Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry and Ruth of Spooks (MI-5): Another of the Best Couples of All Time.

MI-5 (Spooks') Harry Pearce & Ruth Evershed are a wonderful couple. Neither of them is perfect but they represent something higher.  Not every one who is in love gets to be together happily. We all know this is true; many of us have lived this situation and know it intimately, but few do it with such class.   

Despite living with the frustration of a friendship that has (almost) caught fire again and again, they don't succumb to anger and pettiness. Despite their water under the bridge they focus on their jobs and they don’t usually have trouble doing what needs to be done despite their feelings. They are living that not-quite-realized love that in some ways is a more perfect one than that lived by those who focus on what is physical.

After Season 9, the viewer can still hope that something will happen for the two of them. I understand that the Spooks writers are giving hints that they are not done with this storyline and interesting things are in store for Season 10. So it is too early to give the post mortem, but as of now, Harry and Ruth have: made lots of eye contact, declared a variety of feelings, been through hellish circumstances together, and kissed, once. Harry has also proposed. (I find it beyond adorable and old fashioned that he has proposed to a woman who, as far as I know, he has never even slept with and may have only kissed once. Cheers, Harry!)

Their relationship caught my attention almost from the moment Ruth walked on screen in Season 2. It got to develop slowly and naturally. In early seasons of the show, I didn’t really like Harry that much – he comes on too strong; he’s a little haughty and arrogant and harder to “get.” Ruth is the humanizing aspect of the show. She breezes in almost clumsily looking and seeming out of place; she is easy to take for granted. We can see ourselves in her – she represents what a real human might do (albeit, a real human with superb intelligence) under the extraordinary pressure cooker of being a secret agent. She is the lens we get to look at the rest of the Spooks through as an every woman and slowly, her lens allows us to see and fall in love with Harry

Just as the writing and acting allowed the character of Harry to settle down a bit and feel more realized, very subtly, a slightly deeper relationship could start to be detected between Harry and Ruth. In an interview with Peter Firth, he said that the original impetus for the relationship came from him and Nicola Walker – the actors. He said they were flirting with each other on set and that bled over to them holding their glances a bit longer and exchanging a bit more meaning when they interacted as characters, and that the writers for the show picked up on it and began to develop it. 

I think that is really cool – kind of the way real relationships develop in that subtle and unplanned way in real life. How one brief, almost imperceptible moment can give the suggestion that another person is interested and how that interest can be the very thing that seems attractive; how, subtly, before you realize you are even aware of someone you realize you have a crush on them. This natural root to the relationship and its slow unfolding feel very real.

They have taken turns being more in love and too busy or distracted and somehow, as out of sync with each other and burdened by their jobs as they are, they never seem to devolve towards snippiness. They treat each other with respect and kindness. So (as of now) they get to live in love but apart; soul mates who may work together but not be together as lovers.

The depth of this type of relationship is very sexy and is something that we don’t usually get to see portrayed on screen.  Peter Firth is not a gorgeous guy but he becomes extremely attractive as Harry – especially when he is near Ruth. These actors are middle aged. And neither has the kind of conventional beauty you usually see in Hollywood, but they both radiate great appeal and attractiveness on screen. And they become beautiful in the context of this pairing.

They are an all time great couple.

See also, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, the best couple of all time.

And if you liked this post, you might also like the Ultimate Spooks-Lovers Harry and Ruth Episode Guide or my homage to Sir Harry: The Strange Mystique of Harry Pearce. I Worship His SirShip

"MI-5's Harry and Ruth: Another of the Best Couples of All Time." LostinBritishTV 

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