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October 9, 2015

Life on Mars: The Dark Side of the Mook

by Brad Trechak, posted Feb 5th 2009 4:39AM
Life on Mars(S01E09) Finally, we get a continuation of the cliffhanger phone call ending from November! Mind you, it was kind of weird (notice that the song about the white room with black curtains played while Sam walked into a white room with black curtains). I wish they showed this episode first, as it was the better episode of the two and really showcased Michael Imperioli's talent as Detective Ray Karling.

Gene Hunt seems to be a big fan of 70's pop culture, as he keeps referring to it in his interview. Ray, on the other hand, keeps using the pseudo-profanity that Disney only permits. Ray also thinks of very colorful and amusing metaphors. It becomes cartoonish after a while. The episode also prodigiously used the slo-mo effect to the point where I thought they must have had to fill time.

The voice on the phone made me think of Jigsaw from the Saw movies (perhaps that was intentional). At the end, I thought it was the voice of the disfigured murderer (whom I shall call "El Diablo"). However, I could be wrong about that.

The show is diverging from the mind-trip of the original British series and getting more of a sci-fi flavor. I think they're borrowing a little too much from Lost as The Aries Project sounds a little too much like the Dharma Initiative for my liking (if that's the case, this series could suddenly find itself in the biggest free-fall decline of quality in a series since season two of Heroes). If time jumps suddenly become part of the storyline, I'm getting off this ride.

The look of El Diablo didn't help the show in that regard either. To me it looked like they were involving aliens in the story. Werewolves too, if you count Donovan Stamp.

The mechanism that disguised the caller's voice at the end seemed futuristic, and I'm willing to bet that it's another person from the future. But, I could be wrong about that too.

Where is the security at the 125th precinct? If someone drops off a package, why didn't someone run screaming for fear of someone planting a bomb in the building? Even if they didn't, shouldn't someone have noticed the fetid stench of rotting flesh coming from it? Did the murderer throw an air freshener in there?

Sam and Annie did have a romantic moment which would have undoubtedly set up next week's episode a little better had they been played in the correct order.

Let me say once again how I'm really starting to enjoy Harvey Keitel as Gene Hunt. He's far more energetic, nastier and fun to watch than in the first set of series' episodes. The "International Cover Up" trick was a thing of beauty.

Seeing the old cigarette dispenser brought back some memories. Do they even make those anymore?

Sam Tyler speaks fluent Spanish? Is there no end to the man's talents?

This was a very good episode (sci-fi silliness aside), and I can only hope that network interference doesn't result in any further episodes out of order. It was quite confusing the first time.

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Its a good show. The cop stories are decent. The 70s backround is entertaining. The time-travel thing is entertaining. I like that personal rivalry hing they wrote into the show between the keitel character and the other old-timer from another precinct. The show is going to get annoying if they dont start giving us some backround story into the whole time travel thing. Somebody is screwing with Sam, and its going to get old real quick. I think a great potential episode to write, would be to send Sam back to 2009. The lieutenant Eugene character played by Harvey Keitel would meet Sam in present day 2009, instantly recognize him and just be f'ing blown away by the whole thing. Maybe Sam never meets the people who send him back in time. so far, all the viewer has seen is a folder that says "aries project." But they could have Sam wake up repeatedly in 2009 and think he's finished, and each time they would send him back to 1973 on another mission!!! And maybe Sam meets his fellow cops from 1973 in present day 2009, when they're all old men. And Sam's mission could become a mission to keep going back and doing stuff to make them heroes, or just do something that makes their old age easier and more comfortable for them. After he found out his father was an asshole gangster, Sam can look to his 1973 cop friends for the personal connection he couldnt really get from his father. That would really be the beauty of the show. Eventually, when the series ends, Sam could wake up in 2009 for the last time, and see his 1973 cop friends as old men, and the last episode would be a reflection of what Sam did for them to help their lives out.

February 06 2009 at 4:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ric Kaysen

I can wrap my mind around science fiction since good sci-fi is just an extrapolation of reality. It's fantasy that I can't deal with. If they write a cogent storyline that involves some sci-fi elements to explain his situation, I can live with it even if it diverges from the original series. The episodes being aired out of order was more annoying.

February 06 2009 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love this show. Is this the first episode since back before Christmas (or Thanksgiving?).

February 05 2009 at 8:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Karen's comment
Toby O\'B

They came back last week with an episode that was out of sequence. Last week's should have been the second episode.

February 05 2009 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The back of the head of the mystery caller also looked a whole lot like Chris. Which means, of course, that it isn't Chris. ;)

February 05 2009 at 8:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rebecca's comment

That's exactly what I was thinking, that it's Chris Skelton. Sounded like him, looked like him. He wasn't interviewed, etc.


February 05 2009 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby O\'B

As to the identity of the mystery caller, it's obviously someone who already had access to the precinct house. It couldn't be "El Diablo" as he was already in custody by the time of that last one. And besides, we saw part of his head as he made the call.....

I think for the time being, we're supposed to think it's Chris. It may be Chris; after all, he wasn't in the squad room as the last call rang in.

If so, this could be an interesting development never explored in the original series. The American version is really expanding its horizons and stepping out from under the shadow of the British original.

That was one of my favorite series of all time, but I'm enjoying this one as well.....

February 05 2009 at 5:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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