This episode beings with Gene discussing two arson incidents in the past week – one targeted at a Conservative councilor, the other at Green Hill army barracks. The 1983 general election is coming up, and it seems that someone has a bone to pick with the government. Gene is afraid that whoever is starting the fires might want to make an even bigger statement tomorrow… Election Day.
Jim walks in the office, and Ray tells him that they do care about him… as Chris presents him with a cheese tray. Everyone is disappointed when Keats says that Operation Countryman will keep him in the office a “wee bit longer”, because D&C want him to go through the past three years of cases. Gene tells him to just “be a man” and admit that he’s snooping.
Jim also says the Home Office has asked Special Branch to take care of the arson case. Gene complains, and Jim says that he told his superiors that Hunt and Company are capable of handling the case. Jim then gives Gene the floor. Gene says that the attacks could be IRA; Alex says to trust her that they weren’t. Jim asks if she knows something they don’t. Alex says that she just knows that she’s right. Gene tells Jim that this is Alex on a good day. Gene then tells the gang that he wants “every anarchist, commie, Trotskyist, pinko, leftie, greasy bastard student” rounded up. Alex sarcastically asks if he’s forgotten anyone. Chris, taking her seriously, mentions Vanessa Redgrave. “Good point,” replies Gene. Shaz, on the phone, announces that a polling station is also on fire.
This episode begins with Alex having a dream… in which Gene and the gang recreate Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” video:
Alex wakes up, and static crackles on the TV. A lonely Alex looks at the TV and asks where everyone is.
Back at the station, “Uptown Girl” plays on the radio as workers hammer and saw and make other construction noise. Shaz jumps up and asks who long they’re going to be, as they’re giving her a headache. The workers say that they’re “dragging this place into 1983”. Chris tries to comfort her with some small talk, but a short-fused Shaz tells him to get lost.
“My name is Alex Drake… and, quite frankly, your guess is as good as mine.”
So begins season 3 of Ashes to Ashes. The credits start the episode, and we’re then sent to 2008 (or is it 2009 yet?), where Alex is talking to a therapist. The two discuss how “real” her visions of the early 80s world were. The doctor then asks if she’s still “hearing voices”. Alex says that she isn’t. She’s asked if she still dreams about Gene Hunt and we then see a montage of Hunt kicking ass to the tune of Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries”. Alex ignores the question. Then doctor then asserts that her “dream world” wasn’t real. Alex says that Sam Tyler was in a coma too, and that he went to the same place as Alex, so how could it be possible for the two of them to “imagine” the same thing? The doctor assures her that Sam Tyler is dead and that the world she imagined isn’t real.
We next see Alex at an electronics store looking at DVDs. She “sees” a DVD for a movie called Legal Force, which has Gene, Ray, Chris and Shaz on the cover:
We’re pretty sure she’s imagining it, especially when, a few minutes later, we see Ray suddenly appear on a wall full of TVs. He’s begging her to wake up, as a girl has been kidnapped and, with Hunt on the run from the authorities for shooting Drake, he (Ray) has been put in charge. The screens then burst into static for a second, and then Chris appears, offering Drake a melon (he says he couldn’t find grapes). He too begs her for help with the kidnapping. He then says that Shaz will be coming in soon, and also mentions that he and Shaz have broken up. Another burst of static, and we see Shaz, who offers to clean up the melon on the floor. She then gives an emotional plea to Alex, saying that she made CID better then left her hanging.
I was out of town last week when the first episode of season 3 of Ashes to Ashes aired in the UK. I didn’t get to watch the episode until I returned home this past Monday night.
I have company coming in from out of town this weekend, so when I heard the announcer say that Ashes would “return in two weeks”, I was happy. I figured that this would give me lots of time this week to catch up on errands and clean up the house for my guests, so I could start on the recap next Monday… and be fully ready for episode two next week.
Well, come to find out the “back in two weeks” thing only applies to the high-def version of the show. BBC HD is apparently running coverage of The Masters golf tournament this week on their HD channel. So the SD version will air in the UK in just a couple of hours.
So it seems that I’ll be two episodes behind when I start the recaps on Monday. My apologies – life got in the way the past two weeks!
Gene Hunt, the Detective Chief Inspector from Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes is, to put it bluntly, the best cop in the history of television. Yes, he’s better than Joe Friday. Better than Kojak. Better than Steve McGarrett. Better than Andy Sipowicz. Better than Columbo. Better than Tony Baretta. Better than the entire cast of The Wire. To paraphrase Lady Caroline Lamb, he’s mad, bad and dangerous to know. But he’s also really funny, too.
Here are bunch of his one-liners, starting with the first thing he ever said to Sam Tyler, the protagonist from Life On Mars:
Gene Hunt: They reckon you’ve got concussion – I couldn’t give a tart’s furry cup if ‘alf your brains are falling out. Don’t ever waltz into my kingdom acting king of the jungle. Sam Tyler: Who the hell are you? Gene Hunt: Gene Hunt. Your DCI. And it’s 1973. Almost dinner time. I’m ‘aving ‘oops.
“You are surrounded by armed bastards!”
“You great… soft… sissy… girlie… nancy… French… bender… Man United supporting POOF!”
“He’s got fingers in more pies than a leper on a cookery course.”
“I think she’s as fake as a tranny’s fanny.”
“She’s as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.”
“Drugs, eh? What’s the point? They make you forget, make you talk funny, make you see things that aren’t there. My old grandma got all of that for free when she had a stroke.”
I know my blog seems like “all TV all the time” lately, but really it’s just that the Mad Men recaps were leaving me little time or energy for anything else. Hopefully now that season 3 is done, things will get back to normal around here.
Having said that, I did want to link to an update about season 3 of Ashes to Ashes. This post over at Cathode Ray Tube has some interesting info about the filming of season 3. It’s light on the spoilers, but a good read nevertheless.
Filming has started for the final season of Ashes to Ashes, and Cathode Ray Tube has this nice post about it, including some pics of the cast… which includes a few pictures of Keeley Hawes’ new circa 1983 haircut:
It’s a good read; if you’re an Ashes fan, you should really check it out. In case you’re concerned, it’s pretty much spoiler-free, although Philip Glenister does talk about John Simm’s (lack of) a role in Ashes.
Here’s a list of all the songs heard on the show Ashes to Ashes, updated to include season 2.
UPDATE:Here’s the final playlist, with season 3 included.
Ultravox – “Vienna”
The Clash – “I Fought the Law”
Tubeway Army – “Are Friends Electric?”
The Stranglers – “No More Heroes”
David Bowie – “Ashes to Ashes”
The Passions – “I’m In Love With A German Film Star”
Duran Duran – “Hungry Like the Wolf”
Duran Duran – “Careless Memories”
Roxy Music – “Same Old Scene”
Tenpole Tudor – “Swords of a Thousand Men”
Madness – “The Prince”
Imagination – “Body Talk”
The Flying Lizards – “Money”
Visage – “Fade to Grey”
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Souvenir”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Geno”
The Pop Group – “We Are All Prostitutes”
Heaven 17 – “Fascist Groove Thang”
Jon and Vangelis – “I Hear You Now”
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – “Show Me”
Chas and Dave – “Gertcha”