The final episode of BBC One’s blockbuster thriller Bodyguard pulled in bumper ratings, but received a mixed verdict from critics.
The drama, penned by Jed Mercurio, starred Keeley Hawes as Home Secretary Julia Montague and Richard Madden as David Budd, the officer assigned to protect her.
The Daily Mirror’s Sara Wallis gave the final episode of the series five stars, calling it “some of the most gripping drama for yonks….”, adding: “It’s all been left nicely open for a second series. But not yet, Jed, perhaps let our blood pressure go down first.”
Andy Halls in The Sun asked: “Is it better than Mercurio’s Line of Duty? For me, no. But is it the best new drama we’ve had in years and the best thing on TV in 2018? Yes, ma’am.”
The Guardian’s Lucy Mangan gave the finale three stars, writing: “It is not, strictly speaking, that there were no twists at the end.
“It’s just that they turned the other way from what we have come to expect in a Mercurio drama. Instead of ratcheting up the tension until your mind starts to crack under the strain, each new one dissipated the strain.”
Bryony Gordon in the Daily Telegraph also thought the final episode disappointed, writing: “Watching the final episode unfold felt a bit like witnessing a grade-A student open up their envelope on exam results day to find a string of Bs.
“It had tried too hard to impress, and ended up collapsing under the weight of its own expectations.”
Carol Midgley, writing in The Times, said: “Hallelujah for that last cracking 10 minutes of Bodyguard. Because up until then – sorry – I was finding this climax a touch underwhelming.
“There were many plot holes here but this was event TV and Mercurio, skilled at wrongfooting his viewers, gave us two final twists.”
The Daily Mail’s Jan Moir said: “There is a fine line between great drama and absurdity, and there were moments when Bodyguard and its bloodied Caped Crusader nearly fell into total farce. Yet it never did.
“The tense scenes managed to be both gripping and touching as this wounded man struggled on with his quest for the truth. Who had killed his beloved Lavender?”
Mike Ward in The Express said the episode “served us up plenty of satisfying twists,” adding: “Giving this concluding episode an extra 15 minutes’ airtime was a smart decision, allowing that scene to be paced to perfection.
“It meant Budd’s on-screen ordeal could be agonisingly prolonged, lending it an almost-real time feel.”
He continued: “Bear in mind the story still has several tantalising loose ends.
“So things aren’t quite that disappointingly neat. Not wishing to put pressure on Mercurio, but series two can’t come quickly enough.”