I’ve just finished watching the final episode of Ashes to Ashes season 3. The ending didn’t come as a complete surprise, since two years ago I wrote up my thoughts on possible explanations for what was happening. Granted, I was wrong about
what if Gene Hunt is an “angel”, but I was right about a few things.
Tyler was sent to make a better man of Hunt.
The reason I’m suspect I’m right about this point- that Sam Tyler was sent to redeem Gene Hunt- is that by the time of Ashes to Ashes, Gene has forgotten who he is and why he was there. Some of the lines in Life On Mars would cast some doubt on whether Hunt had forgotten his role, but we can certainly see the character being redeemed over time. Further evidence is given in Alex Drake’s actions helping Hunt remember who he is and why he’s there.
Interestingly, Hunt ends up forcing Ray Carling to go through the events that led up to him committing suicide- namely that Carling caused a civilian to die during the course of his duty (I’ll have to re-watch Life On Mars to refresh my memory as to whether he beat up the prisoner in that episode), and his boss covered up Carling’s role in the matter. Sharon Granger goes through a similar ordeal in episode 7 season 1 of Ashes to Ashes when she gets stabbed in the stomach, almost dying in the process (and seeing the Angel of Death that had been stalking Alex Drake). Again, I’ll have to watch the DVDs to see if Chris is made to relive the manner of his death during the course of either show.
So in the final episode of Ashes to Ashes, we’ve found out that the world that the majority of both shows takes place in is actually an afterlife of sorts for police officers. In this world, Hunt is responsible for helping them work through their issues. So while he’s not an angel as had occurred to me two years ago, he’s certainly an important figure in the spirit world.
Interestingly, getting back to the references to Quantum Leap I made in my previous musings, Nelson the barman bears some subtle similarities to Al the barman in the final episode of Quantum Leap.
Ashes to Ashes ends things well, and although things were certainly left open with Hunt continuing in his role guiding the spirits of police officers, I’m hoping no further shows are made within the Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes universe. I don’t really think there were any unanswered questions left (unlike how things ended with Firefly), so any further shows set within the same universe would likely involve entirely different characters (e.g. no Philip Glenister reprising the role of Hunt), or perhaps some plot involving Hunt finding himself a replacement which would allow him to move onto Heaven (such a plot would be unlikely to produce a show as good as either Life On Mars or Ashes to Ashes). However, a book detailing Hunt’s original death and how he comes to gain his responsibilities in dealing with the spirits of police officers wouldn’t go amiss.