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'Mi-5,' Episode Twenty-One Recap: 'Love and Death'

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

Previously on Mi-5

Harry (Peter Firth) gets personally embroiled in a game of Israeli and Palestinian double agents when his estranged daughter becomes one of the suspects. For more, read the full episode recap here.

This Week's Episode: "Love and Death"

Written by: David Wolstencroft
Directed by: Justin Chadwick

Zoe (Keeley Hawes) is tapped to lecture the new Mi-5 recruits on how to conduct a romantic relationship with a civilian. And why not? Still at the top of her spy game while at the same time engaged to the loving photojournalist Will North (Richard Harrington), who is quite aware of her occupation, Zoe seems to have it all. What she doesn't know is that Will's deadbeat brother had stolen and sold an envelope of spy photos to a leading newspaper, a serious problem when it comes to matters of national security. Luckily, Mi-5 has somebody working at the newspaper who was able to intercept it, but in the spy game, there is little room for error.

On the other side of the relationship coin, Ruth (Nicola Walker), while working a surveillance case from her desk, has become enamored with one John Fortescue (Barnaby Kay). An important man who "sits on various committees and boards in the city," John has piqued Ruth's romantic interest, learning from several phone taps that he is a kind, warm-hearted man. Maybe he's just the thing lonely Ruth needs to fill that hole in her life. Sam (Shauna Macdonald) convinces Ruth to follow her heart and suggests following him to a lunch meeting and having a "Meet Cute." This might seem unprofessional to some, but Sam is in fact acting keeping an eye on Ruth as per Harry's suggestion, a test to see if Ruth is capable of doing her job to the best of her abilities, knowing that she has been abusing her position to eavesdrop on this man.

Amidst all this relationship talk, there is still an operation at hand. A blackballed U.K. scientist by the name of Eric Newland (Dermot Crowley) has gone rogue, and Mi-5 has word that he is working on creating a deadly pneumonic plague to sell. He is on his way to Norway, via ferry, to meet a fixer for a North Korean technology transfer, implying that the dangerous country wants to fund his research. Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) tasks Danny (David Oyelowo) and Zoe with the mission, going aboard Newland's overnight ferry to keep tabs on him.

As Danny and Zoe board the ferry, Ruth grabs a table at a local London restaurant, and mere minutes later John takes the table next to her. They share smiles and an accidental touch of the hands, and she's smitten. John's lunch guest comes to talk business, with Ruth intensely listening in, learning that John's plans for the evening involve going to St. Martin-In-The-Fields, a famed church and performance venue, to sing Mozart.

Back on the ferry, Zoe has come down with a bad case of seasickness. Normally this wouldn't pose a problem with two active spies, but during the last few hours, the operation has changed. Mi-5 has new information, based off Newland's bank records, that he has already made a deal with North Koreans and is likely never returning to the U.K. Has the weapon already been created? Harry gets word straight from the Director General that now is not the time to take chances. Newland must not make it to Norway alive.

As he is wont to do, Adam had already prepared for this possibility. In Zoe and Danny's possession is a briefcase hiding syringes and insulin. Knowing that Newland is a diabetic, they are to follow him, spike his drink, then break into his room and administer an overdose of insulin as he sleeps. Although both Zoe and Danny are furious that they have to carry out such a task, it is Danny who is the most morally repulsed. Never having directly killed a person before, he rejects the plan, only to have Adam talk him back into doing his job. As Danny stalks Newland around the boat, he crumbles internally, questioning the nobility of the task at hand.

Ruth arrives at St. Martin-In-The-Fields, with Malcolm (Hugh Simon) posing as her brother, to sing Mozart's "Requiem" along with John. As they perform, the two exchange flirty glances, and all seems to be going well. After the performance, the two learn more about each other - their pasts, their interests, his recent failed marriage. As John moves in for a kiss, Ruth hesitates, and ultimately leaves him hanging. She cannot pursue this relationship, she realizes, especially if it's based around lies and secrecy.

On the ferry, Danny reluctantly carries out his duties, the task weighing on him heavily. The next morning, he decides to tell the still-ill Zoe about her fiancé's brother and the sold photos. Returning home, Zoe confronts Will, demanding to know if he told his brother what she did for a living. He swears he did nothing of the sort, swears that he loves her, swears that he will always keep her secrets, but it's too late. Saying that she can never trust him again, Zoe calls off the engagement.

Hey! I Know That Actor!

Dermot Crowley, who plays renegade scientist Eric Newland, is an Irish actor of stage and screen, best known for his work on "Luther," "Call Me Mister," "Bleak House," and his performance as General Madine in "Return of the Jedi."

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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