I am pleased to report that the chard is looking happier, but I fear the cosmos is dying. Not the cosmos, as such. ;)
I've not seen this weekend's Doctor Who yet, which is probably just as well, because I still have Ashes to Ashes on a loop. This gets a bit shippy. Bear with me. :)
Every now and again I come across a pairing for whom seeing their story bring them together becomes a central reason for investing in their world. But more often I get caught up in a dynamic between two characters as it is, enjoy it as it comes, and savour all their interaction.
Gene and Alex have always fallen into the second category for me. I love their partnership. There is as much satisfaction in a good working relationship as there is in a romantic one, sometimes. And there's no doubt for me that over the course of the show, their story has evolved into a kind of love story, but what kind of love I was not especially needing to define.
Oh, how that second trailer swung me.
I've loved Alex from day one, loved her off-the-wall rampage through a world she didn't believe in, loved watching her come not just to accept it, but to own it. And the more real that world becomes for her, the more we see the best of her, professionally. She is someone who has learnt to get results using her heart as well as her head. It isn't intuition; it's instinct, yes, but based on reason, on evidence, and run through with a compassion that makes her more of a force to be reckoned with. She brings with it toughness and ruthlessness and a determination to see things through, but it is her humanity that gives her her edge, I think. She will push for the truth but she will care enormously while she does it.
Alex should despise Gene Hunt. If she met him in the present day I think she might. But in this world she is lost and he is her constant. In a way, I think it's true for both of them.
It's never struck me before, but there's something very North and South about their relationship. The brash, northern boss meets his match in a woman from the south who is beautiful and bright and brave, who challenges him and his way of doing things, who undoes him with her idealism, her intellect, and her insistence. He feels misunderstood by her, and yet he knows that even misunderstanding him she understands him better than anyone. She is so often bitterly opposed to him that her support becomes something of incalculable value. And she walks into his world believing she can make a difference, believing she can make a difference to him, until he finds himself leaning on her and her opinion of him so hard that he starts to wonder if he still can stand alone.
Keeley Hawes said of Alex this series, "I think it's quite obvious by now that she is hopelessly in love with the Gene Genie whether or not she knows it." Her interview with the psychiatrist (hee, I had to correct it from "psychologist") at the start of this series certainly seemed to back that up.
Gene has definitely veered off the rails these last few episodes. For all he may have overstepped a hell of a lot of lines in the past, it isn't like him to lose control.
You see, for me, Alex asking Gene out to dinner is Alex doing what she does best: thinking with her heart. Gene needs saving, and Alex puts herself out there. It isn't manipulative: yes, she wants the truth, but she wants him, too, and she can't take the one truth without giving him the other.
And so to the date. Where do I begin? I feel like I asked for a chink of light and got a whole sky full of stars.
(Talking of which, I've worked it out! Stars=Galaxy=Galex-y! ::cackles::)
I had my glass of red wine to hand, and needed it as much as Alex did in the getting-ready-for-the-date montage. Guh. I mean.
Is it me, or has Alex actually recycled her prostitute outfit from the first episode to wear on the date? I swear that's the same fur coat.
When she asks for the bill it is possibly my favourite-played moment between them ever. At least for the next five minutes or so. She looks disappointed, and fed up, and he looks hurt, and let down, and after all that build up it seems to have gone a bit sour, and then she looks across at him and says with that very direct precision of hers, "Get your coat. You've pulled."
His face. I just. At least Ray turning up at that point meant that I could sit on that moment for a little bit longer.
(On a side note: anyone who watched The Vampires of Venice last week could have told them that Tobias/Joshua had access to explosives. Hee!)
Alex's reaction when Gene lashes out at Chris afterwards is very tellingly her. There is that clinical thrust for truth: she needs to know what he's capable of doing to a friend in a fit of a rage. But she's also playing the mother. (When Gene tells her later that he's left "the children" downstairs it's a lovely summary of their relationship. They have a lot of parenting disagreements, but they also back each other up when it counts.)
And here's an indulgent plot device if ever there was one. Just in case we might be worried about Alex's motivation here, let's interrupt the date and have her spell out to Keats that she chooses to believe Gene and anything that else that might happen between them will happen for one reason and one reason only. Let me off the hook much? When they teased us with that trailer it seemed too much to hope it wouldn't turn out to be a set-up; and instead we go into that scene already knowing Alex's "I know this much is true" is real.
I think my new favouritest scene ever of these two is that shot of them drinking on the sofa together, doing that parallel body language thing they do. I don't think I've ever seen Alex drink lager, so it made me stupidly gleeful that she had a whole stash up there ready and waiting.
(I like to think that Alex still had a VHS of They Died With Their Boots On propping up the coffee table, and they actually got to watch it this time, since, you know, unfinished business and all that).
And then, just when I am enjoying it almost too much to bear, the universe tips completely off-balance and we launch into a full-on shippers' wishlist, which looks ridiculous on paper and I believed absolutely on screen. Dancing. (Actually, I'm surprised either of them could still stand by that point). Snuggling. (Somebody pointed that it was reminiscent of small!Alex and Gene at the end of Season One, which only makes me love it more, wrong as that may be). Herb Alpert (which reminded me too adorably of their dating forms in Episode Two). And then he is kissing her head and I have no more brackets, only a muffled squeaking sound.
If Keats hadn't turned up at that point I think the universe would simply have skewed so far over that it would have imploded. That, and Daniel Mays is doing such a magnificent job that I could forgive him anything. He is odious but brilliant, and starting to hit a wonderful note of deranged as well.
Next week's trailer (look away now if you don't want to know) is looking very Wizard of Oz, what with the farmhouse and the scarecrow and Alex in the ruby slippers again, and Chris has already told us he's a lion (a dead one – "better than a live rat" – interestingly enough). And I'm struck by one parallel to Gene's, "You talk to me, Alex. If I mean anything to you at all," from the last episode of the second series.
I've been terrified all series and I suddenly feel oddly serene about the ending. Apparently, my heart is going to be broken. But you know what? Right now, it's unbreakable, Bolly. Unbreakable.