The Last Enemy (Review)


(This review contains spoilers)

Ok I know I’ve made a couple of posts about this already while I was watching it. This wasn’t a movie, this was a mini-series, so it was over five hours long. You know how I said yesterday I was going to have a battle between reason (aka going to bed at a decent hour) and self-control? Well my lack of self-control won out and I watched the remaining two episodes last night.

Under the cut for the length because I really liked it, and the more I like something, the more I have tendency to go on about it.

The mini-series itself
You know how I also said if the ending sucked, then maybe I wouldn’t like this so much? Well the ending didn’t suck, in fact – I was right! I had suspected that David Russell (RC’s character) was hiding his true motivations, and lying about his emotional involvement with the case. My reason for being suspicious is that his “proof” was a photo we’d seen earlier in the dead girls apartment. He’d been searching the place, so I figured he’d taken it and yup! Right at the end of the last episode it was revealed that he had lied, and was on the opposite side and had been playing them all for fools.

I loved that! I mean I hadn’t seen that 100% coming. I was fairly certain he was lying about why he was involvement, but he could have been working for a hitherto unknown third party. Honestly I absolutely loved that reveal because it just showed how competent he was. He got the job done and yeah it wasn’t a very nice job, it involved murder and betrayal but I didn’t like the so-called “good guys” anyway.

Right, anyway a quick word about the actual plot. It was pretty damn good. What I liked most about this conspiracy/political thriller is that the “bad guys” won. The government succeeded in their cover-up, the valiant underdogs failed. That is realistic, if a little grim. Plus like I said I really didn’t like the people “fighting the good fight” anyway. There was this romance subplot between the main character and his brothers wife. They got together the evening of his brothers funeral, which I found creepy, and then obviously it got all awkward when the brother turned out to have faked his own death.

This love triangle between brothers was totally unnecessary to the plot, and I wish they hadn’t included it. At one point David (RC’s character) said oh “for crying out loud” or words to that effect about the ‘affair’ going on, which basically summed up my feelings on the matter. Back to the plot, it involved ID cards and illegal human experimentation. It mostly all made sense, there were a few unanswered questions at the end. Like why had Barbara Turney (one of the 3 main conspirators in the British government) contracted both a hitman and a sweeper? They seemed to have opposite goals and in fact the sweeper (David Russell) wound up protecting the “good guys” from the hitman.

Also I’m confused about who put the scare tactics on George Gibbon (another one of the British government conspirators). The spy conspirator (Patrick Nye, the last of the trio) speculated it was David Russell. That was before Barbara confessed that she had hired David. Although that being said Barbara kept saying that everything had to play out, and she did think George Gibbon was a weak link, so maybe it’s not that far-fetched.

It was compelling viewing anyway. I watched 4 of the 5 episodes in a row, and stayed up late to finish it. So I would consider that an endorsement. Honestly I’ve seen 11 Robert Carlyle projects (plus Once Upon a Time) and I would definitely rank The Last Enemy as being my third favorite. I enjoyed it far more than anything else, apart from Stargate Universe and Once Upon a Time itself.

In terms of The Last Enemy as a project in it’s own right – 10/10 would recommend. Honestly out of everything I’ve seen so far, it’s the project I’ve liked the best apart from obviously Stargate or Once. In terms of watching for Robert Carlyle – also 10/10 would recommend. Yeah he’s not on screen a huge amount, nothing like the awesomeness of California Solo (honestly nothing will beat Lachlan for screen time) but when he is on screen he is utterly brilliant. Honestly he is just magnetic to watch.

Let’s talk anyelle
I don’t know how other people rank RC characters, or what qualities we’re supposed to judge them on but David Russell stacks up for me on all counts. Now I’ve googled and has anybody ever written anyelle for him? I can’t find any, which horrifies me slightly because I can’t imagine why not. Well actually that is a lie. I can think of two reasons for the lack of anyelle. 1) we don’t have much concrete information on his background. 2) he’s not a woobie.

David Russell is competent, and has a level of confidence and ease in his own skin. It’s obvious watching him that he knows what he is doing, and knows that he can handle whatever comes his way. He covers all the angles, he shows frustration a couple of times but not because he can’t deal with it, just because the timing sucked. He’s basically one guy and he needed to be in two places at once for the job in that moment, but he still handled it.

To be honest having watched The Tournament, I think we know as much about David Russell as we do about Father MacAvoy. There’s a lot we don’t know but that just means we can make it up. How did David Russell get recruited into the spy/operative game? Did he start life as a spec-ops soldier? It’s said that he retired at one point and then came back. So why did he retire, and why did he agree to return?

How could he meet Belle? Well any number of ways. Maybe he retired because he fell in love and wanted a family. He went back because the war on terror made the world unsafe, and he wanted to protect those he cared about, or at least feel like he could maybe make a difference. Maybe he met her on a job. Perhaps he was ordered to kill her, and did a Clint and Natasha instead and made a different call. I’m not saying Belle had to be an operative, just that he chose to save her rather than complete his mission.

Think about it. He could live the stereotypical double life, and Belle could have no idea what he really did for a living. Then one day, his work finds him at home and he has to admit “yeah I don’t really work for a bank” or whatever his cover ID is – honestly I live for this stuff! Now, I know, why have storylines like this for David Russell? Could just do Gold in an AU? But to be honest where is the line between AU’s and completely different characters?

Also if it’s anyelle, so it’s David Russell and not Gold, then well with Gold he does have a core of self-loathing that he usually has whether it’s AU or not. I also commonly when writing Gold in AU’s give him a son, because Neal/Bae is so central to Gold’s character and his motivation it’s hard to write Gold as a character without him. Also Gold has his aesthetic – his suits, being a bit of a hoarder and possessive about his things. So yeah, David Russell is different and I liked the differences.

I think I’ve already warned you guys that I want to write anyelle for this. Like I said I’ve seen 11 (12 counting Once) Robert Carlyle projects. I saw The Tournament, and MacAvoy is a common anyelle pairing but I wasn’t inspired at all. Yeah if I got a prompt, I might write a ficlet, I’ll never say never but I wasn’t drawn to MacAvoy as a character. Just like I wasn’t drawn to Ives, or Barney, or Frank Keane. In terms of anyelle, Nicholas Rush is my hands down absolute favorite, and I’m also very drawn to Lachlan. Now I can just add David Russell to that list. I know I’m probably in the minority on that one but hey, it’s all good fun 🙂

leni-ba replied to your post “The Last Enemy (Review)”

I’ll have to try this.

(Is it weird that I’m interested in a series/movie/work only after I’ve been thoroughly spoiled?)

Nope not weird at all! Personally I only start caring about spoilers if I already know I like something. When I really like something, then I like to be able to form my own opinions, and I don’t like to be prejudiced to view scenes etc. a certain way. Otherwise, I like to know as much as possible to see if it’s worth my time/money.

I would definitely recommend The Last Enemy. It’s not all great, there are some awful bits, but then I covered that in my review. I’ve done reviews for a few different RC projects now and there are some I would recommend, and some I wouldn’t. Obviously opinions are subjective, what I love, somebody else might hate. Sort of your mileage may vary thing, but I certainly hope you’ll enjoy it if you give it a try! 🙂