Life on Mars gets surpassingly creepy this week as we finally get back to that mysterious voice telling Sam to go down to the basement. Plus, we have headless corpses, disreputable siblings, the Werewolf of Wall Street, and a guy who could sub for El Diablo.

This spoiler is still rocking out to White Room.

We finally find out what was waiting for Sam in the basement of that seemingly abandoned house that the clues in the files led him to. It was… a shovel, which isn’t necessarily all that creepy. The fact that the voice on the phone instructed him to use that shovel to uncover a headless body… ok, that’s creepy. He finds a phone number in the body’s pocket and memorizes it. Meanwhile, someone has delivered a present to the precinct — a bodiless head, all wrapped up in a pretty box with a nice bow. It’s enough to make you cancel Christmas…

You’d think headless bodies and boxed-up heads would keep everyone busy, but no, there’s some investigator there interviewing the squad about Ray’s brother. Why should we care about him? Well, he’s a hapless mook who is always getting in trouble — most recently he staged an armed robbery right across the street from the building he works at as a doorman, while he was still wearing the uniform. That’s … not very bright.

Ray is furious, and he tells Eddie that he’s just going to have to sit and stew for a while. After all, there’s the whole matter of the head in a box. The squad discovers it belonged to one Albert Corsey, a crook who hung around the outskirts of a biker gang called The Vicious Cycle. (Hee!) After challenging the gang to a drinking game (won with wits), Gene learns that Corsey had recruited Big Boy Louie Bosco to help pull off some sort of job. The squad investigates, and finds Bosco at home sans head.

Back at the precinct, someone calls in another headless body — and it’s the one Sam had discovered and reburied. Sam sees Ray pull the phone number out of the corpse’s pocket. And Sam knows why — when he called that number earlier, Ray picked up the phone.

Sam runs into Annie, who really wants to talk about all that he’s going through. After her experience with the red dress and almost getting killed, she’s a believer in what Sam has to say. One problem: The voice on the phone told him that if he ever wanted to find out what he was doing in 1973, he couldn’t tell anyone about the call. He deflects Annie’s questions, but does learn that Eddie had been living with Ray for a month of so.

Sam bails Eddie out — even though Eddie didn’t want to go — and discovers Eddie with a stash of stolen stuff. He, Corsey and Bosco had robbed the apartment of Donovan Stamp, “The Werewolf of Wall Street,” and it seems that Mr. Stamp wasn’t happy about it. Sam, Eddie and Ray return the stuff to Stamp, who seems most happy to get back a carved Fu dog, not any of the valuable stuff. Curious.

The guys take Stamp in for questioning — did you have anything to do with the deaths of Corsey and Bosco? Or course not, but I’m not surprised they died. Call it karmic retribution for their crimes. Sam, Gene and Ray try to break Stamp down, but while they’re talking to him, a man enters the precinct and walks up to Annie’s desk. He’s tall and bright red, with burn scars on his face and hands. As a witness claims she saw “El Diablo” leave Bosco’s apartment, it looks like he’s a suspect. Of course, since  he proceeds to calmly unload a machete, a bag full of bloody clothes, and Bosco’s head in a box, that wasn’t a big stretch. He confesses to the killings, and denies he knows anything about any Donovan Stamp. But when they pass each other in the hall, the two men exchange a significant look. Hmmm.

But what happened to Eddie? After all, that’s who the investigator seems to be looking for. Ray decided he’d helped his brother out for the last time. He gives Eddie his car and tells him to go far away and never come back, never get in touch again. Eddie is shocked — Ray, I’m your brother! Not anymore, Ray says, and walks away.

After the interrogation wraps up, the investigator sits alone in the interview room for a while. Then another man comes in, an unseen figure who  smashes one of the tapes and puts Sam’s tape in a file marked “Project Aries,” in English and Russian (Well, I assume it said Project Aries in Russian. Any Russian-literate readers out there, let me know.) The unknown figure attaches a voice distortion device to the phone and calls Sam again. “You’re doing an excellent job, Sam,” he says. “It’s all going according to plan.”

So we’re left with some questions:

  • What exactly is Project Aries, and what does it have to do with Sam?
  • Who’s the voice on the phone? We know the caller was inside the police station, and he needed to disguise his voice. My money is on Chris — but why?
  • Why were the interviewers so interested in Eddie? Or was that just a ruse to get Sam and the others to talk?
  • Why was Donovan Stamp more relieved to get the Fu dog back than anything else? And does he have anything to do with Sam coming unstuck in time?
  • What the hell happened to Bright Red guy?
  • Will Sam every tell Annie what’s going on? If he does, will that put her in danger?

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • Now we know why we had that seemingly pointless episode last week — we needed to hear about Project Aries, the Russian psyops attempts to find the human soul. I have to imagine that episode was supposed to air earlier in the season, before the fall finale. What does it all mean?
  • Despite being freaked out and recovering from several gunshot wounds (“It was just a graze!”), Sam manages to have some fun lines this week. At the beginning, the interrogator reminds him that “aiding and abetting a suspect in a felony is a crime.” “That’s ok,” Sam says. “I only aid and abet suspects in misdemeanors.” Hee.
  • Sam tells Annie why he checked out of the hospital without warning: “I don’t like hospitals. They smell like… hospitals.” That they do.
  • Later, when his wound reopens and Annie bandages him up, Sam claims he disappeared for a while to go on a date. “A date? With a sucking side wound?” Annie asks. “Well, that’s not a nice way to describe her,” Sam replies. “She was more like an oozing head trauma.” Hee!
  • Sam warns Ray that cigarettes will kill him someday. “Ah, they won’t have a chance,” Ray replies. “The whiskey and the salami will beat ’em too it.”
  •  Chris ponders how they’d identify a bodiless head at Sam’s old precinct. “We have some pretty advanced methods up in Hyde involving DNA,” Sa says. “DNA? Like the stuff that babies are made of?” Chris asks.
  • While interviewing Stamp, Gene lets drop that “You know, I’ve always wanted to belt a Wall Street type in the face. Never have though, which is surprising.” Stamp’s lawyer harrumphs, and Gene continues: “I have belted plenty of lawyers, though. It’s like eating potato chips. Once you start, you can’t stop.”
Posted by:Sarah Jersild