Ashes To Ashes – The Final Chapter.

Every time someone said “Let’s find out the truth about Gene Hunt”, it always sounded so negative. So wrongly negative. The majority vote – or at least what the reviews said – seemed to believe he killed Sam Tyler. I never thought he did. Gene Hunt, as I believe has been discussed countless times, remains a loyal to his team as his team is to him. And, although I think it might have been better if none of us knew the truth (both viewers and fictional characters) as this has somewhat tainted potential re-runs and the non-serious side of Gene Hunt world, the truth turned out to be a positive thing, more or less, for Hunt fans. He was not evil. The evil one, AS I THINK I STATED ALL ALONG, turned out to be DCI Jim Keats. Jim ‘I don’t have a purpose until the final episode’ Keats.

The first showing on Friday made for exceptionally confusing viewing, in that I did not understand at all. Subsequent discussions between my watching companions were then needed, and when I rewatched it today, it made much more sense. But either the script writers wanted to be cryptic or they, too, were so lost by this point in Gene Hunt World that they weren’t relating too much to the viewer, who had no idea how this was supposed to end, anymore. I am dubious as to whether they had this explanation/ending planned since Sam Tyler was around, or whether, when they started writing Series 3, this is what they came up with. It seems a little more like the latter – surely Keats would have been around for much longer, given his somewhat incredibly intrinsic role in the whole thing? Fans have been confused, upset (mainly due, I have found, to the killing of the Quattro) and devastated by the end of this saga – I keep telling them it’s fictional – but what I am most upset about is the lack of anything Gene Hunt anymore. Obviously had it gone on much longer the whole thing would get boring and be ruined, but he’s such a good character how could you not wish for more of the same? I believe one interview with Philip Glenister actually asked the question “So why are you leaving Gene Hunt behind?”, which I found bizarre – surely it’s up to the script writers and the BBC budget, not one actor in a show of many many workers?

So much happened it’s hard to know what to write about first. I think I agree with the rumours – the episode could have done with being 90 minutes. It wasn’t rushed so much, but still could have been longer. The end of episode 7 saw Alex leaving Hunt alone in her flat, literally about to hop into bed with each other (in fairness, Gene Hunt probably would have been even more crude about it). I was extremely annoyed about this – it couldn’t ever happen now. Keats shows up and ruins the evening, as usual, and leaves Drake intrigued by a photograph of an old house – the old house that featured in the news report shown in Alex’s hospital room. Where a body has been found in a shallow grave. Obviously Alex jumps to the conclusion that it’s Sam – why would it be anyone else’s?

Oh how wrong she was. From what I seem to be able to deduce, from the very vague script  (which, incidentally, was just as funny this week – “His pulse was all over the bloody floor!” etc etc., – but seemed less so due to the ridiculously serious nature of all things ending. Too serious for what was one a light-hearted show) and things I have read in various places (ie. the internet), the world they are in is not the real world. I mean that was pretty obvious to begin with – no one travels back in time, no one can travel forward in time and not age (Hunt, Chris, Ray etc, from the 70s to the 80s had nothing in their appearance change), and no one can travel forwards AND backwards in time (Alex). But why are they there? And how are they there, if it isn’t the real world?

After leaving the three other members of the team to sort out a diamond heist in London, Drake races up to the location of the building in the photograph, given to her by Keats. Hunt finds out and tries to stop her, but he reaches the scarecrow on top of the hill (where the shallow grave is) just as she discovers the badge that says ‘6620’. As she digs in the dirt (literally and metaphorically), Hunt pulls a gun on her and orders her to stop, but she finds an identity card stating that the body buried is that of the ghost that has been haunting her. The police officer with the number 6620. The signature states it is a young Gene Hunt.

Keats, being the evil tosser that he is, reveals to Chris, Ray and Shaz, before Hunt and Drake can do it gently, through his ‘report’ (three Betamax tapes, addressed to each individually) that they are not really alive. The tapes contain footage of their deaths – this I totally did not understand at the time, and thought it was a prediction of their deaths – (what the hell were Oasis doing in a show that has predominantly amazing music?) – and when they realise that they have been dead all this time, they are, understandably, somewhat perplexed and confused and upset.  Keats tries to convince them that Gene Hunt has covered the truth up from them too long, but the REAL truth (I said it was confusing…) is that Mr Gene Hunt himself was unaware of things, as he had ‘forgotten’. How very vague. It appears that Ray killed himself after not joining the army, Chris was shot whilst on duty, and Shaz was stabbed by a car thief. This is when Oasis turned up (on the soundtrack), so we must surmise that Shaz died in the 90s.

So. If they’re all dead, why is everything still happening? Conclusions draw that Gene Hunt runs a world (or Limbo, as Keats yells) for troubled coppers, who have had dubious or undeserved deaths, and need to hang around for a little before they can go to Copper Heaven. Or Copper Hell, if they follow Keats. Yes, Keats turns out to be the Devil, as is suggested by his evil tempting of them, his constant “Gene Hunt’s a bastard so pick me instead” stance, and the small hints like the lift in their new police building going down (to Hell, one assumes), the three same numbers to press on the key code on the door lock, and the red button on the lift. Hints, hints, hints, but you don’t actually notice them until you watch it a second time. I was a little disappointed that it turned out to be a regular Good vs Evil battle in the end – that seemed a little too blunt and obvious – but it was still pretty good.

“Gradually they come to you, those who had issues with their passing, and you tucked in their shirts and wiped their noses. Sorting out the troubled souls of her Majesty’s constabulary.” Ironically, Keats says it best.

There were some epicly touching moments. In the building next to where the young Gene Hunt is buried, Alex talks to Hunt, and finds out about his past. He died in 1953 – Coronation Day – hence the British flags still decorating the place, and didn’t deserve a shallow grave. I didn’t understand why Gene Hunt had been chosen to help the troubled souls, post-service, as he’d only died in ’53 – surely there had been plenty of dead officers priory to this? But as he remembers his past, he actually looks genuinely upset. There was some incredible acting here, so it was a shame that Keats had to turn up and ruin it. I liked the way the inside of the building looked like the interview room in ‘Life On Mars’.

In the midst of all this confusion and ‘explanation’ and so on, Shaz, Chris and Ray are still on the case of the diamond heist. A gang in London was going to hand over jewels to Dutch traders (I think?), and the downsized team plan on inserting Shaz into the operation. A sting, if you will. Before this can happen, Keats tries to tempt them to a new life in his division – which they initially take up, as it seems like there is nothing left for them in Hunt’s Fenchurch East. Luckily, Shaz returns to Hunt and Drake, all ready to complete the mission, and there is a fantastic scene where Hunt asks the rest of Fenchurch East “Are you armed bastards?”, and ‘Beat It’ plays as the Quattro and four other cars line up, driving to the London Aerodrome.

Everything goes to plan until the Dutch gang suspect Shaz. Luckily, Chris and Ray have not abandoned the team, and drive their car into the Dutch one, allowing Hunt to shoot the leader, based largely on the fact that he killed the Quattro. What a tosser.

So, the mission is a success, and the team agree the next plan of action is “pub”. As Hunt said, “you don’t need to put the word ‘why’ after ‘pub'”. When they get there, the Railway Arms from Manchester and Life On Mars times is there instead of Luigi’s. I assume this is because Luigi has gone back to Italy. I also assume the team moved to London after Manchester as that was where Alex was shot.

A final touching scene it is indeed – Ray, Chris and Shaz know they have to say goodbye to Hunt, and that he cannot come into the world beyond the door of the pub (one assumes this is Copper Heaven). Chris and Shaz make amends and get back together, in that Shaz declares her undying love for him (haha), and the three of them leave. Drake has spent the entire episode assuming that she is not dead, and her purpose in this world was to help the team move on. But Keats shows up (AGAIN), and tries to convince her she is still alive. She realises that it’s 9:06 – it is always 9:06 as this is the time she died (she WAS shot in the head…), and that Keats is not what he seems. He is evil. Drake becomes very upset about her daughter Molly, who hasn’t been present in this series as Drake has died and cannot contact her, but Hunt assures her that she’ll be fine. They FINALLY kiss, although it was a disappointment considering what it should have been, and Drake wants to stay in limbo with him so much, but I suppose just isn’t allowed to. It appears there are some rules. She leaves through the pub door, to the sound of ‘Life On Mars’ by David Bowie. Gene Hunt is all alone, but as soon as he walks into his office and picks up the Mercedes-Benz catalogue, a new case walks through the door, asking to have his iPhone back. The cycle begins again…


5 Responses

  1. I assume Gene thought she had to leave because if she stayed then, she’d never have been able to muster up the will to send herself off to ‘heaven’ and would have been stuck with Gene for eternity in limbo, which obviously he does not see as the best option for her. I guess he himself is stuck in limbo, living out the life he never had but wished he did, and has lived for too long there to go to the railway arms. I don’t think Gene forgot, I think his job is to lead them (who have forced themselves to forget over time, as Chaz says “i thought it was [the pressures of] the job”) to do enough good deeds to be admitted to ‘heaven’. Keats took Viv to hell, as he had done a ‘bad’ act in limbo (helping his cousin to escape jail). Keats would have had enough reason to take Ray to hell as Ray killed a man. Chaz and Chris didn’t appear to do anything wrong but did die prematurely so may have had ‘unfinished’ business, or rather wanted to live more before going to heaven. I don’t think the heaven was actually contained in the pub but instead they are released from limbo upon entry, it’d be a bit soppy to have them all partying for eternity. Yeah, I didn’t get it till I heard the Oasis either. THANKIES

  2. Oh he took that woman who was killed in a car accident a few episodes back to hell as well with his crazy hell grasp. It explains why Gene was especially pissed at her and Viv’s death. BLOODY KEATS. Also remember Keat’s “I know the bible inside out. Must know every page.” and sinister camera angles and pause on his face for a few seconds before changing view? DUN DUN DUNNNN. And also Chaz’s “Honestly Ray, it’s like you are from 1953” DUN DUN DUN. Do you think all the characters (including background characters, especially fat grey massive hair and white mustache combo background cop in the A2A station) are in limbo or some aren’t real people?

  3. That he did! I was wondering why Keats kept being the one to hold dying characters and why he always turned up… Yes I reckon everyone there was actually in limbo – I assume so anyway – but I’m still unsure what exactly let them go to the Railway Arms. And why Ray, Chris, Shaz and Drake all at once? Odd times. And why is Hunt there if he only died in 1953? So many unanswered questions!

  4. I think when they found out about it all (were reminded that they died and came there) Gene realised there was only so much time he could keep them in limbo and it was unfair to keep them longer when they should be let on to ‘heaven’. I think the whole limbo world evolves around Gene, which is why that new car manual and fresh bottle of whiskey just appeared instantly on his desk when he came back to his office. So I don’t think he could go through the Railway Arms as his ‘job’ exists within the world, and it doesn’t matter what year he came in to the limbo world. Also I’m not sure if all the background characters really are dead people in limbo, because if that is the case some of them will be secretaries doing paperwork all day, which would be a pretty shitty limbo to be honest.

  5. When Gene goes back to his office in the final scene and sees momentarily the reflection of himself as a young copper in the glass door, I think the copper’s half blasted off face has healed. I know it’s in reverse but I can’t see the gory side of his head. I have played it back several times slowly on DVD. I’m wondering whether Gene is gradually “healing” himself by peforming his guardian angel duties and will eventually go the pub heaven, meet up with Alex Drake and they live happily together ever after. (I’d like to think so) Also has anyone noticed that in Jim Keats first entrance in the series he doesn’t actually open the door, it opens magically by itself. Either that is right or I’m losing the plot. Maybe I’m living in purgatory right now, it’s rather comforting to think that! I also would like to know what the hell all the villians and other people are doing there. Are they dead and dealing with issues or are they conjured up by the people who really are in purgatory but don’t know they are dead. Perhaps the writers could publish a book to tie up all these loose ends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: