Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ashes to Ashes Update-Episode 8

Warning!!! Massive Spoiler Alert!!! If you are an American fan of A2A and have copied, Tivoed, or taped the last episode, the final of Series One, and haven't seen it yet...stop reading....NOW!!!

Ok...I think they got the message.

Now, anyone who's read my reviews of the A2A over the past few weeks knows by now that I'll give you a synopsis, but I never reveal the ending.

Until now...because the secret revealed at the end of the show is one of the main reasons we watch....and without talking about the conclusion there would be little sense in writing this entry.

As the day approaches when Alex Drake's (Keeley Hawes) parents are killed in a car bombing, Alex decides to intervene to change destiny, and in the process end her imprisonment in 1981 and send herself back to the 21st century. At a Gay Pride parade she commandeers a tank and crushes the Ford Escort she believes will be carrying her father and mother to their deaths. She arrests her parents, Tim and Caroline Price, for drug possession....Alex planting the evidence....and tries to have them held in custody overnight and past the time they would die.

While this is happening Arthur Layton, who shot Alex in 2008, is released from prison in 1981. Alex sees him as the culprit in her parents murders...but cannot prove he is responsible for a crime yet to happen.

Meanwhile, Tim and Caroline are released from custody, and leave for a trip with young Alex. Alex and Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) race to the scene where the bombing will take place. Adult Alex sees the car stopped momentarily ...the car is borrowed from Evan White, also a Ford Escort....and young Alex gets out to chase an escaping red balloon. Adult Alex looks into the car, driven by her father Tim; and while David Bowie sings Ashes to Ashes on the car radio, Tim is transformed into the sinister Clown . The Clown detonates a bomb....and Caroline and Tim/The Clown are blown to pieces. Gene grabs young Alex and carries her to safety.

Back at headquarters Alex, Gene, and Evan look at a video tape made by Tim Price explaining why he was performing murder/suicide, taking out himself, his wife Caroline, and young daughter Alex....its out of revenge for the affair Evan had with Caroline. A shocked and speechless Alex watches, realizing for the first time that her own father was intent on killing her. Evan asks Gene and Alex for a good word from them in his attempt to adopt young Alex. Then Gene destroys the tape, so that young Alex will never know that her father tried to murder her...while the adult Alex looked on, sadly knowing the reality of it all.

Alex realizes (as Supertramp sings Take The Long Way Home in the background) several things. One is that her mother really did love her, and was about to take a sabbatical when she was killed, and she wanted to be with and was intent on spending more time with Alex. Also, Alex realizes that she may not ever get back to 2008...what she thought she needed to do to return had failed, and that she may never see her own daughter again. And she becomes aware, but puzzled by the prospect and reality, that it was Gene Hunt who brought her to safety that day in 1981.

Shaz Granger meets Alex and the group at Luigi's. Still recovering from her knife wounds, Shaz refers to Alex, who saved Shaz's life (in the previous episode), as her "guardian angel". Alex and Gene have a drink together. She tells the Gene Genie that he wasn't there "that day". And Gene answers that he's always there.

And there you have it.

Just maybe, in the mythology of A2A, that the "Great Beyond" is this parallel universe, very much like and yet unalike that of our own. And maybe a "life after life" gives us a different role or responsibility in it. Gene Hunt as a "guardian angel"? Why not? Its his role to rid the streets of crime, and scum, and filth...even if he has to do it with almost fascistic methods. Perhaps Alex really is dead, and is serving a role as a guardian angel of sorts....who says God has to run things in linear time...He can do what he wants to. That's' why He's the Real Boss. We believe in popular mythology that spirits of the past return in out times of trouble. If you can accept that, believing in a visitation from the future isn't so much of a stretch.

Then again...I could be wrong.

And I probably am!

Its been an interesting ride...and its not over yet. It seems that Series Two will be making its debut in America shortly because of the interest Series One garnered in America. Its been fun...and I can't wait for more.

For more info on this week's episode, click here. And this week, there's rather short musical playlist, but worth a listen anyway.


I.J. Parnham said...

Nice review there and I'm intrigued that you went down the guardian angel path, which I don't disagree with. Nearly every critiquer in Britain went down the time-travel path instead (there's an utter obsession with finding reasons for Hunt to be real).

And I'm pleased you'll be getting s2 quickly. It got off to a great start last week. If you want a bit of a sneak preview I've done a fairly spoiler free review of the first episode on my own blog The Culbin Trail.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Hey IJ! Not to get too maudlin about it, but I wrote this review the day after being part of my uncle's funeral....and the theme of life and death had been racing through my mind ever since we were told he passed on...what comes next, what is our purpose on earth....and as they say on A2A, everything is significant. That actions that don't seem to connect usually do somewhere down the road. Read my entry "Remembering The Ace"....its about my uncle and how he influenced my life....kind of like that old series CONNECTIONS.

And thanks for the heads up...and I'll check out your blog ASAP!

I.J. Parnham said...

I'm sorry to hear that, and I hope my breezy comment didn't upset you.

On a lighter note (spoiler free here) in episode one whenever anyone drives off, they do so with their coat caught in the car door. As everything is significant, the forums buzzed with what the hidden meaning was. Even when somebody found a link in which the writers said it was a running joke, people still wouldn't accept it, as everything is connected...

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

IJ...didn't upset me at all. He was half Irish, so the past weekend was a little sad, but mostly a celebration of a life well spent, warts and all.

I've got to check out your blog, and will do so real soon...I've got about 4 days worth of catching up to do..

Thanks for the words and comments!

Anonymous said...

TO: Hugh Jee
FROM: Cindy

I am reading through your Ashes to Ashes (A2A) posts and trying to respond in order, as thoughts hit me.

I am glad that you did as I did - watched the American "Life on Mars" and then the British "Ashes to Ashes." I never got into Harvey as Gene, and I think it'll be some time before I watch the British "Life on Mars" to see if I could have possibly liked Phil as Gene before Alex came into his life. However, as off-putting as Gene can be, he is a good person, and Alex can only add to that part of him. So, I'm sure I would have.

Thank you for the great quality photos.

I can watch these episodes over and over. Not just because of the heavy accents that sometimes need a second listen, nor because I get to have a (sort of) date with Phil Glenister(...), but for Alex, for Gene's befuddlement with and how he takes care of Alex, for the humor and the mystery.

I love a fan video to the tune of "Swords of a Thousand Men."

Why can't writers figure out how to get main characters together in a way that makes the audience happy? Can it really be true that the formula ends with people together? I am so tired of secondary characters having the relationship the main characters should be having. In the case of these two, Gene and Alex, she could always have her secret, that she is from the future, or he can always have his, that he is there for her, and everything else comes with the job.

I have compared my music collection to the A2A playlists, and I was quite a fan of early 80s hits.

I tell people about this show all the time. Haven't found anyone in my daily life who watches it. Will one day buy the videos. (Is it distributed in an American DVD format?)

Of course Alex would yell at Gene. (April 7 Hawes interview) Fans are nuts. Alex cannot get to her daughter, and is trying not to freak out about it, but you can sure bet she'll cry and worry and seem nuts. Oh my God, if I was taken from my children when they were growing up!

The vault scene. ("Green Door") The freezer scene. ("Vienna") Amazing.

It took me a few scenes to realize who was portraying Gil. Fun!

Now here I have to admit that I have been watching Series 2. I can't get enough. And it will all end one day. But for now, thanks for writing about it, and for your future input/(output?) as well.

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Cindy- I just noticed your comments when I was looking through the archives. I appreciate your observations.

The photos for the A2A updates are from GOOGLE, and surprisingly there aren't as many QUALITY pics as you would imagine; so I spend about an hour on Sunday mornings looking for pics that would fit the post.

About getting Gene and Alex together- the dynamic they have is very much like the Bruce Willis- Cybil Shepperd's characters in MOONLIGHTING, with all of that sexual tension. As soon as they acted on it, and did the deed, the show jumped the shark, and it was pink slipped soon afterwards.

But who knows? It will be interesting on the final resolution of the series...we'll see.

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