Bodyguard: Episode 6
October 3, 2018 9:39 AM - Season 1, Episode 6 - Subscribe

With no-one left who believes him, Specialist Protection Officer David Budd's enquiries put him in mortal danger.<

Principal Protection Officer David Budd has made a major breakthrough in the investigation into the attack on the home secretary, but his enquiries have put him in mortal danger. With the clock ticking and no-one left who believes him, David attempts to prove his innocence. But the evidence against him begins to stack up.
posted by Stark (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I thought it was a bit rubbish by the end :(
After they killed off the Home Secretary I didn't really care anymore, and by the end I just wanted it to finish, and was almost watching out of obligation.
I certainly don't think it was as great or clever as they show thinks it was.
posted by chrispy108 at 12:52 PM on October 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I think this started as an interesting psychological thriller and ended in a not very coherent paranoid conspiracy thriller. While how the conspiracy works was superfically quite clever, tying up most loose ends, I think the reason it feels so confusing throughout is that it doesn't make sense. Simply put, the mafia guys plan makes no sense. A home secretary is about to introduce a piece of anti terror legislation you don't like, and to spike it you murder her and make it look like a piece of terrorism. I am 100% certain that doing this would have the opposite effect than you intend, and anyone would know this! The legislation wasn't attached to her like glue, it was a piece of legislation introduced by the government which would seem only more pressing after an unprecedented attack!

Along with this, we had to buy everyone thinking that Budd conspired with the shooter, despite this making no sense if you thought about it for more than 20 seconds. The recorded facts, and there were multiple witnesses, was that the car was shot at repeatedly, then Budd left the car, found the shooter, who proceeded to kill himself. On what planet would Budd be his conspirator? If they intended to kill the home secretary, all Budd would have needed to do was hold her still while he shot. He was her bodyguard! Like, if that scene had ended with her dying and him catching the shooter who committed suicide, then sure, that makes sense, or even if she had caught a bullet but not died it might have worked, but as it happens you don't need to be in the tv audience to see it doesn't make a lick of sense!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:04 AM on October 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

Yeah - the first few episodes really did have the "Woah! Everybody's involved! How will they resolve this?" factor - and it did have people talking the following day, at least in my small office, but the ending felt like a damp squib.

As Cannon Fodder says, that organised crime thing just didn't ring true and came out of nowhere, as did Nadia's confession.

They spent 5 episodes building up the baddies and I was hoping for a mighty comeuppance through a series of traps (it started when the MI5 bloke got maced at Budd's flat) but then it was all just neatly wrapped up life went back to normal. It just felt flat.
posted by jontyjago at 12:39 AM on October 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

This started off so strong but by episode 4 was really floundering. Still, overall a perfectly decent series.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:53 PM on October 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Him having to cut himself out of a vest at the end was a clever reflection of the first episode.

The "organized crime" angle is introduced too late, and too incoherently, to make any sense at all.

I thought the series was well above-average, as these sort of things go.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:54 PM on October 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

Just finished Netflixing the show. I agree with everyone about how the assassination plot motives don't make sense if you think about them for more than a minute. I think I would have liked it better if they had just stuck with the Security Services villains, this way was a bit too diluted, and I was disappointed that they looped back to jihad in the end.

I did find that whole last episode to be pretty gripping, and effectively tearjerky at several points. Probably kind of ridiculous for them to add the maybe-marriage-reconciliation happy ending on top of the 'finally getting PTSD treatment' but I did love Vicky's standing up for him during the bomb vest sequence.
posted by oh yeah! at 12:23 PM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]

I liked this show, was well entertained. But was a little disappointed towards the end. Like chrispy108 I was unhappy with them killing Julia off. (I kept expecting her death to be a ruse!) She was a super interesting character and the way she and Budd were using each other for sex and espionage was fascinating.

The most exciting moment for me was at the end of episode three where the bomb went off. And we literally don't know who to blame. The Home Secretary's assistant? The white lady police? Budd? Unknown shadowy agents in the secret service? The show felt entirely unbalanced and full of energy in that moment. And they did deliver on that tension but in a relatively mundane way marred by some confusing writing.

I kept being distracted by a trope: Only White People are the Secret Villains. I never felt there was never any real risk that Tahir Mahmood was the assassin. The moment Deepak and Louise are on the case we know they're going to be the trustworthy ones, the good police. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad for the end of the old racist tropes! But it took some of the suspense out of the show for me. Although I did get played by the coda with Nadia, I like that they gave her agency at the end there.

Also didn't help that the organized crime story was so clumsily introduced. The actor for crime boss Luke Aitkens is credited in all six episodes, but does he really appear in them? I felt like I was only aware of him in episode 6, with the recap of the season that highlights him. The fact he was an important character was totally news to me.

The other trope that bugged me was the long suffering wife of a solider with PTSD who's mostly separated and gotten on with life but keeps getting pulled in to take care of him. I feel like i've seen that exact same setup in some other recent thriller, but I can't put my finger on which one.

That's a lot of complaints, but they're born out of me actively engaging with the show and trying to take the story seriously. It fits in with 24 and Homeland for me as spy thriller TV. I was hoping that the shorter British 6 episode format would make for a more tightly woven plot and I'm sad it ended up showing some of the same structural flaws as those more sprawling American shows.
posted by Nelson at 7:44 AM on November 2, 2018

Huh. Wow. Really loved it, but based on the responses above I guess there’s no point talking about why.
posted by dnash at 9:13 PM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Why would you say that? I think a lot of us liked the show but then had some problems with it too. At least, I cared enough to write something I hope was thoughtful. Tell us what you loved!
posted by Nelson at 7:14 AM on November 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

I think if we had discussed it more episode by episode we would have had a more interesting discussion (this is my personal beef with Netflix style season-at-a-time dumps).

I get why people wanted to see Julia survive. But I also think the yawning hole created by killing her off had potential to make a point about political violence- but I also don't think they followed through that well on it, and instead used it to put more pressure on Our Hero. So it ended up being too much of a fridging for my taste even though it brushed up against something that could have been better.

Both assassination attempts were extremely visceral and well done and not something you see on TV every day. I think my favorite part of this was the pace- every 10 or 15 minutes of screen time brought something new and interesting. I watched a few episodes in halves because I had had my fill in half an hour. The pacing was pretty masterfully done.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:43 AM on November 3, 2018

I thought it started off really interesting, but was disappointed that it really didn't make much sense by the end. Can one really shoot a blank into their skull and be essentially undamaged? How does a person serve in the armed forces and not have their fingerprints on file? Also, please lend Mrs. B. a bulletproof vest if you're going to have her out there with the cops to chat to her explosive-laden husband.

I liked that it seemed like there was tension around the idea of hardline politicians overreacting to threats and sending soldiers off to war in the beginning, but then that seemed to vaporize so that Julia and David could hook up. And then the way all the cops were so sad that David hadn't been completely forthright with them and were ready to shoot him and basically blow up a small piece of London by doing so just because they were so ANGRY seemed incredibly, unprofessionally melodramatic. He could have done a lot more damage by just not calling you guys and, you know, blowing himself up in Moorgate Station. Why the hell would he let you corral him in a field and shoo everyone away if he was the baddie?

I don't know, I saw a lot of promise that ultimately fizzled. I really enjoyed the political infighting among all those dodgy cops and politicians, and then the "twists" at the end were just kind of basic. There were moments that seemed really tightly scripted and then others that were just head-scratchers.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:00 PM on November 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just finished it. It reminds me of Sherlock or Moffat-era Doctor Who in that there are lots of dramatic moments and clever setpieces but if you think too hard about how everything is linked together it seems to fall apart a bit. And that that trade-off is a deliberate decision by the writers - 'lets have major twists in every episode and not think too hard about the big picture' seems to be a kindof genre these days.

But I mean, some of it was absolutely fantastic:

Episode 1: The opening on the train was absolutely incredible, and
Episode 2: The assassination attempt on the car was fantastically done
Episode 3: The build up to the big speech and the explosion was really well done (with one caveat - see below)
Episodes 4 and 5 didn't have any big action set-pieces because they were having to unravel the dramatic debt built up by the previous three episodes by showing a bit more about what the hell was going on.
Episode 6: The whole sequence with him in the vest was amazing, lots of twists and turns. You knew he was going to get out of it but it was very tense. They had essentially placed him in a fate worse than death - he knew that if he died he would also be framed.

So overall, pretty amazing. As someone said above, the end of the third episode is the peak of oh-my-god-how-can-he-get-in-any-more-complicated-a-situation and then after that it becomes a sortof 'whodunnit' with various different people portrayed as the possible villain at different times. Craddock being the only one who wasn't ever shown to be brooding or duplicitous, and hence inevitably she was the one who dunnit.

There's that bit at the end of Episode 3 when he looks in Tahir's briefcase but the camera doesn't show us what he's looking at: As you watch that scene you know its filmed that way just to fuck with you. And so it is with the various other scenes throughout that show Sampson, Montague, Penhaligon, Travis, Hunter-Dunn and Macdonald looking dodgy. As it turns out, quite a lot of them were doing dodgy things but the actual bombings and murders were the actions of terrorists and organised crime. Which is at least refreshingly realistic.

There's lots of holes I could pick.

In dramatic terms, at the end of it all Julia Montague was indeed a 'dangerous politician' who was going to force the Ripa 18 bill through and then blackmail the prime minister. At one point I thought they were going to redeem her - e.g. actually she was warning the prime minister about the compromat and the security services, and maybe she wasn't really dead and the PM had pulled some strings to whisk her out of the hospital and fake her death. But no, she was actually quite dodgy herself. Which is a bit odd, conventional storytelling would have her revealed to be a heroine (albeit a possibly dead one) because of her being the love interest of Budd.

These shows have to have a final twist at the end it seems, so thats what they did with Nadia. Kindof interesting (and it meant that the security services weren't behind the bombings, which helped make everything else a bit more plausable) but it didn't make a lot of sense. And it undercuts some of the emotional impact of the amazing first 20 minutes of episode 1, when Budd firsts wins us over when we see just how far he will go to protect someone who her perceives as innocent even at great risk to himself.

But still, there was a lot of very impressive scenes in there, and thats the point of it all in the end I guess.
posted by memebake at 1:40 AM on November 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also I quite liked that it ended with him getting therapy. There aren't many action movies that end like that, whereas in reality, they all should.
posted by memebake at 1:46 AM on November 19, 2018 [7 favorites]

The British security and police have such a long and storied history of framing people and covering stuff up that that the last episode was much more tense for me to watch than if it'd been set in America. People with posh accents making a working class Scot a fall guy? I really didn't think he could get out of that one. The greatest danger to Budd was always his own leadership, I think that was the underlying message of the series. In real life they'd have found a way to shoot him or stick him in prison because he was an embarrassment I'm sure.

Also I liked that they kept you guessing which of the two police lady bosses was the bad guy right to the end. You knew it was one of them from the beginning but I never could decide which one.
posted by fshgrl at 12:01 PM on November 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Julia's death was a colossal disappointment. The show was dull without her. I loved that Julia was a dodgy and ambitious character, the opposite of a heroine. It's been frustrating to see another instance of a woman being punished for being ambitious and sacrificed for the advancement of the Male Lead.
posted by frantumaglia at 10:31 PM on November 28, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just binge watched this series, including sneaking out of work for an extended lunch today so I could watch the last episode because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I'm disappointed by the comments here being so negative - I absolutely loved the show and thought it was really, really well done. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time.
posted by widdershins at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Me too. I'm excited to start Season 2, knowing that was what got me through the incredibly tense bomb scene because I was convinced they were going to shoot him and then bury the story.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:40 PM on June 11, 2019

wait what?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:56 AM on June 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

So, there was an elaborate conspiracy to position Budd to be framed, which involved multiple bombs made by Nadia, but in episode 1 she actually did intend to blow herself up and it was a coincidence that Budd was on her train and stopped her?
posted by snofoam at 7:53 PM on August 26, 2020

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