Ashes to Ashes

Season 3 Episode 8

Episode 8

Aired Thursday 9:00 PM May 21, 2010 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
70 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Gene leads an investigation into a diamond heist, but Alex is more interested in finding out what really happened to Sam Tyler. When she disappears, Gene sets off in pursuit, leaving the rest of the team to see through an ambitious sting operation.

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  • The end of an era

    That was an extremly mind blowing final episode to what has been a 5 series extraordinary story. The way those last scenes were written made it seem like this was the origonal planned ending for Life on Mars with Sam taking the place of Alex, only the popularity of LOM gave birth to Ashes to Ashes, and we had 5 series of Gene instead of the origonally planned 3. This, I think, I prefer.

    So putting this into perspective. Gene died and is clinging on to a purgatory place living out the life he always dreamed of living. Other police who died ended up with him, living in his fantasy world, being so immersed in it that eventually they all forgot who they were, Gene included. As for Alex and Sam; they saw visions of the real world because they were not yet dead; it was sort of a really intense Near Death Experiance. Except Sam chose to return to this world and in the end Gene had to let him go on, into the Railway Arms and into I suppose Heaven (is Nelson God?) Alex died in hospital, meaning she never did wake up before. Her messages stopped, and Keats came to tempt her to hell, along with the rest of them. If they listened to him they'd have ended up in hell. Gene was a sort of guardian for them, not being able to move on himself.

    Quite a conodrum. But it all makes sense and its clear they have had this planned from the start. All I can say is... wow. What a conclusion. It did great justice to the 49 episodes that came before it. The writing was subline (that is obvious) as is the conception, but also the acting must be given a special mention. Phillip Glensiter especially has created an icon with Gene Hunt, and I have no doubt he'll recieve legondary status for it, if he hasn't already.

    Now THAT'S how you wrap up a TV show. Pay attention yanks! And despite confusion and a crime of the week story that was a tad confusing, this was an epic hour of television.moreless
  • Finally the audience get to see what Ashes and Life on Mars is really all about. We discover who Gene really is, what happened to Sam, why Alex is where she is and what it means for the rest of the team.moreless

    It was a very good ending to the series and the franchise. It was really well written and acted by the amazing cast. To be honest, I had a feeling that it had something to do with Alex being in limbo but I just couldn't get my head around all the other factors involved in the plot like how Ray, Shaz, Chris and Keats fitted into it but it was really well thought out and produced. There were a few little things that for me poked a few little holes in the story but on a whole, they really delivered with the ending and I liked how it was played out.

    I was a bit disappointed there was no happy ending in the sense that Gene and Alex got together but that's because I'm a romantic but the writers did a compromise having Gene and Alex kiss keeping some of the fans, me included happy that they acknowledged their feelings for one another but then having Alex going off to heaven with Ray, Chris and Shaz but Gene saying to help the other dead policemen that will continue to show up at his door. I had tears in my eyes when Alex found out that she had died and wasn't going to be reunited with her daughter Molly who she had battled to get back to ever since she had arrived in the eighties world.

    Loved it when Gene finally punched Keats as he has really deserved it for the last few weeks. I am sad that it is finished, I'm really going to miss it.moreless
  • *WARNING SPOILERS* I tried not to do the cliche of 10 out of 10, but if I'm honest this deserves nothing less. A shining example of the the one thing that most shows never pull off properly: the ending.moreless

    The team are dealing with a diamond smuggling ring when Keats decides to deliver his report. Following her lead, Alex investigates the mystery of the injured officer and Sam Tyler's fate. The revelation is nothing short of world-shattering:

    Gene Hunt is dead; killed thirty years ago and dumped in a shallow grave.

    The drama in masterfully paced, from the case set-up at the beginning, the reveal of Gene Hunt's true past in the middle and the final resolution, all of which come at the right moments and are written expertly.

    Philip Glenister and Daniel Mays shine through again. Gene's broken self-pity is believable and heartbreaking; Keats' disquietening insanity is as entertaining as it is disturbing.

    Ray, Chris and Shaz also have their share of bad news, as they too are also dead and the sequences displaying their deaths are directed well. Keats' attempts to trick them to into damnation are nothing short of terrifying.

    The resolution is satisfying and makes sence in context with what we have seen already. Alex has been dead all along and in a great sequence towards the end, she must choose Gene or Keats; moving on or clinging to her daughter.

    Overall, I don't think we could have asked for anything finer. Not really open for continuation (which is how I like my endings) but I'd still like to see how Hunt gets along with his new Merc...moreless
  • Very disappointing ending to what had been a fine franchise.

    It literally became a deus ex machina resolution, despite the obvious signposts. In fact it was too obvious. The policemen's limbo was revealed early on in the episode when we learnt Gene was a dead copper who guided similar souls. The only twist - Alex was dead too. Keats the devil had all the hallmarks of the worst pantomime villain. More plot-holes than Blackburn, Lancashire. The US Life on Mars ending was better. A real shame. If it were a little more subtle with some ambiguity it might have been a little more palatable. US cable networks do much better.moreless
  • *Warning Spoilers* A very special ending to a very special series

    I have watched LoM and A2A from the beginning and I am now very sad that it has come to an end. Keeley Hawes and Philip Glenister were the perfect partnership. In my opinion I think that Gene and Jim were not God and the Devil but they both worked for them, helpers if you will. Gene eased people into death to send them to heaven and Jim wanted their souls in Hell. The elevator and the screaming made that clear. Daniel Mays was an excellent addittion to the team, his acting was brilliant. You never quite knew till the last 2 episodes if he was good or evil. His cockney charm and those cheeks just couldn't let us make up our minds. However the gnarling and growling at Gene at the end of the last episode was trying to show a point already understood. We knew he was the bad guy there was no need to exaggerate it.

    Gene got carried away and believed that he could keep Shaz, Ray and Chris. He was very fond of them and didn't want to let them pass. However, when they started doing things for themselves i.e setting up the jewel heist it became clear that they no longer needed the guv and could make a decision to go with Jim or to the Pub.

    The videotapes of their deaths were an excellent idea as we find out just why Ray had all that pent up anger towards his dad.

    I am going to miss this show so much and I just hope that the Gene Genie will return in some way or another. I do have one question though.....

    Why did Sam go the 70's and why did Alex go to the 80's..... I thought Sam went to the 70's due to Life on Mars playing in his car at the time of the crash (which still makes me jump off the sofa)

    There was no music playing when Alex was shot, was there?moreless

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