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BUCKELLS?!! IAN FUCKING BUCKELLS?!! Mother that wee donkey! Gates was right in season one; Buckells is a plonker, an absolute wee gobshite and I refuse to believe we lived through six seasons, over ten years, only to find out that the fella who can barely scrape by being a copper with what sounds like grade D GCSE English is the highly intellectual H. The sophisticated and mighty H. The one we have been chasing from season one for TEN YEARS! Granted I didn’t watch this over ten years, I discovered Line of Duty about three years ago and have binged watched it since, but no way is BUCKELLS, H. It most DEFINITELY cannot be Ian Buckells.
Deep breath in… and out…
I am going to go out on a limb here and say this was the ending that the writers were inching towards all along; to teach us that fundamental lesson of how corruption unchecked in the halls of power is the most dangerous kind and gives no hope of ever having a truly decent society… BUT this was not the time to learn that lesson. We did not come here to simply get here… we came here to arrive with a full bang!
You see, maybe we were not looking at what was right in front of us and isn’t that sometimes how mastery come about. We overlooked Buckells because the blundering idiot was too common to be the top man. Too common to get away with thinking critically to be H which made him the best placed person to be H in the first place. The person who kept fucking UP so to speak, whose every fuck up got him an inch closer to the top man. On the one hand I get it; this very much where we are in society today; cronyism, incompetence. The subtlety of Mercurio’s messaging; the old boys network sweeping everything under the carpet, that apparent Teflon of a buffoon that sees him inch closer to the top by sheer dumb luck rather than wit. He has been placed in positions of power because he simply kept stumbling along. Right into the front line of corruption and found himself to be the last man standing but could not even handle that.
It is a reflection of how corruption, if left unchecked, is the most dangerous. The obvious was never going to go down as H. Corruption, institutionalised or otherwise is often banal and hidden in plain sight, fielded by people promoted beyond their ability, the ones we never suspect until it’s too late… I understand all that.
Did we, the fans of the show, have too grandiose an idea as to how it would all pan out because of how the other seasons panned out? Did that divert our attention elsewhere? Was that a tactic used by the writers? Because not even AC12 saw this coming. Which is another level of mastery because it meant we were on the same side, it meant we were even more included than we thought we were. Buckells corruption, as Hastings so perfectly put it, was mistaken for incompetence and it was even more so satisfying that his fall came from a spelling mistake of a word MOST of us have mistakenly spelt once or twice in our lifetime, only, we took to the lessons learned to spell the bloody word, but Buckells, the buffoon, never learnt the lesson. You see what I mean about him not being worthy of being H? I bet he spells privilege with a d too.
Listen, I get all that, I totally do, and now that I’m bloody calm I see the logic and the reasoning and the actual underpinning message for society as it stands today; art truly imitating life
We have followed this storyline of H religiously with bated breaths… believing it will be someone whose downfall would be so spectacular it would unite the nation. We needed H to be a BIG fish that would give us a splashy ending; we did not need subordinates and subliminal messaging. All through the season the hook has been slowly reeled in, setting us up for the whopper of an ending; that the revelation would be so bombastically fantastic, it would have us cheering for eternity. Everything from the script to the delivery of the lines, to the epic camera work, that bloody buzzer in the interrogation room, Carmichael’s stupid shit eating smirk to the subtle touches of her brow, Flemming’s endless undercover stints and Arnott’s wandering willy… everything was setting us up for a finale so grand it would go down in history never to be beaten. I cannot remember a time a British series ever did that.
Which is why, it needed to be Carmichael and she needed to be caught in a way where it was atypical AC12 fashion but with a bigger bang. THE FOURTH MAN NEEDED TO BE A WOMAN. This would have been the plot twist nobody saw coming. Shout out to the camera crew in this series; theirs is some of the finest works because they set us up so perfectly, they drew us into the story, making us look left when the narrative was veering ever so gently, right. The camera led us down the garden path and all that was left to do was to reveal that Carmichael was H and bring her down in a spectacular fashion. Kate Flemming style reveal, with Arnott type pressing and finish off with Hasting’s one perfect liner; there has been no love lost between Carmichael and Hastings from previous season when before appearing on our screens we were informed of her incompetence from his point of view. Of course none of this would have been possible without the work of Chloe… oh Chloe the real MVP. This would have meant the triumph of Hastings and something that would settle the score of that age old battle once and for all.
As I said earlier, H needed to be someone spectacular we did not see coming, I guess in a way it was, but Buckells was far from spectacular, that plonker couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. Couldn’t even set a burning bush on fire given half the chance.
Alternatively, and this is me going on a wild ride for a story, I would have settled for H being Ryan the wee gobshite who honestly should have been revealed as Tommy’s son who was out to pick up where his father left off, and having learnt his half-sister Jo, was a copper, was the reason for joining the police force so he could work her on the inside… bring her into the crime syndicate. Better still, the two of them would have been in on it from the get go and sending her to jail was going to be another ruse… heck I would have settled for Tommy coming back to life, not Buckells. He was simply not refined enough for this. There was no finesse to his take down or confession… you how Kate took Dot down, or even Roseanne Huntley my goodness. Talk about an anti-climax after such a brilliant season.
Here is where Line of Duty is superb amongst the lot of this genre; the plot kept on plotting, it moved the storyline forward. The richness of every fine line against the backdrop of grit and drama, the long silences that did not need to be filled because it was all a part of the rich fabric of this story we have been loyal to, for such a long time because in the end, plot wins out. Story telling at its absolute finest. Where other cop series revolve around fixing the pieces of crime puzzles to reveal the bad guy, Line of Duty gives the story room to breathe; like a bottle of fine wine, it allows the audience to discover the complex character profile; things are not as they seem even if they are obvious from the beginning. There are layers of complications to consider and all these layers are exquisitely fleshed out. So a whodunnit isn’t simply a whodunnit but a what the hell and why and when and where and who actually dunnit.
Which is why I believe we deserve a season 7. Corruption gone unchecked in the halls of power is a dangerous thing but we need our TV shows to give us a satisfying ending with a bow on top because eventually good triumphs over evil; that is the fundamental law of life as in art; the overarching message is light drives out darkness and with season six finale… the darkness still roams the halls of power.
In any case, this was a brilliant season, I mean every season of the Line of Duty is simply a masterpiece in TV. In and out, done and done but the series of drama leading up to the end is seriously meat on any bones and the writers room deserves the awards and accolades… especially the person who writes Ted Hastings lines because they are ACE.
Adrian Dunbar is a mighty fine actor. His delivery is pitch perfection, together with Compston and McClure, TV does not come any finer. What an incredible and almighty cast. Even at their most boring moments, which let’s face it, most were because it involved a lot of grunt work, but they carried the audience along. We were invested in the investigation, we needed to know every single nook and cranny, the tiniest pieces of detail. We needed to know everything they were involved in and how they moved pieces across the board; they brought the story alive in that sense and we were right there with them.
Hence the show needs to be renewed for season 7 in order to wrap up this H Business properly and give it the finale we all deserve… BECAUSE BUCKELLS CANNOT BE H. Somebody please do us all a solid and knife that bastard inside.
It felt like a Mr Bean style conclusion to a Bond saga and we simply cannot have that.