Previously on Space Oddity, Sam Tyler was a police detective in present-day New York until the precise moment that he wasn't. Now he's a police detective in the New York of 1973 and he'd sort of like to figure out what the hell he's doing there...
... and he clearly hasn't figured it out by the start of episode two, as he's furiously scribbling possibilities on a chalkboard in the middle of the 125th Precinct. These chalk-encapsulated musings, he explains to a curious Annie, are the possible explanations for what he's doing in this, the One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy-Third year of Our Lord. If you're scoring along at home the options are: Coma, Drug-Trip, Time Travel, Different Planet, Extra-Terrestrial, Mind Experiment, Heaven, Insanity, Brain Tumor, Virtual Reality, and Multi-Dimensional Travel. You forgot "TV Show Premise We 'Borrowed' From the British" -- though perhaps that's what the question mark on the right side of the chalkboard is supposed to represent. Actually, Sam explains, the question mark represents the unknown -- "All the things I haven't thought of yet," he says. "And it's the one out of all this that scares me the most." Really? Even more than "Contestant on a Japanese Game Show?" You're made of sterner stuff than me, Tyler.
Annie decides that there's far too much introspection going on in here and erases the chalkboard -- well, all except for that troubling question mark. "If the lieutenant sees this," Annie says, referring to the charming Gene Hunt, "you'll wish you could go back in time." It's true -- as far as Gene is concerned, Contemplating the Reason for Your Existence is a punchable offense, right up there with Mouthing Off, Looking at Me Cross-Eyed, and Breathing Too Loud. But Sam is less concerned about Hunt's censure -- and his fists -- than he is with a more personal matter: he can no longer remember Maya's face. Well, win some, lose some, I say, though it's possible I'm letting my feelings toward Lisa Bonet skew my attitude. Sam seems genuinely broke up by this development. Perhaps he never had to sit through Angel Heart.
Annie suggests that maybe Sam drop all the crazy talk about 2008, and Sam agrees that maybe she has a point. "What I'm doing in 1973 and how to get back, I'll figure it out on my own," he says. "But until then, I guess I'm left with only one option... to spend my time here doing what it is I do best." Moping? Rocking those wide-collar shirts? The New York Times Crossword Puzzle? "Catching bad guys," Sam concludes. Oh, right. That.