Ashes To Ashes – Series 3, Episode 2 – review

Here’s a bit of a catch-up from Friday’s episode of Ashes To Ashes. A vast improvement on the series opener, it was mostly focussed on Gene Hunt’s team investigating a series of killings linked to a dating agency.

Maybe it’s too early in the series, but so far the usual chemistry between Hunt and Alex Drake is largely absent. In previous years, there was always a danger the pair would end up waking up together after too many bottles of red wine. This year – perhaps due to Alex’s suspicions about Sam Tyler’s death – things seem to be decidedly frosty. OK, Hunt did shoot Drake at the end of the last series, but they seem to have put that behind them.

Another oddity of this series – Drake isn’t showing her usual persistent yearning to go home to her daughter. The voices we’ve come to expect from television sets and radios have been largely absent. Has she somehow become embroiled in this weird representation of the 80’s, and does it exist solely in her head?

Maybe I’m overthinking the series arc this time round – but it is the final series of Ashes To Ashes. We expect answers. We expect something big is being constructed to explain why Tyler and Drake encountered Gene Hunt during their coma-travels.

And with that, I turn my attention to the plot of Episode 2: a lovelorn killer targetting divorcees through a dating agency franchise. Thanks to Drake’s new-millennium policing methods, she discovers a mark on one corpse that turns out to be a brand. And using psychological profiling, she narrows her idea of the killer down further. Of course, when she runs the world’s first ever speed dating night at Luigi’s, she has no idea the killer’s been sitting at her table.

Elsewhere, Shaz is having doubts about her future on the force. Slimy Jim Keats uses this as an opportunity to get rid of her, although Hunt ropes her in for an undercover job as bait for the killer. They set her up on a date with the suspect, and before long he’s lured her out into waste ground where he sets up a bonfire to warm his brand up in. Thinking Shaz is a divorcee, he’s decided that what she’d look good in is a shallow grave. It’s enough to put you off blind dates for life.

With a successful arrest under their belts (well, apart from Shaz stabbing the killer with a screwdriver – is that proper police procedure?), Shaz has earned the respect of her mysoginist male colleagues. Hooray! Looks like she’s staying then!

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