Sons of Liberty - Boston goes underground
The ingenious manner in which the smugglers get the Madeira past the British in the opening set- piece of the second episode of Sons of Liberty sets the tone for this instalment. Sneaking under the noses of the Abhorrent and dim witted Brits. Swallowing my gall at this as a proud Brit myself, I pride myself on the continuing great performances of Rafe Spall and Ben Barnes in the show. Brits playing huge figures in American History does give me a frisson of joy!
Spall is just delicious as John Hancock , the scene where his rouge is applied and his wig liberally powdered is wonderfully symbolic of the foppish slightly camp demeanour he projects , toasting the King whilst all the while up to his neck in a complex smuggling endeavour, robbing that very same Monarch of piles of Tax ...steely and determined is our Mr Hancock.
We meet the famous Paul Revere, whose silversmithing talents are integral to the underground dealings and smuggling efforts, a wily rogue if ever I saw one!
As violence breaks out a needless and shocking death galvanises the hearts of Sam Adams and sets him at odds with John, played with dignity by Henry Thomas. His aggression and need for revenge culminates in more deaths and as Hancock Warned, Sam is set on a path into darkness from which he might never turn back from.
I anticipate tea hitting the ocean in the next episode and look forward to seeing a seminal moment in
History being enacted.
Stonemouth - a Prodigal returns.
"Before all else, be armed". - Machiavelli
Having run away from Stonemouth, fearing for his life after making a really ill conceived decision to repay a perceived indiscretion with another. He escapes on a freight train and makes a life in London, Stuart is drawn back when best friend Callum seemingly commits suicide, but a video message puts
doubt in his mind.
After seeking permission to return to Stonemouth to pay his respects, this first episode took us back in time to a tragic childhood incident that had connected working class Stuart to a family of drug dealing brothers the Murstons , run with a rod of Iron by patriarch played by the marvellously ominous Peter Mullan and their sister, love of his life Ellie. Mullan makes copying a purple lizard doing aerobics on a Wii threatening and and dark , as he seemingly with little emotion discusses his son's untimely demise as though losing him was a minor inconvenience.
The paintball scene was shocking and unexpected and set the gritty tone of the show. This kind of traumatic event was bound to bind the youngsters into adulthood.
The rather grey backdrop of pretty coastal town Stonemouth is a character in itself and the usual gangland tropes appear, rough diamond heavies, warring families and secrets within secrets but the story was interesting enough to retain my attention , my own knowledge of the way people kill themselves by jumping has already given me an inkling that things are not quite right and the way that Stuart's life literally hangs in the balance at the end of the episode will definitely make me tune in again.
The striking good looks of Christian Cooke who plays Stuart, whose vulnerability in the face of his fear at returning to town under the cloud of the past made him a thoroughly likeable hero. I found myself hoping that equally attractive gay best friend had nothing to do with his friend's death, but something tells me that unrequited love plays a more sinister part in this... However that is just my imagination running wild, as is my wont.
The Interceptor. Or The Wire, London style
Comparison to the Baltimore Hit will be inevitable.
Customs and excise Maverick,Marcus Ashton ( never wallflowers on these kinds of programmes is it ?) is recruited for a special unit after a drugs bust goes tits up. Approached by the mysterious Cartright and evidencing excellent observational skills, so far so formulaic , but actually this actually has a fair amount going for it.
Ash is unhappy that his daily grind does not bear dividends particularly when Partner and best friend is critically injured in a bust that was poorly executed. Expecting sanction, this is where U.N.I.T. Steps in , poaching the best the Police and customs have to offer to hit the high level drugs Operatives by using technology and surveillance to keep tabs and gather intelligence. It's obvious that Ash will be a round peg in a square hole, but this opener showed great promise. The usual dodgy dealers and stereotypes are bound to pop up, but casting is solid with stalwarts like Paul Kaye hamming it up as shadowy slippery geezer with an ego the size of the London Eye.
The drama here is high octane and the two opening set pieces were well orchestrated. I like the South London Setting and despite being in the greyer area of law enforcement, our hero is sympathetic with the murky past of his father and his obvious dissatisfaction with his impact on crime in his current low level position, the approach by UNIT is welcome.