Just caught up with this week’s penultimate episode of Life on Mars, which turned out to be one of the best yet.
All the knobs have been turned up to 11, and things are getting a lot more weird. Next week, the series will end, and everything will apparently be explained. But for now, it’s business as usual. Or as usual as it gets…
Gene gets more than a little upset when a court case ends up with Terry Haslam, a local gangster, being acquitted. Being Gene, he gets ever so slightly drunk. So drunk that Sam takes his car keys and tries to drive him home. But Gene insists that Sam stop the car some way from his home. He gets out, waves his gun around, does some shouting and throws a brick through a window – Terry Haslam’s window. Sam drags Gene back into the car and drives off. Soon after, Gene tells Sam to stop again – he’s lost his gun. Gene runs off into the night.
Sam’s dreaming again. He’s in a corridor where a payphone is ringing. When he picks it up, he hears more mysterious voices before being woken by the ringing of his own phone. It’s Gene. He says that he appears to have killed a man.
Sam finds Gene at Haslam’s place. Haslam has been shot dead, and Gene can’t remember a thing. Not surprisingly, Gene is arrested on suspicion of murder. He tells Sam that he’s relying on him….
Things start to get really interesting back at the police station, where Gene’s temporary replacement, Acting DCI Frank Morgan appears. Morgan is, we hear, “from Hyde”. Hyde is where Sam was supposedly transferred to Gene’s patch at the beginning of the first series. It’s also where some of Sam’s strange phone calls come from.
Aside from the general oddness, we once again have a good solid police story. Officer is accused of murder, and goes on the run. There’s another murder, which must have been committed by Gene. When Sam hears that Gene must have been taking bribes from Haslam, he begins to believe that Gene may be really guilty.
He goes home. Gene’s there waiting for him, having broken his door for probably the fifteenth time. Gene persuades Sam that he’s innocent. He admits that he took small amounts from Haslam, and that Haslam did give him an envelope of money with a note telling him not to testify against Haslam, unless he wanted the Chief Constable to be told of the previous “gifts”. Gene testified anyway, which goes some way to explaining why he might have been set up…
After some fun and games involving Gene being dressed as Tufty, some silliness with a remote control leading to Gene getting his memory back, and a confession from the real killer, things get back to normal. Gene’s back in charge, and Morgan’s off, presumably back to Hyde.
But Sam and Morgan have a final conversation. Morgan hints that his intention was to get Gene convicted. And he assures Sam that “we’ll sort this out” and
Bring you back home
So who is this Morgan guy, anyway? Is he the owner of the voice on the phone? It may be a hint that when Sam again calls Hyde 2612, instead of getting through to the mysterious voice, he just hears his own words echoed back down the line.
Somehow, in the last episode, everything will work out, and we’ll finally know if Sam is in a coma, mad, in the past, or maybe something else altogether. It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I’m reasonably confident that the ending won’t be a disappointment.