Friday, April 30, 2010

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 3x05: "Episode 21"

Written by Tom Butterworth And Chris Hurford
Directed by Jamie Payne

Bevan: “The thing about Gene Hunt, it’s not what he did. It’s about what he got other people to do.”
Alex: “And what did he get you to do?”

I complained in my review for the previous episode that we weren’t getting anything with Sam Tyler and here was an episode that teased so much that I’ll be genuinely shocked if John Simm doesn’t appear in the last episode of this series. I mean, we’re three episodes away from the end. Now’s the time for answers, writers.

Bringing back another known Life On Mars character with Litton and his scumbag partner Bevan was certainly a way to throw us more morsels on Sam Tyler than ever before. Litton took an initial similar disdain to Alex that he did with Sam and Bevan certainly knew more than he was letting on.

At one point, Bevan even cornered Alex and promised her that he’d give her information on Gene and Sam if she’d drop Frank Hardwick. Alex didn’t fall for that one but she did get to witness Gene stealing her files and burning them along with Sam’s jacket.

I never get bothered by seeing clothes ruined or destroyed but seeing Gene burning Sam’s jacket for some reason got to me. It was like he was burning away the last trace of Sam, even though I still think he’s alive and it was enough to spark Alex into demanding some straight answers on the issue. So, why doesn’t Gene give her any?

Hasn’t Alex proved enough in over twenty episodes that she’s worth trusting? Or did Gene really did have something to do with Sam’s disappearance? He was desperate enough to silence Bevan and whatever he said to Bevan, it freaked the bent copper out enough to tell Alex to stay away from him.

Gene’s doing himself no favours by not confiding in Alex. Every time he pulls away from her is another chance for Keats to try and widen the gap between the pair of them. Keats can see that and he certainly has taken enough delight in undermining Gene at every turn this season. He even rubbed Gene’s nose in it by suspending Litton.

The idea of Gene actually being bothered that Litton’s career could be in tatters is certainly a change for the books. I used to enjoy Gene and Litton’ rivalry and Litton was largely obnoxious for the best part of this episode but if ever there was an episode to redeem an otherwise unlikeable character, it would be this one.

It would’ve been easy for the writers to have taken Litton down the road of corruption. Like Gene, Litton isn’t down with change and certainly couldn’t stand the more progression stances of either Jim or Alex in this episode. He even made a few sexist comments here and there when Frank Hardwick had originally been let go.

But being a sexist, old fashioned brute are his only flaws. He wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Bevan and actually believed that Frank had been stealing from police widows. The moment he realised that Bevan had been duping him saw a different change in his attitude. He even respected Gene at one point and commented on their glaringly obvious similarities.

More importantly though, he noted that both Sam and Alex have affected Gene and you don’t have to be a genius to agree with that. Now, I wish Gene would just bloody open up to Alex about Sam because there is very little time left and if he doesn’t act soon, Alex will end up being swayed by Jim from the looks of it.

As for other mysteries in this episode, we now have three main characters that have seen stars. I didn’t expect Ray to start seeing them as well and it was interesting that it gave him and Shaz something to discuss, even if he denied seeing them in the end. Is this show going to take a similar route to the US version of its predecessor? Something about those stars are significant.

Speaking of significant. Ray’s loyalties seem to be tested a lot recently. First with the army bloke and now with Litton and Bevan. Bevan had some kind of weird control over Ray and even tried to use that when he was trying to escape from Gene, Alex and Litton. I’m glad that Ray managed to snap the hell out of it though. Having friends like Bevan is definitely not worth the hassle.

Another good thing with Ray in this episode was him and Shaz actually getting along for a bit. Shaz asked him if he was lonely and he admitted that he was. Plus there was more dubious comments made about his sexuality. Whatever could that possibly mean? And I loved him and Shaz singing “Danny Boy” at the cop gala more than Chris’s impressive dance moves and those were bloody impressive.

As for Bevan and Frank, well it was a lot more interesting that some of the main cases this season and it helped that a lot of it tied into or related around the Sam mystery and even the stars. It also helped that Bevan was suitably nasty and that Frank (who’d witnessed him beating a black man to death) was reasonably harmless, even if he wasn’t the best comedian in the world.

Finally with Jim – hats off to Daniel Mays because he’s really doing a great job with showing how much of an odious little pencil pusher he really is. I’ve read theories about him possibly being a guardian angel for Alex and if that’s true, I bet she’d happily trade for Castiel off Supernatural. At least he’s likeable and hot.

Also in “Episode 21”

Those clips of Sam from Life On Mars were fantastic but I want a John Simm appearance on this show now please.

Gene (to Alex): “I’m not having two months hard graft blown by you, Sleeping Beauty.”

Jackie Tyler herself Camille Coduri played a prostitute in this episode. Sadly she wasn’t given much to do in this episode but it was nice to see her on TV.

Alex (to Gene, re Litton/Bevan): “I thought you were a throwback. Compared to those two, you’re practically homo erectus.”

Shaz (re porn): “Who watches this filth?”
Alex (to Gene): “You care to share anything with us, guv?”

There was no scarred copper in this episode and there was nothing further on 6-6-20. Bevan was also the police photographer on the day of Sam’s death.

Litton: “Couldn’t have made something up, you stupid woman.”
Alex: “No, because that would be breaking the law, chief inspector.”

Gene (to Alex): “Look at us; we’re like Sapphire And Steel. I’m like him and you’re like ... her. Team work, cop solidarity.”

I think this was the first episode where we weren’t in Alex’s flat, even if we did have some scenes in Luigi’s for this one.

Bevan (to Alex, re Sam/Gene): “I’ll never tell you what happened. The closer you get to it, the more you’ll never know.”

Ray (to Chris): “I just saw stars, like the edge of the world. Can’t you see them?”

Standout music: The Cure’s “Love Cats” won for me.

Chris: “Shaz, I’m cacking it.”
Shaz: “You’ll be fine. Now go break a leg.”
Chris: “That’s not very supportive.”

Gene: “Not many of us left, Litton, good old day. Now bugger off back to Manchester.”

Chronology: Still in 1983, though nothing further on that.

While there’s a lot of teasing in this episode, at least we’re back to things getting exciting. Now with three episodes left, let’s just hope the answers will be worth it because we’ve waited long enough.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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