Life on Mars, S1 Ep2

Life On Mars

Things to Watch For:

1.  Chris Skelton.  This is the first episode where we really meet Chris — who is actually wearing water wings during the pool chase.  He’s young, inexperienced, and kinda stupid — but his youth and inexperience mean he’s not yet set in his ways.  He’s still willing to be taught — and he’s smart enough to take lessons from anyone who can make him a better police officer, even if that person is Sam.

2.  False anachronisms.  Last episode, I told you to look out for anachronisms; now look for false ones.  When Sam is in the pub with Nelson and complaining that he’d rather have 1988 than 1973, he says 1988 would have color television.  But 1973 already does.  BBC2 went color as early as 1967.  Sure, not every TV was color in ’73 — we know from episode 1 that the TV in Sam’s crappy apartment isn’t — but it isn’t like they weren’t available in that era.  (Of course, the fact that Sam’s black & white TV goes color as soon as the test pattern shows up should be an immediate giveaway that something not quite right is about to happen.)  But here’s the question:  Does this 1973 have color televisions?  Or does it not, on the theory that it’s all happening in Sam’s head and Sam doesn’t think there are color TVs in 1973?

(By the way, the troll doll (visible at June’s bedside)?  Not an anachronism.  I’d thought it was, but they were actually popular in Europe as early as the 1960s.)

3.  The bad guys go after Annie and Leonard armed with some very nasty old-school weapons.  We see them enter the plant and prepare their weapons as they go hunting.  Tension is high.  Were you scared for Annie and Leonard?  Or did you remember that everything is from Sam’s point of view, so he had to be lurking somewhere nearby, watching it all.  (They’re just messing with us; they really are.)

4.  Sam, ultimately, invents the one-way line-up.  This is the first time he “invents” something that he already knows from the present.  It won’t be the last.

5.  Sam accidentally cuts himself — on his hand, it appears — with the razor when he’s shaving.  Remember this.

Welcome to Britain:

Copspeak:  A “blag” is a robbery; “form” is a prior record; and to “fit up” (obviously) is to frame.

Gene flashes the kids outside the ice-cream truck the ol’ “two-finger salute.”  It roughly translates in the States with one less finger.


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