Wow! Just… wow! The season 2 finale of Ashes to Ashes aired last night… and boy, it was a doozy! Too bad we have to wait until 2010 to see how the series ends, eh? That just can’t come soon enough!
For clarity’s sake, I’ve decided to use the names “Martin Summers” (or just “Summers”) when referring to “older” Martin Summers and “PC Summers” when referring to the younger version of himself.
This episode begins with Alex watching an episode of Jackanory. In it, Gene is reading from a book called Alex and the Honorable Awful Headache. The book is a sarcastic, Gene Hunt influenced biography of Alex. This is interspersed with scenes of Gene beating up a criminal named Doyle. He’s trying to get information about an upcoming crime… but either Doyle knows nothing, or he’s willing to take a hell of a beating to keep a secret. Towards the end of the Jackanory episode, Alex hears the voice of a doctor named Samuel Jarrod. Jarrod says that he is Alex’s surgeon, and that while they have successfully removed the bullet and stopped the bleeding in Alex’s brain, a serious infection has set in. He further says that he’s going to give her a powerful antibiotic, and that 50ml is the most she will be able to take. Any more than that and… “it’s over”.
The opening credits roll, and we next see Alex asleep on the sofa. She’s not alone though – Martin Summers sits in a chair watching Alex. He’s flipping a cassette tape in his hand, the sound of which eventually wakes Alex. Summers accuses Alex of feeling guilty for covering up the death of PC Summers. Alex looks at Summers and decides that Summers is the infection she’s trying to beat, and she’s got until she’s been given 50ml to do so. Summers laughs at her thinking he is “the rot”. He wonders if she’s strong enough for that, as she hasn’t done a good job so far (as he says this, he pulls out the gun he used to kill PC Summers). He then looks at the cassette in his hand and says that he understands Alex, and understands why she makes the tapes – “the private agonies of someone trying to figure out the meaning of life”. He then says that he and Alex are in adjoining rooms at the 2008 hospital. He says that he’s heard the nurses talking about them, and that she’s only said one word the whole time she’s been there… and that word is “Gene”. Alex is taken aback at first, but then says that it’s not surprising, given how often Gene comes up in her (1982) life. Summers then accuses Alex of lying even to Gene, in this case specifically about the death of PC Summers. He then says that the clock is ticking; as he says this, the sound of an EKG machine can be heard, and the words “10ml” appear on Alex’s TV screen. Summers wishes her good luck, then leaves.
Walking towards Fenchurch East, Alex sees a reluctant Chris standing outside the station, afraid to go inside. He simply cannot bear to go inside and see his colleagues after what he’s done. Alex manages to convince him to give it a try. Inside, Chris gets the cold shoulder from everyone… while Alex finds her desk covered in rose petals. Alex complains of a headache to Shaz, who promises to bring her something for it. Alex then tells Shaz that she came back to 1981 to see her parents, and she then wonders why Summers came back to 1982, what was “in it” for him. Gene walks in before Shaz can speak, and he announces that every “snout and grass” in town has gone quiet and that something big is being planned and he wants to know what it is. He also tells Ray that Doyle, the informant he was seen beating to a pulp in the opening scene, has been found dead.
We next see Gene, Ray and Alex out on the street. Gene says that their arms bust (from the previous episode) has caused some trouble in the criminal underworld but “upsetting someone’s plan”. The gang walk in to a fish and chip shop to find chip oil all over the floor. Before anything else can happen, a woman runs up and starts hitting Gene, calling him a pig and murderer. Alex pushes her into a back room, while Gene tells Ray to keep a watch out front. The woman (named Carley) says that Doyle was involved in some “big job”, and that he was initially excited about it, but later became “very scared”. Gene asks what Doyle was supposed to do with the guns, and Carley says she doesn’t know. When Alex asks how she knows that Doyle is dead, Carley motions toward a trash can… which contains (most of) Doyle’s dismembered remains. Gene asks about Doyle’s left hand, and she points towards a tray of flour. She then says that that wasn’t the only thing they cut off. Gene says “you are pulling my todger”, and Carley, crying, says “well, he’s not pulling his”. So Doyle’s penis has been cut off too.
In the meantime, Ray (who earlier complained about not having any breakfast), spies a “sausage roll” in one of the display cases:
Ewwwwwwww! We next see Ray, back at the station, gargling some mouthwash. All of the gang are laughing at him and making lame jokes, but when Chris tries to make a funny everyone stops laughing. Gene then calls Alex into his office and introduces her to DCI John Carnegie of Fenchurch West (who was also PC Summers’ boss). Carnegie says that they’ve found PC Summers’ body at Lafferty’s site. Alex immediately looks sick, which she chalks up to the “infection”. Carnegie says that Summers died of a .22 bullet wound, and Gene guesses that Summers somehow interfered with Lafferty, who shot him. Carnegie leaves, and Alex says that Summers was shot by a corrupt cop. Gene counters that it was Lafferty. Alex insists that it was a corrupt cop, but Gene says that the impending robbery is more important at this time.
Alex: “I have to stop this infection. Time’s running out for me, guv.”
Gene: “Yeah, and time’s running out for moi.”
Alex: “That’s French.”
Gene: “Sorry, I’m under pressure.”
Alex tracks down Ray in the toilets (Ray: “this used to be the gent’s. What is this, France?”). Alex asks Ray to get himself, Chris and Shaz together to find out everything they can about PC Summers – his friends, his enemies, where he drank… everything. Ray says that the Guv wants all eyes on the upcoming robbery. Whilst saying this, Ray’s stomach audibly turns, to which Ray says that the worst thing is that he’ll never want a sausage again. Alex the confesses that Doyle penis was found in his pocket, and they she and Gene have been putting him on about it.
We then see Gene walking through a doorway. A pretty blonde woman is standing there, and Viv says “Guv, this woman… wants you”. Gene asks how he can help her, and the woman, apparently scared, says it’s nothing and starts to walk away.
Back in the office, Ray is giving everyone a hard time for pranking him on the “fried penis”. A radio suddenly crackles to life and Shaz starts fiddling with it, which causes Alex to freak out, as she thinks it might have been a message from Jarrod about her progress. Gene walks in the room, and Ray shows him pictures of Doyle’s body. Ray mentions the size of Doyle’s bruises and says that the killer had to have big hands. Gene instantly thinks of a criminal named “Tiny Tim” Rivens. Ray then complains about the smell of the chip shop batter, and Alex says that it’s on their shoes. She suddenly looks up at Gene. She says she has an idea, and if it pays off she wants to work on the Summers case.
We next see Alex, Gene, Ray and a few uniformed officers at Tiny Tim’s machine shop. Ray asks if he knows anything about Doyle’s murder. Alex walks over to a table that has a pair of shoes on it. She comments on how clean they are. She then pours some kind of white power (flour?) on them, notices that it sticks to the shoes and says that water won’t wash off chip fat. Tiny Tim says that it’s motor oil. Gene smells the sole and says “if that’s not chip fat, then I’m Liberace’s love child”. Faced with his arrest, Tiny Tim grabs his sister (the same woman that had come to see Gene earlier) and a blowtorch, threatening to burn her if the cops don’t let him go. The woman, named Jenette, manages to hit Tim just hard enough to throw him off balance, which lets Ray swarm up and gain control of Tim.
Back at the station, Viv and Shaz look at some curious bags that were found at Tim’s shop. They have steel and wood reinforcements in them. Chris says that it’s probably for tools, and Ray tells him to do his job. The two former friends then have an awkward moment. While that’s going on, Gene asks Jenette to tell him about her brother. He asks if Tim’s planning a job. Her silence indicates that this is true. Jenette then says “you don’t remember me, do you?” Gene, oblivious to her advances, continues asking about the job. She says that it’s planned for tomorrow, but she had no idea what it is. Gene thanks her and asks her to stick around. She says that she’s not going anywhere… and Gene is still oblivious to her apparent crush on him.
Gene and Alex then talk to Tim in an interview room. Gene starts with his usual harassment, but Tim says that he’s into bondage, and that Gene is giving him a hard on. Alex, uncharacteristically, screams “just give us some bloody names!” Gene, surprised by Alex’s outburst, walks over to her and suggests that she perform some of her (psychological) magic on Tim.
Gene leaves and goes to his office. There he places a bunch of photographs of known criminals down on his desk. Whilst he’s doing this, Jenette is looking around at his office and realizes that Gene practically lives there. Yet again, Gene is oblivious to Jenette’s speech and body language. Jenette says that she doesn’t recognize any of the men (but she hadn’t looked at the pictures very closely). Gene asks her to try again. Instead, Jenette says that they’d met a year earlier at the Gate Post Pub at her cousin’s birthday party (Gene showed up to arrest him). She also says that he was pretty drunk himself, and that he kissed her, as it was the only way to get her to shut up. Gene asks if that worked. Jenette says no, that perhaps “you didn’t kiss me long enough”. Gene finally has a clue about Jenette, who now carefully looks at the pictures.
Out in the office, Shaz spies Chris getting a mysterious phone call, to which he relies with a lot of “nos” and “don’t call me agains”. As Chris is hanging up the phone, Ray walks up and asks if he should interrupt the Guv (who’s busy with Jenette) about a name he’d found at Tim’s place. Chris says “Of course”, and that he should show some initiative. Ray takes offense, and lambastes Chris for lecturing him on proper policing. Chris decides that he just can’t take any more of this, and he gets up to leave.
Back in Gene’s office, the flirtation between Jenette and Gene hits high gear. But Gene’s keeping his cool, and that’s because Jenette eventually reveals that she was put up to the flirting by her brother, who had always told her that, if he got nicked, she should flirt with the highest ranking officer involved as a means of leniency or blackmail. Gene’s not surprised, as “beautiful women don’t do that to me”. Jenette seems touched that Gene thinks she’s “beautiful”. Gene shows her a picture of a dismembered Doyle, but Jenette insists that she doesn’t know what her brother does. She does add that he’s never seemed more nervous than he has in the past few days.
Back in the interview room, Alex is playing a word association game with Tiny Tim. Crucially, Tim says “coppers” when Alex says “rose”. So now Alex knows that the robbery will somehow involved corrupt cops. Alex goes to tell Gene the news, and he says that when they busted Lafferty, they also took away Operation Rose’s guns. Alex says that Doyle gave them some more. Ray, who had gotten a name from Tim’s shop, says that it’s the “King Dong Job”. King Dong is a porn star, so Alex suggests that this is probably some type of code. Gene agrees, and sends Alex and Ray back to Tim to see what they can find out about it. Gene then walks into his office, to find one of Alex’s cassettes sitting on his desk. He starts listening to it, and he hears Alex say that she doesn’t know if Gene is “an ally or an enemy”. Uh oh. Meanwhile, in the interview room, Alex asks Tim about King Dong. Tim looks over at the uniformed officer standing in the corner. He begs Alex not to move him. It’s obvious to Alex that Tim is terrified of the police. He says that there’s nothing they or anyone else can do to stop it.
Gene, meanwhile, is still in his office listening to Alex’s tape. He presses the STOP button just as Alex walks in. She tells him what Tim had said. Gene, with his best poker face, says “yes… trust”, and asks Alex why she sees him as a threat. Alex, confused, doesn’t know what to say. Gene shows her the cassette. Alex asks where he got it; he says it was on his desk. She says that “he left it for you”. Gene asks who “he” is. Alex says that it’s complicated. The two keep talking, and Gene eventually says that she has to tell him the “God’s honest truth” about herself. And then… Alex… tells Gene… the truth:
She says that she’s from the future, that she was shot and woke up here with Gene, just like Sam Tyler. She says that she is fighting not to die, because if she dies, she’ll never get back home. She says that she trusts Gene, and that’s why she’s telling him the truth. After a brief (but unbearable) pause, Gene says that he “asked you for the truth and you pissed in his face”. Alex then goes a bit nutty, telling Gene nothing but the truth about her and Summers, but saying it at a such a frantic pace that she sounds like a loon. Alex says that Summers is also from the future and that he’s behind Operation Rose and she doesn’t know why or how but she must stop him. Gene hands her the cassette and tells her to get out of his sight.
Alex, almost in tears, walks to the break room, where she spots a filer on the wall that glows and says 25ml. She’s approached by Shaz, who says that the Operation Rose people called Chris again. They find him in the parking lot, and Alex asks if he knows where the call came from. He says that he thinks it’s another police station. He then starts to walk away, but Shaz chases him down and says that she’s proud of him. In a sweet little speech, she says that he cares when he gets something wrong, and that she loves him for that. He asks if she really loves him, and she says that she does. She also says that she has a fitting for her wedding dress tomorrow… and asks if she should go ahead with it. The two kiss. Alex interrupts, and Chris says that they want to meet him in an hour. Alex tells him that he has to go through with it.
A short time later, we see Alex and Shaz sitting in a car watching Chris wait on a street corner. A blue van suddenly pulls up and several men jump out and throw him into the van. Meanwhile, Tiny Tim lies dying in his cell as a plate of pasta lays on the floor. Ray rushes in to help, but Tim’s choking and convulsing. Ray tells Viv to call an ambulance. A few minutes later it’s revealed that Tiny Tim was the victim of some type of poisoning, probably strychnine. Ray wonders if he smuggled in the poison himself.
“Commit suicide rather than admit defeat? It’s Tiny Tim Rivens, not Rommel.” – Gene, to Ray
Gene grabs his keys and takes off to see Jenette. He tells her that her brother is in the hospital, fighting for his life. She says she thought that he was in custody. Jenette freaks out, thinking that if “they” can get to Tim in jail, they can surely get to her. Gene says that they’ll have to get through him first. Meanwhile, the blue van has dropped Chris off at the same corner we saw him earlier. Chris said that they were cops (albeit with masks on) and that they want to use him on the job.
We next see Gene and Jenette at Luigi’s, where she says that she knew Tim was involved in something with corrupt cops. Alex walks up to Gene, who tells forcefully tells her that he’s busy. As Alex walks off, Jenette says that she heard Alex’s name being mentioned. She then talks about trust, trying to further divide Gene and Alex. At the table, Chris and Ray finally make up. There’s an amusing bit where Ray orders a “bottle of Luigi’s finest”, only to find out that it’s £8.50 a bottle. Ray says he won’t pay that, so Luigi suggests the house wine. Ray’s stare convinces him to give Ray the “finest” for only £3 a bottle. As Luigi walks away, he mutters under his breath about how much the police take from him.
Alex, meanwhile goes over to Gene again, who once again reminds Alex that he said he didn’t want to see her face. The two trade nasty barbs while Jenette keeps filling Gene with doubt about Alex. The rest of the gang walk over, and Ray says that he’s sick of “being three weeks behind” the Operation Rose gang, so if Alex has a good idea he ought to listen to it. Shaz says that Chris risked his life for the information Alex has, and that he (Gene) owes Chris at least a listen.
Back at the station, Alex says that Chris knows what the robbery will be. When Chris says that it’s a gold bullion heist, Gene is beyond incredulous. Alex points out the reinforced bags Ray and Viv were playing with earlier. She further says that the plan is for actual criminals to do the stealing, but then for the corrupt cops to swoop in at the last minute and kill the criminals and take the gold. “Raiders of the Lost Blag”, Chris calls it. Chris’ job is to send any legit cops in the wrong direction, but if any do actually show up, then the corrupt cops just act normally. The risk is minimal, and the payoff is huge. It’s perfect. Ray asks about the different routes gold trucks take, and Chris mentions the note found at Tiny Tim’s place (“King Dong”). Ray asks if they’re going to “take a detour through a dildo factory”. Alex says that Shaz has been doing some research, and has found out that there are only three possible routes for tomorrow’s heist. She also says, however, that they have no idea which actual route the gold truck will take.
Alex stares at the map and suddenly she realizes that she studied the heist back at Hendon Police College. It’s not “King Dong”, it’s “King Doug”, as in King Douglas Lane, which is east of the gold depot. Alex and Gene then get into a very heated shouting match in front of everyone. Alex is, of course, telling the truth about everything, but Gene simply can’t (or won’t) believe that there are two Martin Summerses (?) floating around out there. Alex looks crazy in front of everyone, and Gene looks like a tool that won’t see the truth that’s right in front of him. Gene storms into his office, and Alex follows him, slamming the door behind her.
“First Sam Tyler, now you. Why do I always attract the liars and the weirdos?” – Gene to Alex
Alex says that the gold transfer is scheduled for 11am tomorrow and that the clock is ticking. Gene, without missing a beat, says that he is officially suspending Alex. Alex, in a rage, throws her badge down on the desk. The two stare at each other. Gene says that he thought they had a connection. Alex says that they do. Gene says that she can’t tell him the truth. She says that she did. Gene says he’s never really noticed how cold she really is. He says that she once told him she had a daughter, but that she never phones her, talks about her, or tries to see her… which causes Alex to haul off and slap him across the face… hard. Alex then practically runs out of his office.
“I’m doing this without you… and you dare to get in my way, I swear to God I will kill you!” – Gene to Alex
We next see Alex asleep in her bed… but she’s not alone. Martin Summers walks in, and says that the “fever’s bad”, and that he’s heard them (the doctors) talking about her. He also says that she’s lost Gene – her lifeline. Alex, who appears to remain asleep the entire time, talks back to Summers as if she were in a fevered delirium, saying that Gene will come around. Summers says that it’s over, and he leaves. Back at the station, Jenette walks in to a station empty of everyone except Gene. The two flirt over actors in Western films, and both decide that their favorite actor is Gary Cooper. They then kiss.
Alex wakes up the next morning to the sound of her alarm clock going off. She touches her lips (as if she’s been kissed), then looks at the clock, which is flashing 36ml. She grabs the gun that Summers left her, then leaves.
The next thing we see is Ray, who is following the gold bullion truck. He radios in to Gene, who is in the Quattro elsewhere. We then see Alex, gun tucked into her waistband, walking down the street, alone… almost like “high noon” in one of those old Western films. Instead, she finds Chris, who is waiting in a marked patrol car. Chris says that she shouldn’t be there, as Gene has promised to arrest her if she came within 2 miles of the bullion route. Alex wishes him luck, and Chris also adds that Shaz is getting her wedding dress fitted, but is carrying a police radio. Alex sneaks away. Meanwhile, the rest of the team follow the gold truck, convinced that the hit will happen Maybridge or on the high street. As Alex walks down King Douglas Lane, she sees an empty potato chip (crisp) bag, which indicates that she’s up to 44ml.
The gang suddenly get a call over the radio from Viv: apparently a florist’s is on fire on a main street, and traffic is being rerouted… down King Douglas Lane. Alex was right after all! Ray and Gene both divert to the street, and Alex steps up just as the robbers show up in a white BMW. They block the gold truck in, and jump out with guns, shooting out the truck’s tires and threatening the driver and guards. The robbers start transferring the gold to the bags Viv and Shaz had found, but soon the corrupt cops show up. Led by DCI Carnegie, the cops begin shooting the robbers. Summers then emerges from the police van and begins shooting the driver and guards from the gold truck. The crooked cops then continue loading the bags with gold. Chris walks up, and Summers says “you’re not happy, are you, son? Neither was I”.
Carnegie tells Chris to tell the other cops that they went “that way” (meaning the opposite direction of where they’re actually going). But just then Gene pulls up in the Quattro… in a quite dramatic fashion, actually. Carnegie was standing in the street, and as soon as he sees Gene he starts reaching in to his jacket for his gun… so Gene just hits the gas and runs in to him!
“Carnegie… you’ve just been Quattroed!” – Gene Hunt
Ray then comes around the corner with backup, and a melee breaks out between the Good Cops and the Bad Cops. Summers takes off and walks right past Alex, who has been hiding in some bushes. Another cop tries to get away, but Chris, trying to redeem himself, doggedly follows him into a stairwell. Chris pulls a gun and threatens to shoot, but the cop fires a random shot, which Chris ducks from and falls down in the process. The cop has a clean shot on Chris, and goes to shoot him… but we hear a shot and the cop falls down, revealing a Shaz, dressed for a wedding, not a police chase:
Alex, meanwhile, follows Summers into a churchyard (but not before passing a few signs that indicate that she is at 48ml and then 49ml, periously close to the 50ml limit). Summers then sneaks up behind her and takes her gun. Alex tells him that she figured out that he came back to November 1982 because of the gold heist, and she guesses (correctly) that he came back in time to both “clear” his name and to stop the crime (which Carnegie initially got away with). Summers says that they paid him off, and that he saw it all happen. He says that when he joined the force he “believed”, and that “they” took it away from him. He further says that he knew Alex couldn’t be corrupted, and that he knew she would solve the heist case.
Just at that moment, Gene walks up, gun drawn and pointed at Summers. Gene fires, and Summers hits the ground. Gene asks who it is, and Alex says that it’s a cop. Gene bends down to Summers, who is babbling about “messing up”, as if he were a rookie on the force. As Summers lies there, dying, Gene comforts him by telling him to think back to when he was a young, innocent cop. Alex then looks up to the sky. She says that Summers is dead, and so she asks why can’t she go home now. Just then, an angry Jenette runs up behind Alex and grabs her in the traditional “hostage” pose. A “radio voice” is heard, saying that all 50ml have been administered. Alex then gives Jenette an elbow, which causes her gun to go off… which causes Gene to fire back… only he hits Alex, not Jenette.
Alex lies there… dying.
But then she opens her eyes.
Welcome back to 2008, Alex!
Yes, she is back in 2008, in her hospital room. A doctor tells her that 50ml of the antibiotic seems to have “done the trick”, and that Jarrod will be pleased to hear the results. The doctor further says that the bullet “didn’t penetrate”, and that they stopped the bleeding and that Alex fought off the infection. He also says that there’s someone there that really wants to see her:
Alex and Molly are reunited at last! “I knew you wouldn’t leave me”, Molly says.
After a long, tearful hug, the doctor insists that Alex needs some quiet time. Alex looks out into the hallway, where she sees a body being taken away. “Such an angry man,” one of the nurses says, “but in the end it was peaceful”. Summers has apparently died as well. Alex looks at a card that Molly had made for her. Behind the card, a TV is showing a children’s show… which suddenly turns to static… and Gene Hunt appears on the TV:
He says that he needs her to wake up, because they think that he shot her. He says “well, I did shoot you, but they think that I shot you” (remember Gene’s very public threat to kill Alex earlier?). He keeps screaming for Bolly, and his face appears on every single screen in the hospital… even as Alex gets up and runs down the hallway, Gene’s face appears on every screen, from TVs to laptop computers to EKG monitors… everywhere Alex looks, there’s a screen with Gene Hunt’s face on it.
– The opening scene is the second reference to Jackanory this season; the previous mention was in episode 3. That scene is one of the funniest in the history of Gene Hunt, don’t you agree?
– Towards the end of the Jackanorny scene, Alex says that she “loved Kenneth Williams”. Williams was a British actor, known mostly for his work on 26 films of the Carry On series. Interestingly, Williams turned down the chance to work with Orson Welles in America, ostensibly because he “didn’t like” America and didn’t want to move there. However, the real reason might be because Scotland Yard considered him a suspect in the death of his father, who was poisoned. It’s thought that Scotland Yard made it clear to Williams that it would arrange it so that the US authorities would deny his visa application. Also of interest is the fact that Williams was gay, but apparently completely celibate (at least after the early 1940s). Williams lived alone his entire life and never had any relationships of any lasting significance. According to his own diaries, he struggled with his homosexuality and found the “gay lifestyle” distasteful.
– “Snout” and “Grass” are two British slang terms for “criminal informant”. I can kind of see where “snout” came from (an informant’s ability to “sniff out” information”), but I have no idea where “grass” came from. Some sources say that it comes from “snake in the grass” (i.e. a traitor). But others say it’s from Cockney rhyming slang (policeman = copper = grasshopper = grass). In the 1970s, the term “supergrass” came into use during a series of high-profile trials of organized crime figures; “supergrass” is the standard term used today… except in Northern Ireland, where it usually refers to Republican paramilitaries who squealed on their superiors for immunity from prosecution.
– Doyle’s body was found at the Sea Breeze Fish Bar.
– Liberace was an American entertainer, famous for his campy and flamboyant piano shows. From the 1950s – 1970s, he was the highest paid entertainer in the world. In one of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets, he was also gay… something he never publicly admitted. He even sued at least one British and one American newspaper for libel over such accusations. However, he died of complications from AIDS in 1987 and in 1982 he was sued for palimony by Scott Thorson, his 24 year-old bodyguard, driver and alleged live-in boyfriend. Interestingly, Thorson would end up being a crucial witness for the prosecution in the Wonderland Gang Murders.
– When Ray first mentions “The King Dong Job”, Alex suggests that it’s a code word. Gene then says “that, or they’re making a bluey starring Daley Thompson”. A “bluey” is, of course, a porn film. Francis Morgan Oyodélé Thompson (commonly known as Daley Thompson), is a former decathlete from England who “won the decathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984, and broke the world record for the event four times”.
– When Ray tells Gene about Tiny Tim’s poisoning, Gene says “What is this, Smiley’s People?” This refers to a 1979 novel of the same name by noted spy author John le Carré. In the book, protagonist George Smiley is called out of retirement to investigate the death of a former Soviet General turned British agent living anonymously in London.
– Hendon Police College was also mentioned in episode 4 of this season (the “Jackie Queen” episode)
– I love Shaz’s accent. Her “how ya doin’, baby?” after she shoots the rogue cop is priceless!
– The churchyard Alex follows Summers into has a sign that says “St. Joseph’s [something]”. A quick Google search reveals no churches in London with “St. Joseph” in the name.
– It’s interesting that when Sam Tyler transitioned from one world to the next, the screen faded to black, but when Alex does the same, the screen fades to white.
– Why does the doctor call him “Mr Jarrod” and not “Dr Jarrod”?
– The main plot of Operation Rose was probably inspired by the Brinks Mat Robbery of November, 1983. In this, six robbers, thinking they were going to get £3 million in cash, broke into a Brinks facility at Heathrow Airport. Instead, they found 3 tons of gold, valued at £26 million. The gang gained entrance to the warehouse thanks to Anthony Black, a security guard who worked there, and who was the brother-in-law of Brian Robinson, the mastermind behind the crime. It didn’t take police long to figure out the connection between Black and Robinson, and the gang leaders were quickly rounded up and sent to prison. Interestingly, although police have found a handful of gold bars here and there over the years, the vast majority of the bullion was never recovered. Here’s a really interesting article from The Guardian in 2008 about the heist, and how the police are still working on the case 25 years later. I should also note that the Brinks heist apparently had nothing to do with police corruption, which is why I said “inspired by”. There’s no real connection other than the Brinks job was a gold heist that happened at around the same time at this season of Ashes to Ashes.
– And finally… just wow! So can Gene really communicate with Alex in 2008… or is she just crazy? After all, there’s nothing really “special” about 2008-era communications that would allow someone to contact the past, so by that measure, why couldn’t someone from 1982 contact the future? But if Alex isn’t crazy (i.e., imagining Gene on the TV), then what does it mean that Gene can contact the future, exactly? Is Alex not fully “cured”? Does she have some “unfinished business” from the past? Or is Alex actually in a coma in 1982 and is only imagining that she’s back in 2008 (a “coma-within-a-coma” scenario)? Or is Gene Hunt in a coma in the modern day, and the entire “Life On Ashes” universe a construct of the comatose? What’s the deal? And why do we have to wait until 2010 to find out?
– I stand by my assertion that there will not be a third “Life On Ashes” series, because there’s no good post-1983 David Bowie songs to name the series after. As much as I love Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt, I just don’t think anyone would want to watch a show called Loving The Alien!
MUSIC HEARD IN THIS EPISODE:
Simple Minds – “Hunter And The Hunted”
Roxy Music – “While My Heart Is Still Beating”
The Associates – “Club Country”
OMD – “Maid Of Orleans”