I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.

LIFE ON MARS: 1.17 “Life Is a Rock” (Series Finale)

I have to agree with Harvey Keitel: Jason O’Mara’s the one I’ll miss most of all. I’m in a terrible state of general depression because this show has ended. And because I’ve spent the last 12+ hours analyzing it since it ended.

I should probably warn you that if you haven’t watched quite yet, I’m now going to spill the spoiler ending that we all witnessed last night.

You have to take into account that this show as probably not meant to end this way. True, they might have been leading up to a “Spaceman” discovery (after all, there were a number of Mars rovers throughout the series), but they probably had to trim down a story arc into the last two episodes, so it probably wasn’t meant to be quite so sudden.

So what’d you think of the end? It was definitely a surprise. I knew they wouldn’t got the British route. That just seemed too…I can’t say predictable because many people don’t know what happens. But an American audience wouldn’t accept it, and if you looked it up on the Internet, you’ve just spoiled an ending. They had to be original.

But what’d you think? Certainly original. In the end, Sam “Spaceman” Tyler was indeed a spaceman–an astronaut in 2035. And you were there. And you and you. If you didn’t catch that Harvey Keitel’s quote above was from The Wizard of Oz, you’d certainly notice it then. In the end, Gene turned out to be Sam’s–2B’s–father. The rest were friends and coworkers. And Windy, as we guessed, was not real. She was a machine.

If you’re following The Wizard of Oz references, by the way, you might notice that the wind took Dorothy to Oz, much like Windy guided Sam wherever he went.

So in the end, it was kinda a happy ending, right? Life was but a dream. 2B took on the personal of a 2008 cop–sort of a virtual reality while the team headed to Mars (how appropriate)–but a meteor shower caused a glitch that made Sam go back to 1973 with his 2008 “memories.” Windy, our favorite figment of our imagination was actually the mechanism keeping Sam alive.

Here we got our answer. Just as Detective Morgan said. But then again, is it a happy ending? All that we knew was lost. The characters that were do strongly developed–the ones that we and Sam both grew to love–are not the ones left in the end. It wasn’t so much that he hopped back into 2008 and had to track down the elderly versions of his friends. And the option to stay in 1973 isn’t available either.

It all just disappeared. I shouldn’t be surprised, you know. There was always that option that he was in a coma in 2008, and he’d just wake up someday to find out it all wasn’t real. I should be happy to know that in some way, those people are still alive, even if they look different, have different jobs, talk differently, and are in 2035.

But they aren’t really alive, are they? The big moment–Annie and Sam’s kiss–disappeared. Sam’s in love with Annie, but Annie isn’t the one standing in front of him in 2035. Did those feelings disappear with the dream? It certainly didn’t seem like it.

So it almost feels that all that we saw develop was lost. I was watery-eyed when No Nuts was finally promoted. We knew it would happen, but it was certainly great nonetheless. And I’m sure as cheesy as it was, even the guys were happy to see them get together in the viewing audience.

But I guess in the end, Ray was kinda right. All that Sam was looking to–some being above that could help him get home–wasn’t there. It was all machinery that took a wrong turn. He lives on a rock.  That’s really the only stability he had.

I think maybe that interpretation was too dark, though. In the end, 2B could go after the Annie brunette, and they could have their happy ending. Or he could always go back to sleep in his 1973 fantasy. And the fact that his father is Gene, aka Major Tom, not a murderous that was killed in front of him, well, that just makes it all the better. And hey, he was right: You’ve gotta make a home wherever you land.

Honestly, I think I could write a treatise if I actually analyzed this show in its entirety. And maybe I will. There will be a DVD release. I especially want to reread Gulliver’s Travels and compare to the show. After all, everything in that show seems to have some double meaning, right?

I guess in the end it’s hard to see it go. Not just because we’re saying good-bye to a show that rightfully belongs on the air, but because we’re saying good-bye to characters we’ve seen grow and develop into their best. Characters that were never really there at all.


4 thoughts on “I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow.

  1. You make a great point that I hadn’t even thought of. As you said, none of what happened was real, so the people he grew to care for, and the life he grew accustomed to actually never existed. There is definitely a certain sadness in that. And it’s especially sad because he seemed to accept and enjoy his life in the 1970s; seems to me like he would have stayed there if he could. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the ending, but I’m beginning to see why the ending to St. Elsewhere was so controversial years ago.

    By the way, had the show run longer, do you think it would have ended along the same vein, or would it have been totally different?

  2. From interviews of the producers that I came across since the finale, it seems that this “astronaut” ending is what they originally intended. And if you think back over the series, there have been several hints toward this ending. Sam’s nickname was “spaceman.” He chose “Luke Skywalker” as a pseudonym. He frequently saw little Martian rovers in 1973. I can’t say I cared for it. It felt discordant with the rest of the series.

  3. Yeah, it’s rather disappointing that the show wasn’t given more time. I think that it wouldn’t have been as jarring if it had more episodes to stick in the subtleties. They were force to wrap up that big mystery and his daddy issues in one episode, which is really hard to do. It did feel a bit discordant. Plus, I would have loved to have more revealed about Hyde.

  4. By the way, found this radio station on ABC, so you can at least live in the music of the show longer: http://abc.go.com/primetime/lifeonmars/index?pn=radio

    Not sure how much longer they’ll have it up. I emailed asking if they’ll be releasing a soundtrack, but I doubt I’ll get a reply any time soon, if at all. Might just be up to us to do some Amazon scouting.

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