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September 3, 2015

Life on Mars: Let All the Children Boogie

by Brad Trechak, posted Feb 12th 2009 1:02AM
Life on Mars(S01E10) Every dramatic series has the occasional "comedy" episode, and Life on Mars is no exception. This one was definitely intended for humor which could be confirmed by the cameo appearance of Wallace "Inconceivable" Shawn, who apparently ran The X-Files a few decades before Mulder and Scully investigated the paranormal.

This was a good episode and served several purposes. The first of which was to determine that whatever happened to Sam is not any sort of alien-related experience, thereby getting the most silly and cliché theories out of the way. My only question at this stage is whether the explanation for Sam's predicament is going to be scientific, magical or a combination of both (technomancy, perhaps?). The episode added to the confusion about this by nicknaming Wallace Shawn's forensic investigator "The Sorcerer."

Sam's entire situation with Maria is obviously leading to a showdown with Gene Hunt. We're probably going to learn that the mistaken middle name on the pen is some sort of pet name Gene had for his daughter, which will lead to them reconciling and Maria not being interested in Sam anymore. By implicating Annie in Sam's indiscretions, Gene further drove the wedge that is keeping them apart. Rebuilding the relationship between Sam and Annie could take a few seasons after this.

Sebastian Grace seemed a combination of David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Gary Glitter. I couldn't tell if he had "sugar in his shoes," as suggested by Ray. It certainly seemed that way in his flirtations with Chris. More likely, he's straight and is just playing off his own rock star image.

Ray gets all the best lines, making him my favorite character on the show. He's even better than Harvey Keitel's Gene Hunt. The best line: "I'll book you for aggravated dumb slut with no future." Only Imperioli could make that sort of line work.

The best part of the episode may have been the confrontation between Sebastian and Annie. In that, we learn that Sebastian is much smarter than he acts. More importantly, we also learn Annie's motivations for joining the police and why she "plays the game" when it comes to the blatantly sexist atmosphere. Good for you, Annie!

Poor Carl. If the Internet existed in 1973 he wouldn't have the need to leave his Rocket Girl shrine in such a blatant location.

Is it me or is the 125th precinct starting to look cleaner? I hope not. It's the grim-and-gritty 1970's look that adds to the authenticity of the show.

The solution to the disappearance of Emily Wyatt did seem somewhat contrived (can helicopters actually make people sink in soft ground?), but it's a better explanation than an alien abduction.

Props to NJ, my home state, for its inclusion in this week's episode. I hope more plotlines take place here. We have all kinds of weird stuff going on.

This week, we had some mystery, some comedy, some drama, and a bit of character development, making for an overall very good episode. The American version of Life on Mars is veering away from the series that spawned it, and looks better on its own.

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This show is solid and developing beautifully. I really enjoy every aspect of the episodes. Little insights into the characters. Weird trips by Sam and beautiful, beautiful use of history and music in the series. I'm satisfied with the Sam/Annie development. We can also see that Sam is starting to adjust to his being stuck in 1973 so I can't wait for when they taunt him with his original present.
Each episode is as enjoyable as a bowl of icecream. Hits the spot, but you always want just a little bit more.

February 18 2009 at 11:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
steve probst

Now that they're changing the show from the original brittish show they will never have to explain what is happening to Sam. The short run Brittish shows can actually have a endding.

February 12 2009 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it was a great episode. One of my favorites so far.

But I thought the rock star guy kinda reminded me of Sebastian Bach when he was on that reality show....

February 12 2009 at 8:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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