I should point out that it's impossible to review this episode without spoilers; Bodyguard has had plenty of big twists and turns over the course of its very short run and the fourth episode threw another rather large curveball. So if you haven't watched the episode, I would leave now.
So yes, after setting up Bodyguard as a political thriller and exploration of the twisted relationship between Keeley Hawes' ruthless Home Secretary Julia Montague and Richard Madden's trauma-suffering bodyguard David Budd, the series went and killed one of it's two big stars half way through its six-episode run. It was a great bait and switch moment, the episode revealing nearly half way though that Julia had died in surgery as a result of the explosion. And then it went and pulled an even bigger shock by having David blow his brains out.
Oh okay, so David isn't dead (after all Bodyguard often veers on the ridiculous) and it was just a shell fragment that left him bloody but alive. But having already offed Julia, I, like the rest of the audience, was suddenly left wondering what kind of show it would be if David was dead too. So much so, that when his ex-wife Vicky (Sophie Rundle) came looking for him in his flat after his suicide attempt, it was actually a shock to see him alive.
Bodyguard has lost none of its drama though, even if Hawes' lack of presence was felt. For a start, there are a million questions to answer and through there eyes of detectives Deepak Sharma (Ash Tandon) and Louise Rayburn (Nina Toussaint-White) we began to see the pieces slowly put together; as the audience there is much to suspect - did Rob Macdonald give Julia's aide Tahir Mahmood the bomb inside the briefcase? Who is behind these terrorist attacks? And is David involved?
The fact that we don't know who the villains are and whether the protagonist David is actually on the wrong side makes for a fascinating watch and it was fun seeing Deepak and Louise turn their attention to David as a suspect. Rob too was soon under the police gaze, the footage of him handing the briefcase to Tahir. There was certainly a hint that Rob may have been involved in the bombing; a conversation with temporary Home Secretary Mike Travis (Vincent Franklin) alluded to this. But maybe writer and creator Jed Mecurio is just pulling the rug over our eyes. We might have our ideas as to what is happening but what Bodyguard has proven over these four episodes is that the only thing to expect is the unexpected; I wouldn't be surprised if Julia returned from the dead next week!
Even without Julia, there were still power-plays aplenty, with Gina McKee's police Counter-Terrorism Commander Anne Simpson seemingly getting the backing of Mike Travis while taking pleasure in defeating her security services counterpart Stephen Hunter-Dunn (Stuart Bowman). David too seemed to clue into the fact that the security services were hiding something; the loss of footage at the hotel showing mysterious agent Richard Longcross visiting Julia coroberrating a cover up. He even tried to convince Louise Rayburn, but with David the suspect, she was having none of it...at least not yet.
Anne Simpson did convince Lousie and Deepak that David had his uses though, benefiting from his connection to episode one's almost suicide bomber Nadia (Anjli Mohindra) to try and get answers. It was great to see David assured and in action once more, slowly getting the answers the Counter-Terrorism unit needed. As for the mysterious bomb maker who gave her husband the device? I'm convinced he's probably someone we've seen before.
While the performances from everyone was one form, it was Richard Madden who really excelled this episode; from his grief over Julia's death to the pain as he hugged his children and then tried to commit suicide, this was a man very much on edge. I'm not convinced that he is involved in any of the attacks, though perhaps the episode's attempts to make him more sympathetic is another of Bodyguard's red herrings.
One thing is for certain, there are likely to be a few more twists before this is over and I can't wait to be there for every one of them...