Ashes To Ashes – Series 3, Episode 6.


Wow. I think this was possibly the most intense episode of the series, minus maybe the first episode. Although this one was much more tension-themed than the first – the first just revealed a lot. Not a huge amount more than we already know was shown in this, which leads me to the question – how are they going to answer everything in the two hours left of ‘Ashes To Ashes’?

This week it was all about Viv. Which is unusual – he is something of a secondary character, as it were, but all episodes so far in this series have focussed on a different character (Shaz, Ray, Chris etc., although not a huge amount on Chris so far…), and I assume they had run out of them so chose Viv for this week. Crime Of The Week is all about a riot that has broken out in D-Wing of Fenchurch East prison – these are no ordinary criminals (“These are M and S criminals!”), in Gene Hunt’s words, they’ve “raped it, robbed it, killed it”. Them in riot form is pretty scary, and there were some epic scenes here: as Hunt and the first riot squad arrive at the prison, bricks and bombs are falling all around them to the sound of ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 (despite being U2, it is a cracking tune, and so, so fitting for the scene). Even though the riot squad have shields (plastic ones, this is no mediaeval seige) and headgear, Gene Hunt leads them, unprotected, into the prison, like an army walking up to battle (seige may be the word). Then we get a horrific scenes of policeman (including Viv, I should point out) being attacked by the rioting prisoners, and these particular prisoners seem very angry. Bloodied and bruised, the squad regroup outside, but Hunt realises Viv is left inside. He makes to go back in, but is stopped (as he probably would get killed), and  returns to the police station.

There is a general West Ham theme echoing throughout, from Keats whistling ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’, to Drake taking Viv’s West Ham football to the prison, and Hunt saying “Now I hate West Ham, but tonight we’re all Hammers fans, ok?” A little creepy, but I suppose represents a good deal of British society.

Before the first wave of policemen at the prison, Viv tries to tell Gene Hunt something, but can’t quite get the words out. Just as he is about to, Keats interrupts, literally saying “Sorry Viv, you’ve missed your chance”. Which to me, from the tone of his voice as well, sounds like Keats knew something about the whole thing – the something that Viv wanted to tell Hunt. As the team observe Viv, through the CCTV, being held hostage by the prisoners, and more specifically the ringleader Jason Sachs,  Alex manages to fuck things up again with her psychological talks (“This goes at your own pace, in your own time,” Of course it bloody does, he’s the one with the gun!), and Viv’s life hangs in the balance.

While all of this is going on, there has been an escaped prisoner on the loose since the riot began. His name is Paul Thordy. He thinks he is Sam Tyler. Even though he doesn’t look or sound like him. Paul Thordy is a con-artist, and not one of Gene Hunt’s favourite people. As soon as Chris and Ray find him, Hunt exposes him to what Drake calls “torture”. Really, it’s just Hunt doing what he likes to do. As Drake interviews Paul Thordy, she becomes more and more sucked into what he is saying about Hunt and the truth behind the whole situation. On the surface, he appears to know his stuff: he informs Alex that the riot is a cover-up, and that Viv agreed to bring a gun in for Sachs as long as Sachs made one of his men own up to a crime that his cousin was accused of. However, later it is revealed that Sachs and Thordy used to share a cell, so it’s not wonder that Thordy also has plans of the whole building being electrified, and that if anyone walks in, people die.

While THIS has been occurring (told you it was intense), Chris and Ray have been sent into the prison as “press”, to see if they can get Viv out. But as soon as Ray catches a glimpse of the beaten Viv, he reveals himself and Chris to be who they really are. The three of them are strung up to the electrics, and they can only wait for people to come and save them – or kill them as they will if they enter the prison.There is an exceptionally touching scene between Ray and Chris as they think they are going to die: Chris tells Ray to tell Shaz that, if he doesn’t get out of there, he loves her. Lots of sentiment, and the tension builds as the next wave of crime-fighters are about to break into the prison, and Hunt and Drake are running to try to stop them…

Gene Hunt throws a rock at the electrics box to make the whole building down (YES Hunt!), and Chris and Ray are saved. But Viv is taken by Sachs, and by the time Keats arrives there (why does he turn up now? Good work. Twat), he is dying. Like Episode 4, Keats is the one holding the dying character… How odd. The theme of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ returns, and the team are left to comfort each other, surrounding Viv’s body.

DEPRESSING. But, team relations, I believe, were on the up. Keats is becoming more and more of a spare part, as he is only hindering the team and not helping (and why the hell does he always leave his mouth open after every insult he gives? He acts like a school boy instead of what he should be) (ARGH!). Ray and Chris are solid, as ever, and Hunt’s loyalty to the team is outstanding. The only annoying character (aside from Keats) this week was Alex, as she is more concerned with ‘finding the answers’ instead of helping towards what really matters. Why should getting back home matter now? It hasn’t mattered for a few years now. This new character of Paul Thordy was an interesting one – was he really Sam Tyler? (probably not). And who really is Keats and why is he there? (Angel of Death, as he always seems to be around when someone’s dying?). What’s going to happen in the last two episodes, and what the hell is going to be revealed about Hunt? Questions, questions! Although I’m not sure if I really want to know the truth about Gene Hunt and his world – I quite like it the way it is.

Next week looks out-bloody-standing – Keats leans more on Alex to find out stuff about Hunt (do your bloody job Keats), and relations between Drake and Hunt appear to be growing (I think?). Chris is not a popular character next week, and I want to know what happens!  Good it’s only tomorrow really 🙂

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One Response

  1. can someone please tell me the meaning of the last scene in the last episode. i never saw life on mars, got totally hooked on ashes, but don’t understand who shouted: where’s my office, etc.. but i hear somebody saying something about an ipod..?
    please enlighten me, it will be much appreciated.
    cheers,
    yvette

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