Written by Mick Ford
Directed by Catherine Morshead
Alex (to Molly): “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It’s ending here. I’m dying here.”
Death might come to us all but for all Alex; she’s convinced that it’s catching up with her even quicker than she feared. Without a doubt this episode has the best teaser seen on either Life On Mars or Ashes To Ashes as well as being one of the creepiest surreal of them all.
Alex dreams of being attacked by the Bowie Clown, she’s unable to make connections, doesn’t remember who gave her a Rubik cube as a child and instead of falling out of bed; she’s being sucked into hers. That’s all happening on top of the fact that she’s also dreaming of a mystery person in her bed.
So who could the person be? It can’t be Molly because she’s reduced to silent cameos every episode and both Evan and Caroline also seem unlikely given that Alex is constantly in their orbit, even when she’s not stalking one or the other. My theory would’ve been her father, Tim.
In six episodes we know so little of the man. In fact come to think of it, aside from car bomb flashbacks and one moment where Alex’s younger self was spending time with her father, the older Alex stuck in 1981 hasn’t even met her dad at all. I know Tim a busy man but why are they keeping him away from Alex so much?
Getting back to the mystery person in question, I have to admit that Gene being the other bedfellow took me by surprise. Alex spent this entire episode blathering on about connections so in some way Gene must be connected to Alex’s past which makes him more than just the construct that Alex views him to be.
Another apparent thing in this episode is Gene’s lust for Alex. Every episode it’s intensified just that little bit and two weeks ago we got close to seeing them go for each sexually. Here, there’s still the fact that Alex knows how to push Gene’s buttons and wind up him with such deftness.
A series of robberies lead Gene back into accusing a former criminal in Chas Cole of being guilty. Unfortunately for Gene, not only did Chas have evidence but his wife Joan also had very little in the way of a problem in telling Gene that the former criminal is an epileptic.
Surprisingly this is actually enough to convince Gene that Chas is innocent but Alex is adamant that he’s guilty. What’s interesting about this is that she actually uses Gene’s gut instinct against him and even tries massaging his prowess as a police officer. There’s something rather flirty in the way Alex does that.
Gene however still chooses to ignore Alex and she takes her revenge by stealing his Quattro and loading it up with bin bags from Chas’ restaurant. It’s enough to try and get Gene to throw Alex off the case but she even manages to get out of that with such ease. Alex is proving herself capable of outwitting Gene at every turn here.
Of course despite the fact that Alex can convey being right in such an annoying fashion she does have a point about Chris and Ray. Even though the two of them aren’t exceptionally bright, it would be in Gene’s best interest to encourage them every so often. Alex wanted to get rid of them and when she did, they ended up getting a result without having to try.
So arresting a guy who can do good impressions is one thing but how did Billy connect to Chas? It seems that his nephew Donny wasn’t being truthful about Billy’s whereabouts until after the petty thief got himself killed. As child actors go, the one playing Donny did a good job.
Once again Alex was on about connections and it was great that she entrusted Caroline to look after Donny. Of course it took her a while to realise that she wouldn’t be messing her own history but earlier on in the episode Alex had also come dangerously close in revealing her true identity to Caroline.
Caroline connections aside, the constant back and forth fearing for her life really came to a head when Joan had Alex bound and gagged and locked in a freezer. As would be deaths go, that’s definitely up there and having that Bowie Clown menacing you at every turn is definitely gonna give you the creeps.
However while Alex might not approve of Gene, his timing however does rock. Not only does he shoot the windows down of Chas and Joan’s restaurant but upon rescuing Alex, there’s a moment where he’s happy at the chance to give her mouth to mouth. Of course Alex had to wake up and Gene switched to largely insulting her once again.
So the other question remains – will Gene get his wicked with Alex? I can see a lot of fans not liking the idea and I’m still a little divided myself even though I believe that Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes would sell it for all its worth but perhaps it’s too soon in the series to go there.
That being said, Gene’s attraction to Alex has not been subtle. Ray noticed it in the first episode and Luigi sort of goes overboard in telling Gene that he knows he loves Alex a lot. Plus Gene does seem to be rather tetchy around Evan and even made a clumsy come on of sorts to Alex around the end of the episode.
But would the relationship work? Gene and Alex can barely tolerate each other most of the time so who’s to say their relationship wouldn’t just be physical only? Elsewhere it’s also clear that Chris has trouble on his hands with both Shaz and Ray vying for his attention, albeit in different ways.
Also in “Episode 6”
For a brief scene I got the actresses who play both Molly and the younger Alex confused. They look a little too alike IMO.
Gene: “Oh ye of little faith.”
Chris: “All hail the mighty Quattro.”
Isn’t it funny that it was Ray who mentioned that Alex was at death’s door at one point in the episode?
Chas: “Everyone fancy a bottle of Bolly?”
Alex: “Does it come with knickers?”
Ray (re Chris): “He only likes girls now.”
Shaz: “I’m sure you know how to play with yourself, Ray.”
Why did Shaz balk out of the dinner date with Chris? Is she threatened by Ray or was she trying to keep the peace between him and Chris?
Alex: “There’s no time.”
Caroline: “There’s always time. You don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to. I on the other hand.”
Luigi (re Alex): “Be careful who will catch her.”
Gene: “No-one hopefully.”
Luigi doesn’t seem to be as perceptive as Nelson but there’s a part of me that does think he should be dispensing Alex with advice like Nelson did with Sam.
Joan (re Alex): “Tie her up and gag her too.”
Chas: “What are you gonna do?”
Gene: “I’ve dreamt about doing this. Don’t you dare.”
Alex: “I worked it out. I made the connection. I solved it. You saved me and if you saved me, maybe I can save them.”
Gene: “Yeah, I think it’s called concussion.”
Standout music: There are loads here with “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, “Same Old Scene” by Roxy Music, “Vienna” by Ultravox and the brilliant “Ghosts” by Japan.
Gene: “I’m about three minutes from my sexual peak. Do you want to celebrate?”
Alex: “Unfortunately I’ve got a headache.”
Chronology: Judging by Alex’s marked calendar pages, it’s nearing the end of September 1981.
As episodes go, this was definitely one for the mystery angle. Alex’s fever dreams were creative and creepy, the ending makes the world she’s trapped more vital than before and the sexual tension between her and Gene continues to go up several notches as well.
Rating: 9 out of 10.