When the pilot episode of London Spy begins, we’re introduced to Danny (Ben Whishaw). Danny enters a club and emerges the next morning. He is obviously still high or drunk and attempts to call his friends to no avail. He heads along to a bridge and encounters a runner, who provides him with a drink. After the intro scene, we see Danny working at a shipment facility. After the day has concluded, he returns home, finds nothing in the fridge and heads to bed. He touches the runner’s drink and sets out to find the man the next day.
With the help of his friend, Sara (Zrinka Cvitesic), Danny scours through social media profiles and decides he’d rather stay in for the night. The next day, Danny manages to find the runner. The meeting is awkward, as Danny attempts to return the man’s drink. He also attempts to identify the man’s sexuality, but winds up walking away, without any answers. The runner eventually comes around and introduces himself, as Joe (Edward Holcroft). The pair chat for a brief period and Joe admits he isn’t officially out yet. Joe takes Danny back to his apartment, which is provided by his investor bank employer.
The apartment is protected by a security camera. Once inside, Joe takes a show and Danny scours through his expensive clothing. While Joe is getting dressed, Danny checks out his computer and discovers a bunch of weird numbers. Afterwards, the pair head to a classy restaurant for dinner. Joe questions Danny, if he looked through his clothing. Once the date has concluded, the pair shake hands and Danny walks past a suspicious white van. Afterwards, Danny meets up with his old friend, Scottie (Jim Broadbent). Danny insists he believes Joe will give him a call, despite several days passing with no word.
Danny explains that he attempted to give Joe Pavel’s (Josef Altin) number, since he no longer has a phone. He speaks about Joe’s nonchalant ability to memorize and recall numbers, without a problem. Before they go their separate ways, Danny talks about his progressively worsening obsession with Joe and Scottie sympathizes with him. In the morning, Joe unexpectedly arrives at Danny’s apartment. They head out and a vehicle seemingly follows them. The couple goes on a sightseeing tour. Joe admits he always wondered what it’d be liked to take these walks with someone else.
When given the opportunity, Danny attempts to figure out how Joe knew where he lived. He questions, if Joe ran a background check on him. Joe never gives an answer. Joe insists Danny must’ve been selected for his innocence, but Danny admits he isn’t innocent. Joe abruptly reveals that his real name is Alex. Afterwards, they return to Danny’s apartment. Alex and Danny shake hands. Danny grows a little irritated and tells Alex he cannot continue shaking his hand. He runs inside, before returning moments later.
Danny manages to get Alex into his apartment. He seemingly takes advantage of Alex, before Alex is given a bath. Alex admits he has yet to sleep with another man. When asked what has stopped him, Alex insists it is difficult explaining that he has never been in a relationship and admits he always felt older than the other kids at school. He also reveals he convinced himself he needed no one. Danny is the polar opposite and is adamant that he’d eventually find someone. Alex agrees he has waited long enough.
The pair heads back to Danny’s room, gets drunk and has sex. The next day, Danny asks Alex how he knew he wasn’t okay, when they first met. He also admits he thought Alex would be able to make everything okay. Alex questions what would happen, if everything wasn’t okay. Danny insists they would tell each other and deal with it together. It appears, as if someone is taking pictures of the men. That night, Scottie prepares to meet Alex. During the meeting, Scottie retells his initial meeting with Danny. He also admits Danny has a terrible record of selecting men. Alex concludes that he would never be able to break Danny’s heart, because he is his only friend.
That night, Danny delves into the story deeper and admits he was using at lot drugs at the time. He confesses that he posted an ad online and allowed a lot of men to come and sleep with him. He reveals that Scottie was the one, who helped him out. The next day, the pair make plans to go on a trip. Alex turns up the radio and tells Danny he needs to get a battery for his laptop. Danny attempts to meet up with Alex at his house, but he refuses no answer. He waits eleven days, before meet with Scottie and revealing everything. Danny comes to the conclusion that his online ad scared Alex away.
The conversation turns hostile, when Scottie asks, if Danny ever questions what he wants. Danny pulls off his shirt and asks how many nights he owes. Moments later, Danny apologizes and heads on his way. He returns home and finds his apartment completely trashed. He contemplates calling the cops, but his roommates insist it would be unwise. From his window, he notices a suspicious person next door. He heads outside and finds a bunch of cigarette butts on the ground near the window. Afterwards, he heads back to Alex’s place and slips a letter under the door.
Next, we see Danny at work. His scanner goes berserk and tells him that he has an item. He follows its map and discovers a small package. Inside, he finds a set of keys. He returns to Alex’s house and uses the keys to get inside. He ventures into the attic, after discovering a leaky ceiling. In the attic, the show tasks a bizarre turn, as Danny finds turns and an enormous collection of sex toys. He also finds Alex’s computer, with a video, which shows us how to pull off the square knot. Danny then finds a luggage. Inside, he locates a dead body. He calls the authorities, before inspecting the computer’s battery slot.
Inside, he discovers a small cylinder object. With the cops outside, he swallows the item. Danny is taken back to the police station and questioned by Detective Taylor (Samantha Spiro). Danny speaks about Alex and their relationship together. He is asked about sadism and drugs, before learning Alex’s real name, Alistair. He also learns that Alex’s parents are alive and that he isn’t employed by a bank. An attorney enters and puts a halt to the conversation. On the way home, Scottie admits he thought Alex was strange and could’ve possibly been a spy. Once Danny returns home, he obtains the object and removes the plastic around it.
London Spy Review
Wow, the pilot episode of London Spy was definitely captivating and full of emotions. The first half explored the bleak lives of two seemingly very different men, who are more similar than they could ever imagine. The dark, dreary scenes definitely set the mood and prepare the viewer for potential impending doom. Things turn into a mystery, once Alex has disappeared. The show is somewhat of a slow-burn, but it feels rewarding thus far.
All in all, London Spy’s pilot was excellent and will leave the viewer longing for more. An 8.5 out of 10 is deserved. Be sure to catch up with our other London Spy recaps right now.