Friday, May 14, 2010

My Review of Ashes To Ashes 3x07: "Episode 23"

Written by Ashley Pharaoh
Directed by David Drury

Jim: “Have you any idea how serious this is?”
Gene: “Yes I do. It’s going to one hell of a last chapter, eh Jim?”

Here’s bloody hoping so because next week will finally to rest the five year enigma that has been Gene Hunt. Who and what the hell he really is has generated enough debates and whether or not, Alex really is in a real world or not also needs to be answered as satisfyingly as possible as well.

Taking the direct approach is probably something that Alex should’ve done ages ago but in this episode, she finally did it. She finally asked Gene directly to his face if he killed Sam and she got an answer of sorts. Gene certainly had more to say about Sam than he has in any other episode of the season.

I was hoping that Sam had faked his death and I could believe in him and Gene developing a trust over the course of time. A trust that would result in Sam asking Gene to help him with faking his death. Gene obviously believed in Sam enough to go along with this, despite the repercussions that it’s beginning to have for him.

The other thing that Gene also talked about was faith. Alex doesn’t have enough of it and I think that was supposed to mean that she didn’t trust in him enough. She was coming pretty close to doing that in this episode, only for Keats to throw her off course as much as he could.

Jim’s been gunning for Gene all season and was relying heavily on Alex extracting a confession of murder from the brute DCI (at least he didn’t ask Tracy Barlow) and didn’t hold back when Alex told him that she believed that Gene didn’t murder Sam. In fact, he was downright patronising and left her reeling with his own evidence.

If those damning photos are anything to go by, then Gene really did murder Sam and Alex has every reason in the world to be worried for her life. After all, another thing that Gene casually mentioned in this episode was the fact that he didn’t want Sam to leave. What happens when he decides a similar fate for Alex?

And then there was the other issue – the sexual tension. I might like my slash but I never once got that off Sam and Gene whereas with Alex and Gene, it’s been too overt for its own good. If Jim hadn’t actually called on Alex towards the end of this episode, then she and Gene would’ve done the deed. I can envision a million fans out there wanting to give Jim a right boot up the arse for his intervention.

Sexual tension aside, the hostility between Jim and Gene was a bit tedious in this episode. I should’ve played a drinking game every time Jim kept talking about finishing his report (he has worse procrastination than I do) or for every time Gene bared his animosity for the annoying little pencil pusher.

More interesting than Gene and Jim’s ongoing pissing contest happened to involve those neat little videos that Jim had of Chris, Shaz and Ray. Now what possibly could those tapes reveal about the three that we don’t already know anyways?

Speaking of the trio, Chris finally got it. Not necessarily stars (by himself, he did see them later with Shaz and Ray, my bad for not getting that first round) but the Life On Mars music and Nelson’s voice and it was something that he, Ray and Shaz could bond over. It’s funny given that over the course of the episode there was way too much talk of things coming down and even Chris was yammering on about nothing ever being the same again.

But it’s also making me wonder if Matthew Graham is going to end this show the same way the American version of his original creation. Why are we getting all these stars and why hasn’t Gene seen any of them? Only one more episode to go for everything to be revealed.

As for the main case of the week, I’m not sure how Chris freeing volatile ANC man Joshua was the best thing to do. He’s killed police officers in the past and was responsible for the special branch’s undercover man’s death. Granted the death he would’ve gotten in his own country would’ve been horrific but was it a wise thing to do on Chris’s part?

Something that was wise on Chris’s part was standing up to Gene. I loved that Chris ripped him a new one over Joshua and despite the fists flying with the pair of them, it made sense that Gene would end up having a great respect for Chris, even if him being a bastard to the lad felt a bit tacked on.

Also in “Episode 23”

The episode opened up with Viv’s funeral where the coffin refused to be burned at one point to Gene’s frustration.

Jim: “We’re the same, you and me.”
Alex: “Except I don’t want it to be true.”

Alex got Ray to look into the ID of the dead copper she’s been seeing and he was unable to find any files, given that they were burnt.

Gene: “Bugger off, I’m grieving.”
Alex: “How are you doing, guv?”
Gene: “I miss my pal.”

Shaz: “You need to stand up for yourself, Chris.”
Ray: “Oh yeah and police officers fly.”

Chris mistook Shaz’s embrace with Ray for something more when they were getting freaked out by weird noises in the station.

Shaz: “They’re illegal.”
Ray: “Are they? Maybe someone should tell the police.”

Gene: “This is the final chapter, Bolls in case you haven’t noticed. We’re fighting for our lives.”

Ray might be a racist, sexist guy but I noticed that he was egging Shaz’s policing on when they investigated the ANC drinking den even if it was him who found the murder weapon.

Gene: “You scrub up well Bolls.”
Alex: “Thank you. You don’t look so bad yourself.”

Alex (to Gene): “Did you or did you not kill Sam Tyler?”

Actually Alex was wearing an outfit rather similar to the first time that she met Gene, even if the dress here was cream rather than red.

Gene (to Alex, re Sam): “I wasn’t happy for him to go. I wanted him to stay. I didn’t want to lose him.”

Gene: “You’re the feminist, you can pay half.”
Alex: “Grab your coat, you’ve pulled.”

When Joshua was asking Chris about how come Alex knew of Nelson Mandela being president in years to come, Chris wasn’t that fazed of her knowledge.

Alex: “I don’t believe Gene Hunt killed Sam Tyler.”
Jim: “And how did you come to that conclusion?”
Alex: “I asked him.”

Gene (to Alex): “I don’t care what Jim Keats thinks, I care what you think and if you don’t believe me, what’s the point?”

It seems in the final episode; Alex is going to have to head to Lancashire in order to find out the truth about Sam.

Jim: “Be careful, Alex, be very careful.”

Standout music: Spandau Ballet’s “True”. Like Jim, I do like that song myself.

It wasn’t as good as last week’s episode but it was certainly a terrific episode and hopefully after all this teasing about, well, everything, we will get a finale justifies the show’s running and is true to character. Here’s hoping.

Rating: 8 out of 10.


Olivia Mayer said...

Actually, Chris did see stars too - near the end when all three of them (Ray, Shaz and Chris) saw the stars together.

Also, the A2A creators have publicly said that they hated teh ending of the US LoM (and quite right too) so I very much doubt they'll go down the same path - they have a lot more imagination than that. I am a bit worried that the show might end on a semi religious note, though.. I hope that doesn't happen!

shawnlunn2002 said...

You're right about the stars bit, I just rewatched the episode again.

I'm not surprised that A2A creators hated the US LOM but it does feel like they're going that route even if they don't.