Ashes To Ashes series 2 episode 3 review

Animal rights protests cause a right storm this week as Gene puts me right off my chip supper...

Morph as an EMT. Go on, think about it. Tony Hart’s loveable plasticine friend is, it seem, competent enough to be able to provide heart massage and emergency medical training. Not bad for a guy with no vocabulary, clothes or fingers, and while this seems insane it shows you that the guys behind Ashes To Ashes have storyline and imagination to spare as we get another stonker of an episode. Just how good a start has this second series got off to?

Concentrating on a current crop of animal activists going to extreme measures, Gene, Alex and the rest of the team are at first confronted with a doctor whose daughter is given probably the worst birthday in history. It starts with a box containing a present that would make John Doe from Seven proud, and ends in third degree burns courtesy of a motorbike drive-by wielding a Molotov cocktail. And to think I was disappointed getting the wrong He-Man figure when I was a kid.

However, it’s not just the extremists that Gene and co. have to deal with this week as it seems that the bent copper PC Sean Irvine from a few weeks ago has just committed ‘suicide’, just as Alex was getting that little bit closer to the hidden world of the Masons and corruption. It seems that now Gene is keeping his enemies closer, he is being asked to bend the rules a lot more, having to fill in paperwork on Supermac’s insistence that Irvine was on suicide watch while in custody in Gene’s care. Bent over a barrel, Gene has the moral dilemma of filling out the dodgy dossier or taking up the opportunity to be moved or ‘relocated’ to a cosy desk job by the south coast.

Back in the office things go from bad to worse as the team find that the rogue militant biker has left a message stating there will be more bombs and attacks on various other establishments where animals are tested. Turning into a clever homage to Silence Of The Lambs, Gene and Alex have to venture into prison to confront Robin Elliot, a psycho-socially manipulative imprisoned animal activist whose prior actions have him imprisoned for life. Just in the way that Lector knows the workings of Buffalo Bill’s mind, it seems that Elliot knows the inner workings of this new terror cell and where and when they will hit next.

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Slowly dying from hunger, striker Elliot is progressively shutting down but still manages to get under the skin of both Alex and Gene, and even when Gene taunts Elliot with his own form of psychological warfare (involving chips) things get progressively worse. Even when Elliot does crack a little, the team are a bit too late to stop the next step of the terror campaign.

Eventually, after finding out who the real ringleader of the activists is (thanks to some green paint), followed by Gene’s ‘persuasive’ form of questioning and a hilarious taking apart of a student union, the team  track down and confront the instigator in a tense stand off, and for once it is up to Chris and Ray to save the day.

And talking of Chris, even with his own beliefs of his inadequacies bedroom-wise, he unintentionally wins the day as, having pick-pocketed The Joy Of Sex book from a suspect, he has the vital missing piece of the puzzle on him at all times. He has the clue to the real suspect on him for nearly the entire episode (not to mention getting the attention from a lot of questioned female students). However, he only has eyes for Shaz and as wedding bells sound he has also found his best man in the form of Ray.

So with happy endings all round in the office Gene is the only one not sharing in the fun as it seems being ‘all square’ could cost him his career, friends and position.

Overall this is another fantastic episode, packed full of twists, turns and some well played out scenes. Even with the fact that Elliot is played by the same actor who plays Filtch in Harry Potter, which is a bit distracting, the whole notion that an entire terror campaign can be orchestrated from behind bars is a spooky and relevant one. Added to this we have the Masonic dilemma and also the fact that Alex is now ‘alive’ in the ‘real’ world. There are more questions to be answered in what is one of the best shows on telly at the moment…

Check out our review of episode 2 here.

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