Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 2x05: "Episode 13"

Written by Julie Rutterford
Directed by Philip John

Alex: “Is that why you’re here, to help me get home?”
Martin: “You and I are the only two people here who actually know what that means.”

Five episodes in and after going through a series of my own names for the guy – stalker bloke, Dr Death, we finally have another part of the mystery halfway solved. The man who has been stalking Alex all this time goes by the name of Martin Summers.

Adrian Dunbar is great casting for the role and I suppose it’s better to introduce him now that Mackintosh is out of the way rather than in the last two episodes. In fact, Martin even confronts Alex in her office, which is the most direct thing he’s done yet.

Like Alex’s he’s dying in 2008 but unlike Alex, I’m not exactly convinced that he’s the wizard that can get home. Even she thinks he’s more man behind a curtain than a wonderful wizard. If he really cared, would be have drugged her, abducted her and kept sending cryptic messages all this time?

The confrontation between him and Alex certainly is chilling. There’s no reason why Alex should really trust him, given the things he’s done to her. However the fact that another person, apart from Alex and Sam, who’s fallen into this world, could be very interesting plot wise indeed.

Of course, the thing I don’t get is Operation Rose. Martin himself didn’t explain it but he did try to get Alex to become a corrupt copper by trying to use her fading memories of Molly as a means of leverage. For a second, I did think that Alex would do it but perhaps there are good reasons as to why she didn’t.

Apart from the fact that virtually nothing can be gained from corruption (even if Martin is insistent that it would), Alex already knows that Sam’s experienced something similar with Frank Morgan and probably thought that Martin’s offer would be too good to be true.

Even Martin himself anticipated that Alex would turn down his offer. He did warn her however that by the time Operation Rose came into fruition that she would regret turning his offer down as well. When it comes to Operation Rose, is Martin a leader or a minion in the whole thing. Also, again, getting back to an earlier query – how can corruption help?

Matthew Graham has definitely mentioned in interviews that corruption is something that the series would be exploring more in the second year. Everyone was certainly feeling the heat from the fallout of Mackintosh’s treachery. Ray was on the money last week when he gave the warning of the department being torn down brick by brick.

In fact, Gene went even more about things by trying to reinforce a positive image of the police to the public eye, which was why he was so determined to nail George Staines for the burglary of the Drakes. Well, we’ve already met the Prices, so we had to meet the former significant others, right?

The problem for Alex is that whatever issues she has with Molly’s father Peter; she fails to remember that he’s only fourteen in 1982. Still, Alex’s reactions are supposed to be human and I guess we can give her some leeway but I did feel a little bad for Peter when she’s often too headstrong with him and he’s clueless as to what’s wrong with her.

However despite her harsh behaviour with a teenage version of her ex-husband, her relationship with the in-laws is beautifully drawn out. Her sympathetic compassionate with Marjorie is hard to fault as was the way that she revealed how much of a good influence Brian had on her.

Of course the interesting part of meeting the Drakes and trying to nail George for the burglary at his house was the fact that George was allegedly. Well dead men don’t send their mothers money and it was the visit to Elsie’s at first that tipped them off to George being alive.

For a revered gangster, George certainly had the most inept of cohorts. With a combination of Ray’s bully boy tactics and Alex threatening to use a vice in a very lethal way, Metal Mickey was the one to disclose that George was alive and kicking. And then there had been Gaynor, the Drakes offish neighbour.

Nicely played by Sara Stewart (who’s been in the likes of Sugar Rush, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, etc), I wish I had spotted the links between George and Gaynor a lot earlier than I did. The whole gangster’s moll was a little too unbelievable, so the reveal of George actually changing his gender was a neat twist.

Apparently George had reformed but needed more money to keep the Spanish authorities quiet. More interesting was having Alex be the one to explain all about sex changes to Gene, Ray and Chris and the usual bout of political incorrectness from the pair of them. Alex wasn’t necessarily wrong when she noted that all of them did like the look of Gaynor, Ray especially might I add.

Ray certainly had a bigger part to play in this episode as well. The fallout from Mackintosh seems to have soured him more than anyone else about the police force. It was also nice that in spite of their massive differences, both Alex and Ray had some genuine moments of respect for each other. She made the effort to talk him out of leaving the police force.

As for Chris, he tried to give up smoking and it blew up in his face big time. Poor thing was doing it for Shaz (this guy would literally walk on broken glass for her) and she stopped him because the mood swings were more insufferable than smelling like an ashtray. However I did like that it generated some brief discussion on fathering kids.

Also in “Episode 13”

All the previously on clips for this episode were from last week. Mackintosh certainly has left a stench behind in the wake of his death.

Alex: “No, you should be happy. You should be happy. I've made it to the hospital.”

Alex was talking to Orville, that weird looking duck in this episode and Molly was also the name of Peter’s cat.

Alex: “Look at you, you’re almost cute.”
Peter: “Cheers.”
Alex: “Yeah, I said almost.”

Gene (re Metal Mickey): “Are you ill?”
Ray: “No. Why?”
Gene: “You only hit him once.”

Who was that guy Gene and Ray were loading onto a truck at the start of the episode? An early plot of Gene’s to get the police back in the public’s good book?

Gene: “What are you doing, Drake?”
Alex: “I’m trying to solve a crime, Guv. It is what I’m paid for.”

Metal Mickey: “I’ve got five kids.”
Chris: “Sure they’re all yours?”

Was it weird that Gene and Martin Summers saw each other at the end? I didn’t think it was but some people on certain forums think otherwise.

Alex: “If I may paraphrase Dorothy Parker I don’t think we should put all our eggs in one bastard.”
Gene: “What other bastard have we got?”

Martin (to Alex): “I haven’t got much time to wait for an answer and sadly, neither have you.”

We learned that Martin was a disgraced former cop and that in the present day; a painful death was awaiting him. Shaz was also (predictably) unable to get any intelligence on him when Alex asked her to.

Gene: “Bolls, don’t cry. That’s an order.”
Alex: “I’m not.”
Gene: “Now if you don’t stop crying, I might even start feeling sorry for you and God forbid, I might even have to put a comforting arm around you.”

Gaynor: “You’d be a hell of a loss to the police.”
Ray (re handcuffs): “Buttering me up is not gonna stop me from putting this on.”

Standout music: David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold The World” as well as his collaboration with Queen with “Under Pressure”.

Martin (to Alex): “I had a feeling that you were going to say something like that. Oh well, if I can’t change your mind, maybe Operation Rose will.”

Chronology: When exactly in 1982 are we? Summer/Autumn?

The more the episodes keep coming, the exciting they become. I can’t believe there’s three episodes left in this season, given how great it’s been. I really can’t wait to find out where this Martin Summers/Operation Rose plot is going to go.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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