Sam and Gene. My boys.
I didn't build up any expectations before this episode - because I never watch the previews. I didn't know what was going to happen and I'm happier that way. I figure, if I'm not expecting too much, the show can only deliver, right?
And the thing about Life on Mars is that, even with the episodes I don't love (s2 ep 3), it delivers. Oh my how it delivers.
I watched this episode in two parts, so my perception may be skewed, but the second half was considerably better than the first half in my opinion. Yes, in the first half we got a) Gene drunk and b) SAM DRIVING THE CORTINA! But in the second half we got lots of Sam and Gene running places with each other - which is always great. And Gene can run, when he wants to. Sam trusted Gene. Just like Gene trusts Sam. Oh, and by the way? Yeah, there was totally a line there about 'knowing'. About Sam knowing Gene. (Meanwhile, Sam's just a little bit drunk in that scene, isn't he?)
To be honest, I blame Sam for putting Gene in the "it appears I have murderered someone" situation. I may or may not have been yelling "don't let him go, you div" at the screen. And yeah, in the second quarter, I was still annoyed at Sam for not immediately calling it bollocks that Gene was being held. Especially when it was obvious who the murderer would really have been. But he redeemed himself by the end. So all's good between us. He's still my secret angsty boyfriend.
Some of the humour of the episode felt a bit forced. Gene's slimy lawyer was --- well, bizarre, to say the least. I can't really believe that Chris and Ray are so stupid as to mistake a tiny grey haired/bald guy for Gene, even with the glasses - although writer Mark Grieg did hang a lantern on that by having Gene say "un-bloody-believable" - why yes, yes it was. Then there was the mental imagery of Gene cross-dressing as his wife, which, I really didn't need in my head, thanks. Gene dressing up as Tufty was kind of brilliant, though.
There were lots of elements I loved. Sam is a "picky pain". Guilty consciences are the root of nightmares. It was set July 17/18/19? --- which suggests that we've lost a whole month there of not seeing what Sam's got up to - this fascinates me. Chris's dancing at the end there was a sight to behold - oh Marshall, kicking up the physical comedy a notch. Sam and Gene in Sam's flat was pure comedy gold - especially Gene on Sam's cot. When he was sitting on it, it was seriously tilting to the side. Morgan was awful - wonderfully written and played. The music and use of camera in this episode were especially notable and wonderful. I am madly in love with Ed Butt's Sam/Annie theme.
I told myself from the beginning that Life on Mars could never live up to the hype and expectations of me obsessing about it since April last year. So I haven't allowed myself to get into a situation where I could have appointments to dis. But the second series of the show has not been as good as the first. It really hasn't, in a lot of ways. It's absolutely nowhere near as cohesive. There are elements that are brought up and then dropped. The plot arc has been all over the place. In this regard, Life on Mars has lost a lot of what made it brilliant television. --- It's still great television.
I don't care how it ends. I'm convinced Matthew's going to break my heart one way or the other. The journey has been fun. And I love that such time, effort and talent has been put into making something that has given me and others like me such joy. Thank you.