Thursday, June 04, 2009

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 2x07: "Episode 15"

Written by Mark Greig
Directed by Catherine Morshead

Alex: “X marks the spot.”
Gene: “Why not? Keep it simple. No need to overcomplicate things.”

Yeah but isn’t half the fun when things happen to get complicated, regardless of how arguably contrived that may or may not be. Every time Alex thinks she’s figured out something in 1982, she’s usually wrong.

So, getting home has to be the same thing as well. Yes the bullet’s out of her in the world but why hasn’t she gone home? Why hasn’t she really properly questioned that as well? More importantly, why hasn’t she been more worried about Martin Summers lingering threat surrounding Operation Rose?

Maybe it was because by not giving in to his demands of corruption, she thought she beat the beast. Yeah, it’s as likely as Ray going through an episode where he doesn’t make an offensive or stupid comment but, hey swings and roundabouts.

Luckily for us, the advancement of Martin Summers takes a brilliant turnaround in this episode when he enters the police station. The brilliant part is that it’s a much younger version of him, bent on stopping corruption so therefore invariably oblivious to having any prior knowledge of Alex.

However when Alex sees him stride into the station, she does seem pretty infuriated but strangely managed to keep her cool around. Less surprising was that when she had the first opportunity to confront Martin alone, she took it. Martin protesting that he knew nothing about her though didn’t seem to convince Alex either.

She was also pretty adamant in trying to turn Gene against the lad either. For all their increasing closeness this season, there are still times when Gene is sceptical of Alex’s opinions. He seemed adamant himself that he knew a good copper when he saw one. Gene, you have been wrong on more than one occasion with that theory.

It also didn’t help Martin when Alex discovered that the younger was taking backhanders as well. Of course what could be worse than a young copper bent on wiping out corruption taking backhanders? How about a very fatal meeting with his older, more ruthless self.

Alex made the conscious effort to seek out the older Martin Summers she met two episodes ago by sending out her number on flyers. It wasn’t exactly the smartest of things to do given the amount of fake replies she had to sift through as well but in the end, it did get her a result.

There should be a glaring expectation that when two versions of the same person meet each other, something bad has to happen. Older Martin meeting his younger self certainly maintained that train of thought when he happily shot his younger self, technically committing suicide but also proving that he’s still a ruthless bastard to the very end.

The worse part was the predicament it left Alex in. In a lot of ways she played into Martin’s hands big time by touching the gun and burying the younger version in the cement. Alex dug herself a massive hole by doing that in more ways than one. She really is gonna have to come up with one hell of an explanation when Gene gets winds of this.

The best thing she should’ve done was to have contacted Gene and told him everything first. Gene’s really on edge right about now on the issue of loyalty and even though Alex is someone he clearly trusts more than his other colleagues, she still should’ve told him about it.

Trust is the biggest issue in this episode and due to the fallout of this week’s main case, it’s the very thing that Gene tests out on Chris, Ray and Shaz by giving them a test to see if they are worthy of the Gene Genie’s trust. Surely none of them would dare betray Gene of all people?

Well, stranger things have happened and if I had to pick someone I would think capable of corruption, I would have gone for Ray. The only reason because he is in my opinion the most susceptible to corruption but that may not have the big dramatic moment of the episode.

We know that Chris is desperate to marry Shaz and even though she told him not to go to extremes, Chris didn’t pay much attention to that. Seeing as Alex wasn’t roped into corruption, poor Chris fell hook, line and sinker into the seedy world and the reveal was brilliant.

Without a doubt in the four years we’ve seen him play the character, I think Marshall Lancaster absolutely nailed his scenes with Philip Glenister in this episode. While Chris’s actions were inexcusable and Gene’s hurt was saddening to watch, both actors played an utter blinder.

It would’ve been easy to have written Gene as going absolutely berserk and sacking Chris (or even to beat the living daylights out of him) but I think his moments of quiet, his utter disbelief and then gently forcing Chris to admit to his co-workers what he had done was more effective. In a weird way, Chris’s guilt is punishment enough. Even Shaz couldn’t bear to look at him.

With all this brilliant stuff going on in the episode, the one thing that isn’t so great in the main case. So, we have Michael Lafferty running a construction site and moonlighting it as a drugs place as well. Not particularly inventive or insightful or even really resolved.

There was also a bit of a commentary on how foreign workers are repeatedly mistreated. The main murder victim in this episode was Polish and he seemed to have died because he was about to blackmail his boss for better working treatment. I suppose I shouldn’t really gripe all that much but the plot didn’t sparkle as much as the other stuff in this episode.

Also in “Episode 15”

I suppose I should’ve seen Chris being revealed as a mole coming when he appeared in Alex’s dream at the start of the episode.

Alex: “I’m gonna wake up.”
Gene: “Well, it’s about bloody time.”
Alex: “Yeah, if there are no complications.”

Some interesting bear nicknames with Gene as Daddy, Alex as Mummy (very couply), Ray as Big and Chris as Baby. Does that make Shaz Cute Bear?

Alex (re Michael Lafferty): “What have you got against him?”
Martin: “Just that he’s the kind of villain I joined up to put away.”

Thomash: “Why should I tell the police?”
Gene: “Because if you don’t start talking, you won’t see daylight, let alone bloody Poland.”

Thomash read a note that was a Polish poem. It also turned out to be pretty vital to the case as well.

Shaz: “Several people were looking for a Mr. Hugh Jarse. And it turned out Mike Rotch was quite popular too.”
Alex: “Right.”
Shaz: “Five or six had chronic asthma and one man had some very imaginative suggestions. He did want them word for word.”

Martin (to Alex): “What, you expected us to disappear in a puff of smoke? Matter meets anti-matter. Time imploding on itself, that sort of thing.”

I did wonder if by killing one Martin if the other would die but seemingly that is not the case in this universe.

Martin: “Surely, you don’t believe that you’re going to wake up just because they managed to get the bullet out?”
Alex: “How could you possibly know about that? This is my world, this is my life. Who are you?”
Martin: “The only one who really understands, Alex.”

Caroline: “You’ll find a way to get home.”
Alex: “Will I?”
Caroline: “Because you have to. Because you’re a mother too.”

It was nice to see Caroline in this episode. I nearly jumped out of my seat when we saw her, I wasn’t expecting it.

Gene: “Go home and get changed. I need you at your best.”
Alex: “Something skimpy?”

Chris (re Shaz’s relative): “Yeah, she’s great, Karen. Dead funny. Nice personality.”
Ray: “Oh I like that in my women. A good personality.”

Because virtually everyone seemingly has asked this but how come Gene didn’t give Alex a loyalty test? Would he have done the same if it had been Sam as well?

Alex: “What are we doing?”
Gene: “Waiting.”
Alex: “What for?”
Gene: “A traitor.”

Gene (to Chris): “Tell me you didn’t do it. Look me in the eyes and tell me you didn’t do it and I’ll believe you. Then we can forget about if you can tell me you didn’t do it.”

Standout music: The Cure’s “All Cat Are Grey” and Tears For Fears “Ideas And Opiates”.

Gene: “Jail isn’t your sentence, Chris. I am.”

Chronology: A couple of weeks since Mackintosh blew his brains out.

As episodes go, this is certainly one of the most intense the series has done. Some viewers have griped of the lack of consequence since Mackintosh’s death but this episode certainly addressed that thorny issue. Can’t wait to see what the finale is going pull out.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

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