Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
With last Sunday and Monday nights’ quick one-two punch and episode 3 unfolding just one short week later, it’s not taken us long to get to the halfway point of Jed Mercurio’s twisting, turning and nerve-shredding new drama Bodyguard. We won’t be the only ones sad to see the back of it, either. A not inconsequential nine-odd million people tuned in to watch the opening hour of Specialist Protection Officer David Budd (Richard Madden) and Home Secretary Julia Montague’s (Keeley Hawes) dramatic and steamy entanglement, with plenty more viewers catching up later in the week. It’s safe to say that the thing’s a hit.
The first two hours of Bodyguard were so incredibly tense and tightly plotted, there was little choice but to ease up somewhat here in this third part. The viewers’ nerves wouldn’t have been able to take the strain. Not that the drama remained dialled down for long. As you might expect from the writer and creator of Line of Duty, a big action scene rounded off Sunday night’s episode, with another assassination attempt on Montague, this time via a bomb. One that David couldn’t help stop.
The explosion left Julia unconscious and a shifty-looking line-up of suspects waiting nervously in the wings. Being a much-hated and war-mongering political figure akin to glamorous President Trump certainly encourages enemies. And Julia has those in spades. Who was behind the carnage at St. Matthew’s College? Well, at this point, it could be any one of this shifty lot:
● Julia’s vile and seemingly racist advisor Rob Macdonald (Paul Ready)
● Her new young PR adviser Tahir Mahmood (Shubham Saraf)
● The Director-General of MI5 Stephen Hunter-Dunn (Stuart Bowman) and his rather unpleasant underling Longcross (Michael Shaeffer)
● Gina McKee’s shady and stony-faced Police Chief Anne Sampson
● Julia’s ex-husband the current Conservative Party Chief Whip Roger Penhaligon (Nicholas Gleaves)
● A Veterans for Peace member like ‘Adrian Smith’?
● The Minister of State for Counter-Terrorism Mike Travis (Vincent Franklin)
● A police officer gone rogue
● One of the protestors at the speech
● ISIS – Can’t believe we nearly forgot about those…
At this point, anyone and everyone could be involved. We could even be looking at the possibility that the explosion was a false flag attack, given how useful Julia would find surviving yet another attempt on her life. It would certainly gift her far more sympathy for her path to Number 10 – and justify her hard line on terrorism and privacy.
Shows like Line of Duty and Bodyguard don’t half make you paranoid.
Before the bomb, we had a full fifty-odd minutes of action-less drama. That’s not to say that they weren’t dramatic, though – far from it. Every time David reaches for his listening device to spy on Julia through the walls of their adjoining hotel rooms, your heart heads straight to your mouth.
Why? Well, Bodyguard is a sharp drama that knows how to ratchet up the tension. But also because we’re starting to warm to the previously quite unlikeable Ms Montague. To this point, there had been a feeling that her affair with David may well have been an elaborate ploy to win his trust, but it’s clear that both have real feelings for one another. Call us olds romantics, but we can’t help but hope they get it together properly.
Their relationship certainly makes things tricky for David. His feelings for Julia have him lying to his police bosses about what’s he’s uncovered on her, and to Julia about his true intentions. His loyalty to his family has him bending the truth to them about his worsening PTSD. His knowledge of the sniper assassin has him fibbing to the IPCC about what happened on the rooftop. The man’s under some serious strain.
It’s all heating up nicely, isn’t it? And it’s only going to get better, we’re sure of it. With the writing on the button and crisp, clear direction in every scene, how can it not? We’re enjoying Madden’s performance here a lot, but it’s Keeley Hawes that utterly dominates the screen. The woman is a titan. Strong, devious, clever, vulnerable, formidable, sexy, frightening, warm, she manages to pack a frightening amount into her character here, while keeping her realistic. One minute plotting the blackmail of the prime minister, the next minute indulging in pillow talk with a lover.
She’s an ice queen. A red-hot ice queen.
Did you tune in for Bodyguard episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!