Monday, April 30, 2007

Life On Mars

Life On Mars has come to an end. I haven't written about the ending before because I wanted to examine the final episode from all angles, and there were so many. That's what good drama leaves you with; it answers some questions but allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions on others. Good drama is discussed long after it has ended.

So was Sam really in the past or was he mad? Here are my own conclusions.

For me Sam had been transported back in time after his accident. When he returned to the future he realised that he belonged, and could do more good, in 1973. Sam wasn't really living in 2006, he was just existing, going through the motions. In 2006 Sam was a very small cog in a very large machine, with very little influence on the world he inhabited. He just didn't feel he belonged. Realising this he committs suicide and returns to 1973, a place where he feels alive.

This view of the ending can be disputed and this is what I mean by 'good' drama. You could argue that Sam was in fact from 1973 and because of the childhood trauma, revealed in the final episode, he had created the vision of the future to cope with the loss of his parents. 2006 was all in his imagination, an illusion reborn from a recent accident. Going back to 'his' 2006 Sam was having a breakdown. Making a conscious decision to stay in 1973 he finally saved himself and his sanity.

These are only two interpretations of the ending and I'm sure others have come up with many more.

And then of course there's the ending I would have written.

Sam discovers Gene Hunt was the person who ran him over in 2006 and to get home Sam has to destroy Gene Hunt in 1973. However, by doing so he has to destroy the rest of the team, people he considers friends. Sam realises he can't do this and saves the team and Gene Hunt, sacrificing his own life for the sake of the others.

What did the finale of Life On Mars mean to you?


Robin Kelly said...

I do agree good drama should inspire discussion but it's bad drama that allows for several different interpretations. Although I much prefer your version.

Dominic Carver said...

I might not have worded it as correctly as I could have.

What I meant to say is that you could interpret it either way (Sam was really from 2006 or 1973). Other people might have read more into those two possible endings than I did.

Polly said...

I like the ambiguity of the story, to come to a definitive ending or understanding of the hows and whys diminish the really interesting aspects of the series ie; the relationships Sam makes, the impact he has on those around him, the crimes they investigate.
Thats not to say knowing what really sent Sam back to 1973, real or imagined isn't important, just that whatever it was I like many other fans are sooo glad it happened. This was a truly cracking series, inspired and subtle, it made me cringe, laugh, smile, and if I were brought easily to tears could even have made me cry.
Would that I ever had the confidence and creativity to submit such a script?!