Aside from overplaying all the Wizard of Oz references, this is the Life on Mars I signed on for. While there is still things to pick apart here (ease off WoO,) but with this episode, the series picked up a recognizable balance between the Tyler's predicament, the case at hand, and the generational differences. And we now have a more concrete conflict between Ray the Mustache and No Nuts Norris, giving Michael Imperioli and Gretchen Mol a bit more to work with in future episodes, especially now that Hunt (Harvey Keitel) and Tyler (Jason O'Mara,) are come simpatico.
We also get a hint of how dark the series could be if it wanted, not in what actually happens on screen, but in the contrast given between 2009 and 1973 given by fellow coma-induced time traveler, Councilmen Bobby Prince. "There's actual hope," he says of 2009, referencing the new President*, but here in 1973 "there is no hope," describing his frustration of the politics in 1973's New York. Annie would disagree. And so does my bank account... maybe Prince is coming back from late 2009, and the economy has turned around (please?). Truth be told, in 1973, you still need guys like Hunt who embody the trio of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Is it just me, or did that reference, while an apt description of Hunt, seem awfully extraneous?)
And the girl in the corner said boy I want to warn you...
While there was only one song this week (I'm still trying to get past The Wizard of Oz problems here, so I'm trying to ignore "Over the Rainbow,") they sure picked a doozy in Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz." I'm going to date myself here, and confess that it was the first single I ever owned, lucking into it Trick or Treating one Halloween when I was 7 (1975). One of my neighbor's was a disc jockey, and he gave me the DJ version 45 of it. (My little sister received Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love"... guess who got the better treat?) With that began an obsession for music that still goes on to this day. So while LoM has done well sticking to lesser known songs of the day, this chart topper (went to #5 in the US in '75) worked well for me. Of course, folks can split hairs and say that it wasn't released in the US until 1974, but that's neither here nor there since it's not being used in a diegetic manner. Anyway, as much as the lyrics to "Ballroom Blitz" can appear nonsensical (it was originally about the band being driven offstage at a show by a barrage of bottles,) the hooker here certainly seems like "the girl in the corner" giving Tyler a warning of sorts.
And what a warning it was...
Playlist: Life on Mars - Episode 1.11
1. "Ballroom Blitz" - Sweet
2. "Over the Rainbow" - Judy Garland
Previously: Almost Famous (Episode 1.10)