Friday, November 7, 2008

Life on Mars #5 Meets the Wire in New York

"When you walk through the garden, you better watch your back ..." Hey, they could almost have played that superb Tom Waits "Way Down in the Hole" theme song from The Wire in last night's episode #5 of Life on Mars, which had two* Wire veterans on hand, Clarke Peters (Lt. Freamon on The Wire) and Chad Coleman ("Cutty" on The Wire). Even Whoopee Goldberg had a cameo. *(And an anonymous commentator just mentioned that Chris Bauer, Frank Sobotka from The Wire, played the priest in this episode of Life on Mars - so that makes three Wire people.)

Freamon and Cutty were among the best characters on The Wire. Both were customarily excellent in Life on Mars - in a show that couldn't have been aired at a better time, about the evolution of race relations in America - but Peters' character Bellow had by far the more significant role.

Bellows is Sam's mentor in 2008. Sam works with Bellows as a much younger detective in 1973. This is a great time-travel set up, with possibilities of seeing how Sam's relationship with the young Bellows shaped and/or changed their relationship in the future - classic time travel. But the ending - which I don't want to give away - never explored this.

There was a nice piece of surprise business with Lt. Hunt in 1973, who is turning out to be a pretty appealing character, after all. He increasingly is pulling back from the edge of being a psycho, out-of-control, violent cop - to reveal a human being with a reliable sense of right and wrong.

And what has been revealed about Sam? He's still firmly in a coma as far as I can see - and yet, and yet, the story is also playing with something more. Or, put otherwise, if Sam is just in a coma in 2008, it's a complex coma indeed.

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 #4: All in the Family ... 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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