ben Whishaw before, I am riveted by his work. All of the actors as well. The police interrogation in ep. 2 was frightening, as well...especially the dark-haired woman constructing his confession as she ostensibly asked him questions.

Unlike Law and Order, the counsel provided Danny was off in a corner, seemingly asleep. And though the laws may be different in England, is it legal to take blood and DNA samples without the permission of the arrested person without the advice of his lawyer? 

Love that question Danny asked about the absence of women at the club..."is that even legal"? Did explain that at that level mere laws are not applied. Thee are the folks who make the rules, not follow them.

Hard to imagine the Saudis, the Israelis and the Chinese all happily on the same team as M16 and the CIA...but we shall see. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Loved seeing Lester, but the menace as he delivered it was a long way from the Lester we knew and loved. He scared me and I wonder if I would have picked up the candy he left behind. 

The pacing seems real to me, not a problem at all. The show is willing to let the actors have some space, and is not intent on feeding the audience continuously.

And Charlotte Rampling...always great. The faux parents were clearly out of a Stephen King novel...could a more robotic pair in human skin be imagined?

And the aging Lothario...retired drug king or old rock star...was spot on. Perfectly degenerate. And of course a rootless kid like Danny when he was 19 would have run into him.

Took so little time for all the details of his life in London to be in the hands of the PTB...any backstory on where he came from or who he was before he washed up in London. Maybe in a future ep. 

And I like that Alex, with so little dialogue, left clues for Danny, just in case. It is good plotting and believable.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×