The Secret Agent: 1.02

We begin where we ended last episode, with Verloc and his simple charge blundering around the Kent countryside, not being especially discreet. Their host, the recently released Michaelis not at all pleased when he easily determines he’s been duped into providing cover for an attack.

Betrayal is a common theme; Verloc is a double agent, a coward who will lie to everyone. Not for a cause, but to preserve his own skin. Lies to his family, his so-called comrades, his British and Russian handlers.

Meanwhile The Professor is incredibly keen to show his suicide bomb vest to all and sundry, a raving lunatic forgoing all discretion. Even to the extent of revealing his plans on a crowded omnibus; and inevitably failing, fooled and apprehended by Chief Inspector Heat.

Heat’s lines are some of the most on-the-nose of the series; noble speeches expressing a very modern outlook on terrorism and torture. The Russian ambassador does the same, from the other side of the exposition. Arguing that a softly softly approach against terrorists would only allow the rot to spread.

Alongside all this, Verloc’s wife Winnie tries valiantly to assure everyone of the goodness of her husband. Ignorant and unaware of the tragedy that Verloc has wrought. Except rather than coming across as the villian, he is portrayed as a victim. A put upon man, henpecked by circumstance. Except we are left between two chairs. Too incompetent to be villainous or sympathetic.

But hopefully now that Winnie has had here eyes opened by Heat, she will take a more active role, and become the agent of change that this show so desperately needs.

Stephan Burn

Updated: Jul 25, 2016

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