Hi, hello, sorry, I’ve been away, I went to the Nürburgring, but I’m back now. Now, where was I…?
The finale of Ashes to Ashes aired on Friday night, bringing the story of Alex Drake and Sam Tyler to a close. I’ve thought about this long and hard and, whilst I usually don’t like spoilers, I could probably get away with writing this post without mentioning what was going on I couldn’t write it without mentioning what wasn’t. So if you’ve not seen the finale, and don’t want to be spoiled, please stop reading now, I’ll see you next week.
From the moment in season two of Ashes to Ashes when Martin Summers shook hands with (and then shot and killed) his younger self, it was clear that whatever was going on with Alex – and whatever had gone on with Sam in Life On Mars – wasn’t as straight forward as time-travel. I honestly had no clue as to what was going on, but I never imagined that they were in purgatory. Both series had appeared to stay well clear of any religious undertones, and when I heard that my brother-in-law Rob thought that Jim Keats was an angel, I thought that it was a little too Quantum Leap and it didn’t appear to fit at all with what was going on. A fortnight later Rob had somehow convinced himself that Jim was the Grim Reaper, which again I rejected as nonsense, but as it turned out he wasn’t that far off the mark*.
I was more concerned with trying to figure out who the policeman with half a face was that was haunting Alex, and what his significance was. I actually guessed that the policeman was Gene, and that he was from the past, just not what his significance was.
The ‘Life On Mars moments,’ turned out to be an enlightening to the characters involved, to show that not everything was as it seemed. So too were the stars, although I’m still convinced that they were also there to mislead us and to make us think that it was going to end how the US version of Life On Mars ended – on a spaceship, on it’s way to Mars. Sam awoke to find that he’d been playing a virtual reality game, whilst in status, that had malfunctioned. Ray, Chris, and Annie were his fellow crew-mates. Whilst Gene, Gene was his dad, and was called Major Tom… I came close to putting my foot through the TV screen.
As I said, I never saw it coming that they were all in purgatory and that each and every one of them were dead. The scene in which Alex uncovered Gene’s body and he remembered what had happened to him was extraordinary, and Philip Glenister’s performance was stunning. The scene too where Alex realised that she had died and decided to leave Gene and walk in to the light – of The Railway Arms – was highly emotional, but I felt more sorry for Gene than I did for Alex. Left alone in this plane of existence between heaven and earth. Left to carry on ‘living,’ as this character he’d created for himself, as the Sheriff of lost souls…
Mind blowing episode, beautifully written, a fitting and truly satisfying end to the story.