It’s been a while since we’ve seen Jack Turner, so we thought we’d revisit a favourite scene of ours from “Hunted’s” S01E05 episode, “Ambassadors“. The dam negotiations are beginning to kick into high gear, the pace is picking up, and everyone’s surveilling everyone else. Jack Turner visits Dave Ryder’s grotty old pub for a day and seemingly not much happens. Or does it?
[Jack walks into Dave Ryder’s pub in slow-mo, followed by a henchman]
Fowkes [watching from a car, to himself]: What brings you to this dump, Jack?
[Dave knocks on Fowkes’ window]
Dave: Come on in, son! I want you to meet an old friend of mine.
Fowkes [doubtfully]: All right… [Dave leaves] Really…
RF: I think Jack’s slow-mo walk is one of the best scenes in this entire episode. He’s obviously checking the place out and thinking of old times, although he’s arrived in high style, complete with henchman-driven transportation. We also have the contrast between the old gangster and the young gangsters across the street, eyeing each other in an interesting détente. The old gangster is what they might turn into if they stay alive long enough (although it’s doubtful they’ll have quite his sense of style or panache). Of course, the significance of the young gangsters doesn’t really become evident until a couple of episodes later.
Admin: Love, love, love, love this scene! It is probably the smoothest entrance ever. You can just see the memories flooding back to Jack. He is taking everything in and is feeling the atmosphere. Plus, after all that time of seeing him cooped up in the house, it is terribly refreshing to see the man out of doors. Cooped up Jack is a bit like a tiger in a cage. You just want to see him out of that cage, although you know the results will be dangerous! I also have to mention how young he looks in this scene. Not only is he remembering the old days, he is kind of returning to them with some renewed vitality. Love it!
RF: Excellent point about cooped-up Jack. It always seemed so claustrophobic in that house and he always seemed like a pacing tiger. Very refreshing to see him get out of there because any time he did, things started to happen.
[Jack scans the pub, which is definitely a dump]
Dave: Jack Turner! I never expected to see you back in these parts again.
Jack: Well, you need a passport these days.
Dave: We’re still holding the fort, aren’t we?
Jack [still looking around]: Long time since we raised glasses in here, eh, Dave?
RF: Aha, so here we find out that Jack hasn’t been back to the pub in a long time – really, why would he when he can afford so much better? – although he’s still perfectly willing to employ Dave as his gofer and decoy-briefcase-hider. The contrast between one old crim and another is quite striking. Jack’s incredibly prosperous (his bodyguard stays on his feet the entire time, watching for threats) while Dave is scruffy, broken-down, and obviously somewhat hard up for both cash and prestige. I also like how Jack doesn’t blink as he’s scanning the place. Is that just a bit of wistfulness we see for his days as a young, up-and-coming crim?
Admin: Major contrast. So true about Jack’s refusal to blink, it gives him such an intent look. He just can’t seem to take in the atmosphere enough. I think you are right, he is somewhat wistful for the old days when it must have been all action all the time. Jack’s little “you need a passport” comment gives us an idea of how much things have changed from when he was a young up and comer. Dave’s response about “holding the fort,” is a bit sad, in a way. It shows how life hasn’t been quite as kind to him, so he’s still stuck in a grotty pub.
RF: I wondered if Jack had fronted Dave the money for the pub but hadn’t really helped him out much since, hence the pub’s grotty condition. Dave is an example of the kind of crim Jack could have ended up as, if Jack hadn’t been as ambitious and utterly ruthless as he is.
Admin: I also got the impression that the pub was sort of Jack’s gift to Dave, though I don’t recall that they ever specified that. It was glaringly clear how the pecking order worked, so that might be why we get that notion.
Dave: Too long, Jack. [pause] I want you to meet a friend of mine, Gary. [drags Fowkes forward by an arm]
[Jack extends his hand for a shake. Fowkes clasps it and they shake hands.]
[There’s a silent battle for dominance which Jack wins, handily [pun intended]. Jack directs his laser-beam gaze at Fowkes, appraisingly.]
RF: And here’s where we see that the old crim has lost none of his stuff. I love that it starts out as a handshake (if a rather brusque, forceful one) that quickly turns into a battle for dominance when Fowkes initially tries to pull away. Even though Dave had to drag him over in the first place, Fowkes doesn’t back down, probably because he realizes he’d be sunk if he did. But Jack doesn’t back down either (of course not!) and holds Fowkes’ gaze with his own during the whole thing. Plainly he’s done this thing before and has eaten more experienced wannabe thugs than Fowkes for breakfast. Have to give Fowkes credit for the tiny little half-smirk at the end, though. That’s some bravado.
Admin: Jack is very quick and sharp with the way he raised his hand for a shake. Naturally, it isn’t because he is friendly (he isn’t!), but because he is always ready to make the dominant move. That was a very scary he look he gave Gary, too, as he was sizing him up.
Dave: Gary’s a useful lad. He helped Tyrone with those jobs.
Jack [who isn’t stupid]: Don’t know what jobs you’re talking about, Dave.
Dave [realizing he’s screwed up]: Oh, of course not. Yeah, sorry.
RF: Poor Dave! This is just the first of a series of many screw-ups he’s about to make in this scene. But it’s extremely clear (in case it wasn’t before) who’s the alpha dog (or maybe “wolf” would be better) in this situation as Dave instantly defers to Jack.
Admin: Watch Jack’s fingers during that exchange. They are flexing and moving about as he holds his gloves. That is probably sign that he has been aggravated!
RF: Very good point. There’s definitely some leashed tension going on there.
Jack: Why don’t you show me that little item you’re holding for me, hmm?
Dave [still contrite]: Yeah, of course, Jack.
[They go into an even grottier, disused room of the pub. Dave throws some furniture around to uncover the briefcase.]
Dave [handing the briefcase to Jack]: Here we are, safe and sound.
[Jack quickly opens the briefcase and shows no reaction to what he sees.]
RF: I’m actually somewhat surprised that Jack would actually ask to see the briefcase while Fowkes was still in hearing distance. As cautious as he is, I’d have thought he’d have either sent Fowkes out of there or waited until he was farther away before he even mentioned it. But I do like how Jack is observing absolutely everything about where Dave has the briefcase stashed but says absolutely nothing, nor does he betray any reaction on his face when he actually opens and looks into it (I like Jack’s little warning glance to Dave first, and Dave’s looking away like he’s avoiding seeing Jack’s PIN number). Jack’s reaction is even better when we realize in a later episode exactly what he’s looking at. Gotta say, though, Dave’s idea of strict security measures leaves something to be desired.
Admin: The clattering sound of the chairs as Dave retrieves the briefcase is a nice touch. It shows, again, how far apart those two are with Dave being so ramshackle. Jack’s PIN number. 🙂 Jack does rather put Dave on edge with that little warning glance.
Dave: Everything in order?
Jack: Now put it somewhere else.
Dave: No one comes in here, Jack.
Jack [losing patience]: Just do it.
Dave: All right.
Jack: Now, who’s this “Gary”?
RF: And apparently Jack doesn’t care much for Dave’s idea of strict security measures, either. He still isn’t showing much of a reaction on his face, but his tone indicates that he just might be reaching the end of his patience. Dave seems to be rather oblivious even though Jack has previously told him that it’s “[his] future” in the case. Maybe it’s not such a wonder that Dave doesn’t get to do very many important jobs for Jack any more! And Jack also shows that even the smallest details don’t escape his notice. Hmm, what could possibly be suspicious about Dave acquiring a new wannabe thug while Jack’s in the midst of acquiring the dam?
Admin: I like how Jack completely ignores Dave’s query about everything being in order and just issues his next command. The way he growls, “just do it,” is very scary. Dave really needs to up his game! Then he just plunges into interrogating Dave about Gary. He is so forceful and no longer interested in any little chit chat. You can easily see how far Dave is in over his head.
RF: True, Jack’s dealings have gone far beyond the sort of criminal activities that Dave used to assist him with. Multi-million pound deals and acquisition of dams are a bit beyond Dave’s scope. And I love the growled “Just do it” as he’s losing his patience.
[Several scenes of Byzantium Spy Kids incompetence later]
[Jack is staring at Fowkes and psyching him out from across the pub. Fowkes looks visibly uncomfortable. Jack gestures him to come over and watches him without blinking.]
RF: Jack’s psychological powers are such that he can freak out Fowkes from clear across a room! Fowkes knows he’s being watched and even though he’s a “trained professional” (for Byzantium standards of “trained” and “professional”) he still seems a tad psyched out. But he probably wasn’t expecting to meet the target of Byzantium’s attentions when he went to work that day. Oh, and it’s also very obvious in this scene that Jack is dressed entirely too well for this establishment. I wonder if he got his henchman to dust the seat before he sat down? But he has chosen the best seat in the house, where he can have his back to the wall and see everything going on in the room.
Admin: Mr. Malahide is one of the best when it comes to the whole silent acting thing. He conveys so much power and menace just sitting there, casually waving his arm, that you can feel Fowkes’ tension. He does look a little out of place, there, that’s true. And notice how just owns the seating. It reminds me of the bit in episode 3 where he was sitting in the middle of the hotel sofa, confident that no one would be stupid enough to plop down next to him.
RF: The hotel scene was a classic! And Jack does have a nice, clear space around him; only Dave is allowed to sit anywhere near. But this also doesn’t look like the sort of pub that does a lot of business in the middle of the day.
Admin: I don’t think Dave’s is the sort of establishment that does a lot business – full stop. 😉
Jack [conversationally]: Dave tells me you were in the army.
Fowkes: Yeah, that’s right. Did my four years.
Jack: Four years? Good lad. Queen and country. [tiny smirk] What were you then… SAS?
Fowkes: Nah, just a squaddie. Essex boy.
Fowkes: In the Anglians.
RF: Jack starts out in a deceptively normal, soft-spoken conversational tone that seems calculated to lull Fowkes into a false sense of security. But again, he doesn’t blink the entire time he has Fowkes in his gaze. He also correctly identifies Fowkes as being ex-SAS even though Fowkes denies it. But Fowkes also makes the classic mistake of talking more to fill up the silence, giving away more information while Jack nods in a… dare I say, fatherly?… and casually interested fashion to his previous answers. It’s one of the most genteel interrogations ever.
Admin: It is sort of funny the way Fowkes babbles on there. Jack is immensely intimidating as he just sits, patiently listening. As you’ve mentioned, he doesn’t blink, and that adds to the effect. That is a true testament to the depth of character that Mr. Malahide brought to Jack Turner. I’m sure Jack’s silence was fully intended to allow Fowkes the opportunity to fall into traps of his own making. That must be a classic Turner technique going way back!
Jack [nods again]: So what’re you doing messing about in this dump?
Dave: Be fair, Jack. He’s a good bloke. D’you know who he reminds me a bit of… young Jack Junior.
Jack [pauses]: Does he, Dave. Does he.
Dave [looks unhappy because he’s just realized he’s screwed up again]
RF: Oooohhhh, Dave!! Huge mistake number two!! Even though Jack’s tone doesn’t change much as he says, “Does he…”, Dave realizes that he’s put his foot in it in a huge fashion. Up until this point, we know that Jack’s oldest son was murdered under horrific circumstances but he’s never talked about it, nor about his feelings about his eldest son.
Admin: But we certainly learn enough to realize that Jack, Jr. was most likely a chip off the old block. He must have been very different from the sensitive Stevie. Turner’s expression betrays very little, but we know that Dave has just touched the rawest of nerves.
Jack [to Fowkes]: Dave is referring to my eldest, John. Perhaps you do look alike. Can’t see it myself.
RF: Based on the brief glimpse we get of John Jr., I can’t say I see it either. But Dave’s an old crim and maybe his eyesight’s going. Jack continues in a surprisingly subdued tone here, but there’s the beginning of some intensity and a bit of edge to his words that can’t be mistaken. He also allows a twinge of sadness to show on his face. If we didn’t already suspect it before, it’ s now glaringly obvious that Stevie is not the favourite, starting with how careful Jack is to refer to his oldest son as “John”. No nicknames there. John Jr. was Jack’s designated heir and the apple of his eye.
Admin: Poor, old Dave. I think he is looking at Fowkes in such a fatherly fashion, that he just views him as a son type. Jack is trying very hard to keep his emotions in check, but it is obvious that losing his son is something that cut him to the core.
Are you brave, Gary? You loyal? You the sort of son to make your father proud? I hope so, for your sake. Well, for your dad’s sake.
RF: There are a couple of interesting messages being conveyed here. I think the first is a not-too-veiled warning – directly to Fowkes, to not get involved in whatever he thinks he’s getting involved in. And the second is Jack expressing his grief (and his pride in John Jr.) by describing the sorrow that Fowkes’ father would feel if something were to happen to him. Jack holds Fowkes’ gaze the entire time and doesn’t let it go, almost as if he’s a snake hypnotizing a bird, and we see Fowkes betray his own reaction by gulping nervously as he doesn’t dare take his eyes from Jack’s.
Admin: I have to mention that Fowkes had some earlier issues with Byzantium and their lack of “battlefield loyalty”. I can’t help but wonder if some of his intrigue is due to actually understanding where Jack is coming from. I mean, here is Jack telling it like it is in no uncertain terms. Family loyalty is *everything* to him. The intent stare and his tone of voice suggest he is probably fanatical about it. Later on we learn that everything he has been doing in the series all boils down to upholding that firmly held belief of his. For an in control guy who keeps things to himself, Jack is strangely good at wearing his heart on his sleeve.
RF: Good point about Byzantium’s lack of “battlefield loyalty”. Fowkes has already had it abundantly proven to him that Byzantium will write him off (ie. kill him without any compunction) if they think they have to, so loyalty means little or nothing to them, whereas it means everything to Jack. Loyalty is probably the reason Jack gave this job to Dave in the first place, even though he knew it would mean a certain amount of danger for Dave as well. Also very true that everything Jack is doing at this point is because he’s actually wearing his heart on his sleeve, although we don’t realize how much until later.
I’ll tell you what, Gary. [leans forward] I hope you don’t end up dead, cut to pieces with your dick stuffed in your mouth.
[Fowkes gulps uncomfortably]
RF: The intensity escalates and Jack applies unconscious pressure by leaning forward, still pinning Fowkes in his unblinking gaze (and kudos to the cinematographer for highlighting Mr. Malahide’s eyes so well). Fowkes is helpless to move. I had to wonder if Jack wasn’t conveying a third sort of warning here – a direct warning to Fowkes’ employers of the sort of fate that might await him if he continues to meddle in Jack’s business, conveyed in blunt language. Yet at the same time, Jack is giving us a an extremely restrained glimpse of his utter rage as the father of a murdered son, whom he knows was murdered because of his father’s line of business. I also think that his marked repetition of the name “Gary” makes it fairly clear that Jack knows very well the name is an alias, even if he doesn’t know exactly who Fowkes works for yet.
Admin: So true about those eyes. The lighting captures them perfectly, and they add to Jack’s aura of danger. I think he is giving “Gary” and his unseen lot a direct threat. Little wonder Gary could only gulp after that. And it shows us just how used to brutality Jack is. He’s dealt it out, and he’s experienced it firsthand. Gary is now realizing 100% that there is nothing Jack won’t do to achieve whatever ends he wants.
Dave: Sorry Jack, I didn’t–
Jack [still with his gaze fixed on Fowkes]: Turn up the telly, Dave.
Dave [uncomprehending]: What?
Jack: I said, turn up the soddin’ telly.
Dave: Yeah, sorry, ‘course.
RF: Poor Dave is still trying to make up for his latest blunder but Jack’s already far past that. Without taking his eyes off Fowkes, his awareness of the room is such that he knows there’s a news story on the television that directly concerns him (oddly enough, the Pakistani prime minister is opposed to Jack acquiring the dam). Now that is how he got to be an old crim – by being amazingly aware of his surroundings at all times. I guess we can presume that Fowkes took the opportunity to nip off to the Gents to change his trousers before going back to work. I think it’s also interesting to note that of all the Byzantium Spy Kids, only Fowkes and Sam actually meet Jack face to face, but perhaps only Fowkes really has an understanding of what Jack’s motivations might be.
Admin: Jack goes so seamlessly from his threat to the issue of the telly it is kind of bewildering. His awareness of his surroundings is preternatural. Fowkes certainly seemed to get the greater grasp of Jack than Sam ever did. It seems the change in surroundings, with the trip down memory lane, caused Jack to open up a lot more than he would at his fortress home.
RF: I think the best thing about this scene is that it really gives us a different glimpse of Jack Turner than we’ve seen so far. We realize that Jack’s a grieving father and really quite human – if perhaps prepared to go to different lengths and in possession of rather more extensive resources to get what he wants. We’re given the first sense of how deadly Jack is willing to be if he’s crossed, how much his family means to him, and the first hint of how far he might be willing to go. Lex Shrapnel does a wonderful job reacting to Mr. Malahide, conveying Fowkes’ intimidation and fear (yet he doesn’t back down), but the scene is still entirely Mr. Malahide’s.
Admin: Lex Shrapnel certainly does a wonderful job in this scene, and he was my favorite of the Byzantium Spy Kids. I almost wish he’d switched loyalties then and there! 😉 I really enjoyed seeing Jack open up and show his true feelings for a change. It was an excellent set-up for the moment he reveals why he’s been doing everything he’s been doing. Jack is a villain who has done very bad things, but he is not some two-dimensional villain. He is someone who has understandable motivations and can even show brief moments of emotional vulnerability. We see that in this brilliant scene.