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'Mi-5,' Episode Forty-Six Recap: 'Aftermath'

Miss an episode of this spy-centric BBC One series? Then read our 'Mi-5' recaps here!

Previously on Mi-5

With the team tasked with protecting a Serbian war criminal who is to testify against his superior officer, Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) is faced with a reminder of his troubled past. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "Aftermath"

Written by: Neil Cross
Directed by: Julian Holmes

London has been hit with a flood warning thanks to a southbound storm, and the historically high waters would mean doom for the U.K. capitol. Luckily, the government has a half-dozen flood barriers along the Thames Estuary that, when active, can easily save London from going underwater. Unluckily, three members of Divine Earth, an environmental terrorist organization, have made their way into the barriers by posing as Dutch delegates on a guided tour and impregnating the control room. As the female terrorist shuts down the barrier's power, the lead terrorist (Anthony Flanagan) lets the delegates and workers escape, handing one of them a DVD with instructions to deliver the item to the British government.

With the flood warning set for 5 p.m. that evening, Harry (Peter Firth) throws together an emergency gathering at COBRA (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) attending by himself, barrier engineer Andrew Starkey (Tom Beard), military leaders, government chief scientist Janet Wheeler (Phoebe Nicholls), and, since the Prime Minister is currently in Tokyo, the Deputy Prime Minister (Cheryl Campbell). They pop in Divine Earth's disc and watch, basically, the terrorist organization's version of An Inconvenient Truth, telling them that what they plan to do today--not put up the barriers in time for high tide--is a warning of what is to befall Earth should society continue ignoring global warming. Their plan would put 1.25 million people would die. Now, the government does have a phased city evacuation plan ready to go, but as the Deputy Prime Minister explains, doing so would crash the U.K.'s stock market and the country would enter a recession within hours.

So what does Divine Earth want? Nothing more than for the government to publish a document of theirs called "Aftermath." Only then will they put up the necessary barriers and turn themselves in. But the Deputy Prime Minister says there is no such document, and not even Mi-5 computer expert Malcolm (Hugh Simon) back at headquarters can locate it. It doesn't exist, prompting Ros (Hermione Norris) to proclaim that Divine Earth is "using a fictional document as a smokescreen to justify doing as much damage as possible to as many people as possible," becoming martyrs in the process. But currently, Ros has an even bigger problem to contend with. Knowing that Adam has been failing to perform his spy duties ever since the death of his wife, the bullet he took only months earlier, and the reappearance of his torturer. Worried that he may be suffering from PTSD, she contacts his former shrink and finds that Adam is still very much seeing her and might be in far worse off shape than he's letting on.

This wouldn't be a giant deal for that day, except that Adam is the team leader and is the one taking the direct-line calls from Divine Earth. While Ros waits for his medical documents to be secretly sent to her, Adam tries to reason with Divine Earth. But they're not negotiating, and if they see anybody try to come into the barrier, they will blow up everything with three pounds of Semtex, and all will be lost. So how to get in? At COBRA, Starkey informs the room that they can enter through the vents and reach an intercept box that would give Mi-5 control of the barriers. Since it would have to be done in the dark, and nobody knows the barriers like he does, he volunteers to go. Just for protecting, though, Zaf (Raza Jaffrey) volunteers to tag along.

As Starkey and Zaf make their way through the tiny passages inside the barrier, Ros realizes something back at headquarters. If Divine Earth was able to pose as Dutch delegates without setting off alarms, that means they have someone working for them from the inside. Checking up on one of the delegates being held hostage, they stumble upon Robert Cash (Derek Hutchinson), a Department of the Environment employee who is discovered to have visited post-Katrina New Orleans on his own accord looking to retrieve the body of his daughter, who died in the devastating flood, and only two days earlier had visited the barrier. This terrorist operation was prepped way ahead of time, and if so, what if the terrorists already know about the intercept box? As Starkey fiddles with the intercept box, he notices that the wires are in a different order than normal. Grasping what is about to happen, Zaf tries to stop Starkey, but it's too late. An anti-interception device sets off a small explosion that kills Starkey on the spot, leaving Zaf shocked but unharmed.

While Ros visits Cash's South London home, the team back at headquarters is able to identify the main terrorist, one Craig Fletcher, who used to work with and date Robert Cash's daughter before her untimely and gruesome death. This is all a revenge scheme, and according to Adam, this changes everything. Send him into the barrier and let him talk it over with Fletcher. First step? Call Fletcher and lie that they have "Aftermath," but the deal will only go through if they can talk face-to-face. Fletcher agrees. The Deputy Prime Minister is furious that they would agree to confess to some kind of ridiculous fiction, but Harry intervenes, saying it would buy them time.

Given a tracking device--but no way of communicating with headquarters--the team sends Adam off to the barrier with instructions to get the terrorists away from the detonators then create a distraction, which would allow Special Forces to come in and take down the bad guys. Since Fletcher is ex-military, though, Adam has to be cautious. As Adam enters the barrier, Ros returns to headquarters and finds the delivery of Adam's psychological report. Opening it, she is aghast to find that he has been lying about his state of mind. She hands the documents over to Harry and points to a passage: "The patient has agreed that continuing in his current role risks leading to a nervous collapse. He will request immediate leave from all duties." Adam's is a suicide mission, and they need to get him out of there ASAP.

But maybe Mi-5 hasn't been getting the best information from the government, and after Malcolm and Jo (Miranda Raison) sift through the Deputy Prime Minister's text messages, they find that she has been trying to remove a certain document from a private security company. Mi-5 easily intercepts the document and, lo and behold, it's "Aftermath."

Storming into COBRA, Harry reads from the document. "Aftermath" is "a bilateral U.S.-U.K. agreement agreeing to end the fight against global warming and to focus strategy on maximizing economic, military, and political influence in a world devastated by climate change." It advocates sustained military operations, anticipates a global population reduction of 20-35%, and recommends neutralizing green lobbies, and reintroduces nuclear weapons programs. It's a Cold War doomsday scenario. The Deputy Prime Minster says it was only in its early stages and never involved any real consultation, a plan that was never meant to pass and certainly never to see the light of day. Doubling down on her position, she says that they cannot publish it and must hold their position against the terrorists.

As the COBRA attendants take a break, Harry notices Janet Wheeler try to take away "Aftermath." They have a duty to publish it, she says, but she has no authority to make that decision. As it turns out, she's known about Robert Cash and the operation all along, and she wants this truth exposed just as much as Divine Earth. Although Harry and Ros will have none of this, they make a deal with Wheeler: They'll keep her name out of the investigation if she can help convince Divine Earth that they're publishing the controversial document.

However, Adam is a still a liability, so Ros makes a deal to switch places with him in the barrier. However, while trying to physically intervene, Fletcher hits Adam with the butt of his gun, so as Adam makes his way out of the barrier, he starts hallucinating about his troubled past, his suicidal thoughts, and worries about his dear, motherless son. After he passes Ros in the barrier entry, he stops against the wall and collapses, lost in his own head.

Ros makes her way to the terrorist and tells them that "Aftermath" will be published within 20 minutes. And just like that, stories of the document reach the world's biggest newspapers, including video of the Deputy Prime Minister resigning. This is, of course, all fake news sites as designed and uploaded by Malcolm, but Divine Earth buys it. However, Fletcher always went into this operation ready to die, and though the U.K. kept up their end of the agreement, he will not surrender nor allow the barriers to save London. At gunpoint, Ros picks up the phone and tells Mi-5 of Fletcher's decision.

At COBRA, the room is despondent, as there is no longer time to evacuate the city. Suddenly, a lightbulb goes off over Zaf's head. Divine Earth's intervention has accidentally made it so that the low water maintenance tunnel at the barrier is now underwater. If they can send a couple divers down there and blow the chamber from the outside, they could drown the people inside the barrier but not the barrier itself. It would mean killing Adam and Ros, but for the sake of millions, they have no other choice.

With five minutes left before the flood, Fletcher and Cash have begun arguing over the amount of death they're willing to cause, with Cash calling Fletcher a murderer. But all is not lost, and after getting a vision of his own son telling him to get up and do his job, Adam sneaks back to the barrier's main room, gets his hands on a gun, and shoots Fletcher, Cash, and their two associates. With the detonator no longer manned, all is saved.

But not so fast. As Adam and Ros make their way out of the barrier, the chambers flood. Without knowing that the terrorists are dead, Mi-5 has gone ahead with the planned explosion. Adam and Ros race up a set of stairs only to find that they have been locked in with no escape. As the waters rise, Ros accepts death, but Adam, still hallucinating his son, revives her, grabs a piece of metal, and tries desperately to unlock the bolted grates above them. Loosening the bolts, he starts hitting the grate harder. And harder. And harder. With their last morsel of energy, Adam and Ros push up as hard as they can one last time.

The grate comes off. As they reach the surface, the episode cuts to black.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Anthony Flanagan, who played eco-terrorist Craig Fletcher, has appeared on such British television shows as Tony on "Shameless," Fergus on "Being Human," Andy on "Prisoners Wives," and Arnold on "The Village."


About the Author

Marcus Gorman is a pop culture writer and the author of the novel triceratops.
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