Life on Mars

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Mr. Sobell: A- | Grade It Now!
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Tuesdays With Mopey

Well, Annie has a key. It'll get them out of the Psych Ward, but not off the third floor. At least that way, they can get word to Carling about the bomb that awaits him and the rest of the police. And Sam knows just the way to do it -- that break room he spotted earlier with no bars on the windows. So he and Hunt make their way out of the ward, head down the hall, open the door to the room... and find a closet with even more explosives stashed inside. You picked a fine time to have one of your little brain farts, Tyler, I'll give you that.

But Sam and Hunt have bigger problems -- Michael H. has discovered the guns they've hidden in the EEG machine, and he's not taking a live-and-let-live attitude about it. "I am done playing games," Michael declares. He's also done wearing the dynamite vest -- that honor has been bestowed upon Annie. Hunt growls at Michael, and Michael barks back at Hunt, and everything seems like it's going to come to a boil when Sam suggests that maybe it's time that everyone calmed down. We wouldn't want to get anyone killed, particularly those of us who have less than an hour until our life-support is shut off. Michael presents Sam with a new list of demands and orders him to relate them to the police over the phone. Otherwise, the hostage herd is about to be thinned a little.

Time to give Carling a call about those demands. He's decidedly unreceptive, even after Sam pleads for him to listen. "Listen to a renegade whack job?" Carling scoffs. "I don't think so." Well, perhaps catching a glimpse of Annie in the window as she sports the latest in dynamite vests will cause you to rethink that intractable stand. Anyhow, those demands: Michael H. still wants that bus at 2 p.m. to take him, his brother, and the hostages to the airport. Once the bus gets to the airport, there had better be a fully gassed-up plane with a pilot ready to fly him and his brother to the destination of their choice. Carling wants to know if Hunt is okaywith all of this. Hunt takes time out from muttering under his breath all the horrible things he's planning on doing to Michael H. to confirm that this has been approved.

After another commercial break, we return to our hostage standoff already in progress. Annie has shed her dynamite vest in exchange for getting handcuffed to one of the hospital beds; Sam is handcuffed next to her. Sam apologizes for getting her into this mess. There's that narcissism again. "I came in because I was asked," Annie corrects him. "I wasn't fetching coffee or filing paper. I got to be a real cop." No, no -- Sam's apologizing for being such a self-involved douche, what on account of his impending death and all. "I don't know what's real anymore," he sighs. That reminds Annie of a paranoid schizophrenic she once met during her clinical work -- hey, that's sure to cheer up Sam! -- and the guy had managed to live without his meds. Whenever he felt the walls closing in as Sam does now, Annie explains, he would think back to his happiest memory. "Because at least that was real," she concludes. So what's your happiest memory, Sam? Well, that'd be a time back in 2008 -- "Back in Hyde," Sam corrects himself for Annie's benefit -- when his partner had just gotten killed in the line of duty and he had ended a long-term relationship. Say, that is a happy memor... Oh, there's more. "I was in a bar," Sam continues, "and there was a Tom Waits song playing on the jukebox... There I was, and this girl walks right up to the bar, and she turns to me, and she says, 'Why the bum face? Summer's turning into fall. You can smell it in the air. And you're sitting in a bar with the best jukebox in Manhattan. Dalton here is a bartender whose cocktail shaker should be bronzed. It's time for living. Oh, and by the way, I'm your new partner.'" Annie correctly identifies that this enchanting free spirit is Maya. "It was the first time I saw her," Sam continues. "I guess she was right. It was time for living." See? Now that's a nice scene. One of my modest complaints about Life on Mars up until this point is that we haven't really seen much reason for Sam to want to return to 2008 -- I mean, besides the fact that he won't have to deal with annoyances like typewriters and Ray Carling anymore. What's so great about 2008 that he has to get back there? And this scene pretty much nails it. It gives us insight into the special relationship that Sam and Maya enjoy that has heretofore gone unnoticed. Well done.

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Life on Mars

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