Ashes to Ashes (3.1): More questions than answers

So, we have eight weeks to finally unravel what’s been going on in Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, and we got off to a cracking start last night. From Alex’s new introduction – “My name is Alex Drake and frankly your guess is as good as mine” to our first sighting of DCI Gene Hunt – the Audi Quattro roaring across the screen to the Ride of the Valkyries, Hunt in full-on sheriff mode (it seeems Alex may harbour fantasies of being rescued from various types of badness by the Gene Genie too) – it was good to be back in Gene’s world.

Alex appeared to have gone back to the future… but it was only a dream – one she was literally slapped out of by Gene Hunt, who needed her to clear his name with D and C (Discipline and Complaints) after he accidentally shot her at the end of Series 2. Question one, what’s the significance of the news report of a body dug up in the present day?

Talking of D and C, here enters DCI Jim Keats – is he also from the future? He says he wants to help Alex, but is telling the truth? Questions two and three.

There is also the Case of the Week to solve – a little girl called Dorothy Blond has been kidnapped. Ray Carling has been running the investigation while Gene has been hiding out abroad (“the Isle of Wight. But that was shit, so I tried the Costa Brava.”) but with little success. Lucky for Dotty, Alex (yes, in red shoes) and Gene return to squabble, pull faces and eventually save the day.

Frankly it’s amazing Alex gets anything done however, what with being haunted by a dead policeman who seems to be missing half his face (Q4), stumbling on a file about Sam Tyler (Q5), and being subjected to her worst hairstyle yet.

But this isn’t really Alex’s show – I’m not sure I care whether she gets back to Molly anymore – the beating heart of the show is Gene. It may be the braggadocio and one-liners that go down in history, but it’s the vulnerability that we’re occasionally allowed to glimpse that stops him being a cartoon caricature.

The final shot of him through a rain-soaked window, whisky glass in hand, after Keats has vowed to expose his secrets and destroy his reputation, certainly pulled at my heart-strings, even as I did my best to ignore the seeds of doubt the dastardly writers have planted. Damn you Graham and Pharoah!

Still, having slept on it, my faith in the Gene Genie remains. I can’t wait to see what he makes of speed-dating next week.

Posted by Jo the Hat


Filed under Ashes to Ashes

5 responses to “Ashes to Ashes (3.1): More questions than answers

  1. Anne of Green Gables

    What have the Labour Party *done*!!!! Apparently they have put David Cameron a poster, dressed up as Gene Hunt – and with Gene’s car! The Tories will definitely win the election now!

  2. Steven Harris

    The plot twist undermining viewers’ faith in Hunt’s underlying decency is essential. Without it the series could be just a limp parody of the previous two (and Life on Mars). I for one am hoping this series offers more concrete answers to the ultimate question: What on earth has been going on in the apparently comatose brains of Sam Tyler and Alex Drake for the last six years?

  3. DCI Keats is from the future. Must be, he knew who Jeff Dahmer was in tonights episode, of course Jeff Dahmer being very much later than the time set.

  4. Steven Harris

    I wasn’t sure Keats did know Dahmer’s name. There seemed to be an uneasy pause which could mean he was just trying to get Drake onside. Either way it’s anotehr great open-ended element to the series.

    • He is the epitome of ambiguity – which is saying something for this programme! Even if he does know Dahmer, it could be because he’s just another construct in Alex’s mind and therefore knows what she knows.
      But I’m just going with the flow now and trusting the writers to give us a decent ending!