The Season 1 finale of COBRA begins with the families mourning the dead protestors in the morning while on the side of a lorry another message asks Sutherland to resign. Rowntree fans the flames of anger on the news and addresses the PM publicly, asking how many people need to die before he leaves his safe haven and comes forward. To make it worse, Archie resigns as Home Secretary and makes his play infront of the press as he hints at trying to vouch for the PM job.
Sutherland heads in to COBRA and tells them he will take full responsibility for the call about live ammunition and gives a speech to them about standing together. As he does, Fraser looks over the Red Zone on his map and contemplates what to do next.
Collier receives a call from Sally and it turns out the generator they had has run out of fuel. As things look set to kick off, back in London Anna is faced with another resignation while Archie heads in to speak to Sutherland and offers him a way into staying in parliament; he needs to sack Anna to stay in power. Fighting for his political life, Sutherland has a big choice to make going forward.
On the road, Fraser and Steph hear there’s an issue with the super transformer and try to find a solution, including finding another driver to take it across the bridge. Without much of a choice, Fraser heads up to the lorry and decides to drive it across himself. As the concrete looks set to buckle under his weight, he keeps going and instead floors it, putting his foot on the accelerator and making it to the other side. Collier phones through to Fraser and tells him the transformer needs to arrive ASAP given things look set to kick off.
Archie continues to spin his trap for Sutherland, speaking and liaising with various people while Anna visits Edin and learns the truth about his operation and that he’s a killer. Meanwhile, Sutherland’s family woes blow over as Ellie sees incriminating messages online about her and she begins drinking heavily. Crying, the family all try and stick together during this tough time in a really touching scene.
The next day, Sutherland sits with Archie and in no uncertain terms tells him he doesn’t care about his plan and heads back to COBRA to see the generator is a success and the lights are switched back on for good. Because of this, Archie’s plan seemingly blows up in his face. Sutherland decides to call a General Election and to try and smooth things over with the public, he’ll introduce a Wealth Tax to take money from the rich. That would then help with the diversity and division in the country and allow things to “go back to the way things were”.
As the episode and series comes to a close, we hear positive news reports and after several weeks COBRA is no longer needed and he tells the other ministers publicly he intends to call an election and allow the people to decide on their fate going forward.
The most exciting parts of this finale were a bridge almost collapsing and a meme online which tells you all you need to know about this political drama. With no pay-off to the hit and run driver (who was that anyway?) and little closure to any of our side characters, including Rowntree, Ellie and a half-baked comeuppance for Archie, there’s a bit of an underwhelming feel to the way this one ends. Coming away from COBRA it’s hard not to think “What’s the point?”.
If the Red Zone was really that much of an issue and the rest of the country still has power and resources wouldn’t the government temporarily relocate them to the nearest places to avoid riots like this occurring? If there’s already a refugee-like camp set up outside a hospital that clearly has no power, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine people doing the same but within a perimeter that does have power for now. That’s before even mentioning the rest of the world which is ominously missing from any discussions bar the first episode.
Unfortunately this is another drama that suffers a lot from a lack of logic and given how desperately this one steeped itself in realism early on, it’s difficult not to poke holes in the logic. If, however, this wasn’t such a self-aware drama it would be easy to overlook these problems but unfortunately COBRA bows out on a real whimper, failing to live up to its early season promise. It’s a real shame too because Robert Carlyle is fantastic as always but even he’s not enough to turn enough lights on to make this a compelling thriller.
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