Life on Mars

Episode Report Card
Mr. Sobell: B | Grade It Now!
Don't Go Chasing Butterflies

The ambulance speeds off, leaving Sam behind to mull over all that's happened today. Hunt walks up and, before Sam can even complete a syllable, punches him square in the gut. Might want to recall that ambulance. "Draw your gun on me again," Hunt warns, "I'll knock you so far back you'll think it was 1933 and there was a kosher butchers strike." For me, it's not an episode of Life on Mars until Hunt clocks Sam in some sort of way.

Back to the 125th Precinct, where Fletcher can say his goodbyes. He remarks to Sam that he spotted Denise Watkins over at the courthouse: "I think she's allergic to me." Sam encourages him to stick with it with the assurance of a man who knows how the next 35 years are going to play out. Fletcher tells Sam that if he's ever around the 86th Precinct to stop on by. "Later, Ice Man," Fletcher chuckles. I wonder if he'll be bitterly disappointed when Vanilla Ice tops the charts in another decade-and-a-half-or-so. Or will he wind up like the rest of us and just be really, really annoyed? "Later, Clams," Sam replies. Fletcher tells him to cool it with that moniker: "A lame nickname like that could stick with a guy his whole career." Yeah, too late on that. After Fletcher leaves, Annie strolls up and noted that he had been waiting around to see Sam. "I'm glad you got a chance to say goodbye," she says. That seems unnecessarily final.

Good reason for that, as it turns out: in the very next scene, Sam has returned to Our Lady of the Vicious Uppercut to seek out the counsel of Father Sobotka. He's not there... but that creepy derelict from earlier is. "I'm here for the funeral," he tells Sam. And sure enough, the once-empty church is now packed with mourners, the 1970s garb has given way to more contemporary threads, and Father Sobotka has shed that ridiculous fright wig that had lodged on top of his skull -- he's now old and gray and presiding over the funeral. There's a lot of cops in attendance. Lisa Bonet's there, too, so now I have a reason to be sad, too. Sam, however, can't help but suspect that he's the one who's going to be on the losing side of that closed casket at the front of the church. Only one way to find out -- he takes the slow walk up the aisle to the casket, steadies himself, and opens the lid. It's Clarke Peters.

Noooooooooooooo! Noooooooooooo! It should have been you, Sobotka! It should have been you!

Anyhow, Sam notices Maya offering condolences to the Widow Clams and begins to walk over, but the creepy derelict cuts him off. "We heard your prayer, Sam," he says. "You wanted to say goodbye to your father. We just choose which father." The church is empty now, though when Sam turns back to the altar he can still see Fletcher inside the casket. "Who are you?" Sam asks, reasonably enough. "We'll take good care of him," the derelict says. "He'll be OK. And so will you." Inappropriate comments from yours truly aside -- I laugh in the face of Death to avoid its icy touch -- this is a very nice scene. Or at least, it was, until the smiling specter of Keisha Davies joins the derelict/heavenly representative, and the two of them walk down the church aisle hand in hand. That just makes it kinda silly. Shoulda just left Sam there sputtering questions while the derelict walked away solo.

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Life on Mars




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