Tuesday 30 November 2010

Lucas / John & Harry (FanVideo)

I could not leave the ending of Spooks 9 as it is. I just had to modify it with my own version. To do this, I made my own ending out of video clips from Spooks 7.
I hope you will enjoy it.

The video took a while to get finished, as I had major problems with the soundtrack. I had to do a mixed-down recording of the whole soundtrack, as the preview version was all right, only the final rendered version did cut different sound clips than the related video clips.

Harry and Lucas / John

Harry in 9.7 seemed to be more embarrassed by Lucas / John’s confirmation that he had lied about his name and background than he was about his bombing the Dakar embassy.

Harry is quite easily content during the interrogation with the meagre information, that Lucas / John did not know more. But alone Lucas standing up during this answer suggests that he is forming an excuse or lie. Why does Harry not see this, when even naïve me started to doubt here?
Has Harry lost his strong sense to detect lies, because he wanted to trust Lucas / John?

He very easily finds excuses and makes Vaughan the real seducer of an innocent young John Bateman in the roof-discussion at the end of 9.8.
This whole discussion on the roof between Lucas / John and Harry somehow did not ring true to me. I cannot place my finger on my reasons for doubting it. But I had the impression Lucas /John was holding something back and Harry too easily fooled. Lucas / John was emotionally in it, but not in the way he told us and Harry.

From Harry I also missed some sign of real emotion or understanding for Lucas. He sees a man braking down in front of him and all he does is getting him over the edge (literally). He hits Lucas’ identity crisis and twists and stirs till his opponent brakes completely. – I would interpret this either that Harry desperately wanted to die there on this roof or that he knew something we don’t.

(The bad thing is, for any possible solution I will have to wait till Spooks 10. And after Spooks 9 I do not set my full trust in the scriptwriters to solve anything.)

I would really like to know, if you had the same impression with the last dialogue between Lucas/John and Harry.
Because I think that perhaps at the ending I already was so muddled up with all the unsolved story threads that I did not believe anything any longer and just doubted this in itself believable part as well.

Monday 29 November 2010

Vaughan Edwards – Trust and Betrayal

After my last post about Vaughan as friend and convenient enemy (Link) of John Bateman, I had to think some more about Vaughan Edwards.
Why did he so easily set his trust in the abilities and the ruthlessness of John Bateman back there in Dakar?
Why did Vaughan so easily trust John Bateman with such an important operation as the embassy bombing? What did he see in John, that recommended him for this endeavor? Did he see John as the murderer Maya described him to be?
What reasons did he give John Bateman? Did he even have to give him reasons or was John one of the main instigators?
But my main question there is, how does a murderer look like? How do I recognize one?
Maya seems to be able to see just that revealing ‘murder’ stigma on Lucas / John.
I do not want to go too closely into that, as I do not really want to know one. After all, he could be mine …
But still, Vaughan must have recognized something explicit in John. Was it his ruthlessness, his being prepared to risk the ultimate consequences? That does not really speak for someone in love.
Someone in love is careful to secure his future in the love connection. Quite the opposite must have recommended him for Vaughan.

On the other hand these traits make Lucas / John an excellent spy, no risk too high for Queen and Country.

Strange past in Dakar and I am still not one step closer to solving this embassy bombing by John Bateman.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Vaughan, a Friend and Convenient Enemy

Why did John Bateman not hate Vaughan enough to actively kill him?
He had reason to, as Vaughan even in his own description does not deny being the one who initiated the bombing of the Dakar embassy.
John Bateman seems to fear Vaughan. Why? Because of his important connections or his power over the fate of John / Lucas? Or was Vaughan the father figure of John Batemans past, the one person he wanted to impress, who’s favour he wanted to gain?
Why could Vaughan affect John as much and play him with John Bateman not being able to shrug off the influence?
John hates Vaughan in series 9.7, because he abducts Maya, but not for their past in Dakar or afterwards.
Why did they separate after Dakar?
What connection to Vaughan did Lucas North have to being able to find Vaughan immediately, when necessary because of Maya. Why did he not try to find him before, as even Vaughan suspects, when the Chinese entered his house?

(I will have to go back to this friendship / enmity between John and Vaughan, when I have rewatched series 9 at a later point. What still leaves me wondering is, that Lucas / John at first starts out to resist Vaughan and then gives in to his demands completely without further resistance.)

P.S.: I am almost as guilty as the scriptwriters. I open such a lot of questions with this post and cannot answer a single one. At least I have the excuse, that the scriptwriters left me with those questions and I in future will try to ponder them further to find at least some answers.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

A day to celebrate and say Thank you.

I want to do that today and say thank you
to Mr. Armitage, a wonderful actor, for being just as he is.

I also want to say thank you to you, my friends and co-addicts in the Armitage-Community for support, encouragement and your friendship!

Happy celebrations, best food and lots of joy to all of you!

Pre-Spooks9-Interview with Richard Armitage - By David Stephenson

David Stephenson had Richard Armitage in for questioning before Spooks 9 started. Mr. Armitage only revealed a bit about the first two episodes, but unfortunately did not shed much light onto the rest of series 9.
Nonetheless a worthwhile interview:

Express - The Sunday Express interview: TV Editor David Stephenson talks to Spooks star Richard Armitage

Rumbling About Minor Flaws and The Major Question

All the minor flaws of Spooks 9, I am rambling about here at this blog, pi combines to a powerful question:

"To Be Or Not To Be"

If you have not read the article so far, give it a try. It is well worth your time.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Maya – The Love of John’s Life

Maya Lahan is such a simple characterization, that a lot of depths one would expect is just completely missing.
For example, she is blaming Lucas / John for the death of Vaughan. But she is as much responsible as Lucas / John for killing him. Her not even realizing that, makes her seem very naïve and simple minded, which is quite unbelievable for a doctor. Her failure to render assistance for a normal person would be a bad thing to do, for a doctor it is just unforgivable.
Compared to killing Vaughan, having scruples concerning Ruth, a person of Lucas / Johns acquaintance she knows nothing about except what a stranger told her, seems quite far fetched. It seems like an attempt in vain to make a good person out of her compared to the through and through bad Lucas / John.

Her love for John cannot have been strong or have surpassed the long separation. She betrays John / Lucas at the first possible moment because of an explanation she got from a foreigner. She does not show the slightest scruples of betraying him to his enemies, but hurts him further by openly calling him an irrevocable murderer.
But here now her reaction becomes completely unbelievable. Why not ask John about his past life? When she now declares that she always has felt something was wrong with John / Lucas. His minimal explanation, that he has been in prison for a year completely suffice for her, as if that was something to recommend him to her now. Or do I misjudge her and she was in with the illegal dealings of John 15 years back?

She hardly speaks with him except emotionally blackmailing him into a future together. Also not a factor to really endear her character to me as a viewer or make her at least believably female ;o)
Perhaps her motivation was like Sarah Caulfield's from Series 8: “We had better things to do …” (Here I must state, a very male point of view. Are no females among the script writers?)

P.S.: You will have recognized the distinction in the title “Maya, the love of John’s life”. I am not of the opinion, Lucas North loved her. Otherwise he would have found a way. Is there not a saying ‘Love always finds a way’?

Monday 22 November 2010

Lucas a Murderer?

Whom would you take with you, if you had to ship drugs from Dakar to Hamburg?
Exactly! Not someone with a white vest and clean conscience, but someone without scruples and prepared to do everything necessary.

In my defense of Lucas I overlooked that and tended to make Vaughan the seducer of John Bateman. But is this assumption right?

John Bateman left Maya behind in England and went to deliver drugs.
I would take a murderer with me, should I ever want to undertake such an outrageous endeavor. A murderer would have nothing to lose and much to gain.
John even mentions towards Harry, that he had done bad things back in England before Dakar. But neither Harry nor I listened overly attentive.
Also Maya says that now she understands John completely, defining him as a murderer. She does explicitly not differentiate between now and 15 years prior.

Also Vaughan astonished me by going down so easily. As a really bad character I expected him to make much more fuss and fight harder. But what he does is protecting Maya from the Chinese and accepting his death, because calling an ambulance would have endangered Maya.
So in the end is Vaughan good and Lucas/John through and through bad?
But what should I make now of the characterization Harry Pearce gave us about Vaughan? His end statement on the roof clearly gives Vaughan a leading role in corrupting John Bateman?
Lucas / John a murderer, who just had forgotten his true self for a while and became a hero spy?

Contradictions everywhere! So what should I think in the end? – I tend to defend John Bateman, who was able to enact a nice and clever spy for MI-5 and could fool all who came in contact with him as well as me.

Saturday 20 November 2010

Harry Pearce and his Watch over the Embassy in Dakar

Why was Harry watching over the embassy in Dakar?
After his a bit murky time in Ireland, I would have thought Harry Pearce would have deserved a promotion.
Watching over and being responsible for the security at a foreign embassy, where no real action or security risk is expected, seems not to qualify for that. For me it seemed a step down on the ladder for Harry Pearce.
So why was Harry Pearce really watching over the embassy in Dakar, when John Bateman was there to bomb it? Why did Harry Pearce not foresee that bombing or at least have any idea who was behind it? Not even after 15 years does he have the slightest hint concerning the background of the bombing. The whole bombing seems to be a completely blank spot, an action out of the nowhere.
Why did Harry Pearce mention the event in casual conversation with Lucas North, when they were driving to a meeting with Vaughan? Did Harry know the real background and that Vaughan was involved in it? Or had Vaughan mentioned before what information he wanted to offer Harry? But why did they meet then, when Vaughan did not really reveal anything else at the meeting?
What did the initiators of the bombing in Dakar want to reach with such an unnecessary killing? Normally a goal, at least insecurity in a certain area would be the reason to do something as outrageous as that. But nothing, no stealing of documents, no special target, just whoever went by at that moment John Bateman pressed the button.
From what John Bateman tells us not even Vaughan knew who was behind it. However, Vaughan at least must have known where to get the reward from for the bombing. Therefore, he would have been able to further research the background.

The Importance of a 'Certain Person' for my Life

After getting the first feedback to my newly set up blog, I had to rethink my original concept concerning a 'certain person'.
In a way it is unfair of me, to speak about a 'certain person' and not giving this certain person the credit for it by avoiding the name.
As I try all my life to give credit to whoever deserves it, this very talented, socially engaged and decent person really deserves all the praise he gets and much more.

As Richard Armitage in a very unobtrusive way changed my life, it is only fair of me, to thank him for that openly.
I am not quite sure how he did that, but he made me realise all the beautiful things in my life I thought I would not deserve to do any longer, because work pressure prevented it.

One of the most important things I kept putting back was my interest for history. To research again and go back to my old scripts, was the best experience I had in years.

The second for me world shattering effect of my fandom was, to find well informed, well read, critical and wonderfully helpful friends in the fan community of Mr. Armitage.

One of those friends (I am not sure if I may put her name here, but I can tell you she makes exquisite fan videos) pushed me in the right direction and made me rethink. As you see, I needed her pushing and kind feedback.
That is the advantage of the friendly and helpful fandom of this actor and so I can tell you, that I enjoy every moment of being a fan of Richard Armitage !

Thursday 18 November 2010

The Ancient of Days - Symbol or Criticism?

For a long time I thought about the tattoo of William Blake's "The Ancient of Days" (see the picture on Wikipedia) and its significance for Lucas North.
My problem, as far as I detected so far, lies in the ambiguity of this picture.
1. Did Lucas North have this picture tattooed on his body because he had a strong craving for a strict power who did give order to humankind and the whole universe?
2. Did Lucas North have this tattoo, because he followed William Blake with his criticism of all systems, also the law and religion building father figure of "The Ancient of Days"?
This is the dilemma I could not figure out during series 9 of "Spooks".
The first assumption seems to be confirmed by his search for approval through the father figure Harry Pearce.
The second assumption at the end is more what I think really lead Lucas North / John Bateman on to give up his work for MI-5 so easily and to follow his love for Maya.

What still lets me doubt assumption 2 is the correct interpretation, is that Lucas North in case of his felt unease with systems could have chosen another figure from William Blake who directly stood for criticism. "The Ancient of Days" is the force behind rules and their builder. He does not question or doubt them in any way. So why chose him to permanently and prominently anchor him in ones life?

Tuesday 16 November 2010

William Blake - Ancient of Days

One main aspect of Lucas North's character I do not completely understand, is the concept why he has the tattoo "The Ancient of Days" on his body.
The blog article at Spooks Fan Blog (link here) shows the ambivalence of this figure for William Blake. This in my opinion is the central point in understanding its relevance for Lucas North.
Lucas North does not, as I once saw mentioned, see his fate in the hands of G-d and the tattoo refers to the inability to build ones own fate.
But what I see as central in his interpretation is his fighting against such rules and rules of any kind.
Therefore, he is not a defender of state, country, religion or any system defending those systems, like the MI-5. Lucas, as a result, is in constant inner turmoil with his own position in the secret service, defending systems he does not believe in.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons, why his believe in Harry Pearce to help him at the end is no real alternative for him. MI-5 is no alternative or safe haven for him.
So he tries to fight on his own and looses.

William Blake - The Ancient of Days
for Lucas North as for William Blake is not, as he would be for freemasons, the creative power who created the visible world with all its measurable rules and the ordering entity of the world and the whole universe.
For both I suspect, it is a symbol for a builder of dubious systems which do not hold happiness for the individual or mankind in general.
Lucas North broke because of his fight against systems, rules and social order as we know it. What goals he as a young man John Bateman wanted to achieve, is left open.
This dissatisfaction with current establishment made him vulnerable for Vaughans ideas and manipulations. But why John Bateman and later Lucas North did not more actively persue his own ideas and try to realise them, still remains a mystery to me. Strong believers like Lucas North normally try to follow their 'right path' without looking sideways.

(I will come back again to William Blake and "The Ancient of Days", as the topic fascinates me greatly, also its similarity to aspects of freemasonry. I am awaiting a book on the topic, where I hope to get more information about the believe system of William Blake. I will keep you informed.)

Just one Step Closer ...

First I thought, I could post "Just one step closer to understanding", but I am still far away from understanding "Spooks 9".
Still, bccmee's video uploaded on YouTube today, brought me a bit closer to accepting the story developments.
Her editing of film clips concerning the story and background of Lucas North / John Bateman is so brilliantly done, that I thought, why could not have Spooks 9 shown the events in such a way.

Monday 15 November 2010

In Peace with the Scriptwriters

It took me a while, but after the last article and going back to watching „Strike Back“, I now can say, that I am somewhat in peace with the way „Spooks 9“ turned out.
I did not understand the series in progress and – like others already have commented in abundance – I found the film character Lucas North / John Bateman acting exceedingly stupid.
Love can turn a person stupid, but a love reawakened after 15 years?
Why should a film character reported for his cleverness and shown as an absolutely brilliant thinker, forget all his talent and professional instinct from one day to the other?
You see, I am still not content with some (a lot of) things in series 9. But at least I somewhat come to terms with it.
Here I must add, that John Porter helped with this process – and Uhtred from “The Lords of the North”. (Many thanks to Mr. Peter Royle from http://www.audiobook.co.uk/, whose remarkably friendly help made it possible for me to listen to this audio-book.)
But leaving my most favourite character (Lucas North) behind is hard for me. He was the reason I became an RA-fan, though I saw him in “North and South” before. This special actor gained my attention in an interview concerning his first appearance in “Spooks” and made me a “Spooks”-fan in the process. So I can pretend Lucas North does not matter so much for me as the actor himself.
But his end (?) as spook left me unsatisfied and bursting with questions for which I now can never find the answers.
All my previous career I tried to find answers to my questions. With “Spooks 9” I am left stranded with a horrible amount of them.
So I have to quench my dissatisfaction with other characters of RA. An Uhtred with his 3 females at least has a fulfilling and gripping love story.
When I am over my mourning for a wasted character, I will try to get deeper into the unsolved storylines of “Spooks 9”. This will be a kind of therapy to completely get rid of my disappointment.

Friday 12 November 2010

Spooks 9 [Article contains SPOILERS]

For a long time, I tried to find out, why I did not like series 9 of "Spooks".
I loved all the unexpected twists of all the series before. I even accepted Tom Quinn's exit, though I really loved his human touch in contrast to the inhuman demands of the service.
I loved the female spooks a lot and still do like the current female protagonists at the grid. I do not so much care for the development between Ruth and Harry, as I think it is a bit overblown. But still, I see the necessity of it for plot developments and giving things an outer human perspective without leaving the grid.
So why do I not like the developments of series 9?
I must admit, I am a RA-fan. (Now it is revealed, what you would have suspected anyway ;o)
But I am also a Spooks-fan.
Most of all, I expected RA to go down and do something really bad in Spooks 9. So that was not a big surprise for me. His interviews gave that much away for me.
What I do not like about Spooks 9 is, that even RA (Lucas/ John) turning bad is not done in a comprehensible or understandable way. All explanations or background information are completely left obscure.
The result is, that we as viewers see an empty shell of a person (and that in my opinion is a brilliant concept of the scriptwriters).
But nothing makes this development believable in any way. On the contrary, every character who might have been able to tell us more about John’s background dies too soon in the process to reveal anything definitive. So the scriptwriters leave us empty handed and as blank as Lucas / John. We do not find his character any better than he himself is able to – and that is very unsatisfactory for me as a viewer.

In real live I have problems enough, in a film I want solutions or at least some hints, what the scriptwriters might have meant. Some nice ambiguity also is fine with me.

But the hints in Spooks 9 and left over’s from the previous series were there in such an ambundance, that my speculations went crazy.
Nothing added up and nothing lead to something. Just nothing and a complete broken (body and soul) character for which I do not even have a name in the end. Because I really doubt that John Bateman was his real childhood identity. It was, as far as we know, just the identity he had when he met Maya (though here he could have had a different last name, as she never acknowledges him as ‘John Bateman’ but only as ‘John’) and Vaughan (who went to great length to reach out to John/Lucas).
Why did Vaughan not abduct Ruth and directly tried to get the files from Harry? He had the contact, knowledge and could easily have discovered the necessary background between Ruth and Harry.
In one fascinating blog “Me+Richard” maintained by Servetus I wrote a comment, that before I saw episode 9.8 I wrote down open questions. The amount of 50 questions was not exaggerated. I collected some more in the meantime after watching 9.8.
But the worst of series 9 for me is, that I think that leaving the viewer without a clue and disturbing all rational thought was exactly what the scriptwriters wanted to reach. They got us, the viewers into exactly that disturbing position Lucas / John found himself in:

Nothing around him made sense and he had no character to rely upon or feel comfortable with.

What a disturbing and brilliant series 9 of Spooks!
I do not think the scriptwriters were not competent enough to give us answers, but I think they did it on purpose to leave us without any kind of resolution or completion.
I think this feeling of having nothing definitive is which brings one close to taking one’s life. How cruel of the scriptwriters to get us into such a state, but still – very brilliantly executed and very sensitive about the crisis Lucas/John is in.

Birthday Video

Though the topic of this blog is a certain person, I do not mention his name here, as I do not want to get the attention boost through his already established fanbase. This is a blog to talk about my experiences with this for me unexpected fandom and the acting and film appearances of this certain person.
One of my ways to cope with my fandom was to create fan videos:

I hope you enjoy the example given here.