Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 7

This episode begins with Alex having a a vision of Molly telling her that the doctor got the bullet out of her head… which morphs into  Chris asking Alex if she wants a biscuit. It seems that the gang is at a building site, on a stakeout for a drug deal. Alex has dozed off. As word comes over the radio that the deal is going down, Gene sends Ray off with one group and Chris off with another. He further orders Alex to remain in the van and “man the radio,  or woman it… whatever you prefer”. A car approaches, and several men get out with briefcases full of drugs and money. Gene orders the bust to go down, and the gang springs into action. A fight ensues, and Gene is taken captive by a man that holds a knife to his throat. Alex sneaks up behind them and smacks the man with a board, which causes him to fall. “Say hello to Mummy Bear”, she quips. The dealer lands on a pile of freshly laid concrete… with a human hand sticking out of it:

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The opening credits roll, and we next see Ray using a jackhammer on the concrete, trying to get the body out. Gene walks up and asks Ray what he’s doing, that they “want a body on a mortuary slab, not a plate of dog food”. He orders Ray to use a chisel instead. Ray whines that it’ll take ages; Chris whines that he hasn’t had his turn with the jackhammer yet. Gene and Alex then go to speak to Michael Lafferty, the manager of the building site. Lafferty says that the concrete was laid down “last thing” the previous day, and that the site isn’t very secure, despite all the “keep out” signs. Lafferty then goes on to complain that the police investigation has stopped all his work, and that’s costing him money.

“Forgive me if our little investigation costs Sir Henrington Arse-Twat a year’s subscription to his private members’ club!” – Gene, to Michael Lafferty

The body has been chipped out of the concrete, and now lies at the morgue. Alex and Gene walk in, and the Guv demands to know what the victim’s tattoo says:

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The medical examiner says that he focuses more on anatomy than tattoos. Ray and Chris walk in, and Ray says that the victim had no wallet and no ID, and that nothing came up when they ran his prints. Gene tells them to chalk it up to an “accidental death” and call it a day. He then tells Alex to go home and “put something skimpy on” and meet them a Luigi’s, because the gang is celebrating Viv’s birthday. As the gang starts to walk out of the room, the ME says that the man’s death was not an accident. He points out several bruises on the man’s face, as well as a curious pattern of bruises on his ankle, which suggests that the man had a chain wrapped around his ankles. Gene says “Murder… bugger”, then decides to put off any investigation until tomorrow.

At Luigi’s the gang gets good and tipsy. When presented with a birthday cake, Viv says that he just doesn’t know what to say. Alex then jumps in, giving an awkward and rambling speech about leaving, which she somehow ties to Viv. As always, her loony ravings make everyone uncomfortable and look at the floor. Alex walks over to Gene, and says that he should thank her for saving his life. Gene (and the rest) disagree. She then walks over to Chris and Shaz, who are working on the seating chart for the wedding. A few good jokes follow, and the evening eventually comes to an end.

The next morning, Alex wakes up in her apartment, disappointed to see that she’s still trapped in 1982. She flips through the TV dial, but no one talks to her. At the station, Gene says that the source of the drug deal tip is coming in… and it’s none other than a young PC Martin Summers!

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Alex, as you might guess, is totally freaked out by this. In Gene’s office, Summers says that Lafferty might be involved in the murder. Gene asks why he didn’t go to his sergeant with the information, and Summers says that it’s because Gene has a reputation of being a honest cop. Summers says that Lafferty treats his mostly Eastern European works like dogs, and runs every kind of tax scam you can imagine to keep their wages low. He says that he wouldn’t be surprised to find that Lafferty is involved in the drug trade too. When Gene asks what he has against Lafferty, Summers says that “he’s the kind of villain I joined up to put away”. Gene is now convinced that Summers is an honest young cop; Alex, for obvious reasons, doesn’t trust him.

Gene dismisses Summers, and Alex follows him to the toilets. She throws him against the wall and asks him why he’s there. She says that his showing up (just as her operation in 2008 is a success) is a “a coincidence too far”.  She asks Summers if he knows her. He acts confused, and apparently does not know her. She says that she “knows about him” and lets go of his lapels. Summers runs away, confused.

At the site, Lafferty claims to have no knowledge of the dead man. When Gene asks about employee records, Lafferty says “this is the building trade”, implying that they don’t keep records. Gene then says that perhaps he should get a warrant. Lafferty then says that he wouldn’t be running so large a building site if he were corrupt. He then offers to show Gene his purchasing records, which he is confident will show that every brick and nail has been properly paid for. Lafferty then says that his reputation is everything, and that he wouldn’t be able to find work if he was known as being corrupt. Lafferty then demands to know who has accused him of such things. Alex, without missing a beat, names PC Summers. Lafferty says that he’s not surprised, because Lafferty frequently comes to him demanding “protection money” of £100 a week.

Outside Lafferty’s office, Alex wonders aloud if Summers set the murder up. Gene turns to Alex and says that he’d promised Summers to keep his name out of it. Alex is sure that Summers is somehow corrupt, but Gene thinks that he’s an honest cop. The two then pass the victim’s photo around the worksite, asking if anyone knows the man. One of the workers says that the man’s name is Dawid, but it’s obvious that the man won’t talk around the work site, mostly likely due to fear of Lafferty.

Back at the station, Summers swears that he didn’t ask Lafferty for any bribes. He talks about police corruption, and how noting is ever “done” about Lafferty. Gene believes him. Alex does not. Gene orders Ray and Chris to bring in all of the Polish workers from the site. Alex, for her part, hands Viv a bunch of photocopies with a picture of a rose and her phone number on it. She asks him to pin them up all over the station, hoping to get some intel about Operation Rose. She then asks Shaz to screen her calls, and asks her for verbatim copies of any messages that people leave.

Meanwhile, all the Polish workers have been rounded up, and Gene has found out that the man had a wife in Poland. He asks Ray to call her and tell her about her husband’s death. Ray tries to pass it off to Chris, who says that he called last time. Ray begs him, but Chris gets up and walks away. A short time later, Ray walks in to Gene’s office and says that then man’s wife doesn’t care (“death’s too good for him”). He also says that a man called Tomascz, a man that didn’t get along with Dawid, didn’t show up for work today. Gene asks if they have an address for him. When Ray answers in the affirmative, Gene tells him to pick Tomascz up.

We next see Ray and Chris at Tomascz’s flat. When Tomascz opens the door, Ray holds up his badge and identifies himself as a police officer. Tomascz slams the door on Ray’s foot, which causes him considerable pain. Chris gives chase, and he’s eventually tapped on a stairwell by Ray. At the station, Tomascz says that he didn’t kill Dawid, and that Lafferty is the one that did. When Gene asks why, he says that Lafferty doesn’t pay them as much as he pays English workers, that he makes the Polish workers pay for tools, and makes them pay for every bathroom and\or smoke break. He pauses and says that Dawid said that he would “make things better for us here”. When Alex asks him to elaborate, Tomascz says that Dawid “knew something” about Lafferty, “something big”. He says that he doesn’t know what that is. He further states that Dawid was going to confront Lafferty the night he was killed. Alex pulls out a note that was found on Dawid’s body. She asks him to translate it for them. He says that it’s a poem by Mickiewicz. Alex, Gene, and the home viewers aren’t convinced.

Alex stops by Shaz’s desk to ask if there were any calls about her flier. She says that there were, but most were looking for “Mr Hugh Jarse” or “Mike Crotch”, and a couple seemed to “have asthma”. There was, however, one “serious” message, asking her to meet him tonight. The caller left no name.

We next see Alex at the building site, where she meets young PC Summers. She tells him that she needs a favor, and begins telling him that he is not the only “Martin Summers” in this world. Just as young Summers starts to look bewildered… up walks old Martin Summers:

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Wow! Both Alex and young Martin look thoroughly confused. Old Martin temporarily ignores the younger version of himself to turn to Alex, to whom he says “What? You expected us to disappear in a puff of smoke? Matter meets antimatter, time imploding on itself, that sort of thing?” Alex looks more confused than ever before, but manages to say that she thinks Martin set everything up – the drug deal, the body… everything. Old Martin says “Very good!”, implying that she is correct. Young Martin asks if this is the guy Alex was asking about a couple of minute ago. Alex says that he (old Martin) can’t do this, that he can’t change history. “Oh really?” Old Martin asks. He pulls out a gun and shoots his younger self! And Old Martin doesn’t disappear, he remains exactly as he is. “Why be good when the bad guys have so much fun?” Old Martin says. He then puts the gun in Alex’s hand and tells her to “sort this mess out”, and that she can’t go home until she does. Alex, almost hyperventilating, drags young PC Summers to another newly laid bit of concrete, wraps a chain around his ankles, and tosses him in. We next see Alex at home, in bed, having a nightmare. There are images from 2008 mixed in with images of the fate of her parents, and the main theme of the nightmare is Alex’s mother saying that she didn’t do enough to save them.

The next morning, we see Gene yelling at Viv. The note that was on Dawid when he died has gone missing, and Viv says that he doesn’t know what happened to it. He says that he has the only key, and that people have to sign items in and out of a log book. In the evidence room, Gene rifles through the bits of evidence gathered thus far while Viv goes through the log book… and finds that PC Summers had been in the room the night before. Gene tells Viv to get in touch with Summers ASAP. Gene shows Alex the log book. Alex looks like she’s going to be sick, and she mumbles that it couldn’t be Summers, and how that’s not Summers signature in the book. Viv comes back to say that Summers is missing, that he missed his shift last night and hasn’t been heard from by anyone. As Gene walks out of the room, Alex says that “it can’t be Summers, either of them”, which causes Viv to look at her funny.

Back in his office, Gene wonders who could have forged Summers’ signature. Alex asks who’d want to steal a poem; Gene says it might not have been a poem, that maybe Tomascz was too scared to say what it really said.

We next see Alex at home, pouring herself a large drink. She’s startled by Old Martin, who says that he needs her help. Alex refuses. Summers says that she “surely [doesn’t]  believe
that you are going to wake up just because they managed to get the bullet out?” Alex visibly shivers, and asks how he can possibly know that. She asks who he is, to which Summers says that he’s the “only man who understands”. Alex finally figures out that Summers is in the hospital, to which Summers says “I’m here, I’m there.” Summers slowly walks out of Alex’s flat.

We next see Alex asleep in bed, having another dream about her mother. She says that she wishes she could have spent more time with Alex. Alex tells her that she tried, but that she couldn’t. She says that she doesn’t know how to get home. Her mom says that she will find a way home, because she’s a mother too.

Alex is then jolted awake by the ringing telephone. It’s Gene, who says that Tomascz was indeed lying to them. He tells her to meet him at the hospital’s intensive care unit. It seems that Tomascz is the victim of a hit and run “accident”, and should actually be dead, were he not so tough. Gene says that there’s stil no sign of Summers, and that both of them pointed to Lafferty. Alex asks how Lafferty would know about Tomascz; Gene says that someone at the station is leaking information…. someone on his team. He tells Alex to go home and change, as he needs her “at her best”.

Up next is a montage of Gene staring at everyone in the station (The Cure’s “All Cats Are Grey” plays in the background… brilliant!). Alex walks in, and goes straight into Gene’s office. He’s hatched a plan: he gives the gang a speech where he tells them that Tomascz  has been injured and that a vital piece of evidence in the murder of  Dawid Czarnecki has gone missing. He further states that when he finds out who did it, he will be “very angry”. He then approaches each member of his team individually and says that he has a “secret file” that has important evidence in it, and that it’s in a safety deposit box in Talbot Street. He then swears each person to secrecy. The trick is that he’s giving them each different box numbers, so that later when he finds the “evidence” missing, he’ll know who stole it.

Later that night, we see the gang at Luigi’s. Tensions are mounting over who the mole might be. Ray digs at Chris for how he got the money for Shaz’s ring, but Chris says that he told Shaz that he borrowed the money. Shaz tells him to back off, as he’s “the one in the funny handshake brigade”. Viv and Shaz then jump on Ray for his membership in the Masons. When Ray says something nasty about Shaz, Chris punches him, and Viv joins in. When Gene sees this happen, he turns and walks out of Luigi’s.

We next see Gene and Alex on a stakeout in Talbot Street. Sure enough, Lafferty shortly walks up. Alex wants to bust him immediately, but she doesn’t know about Gene’s secret plan with the differently numbered safety deposit boxes.

“If I told you all my little secrets, I wouldn’t have that attractive air of mystery.” – Gene, to Alex

We shortly see Lafferty back on the street, and Gene tells Alex to order the bust. She picks up the radio and does just that. The uniformed officers close in on Lafferty and take him in to custody. Gene walks into the bank and finds the open safety deposit box, which tells him who leaked the information.

Back at the station, Alex tells Lafferty that paint on Tomascz’s body matches the paint on his car. Gene walks in and drops a heavy chain on the table, saying that it’s from the pit they found Dawid’s body in, and that they found Lafferty’s prints on it. Gene throws Lafferty to the ground, angry that Lafferty not only killed one man and tried to kill another, but that he “got to” one of Gene’s men. Lafferty begs for his solicitor, and Gene storms out, telling he guards to lock Lafferty up.

We then see Gene sitting at his desk. Alex walks in, and when Gene says nothing to her she starts to walk away. Gene tells her to stay, that he’s waiting on “the traitor” to show up. A few minutes later, the traitor appears:

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Gene tells Chris that there was no file, just a box number that he passed on to Lafferty. Box number 112, the number Gene gave to Chris. Chris says that he doesn’t understand. Gene says that he doesn’t understand, either:

Tell me you didn’t do it. Look me in the eyes and tell me you didn’t do it and I’ll believe you. We can forget about it, if you can tell me you didn’t do it.

Chris admits that he did do it. He says that it was just a long “from a bloke Ray knew”. He borrowed £500 from the man to buy Shaz’s ring, that he wanted the best for her. He further states that the man seemed casual about the loan, letting him pay it back when he could. But then he got a call from a stranger who asked him for a favor. Although he didn’t explicitly say so, Chris knew it was about the money he’d borrowed. The stranger asked him to lose a file. Alex asks him whose file the caller asked him to lose… and Chris says that it was Kevin Hales’ file. Alex says that if they’d known that, they’d been able to get to Hales before Mac did, and she implies that Hales’ murder is Chris’ fault. She asks if they paid him, and Chris says that they put £50 in his letter box. He further states the he “thought it was finished”, but that he told Mac that Gene had arrested Jarvis, too. Chris starts crying, saying that he thought he would go along with it, and one he found out who was balckmailing him he’d take the information to Gene, who would put an end to it. He then says that the stranger asked him to do more and more, and before he knew it, he was “in deep”. Alex asks if he took the note from the evidence room. He says that he did, that he gave the strangers Tomascz’s name.

Gene, who can’t bear any more, walks out. After he leaves, Chris tells Alex that he still has the note. Alex tells Chris that she needs the address of the number Chris used to contact the stranger. Gene (strangely) hands Shaz the note and tells her to get it translated ASAP.

Gene and Alex take off to the building site, although they don’t know what exactly they’re looking for. Alex calls Shaz to get the translation, and they find out that the numbers relate location codes in the blueprints. They find a manhole and lift it… to reveal a giant cache of arms. Now we know what Lafferty was really up to.

Back at the station, Chris tells Alex that he has the address of the stranger’s phone number. She goes to the address… and find a wall full of photos and press clippings related to Alex, Gene and the various corruption schemes:

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Alex pulls a drawing of a rose off the wall. It has the words “were not done” on it.

Back at the station, Gene calls Chris into his office. As he does so, Shaz understands that Chris is teh one that was leaking information. In Gene’s office, Chris turns over his warrant card, and offers Gene his resignation “with immediate effect”. Gene tells him that he won’t get off that easily, and that he’ll stay a cop for now:

“I want you to stay a copper and know every second of every minute of every day the true depth of your full betrayal of the force, of Shaz, Ray, yourself. Jail isn’t your sentence, Chris. I am.” – Gene, to Chris

Gene then walks out of his office and announces that “Detective Constable Christopher Skelton” made a mistake and that, as far as he’s concerned, the matter is over. He also says that if anyone has a problem, they can come to him (and not anyone else) about it). He then turns around and walks back into his office, leaving Chris to stand there as everyone stares at him, One by one, all the other members of the team, leaving Chris, fighting back tears, to stand alone, save for Shaz and Alex. He approaches Shaz and apologizes, but she walks away with tears in her eyes, too.

The episode ends with a drunken Gene pounding on Alex’s door with a couple of champagne glasses and a bottle.

“It’s all shit, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“You and me, Bolly.”

OTHER STUFF:

– Gene says that the stakeout is “supposed to be a stakeout, not a midnight feast in Malory Towers”. Malory Towers is a “fictional Cornish seaside boarding school which features in a series of six novels by British children’s author Enid Blyton”. The series of books were published between 1946 and 1951. It was, apparently, in it’s day, the equivalent of a Sweet Valley High series of books.

– At the stakeout, Gene uses code names from “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”.

– The London Docklands had been used since Roman times for bringing goods into (and out of) London. At the height of the British Empire, the docklands area was a hive of constant activity, as tens of thousands of ships were loaded and unloaded every year. The area was heavily bombed during World War II, but experienced a brief Renaissance during the 1950s. However, the advent of container shipping in the 1960s almost destroyed the area (the huge container vessels could not navigate the Thames River, so shipping traffic moved to coastal areas, leaving 8 square miles of London derelict). Efforts to redevelop the area started almost immediately, but were not without controversy (see this recap of episode 2 of season 1 of Ashes to Ashes for a similar plotline, and the controversy such redevelopment caused). Today, the Docklands is vibrant area, and has become one of the nicest parts of the city.

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz is thought by many to be Poland’s greatest Romantic poet. Along with Zygmunt Krasinski and Juliusz Slowacki, he is considered one of the “Three Bards” of Polish literature, on par with William Shakespeare in English speaking countries. And yes, I had to look him up, too.

– Why didn’t they translate the note earlier, before it could have been misplaced?

– Why is Alex so confused when she sees the young and old Martin Summers together? Doesn’t she remember when she saw the younger version of herself in the season 1 finale?

– Was it just me, or did that concrete look a bit… thin when Alex shoved PC Summers’ body into it?

– OK, the fact that Old Martin shot Young Martin is pretty heavy. Discuss.

– Did we see what happened to the gun? I don’t recall seeing Alex do anything with it, which is odd, as it has her prints on it.

Doctor Zhivago is a novel by Boris Pasternak, first published in 1957. It’s about a man, Dr Yuri Zhivago, who is torn between two women during the Communist Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Civil War that erupts thereafter. The novel is Russian, not Polish, so Gene is mistaken to allude this to Dawid. However, during the Cold War it was common for people in the West to equate anything Russian with Eastern Europe as well, thanks to the Soviet Union’s military, economic and political domination of the area.

– When Gene plays his “con” on Viv, you can see a stack of Police Review magazines on the desk. This is a real magazine, published by Jane’s, the people known more in the United States for the magazines and books for the military.

MUSIC HEARD IN THIS EPISODE:

Adam and the Ants – “Goody Two Shoes”
The Cure – “All Cats are Grey”
Gary Numan – “Music for Chameleons”
Tears for Fears – “Ideas and Opiates”

2 Replies to “Ashes to Ashes: Season 2, Episode 7”

  1. hi im trying to figure out a song maybee u can help its when they take the bullet out of alex head and shes on the floor and gene walks in as she gets up

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