Bodyguard: episode 5 review

With one week left until the finale, BBC One’s Bodyguard still has viewers in a vice with no signs of letting up…

It’s genuinely quite remarkable to see a series like Bodyguard, which is keeping dozens and dozens of plates spinning, fail to answer any of our lingering questions before the finale. Jed Mercurio has kept all the cards to his chest and after five episodes we are still none the wiser about what’s actually going on.

Sure, there are some very minor revelations here – that Tahir wasn’t responsible for the explosion, that Julia’s smarmy ex-husband and current Chief Whip, Roger Penhaligon and interim Home Secretary Mike Travis were/are in league with the PM against Julia, and that the mysterious Richard Longcross is responsible for basically everything – but we’re still mostly in the dark over everything.

Mercurio muddies the water increasingly, moving his characters around like chess pieces until it’s unclear who the important players are. Julia’s disgruntled aide, Chanel, is brought back into the fold here, implicated in her former boss’ death because of her ties to organised crime. While it’s almost certainly a red herring, it’s hard to think straight when Mercurio is so good at painting every party as guilty.

Because of the lack of action and the fact we’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop, it felt a little like Bodyguard was treading water but there’s probably a reason for it. The show’s finale will likely see everything slot into place like a jigsaw and we’ll finally understand what’s really going on here.

It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen but there’s a lot of background detail that isn’t being focused on. There’s the obvious ‘Romeo and Juliet’ comparison here – Julia’s surname is Montague, David tried to kill himself as a result – and how that will bode for the finale; did Julia, who faked her death to draw out her enemies, leave blanks in David’s gun as she knew what he’d do? Who is David’s wife’s new boyfriend, always mentioned but never seen? Will he be someone we’ve seen before, like Luke Aitkens? Did Nadia’s husband really talk to Richard Longcross? Jed Mercurio is going to give a brain aneurysm in the next week.

Then there’s the reason Julia went to Chequers to talk to the PM, what’s on the tablet, whether Julia was actually staging a leadership bid (that we now know was being sabotaged by Rob Macdonald and company), is Anne Sampson and Louise Craddock in on it? I’m sure it’s all a fairly simple solution, involving faked deaths, national terrorist conspiracies, a possible coup against the Prime Minister, multiple murders and a lot more.

The bottom line is Bodyguard is terrific, but this week’s episode definitely felt like it was just the backswing into the finale with only a little forward momentum that mostly consolidated the tension that’s been building thus far. David’s now found the tablet but he’s estranged from the police and on his own – the perfect set-up as the series reaches its endgame – but thankfully we are just seven short days from finding out what’s really going on. I, for one, am bloody looking forward to it.