Ashes to Ashes S2 E2 Reviewed

The death of a gypsy in a police car chase brings some truly ugly scenes to Ashes to Ashes as a portrayal of local and international prejudice is played out against the backdrop of the Falklands War in this latest instalment of the BBC’s superb cop-show-with-time-travel.

It transpires that the dead man, Jed Bicklow, has been drugged by the unscrupulous Dr Battleford (The Sarah Jane Adventures’ Joseph Millson) who has taken pity on the travellers and provided them with medical care… and a bit more than that for Bicklow’s very young wife.

Typically Alex Drake (Keeley Hawes) doesn’t take long to uncover that the doctor is hiding more than an interest in extramarital activity – yet when she attempts to charge him who should come to his rescue but Superintendent Macintosh?

Once again, the stench of police corruption rears its head in a series-long subplot that isn’t going to go away – and Ashes to Ashes feels all the more fresher for it, interweaving Alex’s hallucinations and recollections (or lack of them…), messages from the future and a second encounter with her fellow time traveller with some fascinating television that isn’t afraid to tackle the subject of a rotten police force in a way that hasn’t been attempted for years.

Within minutes of the episode opening, we learn that the corrupt cop from the previous week’s episode has gone missing, for instance, and with Gene Hunt’s (Philip Glenister) encounter in the interview room with an older gypsy woman with “the sight” we get a very cryptic hint at how deep the corruption in the force runs, and what Hunt must sacrifice to tackle it.

A revelation about DS Ray Carling and Hunt’s bizarre and audience-throwing sacrifice build tension throughout the episode, while there is light relief as DC Chris Skelton – growing in stature and morality as a good detective – proposes to girlfriend WPC Shaz Granger.

If you’re not watching Ashes to Ashes, you really need to catch up soon as this series seems to be on fire – and looks soon to stand on its own two feet, without any nods or references to Life on Mars.

About the author

I'm Christian Cawley, a massive fan of UK fantasy television (particularly Doctor Who) and British Comedy.

"Quintessentially British" is my look at those two very British flavours of sci-fi/fantasy and comedy.
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