‘SS-GB’ review: The pace picks up as things gets more interesting in Episode 3

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Was that William Hurt as the Nazi General in tonight’s episode? It was, wasn’t it?

The German accent didn’t quite cover the American twang. But he wasn’t in the credits. Come on, Hurtsy, don’t be shy about appearing in SS-GB. It’s a pretty good show.

Last week’s episode felt like a trudge through an alternate universe, but this week the pace picks up, and as things get less black and white they get more interesting. So interesting that there comes a point where you actually find yourself in the awkward position of potentially rooting for some Nazis.

Rather than just being a monolithic ‘big bad’, goose-stepping all over the green and pleasant, the Nazis are a complex lot, split into factions by their own ideals and plans for the future. Like the current Labour party but with uniforms and coherent policies. A faction of the army even have their own #softcoup going on against the SS, as they plan to free the King and get him to America, thus setting off a chain of events that will change the very structure of German rule.

With the Nazis helping the Resistance by way of poison cigarettes, and the Resistance trying to kill Archer with umbrella swords, there’s more of an exciting spy-noir feel to this week’s proceedings. Fewer old boys conversing round the card table and more using a hat to fight off an assailant. Not since Oddjob has there been a finer use of a hat in a kerfuffle.

Actually it’s not a surprise that there’s a Bond-ish feel to proceedings, given that this is a show adapted by Bond screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Alongside the old school spying and ‘microfilm in fake limbs’ tactics, there’s enough dynamism and suspense to keep the hour ticking along nicely, all the way to a literally explosive finale.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 5 March 2017 on BBC One.

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