Thursday, September 27, 2012

Family Matters

Thriller the Thursday

Sam's reliance on forensics clashes once again with Gene, who's working on pure instinct, as the two investigate a murder at the site of Sam's future flat.

The review for "Safe House" can be read here.

Sam (John Simm) begins settling into a routine here, trying to live his new life as best he can while not forgetting the world he's trying to get back to. Despite being convinced that he's in a dream, he's still unwilling to compromise his values in regards to his work, determined to change this new world on the chance that he may never get to leave it.

As much as Sam would like to teach Chris (Marshall Lancaster) and the rest of the team about forensic science and the values of modern-day techniques, Gene (Philip Glenister) is equally as eager to teach Sam about using one's instincts in a case. What's interesting is that both techniques are shown to have their flaws, but both are also shown to have fairly accurate results. Gene uses his intuition in a way that is so head strong that he manages to find his man even when he's not necessarily looking in the right place, whereas Sam's eye for detail allows him to deduce the culprit based on fact. In the end, both men seem to catch their criminal at roughly the same time, and neither can be faulted for their reliance on their abilities.

There is an overriding theme of being alive in this episode, with the factory itself being spoken of as a living creature, acting as the lifeblood for the community. The discussion about the factory being warm on the inside, and how it would become a shell of what it was should it shut down, is also true of Sam's body back in his own time; should he give up now he'll never get back, his body will die and he will cease to exist.

Gene barges into the Bannister's home and arrests Ted (John Henshaw) in front of his wife and kids, and it's even a little too brutal for Gene Hunt. With children involved, I imagine that Gene would be somewhat more discreet, but here he doesn't have the sense to so much as lower his voice and even goes as far as to eat off of the children's plates, while their father's face has been buried in the table, and comments on their meal. I understand that he's meant to be a character with loose morals and a severe lack of discipline, but this scene seems to have taken things too far even for him.

The episode starts out with mention of Sam's future apartment, and seems to be setting up some kind of subplot regarding him cracking the case due to his familiarity with the area. Instead, it's very quickly dropped, and becomes completely pointless to the rest of the episode outside of reminding the viewer that Sam doesn't live in this time period. It ends up having no relevance to the case at hand, and it not only leads nowhere, but it's not mentioned much beyond the mid-way point.

The entire cast is phenomenal in their roles, with both Simm and Glenister playing off of one another very well in all of their scenes. Particularly good here is Rebecca Atkinson as pregnant Tina conveying a good range of confusion, fear and heartbreak.

Directed by John McKay, this episode has great pacing, avoiding any potential lulls that might have befallen it, and he manages to connect the two seemingly unrelated stories masterfully as the episode draws closed. Unfortunately, there are also a few missteps in the episode, such as Sam's need to fight for his life, which seems to go nowhere outside of reminding us that he may or may not be in a coma, and he seems to almost welcome death at one point, laying down as the sounds of his life support get louder and louder, only to scream out that he's not ready, after which it's not followed up on at all.

Matthew Graham writes a good story here, using a number of red herrings throughout the plot to throw off the scent of what's truly happening. As the episode drew on I thought that it was growing somewhat predictable, having decided already for myself that Derek had committed the crime, only to find out that there had actually been no murder at all. The weaving of the two crimes together was something that I hadn't quite expected, and I was pleased that I hadn't been able to suss out the ending completely on my own.

There are hints here that Sam will start training Annie for more serious police work, having her help with some of his paperwork, sitting with her as he listens to his tapes, and sending her to speak to the women at the factory. Sam also experiences a series of flashes as the episode draws closed, which will likely come into play in the coming episodes.

The review for "Honey Trap" can be read here.


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