After all this time, after waiting patiently for episodes upon episodes, we finally get our series finale of Life on Mars. Alright, so it was only one season, but I felt like a series finale had to have some sort of build-up.
First of all, seriously … I had no idea. Don’t get me wrong; I’m pretty damn proud of myself and all and even treated myself to a cookie, because I had no spoilers at all to work with nor any early screeners and still called the show’s ending nearly spot-on. I know I’m not the only one, so the rest of you can go ahead and get yourselves a cookie too.
Even though I felt this was the most likely ending for the show, I’m not completely thrilled with how it went down in the final ten minutes or so. Some of the details behind the whole mission to Mars didn’t sit well with me, for example. I’ll get to all of those in more in a list a little later.
I have to wonder if this was the ending envisioned all along by the creators. If so, it’s a good thing the show ended this soon. If we were dragged into, say, three seasons of this show — caring about them all and their relationships with each other — we’d feel cheated in the end when it all turned out to be a fantasy in Sam’s head. Not only that, but Sam more-or-less snaps out of his virtual reality stasis and seems only slightly bothered by what transpired.
Even with such a short season, there are some bothersome holes. What or who was Maya, Sam’s girlfriend, for example? She all but disappeared halfway through the season, when I would have expected for her to show up at some point in the finale. And since all of the major players in the show were linked back to people on the Hyde-1-2-5 (or in Mission Control), and “Gene Hunt” was actually Sam’s father, then who was the guy “playing” Sam’s father in the virtual 1973? What about the old guy and the little girl? The old man with the cane?
As a sci-fi geek, I didn’t care for how Twilight Zone-like the Hyde-1-2-5 appeared and operated. But that’s enough negatives. I did like that, through all of what we saw in virtual 1973, Gene Hunt was there as Sam’s father all along. When all was said and done, it just fit. And that right there made it an OK finale, not a bad one.
Some other quick points about the episode: