Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Life on Mars - the penultimate episode

Good episode, worth searching for if you haven't seen it yet, worth avoiding spoilers.

In this episode Sam Tyler must suspect that he is Sam Beckett. He saw the same telly we did back in the early nineties. Although he can't hear the starting credits that precede his waking up every morning he must be starting to wonder what he has to do to right what once went wrong, in order to 'leap home'.

Daringly it now appears that what he has to do is 'stop Gene Hunt'. Stop Gene from doing something so bad, so destructive, that the powers of the Earth have bent time and space to send him back to stop it. Unless... unless 'Hyde' is 'Hell' (as in 'Mr Hyde'), and Sam is the emissary of evil.

Nah.

Last week I said I'd probably (if I was in charge) end the series with Gene killing someone by drunken driving. They've dealt with those issues now, so whatever he does must be even worse than that. Frank Morgan - the messenger from Hyde - seems benign to me. Misguided at most. Unsentimental at worst. What I learned today: 'Frank Morgan' = the actor who played the Wizard of Oz. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

The chemistry between Gene and Sam is very well handled IMHO. Because Gene has to be bad enough, and Sam has to like him enough, to make 'stopping Gene Hunt' a necessary and good thing, which Sam nevertheless will find (almost) impossible to do: that' what will create the tension in the final episode, and for the season as a whole.

Well, there were two terrible evils which proceeded unstopped by the police in the early to mid seventies. It would almost be worth destroying several lives to change that terrible history: but this series can't mention Fred West or Peter Sutcliffe. Back in Manchester, Harold Shipman started his killing in 1975 as well. I think these issues remain taboo. But they leave a shadow over the plotting of a series like this.

So - Gene - his character must support the tension of the series ultimately. Annie contrastingly carries the moral of the series. I like Annie a great deal but I thought her gooey scene with Sam showed them both in a poor light. And when they got interrupted by Frank it reminded me of Simon and Kaylee getting interrupted by Book: if you really dig someone you don't let a slightly embarrassing interruption spoil the moment, you scowl at the interrupter until he pushes off.

I was particularly annoyed because this gooey-eyed nonsense distracted from the promising conversation they were having about ontology: 'If you lose faith, what do you believe in?', 'What you can see in front of you, the person you are looking at'. Yes, Annie this is your role, to ground everything in compassion.

ETA - my prediction for next week is that Sam manages to stop Gene from doing 'the thing with evil consequences' (whatever that is) while saving Gene's life. Thereby squaring the circle and finding his way home. 'Hyde' turn out to be the angelic forces of hard-but-fair. Possibly, just possibly, this means that for Sam 'coming home' = 'dying'.
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