Thursday, April 27, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x08: "Episode 8"

Written by Matthew Graham
Directed by John Alexander

Vic: “Who are you?”
Sam: “Second chance. You wanna be rich? You already are. Stay with them, Vic.”

After eight weeks of Sam trying to escape it all comes crashing down in one episode where he might finally realise that he’s not leaving 1973 anytime soon. It also happens to be the very episode where we finally meet his father.

When two men die in a police chase, Sam finds the address to a hotel and Gene and company arrest Vic Tyler. Yeah, he’s Sam’s father and Sam is suitably shocked to finally see his absentee dad. As for anyone else, it was about damn time we got to meet the man.

Naturally Gene doesn’t trust Vic as far as he could throw him and Sam only further warns Gene not to do try and frame his father for anything without evidence. Sam’s desperate to believe that his father is a good guy and Gene thinks that he’s hiding something. As much as I understand where Sam is coming from, I also know that Gene’s instincts aren’t that terribly.

While Vic might have cleared out for being a door to door salesman, Gene was right on the money in taking a snoop around his house. Sam got to meet his mother Ruth again and had to explain that he used an alias last time. Funnily enough, neither Ruth nor Gene seemed all that bothered. In fact no-one really seems to notice that Sam acts erratically around his parents.

Sam might have also enjoyed getting some insight into his folks and while Vic does seem genuinely dedicated to both Ruth and Sam, Gene was able to find the listing of a bookie office. Now there are plenty of things they could’ve behind closed doors but the distribution of pornography was a good touch.

For instance it got the lads in the station excited and Sam got to make a modern reference. Also for the first time, the rest of Sam’s co-workers actually did something he said without question or disdain. Maybe Sam should try busting more purveyors of blue movies in the near future. Even Ray kept his snide comments to himself.

Vic being involved with porn however was the tip of the iceberg. Being a serial gambler meant he racked up enough debt and the Mortons wanted to be paid. While Gene wasn’t particularly sympathetic to Vic’s plight, Sam naturally took it upon himself to protect his father at best.

John Simm has been brilliant in every episode of this series as has the rest of the cast but he really does excel himself here. While he’s happy to tell Annie that Vic and Ruth are his parents, he doesn’t have the same luxury of letting Vic in on the big secret. However he does make the effort to get to know his father as best his can.

It was around this time in 1973 that his father abandoned Sam and his mother and while the two of them are waiting for a call from the Mortons, they have a game of football to relax. It’s a genuinely sweet scene and probably one of the few good moments Sam gets to have with his father.

The shootout at the bookies scared Vic enough into running away. Sam tried to confront his father and for a second nearly succeeded in changing history. One of Sam’s biggest fears was that history was going to repeat itself and you feel for the guy when he’s trying to get his father to stay.

However Vic did have his reasons to leave and it was obvious that his promise to stay was just to get Sam off his back. He might love Ruth and Sam but Vic messed up enough to scarper. Gene was right on the money when he revealed to Sam that Vic wasn’t whiter than white.

The problem is that when it came to his father, Sam did have a blind spot. You don’t want to think the worst of your family but at the same time, it doesn’t mean the worst won’t happen. In a lot of ways, Vic becoming more villainous than expected was a shocker but it was finally nice to get some sense of that forest stuff we’ve been seeing since the first episode.

I didn’t expect Vic to attack Annie and it took me a while to realise that she was going to be the woman in the red dress. Sam managed to save Annie from getting a serious beating but he wasn’t able to save his father. Vic was right about not having a future if he stayed. Because of that Sam allowed his father to abandon him a second time.

However the way he had to tell Ruth about it cut to the bone. Sam genuinely thought he was going to make a difference. He also thought that he was going to snap out of it and return to 2006 but because this series was renewed for a second season very quickly, I knew that he wouldn’t be leaving this time period just yet.

Annie at this point really has gotten tired of hearing Sam’s time travel theories. Sam needs to pay heed to that. At one point she actually threatened to get him professional help and even told him that he was still awake. However I did love Sam for having a go at Gene’s attachment towards him. That scene was worthy of fan fiction of the tawdry kind.

So now that he’s still stuck in 1973, where else can the writers go with Sam? He’s clearly not going to give up trying to go home but at the same time he can’t keep banging on about it every episode. Besides Sam is even becoming accustomed to his new surroundings.

He more or less told Annie that not everything about being in 1973 sucked royally and even Gene once again had a go at Sam for not wanting to admit that he enjoyed being in his current predicament. When the opportunity to go back really does fall into Sam’s lap, will he be so quick to take it?

Also in “Episode 8”

After a two episode absence that creepy Test Card Girl finally showed up again to taunt Sam.

Test Card Girl: “You’ve done everything you can think of and you’re still no closer to home. Why are you still here Sam?”
Sam: “I’m here for a reason.”

I just noticed in the police station when playing cards that Marshall Lancaster (Chris) and Lee Ingleby (Vic) looked freakishly alike.

Vic: “I’ve got a young lad named Sam.”
Gene: “I’ve got a pain in the arse called Sam.”

Annie (re Vic): “So what are you gonna do?”
Sam: “Save him and that’ll save me.”

Some of the porn titles were funny – “Once Upon A Time In Her Vest” and “Fistful of Donna’s and a few Donna’s more”.

Chris: “That new aftershave, Ray?”
Ray: “Yeah, Klingon.”
Sam: “Lucky Wilma.”

Annie: “It hurts me to see you suffering so much.”
Sam: “Sanest lunatic you ever met.”
Annie: “He’s not coming back Sam. I’m gonna get help for you. I should’ve done it weeks ago.”

The episode had more football homage when Vic went back to get a card of Bobby Charlton for Sam.

Young Sam: “Have you seen my Daddy? I need to find my Daddy.”
Sam: “Go back inside. I’ll get him.”

Sam: “Don’t leave, I’m begging you.”
Vic: “You can’t protect me Sam, not even from your own DCI.”

Standout music: David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” once again as well as “Meet Me At The Corner” by Lindisfane and “Little Bit Of Love” by Free.

Ruth: “I have to tell my son something. What do I tell him, Inspector?”
Sam: “Tell him he’s on the road again. Back on the road and tell him he’ll see his Daddy soon.”

Annie: “Do you see now nothing can wake you up because you’re already awake.”
Sam: “I’m never gonna believe that but you should know I don’t hate everything about this place.”

Chronology: A few weeks since Sam’s first encounter with his mother.

As finales go this was a suitably good way of ending the first season. It turned a lot of Sam’s expectations on his head but at the same drew the possibilities that he’s close enough to getting home. Eight episodes might be too short for a season but this was a brilliant opening year and it’s going to be interesting to see what Matthew Graham and company can muster in the show’s make or break second season.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x07: "Episode 7"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by S.J. Clarkson

Annie (to Sam): “When are you gonna stop? We’re people. We have lives. We’re not here for your amusement.”

As the first season begins to draw to a closer, the episodes are taking an understandably darker turn and this might be one of the darkest episodes yet. We’ve known that Sam has hated the way things are run in 1973 but now we finally have an episode where it transcends his holier than thou attitude.

When Chris and Annie give chase to a flasher called Billy Kemble, it soon becomes apparent that on top of his inappropriate behaviour, he also peddles drugs to college students. Sam’s quick to point out that there is a recreational use to drugs but Gene is more focused on the supplier angle.

Billy doesn’t make a great effort to co-operate with Gene and as a punishment; he gets thrown in a cell with a psychotic guy called Albert Collins. Although Sam is against the idea, he doesn’t exactly do much to deter Gene and leaving Ray and Chris to essentially hold the fort is a big mistake on Gene’s part.

For as soon as Gene and Sam return from their own little meal together, it turns out that Billy has died. The first assumption is that Albert did the deed and when he’s brazenly denying his involvement, Gene is still determined to nail a confession out of him. However while Albert might have beaten the living daylights out of Billy, it wasn’t him who caused the death.

Instead Billy turned out to have a weak heart and that added with some cocaine in his system ended up killing him. As far as Gene’s concerned the only thing that needs to be done is to tell Billy’s sister about the flasher’s death. As minor characters go, Andrea’s a fun little spitfire.

Sam even raised a smile when she threatened to hit Gene but the case got turned on it’s head when Andrea insisted that Billy wasn’t into drugs. Okay so it’s likely that anyone that close to Billy would say the same thing but it was enough for Sam to deduce that perhaps Billy’s death wasn’t so straightforward after all.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had Gene constantly complain about Sam trying to undermine him at every turn and this time, Sam did up his game. His anger over Billy’s death under the watch of Ray, Chris, Annie and Phyllis stood out because for once, everyone was a suspect.

Sam had no problem in grilling all four of them and even when Gene did try to undermine him, Sam refused to back down. There’s even a great moment in the episode where Gene calls Sam out for staying here when he keeps insisting that he loathes the place. Although I side with Sam all the way, Gene does have a point in a roundabout way.

Sam might not be able to take himself back in 2006 but if things were so appalling, he could transfer to another station. He might not want to admit it but there’s a part of Sam that is connecting with this world. Whether it’s his relationship with Annie or Gene or some kind of fate but either way, there’s some part of Sam that isn’t removing himself from his current surroundings.

The only problem is that while his determination to do the right thing is a good thing, he’s increasingly raising hostility as well. Even Annie was at the end of her tether with him this week. To be fair, Sam wasn’t trying to be nasty when he asked for more detail about Billy’s death but you could see why Annie would be affronted with the way he was handling things.

He even grilled both Phyllis and Chris quite aggressively as well. However when he found out that there was something afoot with the rota, Gene stuck his oar and took Sam off the case. Given how determined Sam became about this, I knew he’d find another way of getting answers.

Playing on Chris’ conscience was a nice trick. Chris seems to be divided between doing things old school and adapting to Sam’s less brutal methods. The fact that a tape would be in Annie’s locker was convenient. Then again the fact that Ray would also play a part in this was something anyone could’ve predicted.

No disrespect to Dean Andrews but if I didn’t hate Ray before then thanks to this episode, I absolutely despise him as a character. I was really glad to see Sam give him the beating of a lifetime. Gene might have his faults but he at least knows when to tow the line. Ray doesn’t seem to possess that particular skill.

Ray’s stupidity even extended to drugging Billy to get a confession and causing his death. Although Annie was desperate not to lose her job, Sam had every right to take that tape to Frank. It’s just a pity that Frank destroyed the tape and made Sam look like a fool. Even more interestingly was that Gene had set up Sam in order to expose Ray as the guilty party.

Ray’s comeuppance is not nearly satisfying enough but I guess the writers are invested in the character too much to let him go. As for Sam, he thought exposing the truth would set him free but in all fairness, it did nothing of the sort. The fact that Annie is also becoming more annoyed with Sam’s time travel theories should serve him to change the record a bit.

Once again we got more stuff on the outside world. The last few episodes have thrown in the possibility of Sam dying. This week he’s still not responding to tests and seeing as Sam can’t even communicate with his doctors, you do have to wonder where else this is going to go. We keep see that forest but as of yet we don’t know how relevant it’s supposed to be.

Also in “Episode 7”

We learned that Gene doesn’t get on with DI Robinson due to the latter making a pass at Gene’s wife. I can’t blame Gene for that.

Billy: “Oh bollocks.”
Gene: “My thoughts exactly.”

This episode was scripted by Chris Chibnall, the same guy who’s given some excellent Torchwood episodes as well as a Doctor Who one.

Gene: “Serves you right for staying up rodding all night with that new fella of yours. Did you let his guide dog watch?”
Phyllis: “His guide dog’s giving your Mam one from behind.”

Albert: “I get out of here, the first thing I’m gonna do is knife your missus.”
Gene: “Oh shut up and share nicely.”

Just like Nelson, Phyllis is turning out to be one of the best characters on this show. I love the banter between her and Gene.

Oswald: “I’m clearly not up to date as I think.”
Sam: “I’m well ahead of you in my reading.”

Sam: “If we can’t police ourselves, how can the public trust us?”
Gene: “The public doesn’t give a damn about what we do, just as long as we get results.”

Sam heard bits of Britney Spears and Pulp when he was eating with Gene. His mind must be playing tricks with him.

Sam: “I’ve asked you nicely.”
Ray: “Go shove your head up your own arse.”

Sam: “That’s what I have to do – destroy his world and get back to my own.”
Nelson: “I wasn’t talking about destruction. I was talking about truth.”
Sam: “What if they’re the same thing?”

Gene admitted that he asked Sam out to dinner because he didn’t want to dine alone. Sam is beginning to have an unintentional impact on him emotionally.

Ray: “Are you gonna give me the tape or am I gonna have to take it?”
Sam: “You really believe we’re gonna have a punch up over this tape?”

Sam: “The only one expendable.”
Gene: “Isn’t that how you always fancied yourself? A moral compass in a corrupt department.”

At the end of the episode it did seem like Annie was trying to get Sam to ask her out in a roundabout way. Ray even referred to them as lovers earlier on in the episode.

Gene: “You can’t change this world, Sam. Only learn how to survive in it.”
Sam: “I don’t give up that easily.”
Gene: “Good.”

Standout music: Excluding the modern contributions, I’ll go with “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone. It would’ve made an appropriate episode title.

The more I get into this series, the more I understand the hype surrounding it. As a penultimate episode, this was incredibly dark and while it didn’t set up too much for the finale, it continues to develop this world that Sam is so desperate to leave behind. I don’t think I want him to go home anymore than Annie or Gene does.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x06: "Episode 6"

Written by Matthew Graham And Ashley Pharaoh
Directed by John Alexander

Gene (re Reg): “I reckon we can take him. I’ll jump on him, you take his gun and Cartwright can jump up and down on his knackers.”
Sam: “That’s a relief. For a moment I thought we were in trouble.”

Early in every episode the main case is nicely set up and here, it’s even more so. Sam thinks he’s a goner by 2pm only for Phyllis to inform him that a madman has held the Manchester Gazette hostage and plans to kill someone by the same time that Sam thinks he might die.

With disgruntled factory workers and football hooligans all harkening universal themes about society, a hostage situation with unclear motives is also something that viewers can both either relate to or get into. With the place crawling with police, Sam wants to do things by the book as per usual.

By now, it’s predictable that Gene is more comfortable to just go in there and either shoot the guy stone dead or take him alive. Sam fortunately doesn’t have to work extra hard in keeping Gene in line this week. Either Gene is slightly evolving or the writers are trying not to be too obvious with the character but either way it works.

It’s even good that while a shooting shows the hostage taker is serious, we don’t have to wait too long for Sam to get some insight on the guy. A woman questions mentions a van and Sam is able to get a name and an address. Snooping through Reg Cole’s place also means that he must be some sort of embittered former soldier.

With all this information Sam tries to use the softly approach when tackling Reg. It doesn’t help that the irritating Litton is back on the scene. As much as I find his and Gene’s rivalry amusing, Litton’s even worse in a bad situation than a hot headed Gene. I’m surprised Sam didn’t belt him at one point.

However failing that, we did learn that Doris, the newspaper’s secretary was getting ill from the heating and Annie volunteered herself as a nurse. Well she did a good job in convincing as a barmaid in the last episode and anything that shows her wits can only be a good thing.

For a little bit, her undercover act worked but Sam and Gene both managed to get themselves captured by Reg. To be fair to Sam, if Gene hadn’t stormed in so quickly he might have defused things a bit earlier with Reg but then this episode would’ve been a lot shorter as a result.

Even when taken hostage and handcuffed to a railing, Gene isn’t one of the most pleasant of people. He continuously tries to goad Reg at any available opportunity and even mocks Reg’s sense of honour and loneliness at one point. It also doesn’t help that Annie slips and reveals that she’s an undercover cop as well.

However for all the intensity of the situation, it’s the stuff between Sam and Reg that really hits the van. To Gene, Reg is little more than a loser in need of a decent shag while Sam does genuinely sympathise with Reg’s nihilistic view on the world. There’s also a poignant exchange where Reg hits home Sam’s own feelings of displacement in 1973.

Reg is a good character and a somewhat more compelling villain that we’ve seen so far on this series. I think a lot of people can relate to going through life being repeatedly ignored by people but most of those people don’t snap and try to contrive themselves onto the front page of a newspaper.

Forcing Jackie into writing his story highlighted how desperate for recognition Reg is. However as much as Gene can be a pain, his instincts did pay off when figuring out that Reg never went to war himself. A part of this should almost undermine Reg’s motives or make him into a more tragic figure. I’m not sure how I feel for him.

I can understand loneliness on that kind of level and I’ve had moments myself where I’ve felt like snapping but I don’t. That’s mainly because I could never live with myself if I ever hurt anyone Reg intends as well as the fact that I would rather try and improve things as well.

Although Sam is sympathetic toward Reg it doesn’t stop him and Gene from trying to escape. It was natural that their plan would fail and I’m glad it did, due to the scenes we got with Sam, Gene and Annie. Having all three of them go into detail about some of the most intimate memories gave each of the characters more development.

Six episodes into this series, it’s become clear that the writers really do care about all the characters outside of Sam. Annie isn’t quite the meek girly girl she first appeared to be and even Gene can be appalled by his own past actions. We learned that last bit when Jackie filled in some of the blanks with a past incident. It also highlighted why Gene didn’t like the papers so much.

As for Reg, we can thank and blame Litton all at once. If Litton hadn’t bulldozed his way, then Sam would be dead but because he did, Gene ended being shot. Thankfully Gene’s penchant for carrying booze in his pocket saved him. I guess it’s nice to know that alcohol doesn’t always kill you in the end.

Aside from celebrations and Gene getting to feel good about being hero, this episode might have lacked a Test Card Girl but it did begin and end with Sam’s life in danger. Throughout the episode Sam was convinced that his mother was going to switch off his life support and by the end, she didn’t. Plus Sam also revealed a lot more about his father that has to factor into things.

Also in “Episode 6”

This episode was the day after Ray’s birthday. Ray deliberately went out of his way not to invite Sam to the office party.

Gene: “I know you Journos.”
Mr Barton: “And I know you Mr Hunt.”

Even though they hated each other in this episode, there was a fair amount of sexual tension between Gene and Jackie. I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of her again.

Sam: “Tread carefully.”
Litton: “Relax Sunny Jim, the big boys have arrived.”

Reg: “You disobeyed me.”
Sam: “I’m trying to help you Reg.”

When Sam was relaying his fourth birthday story, there was very possibility that it could’ve been actually happening as he told Gene and Annie.

Gene: “You threw away my gun.”
Sam: “I saved her life.”
Gene: “You threw away my gun.”

Sam: “Do you make friends everywhere you go?”
Gene (re Jackie): “She wants me. Poor bitch.”

One of the quotes in this episode that Reg wrote down was “unhappy the land that has no heroes”. In the end Reg chose to become a villain.

Jackie: “Are you spying on us?”
Reg: “No I work here. Eight years.”

Reg (to George): “If we’re all the same underneath, why do you have a place in life?”

The times in this episode were 8am, 9am, 9.55am, 10.35am, 12pm, 12.30pm and 1.55pm before we got to the 2pm timeslot.

Gene: “I don’t think about my past.”
Sam: “Come on, there must be some juicy bit of Gene Hunt in there.”

Gene: “They’ll come in here and they’ll kill you.”
Reg: “I die famous, you die a copper.”

Standout music: “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong which was played twice in the episode.

This was brilliant. Somewhat more harrowing that we’ve had so far despite the lack of actual deaths. Reg is an excellent cautionary tale of someone desperate to make an impact no matter what. It’s almost strange that I’m getting so close to the end of the first season of the series.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sex, Death Mystery, Suspense – Why I Like Six Feet Under

Four of many words that can be used to describe one of the most important and dare I say it, most influential shows on television? This is not sycophantic fan banter, but more I feel a fact about this series.

Debuting June 3rd 2001 on HBO, it wasn’t until a year later when this series arrived on Channel 4 and E4 that I would witness this brilliant show and when I started watching, it didn’t take me long to realise there was something unique and previously untouched upon that would make this series mandatory viewing.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this and to quote Matthew St. Patrick is “because it’s real” and Freddy Rodriguez “people are tired of being spoon fed, they want to think”. This is exactly what Six Feet Under is and has always been in their entire run as ever the geniuses, HBO have managed to create another series on a par with the brilliance of The Sopranos, a series in which the lives of characters who have such intimacy with death, flip to anger or to constantly overanalyse their every move to the point of narcissism would resonate so much with viewers to the extent of making for uncomfortable viewing at times. That in itself is something of an attraction.

If you’re one of those people who likes relatively uncomplicated television then watching this will be the biggest pain in the rectum for you. Six Feet Under is the kind of programme that will grab you by the jugular and squeeze relentlessly at every imaginable topic under the sun.

From homosexuality, abortion, family values up until mental illness, this is a series willing to push quite some boundaries in such a frank and audaciously honest manner; it’s hard not to admire them for it even if they aren’t always successful.

Created by the openly gay Alan Ball, the series’ representation on homosexuality is without a doubt, the best I’ve seen with its honest if often frustrating depiction of David and Keith. Throughout the course of their volatile but loving relationship we’ve had moments to cheer and groan at them, whether it be David’s closet-ness in the first season or the ill-conceived “open relationship” scenario in the fourth year, but for any construed negative portrayal of either partner, Ball and company have always found a way to depict their relationship with realism and depth and have made them as important to any of the heterosexual relationships in the series.

Some viewers could arguably complain that often (and especially with the current adoption plot) the writers try too hard to normalise David and Keith but I don’t really think so. I will admit that we’ve seen David have more sex with random strangers that we’ve had him and Keith do it but I love the way the series depicts them as two people in love, who if even if they do often bring out the worst in each other, always try to work things out. The only other show that I’ve seen this real kind of effort to portray gay couples as real human being has been Willow and Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Then, there are the domestics on which by far are the most realistic on US television. The emotionally distant Fishers are an intriguing clan because as a family who are close to each other, they often know very little about the other.

Examples that pinpoints this are Nate discovering Nathaniel had a secret room where he used to spend hours doing who knows (and yes, it’s a clever analogy for the areas in our lives we don’t allow other people to see), Ruth’s secret affair with her hairdresser revealed on the day of her husband’s funeral or even Nate’s AVM plot in the second season, which I actually think is quite crucial seeing as David was the only one he openly revealed it to (Ruth, Claire and Brenda all had to find out the hard way). This detachment isn’t unfamiliar with most programmes but this one of the few to do it effectively.

Also some of the bust ups on this show with certain sets of people have been spectacular. Examples including David blasting Nate and calling him a sanctimonious prick in the “Pilot”, Nate and Brenda dishing out some home truths in “I’ll Take You”, David and Keith in “Twilight”, newlyweds Ruth and George in “Coming And Going” or the one that really takes the biscuit – Ruth and Claire in “Hold My Hand”. Shows like Desperate Housewives may do the domestics but none as realistically as this show. That argument between Ruth and Claire is one that most of us have had with our parents at one point or another and these bust ups get played with such intensity and passion from the talented cast, it’s often hard to separate fact from fiction.

The show has also pushed some further boundaries with taboo subjects such as abortion and mental illness with some interesting outcomes. In the third season Claire decided to have a termination and despite the controversy there still is with abortion, the writers managed to portray a neutral view on the subject.

The current mental illness plot with George in the latest season, despite actor James Cromwell’s disapproval has been brilliantly played out to harrowing effect, whether it be Ruth’s exhaustion of looking after her husband or George’s own torturous frustration of his mental deterioration, this has definitely been one of the series most successful plots to date.

Besides the superior acting and writing on Six Feet Under there’s also the brilliant use of music here too. Many shows will plank any random track with no real meaning or resonance to whatever message they are trying to send out but not with this series in which the music is used with such precision and integrity and Rick Marvin’s scoring are simply out of this world. Seriously is there any US television show that pays so much attention to detail or portrays characters so relatable nowadays? When this show goes, you will feel its loss.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x05: "Episode 5"

Written by Tony Jordan
Directed by S.J. Clarkson

Pete: “You know how long I’ve waited for this?”
Sam: “I’m not interested.”

Okay if I didn’t think this show wasn’t laddish enough anyway, then this episode definitely goes out of its way just to really emphasise that point. I’m one of the very few blokes out that doesn’t give a monkeys about football so my enthusiasm for this episode wasn’t particularly high.

However just because I’m not keen on something, it doesn’t mean I can’t give it the benefit of the doubt. As episodes go, I actually quite enjoyed this. The murder of Colin looks like a good case of football hooliganism gone utterly wrong. This is what Gene believes and ultimately this is what Sam is out to disprove as well.

In lieu of bets, who is actually going to turn out to be right? I’m on Team Gene with this one even though if Sam was right it would be more interesting that a group of stupid louts getting too violent with an innocent victim. Throughout the episode it’s repeatedly mentioned that Colin was a lovely bloke that everyone liked.

This death brings back a few memories of Sam’s own football experiences. Up until now, Sam hasn’t mentioned a lot about his father and given that we met his mother in the previous episode, it made sense to touch on the topic and this episode does that in a very neat way.

Colin’s son Ryan is having a hard time dealing with his father’s death. Unlike his mother, Ryan can’t shed a tear but there are a good few moments where him and Sam have a heart to heart. It’s nice to see this element of Sam, even if it plays on the obvious good guy side to the character.

Sam makes some very perceptive comments to Ryan about keeping his father’s memories alive. He also went out of his way to stop Ryan from beating up City supporter Wayne as well. The comments definitely related to Sam’s own experiences with his father, something of which I’m sure we’ll learn more about in due course.

However catching the murderer was interesting. For the first time, the series decided to use the undercover method with both Sam and Gene running the same pub that Colin was last drinking in before his death. Any situation to get Sam and Gene out of the office was good and Gene certainly was in his element as pub manager.

Keeping a potential snitch knocked out meant that Gene could play up to the manager role quite expertly. He had fun trying to ridicule Sam about his methods of running the kitchen side of things and he was able to interact with the more belligerent members of the pub equally as well.

In particular, there was Malcolm Cox who really did come across as a Grade A dickhead of the highest order. Sam’s nice guy routine generated a fair amount of hostility and suspicion but Gene getting hammered with Cox and his mates seemed to work far more effectively. It’s quite funny that in this episode, it was Gene who much better at the undercover stuff than Sam was.

Of course, people like Cox are easily riled and even Gene aroused some suspicions as well. When it looked like things were going to go pear shaped, it took Gene’s violent side to get Cox to trust him. Also Philip Glenister is brilliant on the comedy front especially when Gene is faking drunk and then later turns out to be actually drunk.

More importantly is that it’s obvious that Cox is responsible for Colin’s death. Given how much he was itching for a scrapping with the City supporters, it just took Sam to listen to Ryan about his father’s United scarf to get a major clue. The neat twist is that Cox wasn’t the only one responsible.

Nope, there was also Pete Bond, the only person in that pub during Sam and Gene’s undercover stint that seemed like a pretty well together person. Now maybe it was my wild imagination playing havoc but there was a weirdly flirty vibe between Pete and Sam. Okay so it mostly seemed to coming from Pete’s side but I can’t be imagining it, right?

Anthony Flanagan, who’s been in the likes of Shameless and Instinct offers a very disturbed glimpse of the mind of a football thug like Pete. Pete’s not the blatant motor mouth giving it large in pubs. He’s more the subtle manipulator and he did try his hand at manipulating Sam into joining his gang of thugs.

The one thing I fail to get with people like Pete, Cox and the rest of the idiots who were participating in that pre-match scrap is why they do it. They come up with crap about being united for a common cause but at the end of the day, it’s glorified savagery that gives football a bad name.

Pete himself tried to make it sound like he was doing a good deed with Colin’s death but Sam rightly laid into him about his actions. For a moment Sam did look betrayed. Sam and Pete seemed to have forged a connection in the sense that Pete put up the masquerade about being a rational thinking man. Too bad for Sam it turned out to be the absolute opposite.

As for the mystery angle of the episode, it’s funny that now when Sam tells Annie that he’s beginning to leave all the time travel stuff behind, more creepy keeps happening to him in the process. Then again, in terms of TV plotting this is also the best time to up the mystery so to speak.

First off all you’ve got creepy Test Card Girl playing on Sam’s own insecurities about his father and the last scene of the episode sees Sam briefly encountering himself as a boy and his father. It makes for an absolute surreal moment and it’s definitely one of the best ways to end an episode so far.

Also in “Episode 5”

The opening scene started off the football theme very well with Gene’s driving skills disrupting a match. It would take Chris to get caught in the net though.

Annie: “Someone smells nice. New aftershave?”
Sam: “Long time, no see.”
Annie: “That’s because I’ve been avoiding you.”

Sam made a joke about Doctor Who sorting him out. It’s a little ironic given that John Simm would then play The Master to David Tennant as The Doctor in 2007.

Sam: “I think I’ve got something.”
Gene: “Number for the special clinic is on the board.”

Sam: “I really don’t think.”
Gene: “Good keep it that way.”

So we learned that Annie was a barmaid before she became a copper. This episode gave her a few moments to be sassy with both Sam and Gene.

Annie (to Sam): “I was a barmaid for six months before I got signed up. That and my nice tits apparently.”

Test Card Girl (re Ryan): “Why did you promise him, Sam? Daddies always let you down, don’t they?”

Ray attempted to pull a sick day to go see the match. He also managed to be less hostile to Sam in this episode.

Gene: “What’s wrong? We’re just having a friendly little talk.”
Malcolm: “Who said you were my friend?”

Pete (re Gene): “Your mate’s got some balls.”
Sam: “If they were any bigger, he’d need a wheelbarrow.”

This episode was written by EastEnders scribe Tony Jordan. It’s at least the second one not to be written by Matthew Graham at this point.

Sam: “I don’t wear aftershave.”
Annie: “But you talk gibberish.”

Malcolm: “You’re quiet.”
Gene (re Sam): “I’m just waiting for the boy wonder to get bored so I can bounce you around the walls.”

Sam actually lost his temper during the interview of Malcolm. Shows that Gene and 1973 are influencing him whether he likes it or not.

Sam: “You just will not be proved wrong, will you? You know that’s very childish.”
Gene: “Not it’s not.”
Sam: “Yes it is.”
Gene: “Is not.”

Standout music: “Mother Of Pearl” by Roxy Music and “I Wish I Knew How To Be Free” by Nina Simone.

Given the subject matter, I wasn’t expecting this to be as good as it was, but I will admit I was wrong. Seeing as there can be an unjustified act of violence around sports, especially football it’s only fair for the series to tackle it and while it might have been relevant in 1973, it’s just as meaningful today.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x04: "Episode 4"

Written by Ashley Pharaoh
Directed by John McKay

Sam: “It’s a beautiful life, Joanie. Too beautiful to waste dancing in a rusty cage for men like that.”
Joanie: “I know.”

After two rather standard episodes, it was time for Life On Mars to come back with something of the same strength of the first episode and luckily, this episode was the very tonic for that.

So far we’ve had a serial killer and stories about robberies and now Sam faces something that actually poses a real threat to his integrity and profession – bent coppers. Knowing that many positions of authority and power have a successful corruption rate, it seemed natural to tackle this issue.

Things started out with Sam arresting Charles Edwards for assaulting a man in the street. Sam should’ve known that something was amiss when even the bloke in question refused to go against Edwards in front of a weary Phyllis. Also the fact that Charles was suitably smug should’ve been another hint.

Of course it turns out that while Charles might be pond life, he’s also a good source for the cops and that’s what keeps him out of trouble. Sam is predictably disgusted with this and he’s even less impressed when Gene forces him into meeting with Charles’ boss Steven Warren to apologise.

Warren is a lot cleverer though and makes Charles apologise to Sam. He’s also a good example of things being too good to be true on several fronts. Giving Sam a cigar and the lovely Joanie with to dance in his club came back to haunt our 2006 copper later on when him and Gene dealt with some hippies.

Not only did Gene rope Sam in on a job that Warren tipped him off on but he also put a wad of cash in his back pocket. Now I get that Sam wasn’t best pleased with this but he really should’ve treaded carefully when dealing with Warren. Even though Warren didn’t sound particularly clever when Sam faced him, I knew the guy was going to stitch Sam up good and proper.

Using Charles to give Sam a good beating might have been a bit too obvious so it was perhaps a good idea to then use Joanie and her feminine wiles on Sam instead. Even Sam can’t resist a pretty girl and while he was noble enough not to take her up on her offer of sex for shelter, Joanie was still able to play Sam.

First she laid on a pretty convincing sob story and then she spiked him with LSD and made sure that steamy photos of them together existed. With Sam tied to a bed, Gene had great pleasure in taking the piss out of his self-righteous colleague. Ray and Chris also wasted no time in having fun at Sam’s expense.

The only two people who didn’t find it funny with Phyllis and Annie. Maybe it could be the gender thing or the fact that both of them have more brain cells than their male colleagues but either way, their responses were interesting. Phyllis thought Sam was being genuinely reckless and Annie decided to decline dating him.

In any series, Annie’s reaction might have been written as something rather childish but Liz White definitely conveys the exact opposite. Annie hasn’t exactly been shy about liking Sam and she even admits it here too. Sam didn’t seem all that surprised when she jested about seeing him naked. I like the sweetness of their relationship but I also hope it doesn’t descend into sickly sweet either.

As for Joanie, while Sam might have had the right to call her a coward, at least she did try to redeem herself by burning the negatives of them together. She even had the sense to take Sam’s advice by trying to escape Warren but it was obvious that when Gene called round to Sam that Joanie would be the latest casualty.

Still her death several great purposes. For all his smart arsed comments so far this season, Ray finally crosses the line and Sam smashes his face against a wall as a result. I shouldn’t condone violence but I would’ve happily done the same to Ray in the same situation. It’s nothing against Dean Andrews but I flat out hate Ray out of the entire main character.

While Gene is capable of being an utter asshole, at least the writers imbue him with some depth. Ray on the other hand can’t be accused of the same thing. Speaking of Gene, its Joanie’s death that gets him to admit to Sam that he’s not entirely happy with taking backhanders. Sam then employs some of Gene’s methods in order to avenge Joanie’s death.

With that in mind, Warren gets his due, Charles experiences a humiliating lesson by Sam and the entire force are actually grateful for Sam ridding them of Warren. It’s even nice in the end when Gene actually praises Sam. It does seem that Sam and Gene are slowly getting past trying to annoy the other.

However the mystery angle of the episode is also a strong point. With the Test Card Girl not providing much to go on with this episode, the introduction of Sam’s mother is a nice highlight. Sam did open up this episode by actually trying to look for his younger self.

Joanne Froggatt is a good casting choice as Sam’s mother. Immediately you feel for her when she faces problems with the rent and there are some nice subtle moments when Sam tries to help her without coming across as obviously strange. The money angle might not have been a smart idea but Sam did amend for that later on.

Of course Sam doesn’t actually get to meet his former self and towards the end, his childhood home is empty. There’s no doubt that his family are going to play an integral role in the series, especially given that he might slipping closer and closer to death as we speak.

Also in “Episode 4”

Sam had a ginger cat called Ivanhoe that took to him only after he entered his home. I don’t know why that’s significant but I have a feeling it is.

Gene: “What are you doing tonight?”
Sam: “I can’t believe what I’ve just seen.”
Gene: “Cancel it. You’re having a drink with me.”

Sam got star struck in this episode when he saw Bobby Charlton and met Marc Bolan. His warning to the latter was amusing.

Sam: “I’m losing it, Nelson. I’m forgetting who I am and what happens. I want to go home.”
Nelson: “Me too Sam. Close the door on your way out.”

Mrs Tyler: “I don’t even know you. Why would I take money from you?”
Sam: “It’s only money.”

We learned that Sam has a thing for custard, went to Mexico for a period of time and worked in a DIY store during his gap year.

Chris (to Sam): “Had a few calls for you, Boss. Told them you were tied up.”

Annie: “I’ve decided something.”
Sam: “What have you decided?”
Annie: “I’m going to be a really good friend to you.”
Sam: “A friend.”
Annie: “’Cause with the enemies you’re making, you could do with all the friends you can get. Look after yourself Detective Inspector Tyler … please?”

The movies that Sam had suggested going to with Annie were either Carry On Girls or Mean Streets.

Sam: “Annie, please.”
Annie: “Hey I got to see you naked. It’s not all bad.”

Sam: “I’m not cuffed to the bed. Sorry to disappoint you.”
Gene: “Get your coat.”

It did actually look that when Sam and Ray were scrapping that Gene wasn’t too sure as to whether he should’ve broken them up.

Gene (re Charles): “I didn’t think you’d lock a murder suspect in a giant fridge.”
Sam: “He wouldn’t answer my question.”
Gene: “I have a feeling he will now.”

Gene (to Sam): “You did well Sam. Every officer will be walking a little taller tomorrow because of you.”

Standout music: Oh the best music was here. “Jean Genie” by David Bowie, “Blockbuster” by the Sweet and “I Don’t Believe In If Anymore” by Roger Whitaker all hit the right spots.

Easily the strongest episode of the series so far. This one is not only further developing Sam as a character but it’s also doing the business with Gene by giving him some depth and not resorting him to archetypal thug. The addition of seeing Sam’s mother as well should help with the mystery of his current situation.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My Review of Six Feet Under's: "In Memorium"

Written And Directed by Jesse Gordon

HBO Timeline: June 3rd – August 21st 2005
Series’ Timeline: December 24th 2000 – February 11th 2085

First off all, I have to apologise. I had every intention of reviewing this retrospective before the finale but every attempt of downloading went so disastrously, I gave up and vowed if E4 aired it, I would review it, so despite being two months overdue, it’s finally up, so I’ll split into the seven categories it was laid out for viewers.

Death: The hell with every forensic show on the planet because the subject of death has never been the same since Six Feet Under. Dubbed the “cold open”, each episode (minus “All Alone”) opened with a particular person meeting their maker in many, many different ways. Having a bus smash up you inside a hearse, mistaking airborne blow up dolls for rapture (Kathy Bates’ favourite), your kid brother shooting himself (Eric Balfour’s favourite), getting hit by blue ice, cutting off your air supply as part of a sexual technique or even getting mauled by a cougar, the deaths on this series have been hilarious, heartbreaking and genuinely disturbing but with so very little shows still out there that embrace death, it shows how in denial we still are about the most inevitable thing in the world. As Rainn Wilson put it, “America – Deal With Death”.

The Cast: You can’t bring brilliant, multi-layered characters to life without finding the right set of actors most suited to the role. While most of the information in here isn’t entirely new such as Peter Krause originally auditioning to play David or initial worries of Australian Rachel Griffiths honing a perfect US accent, it’s still particularly fun to watch nonetheless but as per usual, many of the actors who have graced this series nearly all come from theatre backgrounds.

Writing: It doesn’t take a genius to realise the writing on this show is truly out of this world. No other show has ever gotten as close to the human psyche and it’s often quite unsettling when you think about it. For this section, it’s great that Alan Ball included his super talented staff writers. Rick Cleveland (“Nobody Sleeps”) notes the show’s pitch black humour while Jill Soloway (“I’ll Take You”) happily merits the similarities between the characters personal lives and the staff writers while Nancy Oliver (“Ecotone”) discusses how the Fishers’ repressed manner often forces them to lash out in the most volatile of ways (examples being Ruth losing $25,000 at the races or David having sex with a prostitute). Craig Wright (“Falling Into Place”) dissects the show’s David Lynch style non-linear approach (Scene 1: David mad, Scene 2: David happy, Scene 3: David lashing out) to writing and Kate Robin (“A Private Life”) revels in the series ability to blend comedy and drama together so effervescently.

Even Rachel Griffiths cites the series fantastic and all too real depiction of a variety of complex and multi-faceted female characters and while they are many feminist critics who have dogged both Sex And The City and Desperate Housewives, even they’d be hard pressed to deem Six Feet Under sexist or misogynistic in any way. Lauren Ambrose also noted the heightened reality/fantasy elements of the series. Like seriously, where else are you going to find your dad dressed as Death Man, have a creepy farmyard dream about eggs or go trailing through the woods high on ecstasy chasing a bear. People can whine that being on HBO gives this show some unfair advantages but the fact is that most networks chug out the same old routines, it’s no wonder Six Feet Under outclasses them by miles.

Characters: A little similar to the cast but going by its title, the emphasis is solely on our regulars and the side characters that have influenced them throughout the show. Alan Ball discusses how both Nate and Brenda crave love, yet pull away from commitment as Jill Soloway offers her own insight into Lisa’s overall arc in the second and third seasons. Drawing parallels to his own childhood, Ball talks about how he relates to Claire’s artistic flair and youngest child syndrome and although it’s hilarious to hear Lauren Ambrose’s worry over playing out her first stoned scene in the “Pilot”, I found the anecdotes from Richard Jenkins, Sprague Grayden and Ben Foster quite fun.

The David and Keith segment was the best part of this, mainly because there was some explanation into their arcs in Seasons Four and Five and having Michael C. Hall and Matthew St Patrick’s input made it all the more interesting. The latter actor openly revealed his reluctance to play a stereotyped character while the former actor provided his own insight into the events of “That’s My Dog”. I liked Freddy Rodriguez’s thoughts on Rico’s own developments while Frances Conroy delightfully informed us of her character’s constant surprising moments which is backed up by all her leading men in the series.

The Look: It’s all about looks, even on this show and the fact it has such an epic feel to it has a lot to do with the fact its shot in such a cinematic style. While this sets the show apart from others, there’s a rather ground and credible feel to it as well. Kathy Bates who directed five episodes in the series muses about being given enough creative freedom to keep a certain shot between Nate and Claire in “The New Person” or having a church filled with naked guys in “An Open Book”. Jeremy Podeswa (“Parallel Play”) and Daniel Minahan (“Eat A Peach”) provide interesting enough commentary on how shooting on location such as Las Vegas (“The Trip”) or Seattle (“Driving Mr Mossback”) adds to the series’ appeal. There are also some nice comments from the production team on use of colour for certain characters (green for the Fisher house, pastels for the Diaz’s, blue for Brenda etc).

Favourite Moments: What to choose? If you’re Kathy Bates, then its Bettina and Ruth shoplifting while Justina Machado and Freddy Rodriguez liked Rico’s reaction to catching his cousin in a compromising position with another man, Eric Balfour on the other hand enjoyed the shower scene with Gabe and Claire. Lauren Ambrose loves the kitchen/dinner scenes with the Fishers, Joanna Cassidy and Jeremy Sisto were shocked when Billy tried to stab Brenda while Peter Krause and Michael C. Hall loved the episode “The Room”. Far too many to remember, so there are the highlights from this section.

Everything Ends: This last part has everyone revealing their enjoyment on working on Six Feet Under, while admitting it was time to end the series while it was still creatively good. Watching the sets being torn to pieces is a little upsetting but I will point out that this series wasn’t cancelled, it was a mutual decision between Alan Ball and HBO.

Also in “2001-2005: In Memorium”

I loved the use of the first episode, commentary from cast and Alan Ball and the season trailers to start the retrospective off.

There were no contributions from Patricia Clarkson, Mena Suvari, Chris Messina, C.J. Saunders or Kendre Henry.

If you look closely the white board had plots for Season Five mapped out.

Alan Ball mentioned his sister’s death within the first five minutes of the retrospective. He did this with the Better Living Through Death book as well.

Did anyone else find it extremely weird that the actors and Alan Ball could swear, yet anytime they showed a scene with cursing, the swear word was removed?

Nobody outside the series contributed to this special unlike the Sex And The City one last year. Plus there was no mention of the Emmy awards and other stuff this show has been nominated for.

Why wasn’t there a section for use of music on this show? That was odd, given how wonderfully it’s used on Six Feet Under.

Standout music: “Transatlanticism” by Death Cab For Cutie, Interpol’s “Direction”, John Connell Band “People Who Died”, Augustana’s “Boston”, remixes of the theme tune and score pieces by Richard Marvin.

A stunning, fitting tribute to a show that should not be allowed to be forgotten anytime soon. “2001-2005: In Memorium” managed to wonderfully document every recommendable thing about this show without the need to patronise viewers and the structure was as consistent and as sharp as the series’ itself. Oh hell, I miss Six Feet Under.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Review of Life On Mars 1x03: "Episode 3"

Written by Matthew Graham
Directed by John McKay

Ted (to Sam): “You’re right. It is a war but at least I know what I’m fighting for.”

Fighting, we all do that and ever since Sam has landed in 1973, he’s also been doing his fair share of fighting too. It’s understandable given that he wants to return to his own time where the policing isn’t so Neanderthal.

This week’s escapades sees the murder of Jimmy Saunders in a local factory. Typically no-one is particularly distraught about Jimmy’s death which means that there could be a long list of suspects that killed him but Gene decides to use his own powers of deduction and pin it on one person in particular.

The person he believes guilty for Jimmy’s death is Ted Bannister. It’s easy to see why Gene would go there really. Ted openly had a violent working relationship with the deceased and prior to Jimmy’s death; the two of them were also engaged in a violent altercation. Overall this should be an open and shut case.

However in TV land, it rarely is and although you know that Gene must be wrong, it’s interesting that we have to go through a lot to get to that point. Sam continues his ongoing bid to show Gene up by trying to do things strictly by the book. Instead of knocking the wind out of Sam with a swift punch, Gene has a better way with dealing with Sam’s need to do the right thing.

Bets are always placed in workplace environment but not usually not whether or not someone is a killer. Gene is so sure that Ted killed Jimmy that he puts a ten pound note on it. Sam’s appalled by this but when the rest of his colleagues wind him big time, even he gets suckered into going along with the bet.

It’s moments like this in the series that do show Gene’s despicable side but for some reason you almost want him to be right over Sam. Gene’s main mantra seems to be all about gut instinct. His refusal to allow forensics to determine whether or not Ted is really a killer is both good and bad in this episode.

However the biggest hint that Ted didn’t kill Jimmy comes as soon as he’s interrogated. Gene using his belligerent methods gets the man (though not deliberately) into admitting that he was a murderer. You don’t have to be a genius to spot that he made this confession under duress.

Sam immediately spotted holes in his confession and even tried to get Ted to admit that he wasn’t a killer by using the family card. Unfortunately it had the opposite effect as Ted thought that by confessing to doing something like murder would protect his family. I’m not exactly sure how he came to that conclusion but maybe it’s a way of showing the audience he was stupidly noble to his family.

Then again with Sam, he knew that Ted was innocent. He tried explaining that to Gene but the latter refused to listen and when forensics matched blood on his shirt to Jimmy it was going to be harder for Sam to get Ted freed. That being said, Sam did at least have a few decent aces up his sleeve.

One was rounding in Derek, Ted’s son and having the lad and Ted face each other. In the cells when they’re arguing I did expect Derek to maybe confess that he was the one who killed Jimmy. Hell even when Annie was interviewing his ditzy girlfriend, I thought she might have let slip. Well technically she did but that was for something different.

As for the murder itself, apart from the bad feeling that “enemy in the ranks” Jimmy generated amongst his co-workers, it did later turn out that the belt on one of the looms caused his demise rather than a knife happy Ted. So what Ted’s constant insistence that he did it?

To be honest that irritated the heck out of me. Ted wanted to take the rap for something he didn’t do because he didn’t want the factory to shut down and his mates to be out of work. While there’s something noble in that, it’s also a rather stupid thing considering that he wouldn’t be able to provide for his family in jail.

However Ted did return to the scene of the crime and replaced the belt to avoid the factory facing closing. More importantly Tina blurted out the fact that Derek and a few mates were planning on robbing the place, leaving to a great moment where Gene ends up saving Sam’s bacon once again.

The last couple of things in the episode that also hit a nerve was Litton. Gene might have a very good rival in there and Sam became part of the team when he lead Gene and company into scrapping with Litton’s crew. For something quite laddish, it was surprisingly amusing to a degree.

Annie and Chris weren’t quite as vocalised in this episode compared to the previous two but I do still enjoy the dynamic both of them seem to have with Sam. Ray is still underdeveloped as a character and generally comes across irritating but Nelson raises some excellent question on what battles Sam should be engaging with.

The Test Card Girl on the other hand still manages to retain her creepy presence. She’s more than happy to tell Sam to give up his fight to survive. That scene isn’t quite as chilling as their first encounter but still has the desired effect and only adds to the general mystery of whether or not Sam has travelled in time genuinely or really is in a coma and slowly going mad.

Also in “Episode 3”

It’s funny that while Sam is appalled with Gene’s attitudes he doesn’t mind mimicking him with a certain line of dialogue from the first episode.

Sam (to Chris): “I want you to record the shape of this blood on the floor, eh? “Blood Patterns Analysis” by D.H. Crombie?”
Gene: “I’ll wait for the film thanks.”
Sam: “Oh you’d like the book it’s got pictures.”

Sam noted that the factory where Jimmy was killed would be the same place he lived in thirty years later. I guess we’re gonna learn more about his past.

Sam: “Do you do much running?”
Ted: “What do you think?”

Chris: “Why do you do it? Why do you deliberately get his goat?”
Sam: “I need to fight Chris.”

Tina was played by Rebecca Atkinson, aka Karen Maguire from Shameless. Warren Donnelly who plays Dodds is also in that series.

Sam: “You make it sound like it’s a war.”
Ted: “What if it is.”
Sam: “Worth fighting for?”
Ted: “Worth dying for.”
Gene: “Worth killing for?”

Sam: “Can we focus on what’s really important.”
Gene: “The bet?”

Gene did seem a little threatened when Annie got to show her smarts at a crime scene. Compared to Ray though, Gene never seems misogynistic though.

Sam: “What do you want?”
Test Card Girl: “I told you I’m your only friend.”

Sam: “I’ve got a feeling.”
Gene: “Oh it’s alright for you to have feeling, Gladys?”

Standout music: “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet and “Gypsy” by Uriah Heep stood out the most for me.

Ray: “Can you hit anything?”
Sam: “You should see my Playstation score.”

Chronology: March 16th 1973 on a Wednesday at one point during the episode according to Sam.

Not my favourite episode of the series but fun no less. You feel for the factory plight but it’s not quite as compelling yet and I would prefer some darker, more sinister cases to emerge sooner rather than later. Overall though this remains to be an enjoyable show no less.

Rating: 7 out of 10.