What I Watched Last Night: “The Last Enemy,” Episode 1

Sometimes, I decide to write for this section so that I have an official reason to stray from my compulsive viewing habits. I’ve already talked about Doctor Who twice, I’ve finished Luther and Bleak House, and now I’ve started obsessively watching Battlestar Galactica. Since BSG is already recapped around these parts (and done so nicely, I assume, but I haven’t spoiler-ed myself), I decided to peruse my Netflix queue for something new. I settled on The Last Enemy, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, better known from Sherlock.

(Parenthetical aside: Holy shit, that finale of Sherlock! Curse you, British television, for your indeterminable wait periods between series!)

Last Enemy - Benedict Cumberbatch - Anamaria Marinca
Benedict Cumberbatch with co-star Anamaria Marinca

In The Last Enemy, Cumberbatch is Stephen Ezard, a talented mathematician, who has returned to London after four years of living in China. His brother has just died doing humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan, and after the funeral, Stephen meets his widow at their flat. Stephen is a major germaphobe, though in the case of his long flight, I thought, “I feel you, dude.” Planes might as well be plague factories.

Stephen and the widow, Yasim, endure their complicated grief – it’s very New Yorker short story. However, there’s a government conspiracy angle regarding the Afghani camps and Britain’s new Big Brother-esque Total Intelligence System. There’s a mysterious illness and questions about privacy/surveillance, but the specifics are not clear in this first episode.

Surprisingly, I’m not watching for eye candy purposes. I like Cumberbatch well enough as the smartest person in the room, but he doesn’t do it for me like he does for some people. Still, he and Robert Carlyle (also in this series) could compete in some sort of advanced cheekbones competition. I like The Last Enemy enough to keep watching, but perhaps only when the mister isn’t home to watch BSG with me. In that case, I’m to be polite and not outpace him.

Any of you watched this series? Alternately, do you have shows that you’re not to binge upon on your own?

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

6 thoughts on “What I Watched Last Night: “The Last Enemy,” Episode 1”

  1. A series about conspiracies starring Cumberbatch that’s available on Netflix?  I’m so there!  Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Sara!

    As for series I can’t binge on by myself, the hubs and I love “So You Think You Can Dance” and “America’s Best Dance Crew.”  Watching either of those without him would probably be grounds for divorce in his mind, at least.

  2. I can’t jump on the Benedict Cumberbatch train.  He looks JUST LIKE my friend Brian.  (No, creepy similar, for serious.)  And so I just see Brian and giggle.  Otherwise, this sounds like a tv show I could get behind!  Nothing better than conspiracy theories to puzzle over!

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