By Aubry D'Arminio
Updated November 21, 2008 at 07:48 PM EST

Yesterday’s hour was for all intents and purposes a remake of the best episode (and season-one finale) of the original British Life on Mars. So it’s only fitting that it was also the U.S. series’ most enjoyable, most interesting, and most exciting show so far—as well as its mid-season closer. But no more new episodes until January 28th? ABC, you’ve shot me in the gut and stranded me in the woods! Though I do commend the timeslot switch from Thursday to Wednesday. Lost is going to be a much better companion to this type of drama than Grey’s Anatomy.

So Sammy’s got a bad dad. A tongue-slicing, limb-chopping gangster, to be more accurate. Who didn’t see that coming? Few TV lawmen have kind-‘n-cuddly fathers. But Dean Winters as papa Vic was a perfect (if not original) casting choice as a father for Sam, and he cut a pretty good likeness to Jason O’Mara to boot. With Lee Tergesen also in the episode, it was also a regular Oz reunion. (First The Wire, now Oz. That’s a lot of HBO. When is Michael Imperioli going to get some Sopranos pals on the show? Or maybe the Sex and the City gals can help Gene bring sexy back.) My only misgiving: That Gene—as Sam’s surrogate pops—didn’t have a stronger presence in the goings on. It felt like he should have been there with Sam at the party, in the forest, and definitely in the hospital. And his mistrust of Vic (“this cretin’s every shade of shady”) should have played a bigger role in Sam’s own fears (or at least second thoughts) about his dad.

addCredit(“John Clifford/ABC”)

Yet, with Gene there, Vic could have never pulled his ninja catmoves on Sam and (if unknowingly), nearly murdered his own son, whichleft me with my arms too numb from the shock to keep taking notes. Evenmore exciting? When Annie’s statement that Sam’s police work was whyhe’s in 1973 led him to back to his old case files and helped himfigure out he needed to go to that freaky cabin on Stewart Drive. Theempty house with the creaky door was a little cheesy. But the voice onthe phone, saying “Hello, Sam…I need you to go to the basement”?Chilling. My hypothesis: He’s now in a coma in ’73 (from the bulletwound) and that’s a clue for a whole other mystery he’s going to solvethere once he wakes up.

Well, that’s it for this year. I’ll leave you with the tie forbest line of the night, which was between Ray’s “Yeah, and I’ve gotzero interest in jacking up Brigitte Bardot” and Gene’s “Get off yourrusty dusty.” And the best song, “Everything I Own” by Bread (who alsosing the song I’m named after). Check it out below, then tell me yourthoughts on this episode and the season so far.