Have you recovered from the nail biting finale of Bodyguard yet? Baz Greenland gives his thoughts on last night’s episode.
After six nail-biting, thought-provoking and often ridiculous weeks, Bodyguard reached its dramatic conclusion, with a nail-biting, thought-provoking and often ridiculous ending. All the theories, twists and water-cooler moments were wrapped up in the final hour and a quarter, but not without putting David Budd (Richard Madden) and the audience through the emotional wringer.
Finally the SO15 discovered that David had a direct connection to Andy Apsted, the veteran that tried to assassinate Julia in episode two before blowing his brains out in front of David. It’s a secret he has been foolishly trying to hide and needless to say Louise Rayburn was somewhat pissed. For the entire episode. And that was only made worse when they also discovered that David had snuck into Julia’s apartment and stolen the device holding all the secrets of the PM’s corrupt past.
The criminal activities angle in Julia’s death was a somewhat late turn of events; I’m still a little undecided if it was too left field to feel satisfying. But Luke Aitkens certainly became a credible threat, using Chanel to lure David into a trap that saw he wake up rigged to a bomb, his hand taped to a dead’s man’s switch. The fast pace of the series meant David’s lone investigation only lasted a mere twenty minutes but it was all just build up to the suspenseful forty minutes that followed.
In what was essentially a double-length replay of the show’s opening twenty minutes, David found himself in the role of unwitting suicide bomber, only he didn’t have his own David to talk him down. Of course, given all his lies and deceit, it was hard for anyone to believe that he was being framed. Boss Louise Craddock’s attempts to talk him down felt half arsed (though the reasons for that became apparent in the end) and Louise was so angry she looked as if she were ready to detonate the bomb and kill David herself. Even Anne Simpson seemed more ready to shoot him dead than listen to his pleas.
Knowing that David was truly innocent (something that only really became apparent last episode), made it all the more intense and giving how Bodyguard had already killed off one of its two main leads half way through, it was totally believable that David could be killed off with forty minutes to spare. There was certainly Louise and her boss Deepak to wrap things up. And so the tension of knowing that David could actually die carried the audience through a breathless forty minutes.
There were so many moments here that made the episode; David switching channels on the radio with Deepak, luring Longcross into a trap in his flat or ex-wife Vicky rushing to his side and saving his life as they made the long and very public walk back to his flat to give the evidence that would save him life. Even then, the threat of David’s death hung high and when he had made Vicky retrieve the device hidden in the garden and bomb disposal expert David Chung had given him the tool to disarm the bomb, every moment of relief as a wire was cut was immediately followed by the sharp outtake of air as you realised you’d been holding your breath waiting for the sigh of relief to be followed by an explosion. This was superb television.
And then when the bomb vest was deactivated, David went on the run again, leaving the nagging feeling that nothing was going to get wrapped up in the remaining twenty minutes. Fortunately we were proved wrong as all the answers came together at the same breathless pace we were used to. David forced a guilty Chanel to lure her boss Luke into a trap and reveal the real inside man in the police. The discovery that it was boss Lorraine came for quite a surprise, particularly as Pippa Haywood had delivered such a down to earth, honest performance over the show’s run.
And as quickly as that it seemed the murder of Julia Montague was solved. RIPA 18 was a threat to criminal organisations as much as terrorists and Luke Aitkens, using inside knowledge of Julia’s itinerary from Lorraine had been able to hire Andy as the shooter and circumvent all security checks to plant the bomb under the stage which lead to the Home Secretary’s death. Maybe not as thrilling as the prime minister and security services masterminding the whole dastardly affair but then there were enough red herrings in Bodyguard to keep the audience on their toes over the course of the six episodes.
Plus there was one final twist in the works as the last remaining question was asked by Louise and David, now pals once more. Why did Longcross give Nadia’s husband the original bomb and how did they know about the location of David’s children that led to the attack in episode two? It turned out, Nadia wasn’t quite the innocent victim they all presumed; Anjli Mohindra effortless switched from vulnerable woman to ruthless jihadi, revelling in the fact that she was the engineer that had created the bombs used on the train, to kill Julia and strapped to David. She had used Luke Aitken’s money to fund terrorist activities and used David’s gentle nature against him; in sharing information about his children, Nadia had been able to call her contacts from prison and set the attack in motion that nearly lost him his family. That was some pretty moustache-twirling villainy but expertly played by Mohindra.
Perhaps the biggest surprise besides the fact that Julia remained dead, David survived and his kids weren’t actually the masterminds behind it all, was how Bodyguard was able to wrap everything up rather neatly. Anne Simpson was about to leak the details from the device about the PM’s corruption, forcing his resignation and that of her rival in the Security Services, Stephen Hunter-Dunn. David meanwhile survived with his career intact and after seeking therapy literally drove off into a happy ending with his kids and Vicky in tow.
Given that Bodyguard is the biggest UK drama since 2006, the chances of a second series is probably high. But I wonder perhaps if we Jed Mercurio should leave the story of David Budd there. In these six weeks he has delivered a high octane, nail biting thriller that has truly recreated that water cooler event as audiences and the internet exploded with theories over what was going to happen next. I can see where the show might go, and I would certainly watch, but with the story wrapped up, could any second series will deliver on the highs of the first?
Unless Julia isn’t dead, the kids really are behind it and we get a buddy team up between David and Louise. Because perhaps if it continues to embrace the ridiculous, it might be just as entertaining…
Guessed the spoiler? Are modern audiences too savvy for TV show twists?
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