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dark Dean

Episode 2.08 review (LoM)

Posted on 2007.04.12 at 14:12
Current Mood: draineddrained
Current Music: The Hits of David Bowie
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Two days later, the review.  I've waited until I could have some less emotional response than on first viewing.  It hasn't worked, though - I'm still crying at the end.  It's the combination of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and the dictated 'My Name is Sam Tyler' that keeps kicking off the tears.

Anyway, I tried to make some notes last night.  First thing was, I tried to keep a tally of the use of the words 'strong enough' and gave up at about 13 or so.  I wonder if that was supposed to be relevant in some way!

Liked the neat inclusion of Jimmy Saville - "a clot it is not"!  Very Jim!  Also the clever insertion of the 'Hyde Anvil Stout' poster during the washing line driving scene.

I have issues with how this fits into the progression of the series to date.  We've been given to believe that Sam is coming to accept and like 1973, culminating in last week's ep about trust and believing in what you see in front of you.  And yes, this links well to Sam's ultimate decision to return there, but there seemed (for Sam) to be a surprising lack of angsting over the fact that he'd have to betray and destroy Gene, this man he's come to trust and (even) love so much.  He seemed too eager to go along with it.

And when Sam started giving Morgan details of the case in the corridor, I was horrified.  Bad bad Sam!  How could you?  Also, Sam's attitude to violent interviews seemed at worst distinctly hypocritical, at best deeply inconsistent with what we saw in ep 5 ('This is deep interrogation').

I just loved the little symmetries and hints at early S1 eps that cropped up all over the place.  'I don't hate everything about this place', Sam's hand on Annie's heart (no no, not copping a feel, not at all!), the cut in the meeting with its ref to the 'real/unreal' shaving scene, Gene saying 'Off you jolly well trot'.  Also, at one stage, Annie snapped her fingers, and I was instantly transported back to the mill episode, and Gene telling Sam to trust this (his instincts).

And, best of all, the way they used the Schrodinger's Cat, is Annie still there when the door closes idea to make the appearance of the CTCG the most terrifying horror moment since her very first appearance.  I genuinely wan't expecting it at all, and Sam's reaction was so intense.

I was wondering, also, about the fact that the undercover op is, according to Sam, illegal without appropriate authorisation.  Not just how many similar ops Sam has gone along with, and the fact that undercover work was his flaming idea in the first place (S2ep4), but - Gene Hunt is a DCI and head of divisional CID, which to my mind gives him the necessary rank to authorise such an op.  And I'm sure getting the Super's signature wouldn't have been difficult.

I really changed my mind about Ray in this ep.  I've never been much of a fan - well no, that's not accurate, I don't like the character but I've never really thought you're supposed to - he's Sam's nemesis after all.  But when he said, "You've never stood shoulder to shoulder with us", I was cheering.  Well said, Ray.  What a perceptive chap you turned out to be.

I was very excited when I did the maths and found that Sam's coach crash would have happened in 1981.  I went bowling onto TRA this morning to impart my wisdom and await gasps, only to find that Blanca had beaten me to it by just ages!  Well done!

The graveyard scene just blew me away, and still does, despite the fact that the premise was clearly wrong.  The amnesia answer didn't take into account any of Sam's 2006/7 knowledge, and I was screaming 'iPod!  Mobile!  Britney!' and other such inanities.  But what acting.  I cannot express how incredible John Simm was in this scene, and the following one in the office.  He broke my heart, right there.  Best moments - the change of expression from 'I'm in a coma, Frank', as Frank asks him if he's heard doctors talking to him.  The moment when he sees the Sam Tyler' headstone.  And the haunted look in the office when Frank says 'you can still come home', and Sam realises that's not the home he wanted to go home to.

Incidentally, another ep ref there.  Sam says 'I need more time.  I can't think'.  Echoing the words of that lad from S2ep5 (oh I forget his name, the one whose interview we saw from the two perspectives).  Anyway, what's interesting about that is that, describing that interview, Gene detailed his technique, emotionally break the suspect then offer them a lifeline.  Which is what Frank was doing to Sam.  Very clever.

And when Frank gave Sam the mobile radio, I thought then that Sam would click and remember his mobile phone.  But he didn't.  Ah well.

On the third watch, I spotted, in the train, just after Sam promises Annie he won't leave her, what I think is Gene shouting, "Let him go, then.  We'll cover you."  That's my Gene.  He must be angry as hell, but he's backing Sam up - he still trusts him.  Presumably despite himself.

And yet another reference, in the tunnel Sam accuses Morgan of letting them die 'to prove a point'.  Taking us back to the Kim Trent ep, where Gene accuses Sam of doing exactly that, in those words.  It was so horrific, though - I really thought we were going to see the whole lot gunned down in front of us.

At this point, I stopped making notes.  I was just dragged back into the ep.  That wake up is amazing.  Slammed back into the harsh blue-grey chill of the modern world.  And Frank still looking sinister.

I don't think there was ever any doubt that Sam was going to go back, and it was confimed when Sam's (strangely unemotional) mum said 'You always keep your promises'.  The meeting was bizarre, the people in it were cartoon-like.  Sam on the roof was spectacular.  How can one person convey so much without any words, any gestures, more than small facial and head movements.  Everything Sam was thinking was laid wide open.  You could see exactly when Sam decided to go through with it, the moment when he thought about what he was leaving behind, the moment when he thought about what he was about to return to (that smile and the dip of the head, but was it Annie or Gene he was thinking of?!)  And the utter joy as he ran and jumped.  In my next life, I want to be John Simm!

Anyhow, that's almost it.  Two more points though.

One, the last four minutes.  If you're John Simm, they're un-necessary.  I can see that.  But not everyone in the show was John Simm, and we're owed a last chance to see them too - these are other characters we've grown to love.  No stage production would just finish without the audience having a chance to applaud the cast.  Those last scenes are light, inane, and meaningless.  They are the cast taking a bow.  And fair play, they've worked bloody hard for it.  I applaud them and love them all.

Two, the suicide.  I've posted this somewhere else too.  


Whatever we may think about the reality of the situation, whether Sam is in fact weak for giving in, should have given 2007 more of a go, would have devastated those left behind who had just got used to his recovery etc etc is absolutely true.  Sam is a man suffering from a brain tumour, the aftereffects of a prolonged coma and brain surgery, probably clinically depressed, maybe even undergoing some form of post-traumatic stress.  But he doesn't see it that way.  All he sees is that he doesn't feel, therefore he's not alive.  He knows that in 1973 he can feel, therefore there he is alive, therefore that's where he should be.  And so, for him the suicide is a determined act of faith and joy.

And that's it.

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