The Game-a one-off Review of Episodes One and Two-some notes and dialogue on first watching with review at the end. Minor Spoilers only. On in the UK on BBC Two Thursdays @ 9pm. Catch up on BBC i-player

The Game 

Episodes One and Two only.


Episode One.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Bobby Waterhouse: Spy Chief
“(this is when i decided I liked The Game-when he said this and that I would write about it)
“A jigsaw?”
“I mean, planned in the shadows?”
“What is he talking about?”
“I hate it when they try to be enigmatic”!

The Russian man is called Arkady.  Like one of the men in the KGB office in the series The Americans was.

MI5 Chief: (called “Daddy”)
“The man who raises the killer arm..”
“leaves his heart exposed..”

Then the spy chief Bobby Waterhouse goes home.  To his mother.
Bobby to his mother:
“Daddy has formed a special committee..”
Mother:
“Darling, you will bring glory to the Hercules name!”
Then:
I had to rewind the drama to make sure I had seen what I saw.  Oo err.

So I was convinced the Russian guy was John Sims but I think the Policeman is him.  Or I could be seeing John Sims everywhere.

So the man with the mother (Bobby Waterhouse) is the “Head of Counter Espionage”.

The policeman John Sims says to the inscrutable curly haired and fringed spy:
“I don’t like your world”
“You’re arrogant, you think you’re above the law..”

Then the hero spy guy has a hard line on spy talk and an excellent game.  Spy game.  He is soon shocking the policeman.  Of course the curly haired handsome guy has a secret quest/ back-story.  His accent is rather variable by the way.

I’m not really sure that a small crack team of assorted boffins and cool inscrutable blue eyed blazing hero isn’t a little bit sterotypical.

The “tech” or rather not tech guy is almost officially Aspergers like in his behaviour.  Then, when affixed to the recording machine, surrounded by the crack team, he relates the detail in the next room like a sound whisperer.

It/ the effect is as if he was the usual computer whizz relating everything that was happening on screen.  Would this really have happened?  Why am I asking that.  It’s a drama.  However it smacks a little of transplanting modern day dramatic devices back in time.  Perhaps.

The set-up.  It all goes horribly wrong.  I’m sure.  Well I haven’t seen the outcome yet.
One of the team:
“Four flights of stairs?”
“It’s a lot”.
Yes.  It is.

It (The Policeman) is John Sims, it is.  He is such a chameleon.

The sound guy and his wife Sarah.
Her:
“The geese fly south in the winter..”
Him:
“But the eggs are plentiful..”

So the handsome hero (Joe) looks completely fabulous in a raincoat.  In the smoky blue night.  Smoking and so on.

Likewise the set up between Joe and the Policeman is a bit corny.  As in modern day.

***

Episode Two.

Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Daddy: (Head Chief spy)
“We endanger the few, to protect the many..”

The drop.  Our hero is reading a newspaper too.  On a bench.

Joe to Arkady: (the Russian spy)
“What happened?”
In the Men’s toilets.
“He wanted sex!”  says Arkady.

Joe to Arkady:
“I told him it was his chance to be a hero..”
Yes.  He (Joe) tells everyone that.
That and you can work towards something greater than us.  Or summat.

There is something of Sean Connery about the actor playing Arkady.

Nb. The Game has a very cool beginning by the way.  Newspaper cuttings, bleached out and Cyrillic lettering.

From the other (previous) episode-not sure if they really would have told rape jokes then.

Arkady:
“Mr. Mallory,I bring you greetings from your Aunt in Somerset..”
Mallory:
“My Aunt,I don’t have an aunt..”
“Oh yeah“..

Sarah to Joe:
“How about doing your job, instead of this ridiculous quest for truth and vengeance?”

Ah.  But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it.

(flashback time)
Joe and his chalk and his beloved.
Joe:
“See this?”
He continues: (apparently assuming they don’t have chalk in Poland/ Russia)
“I bought it in W.H. Smith”!
Fascinating, Joe.

Me-I think that the whole operation is a set-up. Joe’s girlfriends happening is a set up.  It’s all a set-up.  But then I’ve seen two series of the excellent series The Americans.

The Game is a bit like a British version of The Americans.

Joe is like the solo version of Elizabeth in The Americans.  He is the honey trap.  He turns the potential victim into a spy.  Then looks on dispassionately as they declare their love for him as either alive or eventually as they expire.  Usually in their spy controller’s arms.    Elizabeth in The Americans.  Joe in The Game.

I dunno.  The action and feel of the drama went all a bit daft then I thought and very dated.  But then it is in the past I guess.

Yes.  The Game went a bit like The Avengers back then in flavour.  Except there is no high kicking Diana Rigg.  Guess women didn’t fight back then.  Melodramatic music ensues.

More running down flights of stairs by Joe.  There is a lot of running down stairs.  They are not great believers in lifts apparently-the MI5.

Here comes Joe again.  Looking fabulous and moody and somehow smouldering.  All in the rain with a big black umbrella.  down the neon sign lit alleyway.  Brothels being just around the corner supposedly.

I am liking Bobby Waterhouse and really hope he doesn’t do something silly.

This has to be the sixties surely, not the seventies.  There is a less than jolly TV advert about what to do in the case of a nuclear attack.
TV:
“Move down to the bunker, if there is a body, leave it alone, covered over..”

The young woman spy (Wendy) to Bobby:
“Wait!”
“They can’t see your face!”
“You’re Head of Counter Espionage!”

Bobby is brave or getting brave.  Plus he has the most incredible three piece suit of a soft flannel.  Which he wears with aplomb.

Woman to Bobby:
“No, he might see you, let me go,”
“I’ll bring him up..”
Down the stairs she goes.  Stairs.  We know stairs are unlucky already.

By the way I think I know who the mole is.  I may be wrong.

Bobby and Wendy.
Bobby:
“I’m just going to pop my hand, there!”
Officially awkward.
Bobby continues:
“I’m going to give it a jolly old squeeze now!”

The guy who played Luther’s mad best friend is the baddie- Tom.

Tom:(to Joe)
“You know what they promised me, the comrades?”
“A statue in Gorky Park, a national day, a line of supplicant women..”
or summat like that.

Joe and Tom have a smoke-off in the interview.

Hard-faced and coal-eyed Sarah with her black beehive glares.  Whilst sitting in a stylish yet faded armchair.

***



Review of The Game-first two episodes.

So I didn’t review The Game at the time of seeing it.  Mainly I suppose because I jumped ship after episode two.  I did want to like The Game.  The drama seemed like it could be fun to write about. One of those series.  Or be interesting even.

But The Game was just a bit blah.  A bit bland as a drama.  Only really in it’s overall feel, to me anyway, as a cogent piece.  The story-lines seemed all over the place.  Almost  generic in nature.

Perhaps that is the problem with a spy story.  which is a genre in itself already.  A spy story cannot help but be generic.

We all know the drill.  The classic conundrums of such a story are already familiar to the viewer: betrayal (of one’s country) for the defector, subterfuge, lies deceit.  Deep. Cover.  Then exactly the same sometimes: for the spy on the Other Side.  Who falls in love with- you guessed it.

Still, all this could be good and should.  The Game is certainly a veritable and accurate, in fact painstakingly created depiction of the period’s style.

***



Footnotes.


The Game is incredibly and utterly stylish of course.

***

W.H. Smith is a chain of stationery stores in the UK.

***

Watching the Game reminded me of The Americans.  Then I find out that there has been a series Three of The Americans.  Noo!  We have missed that here then.

***

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