'For the record, this is the one and only time I will ever agree with Piers Morgan. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit, I was disappointed by the ending of season one of the Bodyguard.
After six weeks of spending Sunday night with sweaty palms glued to the tense BBC drama, I was surprised by just how silly the finale was. It was all too neat.
With the biggest overnight viewing numbers since_Downton Abbey_, some 10.4million tuned in, like me, to see the fate of ex-soldier turned principal protection officer David Budd (Richard Madden). Between_Killing Eve_and_Wanderlust_, critics have commended the_Bodyguard_for making what’s on the box more relevant than Netflix. It put women in the driving seats of the plot, it had a diverse cast without being shouty about it and it slickly wove together the anxiety's of a nation gripped by terror attacks with the fantasy of television, For that and the fact that, like_Love Island_, it’s fed me constant watercooler chat, I loved the show. Within the space of an hour it would leave me breathless with its realism and stricken with anxiety, yet there was an absurdity to the final episode that didn’t live up to the previous five.
To set the scene (spoilers ahead), a lone and very dedicated police officer (Budd) is risking his life to prove that multiple government security agencies are guilty of corruption, cover-up and by-proxy the death of his client, the home secretary Julia Montague (Keeley Hawes). For good to triumph over evil, he needs to bring down the Prime Minister, which, courtesy of a complex twist, means he needs to stage a march through central London wearing a suicide vest. It was gripping, edge-of-the-seat stuff. Even when officers surrounding PTSD-riddled Budd are given the right to shoot to kill, he still manages to take his incendiary waistcoat on a tour of the capital and even more, escape while several trained shooters armed and ready to kill him watch. The tense sequence is superb horror-filled primetime drama, but it’s everything around this scene that’s so deeply silly.
To start, the handsome and compelling Budd has thought of everything - including setting booby traps in his own home to prove that the dastardly MI5 operative Richard Longcross has been tampering with evidence - except that trusting his fate in a pistol and crime-magnet Luke Aitkens (Matt Stokoe) isn’t a smartest move. The twisted narrative of Chanel, the posho PR that was fired by Montague and leads Budd directly to Aitkens, is clunky at best. She could have been so much more of a character, she could have been the original inside man, a crime boss working undercover, but the writer Jed Mercurio sidelined her to pretty superfluous fluff that merely makes an introduction to a bigger baddie, Aitkens.
If we forgive Chanel’s slight part then we’re left with a few plot holes. Namely, the Jihadist Nadia (Anjli Mohindra). In the first episode, we meet the meek Nadia strapped to a bomb and ready to explode a London bound train. With little more than her eyes, she conveys her innocence while others around her project a narrative of a poor manipulated Muslim wife. Yet, in one of the biggest and most unexpected twists she turns out to be anything but oppressed, in fact, she jeers ‘I am an engineer. I am a Jihadi’ as she admits to being the bomb-maker and mastermind of the whole affair. Yet, here I ask three questions. One, why would this sophisticated bomb-maker consider killing herself when her organisation is dependent on her making more bombs? Secondly, why would she further incriminate herself by admitting this as her admission would just add time to her sentence for a few seconds of bravado? And, thirdly, if her Jihadi compulsion is so strong she needs to tell the police of her ideology, what stopped her exploding her own suicide vest in the first place?
Let's talk about Lorraine Craddock (Pippa Haywood) whose earthy acting and matter-of-fact nature sophisticatedly belied the depth of her role. Not only did she set Budd up as the fall guy and feed Atkins Julia’s itinerary but she didn't seem to have any good reason to. As the series’s loose ends were brought to a neat conclusion it seemed to happen in spite of any logic. Picture this: Budd diffuses his dynamite vest and hops over a wall while armed police watch, even though helicopters and top-tier officers are monitoring him he still seems to get away and go into hiding just in time to catch Craddock and Atkins have a public tête-à-tête. Convenient. After disarming Aitken’s only security officer he manages to get Craddock to confess without much persuasion. What I would like to know is, if Craddock would talk so easily, why was she working with a crime-lord in the first place? Surely he had something over her or the compensation was so great it would be asinine to be so quick to splurge.
Since the Home Secretary's death mid-way through the season many fans have been predicting that it's a conspiracy and she's actually still alive. Ridiculous, right? We don't need to see people go to the toilet on TV to know they have natural bodily functions, so we don't need to see a blown-up body to know that's it's dead. Yet, in last night's episode some suggested that Julia was spotted peaking out of Craddock's neighbour's house. A dark haired women with a phone was seen peering out the window as Budd shot the ground around Aitkens, most likely calling the police on Budd and Aitkins illegal firearm. For starters, it looked nothing like her, and secondly, if she is alive and well and managed to escape a bomb-plot without any substantial facial or physical injuries, why would she be hiding out next door the person who orchestrated her murder plot? I call BS.
Of all my gripes, it was the script that really left me cold. For the first five episodes it was slick, but as all plot holes had to be filled it prioritised conclusion over everything else. Despite her brilliant acting skills, not even Gina McKee could pull off her wooden lines. As she appraises Budd and says, ‘some say you should get a medal. Others reckon you should be kicked off the Force. We’ll see.’ I sat there wondering, who talks like that? Time may tell his fate, but so will the longevity of the show’s popularity if an awkward script holds it back.
With another season already booked in, the Bodyguard will be back on screens next year, but I’m still on the fence if I’ll be back on my sofa watching it...
Oh who am I kidding? Of course I will!'