Sunday, November 2, 2008

All in the Family on Life on Mars #4: Sam Meets His Mother

Meeting your parent or grandparent when you're traveling in the past is an appealing feature of time travel - I've played with that in my Loose Ends saga and in the sequel to The Plot to Save Socrates - does your mother or grandfather recognize any of your future self, which of course is much older than the version of you that she or he knows, do you do anything in that family reunion that can change the course of the future ... These are the kinds of questions that make time travel so much fun.

Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" is one of the signature songs of Life of Mars (American style), Episode 4, titled "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadows?" The Stones and Paul Simon, and Sam runs into Jim Croce, too. Meanwhile, Sam's mother Rose Tyler is what later generations would happily say is a MILF (Jennifer Ferrin was fine in the role), and she's involved in some dangerous mob business that Sam needs to navigate her out of .... Nothing extraordinary here, though it was great to see comedian Robert Klein in a cameo as mob boss. Rose apparently doesn't see anything in adult Sam from 2008 that leads her to connect him with little boy Sam in 1973 - the closest she and we come is when she says that little Sam wants to be a cop when he grows up - and adult Sam doesn't seem to do anything that will change her and his life, except to keep her from getting killed. But this of course had to have happened, otherwise the adult Sam would have known at the outset that his mother had been killed. Flirting with the vortex of paradox...

In many ways more interesting is Sam's being drugged and slept with and photographed by one of Klein's molls, during which hallucinogenic state he not only sees this moll but Gretchen Mol's character Annie straddling him. I take this scene as, among other things, more evidence that Sam is actually in a coma from the car crash rather than time traveling.

But, of course, that may be just what the story wants us to believe. Which, again, raises a question: what ultimate difference does it make to the story if Sam is unconscious in 2008 and dreaming he is in 1973, or time traveling? Back in 1973, it makes no difference. But it would in 2008. For example, if Sam gets back to 2008, what would happen if he met someone he knew as a time-traveling adult back in 1973? Like his mother, is she's still alive... That would be a mother and child reunion squared.

I hope we see some more of Sam in 2008, sooner or later, to shed some light from yonder dimensions on this question.

See also Life on Mars Debuts in America ... Life on Mars 2nd Episode in America: Coma, Time Travel, Mars Rover ... Life on Mars Goes On in America: What Happens When a Time Traveler Runs Into His Earlier Self? ... Life on Mars #5 Meets the Wire ... Life on Mars #6 Meets Itself on Television ... Life on Mars #7: Is Annie Real, Or, Is Life on Mars a False Memory

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