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Things Get Trippy for Sam Tyler on "Life on Mars"

Was it just me or were you on the edge of your seat during last night's installment of BBC import, Life on Mars? This series, which stars John Simm as time-traveling detective Sam Tyler just gets more and more taut as the second season continues.

I can't help but wonder what sort of clue was contained in this week's episode, in which the team tracks down a kidnapped woman and her daughter, being held captive in an effort to secure the release of a teenager who confessed to murdering a 14-year-old girl a year earlier. While the CID review their case files, they are forced to wonder if they locked up the wrong man a year earlier; meanwhile, a deeply ill Sam--pulled in from sick leave--passes out at the station.

His condition--due, we're told, from his entrance into a deeper coma in the future, due to the wrong balance of medication--is alternately creepy, scary, and just plain weird. Sam is clearly seeing hallucinations (but as Annie says, when is he NOT seeing visions) and running a high fever. Sam clearly believes the voice on the phone that tells him that he's been given the wrong drugs, but Phyllis later learns that Sam was drugged with LSD after a pub raid. So which is it?

And, even if Sam were just drugged, how exactly was he able to view events at several different remote locations--Annie and Phyllis in the station bullpen, Chris searching Lamb's house, Annie questioning the murder victim's family--through the television set? Out of body experience? Astral projection? Expanded consciousness? Hmmm...

Instead, we're left to ponder just what was going on to Sam exactly and where he was in this week's episode: what appeared to be an office at the station, cold and dark, with that television set showing him events of the elsewhere. Was it a construct of his consciousness? A holding station for his psyche? Limbo?

Meanwhile, Annie's strengths as a detective are coming to the fore as she twigs to the connection between the victim's father and Lamb's family, locating the missing girls, and talking the perp down. This all comes on the heels of last week's episode, in which Annie and Sam went undercover as a married couple to infiltrate a wife-swapping party. Is it obvious how utterly smitten I am with Annie?

It's clear that Sam is influencing not only to future but also changing the way Manchester CID conduct investigations, introducing them last week to the concept of surveillance (which Gene termed "not very manly") and getting Chris to realize that sometimes they can't go blundering into the unknown but need to play smarter than the bad guys they're hoping to trap.

So while I'm still slightly confused over just what this episode showed us in terms of Sam's actual condition, I can't wait for next week for another piece of the puzzle...

Next week on Life on Mars, the team investigate the murder of a Ugandan-Asian man and the inroads of the heroin trade in Manchester, while Sam battles the bigoted reaction of Gene and receives a shocking message from the future.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Power of 10 (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants (CW); Wife Swap (ABC)

9 pm: Criminal Minds (CBS);
Law & Order (NBC; 9-11 pm); Gossip Girl (CW); Supernanny (ABC)

10 pm: CSI: New York (CBS); Supernanny (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9 pm: Gossip Girl.

Wow, a first-run episode of something tonight. On tonight's installment ("School Lies"), the kids break into the school swimming pool to have a party, with disastrous and near-fatal results.

10 pm: Project Runway on Bravo.

Finally, the sartorial showdown returns with a new episode ("Eye Candy") in which the remaining designers must source materials from a chocolate shop in Times Square in order to create a design.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I love this show! I thought it was really clever how Sam's "overdose" allowed him to step back while we watched Gene and Annie and the others step up and solve the case, proving that they resourceful and that Sam doesn't always have to be the one saving the day.

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