WARNING: If you've not seen the finale, then stop reading now.
I have to admit that, after having watched the LOST series finale
and gotten a big dose of purgatory there, I wasn't prepared for the series finale of Ashes to Ashes
It turns out that the Gene Genie is a bit like Charon. He ferries recently deceased police officers who haven't quite come to terms with how they lived their lives on to an afterlife. Hunt himself died as a young officer and the world of Ashes to Ashes
and its predecessor Life On Mars
is his construct which explains the more unorthodox elements such as the flashes to both Sam Tyler's and Alex Drake's lives in the "real" world as well as the Quattro. I mean, what police squad gets its own sports car?
I found AtA
's ending more satisfying than LOST's because, although they were quite similar, AtA
resolved its outstanding mysteries. Of course, it had about a million less of them than LOST but, nonetheless, we got resolution and that's what important. We learned who Gene Hunt was (as well as Raymondo, Chris, and Shaz) and how Sam and Alex ended up in the past. As I argued in my critique of LOST's finale, that show, while not needing to answer every question it raised, left viewers hanging when it came to too many of the major ones.
Another difference was that the Losties all "moved on" whereas The Guv remained in his world only to get another recruit. While sitting in his office with a drink looking over the owner's manual to the Quattro's replacement, a Mercedes-Benz, a guy bursts into the main room demanding to know where his office is and the return of his iPhone. Irritated, Gene walks to the door and says, "A word in your shell-like, pal." For Gene, purgatory continues.
That both LOST and AtA
involve purgatory and "moving on" to an afterlife means that TV writers need to stop using this device now. And don't replace it with astronaut dreams induced by a computer either.