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Comm Rewatch - Episode 1.04 - dorsetgirl
August 17th, 2008
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Comm Rewatch - Episode 1.04

00:05   Oh, it’s this one. I’m never sure I like this one. ETA: I thought it was the Beauvoir ladies, but it’s not. It’s Warren.


 

00:35   Ah, the Simm says “Mum?” right in my left ear; another ep I’ve never watched on DVD/headphones!

 

00:50   You can just see and feel the heat in this.

 

01:25   I love the way when Charlie Edwards ignores him Sam takes a little check at his badge!

 

03:50   I love Gene’s entrance here, shirt not tucked in! The man is just illegally sexy.

 

03:55   And I’m sitting here looking at Phil with his hand blatantly stuck down his trousers. Wonderful. I made an icon for Draycevixen out of this particular cap, and it was awful, just looking at that shot endlessly, focussing on the long elegant fingers, and the zipper...

 

06:10   Ah, they’re playing his song. For some reason I can’t stop focussing on Phil’s long legs in this one.

 

06:35   Sam stares at Joni, cage dancing. Bet that brings back memories...

 

07:00   Gene calls him Sam – he doesn’t do that very often. And then Gene is totally shitty to Annie, calling her an “off-duty slag with glitter in her hair.” Of course, we could argue that he’s either protecting her from what really goes on upstairs, or he just doesn’t want her to know about the checks-and-balances, cordial relations thing. Which comes to the same thing I suppose.

 

07:25   And Marc Bolan still annoys me, he just looks so wrong. Giving the bloke a mop of hair doesn’t make his face look right! JS does an excellent fanboy impression though. You would, though, wouldn’t you – if you went back in time I think that after the whole betting and buying shares thing the next idea would be to see history – famous people and events as they happen.

 

08:10   I think this is about as worried as we ever see Gene, apart from in 1.07 after Billy Kemble’s death. He’s trying to brief Sam on what to say and not say, but he is well aware that Sam isn’t taking it in and can’t be relied on to obey. Perhaps this is the moment Gene starts to look at himself in this.

 

08:45   When Charlie Edwards says “Sorry ... it won’t happen again” does that mean that some kind of a compromise has been struck whereby Edwards will at least be discreet in front of Sam? That’s quite a compliment to Sam in a way, both from Warren, who must have sanctioned it, and from Gene who may have – nervously – requested it.

 

09:30   Ah, Gene and Sam dancing back to back because they really can’t get away with dancing cheek to cheek! There is no reason at all why they shouldn’t be at opposite ends of the dance floor (yeah, OK, framing, buddy cops, but I prefer to think that they just want to be together).

 

10:00   And it really is a date – a moonlit stroll by the canal. God, I love these two.

 

11:45   And Chris asks Sam if he’s “making bacon” and he hugs him. He definitely pulls Sam towards him as he clasps his shoulder.

 

13:20   The background music is quite spooky in this episode. Nice misdirection with Nelson; we think for a moment we’re going to get one of his deep and meaningful – if irritatingly obscure – little homilies to Sam, and then Sam says he wants to go home and Nelson says “Me too, Sam. Close the door on the way out.”

 

14:10   IJSCS – he does it so well. How many actors could you take seriously crying at a sock puppet on telly?

 

15:00   I suppose if they moved around a lot, Sam would have no idea of the various places he’d lived when he was little. Even if the whole concept isn’t weird enough anyway, the idea of him walking around and suddenly recognising places he used to live – is living – just caps it.

 

15:18   Something else I never noticed before, or never realised what it meant – Sam can smell Ruth’s perfume as she comes towards the door.

 

15:50   “Burglaries? I didn’t think we had any. Not round here.”She may appear soft and innocent, but I think Ruth knows exactly what sort of person runs the neighbourhood. One of many things I didn’t realise the significance of first time round, but if Vic works for Warren, or moves in those circles, she would have to be aware of who and what the landlord was.

 

16:13   I’d quite like to know where that harbour is, in the picture above the fireplace. Is it Clovelly? More likely to be somewhere up North I suppose. *makes note to dig out Clovelly pics later*

 

16:15   That’s at least twice he checks out her arse. That must feel so strange to him. Of course, by modern standards, she’s nothing special to look at, but presumably she’s supposed to be attractive, and Sam has noticed that. Oh yes.

 

17:00   Sammy is upstairs with mumps – is that what he has when he flashes back to being ill in the Beauvoir ladies ep?

 

18:50   Poor Sam is so mixed up here. He’s got the knight in shining armour thing going on, where he can sort out this damsel’s terrible financial problems; he’s got the “loving son will do anything to stop his mum crying” bit, and he’s got all this dirty money that he really doesn’t want, and doesn’t know what to do with, and suddenly he’s presented with something noble he can do with it. With all that going on it’s not really surprising that he really doesn’t realise how totally crass and inappropriate it is to offer her money.

 

19:40   “Put my family’s last pennies on a horse? You should meet my husband.” Another little wake-up for what Vic is really like. Of course, gambling – while no more sensible now than then – is definitely more socially acceptable nowadays. Ruth has the same attitude to gambling that I was brought up with. Sensible, decent, ordinary people who cared about their families and worked for their money just didn’t gamble.

 

20:25   How does Sam get all the way up to Warren’s office without being stopped by security?

 

21:00   Sam lays down his challenge here, not really understanding just how alone he is. He’s probably taking the whole modern support network for granted, but that’s a long way off yet. He probably has no conception of how powerful people like Warren were when the police went along with it, so it really doesn’t occur to him that anything could happen.

 

23:10   It’s just incredible how much more you can see when watching on the computer. I mean, when I watch TV I always have my lenses in or my glasses on (I’m short-sighted), but this programme makes heavy use of tiny gestures and the slightest hints at facial expressions, and they just don’t come over ten feet away. Or perhaps they expect everyone to have giant screens nowadays. It’s obvious what Joni is talking about here, but until this viewing on the computer, I hadn’t noticed that she actually starts to frame the “r” of “rape”.

 

24:40   Poor Sam, torn between what he knows is right: a police officer does not take the inmates home with him, and what is right: a police officer has a duty to do his best to uphold the law, protect people from crime and act on intelligence received.

 

25:50   Sam gives Joni a bottle of wine to open; to him this is just completely normal procedure with a nice meal, particularly if you’ve got someone round, but to someone like Joni, or indeed most of us in 1973, this could be taken as serious seduction / seeking to impress stuff. Obviously Joni has her agenda and her orders, but her interpretation of Sam’s actions – and cooking dinner for her! men don’t do that! – would probably be that he is actually very interested indeed. If her lifestyle has allowed her to retain any finer feelings at all, this might have helped her to go through with what she had to do.

 

27:00   Joni entertains coppers when Warren tells her to. Does Sam wonder at this point whether she or any of the other girls have ever “entertained” Gene? He never asks Gene this question, which is unlike him. Perhaps he realises that in context it would not be any further out of order for Gene to accept such offers. There’s hardly anything illegal in it, after all, especially compared to taking backhanders to ignore Warren’s operations.

 

28:50   Sam settles down on the chair – so how long does it take for the LSD or whatever to kick in? Because he seems absolutely fine at this point.

 

29:25   “Do you want to come in with me?” He’s definitely thinking about his answer to that one, although I don’t think it’s possible to tell whether he’s actually tempted or he’s just trying to work out how to say “fuck off” politely to someone who is, after all, in his bed. Damn, I’ve just realised this is the worst ep to be watching with all the kids and OH in the room!

 

Skipped 30 to 33 atm because the kids are all still up. They’re being a bit of a nuisance, but they did make me laugh a few minutes ago. “Oh, she’s watching Life on Mars again.” “No, it’s Death on Jupiter”. “Or how about “Enigmas in Uranus?” Hmm, I don’t think they know about the slash...

 

ETA: Finally getting a chance to watch this bit without kids and OH in the house. 

 30:23 Glimpses of the mysteriousl woodland scene there. All very normal so far: Mum, Ivanhoe, hot still streets.

  

30:35 The most gorgeous smile of happiness and relief. Mum! And a tiny bit of surprise – well, she is in his bedroom and he’s all grown up.

 

 

30:40 It’s giant Ivanhoe that really scares him. This whole sequence is obviously designed to be weird, but it would be interesting to know how they chose the various bits. The woodland again.

30:46 Oooh, a glimpse of her putting the handcuffs on him; I hadn’t noticed that before. And an even briefer glimpse of Joni on top and the handcuffs again before he cuts back to dancing with her. And he’s staring down at her non-existent cleavage while they’re dancing. And the handcuffs again. I think he has his eyes closed at this point. And back to the dancing and he’s still looking down. And she’s got her arms flung wide displaying her upper body and he’s, yes, looking down at it.

  

30:49 And back to the woods, and the buckled shoe.

30:51 His eyes are partly open now, but he’s really not all there. And CTCG and a little boy’s pudgy hand in the woods.

30:55 Bless the man, he’s finally noticed he’s up to his balls inside a pretty girl. CTCG says “There’s nothing to be ashamed of, Sam. You can’t be lonely all the time.” I don’t tend to believe that Sam is angsted by this incident in any way other than the professional shame, but this line does add to the impression that Sam chose this or at least acquiesced. Also, I’m guessing (supported by a very stupid Eighties book I read recently, called “What Do Women Want” by Dan Greenburg) that being tied down and sat upon by a pretty girl is a thoroughly mainstream redblooded male fantasy. So perhaps he’s ashamed because this is, actually, exactly what he’s always dreamed of.

  31:05 And he’s definitely enjoying it imo.

31:22 “Shit!” Lovely bit of dawning realisation there from JS. Gene looks at his feet first and then gradually works his way up. He looks at Sam’s face and then works his way down again, stopping half way... He keeps staring at what we can only assume (because they don’t bloody show us!) is Sam’s damp and sticky cock as he walks over to the wall then he focusses on Sam’s face and holds that eye contact. And he walks down to the foot of the bed for a better look.

31:43 “He’s in here, love!” Gene is such a bastard. Of course, he’s always trying to interrupt these two during quiet moments, and this could be seen as deliberately trying to wreck things between them. He could have chosen to keep Annie out and make up a story. The little nod towards Sam’s cock when he talks about the games they play in Hyde is just so Gene. I can’t imagine this part being played by anyone else.

/ ETA

33:05   It’s a weirdie moment – and I always loved Silver Machine so it’s great to hear it here.

 

33:25   Gene is really giving it full eye contact in this scene with Sam. Before he starts laughing at Sam’s naivete he just stares into Sam’s eyes. Presumably this is a male domination thing, staring being aggressive and all that.

 

33:45   It’s odd that Sam stays sitting down during the whole “I was the only officer she trusted...” speech. Is it because Gene is also seated, albeit on a desk and therefore highter? Or is it because Gene is in a dominating position and Sam is actually allowing himself to be dominated? That doesn’t sound like Sam, particularly as he is so certain he’s the one on the moral high ground here. His physical posture just doesn’t tie up with his moral stance.

 

33:53   Gene actually looks vicious here as he grabs Sam. I don’t think we see that very often.

 

34:05   “I’ve been working these streets since I was nineteen...” What did Gene do between the ages of fourteen and nineteen? We are told at some point that he did National Service, so I’m guessing that was from seventeen to nineteen, ie 1947 to 1949. leaving three years for working on the docks or whatever.

 

34:15   Gene doesn’t care what Sam does with the inmates; it’s the idea of Sam bad-mouthing Gene and his team that really annoys him.

 

34:50   Once Gene has convinced Sam that Warren is gay, Gene’s body language changes completely. From being domineering and frankly intimidating, he moves in a second to a matey, close and comfortable posture alongside Sam, which he then compounds by slipping an arm along the window-sill, very close to Sam’s shoulders.

 

35:35   “You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last.” Gene speaks very softly here; he’s showing that he doesn’t condemn Sam for what he’s done, although he has of course been incredibly stupid and unprofessional. He’s almost reassuring him.

 

35:50   But then Gene changes again as he walks out of Lost & Found – he has to have the last word as the man in charge, not as one who understands Sam’s position.

 

36:10   When Annie refuses to look up at Sam, she is in fact staring at his crotch – probably thinking about what she saw earlier!

 

37:10   While Sam and Annie are talking in the canteen, the eye-lines look all wrong; they just don’t look as if they’re actually looking at each other, but off to the side somewhere. And I really don’t believe Annie would be interested in seeing either “Mean Streets” whatever that is, or “Carry On Girls.”

 

40:05   It really matters to Sam that his mum doesn’t think he’s bent. And it’s plain that she hasn’t any idea why she’s supposed to care one way or the other.

 

40:15   How difficult is it for Sam to say “How is he?” instead of “How am I?” We don’t get told whether or not he remembers this particularly illness.

 

43:00   I really can’t get interested in this whole thing with Joni; I know she’s there as a device to show the kind of world Sam is working to clear up, but as a character she does even less for me than Annie. She’s just boring, bland and shallow, and all the big soppy eyes thing just makes me want to smack her and tell Sam to grow up and not fall for a few tears again.

 

44:50   OK, so Gene is bringing bad news, but it’s very out of character for him to knock so neatly and calmly on Sam’s door. Of course, it does give Sam the opportunity to make his crack about not being handcuffed this time, but otherwise it’s presumably intended to show Gene understanding how Sam is going to feel.

 

45:30   Must find out what that music is, that starts as Sam gets his coat on and plays as Gene and Sam take another, less happy, walk together by the canal. When they arrive at the scene Chris and Ray are there already, but Gene has gone personally to collect Sam. He hasn’t phoned, he hasn’t sent anyone else, he has gone personally, quietly and respectfully, to inform Sam and bring him to the scene. I think this scene shows that Gene really does respect Sam quite a lot by now, even if he doesn’t do what Gene thinks any sensible man would be doing.

 

46:00   After Sam has viewed the body, Gene watches him very carefully as he walks away. He obviously knows how much this is going to affect him. There is presumably no legal or policing reason why Sam had to come and view the body - Gene himself, or Ray, could have done the formal identification – so presumably this is another demonstration by Gene that he respects Sam’s feelings and views on things. Culminating of course in the biggest show of respect that Gene can possibly give – he tells Sam how he feels about his own heartbreaking journey from idealistic new copper to bent Sheriff.

 

46:05   Gene is just about to go to Sam when Ray makes his snide comment about Sam slitting her throat himself, but when Ray says that he stops to see what Sam will do. It looks to me as if Ray looks to Gene for permission to repeat his remark and doesn’t get it.

 

47:10   This railings scene is such a defining moment in the relationship of these two. When we first see them in the distance they are facing each other. Sam turns to lean against the railings but doesn’t move away from Gene; Gene stays facing him and drinking from the bottle for a while longer before leaning against the railings alongside Sam.

 

47:30   Body language – Gene’s right hand is stretched out towards Sam, and Sam is closed off, protecting himself from whatever Gene is about to say.

 

48:05   Matt has said, possibly tongue in cheek, that there are no mistakes in LOM, only mysteries. In Ashes we saw several occasions where Gene used phrases that were anachronistic – “End of.” comes to mind – and here is one which I hadn’t spotted before. OK, people here understand the term “New kid on the block”, but no-one actually said it until very recently, and I don’t think even now people say it naturally; it’s more like “Hey, I’m cool, I use American phrases”. So when Gene says it, is this a lazy mistake of terminology? Is it Gene aping his favourite Westerns (although I don’t recall hearing the phrase in the Westerns I used to be subjected to as a child), or is it part of “the greater mystery of Gene”? I would say I’m being over-analytical, but I don’t actually think that’s possible with this show.

 

            And I just have to say at this point that I’ve played this scene about six times in blogging it, because I keep drooling over Phil Gene who is looking exceptionally fine in this.

 

48:50   Sam is pushing for an answer to a really nasty question here, but it’s plain that he’s not doing it to prove a point, but because he genuinely wants to know, and to understand Gene.

 

50:49   When Sam asks Gene how is the little animal in his stomach, he actually looks down in that general direction! They really are working together here, both literally and emotionally.

 

51:20   When Sam goes for Edwards and Gene pulls him off he’s treating him more like a mate or a little brother than a subordinate. He’s not giving an order when he says “Job to do, Sam”, he’s helping him get himself under control.

 

51:35   Gene asks Sam “Do you like this music?” That’s a very “getting to know you” kind of question! Gene is totally not treating him like a fellow officer at the moment, but as a person he wants to know better.

 

51:55   Aw, I love Blockbuster myself. I remember dancing to it at the discothèque (oh yes, that’s what it was called back then) at the Pavilion over on the Rec.

 

52:00   “Thou shalt not suck off rent boys.” There’s a lot said about Gene being homophobic, but I’ve never seen it myself, despite the period-typical language, and in this scene he shows no disgust, only amusement.

 

54:10   A little Gene and Sam bonding moment.

 

54:43   Is this the only time Sam puts on a tie in 1973? WTF is he playing at, his own mother? Or is it a subconscious desire just to have her be proud of him, admire him, because even though she’s oblivious she is his mum and he wants to wipe out any memories she has of him being crass and insensitive?

 

55:55   God, John is just so good at using his face subtly for a big emotional impact. He hardly moves a muscle, but it’s clear how badly affected he is by the picture of himself in the police helmet. And I’d never even noticed before that he is standing with a PC who has an arm round his shoulder, rather like Gene did to big!Sam earlier in the episode.

 

57:00   Something I never understood is – why does Sam’s mum talk to him all the way through the series in young!Ruth’s (ie Joanne Froggatt’s) voice, when in 2.08 his mum is played by someone much older? Why not use that actress’s voice throughout? Or why not age up Joanne Frogatt for 2.08?

 

 

 

 

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[User Picture]
From:ripley312
Date:August 18th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
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Came here from Lifein1973 - and I have to say - I just LOVE your analysis. I do hope you keep it up for all the episodes. Do you mind if I friend you so that I don't miss any of your postings?
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:August 18th, 2008 10:21 am (UTC)
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Hi, welcome! And thanks for commenting, although I wish I could do "analysis" the way some people do, picking out the overall themes etc. I certainly plan to do all the episodes; however I recently worked out that I'll be away for 2.04 and 2.06, but I'm enjoying the group rewatch so much that I will try to watch and post my blog before I go, and send the links to argyle_heir.

Yes of course, friend away! OK if I friend back?
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From:ripley312
Date:August 19th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
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Of course you can friend back. I don't post often, because I find other people's journal much more fascinating than mine.
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From:nepthys_uk
Date:August 18th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
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I really enjoyed reading your thoughts (and loved your kids' comments!). Thanks for posting this :)
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From:dorsetgirl
Date:August 18th, 2008 10:52 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for reading - I'm enjoying doing these, and I must go back and finish ep1.01 at some point!
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