Fire Up The Quattro One Last Time

Posted on March 30, 2010

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Ok, so this isn’t really a preview in the general sense of the word as I have not yet viewed the new episode of Ashes to Ashes, let alone pre-viewed it. Though I do wish I had because I fear that the next two months of my life will revolve solely around Friday nights which is not necessarily a bad thing except for the fact that should anyone try to upset my routine, I will probably dismember them.

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The final series of Ashes to Ashes is soon to be thrust upon us and in one way it feels like a moment my whole life has been leading up to (Over exaggeration? Only just…). In another way, it’s quite sad. It is, after all, The End. The end of a series, the end of a, I suppose you could call it, a mythology? And the end of an era, the end of five outstanding years of television drama. In some ways I don’t really want answers for any of the series, it’s like anything, when you take away the mystery behind it, it’s not as charming, intriguing or interesting though I have the utmost faith in the writers that we’ll still be scratching our heads a certain amount come two months time and Gene Hunt’s true purpose has been revealed.

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So in the spirit of previews, Ashes to Ashes and all things 1981/2/3, I’ve decided to compile the Top 5 Ashes to Ashes moments so far, though in no particular order. No doubt, a similar Life on Mars one will follow in the next while, making me utterly post-modern by staggering the timelines but how and ever.

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Top 5 A2A Moments:

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  1. In The Air Tonight: This might make no one else’s list but it makes mine because of the sheer simplicity yet brilliance of the way it was filmed. It’s a great song for that foreboding tone the episode was going with and a great lead into the scene that we were about to witness in the Mason HQ. But the best part by far was the lights switching off in time with the drum beats of the song. Utterly fantastic.

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  1. Supermac Bows Out: A wonderful addition to Series 2 in my opinion, I got a bit of a shock when Roger Allam popped his clogs in episode 4. Thinking, how do you kill off what looks like the main villain halfway through the series? Well, you have his last words enigmatically point to the bigger villain, that’s how. Where it hits harder though is in Gene’s speech afterwards to his team and we remember that this is the second time this has happened to him, the second time one of his superiors whom he looked up to has been corrupt, highlighted in that lovely moment of self-affirmation, saying “I am not a liar” essentially casting off everything he’s believed in. A rare vulnerable moment for our DCI where he has to admit to himself that he’s been wrong. A high point in Series 2 and wonderful halfway mark.

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  1. No Room in the Vault: Or air either for that matter. Sweating like pigs and locked into an airtight vault, Alex suddenly realises that perhaps this might not be a dream after all. “I can’t die, can I?” she asks Gene Hunt who says nothing but embraces her in a hug that made Alex/Gene shippers giddy. It’s the turning point of series 1 for me, the moment when Alex steps down off her futuristic high horse and realises, as Sam did in 1973, that she can make a difference here and that maybe it’s not as cut and dry as she thinks. This episode also marked, for me anyway, the moment when I finally accepted Alex as the new protagonist (despite my love for Sam). Rewatching Series 1 now, in light of series 2, I can’t remember why I didn’t in the first few episodes.

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  1. A Bitter Betrayal: Let’s be honest, we all thought it was Ray, didn’t we? Or maybe even Shaz, tired of being treated as the lackey, decided to do something big and important. But not Chris, never Chris, even though looking back the signs were there from the start, oh so subtly. But when Chris walked through that door, our hearts fell along with Alex and Gene’s. The following interrogation is quietly desperate with a fantastic performance by Marshall Lancaster as Chris. Gene’s silence says it all though.

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  1. Oh, Vienna? : Alex wakes up on that most quintessential of 80s dodgy situations, a party on a boat, to the sound of the very apt Ultravox lyrics, “This means nothing to me.” Dressed as a hooker, she stumbles off just as the police raid the party. Wandering around the docks and getting taken hostage, we see a red Audi Quattro screaming onto the scene and now we know the Cortina must have failed its NCT and Gene’s had to upgrade. So many great moments in these opening scenes, Gene’s reputation preceding him and causing Alex to faint. But the best has to be something we’ve missed since Life on Mars ended: Gene’s one liners.

“Today my friend, your diary entry will read: took a Prozzie hostage, and was shot by three armed bastards!”

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Glorious.

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Ashes to Ashes returns on Good Friday, at 9pm on BBC 1. Good Friday just became Great Friday.