17 October 2013

Set in the 60's, the plot of the pilot episode for BBC's George Gently series involves the charismatic and rebellious leader of a motorcycle gang, Ricky Deeming (Richard Armitage) and a shoe-licking, conformist young cop eager to climb the career ladder. At least that is how he appears in the beginning. Later, the cop realises he was after the wrong person and eventually saves Deeming's life.

I did not expect much from this episode, but it had a great effect on me eventually. Armitage was an excellent choice for the role, as he suceeded in bringing some very human traits to his character. If you are looking for the biker stereotype, you will not find it here. This gang leader is a dreamer, an idealist, even a poet. When faced by the police, he describes motorcycling like a spiritual matter. And he is right. All his actions are righteous. His voice is calm, he is eloquent and honest and, overall, an elegant presence. Yet, he is accused of being a criminal, an ordinary one, hunted down and discredited, mocked, because two members of his group died mysteriously and evidence seems to point at him.

The interesting part is the clash of the two at the interrogatory. The dialogue and the character portrayal reveal two iconic types which we can find at any time, in any given place in our society. The young cop has a condescending attitude and, after he has conformed to every rule, ignored society's real problems and climbed high enough to claim some power of his own, he feels free to have a vulgar display of power. He is now cheeky, ambitious as ever, ignorant and is treating Deeming with an irony that was uncalled for (and totally undeserved).

Ricky Deeming, on the other side, is the rebel with a cause. A real and good cause. In a deeply human tone and with great composure, he exposes the ills of the society and of the system. He condemns those who crucify human liberties and true values in the name of false goals, mental comfort or riches. Moreover (and unlike the cop), he never says or does anything rude. Instead of sarcasm, he prefers to express things just as they are. In response, the others are only mocking him and considering him to be "living on another planet".

The truths exposed by Deeming offend the cop, who is set to hunt him down and prove his guilt. They laugh at his metaphors. They laugh at his righteous rebellion. They laugh at him for being different... when they are all the same. "If you don't live by our rules, you are pathetic!" - that would be their truth, so widely spread everywhere these days.

Here is a fragment of the dialogue:
"The Durham Defenders... What's being defended?"
"...We are, I suppose."
"From what?"
"From the bull****! Dead end jobs, hand-me-down values, second-hand opinions, mortgages. No offence, but it's the sort of life that Johnny here leads".

His observations are in tune with the despising and very truthful phrase he threw to the cop earlier on when this one was trying to play the smart guy with him: "Was anyone ever more pathetically grateful to get the Prefect badge?"

He expresses (with more suffering and less arrogance) his disapproval of the mediocrity and the banal lives the rest prefer to live. In the end, he spills all his discontent and asks:

"What did your world offer?"

The ambitious arrogant cop can't stand it anymore and quickly changes the subject, trying to attack Deeming by using his metaphors, but in a totally wrong way. His intellectual impotence reminds me of Anderson in BBC's Sherlock. Incapable arrogant individuals who happen to have a nice warm seat in some institution, usually because they kissed the right bottom and made sufficient compromises, attacking anyone who refuses their world order and mediocrity and who dares to criticise them.

The real murderer comes face to face with inspector George Gently and insists that his son was killed "by the depravity of one man"(Ricky Deeming). The murdered son, a boy in the gang, held Deeming on a pedestal, he looked up to him. He drew him as Christ on the cross. He was his idol and saviour. And then we get to see that he's being chased by both the police and the real murdered himself.

Watch the whole episode below:

The whole interrogation room scene line from Ricky Deeming (0:30:00):

Dead end jobs. Hand-me-down values. Second hand opinions. Mortgages.
No offense but it's the sort of life that Johnny here leads.
Forty years of chasing guys like us up and down the streets so the world will be a safer place for other mediocre people to live their banal lives in.
You. And your little woman on the front of Whitley Bay and the whole world rolling on forever and the whole structure never skipping a beat. And nothing ever changing... Except the weather....
What did your world ever offer a little kid like Laurie Elton? Real dad dead before he were born, mother abandoned him? Your straight world pushes him and pushes him into ever tighter corners. Failed at your schools, couldn't hold down your bullshit jobs, life of crime beckoning, predictable. Well maybe not, just maybe not....
He got himself a bike.
A family.
A set of shared values.
And you know what, George?
He took a look at your world and he wasn't interested in it. And neither am I.
Your world's coming to an end, George... it's inevitable...
You won't know England in 20 years.


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