Written by Julie Rutherford
Directed by Alrick Riley
Gene (to Alex): “Firemen starting fires, what’s next – doctors killing patients?”
Yeah because such a thing would never, ever really happen in real life. As for arsonist firemen, not entirely the most unrealistic thing that Gene and the gang have ever had to deal with, now is it?
Gene’s guts might be the very thing that Jim Keats may want to serve his superiors on a platter but they’re also the very thing helped him out in this episode. He knew that Andy Smith was guilty of setting fires around polling stations and he was more than happy to maintain that belief when everyone else was happy to disagree with him.
After all, Gene’s never been wrong with such a thing in his life before and it was pretty obvious that as soon as snivelling little brat Barney identified Andy that we had our culprit for this episode. The only problem was convincing everyone else of Andy’s guilt and stopping his next area of attack.
That was hard to do when you had the likes of Jim Keats bleating on about how much of a hero Andy and his superiors nagging Gene to release him from custody. Even Ray was fully convinced that Andy was innocent. After all, Ray had struck up a bond with Andy at the start of this episode.
Andy was the fella who saved Ray from a burning building and Ray certainly admired the fact that Andy was in the Falklands as well. It was obvious from Ray’s admiration that some information on the sexist copper would be unveiled as the episode progressed and it was pretty predictable stuff as well.
Ray nearly joined the army but didn’t because he got scared and it created tension with his father. It made for a powerful moment when Ray was the only person who was able to stop a betrayed Andy from burning up his wife. Ray was the only person who could reach to Andy and afterwards, it also made sense that he would deny everything.
Ray didn’t fool anyone in this episode. Alex gave a fairly obvious insight into the way he was and for a small bit; I think Ray let down his guard, though Alex should probably be careful of her knickers nonetheless. However while Alex’s assessment of Ray were in a more positive and understanding light, the same cannot be said about Jim’s.
Ray might be an independent thinker underneath his desperation to prove something to Gene but it certainly didn’t help that Jim tried to use this to his advantage. Trying to turn Ray against Gene (and that’s definitely what he’s setting out to do) is certainly on the hypocritical side of things, isn’t it?
Jim talks a lot about trying to unearth Gene and revealing secrets but he’s a pretty see through character at the moment. He might give the odd insight into the likes of Chris and Ray but even the two of them aren’t as dim as Jim might like to think they are. Similarly, Alex did seem to be more on Gene’s side during the investigation of the arson attacks than she was with Jim.
Jim tried to create a divide between Alex and Gene by telling the latter of the former’s snooping into Sam Tyler’s files. Gene didn’t seem too pleased but seeing as he already knew that Alex had taken an interest in Sam recently, he wasn’t exactly as shocked as Jim might have hoped he was. As for this episode progressing anything on the Sam front, it actually didn’t in the slightest.
There was very little in the mystery front with this episode. Alex had one trippy moment where she was drawing stars and scribing 6-6-20 but outside of that, nothing. With five episodes left in the series, here’s hoping that things do speed up on the mystery behind that date and Sam.
I could talk also talk a bit more about the arson plot of this episode but the truth was that it wasn’t very interesting. Andy’s shellshock triggered him burning up polling stations, attacking a journalist and if it hadn’t been for him discovering about his wife and brother sleeping together, he would’ve attacked Margaret Thatcher but outside of that, it was pretty formulaic to be honest.
The connection with Ray and Andy probably helped the plot and there’s a wonderful scene where both Ray and Shaz go head to toe on their political viewpoints with Alex trying to keep schtum on future events but this episode just didn’t really offer anything new really. Even the obnoxious Barney being thrown into a cell wasn’t as funny as it should’ve been and he was twelve for crying out loud.
Also in “Episode 19”
If Daniel Mays’s name wasn’t in the opening credits, I might have actually been shocked when Jim announced that he was going nowhere at the start of the episode.
Alex: “Are you sure you haven’t left anyone out?”
Chris: “Vanessa Redgrave.”
Shaz mentioned that she was dating a posh bloke called Julian and Alex suggested dumping him because he liked Jazz music. Bit harsh, don’t you think?
Gene: “If you shove your nose further up Newman’s arse it’ll be browner than Ghandi.”
Jim: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
Gene (re Alex/Shaz): “What is it with women and firemen, its pathetic? You’ll be wanting to go down his pole next.”
Shaz mentioned to Alex in this episode that she was seeing stars. What is the significance of them both seeing/drawing them? And who is that scarred constable?
Jim (to Ray): “Gene Hunt is an amazing fella, amazing but you don’t need him. You won’t be letting him down.”
Chris (re Andy): “How did you know he was gonna give you the lighter?”
Ray: “I didn’t.”
Standout music: Apart from some score music, nothing really jumped out for me. Plus this episode did seem low on music as well.
Shaz (re Julian): “He likes Jazz.”
Alex: “Dump him.”
Chronology: A couple of days/weeks since the previous episode.
Not necessarily a terrible episode but insight into Ray’s family background aside, I didn’t really enjoy this one. There were some nice characters moments and I could certainly get used to Alex and Shaz’s girly moments but this felt a little filler in places for me.
Rating: 6 out of 10.