As I type this, I feel a strange sense of loss, which I can only account for by saying that Ashes To Ashes is no more. The Manc Lion, Gene Hunt himself, has been a constant companion throughout 2 series of Life On Mars and 3 of Ashes To Ashes. It’s not surprising that the nation has grown to love him so much. In the minds of millions of viewers, Gene Hunt is now firmly in place as the retroactive 80’s mascot.
To stop this post being an unrelenting fanboy blow-job, I will discuss the final episode. The epic twist is one that a few clever fans have seen coming, but that this reviewer didn’t predict. In hindsight, it should have been obvious, but as they say about hindsight, it’s 20/20. There is also a secondary revelation that ties into the main one and does it beautifully. That’s why I’m glad that I didn’t look around the internet properly before watching the show. I did, however, log onto Facebook. Even that was a mistake. From the very first status I saw, I learned that the Quattro dies a terrible, terrible death. (Well, I had to infer it from what was said, but it was close enough)
In my last Ashes To Ashes review, I wanted to see a finale that fully wrapped up the fates of all the characters and left no mysteries to the viewer. I know that in real life, not all the questions get answered, but this was a television show and not real life. Having said that, it’s nice to see that the show actually lived up to my expectations and gave us an action packed and revelation filled show to go out on. I’m looking forward to buying the big box-set so I can see how all the clues come together over a period of days rather than years. I did like the fact that you saw that the cycle could continue again if they so desired, but I hope they don’t do yet another show, as there is no compelling question, no reason to watch it now we know the whole story.
You know a television show has done its job well when it makes you care about the characters as you would care for your own mates, and Ashes To Ashes fully delivered on that count. You want to see the gang do well and you want to see Alex get home to her daughter. I found myself chuckling at some of the things that came out of the character’s mouths and saying (for example) “oh, that is so Chris!”.
As with all good things, there are some bad elements, but this finale didn’t have many faults. I must confess that I didn’t fully see the significance of all of the plot twists (and still don’t) but I expect that they’ll become clearer over time. And I didn’t really appreciate the little clip after the credits, as I felt it to be rather jarring after a sad show like this. It wasn’t jaunty, but it was kind of…unnecessary.
It’s only fitting that this review and tribute should end how the series ended: with a David Bowie song playing and a farewell to Gene Hunt. Farewell forever, you magnificent armed bastard.