Life on Mars (UK)

Season 2 Episode 3

Episode 3

3
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Mar 06, 2007 on BBC
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
86 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
An anonymous caller reports that the IRA is to start a new bombing campaign in Manchester. Sam doesn't think the warning rings true, but the team loses faith in him and starts to target the Irish community.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • He Was Right And Wrong Written by Julie Rutterford Directed by Richard Clark

    7.0
    Gene: "How do you think I spend my time here, Tyler?"

    Sam: "Building a death star?"

    Gene: "You what?"

    Sam: "Nothing".



    If there are some things that have been predictable about Life On Mars, it's that Sam and Gene will spend a good dose of each episode arguing like spoiled brats and that one of them will be proven right. Failing that you might get the occasional episode where they are both right to a degree.



    This episode opens up with a bomb scare and sees the two of them at loggerheads from the get go. Gene's convinced that it's the IRA but Sam isn't. Worse still is that Sam's goading of Ray winds up seeing the sexist copper nearly blown to smithereens before the opening credits.



    Eleven episodes into the series, it was about time that something would happen to Ray that would illicit some sympathy for him. Dean Andrews is a good actor but Ray's been a mostly repugnant character and while Sam does indulge in the Martyr act a little too much, I always end up siding with him when him and Ray go head to head.



    I even still side with him in this episode. While it was reckless of Sam to dare Ray to go near the car that blew up, it's not like Sam knowingly tried to harm him. Even at the police station, Sam's actions see him largely out of favour with his colleague. Annie even rejects his attempts to donate some cash to Ray's kitty.



    Gene also goes overboard into reminding Sam just how reckless his actions were. However for all the grilling he gives Sam, it's still the two of them who visit Frank Miller's yard when trying to see if any of the Irish workers were responsible for the explosion. The fact that dynamite has also been stolen from Miller is more than coincidental as well.



    Sam is more or less adamant that the IRA isn't responsible for the planned attacks. It's less to do with sympathy and more to do with his own knowledge that no-one else in 1973 possesses. However given that Annie continues to dismiss Sam's insider knowledge nearly every episode, wouldn't it be better if he just kept it to himself?



    Gene meanwhile is convinced that Patrick O'Brien is the bomber and has more than a good time in trying to prove this. Given that Patrick wasn't at work the day after the dynamite was taken and seems to be politically active, Gene totally believes that it has to be him. Sam as per usual thinks differently.



    However to stick with the tried and tested format, Gene spends his time beating the crap out of Patrick in order to get a confession and even though you could guess that Patrick is innocent, he does himself little favours by being hostile with Gene.



    At one point the vitriol both men have for each other descends into even more extreme violence. Gene might not appreciate it, but Sam did him a favour by getting away from Patrick. Gene did come close to actually beating the man to death and that definitely would've been a wasted kill.



    With more threats being made and Ray out of hospital, the tension does amp up. Sam does his best to be civilised and him and Ray even work together when chasing down a potential suspect. Unfortunately for them the would be suspect is unarmed and Ray inadvertently kills the man.



    Usually if Ray does something like this, I would be less sympathetic to the character's plight but it was different. Both Ray and Sam got separated and Sam wasn't audible enough for Ray to follow his instructions. Gene also doesn't make the situation any better either by constantly blaming Sam.



    The intriguing part of the episode is having Sam go to a priest and confess all his professional angst. The reason why this is so good because it's Patrick who he ends up disclosing information to. I think there's a good chance that Sam was bluffing when he said he knew it was Patrick all along.



    On the plus side by snooping around Miller's yard again he was able to figure that it was Miller who's been setting up all the bombs. Doubly funny that Annie went from dismissing Sam's crackpot theories into actually helping Sam figure out where Miller was going to strike next on his list.



    The last couple of minutes of the episode are fairly middle of the road though. Ray being held hostage by Miller and his fears of being killed are interesting. Sam did try to warn Gene that Ray was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and this scene proved that Sam was right with that.



    However both Sam and Annie using the family card to get Miller to surrender was a bit maudlin. Okay it did work and there was good acting but it did feel a little too easy after the big set up. Then again it does go to further that not all bombers are evil to the core and there's even a great scene where Patrick lays into Gene about his family woes.



    Elsewhere Sam's still getting cryptic phone calls about his progress. For now he seems to be doing well but is still nowhere near waking up. On top of that he also has to deal with that creepy Test Card Girl. Her first appearance this season and her joy for driving Sam around the bend still doesn't seem to be sated.



    Also in "Episode 11"



    Speaking of the Test Card Girl, it looks like there's a different actress playing the role this season.



    Chris (re bomb): "I make it nearly 10".

    Ray: "I make it nearly 11".

    Annie: "I make it 11.03".



    Sam made some offhand comments about Lorraine Kelly and even Dana when Gene went on the Anti-Irish rant.



    Gene: "Take your own advice – wake up and smell the cocoa. Let's search this **** and nail these Paddy bastards".

    Sam: "It's coffee".



    Phyllis: "What if I need to go to the ladies, Guv?"

    Gene: "Cross your legs".



    Annie got upset at the end of the episode when she thought Sam called her chunky. He was referring to the brand of Kit Kat bars of course.



    Sam (re Patrick): "You're condemning a man for Christ's sake".

    Gene: "Because I know he's guilty".



    Sam (re Ray): "Guv. He shouldn't be here, he's got PTSD".

    Gene: "The man's a bloody hero and you're accusing him of having the clap".

    Sam: "Post traumatic stress disorder. I've seen it before. He needs counselling, he needs to talk to someone".

    Gene: "He's a policeman, not a fairy".



    Sam also mentioned the use of CCTV to Gene and then backtracked by mentioning Hyde. We still don't know what Sam is supposed to be doing for them.



    Sam: "I'm not walking away I need time to think".

    Gene: "You haven't got the time to piss about thinking".



    Patrick (to Sam): "If it's any consolation my instincts about you were never wrong. I knew you were a complete Nutjob when I saw you but at least you might be a Nutjob on my side for once".



    We learned that Patrick's grandfather came from Connemara. Gene also made some comments about an Indian family moving into the same area.



    Annie (re women leaders): "Maybe we'd be better off if a woman did run the country. She couldn't make a worse job of it than the fellas have done".

    Sam: "I have a feeling you might regret saying that one day".



    Standout music: "The Big Spell" by Audience and "When The City Sleeps" by Barclay James Harvest".



    For an episode themed on the IRA, it's refreshing to discover that it isn't entirely filled with stereotypes beyond Gene's less than receptive attitude towards the Irish. It's not the best episode the show has produced but it's solid no less.moreless
  • Who wouldn't like to wake up in the past. Just once?

    9.9
    This series has broken more ground as a sci-fi/cop-drama than any I can remember.(Please no feed back on that :P ) One of the best eras for Police shows. hard charging no quarter (or Miranda) the way TV should be. I'm still a bit fuzzy on the "HOW" Sam Tyler arrived in the 70's but after the first season, somewhere around epsiode ONE, I stopped caring why. The characters are well defined and well acted, the scenery is well presented, and the Sam Tyler "Flash-backs" are not as disruptive as they could be. Over all I truly enjoy this show! Enjoy every bit as much as "Lost" or "Battlestar Galactica" and would recommend (and have) to everyone who enjoys smart TV. I look forward to every episode and with only 8 shows a season it was VERY hard to wait for season 2.moreless
Harriet Rogers (II)

Harriet Rogers (II)

Test Card Girl

Guest Star

Beatrice Kelly

Beatrice Kelly

Landlady

Guest Star

Peter Wight

Peter Wight

Frank Miller

Guest Star

Tony Marshall

Tony Marshall

Nelson

Recurring Role

Noreen Kershaw

Noreen Kershaw

Phyllis Dobbs

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • Hunt: How do you think I spend my time here, Tyler?
      Sam [ sotto voce ]: Building a Death Star?
      Hunt: You what?
      Sam: Nothing.

    • Hunt: So I'm right?
      Sam: We both are.
      Hunt: Right.
      Sam: Right.
      Hunt: Just as long as I'm more right than you.

    • Sam: Guv. He shouldn't be here, he's got PTSD.
      Hunt: The man's a bloody hero and you're accusing him of having the clap.
      Sam: Post traumatic stress disorder. I've seen it before. He needs counselling, he needs someone to talk to.
      Hunt: He's a policeman, not a fairy.

    • Sam: How's Ray?
      Hunt: Oh, he's champion. Be doing backflips on the dance floor back down at Rutles tonight. You know, the usual thing you do when you've been caught in an IRA bomb blast.

    • Phyllis: You lot don't calm down I'll make you all strip and you can stand here with your knackers out. I could do with a laugh.

    • Sam: Guv, remember - go easy, yeah?
      Gene: And you remember - don't let Ray down, or the people of this city.
      (He knocks on the door. A woman opens it)
      Gene: Hello love, where is he then? (Barging in) O'BRIEN!
      Sam: I know what you're thinking love, if he was a bit more assertive he'd go far.

    • Hunt: All right then, sulky bollocks, if it wasn't the IRA — or any other terrorist group — who blew up that car then? The W.I.?

    • Gene: The next time you know something Tyler, you keep it to yourself. That's an order.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Music used in this episode:
      How Can I Be Sure by David Cassidy
      The Big Spell by Audience
      Hellraiser by The Sweet
      Poor Old Ireland by Lindisfarne
      When The City Sleeps by Barclay James Harvest

    • This episode was first broadcast on BBC Four at 10.00pm on 20 February 2007. This was the last episode to receive a first airing on BBC Four.

    • This episode was rescheduled from 27 February 2007.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Hunt: How do you think I spend my time here, Tyler?
      Sam: Building a Death Star?
      In Star Wars, the Galactic Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star, was a mobile battle station that mounted a directed superlaser weapon capable of completely destroying a planet with a single shot.

    • Hunt: You see, the pub, it's the one safe place the IRA would never touch.
      This is a reference to the Birmingham Pub Bombings of 21 November 1974, when the Provisional IRA blew up two pubs in Birmingham in the West Midlands, killing 21 people and injuring 182 others. A third explosion had been planned but the device failed to detonate. Public outrage after these attacks led directly to the passing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1974.

    • Annie: Maybe we'd be better off if a woman did run the country. She couldn't make a worse job of it than the fellas have done.
      Sam: I've got a feeling you might regret saying that one day.
      Sam is referring to Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990.

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