Well, we managed almost ten minutes before the forum went down. And the responses tonight are quite different. Very short posts, everyone stunned and speechless. I certainly am.
I want to bawl my eyes out, but the family are all here. So, my notes as I went through the episode:
I am just scared, just so scared. I don’t know what to expect, and all I know is that it can’t be good.
So there’s spooky tapping going on. It’s Sam tapping on Gene’s window, with the pen for some reason. As I suspected, it’s just in her dream. And wow, sexy hair when she wakes up! That is the best look Alex has had in three whole series!
Right, this business of the throat-slit crook suddenly being still alive. Is that meant to be a reboot of LOM 1.08, the Morton brothers? He just gets the clue out and then snuffs it.
At about three minutes, I keep thinking I can see Sam in the corner of Gene’s office. And how does Alex know that Sam is dead? Why should he be? Ah, got it. When he died in real life he disappeared here too, just like people have always said.
At 5 minutes: Crikey, Jimbo is getting fucking creepy now, touching her, shushing her like he did Louise and Viv. Touching her face. YUCK.
“Get on the blower to the Ironic Crimes Division.” Ah Gene, I love you so much, and I always will.
And suddenly, Chris is hearing the whistle. Ray can’t breathe. And Shaz has found a screwdriver.
And Gene tells Alex that the last time he saw Sam, it was just “two mates talking about the boozer”. Typing that up, having seen the end, it’s all now completely clear. And I might cry if I stop to think instead of type-type-typing, so I’ll keep on typing.
Ooh, the Coronation. 1953. And that gun Gene is getting out of his drawer - that looks so much like the kind of gun you’d get in a Western! And now we’ve got “In the Air Tonight” again. Alex arrives at that field, that house - and it is just so spooky. And Phil Collins sings “I’ve been waiting for this moment for all of my life”. Whoever puts the music together for this show is just epically awesome in matching the lyrics to the action. (When Ray and Chris apprehended Paul Thordy a few weeks back, the lyrics were something about his eyes being blue, just as they caught up with him.)
This is so mad - I’m sitting in my front room typing away by myself; I don’t even know the real names of most of the people who watch this programme, but at this moment I somehow feel so connected to so many other people, because I know that all of us are going through this together.
Shit, that is a fucking creepy scarecrow. And he’s got the epaulette numbers. Oh my god. And Gene arrives. Q totally called it. He’s arrived and he recognises the field and he is gutted. He’s starting to remember. At this point I was begging for it not to be Sam in that grave. Oh God, Gene.
Aw bless, Ray is taking charge. Getting the job done without the Guv.
This next sequence, at around 19 minutes, really terrified me. Things were still just about “real” at this stage, and oh my god Philip. Give that man every award that’s ever been invented. My notes for this bit read:
What is happening to Gene he looks all wrong is he having a stroke or what oh fuck I am so frightened my face is going numb NO NO NO not Gene not Gene what is happening to Gene no no no tell me it’s not Sam tell me it’s not Sam not Sam wtf is happening please please please not Sam.
And then, almost calmly: Ghost!Copper is Gene. We were right, Gene is holding them here. But he doesn’t really realise that.
“I knew Sam had to go. End of.”
You know, that is the one part of Gene’s speech which has always puzzled the hell out of me. It is very modern. He didn’t get it from Sam, because he didn’t say it in Life on Mars at all.
And now I’m certain Keats is the devil, or at least working for him. He is tempting Alex.
Ooh, and it’s 9-06 at Victoria Park. Again.
Oh my God, Ray hanged himself. That’s why he couldn’t breathe. That is definitely a sequence I have to watch again, I just couldn’t take it all in quickly enough. And Chris was shot, to the sound of a whistle. And Shaz, as some people worked out in the dating agency episode, was killed with a screwdriver.
Just struck me, I read somewhere that Matthew said only one person guessed the ending. But I think basically the whole of TRA had worked out that this was some kind of purgatory, and that Gene was holding people here too long, and that Keats was the agent of the devil. Not that I would have worked much of that out by myself tbh.
God, it looks so scary inside CID now. Dark and derelict and broken. And Keats has gone totally fucking ape. Stars! The ceiling has disappeared, the world is truly falling apart. But where is Gene?
And then Alex says something like she still trusts Gene, and the stars disappear and the lights come back on. Right, this next bit with Keats is totally the clincher. He is tempting them. Officially tempting. He is offering them transfers, lots of stuff I can’t remember. He is the devil. And when Ray is thinking about whether to accept the transfer, Keats is behind him with such a disgusting slimy evil look. I will definitely have a look at whatever Danny Mays does next, the man is brilliant.
And then Alex says to Keats “Go to hell,” and he just says. “All right.” Yup. Case proved.
And then, although it’s all looking nice in Jimbo’s station, I can’t help noticing that they’re going down. And down. And down.
Gene: “When it’s all over, we’ll go to the boozer - our boozer.”
Me: “Oh dear God, they’re going back to the Railway Arms!”
It totally is hell down here, I swear. Lifts not working (nice touch, all offices are hell!), red glow, screams. And Jimbo is going over the edge, his eyes are going red and he’s losing control.
Oh, I wasn’t expecting that. Shaz has come back by herself? I don’t believe Chris and Ray have really decided to stay? And then I haven’t written much for a while. Blag goes down, big shoot-out. Quattro fucked. Pub. Pub. Pub.
The Railway Arms. YAY!!! And there’s Nelson! Great use of the character there. Totally in keeping with his character in Life on Mars.
Presumably we now get The Kiss. Yep, there they go. And Alex has now realised what’s going on - there is such a bright light inside the pub. She can’t go in, she’s got to go back to Molly. Oh, the look on Gene’s face. Philip Glenister is so full of awesome in this episode. Totally epic acting. Oh, and here comes fucking Keats again. Tempting her again. Telling her that Gene is tricking her, and she needs to go with Jimbo. And she looks across at Gene and Gene shakes his head. And she trusts the Gene Genie.
“What time is it?” And its 9-06, of course. It’s always 9-06, and she’s been dead for a long time now.
And now this is the ending I so did not want. Gene is left standing there on the street by himself. Alone. Alone. Forever. Please don’t leave him there alone. But she walks to the door, and in she goes, to the faint strains of Life on Mars. As it should be, of course.
And Gene goes back to the office again. But now there are loads of people again. Ooh, that’s creepy. As he closes the door we see (does he see?) Ghost!Copper. And now he’s got the keys to a Merc; the whisky is a better brand; the glass is now lead crystal. Everything is better quality.
And now the new one is arriving. The new lost soul that Gene has to look after.
Oh my God, what a ride. I have got to watch this again. I honestly don’t know what this is going to do to the fic - I could ignore a lot in order to put Sam and Gene together forever, but this - I just don’t know. I still have stories for Survival that I want to write. I want to finish that story arc and put Sam and Gene together again and now I don’t know if I can.
Just don’t know. Don’t know what to think at the moment, but I will say this - as an ending it works, it really does. It fits the arc, it works with Life on Mars and doesn’t ruin anything. Except maybe Sam/Gene forever. Which reminds me, what about the graffitti on the wall? Aaargh.
So what year is it, for the new guy? Oh, and I’ve just realised: when Sam and Alex arrived in Gene’s world, we saw things from their point of view. As this new guy arrives, shouting for his iPhone, we’re seeing it from Gene’s point of view. Nice. There are so many layers of detail and complexity to this, and I wish I could watch again right now. It might be Monday before I can watch again, but I know that when I do get a chance to watch by myself I am going to cry and cry and cry at Gene’s memory of that young man’s bravery and his death. His own death. Oh, and that explains Michael Stirling! What happened to him was so similar to what happened to Gene, and that struck a chord with Gene even if he didn’t really remember what had happened to him.
Really must stop now. This was just masterful telly - I’m not 100% convinced it was the ending I wanted, but it was a seriously well-put-together ending. It works. And at this rate I can see me blogging it all over again on second and third viewing.