Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Review: GHTTB: Ashes To Ashes 3.7

Tobias tries to protect his cause.
Ashes To Ashes - Series Three, Episode Seven
Written 14/8/12

Last week saw Ashes To Ashes rise out of a four-week slump in standards to meet up with my expectations, and this week, while slightly more conflicted in its aims, still continues that quality. Tackling both Chris Skelton's characterisation surge and the 80s issue of Apartheid South Africa,the episode managed to keep a healthy air of darkness and paranoia about the place, which made is a damn-side more fun than it should have been.
      After Viv's death, emotions are running high at CID. Gene is angry and upset, keen to get rid of Keats through a decent collar, while Chris has finally grown some balls and has decided that he needs to stand up for himself. Both get a chance to prove themselves when there's an incident at a secret hideout of the ANC, the freedom fighter organisation fighting against Apartheid in South Africa. A body is found, but no-one wants to own up until group-leader Tobias hands himself in to protect the other members of the group. It's revealed that the murdered man was a Special Division spy, and that he was killed by the woman who believed herself to be his lover. A bomb goes off at the South African embassy, and the White government are keen to have Tobias deported, but Chris knows that he is innocent and stands up to Gene by letting him go. After Chris finally gains Hunt's respect, he gets his Life On Mars Music Moment and joins with Shaz and Ray in seeing a wall filled with stars.
     Meanwhile, Alex has been given her remit by Keats; Gene is the enemy, and she needs to go and get him., transforming into the equivalent of Life On Mars' Frank Morgan. She goes out for an intimate dinner with Gene, where he admits that Sam Tyler didn't die in the accident; rather, he told Gene to fake his death when he had discovered something that changed his view of the world. Keats questions her confidence in him; where did Annie go, and why did Sam just vanish completely from the world? She goes back to Gene's place, where they slowdance, but Keats knocks on at the last minute and gives Alex an address: there's a grave on a hill in Lancashire, and he wants Alex to see.
Chris gets some characterisation, but it's too late.
     Despite all of the movements in plot, the episode left we with very, very little feeling. It was wonderfully atmospheric, and I'm glad Chris finally got some character development, but its too little too late and the crime plot was really quite weak in so many ways.  There have been four damn episodes in this series that could have been filled with these main-plot developments, but instead we've been given useless "hints" that serve to do nothing but frustrate, while the main plots still suffer because they lack the episodes' focuses! 3.7 certainly did a lot and I did enjoy it, but it's bittersweet because it shows how much of the series has been wasted.


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