Life on Mars (UK)

Season 2 Episode 1

Episode 1

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Feb 13, 2007 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
115 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Sam sees the chance to prevent a murder when he comes across the younger version of a villain he will arrest in the future. But he worries that, back in 2006, Tony Crane might be released from remand and exact revenge on Sam's comatose body.

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  • Season two screeches its wheels as some of the worst elements of Season 1 become the focus of this episode

    The pilot of Life on Mars was one of the best pilots in TV history. It had everything, a self-conclusive story, great character setup, even some developing and a great hook for the rest of the season. I was hoping more of that on season two, but it's not there yet.

    For starters, this episode feels like it's missing half an hour. In a different production schedule, this storyline would have easily granted a two-parter. As it is, the plot has to rely on a rather large ellipsis, plus on an otherwise cool villain jumping the gun and precipitating the end of a proper second act by quite a bit. Sam and Gene don't crack this one, the bad guy just decides to have them killed, exposing himself in a way that seems to be more a necessity of the script than a logical evolution of the plot.

    Exposition is also handled in a slightly disappointing fashion. We get obvious foreshadowing of at least two plot devices, plus the introduction of a whole new nemesis for Sam... who gets neatly blown out of the picture by the end of the episode. Again, with more time all of these could have been pulled off better. The inconsequential scenes where they are introduced would be less conspicuous and the mention of a new villain who traumatized Sam would be less jarring, not to mention more emotionally involving if it was at least given some foreshadowing before he's introduced.

    We've seen this kind of thing in Season 1. There were a couple of episodes that made movements like this. They came in the middle of the season, so I could safely consider them the unavoidable small bumps in an otherwise well paved road. This one is a series opener, and I expected more from it.moreless
  • Powerless Written by Matthew Graham Directed by S.J. Clarkson

    Tony (to Sam): "It's over. You're no longer the hero. You're powerless. Look at you. You couldn't save Eve and no-one can save you".

    Season Two of any show is make or break time and with the first episode in, it safely looks like this series wasn't a flash in the pan. This is a good thing seeing as this episode threw something to confound our expectations on the nature of Sam being in 1973.

    The episode opened on a really creepy note with someone back in 2006 trying to kill him. Not that it takes much to freak Sam out but this did genuinely come across as menacing and once again, it was Annie who Sam ended up spilling the beans to about his nightmare.

    Of course Sam's nightmares had to take a backseat with Gene when a bus full of dead people had the journalists in a frenzy. We've seen Gene and journalists interact so it's no surprise that there is still some hostility there. However while Sam might not approve of Gene's attitude towards the press, he does gain an upper hand.

    All through Season One, Sam has been banging on at large about things being done by the book. Meeting up with Gene's former DC (and now Supt) Harry Woolf meant that Sam was able to see Gene be on his best behaviour. Sam didn't hold back in his pride of seeing fellow officers doing things professionally either.

    That being said, everytime Sam gets a moment to be smug, there's at least another few that knock him down. When Annie discovers a chip linked to George's corpse, a certain trip into the Wild card club stirs some pretty bad memories for Sam when the proprietor Tony Crane makes his presence.

    Marc Warren is one of those actors who's virtually been in every show and as a guest villain; Tony is one of the best ones we've had. It's established that in 2006, an older version of Tony is mentally torturing a comatose Sam and in 1973, Sam is determined to stop Tony before he can grow into a criminal mastermind.

    It's funny that for all of Sam's preaching about doing things by the books that this episode would be able to use that concept against him. Even Gene seems to take a little satisfaction in denying Sam the pleasure to stitch Tony up. Then again as right as Sam is about Tony, he can be a bit annoying about it too.

    The constant use of jumping into the future at different moment to emphasise Tony's terror on Sam is good. Dramatically it works well in Sam's motivations but isn't it about time he stopped confiding in Annie about his future insight? I know its part of the writer's attempts to forge them together but Annie is getting pretty sick of Sam going on about being a time traveller.

    Sam seems to be getting on everyone's wick in this episode. Both Gene and Ray aren't best pleased with him trying to make things complicated and even when he's able to get Tony arrested for lying about a chip, he still fails to convince everyone that the man is an evil monster.

    Even Tony's long suffering girlfriend (and abused/murdered wife in 2006) Eve doesn't want to help Sam out. I suppose I can understand why she thinks he might be a madman. That being said, it's not like she's entirely unaware of what Tony's really like and even when Sam does get his way, Eve still slaps him across the chops for sticking his nose.

    As for the cat and mouse between Sam and Tony, definitely the best part of the episode. John Simm and Marc Warren work brilliantly in their many scenes together and although this Tony isn't as menacing as his future version, he's still an incredibly effective baddie to have.

    That being said, Sam is beginning to seriously play with fire. It's bad enough that he keeps insisting to Annie that he's from the future but telling Tony all about it seemed insane. Maybe Sam was hoping that Tony would slip up with this information but there are so many other ways that it could've gone.

    For instance Tony's henchmen nearly had Sam and Gene killed. The silly last request for a smoke managed to save Sam and Gene from the henchmen. Annie's skills with the stinger managed to stop Tony from running Sam down. As per usual that girl is excellent in a crisis and given that Sam was having serious headaches throughout the episode he should be grateful for both Gene and Annie in this episode.

    The best scene however was in the police station. Tony came out and told everyone that Sam thought of them as figments and himself as a time traveller. If Annie had backed up Tony, then Sam would've been deeply screwed. Instead she said nothing as Sam made out that Tony was imagining it all.

    Sam might not have gotten Tony sent down for murder but shoving into a psych ward for the rest of his days ended up changing history. Perhaps Eve fared better off too even if she didn't appreciate Sam's interference. Sam needs to tread more carefully though as his own mental state will be looked at.

    Also the thing that turned this episode on its head was that Sam seems to be in 1973 for a reason and Hyde are responsible for it. It's a satisfying throw in and hopefully we'll get a brilliant answer to it. Either way it does look like that Sam could be getting closer to going home but whether or not he'll want to when the time comes is the other thing.

    As for the other characters, while Ray wasn't unbearable in this episode I don't blame Sam for objecting to him getting a promotion. Having Annie taking over Ray's position as DC is a nice move. I also loved the way Annie was able to combat Ray. She might look sweet but she's clever and that's more interesting than her cuteness or affections toward Sam.

    Also in "Episode 9"

    No Test Card Girl in this episode. Maybe she's not needed anymore or will just recur from time to time.

    Woolf (re Gene): "You've got the best here".

    Sam: "I weep with happiness every morning".

    This episode actually showed us Sam back in 2006 in a nightmare sequence. Given that the second season was the last, the end is definitely nigh.

    Tony: "Are you feeling okay?"

    Sam: "Don't you touch me".

    Sam: "Up all night".

    Chris: "Oh aye, what was her name?"

    Sam: "Migraine".

    It's nice to see that Chris is still a little clueless as to when Sam is being sarcastic. Ray still hates his guts as well.

    Annie: "If it's so awful then why are you still here?"

    Sam: "Believe me I wake up every morning and ask myself that same question".

    Tony (to Sam): "Your life is in my hands and your luck is running out".

    Yasmin Bannerman who played Eve was Jabe in Doctor Who's "The End Of The World" and Kathy in Torchwood's "They Keep Killing Suzie".

    Tony: "Come on Tyler, beg for your life".

    Sam: "No".

    Tony (re Eve): "Like she did".

    Gene: "Go on, walk out. Give me a reason to knock the crap out of you".

    Sam: "I've wasted enough time already".

    That guy Russell Askey was going on about the world not being real. Does he actually feel the same as Sam? Probably not as he did seem genuinely insane.

    Tony: "I'm not a killer".

    Sam: "Oh come off it, Tony. You were a born monster. You just don't know it yet".

    Tony: "Go on Sam, get it off your chest. You know you want to".

    Gene: "Get what off your chest Sam?"

    Standout music: "Spooky" by Dusty Springfield, "Star Man" by David Bowie and of course, "Bring Me Sunshine" by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

    Tony: "No doctor will sign that".

    Gene: "They always do what I tell them".

    Chronology: None is specified since the first season finale and this episode. I don't think it's too long though.

    As openers go, this was a good one. Life On Mars is definitely not a flash in the pan in terms of series. The show is adding more elements to Sam's ongoing mystery and continues to flesh him out as a character. This is also a brilliant start to what looks to be a good final season for the series.moreless
  • Right back into 1973 (a vintage year)

    I think the producers of the show have taken an interesting route with this season and are factoring in the effects of Sam Tyler's presence in the past and also how those effects can come back to affect him in 1973.

    I really enjoyed this episode as I just loved the fashion and the authentic 70's feel. Or what I assume it mus have felt like the year I was born.

    Marc Warren was an absolute treat and it was great to see him playing such a brilliant bad guy. I always like to see him on screen. As usual, John Simm's acting is inspired and I am really starting to love all the other coppers too, especially Gene Hunt (played by Phillip Glenister).moreless
  • Good start to series 2

    After last years brilliant series 1 with it being left up to the view to decide if Sam really has gone back in time, series 2 picked up with a bang.

    Marc Warren was the right choice to play Casino boss Tony Crane who Sam, in 2006, convicts but in 1973 is trying to stop him becoming that person by bangin' im up.

    The story was very will written from start to finish and you can see Sam desperately trying to get Crane put away to help protect others in the future. However in doing so ends up being attacked while in his hospital bed by Crane who is an escaped mental patient. In trying to prevent Crane becoming a killer he changes the perceived future, showing that his actions in 1973 do not always work out for his 2007 self.

    Also the introduction of the mystery Hyde caller who Sam can now talk to and they can hear him is certainly making this look to be great series. I hope that in 8 weeks time we get a good ending and really not some quick fix ending.moreless
  • Armed with knowledge of the future, Sam believes that local casino owner Tony Crane is behind a series of murders. Meanwhile, someone supposedly by his bedside in 2006 is harming him, and it appears that it is Crane's future self.moreless

    A great start to the new series. A series of murders are traced back to a local casino helmed by Tony Crane (Marc Warren). Despite Gene's insistence, Sam believes Crane to be guilty, and the two characters go through a near role reversal: Gene playing things by the book, while Sam is desperate to get a conviction.

    The first episode of the second season sets things up well: Sam gets to explore more of who he is and he begins to appreciate Gene's rough approach to policing, especially when he finds himself employing his superior's methods. There are further allusions to the future (Sam introducing the team to stingers, used to end police chases).

    The story is complicated by Sam's belief that someone is harming him while comatosed in 2006, and that it is Tony Crane. His 1973 self suffers pain and blackouts each time Crane does something in the future, so not only does he have to stop the first series of murders, he has to prevent his own 33 years in the future.

    There are enough of the "television talking to Sam" scenes to heighten the suspense, while a final clue introduced toward the end of the episode is unlike those that he has received before: it comes with confirmation that at least the telephone operator in 1973 knows of it. A great way to kick off the final 2007 season.moreless
Gemma Wardle

Gemma Wardle


Guest Star

Julian Kay

Julian Kay


Guest Star

Michael Atkinson

Michael Atkinson


Guest Star

Tony Marshall

Tony Marshall


Recurring Role

Noreen Kershaw

Noreen Kershaw

Phyllis Dobbs

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Skelton: Boss? Bloody hell. You look like something out of the Addams family.
      Sam: Up all night.
      Skelton: Ah right. What was her name?
      Sam: Migraine.
      Skelton: German bird?

    • Hunt: We need solid leads.
      Sam: How about the casino?
      Hunt: Not now, I'm working.

    • Skelton: It don't half make it easier when they're space rangers. No briefs, no statements, no dull stuff. Call the quacks, end of story.
      Sam: He sees things.
      Skelton: Yeah, poor messed up sod.

    • Sam: So, we preserve the scene, we dust for prints
      Hunt: You've seen it out there, Sam. People are scared. Pull in someone from the "we don't like you" list, put their dabs on the hammer, charge 'em, whip it past the beak. There's lots of scum out there that deserve another spell inside. Buy us more time.

    • Sam: Do you keep a journalist chained in your basement for random beatings, guv?

    • Sam: We pull him in, we put the squeeze on him. Why is that so hard for you to agree to?
      Hunt: Because I am policing in the full glare of the public bloody eye, and the Chief Super is taking a personal interest and we also have no flipping evidence! And I can't believe I just said that!

    • Dobbs: Now, I'm going to talk slowly so you understand. This is not the Magna Carta, just put an X!

    • (Sam doubles up in pain.)
      Annie: You all right?
      Sam: Yeah, I'm fine.
      Annie: What was all that about? You're as white as a sheet, you are.
      Sam: I didn't sleep very well last night. Nightmares. I was dreaming about, you know, where I come from.
      Annie: You mean, woo, Hyde.

    • Woolf: I'm saying it to all divisions, the city needs to feel safe, Gene. Point is, this is under the glare. So, let's make it clean, make it count. Yes?
      Sam: That would be by the book then, sir.
      Woolf: Yes, that's it, by the jolly old book.

    • Woolf [ of Sam ]: He's not so different from you when you were my D.I., Gene.
      Hunt: Minus the looks, of course.

    • Woolf: So, you're the boy wonder.
      Sam: Inspector Tyler, sir.
      Woolf: Chief Superintendent Harry Woolf. You're a lucky man, Tyler. [ indicating Hunt ] You've got the best here.
      Sam: I weep with happiness every morning, sir.

    • Hunt: What's up with you?
      Sam: I'm dying!
      Hunt: Rubbish! Look like you do every Sunday morning!

    • Russell Askey: You don't understand. I'm seeing things. Get off me! No one believes me, but it's true. I see things. I have visuals.
      Sam: Hey, hey, hey. Just calm down.
      Askey: It's horrible. 'Cause I know the truth and no one else does.
      Sam: Just chill out, OK?
      Askey: The world isn't what they think. How'd you think that makes me feel? So alone. I'm so alone!

  • NOTES (2)

    • Music used in this episode:
      Head In The Sky by Atomic Rooster
      Street Life by Roxy Music
      Break Through by Atomic Rooster
      Son Of My Father by Chicory Tip
      Everybody Gets To Go To The Moon by Three Degrees
      Spooky by Dusty Springfield
      Year Of Decision by Three Degrees
      Star Man by David Bowie
      and Bring Me Sunshine, made famous by Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise

    • The BBC's original intention for the second season was to broadcast the following weeks's episode on BBC Four at 10.00pm, immediately after an episode aired on BBC One, although this practice was quickly abandoned. (See Episode 3.)


    • Skelton: Boss? Bloody hell. You look like something out of the Addams family.

      The Addams Family (1964-1966, US) was a show about a creepy family who were typified by pale skin from seldom going out in the sunlight.