I Predict A Riot
Episode 5 of COBRA begins in the police station with Rachel Sutherland questioned surrounding her part in Ellie’s confession. In particular, the investigation focuses on her perverting the course of justice by speaking to Peter about shielding Ellie and concocting a story to spin to the press. While they interrogate her, COBRA continue to discuss just what to do next in the country, consequently resulting in Sutherland traveling to London by helicopter.
After the meeting, Archie gets hold of the newspaper headlines and up to date with Anna’s flat being bugged, knowing about her sordid affair and desperate to spin that to his advantage.
While he continues to scheme, Anna and Sutherland arrive at Chequers as Scott prepares the troops to head down to London. In the Northumberland Red Zone, Scott discusses his plans while talking to one of the journalists. As they keep walking, Scott walks past a projector playing sports so it’s fair to say with broadcasts working now, it’s only isolated pockets of England going without power and the rest of the world are seemingly okay. Anyway, as they keep walking we learn more about Scott’s world view and family unit.
While Fraser heads to the funeral of his Father, the police continue their inquiries, questioning Peter about his involvement with Ellie. In particular they question an extract in his diary about Sutherland “keeping to a script”. He’s also told that she felt pressured into lying, and the police have that on tape too so it puts him and the PM in a very difficult position.
After discussing their own personal issues in the tranquil gardens in Chequers, Sutherland and Anna meet with Mr Rowntree again to discuss the lorry drivers. As they do however, Scott leaves his house and is run over by someone in a hit and run accident before they reverse over the body to make sure he’s dead. As words gets back to Chequers about this horrific incident, Rowntree leaves the building and promises retribution while Sutherland gives him a piece of his mind and unfortunately escalates things even more.
Scott’s death spreads like wildfire across the country and sparks nation-wide riots to begin. Sutherland calls on General Pickering and the army to take out the barricades blocking London by force. As the vehicles are tipped over and point of view shots show them moving the capsized freighters, the protestors grow in numbers and swarm the army personnel, throwing molotovs as things really do kick off.
After a grenade is thrown at the soldiers, Sutherland is forced into making the tough call of allowing the General to return fire and shoot the protestors. As the soldiers walk forward into the clouds of smoke, they begin killing protestors but as the dust settles, they see that one of them is a young journalist with a camera, not a weapon where we leave things hanging in the balance.
Several episodes of build-up with Scott ultimately leads to him classed as a sacrificial martyr and the catalyst for presumed nation-wide riots to kick off. While this is believableto an extent, given how much screen-time has been dedicated to this character during the season, it’s a little disappointing that he’s killed off in the way that he is. The police investigation into the Ellie drug scandal is a little over the top, especially in the middle of this crisis and feels like busy-work too.
Some of the camera work during the riot scenes at the end aren’t great either and the point of view shots do absolutely nothing to help build tension. The entire scene should be a highly stressful and frightening ordeal but the way this one’s shot does little to really show that at all as we cut to aerial and crane shots as well as scenes back at COBRA. It’s a shame really because it had the potential to be a really dramatic moment but the series has really failed to capture that early-season promise.
With logic completely thrown out the window and characters acting irrationally and seemingly on impulse, who knows what’s going to happen next and quite whether this one will end on a cliffhanger or not at the end of the final episode.
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