Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Review of Life On Mars 2x04: "Episode 12"

Written by Ashley Pharaoh
Directed by Richard Clark

Heather: “Maybe he can’t even hear me. You don’t need to hear my voice to know I’m always there. You’re my favourite nephew Sam and it breaks my heart to see you like this.”

Halfway through the second season, the writers have decided to take another look into Sam’s family. Last season we got see his parents at different occasions and now it’s time for Sam to start thinking about his Aunt Heather.

Aunts are usually brilliant and as a kid you can definitely get away with more with them than your parents. Heather’s clearly a significant person for Sam but oddly enough she’s peripheral to what’s really going on here.

With Sam being in a brooding mood, it’s not a great time for a killer to be on the loose. The death of a young woman had Gene remembering the deviant Terrence Finn who notably left a signature piece with his victims. When the same piece turns up on this body, Gene wonders if he caught the wrong fellow all those years ago.

For some reason (perhaps Sam’s influence?), Gene seems a little less brutal in his efforts to try and sort this case out. When Sam keeps sniffing the corpse, Gene even indulges Sam’s notions of trying to find a lead on the victim’s killer.

It also helps for Sam that a young girl named Denise happens to come flying out of a car in his direction. That’s enough to illicit any level of suspicion but when she darts off and is also wearing some distinct perfume, Sam realises that there’s a decent connection.

Just like his Aunt Heather, Denise is a Beavoir girl. These ladies just seem to be a 70’s version of Avon and given that the earlier body worked for the same company, Sam gets Denise in to get some answers. Denise naturally doesn’t want to help out until she realises that the dead woman was her best friend.

If the world of cosmetics doesn’t generate much appeal then the world of swinger parties just might. Denise’s friend Sandra was one of the toga waitresses of the place and the man who chucked Denise out of his car seemed to be rather possessive of Sandra. This also give Sam a chance to use policing methods he’s more accustomed to.

Of course Gene isn’t best pleased that Sam wants to bug Roger’s place of business but at least it gets results when they overhear Roger and his wife Carol discussing a troublesome woman. Still this is one of those episodes where Gene’s complaining about modern policing is both minimal and rather funny.

It’s also funny that it takes Gene quite a while to deduce the severity of Roger’s actions but Sam at least manages to get a plan into action as soon as him and Gene deal with a tense interview with Edith. With Denise now a missing person, it’s good to see a more sensitive side to Gene as well. In fact it might be one of the rare episodes where Sam and Gene seem to agree more than usual.

Sam’s plan however is just more surveillance but it works no less. Both him and Annie pose as a new couple and immediately manage to gain the trust of Roger and Carol within seconds. Then again, Annie is just a little too good at the old undercover routine that it’s Sam you end up worrying more for.

She’s flirtatious and friendly and is able to handle sleazy Roger with ease while maintaining a cordial stance with Carol. Sam on the other hand comes across as more frosty that it’s amazing that Roger didn’t smell a rat. Still his attempts to protect Annie are sweet even though she blatantly can take care of herself.

Also it’s because of her that some progress in the case is made. She decides to get herself and Sam invited to a swingers party. Sam even attempts to back out at one point and Annie has to put him in his place. Liz White is a good actress but this episode really saw her shine the most.

It was her we had to thank when things were looking bad for herself and Sam. Gene’s method of gate crashing the party with Sookie nearly blew their cover. However I did love Gene’s interruption – he was actually worried for Sam and Annie and was also on his witty best as well. That being said Annie was the quick thinker in this episode.

Sam made a good effort to pry on Carol’s insecurities about swinger parties to get some information but Carol seemed too determined not to help. Annie however whipped Roger into a literal frenzy and began to get some answers. I bet she had a lot of fun with that more than Roger.

Of course the ending was a bit mellow by comparison. It turned out that Carol was planning to do in Denise but once again, we can thank Annie for the day being saved. To think this episode had started with her getting bested by a petty thug and ended with her preventing another death.

Maybe it’s not that amazing but it shows just good of a copper Annie is and also highlights that she’s more than a love interest/unwilling confidant for Sam too. Even Sam was impressed with her quick thinking this week but with four episodes left, how much longer are they going to tease out this love arc?

Speaking of love, you got to feel for Chris. Okay so he is quite thick and while he should grow a backbone and tell Ray where to get off, I did like that in the end he was able to tell Sam what he really felt about his date. As for Ray, given his approach to women, I’m surprised the guy has ever actually gotten laid.

The Heather plot of the episode then caps things off intriguingly. Real life Heather in 1973 might not be a fan of her nephew but at least the fantasy one hates seeing Sam in pain. Katherine Kelly might be better known as Corrie’s loud mouth Becky but she did a good job here despite not having very much to do.

Also in “Episode 12”

I just realised we had three fairly big Corrie actresses in this episode with Katherine Kelly as Heather, Georgia Taylor as Denise and Eva Pope as Carol.

Chris: “Woman in her twenties found dead.”
Gene: “I didn’t think she was sunbathing.”

The only Hyde mention in this episode was from Annie. Sam did lay it on a bit too thick about how much he was appreciated in his old station.

Sam: “You’ve got lovely hands.”
Denise: “Are you sure you’re a copper?”

Ray (re surveillance):“You’re right boss. It works like a treat.”
Sam: “People are sick.”

Another thing that was laid thick in this episode was Sam’s luck with women. Gwen and Carol seemed attracted to him, Phyllis was civil with him and even Chris asked him for advice about women.

Gene (to Sam, re surveillance): “I don’t like it. Gene Hunt smashes doors down. He does not pick girly locks.”

Annie: “Can I be really forward?”
Roger: “Oh I love forward women.”
Carol: “Roger, behave.”

Sam and Annie pretended to be Tony and Cherie Blair, with Sam also being a virgin and looking for a soul mate and Annie nearly losing her dog.

Sam (re Sookie): “She’s a prostitute?”
Sookie: “I am here you know.”
Gene: “You didn’t think I was going to fetch my wife, did you?”

Carol: “Nothing more stupid than a man who thinks he knows everything.”
Gene (to Sam): “I think she means you.”

Standout music: “Coz I Luv You” by Slade and “Aladdin Sane” by David Bowie.

Wow, this is definitely one of the best episodes of the show. This was pretty dark if not exactly mystery advancing but it boasted some of the most entertaining moments in the series as well as some brilliant moments for Annie.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Review of Life On Mars 2x03: "Episode 11"

Written by Julie Rutterford
Directed by Richard Clark

Gene: “How do you think I spend my time here, Tyler?”
Sam: “Building a death star?”
Gene: “You what?”
Sam: “Nothing.”

If there are some things that have been predictable about Life On Mars, it’s that Sam and Gene will spend a good dose of each episode arguing like spoiled brats and that one of them will be proven right. Failing that you might get the occasional episode where they are both right to a degree.

This episode opens up with a bomb scare and sees the two of them at loggerheads from the get go. Gene’s convinced that it’s the IRA but Sam isn’t. Worse still is that Sam’s goading of Ray winds up seeing the sexist copper nearly blown to smithereens before the opening credits.

Eleven episodes into the series, it was about time that something would happen to Ray that would illicit some sympathy for him. Dean Andrews is a good actor but Ray’s been a mostly repugnant character and while Sam does indulge in the Martyr act a little too much, I always end up siding with him when him and Ray go head to head.

I even still side with him in this episode. While it was reckless of Sam to dare Ray to go near the car that blew up, it’s not like Sam knowingly tried to harm him. Even at the police station, Sam’s actions see him largely out of favour with his colleague. Annie even rejects his attempts to donate some cash to Ray’s kitty.

Gene also goes overboard into reminding Sam just how reckless his actions were. However for all the grilling he gives Sam, it’s still the two of them who visit Frank Miller’s yard when trying to see if any of the Irish workers were responsible for the explosion. The fact that dynamite has also been stolen from Miller is more than coincidental as well.

Sam is more or less adamant that the IRA isn’t responsible for the planned attacks. It’s less to do with sympathy and more to do with his own knowledge that no-one else in 1973 possesses. However given that Annie continues to dismiss Sam’s insider knowledge nearly every episode, wouldn’t it be better if he just kept it to himself?

Gene meanwhile is convinced that Patrick O’Brien is the bomber and has more than a good time in trying to prove this. Given that Patrick wasn’t at work the day after the dynamite was taken and seems to be politically active, Gene totally believes that it has to be him. Sam as per usual thinks differently.

However to stick with the tried and tested format, Gene spends his time beating the crap out of Patrick in order to get a confession and even though you could guess that Patrick is innocent, he does himself little favours by being hostile with Gene.

At one point the vitriol both men have for each other descends into even more extreme violence. Gene might not appreciate it, but Sam did him a favour by getting away from Patrick. Gene did come close to actually beating the man to death and that definitely would’ve been a wasted kill.

With more threats being made and Ray out of hospital, the tension does amp up. Sam does his best to be civilised and him and Ray even work together when chasing down a potential suspect. Unfortunately for them the would be suspect is unarmed and Ray inadvertently kills the man.

Usually if Ray does something like this, I would be less sympathetic to the character’s plight but it was different. Both Ray and Sam got separated and Sam wasn’t audible enough for Ray to follow his instructions. Gene also doesn’t make the situation any better either by constantly blaming Sam.

The intriguing part of the episode is having Sam go to a priest and confess all his professional angst. The reason why this is so good because it’s Patrick who he ends up disclosing information to. I think there’s a good chance that Sam was bluffing when he said he knew it was Patrick all along.

On the plus side by snooping around Miller’s yard again he was able to figure that it was Miller who’s been setting up all the bombs. Doubly funny that Annie went from dismissing Sam’s crackpot theories into actually helping Sam figure out where Miller was going to strike next on his list.

The last couple of minutes of the episode are fairly middle of the road though. Ray being held hostage by Miller and his fears of being killed are interesting. Sam did try to warn Gene that Ray was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and this scene proved that Sam was right with that.

However both Sam and Annie using the family card to get Miller to surrender was a bit maudlin. Okay it did work and there was good acting but it did feel a little too easy after the big set up. Then again it does go to further that not all bombers are evil to the core and there’s even a great scene where Patrick lays into Gene about his family woes.

Elsewhere Sam’s still getting cryptic phone calls about his progress. For now he seems to be doing well but is still nowhere near waking up. On top of that he also has to deal with that creepy Test Card Girl. Her first appearance this season and her joy for driving Sam around the bend still doesn’t seem to be sated.

Also in “Episode 11”

Speaking of the Test Card Girl, it looks like there’s a different actress playing the role this season.

Chris (re bomb): “I make it nearly 10.”
Ray: “I make it nearly 11.”
Annie: “I make it 11.03.”

Sam made some offhand comments about Lorraine Kelly and even Dana when Gene went on the Anti-Irish rant.

Gene: “Take your own advice – wake up and smell the cocoa. Let’s search this shithole and nail these Paddy bastards.”
Sam: “It’s coffee.”

Phyllis: “What if I need to go to the ladies, Guv?”
Gene: “Cross your legs.”

Annie got upset at the end of the episode when she thought Sam called her chunky. He was referring to the brand of Kit Kat bars of course.

Sam (re Patrick): “You’re condemning a man for Christ’s sake.”
Gene: “Because I know he’s guilty.”

Sam (re Ray): “Guv. He shouldn’t be here, he’s got PTSD.”
Gene: “The man’s a bloody hero and you’re accusing him of having the clap.”
Sam: “Post traumatic stress disorder. I’ve seen it before. He needs counselling, he needs to talk to someone.”
Gene: “He’s a policeman, not a fairy.”

Sam also mentioned the use of CCTV to Gene and then backtracked by mentioning Hyde. We still don’t know what Sam is supposed to be doing for them.

Sam: “I’m not walking away. I need time to think.”
Gene: “You haven’t got the time to piss about thinking.”

Patrick (to Sam): “If it’s any consolation my instincts about you were never wrong. I knew you were a complete Nutjob when I saw you but at least you might be a Nutjob on my side for once.”

We learned that Patrick’s grandfather came from Connemara. Gene also made some comments about an Indian family moving into the same area.

Annie (re women leaders): “Maybe we'd be better off if a woman did run the country. She couldn't make a worse job of it than the fellas have done.”
Sam: “I have a feeling you might regret saying that one day.”

Standout music: “The Big Spell” by Audience and “When The City Sleeps” by Barclay James Harvest”.

For an episode themed on the IRA, it’s refreshing to discover that it isn’t entirely filled with stereotypes beyond Gene’s less than receptive attitude towards the Irish. It’s not the best episode the show has produced but it’s solid no less.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Review of Life On Mars 2x02: "Episode 10"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by S.J. Clarkson

Sam: “I’ve seen it a dozen times. Look, half of CID will be alcoholics by the time Maggie Thatcher becomes Prime Minister.”
Woolf: “If Margaret Thatcher ever becomes Prime Minister, I’ll have been doing something a lot stronger than whisky.”

Corruption within the police is something that every cop shows, some a lot better than other. It only makes sense that the already corrupt policing of 1973 would go one further by shattering some of the beliefs in characters like Sam and Gene about their profession.

Harry Woolf was introduced in the last episode as Gene’s mentor. He’s one of the very few people that someone like Gene would aspire to as a cop and also one of the very few people that Gene would happily break bones in defending as well. So because of that, there must be something very dirty about this Harry. Okay terrible pun but you get the point.

The episode opened with Sam, Chris and Ray collecting Dickie Fingers and before we even got to the opening credits, a few armed men made sure that the three of them were minus a criminal. We could suggest bad luck or a combination of Chris’ crappy driving skills but conspiracy is the more likely option.

Sam himself even thinks that there was nothing coincidental with Dickie’s abduction and soon enough, he’s unsuccessfully trying to get various contacts to squeal on where the petty crook is being stashed. Only Gene is able to come up with some better solutions.

The first is hauling in Arnold Malone, one of the biggest nemeses of Harry but it’s a good call. Aside from the cat and mouse antics between Harry and Malone, the latter does give Sam and Gene heads up on a particular robbery. Sam’s naturally suspicious of Malone’s sudden co-operation and to be honest, how could anyone not be?

Predictably enough the robbery goes off and Gene has everyone prepared in advance. There’s a really fun moment however where he curses himself when both Annie and Phyllis are openly hostile with the robbers in question but it’s not much of a shock to learn that one of the robbers happens to be Dickie as well.

Like many of the petty crooks on this show, while Dickie is probably not the worst human in existence, he’s still downright unlikeable and when he demands alone time with Sam, a part of me assumed he wanted to use Sam’s more empathetic nature for his own benefit.

That feeling only intensified when he told Sam that it was Harry responsible for springing him out of jail and for the series of robberies. I like that Sam didn’t instantly believe Dickie because I actually wanted Dickie to be lying. I like Harry as a character so I didn’t want him to be corrupt.

More importantly is that Sam didn’t keep this to himself. He talked about it with Annie and even she tried to get him to consider that Dickie could be lying. Sam not believing that Dickie was felt typical for him but at least he told Gene about what the petty crook had told him.

Gene’s response was delightful. Okay so it’s looking at this point that Dickie is telling the truth but I still didn’t mind Gene using his own methods to test that theory. Then Sam had to challenge Harry about the accusations made against him. The fact that Harry seemingly supported the idea of Sam taking these accusations into account was a clever move.

It should’ve been enough to make Sam doubt himself and when it didn’t work, Harry sort of used Gene to put Sam in line. Even locking Sam in the boot of a car wasn’t enough of a deterrent for him. Once again Sam knew he was right about Harry and Gene also didn’t want to believe him.

It was when Gene and Sam confronted Malone that the truth really began to sink in. Rarely do we get any scenes where true sympathy can be conveyed for Gene, despite the series succeeding in making him more than a brute. However seeing a part of Gene’s belief system shattered is quite devastating to watch.

Harry was probably one of the few people genuinely left in his profession that wasn’t tarred with some form of scandal or compromise. Annie herself even gave Sam a rundown of the man’s strengths and legacies. Of course it also meant that Sam was right, which makes you wonder is Gene going to just trust Sam on something?

The confrontation between the three of them is beautifully written. Harry’s motivations for trying to frame Malone are plausible. Every day we see less than savoury characters more financially solvent than those who struggle to make ends meat so the desire to get one less scumbag off the street regardless of means is believable.

Another thorny issue in this episode comes in the arrival of black police officer Glen Fletcher. Not much tends to make me uncomfortable but watching morons like Ray making racist remarks is up there. Worse still was witnessing Glen making similarly disparaging comments about himself. I don’t think I’ve ever been more disgusted by anything else than I was with that scene.

Sam spent a good time during this episode trying to get Glen to stand up for himself. I can understand why Glen would prefer to stay in the background and while he did say and do things in this episode that frustrated me as a viewer, I’m glad that Sam’s words did actually make a difference towards the end of the episode.

As for the Hyde material, it seems that Sam is at Gene’ precinct in an undercover capacity. Except that Sam isn’t aware of this and is equally confused when told by Hyde not to call them again. I do like this angle to Sam’s ongoing saga and hopefully there will be a satisfying payoff to everything here.

Also in “Episode 10”

As much Ray’s racist remarks disgusted, I didn’t mind him and Chris teasing Dickie about sheep. Sam even privately laughed about it.

Chris: “I can’t do five years. I’m not that strong.”
Sam: “Chris, you don’t even have a life.”

I think this might have been the first episode in the series without Nelson. I did miss him seeing as him and Sam get great scenes together.

Dillis: “Ain’t talking in front of your pansy.”
Gene (to Sam): “I think she means you.”

Woolf (re Sam): “He knows his onions this lad.”
Gene: “Oh he’s a right little smartarse.”

So two people in this episode actually thought that Sam was gay. Aside from one gangster, we haven’t exactly been awash with gay characters.

Annie: “Thanks for being so sympathetic sir. Just hope you don’t end up in my firing line.”
Gene (to Sam): “Did she just threaten to shoot me?”

Glen: “Why should I fight all the battles?”
Sam: “Because if you don’t, who will?”

We learned in this episode that it was Glen who was Sam’s mentor in the future. Without Sam’s intervention, I wonder what motivated Glen into becoming more proactive.

Gene: “Talk me out of it. Tell me it’s untrue.”
Woolf: “I can’t. I made you too good.”

Woolf: “How many villains have I put away? Does that not earn me something?”
Gene: “No.”

Sam saw an ad about Glen’s death in 2006 presumably.

Woolf: “Don’t remember me like this.”
Gene: “I’ll call you an ambulance, Guv.”

Standout music: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John stood out the most for me.

Another in a series of thematic episodes for the successful and one that continues to get better on repeated watching. Chris Chibnall packs in a great character driven script with brilliant performances from all concerned.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Review of Life On Mars 2x01: "Episode 9"

Written by Matthew Graham
Directed by S.J. Clarkson

Tony (to Sam): “It’s over. You’re no longer the hero. You’re powerless. Look at you. You couldn’t save Eve and no-one can save you.”

Season Two of any show is make or break time and with the first episode in, it safely looks like this series wasn’t a flash in the pan. This is a good thing seeing as this episode threw something to confound our expectations on the nature of Sam being in 1973.

The episode opened on a really creepy note with someone back in 2006 trying to kill him. Not that it takes much to freak Sam out but this did genuinely come across as menacing and once again, it was Annie who Sam ended up spilling the beans to about his nightmare.

Of course Sam’s nightmares had to take a backseat with Gene when a bus full of dead people had the journalists in a frenzy. We’ve seen Gene and journalists interact so it’s no surprise that there is still some hostility there. However while Sam might not approve of Gene’s attitude towards the press, he does gain an upper hand.

All through Season One, Sam has been banging on at large about things being done by the book. Meeting up with Gene’s former DC (and now Supt) Harry Woolf meant that Sam was able to see Gene be on his best behaviour. Sam didn’t hold back in his pride of seeing fellow officers doing things professionally either.

That being said, everytime Sam gets a moment to be smug, there’s at least another few that knock him down. When Annie discovers a chip linked to George’s corpse, a certain trip into the Wild card club stirs some pretty bad memories for Sam when the proprietor Tony Crane makes his presence.

Marc Warren is one of those actors who’s virtually been in every show and as a guest villain; Tony is one of the best ones we’ve had. It’s established that in 2006, an older version of Tony is mentally torturing a comatose Sam and in 1973, Sam is determined to stop Tony before he can grow into a criminal mastermind.

It’s funny that for all of Sam’s preaching about doing things by the books that this episode would be able to use that concept against him. Even Gene seems to take a little satisfaction in denying Sam the pleasure to stitch Tony up. Then again as right as Sam is about Tony, he can be a bit annoying about it too.

The constant use of jumping into the future at different moment to emphasise Tony’s terror on Sam is good. Dramatically it works well in Sam’s motivations but isn’t it about time he stopped confiding in Annie about his future insight? I know its part of the writer’s attempts to forge them together but Annie is getting pretty sick of Sam going on about being a time traveller.

Sam seems to be getting on everyone’s wick in this episode. Both Gene and Ray aren’t best pleased with him trying to make things complicated and even when he’s able to get Tony arrested for lying about a chip, he still fails to convince everyone that the man is an evil monster.

Even Tony’s long suffering girlfriend (and abused/murdered wife in 2006) Eve doesn’t want to help Sam out. I suppose I can understand why she thinks he might be a madman. That being said, it’s not like she’s entirely unaware of what Tony’s really like and even when Sam does get his way, Eve still slaps him across the chops for sticking his nose.

As for the cat and mouse between Sam and Tony, definitely the best part of the episode. John Simm and Marc Warren work brilliantly in their many scenes together and although this Tony isn’t as menacing as his future version, he’s still an incredibly effective baddie to have.

That being said, Sam is beginning to seriously play with fire. It’s bad enough that he keeps insisting to Annie that he’s from the future but telling Tony all about it seemed insane. Maybe Sam was hoping that Tony would slip up with this information but there are so many other ways that it could’ve gone.

For instance Tony’s henchmen nearly had Sam and Gene killed. The silly last request for a smoke managed to save Sam and Gene from the henchmen. Annie’s skills with the stinger managed to stop Tony from running Sam down. As per usual that girl is excellent in a crisis and given that Sam was having serious headaches throughout the episode he should be grateful for both Gene and Annie in this episode.

The best scene however was in the police station. Tony came out and told everyone that Sam thought of them as figments and himself as a time traveller. If Annie had backed up Tony, then Sam would’ve been deeply screwed. Instead she said nothing as Sam made out that Tony was imagining it all.

Sam might not have gotten Tony sent down for murder but shoving into a psych ward for the rest of his days ended up changing history. Perhaps Eve fared better off too even if she didn’t appreciate Sam’s interference. Sam needs to tread more carefully though as his own mental state will be looked at.

Also the thing that turned this episode on its head was that Sam seems to be in 1973 for a reason and Hyde are responsible for it. It’s a satisfying throw in and hopefully we’ll get a brilliant answer to it. Either way it does look like that Sam could be getting closer to going home but whether or not he’ll want to when the time comes is the other thing.

As for the other characters, while Ray wasn’t unbearable in this episode I don’t blame Sam for objecting to him getting a promotion. Having Annie taking over Ray’s position as DC is a nice move. I also loved the way Annie was able to combat Ray. She might look sweet but she’s clever and that’s more interesting than her cuteness or affections toward Sam.

Also in “Episode 9”

No Test Card Girl in this episode. Maybe she’s not needed anymore or will just recur from time to time.

Woolf (re Gene): “You’ve got the best here.”
Sam: “I weep with happiness every morning.”

This episode actually showed us Sam back in 2006 in a nightmare sequence. Given that the second season was the last, the end is definitely nigh.

Tony: “Are you feeling okay?”
Sam: “Don’t you touch me.”

Sam: “Up all night.”
Chris: “Oh aye, what was her name?”
Sam: “Migraine.”

It’s nice to see that Chris is still a little clueless as to when Sam is being sarcastic. Ray still hates his guts as well.

Annie: “If it’s so awful then why are you still here?”
Sam: “Believe me I wake up every morning and ask myself that same question.”

Tony (to Sam): “Your life is in my hands and your luck is running out.”

Yasmin Bannerman who played Eve was Jabe in Doctor Who’s “The End Of The World” and Kathy in Torchwood’s “They Keep Killing Suzie”.

Tony: “Come on Tyler, beg for your life.”
Sam: “No.”
Tony (re Eve): “Like she did.”

Gene: “Go on, walk out. Give me a reason to knock the crap out of you.”
Sam: “I’ve wasted enough time already.”

That guy Russell Askey was going on about the world not being real. Does he actually feel the same as Sam? Probably not as he did seem genuinely insane.

Tony: “I’m not a killer.”
Sam: “Oh come off it, Tony. You were a born monster. You just don’t know it yet.”

Tony: “Go on Sam, get it off your chest. You know you want to.”
Gene: “Get what off your chest Sam?”

Standout music: “Spooky” by Dusty Springfield, “Star Man” by David Bowie and of course, “Bring Me Sunshine” by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

Tony: “No doctor will sign that.”
Gene: “They always do what I tell them.”

Chronology: None is specified since the first season finale and this episode. I don’t think it’s too long though.

As openers go, this was a good one. Life On Mars is definitely not a flash in the pan in terms of series. The show is adding more elements to Sam’s ongoing mystery and continues to flesh him out as a character. This is also a brilliant start to what looks to be a good final season for the series.

Rating: 9 out of 10.