Life on Mars

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Here's to the curliqued whimsy of fate!

Sam and Annie go over the contents of the car -- there's the business card of an accountant, and that's about it. We quickly zoom to the accountant being brought in for questioning. Lawrence R. Jones is like the dapper, left-brain version of John Waters, so I'm beginning to detect an undercurrent of foreshadowing here insofar as why Robert Reeves was killed. (And it is not "He loved movies about Baltimore?") Larry the accountant claims that Robert had tax questions, and Sam pounces, "Taxes? In May?" "Something about an inheritance," Larry says. "Who died?" Sam asks. Larry feints. He then claims that the bar where he met Reeves was at the Carlyle Hotel. The music there is "sensational," a word that Annie picks up on.

We cut to Sam picking apart Larry's story and Annie musing, "If I didn't know better, I'd say that Jones was [waves hand vaguely]." Sam's not getting her tactful little non-verbal cues, so Annie finally whispers, "homosexual." Sam wants to know what made Annie think that, and after dismissing the psychobabble of the day as a load of hooey, Annie says, "Just something about the way he sat, the way he was fussing with his clothes, he used the word 'sensational' like it was made out of milk chocolate ..." Sam smiles at that, then comments, "Women have such great gaydar." Annie's very tickled by that word; Sam modestly disclaims any credit for inventing the term.

Gene comes in and asks for an update, and Ray demonstrates what a bully he is by saying, "Annie brought in a tax accountant, which I think is a great lead if it's April 15." Sam, of course, rides to Annie's defense and says she's got a great theory. Unfortunately, Annie's more attuned to the gender nuances of the 1973 workplace than Sam is, so she punts back to him and Sam says, "I think maybe Robert Reeves is -- ah, was, was a homosexual." Ray immediately begins snickering. Gene demands Sam explain himself. Annie says, "They met at a bar, and ... and if the accountant were gay, and they were meeting after working hours --" She has to stop there, because Gene's brain refuses to contemplate the idea that men can be heroic in battle, then weak in the knees for other men. Gene has clearly never studied his ancient history. Anyway, this ends with Annie rolling her eyes at Sam's crazy ideas, Ray basking in the imagined glow of his own superiority, and Sam wondering why his crazy time travel couldn't have put him someplace cooler. ,/p>

In the next scene, Sam and Annie spy Robbie in the alley next to his house and swing by to ask if his mom's home. (Answer: No. She's at the butcher's.) While Annie makes small talk about the Knicks, Sam starts tossing a ball with Robbie while saying, "My dad had this way about him. He was the man. The way he dressed, the way he laughed -- something about him, whenever he was near, I felt like nothing could go wrong." Robbie cuts through the BS with, "I don't care about your dad. Your dad left. My dad died." We cut to Annie, who may well be thinking, Oh, SNAP, only in groovy 1973 terms. Sam admits, "It's true. But your dad didn't give up on you. Your dad didn't have a choice. My dad made two promises to me. The first? When the Knicks made a playoff game, he'd take me to it -- and he did. He honored that promise. We took the subway; it was my first time taking it. He held my hand. God, I remember it like it was yesterday. He had a tattoo on the hand that always held mine, it was a cobra, 'cause that had been his nickname when he was a kid." Robbie wants to know what the second promise was. Sam tells him, "It was my fourth birthday party. He went for a walk in the woods and said he'd be right back. That was the last time I ever saw him." Then Sam asks for Robbie's smokes. Begrudgingly impressed by Sam's detecting skills, Robbie hands the pack over; they were his dad's, and there's a matchbook tucked in the side of the pack. Once Sam's done with that, he notices the house across the way. His attention is riveted by the decorative window with three small diamonds; its arrangement echoes the henna tattoo on the maharishi's forehead a few scenes back. Sam tosses Robbie his basketball and goes to check out the house with the diamond-patterned windows.

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Life on Mars

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