Bodyguard Episode 2 continues the extremely high standard set by the premiere episode, delivering more nail-biting action and intriguing character turns.
I must admit that I naively expected a slightly lower-key hour from Bodyguard Episode 2, but that’s why you shouldn’t pay too much attention to me. Having said that, though, in the early-going the show exhibited a much more restrained pace than it did in the premiere, taking the time to develop the lead characters in Jed Mercurio’s well-observed and shockingly involving political thriller. Until, within fifteen minutes, it all kicked off again.
This time it was the interception of a van stuffed with explosives barrelling towards a school that set the stage – a school that, all too conveniently, was attended by David Budd’s (Richard Madden) children. Whether or not the terrorists knew that in advance – and whether the Home Secretary (Keeley Hawes) knew the attack was coming and allowed it to happen – was part of Bodyguard Episode 2’s developing intrigue, with the characters and the audience both still not entirely sure of Julia’s motivations.
And that skilfully-developed set-piece wasn’t even the showstopper of Bodyguard Episode 2, which reserved its most brutal showdown for the midpoint, as Andy (Tom Brooke), Budd’s facially-scarred old war buddy, targeted Julia with a sniper rifle. Budd and Julia, both covered in their late driver’s head, had to escape the line of fire in a breathless sequence that was almost as nerve-jangling as the premiere’s opening.
Action of this scale is typically reserved for a season finale, and moments like Andy committing suicide rather than be captured is a hasty climax to the kind of on-going plot that you’d expect to develop over several episodes. But not, apparently, in Bodyguard, which barrels along at an unstoppable pace, with no suggestion yet of where exactly it might end up.
The pulse-pounding assassination attempt did, however, force Budd and Julia into bed together, which wasn’t an altogether unexpected development. But it’s complicated by the Security Service’s suspicion of the Home Secretary, positioning Budd as an inside man now, spying on his ward without her knowledge. It is refreshingly difficult to even speculate where all this might be going, and among Bodyguard Episode 2’s many achievements, perhaps the most noteworthy is that I still can’t tell what kind of show this is.
All I know so far is that it’s a very, very good one.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.