Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 2x03: "Episode 11"

Written by Nicole Taylor
Directed by Ben Bolt

Gene (to Alex, re Jeffrey): “Never trust a man who owns a sex guide. There are some things you should be able to do without a book.”

Gene might raise an accurate point there. Unfortunately there are some things you also need guidance with and if you’re an animal rights activist on this show that involves finding locations to bomb in a frantic bid to turn over a vivisection law.

I’m all against vivisection as the next person but it’s protesters like this who give everyone else a bad name. I don’t care how it’s spun but endangering another human life in order to try and prove a point about the savagery that humans inflict is uncalled for every time.

The opening few minutes of this episode had a scientist Nigel Pattison maligned by protesters, only for his eight year old daughter Charlotte to be on the ouch end of a petrol bomb. Worse still is that more threats to blow up certain places are being made if the vivisection bill isn’t scrapped.

It’s enough to make Gene seethe even more with anger and I think as a parent, it probably had to hit home for Alex as well. If that had been Molly, I certainly don’t think she’d be her rational self. Endangering another life is no excuse for standing up for what you believe in.

The interesting part is that the episode does bring Alex in proximity of a Robin Elliot, a protester from back in the mid 1970’s, who hasn’t had any contact with the outside world following the death of his mother. As a character goes, he makes for a complicated villain.

Complicated because he doesn’t view what he’s doing as morally wrong but villainous because it bloody well is. His conversations with Alex however are intriguing, with him being perceptive enough to push some personal buttons in regards to her displacement in 1982 and of course.

For a second, there was a part of Alex who kept thinking that Robin had some genuine insight into what was actually happening to her. Jeffrey was able to point (though much later of course) that Robin had a knack for getting inside people’s heads and not in a good way.

Alex herself was certainly taken in by Robin and not just with the possibility of him knowing about her predicament. She actually gave him the benefit of the doubt and he played her twice by giving her false locations to potential places that were going to be bombed.

As for the bomber in question, a scruffy little runt named Adrian seemed to be happy to continue a circle of grooming and manipulate. Even before Gene spotted his hands still marked in green, it didn’t take much to guess that he was our not so mysterious bomber and I have to admit that a part of me applauded Gene’s police brutality.

When Adrian decided to endanger a child with a petrol bomb, he lost all the rights to use a rousing speech about the rights of monkeys. They do have rights but so do humans, even if we do behave reprehensibly from time to time. As for the person grooming Adrian, was there anyone genuinely surprised when it was revealed to be Jeffrey?

The way Jeffrey talked about not having contact with Robin was such a blatant, he really insulting the audience’s intelligence. If Jeffrey hated being manipulated so much by Robin, why the hell did he go and do the same thing to Adrian?

The confrontation scene between him and Alex wasn’t the strongest we’ve seen on this or Life On Mars. Alex really shouldn’t have faced him alone and failing that, she should’ve at least have had some weapon readily handy at her disposal because when you tend to face off with the perpetrator, it’s handy to have a weapon.

It’s a good job that for the billionth time, Gene was actually there to save her backside from being shot. Yes, all those intriguing little shooting effects came back into play in this episode when Alex thought once again that the real world was giving up on her. Gene’s witty aside to saving her made me smile a lot.

Gene had a lot to do in this episode, what with Mackintosh piling on the pressure. Kevin Hales committing suicide was yet another reason to believe that Mackintosh is a bad apple and Gene refusing to falsify a statement backfired on him. I doubt Mackintosh will succeed in ridding us off Gene but I certainly believe that now is the time for Gene and Alex to cast this guy out.

As for Chris and Ray, well Shaz finally managed to endear herself to the latter when she asked Ray to be Chris’s best man. Sure, it should’ve been Chris but I think because it was Shaz, Ray is more likely to come around to the idea of his best mate getting hitched after all.

With Alex though, there’s still the mystery of her stalker. If it’s not Sam (or connected to him), then who is it? We didn’t get any real encounters with the guy in this episode but he certainly managed to leave another rose for Alex without her catching him. That’s another thing that can’t last too long as well, right? Alex is eventually going to have to catch the bloke who’s leaving her all this stuff.

Also in “Episode 11”

Alex had the opening dream of Morph shocking her before deciding to give up on her. What other 80’s creation are we gonna have?

Gene: “Nobody leaves here; nobody evacuates their bladders or their bowels. Is that clear?”
Everyone: “Yes, Guv.”

I noticed that Viv and Luigi haven’t got a lot to do this season so far. Not that they often get much anyway but even still.

Alex (re Robin): “He certainly knows how to work the publicity machine.”
Gene: “Do you think he knows how to scale the walls as well?”

Robin: “I can feel something from you, Alex. A sadness. You’re physically present but really, you're elsewhere.”
Alex: “Elsewhere?”

Alex dreamed of Molly brushing her teeth too hard, only for it to turn into Robin. Was there supposed to be a connection between Molly and Robin?

Alex: “You sound like someone who wants to live.”
Ray: “Everyone wants to live Alex but who are we to decide who’s worth saved?”

Mackintosh (to Gene): “We’re brothers now as well as colleagues so if I have to do anything for you, you only have to ask.”

Chris had some amusing moments with Alex scolding him over the sex book and one of the dogs not taking a shine to him.

Robin: “Where’s your daughter, Alex?”
Alex: “I would hope she’s at school.”

Ray (re Shaz): “Today her jacket, tomorrow her blouse.”
Chris: “You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

I’m not siding with Ray but Chris has been wearing that jacket for the last three episodes so maybe there’s a point there.

Gene: “What a relief to know, Adrian that while I’m out there catching scum, you’re in here pondering the big question.”

Alex: “Break down the door.”
Ray: “You’re joking?”
Chris: “She’s not joking.”
Alex: “Ray, I’m your superior officer, now break the door down.”

Alex lost it at one point with one of the cleaners when she was hearing further messages about her fight to live fading.

Alex: “Guv, do you think if I’ve saved some lives, that means I’m worth saving?”
Gene: “If you say so. Now get your bony arse back here.”

Alex: “I’m alive. They saved me.”
Gene: “They? They stood there like lemons. The pleasure was all mine.”

Standout music: Something of an appropriate animal theme with the likes of “Eye Of The Tiger” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” popping up.

Alex (to everyone): “To the best bunch of colleagues a girl could ever have.”

Chronology: A few weeks since the premiere, given the Kevin Hales element of the episode.

Although not the best episode, there’s still a lot to keep interest in it. Alex’s mystery stalker though needs to make some better moves and it’d be kind of nice for Mackintosh to slip up as well.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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