ABC - 25th March 2009 - 10.00pm
After last week's disaster, this is much more like it. We reprise with the shooting of Chris and Ray by gangster Jimmy McManus and both men are then rushed to the Emergency Room. Meanwhile, McManus is gunned down and the 125 must set about finding his assailant. However, Ray rises from his bed and sets out to join the rest of the team to track down the killer even though it is Sam who is seemingly to blame for the murder.
...she keeps vanishing right at the crucial momentsAs we are now only two episodes from the end of the series, I guess the writers realised it was time to draw many of the strands together as the conclusion hurtled towards them. Hence, we get further down the road in attempting to solve some mysteries. First up is the reappearance of Sam's hippy neighbour, Windy. When she was introduced way back at the start of the series I had a funny feeling that we'd get the song Everyone Know's It's Windy on the soundtrack and predictably this week we did. And very welcome it was too. We still don't quite get to fathom out just who she is even at this late stage in the series but it's clear she must be some sort of hallucination because she keeps vanishing right at the crucial moments. Sam is framed for the death of McManus and the story revolves around him trying to clear his name, despite the fact that he keeps having bizarre visions that show him committing the crime. It's a neat guessing game to keep the audience on their toes but it gets rather derailed by the arrival of Agent Frank Morgan, played by Peter Gerety. Those of us familiar with the BBC show know that the Frank Morgan character was instrumental in bringing Sam's story to its close in the original series. This fitted in with many of the allusions to The Wizard Of Oz that the BBC show cleverly played with.
I really didn't see the point of naming the character Frank Morgan in this episode even though we learn he was the voice on the telephone in the basement and that he has some connection with the Aries Toy Co. (in itself a reference to the Aries file on Sam some episodes back) and that at a launch party Sam witnesses one of the customers at the bar swallow one of those weird nano-bots that were so much a part of the opening episodes of the series. We're not entirely sure what's going on here and what the exact nature of Frank Morgan is. He does read Sam's psychiatric evaluation files and thus knows a great deal of personal intelligence about Sam to use it to confuse him in the episode's rooftop denouement. But he also knows much more than he should and that's the puzzler. So between 'Aries', Windy and Frank Morgan we get a genuine effort to plunge the show back into the central debate about Sam's business in 1973 but we're left feeling rather more confused and in conclusion none of it is really that meaningful.
Sam and Annie have changed and are, seemingly, connected togetherEither there is a nano-robot inside Sam, according to Morgan, that is somehow concocting all of this in his head (and I don't buy Morgan's nonsense about Sam being affected by his father's bad blood either) or Morgan is lying and we have yet to see why Sam thinks he's from 2008 and living in 1973. Again, we get good cast ensemble playing, although Gene Hunt was so underwritten this week Harvey might as well have phoned in a performance. Imperioli is always a joy to watch and the development between Sam and Annie is welcome. The final scenes of Annie talking Sam down off the roof after Morgan suggests the only way to resolve his dilemma is to throw himself off it, is more or less a mirror of the very first episode of the BBC series. Loved that nice little scene at the end where Chris, recovering in hospital, notes how Sam and Annie have changed and are, seemingly, connected together.
Not a bad episode but you do get the feeling that writers are running around in a panic and trying their best to tie up all the flailing loose ends. They've certainly got a massive effort to make for the final episode next week - we still don't know who Windy is, what Aries is, whether Sam is in 1973 and if he will get back to 2008. I hope we get a satisfactory send off.
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