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'Mi-5,' Episode Fourteen Recap: 'Military Strikes'

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

Previously on Mi-5

Mi-5's only hope in stopping an arms deal lies in the mind of a young hoodlum with a photographic memory. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "Military Strikes"

Written by: Steve Bailie
Directed by: Ciaran Donnelly

When Corporal Eric Woods (Leo Bill) comes to a senior officer at his army base and tells him that there is "an enemy within," Mi-5 is on the case. The biggest hurdle, though, is the identity of the man Woods is accusing of posing "the single biggest threat the British Army is currently facing," one Major Samuel Curtis (Reece Dinsdale), a Desert Storm hero and one of the most beloved and highly decorated military men in the UK. Mi-5 sends Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) into the base to pose as Lieutenant David Getty, infiltrate Curtis' regiment, and see if Woods' accusation has any merit. After a matter of just a few days, Tom reports back that while morale seems to be low at the base, there is nothing linking Curtis to any malfeasance.

Back at headquarters, Danny (David Oyelowo) and Sam (Shauna Macdonald) are in the midst of secretly planning a birthday for Harry (Peter Firth) when they learn what was initially seemed merely a nuisance -- a railroad workers strike -- now has potentially dangerous consequences. Since the railway lines in West Midland are shut down for the time being, a consignment of spent nuclear fuel, on its way to Dover by rail, must now be transported by road. As long as headquarters can follow the convoy of the nuclear material, everything should be fine, but there is limited time.

At the army base, Tom meets with Woods and learns that Curtis is assembling his old team from Desert Storm under a veil of secrecy, "moving his pieces into place." Unsure what this means, Tom reports this information back to headquarters, and they focus on two of Curtis' former colleagues: Derek Hanson (Michael Hodgson) and William Scobey. Danny, posing as a journalist for Today's Soldier magazine, finds and corners Hanson, who expresses his hatred for the popular Curtis. Hanson admits that Curtis recently came to him on a lead on some sort of driving job, and offer that he turned down.

As Tom/David makes a name for himself at the base -- completing exercises with ease, sympathizing with Curtis' complaints about the poor equipment the soldiers are forced to use -- Curtis looks into David Getty's backstory of serving in Belfast, going so far as to send another soldier to visit David's "father." When the story checks out, Curtis invites Tom/David to his office for a talk. This is the big moment, Tom thinks, but Curtis' perceived dastardly uprising turns out simply to be a petition to the government asking for better treatment and more funding.

After Tom calls into headquarters and proclaims that Curtis is no threat, he is forcefully taken from the barracks and interrogated intensely by one of Curtis' men. Good under pressure, Tom reveals nothing and is released, walking past a hallway full of the other platoon members, also corralled and blindfolded, about to be interrogated. Noticing his phone -- his connection back to headquarters -- was damaged during this process, Mi-5 runs a contingency plan and sends Danny to the base with "transfer papers" for "David." Tom repeats his claims about Curtis' innocence, then complains, "I didn't get into this job to spy on my own side."

Suddenly, Tom is faced with two armed soldiers and brought to Curtis, and the jig is up. Under pressure, Corporal Woods confessed Tom's true identity. "You people screwed up your chance to defend the West," Curtis growls, "Now it's down to us, the armies, to sort it out." Tom is forced onto one of three Army trucks that leave the base.

Meanwhile, Malcolm (Hugh Simon) is looking into Curtis' phone record back at headquarters when he notices a phone call made to Curtis earlier in the week, and it came from the starting location of the nuclear material convoy. And who made the call? William Scobey, Curtis' old army chum. Curtis is a threat after all.

The Army trucks corner the convoy on a highway, detaining the police escort and allowing the truck, driven by Scobey, to drive through. Their destination? A port only ten miles from the center of London. Curtis' men set up explosives along several large oil vats, because while they cannot simply open the nuclear material and toss it around, they can certainly start a massive oil fire that would mix with the uranium, the result of which Curtis explains quite pithily: "Then southeast England will be twinned with Chernobyl." Communicating directly with Mi-5, who watch from their satellite surveillance, Curtis expresses his woe for how the British Army has been treated. "The authorities expect men to take the same risks again and again, with inferior weapons, minimal life insurance, and laughable salaries." His demands include a 50 percent pay hike and compensation for PTSD, among other post-war issues that soldiers face.

With a counterterrorism team in position, Harry takes the lead, telling Curtis they've known about Scobey. "What makes you think we'd put him at the wheel of a genuine consignment of nuclear waste?" he says, telling Curtis that if he sets off the explosives, all he'll do is kill his own men. Curtis reacts by pointing a gun directly at Danny, saying he'll shoot the spy should they not take him seriously. Tom, still sympathetic to Curtis' concerns, pleads with him to not follow through, to not be remembered for the wrong reasons. Alas, with a clear shot, Harry gives the order to the counterterrorism team, and a sniper shoots Curtis dead.

Back at headquarters, the team is celebrating Harry's birthday when Tom corners him, furious that Harry would make the call to assassinate Curtis. Harry responds that Tom is losing focus of the job, letting his undercover work get to him. Tom hurls a foul insult, leading Harry to send him away from work for a long weekend, as well as ordering Tom to cease dating CIA liaison Christine Dale.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Leo Bill, who played the whistleblowing Corporal Eric Woods, has been seen in a number of high-profile films, including "Alice in Wonderland," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "The Fall," and "Kinky Boots."

Reece Dinsdale, who portrayed Major Samuel Curtis, is a well-respected actor of stage and screen, best known for his television performances as Albert on "Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime," Roderick Haggard on "Haggard," Matthew Willows on "Home to Roost," Rick Johnson on "The Chase," and Joe McIntyre on "Coronation Street."

Marcus Gorman is the author of the novel "Triceratops" and the editor of the film blog Ten Years Ago: Films in Retrospective.


About the Author

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