FlashForward: Believe

“Love crazy.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about DrNanaMom’s V review: we’ve been spoiled by so much great science fiction lately, and it’s hard to deal with some shows that are just good, but not stellar. This idea kept occurring and re-occurring as I watched this week’s FlashForward—and then I had a brainstorm: is this science fiction? Sometimes, it’s a police procedural, especially when Mark and Demetri are the focus. Sometimes it’s a medical procedural, too: the House-style ‘what’s killing the patient?!’ episode from a few weeks ago comes to mind.

Or is it a drama? This episode felt very Grey’s Anatomy to me (and the Grey’s that followed FlashForward this week actually dealt with alcoholism and compressed a month of action into one episode, too). The conceit is very SF—mental time travel, basically—but the guiding principle seems to be people struggling with their own craziness and the craziness of the people around them. And if that doesn’t define drama, then what does?

This week, we learned more about Bryce, and we watched him try to understand his FlashForward, and to make it happen. He and Keiko had a Sliding Doors-style near miss, but now that she’s in LA maybe they’ll have a chance to dine at a Best of LA restaurant. His FlashForward was just absurd, though: Keiko, who did seem pretty neat in her FlashBacks, did nothing but giggle and wiggle her eyes around for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. I was embarrassed for her. Plus, is their Flash just them finally meeting? Is that worth crossing the Pacific for? Especially when he’s got a sexy candy striper closer to home?

We also learned more about Aaron and his struggles with his daughter’s drama. Yes, you read that right: his struggles with her problems. NewsFlash, Aaron: it’s not about you. Help her, don’t attack her. What kind of father are you? Yes, I got a little het up about Aaron’s self-centered reaction to his daughter’s obvious cries for help. Is this a nuanced portrait of a father struggling with his own complicity in his daughter’s anguish? Or is it a feeble attempt to keep the drama focused on our main characters?

Our C-storyline followed Mark in his quest to understand who texted Olivia about him FallingOff the wagon in his flash. Mark, Aaron, and Bryce are all dealing with the craziness that relates to the women in their lives, and trying to figure out what they saw in their flashes and how it relates to their current inner turmoil. This show has some great actresses, but so far has only focused on Janis—all the other women are thought about and worried about by their menfolk, but they don’t get much time in the spotlight. I wish they did.

A few recurring questions, um, recurred this week: what’s up with Demetri’s anonymous phone call? Who’s that guy in the stadium? Who texted Olivia? Who is taking care of Mark and Olivia’s daughter now that Nicole works at the hospital? Why do they show us FlashBacks of something that just happened 10 minutes ago? Do they think we have the short-term memory of gerbils? Where’s Dominic Monaghan?

Flashes:

• The credits showed a flash of Keiko’s tattoo—have all of the openers featured a glimpse of an important object? That tattoo is also our symbol of the week: a permanent bodily marker of a nearly illogical faith.

• Was that really a CAT scan of a kidney?

• Mark: “If we can see the ring so well, why can’t we see his face?” I’m so glad he said that: it was exactly what he was thinking.

• Kitchen Guy: “I think he wants a virgin.”

• Here’s a puzzler: why have all of the titles used mostly consonants? Do they add up to something, like the shots of frogs and apples and butterflies on Fringe? (So far, the letters and numbers are: NMGD WTP 137S BS GST SMaSC TG PCWC B. It looks like an evil flight confirmation code.)

Many of us seem to be losing faith in FlashForward; I was trying desperately to keep the faith. To believe. But this episode felt very inconsequential and rather boring. No FlashForward next week, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Two out of four convenient candy stripers.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

8 comments:

migmit said...

Just two random thoughts:
1) Mark is an idiot. There are just two people he told that he was drunk in his flashforward; but there could be more of them who SAW it in their own flashforwards.
2) 137, alpha... how many more hints would they give us (you, actually, because I'm not going to watch this show anymore) before they say it out loud: fine-structure constant. Except that in a real world there couldn't be any connection between physical "alpha" and "137 seconds", since the first is non-dimensional, and the second isn't.

Josie K said...

Hi migmit,

I don't understand how the fine-structure constant matters--would you mind explaining?

A lot of my confusion, I should say, might be due to the fact that I don't fully understand the idea, so it's hard for me to see how it fits this situation. :-)

Jess Lynde said...

Well, I think I'm finally done with this one. It is a struggle just to make myself watch it, and then when I do watch it, I just don't enjoy it, even though I keep hoping to suddenly be blown away. I'm tempted to blame the mythology or the slow build (which I don't usually mind), but in truth, I think it is the characters. I find Olivia, Aaron, Dimitri, and Weddick mildly interesting, but I don't really miss them when they are gone, and I don't like or care about any of the other characters.

I will say that I disagree with you about the Aaron sequences, Josie. I don't think he was attacking his daughter. He is an alcoholic (which she knows) and he was trying to get her to understand that he can't have bottles of booze lying all over his house or sitting at his dinner table. Especially when he's in such a state of emotional turmoil over her situation and his desire to protect/help her. The temptation has got to be overwhelming. IMO, Tracy was the one doing all the attacking and being incredibly selfish and thoughtless.

As for the rest, I'll keep following yours and Billie's reviews just to see if the show becomes worth watching again. Unless, of course, you two call it quits, too. :)

migmit said...

> I don't understand how the fine-structure constant matters--would you mind explaining?

Well, it's just two things: it's usually denoted by "alpha" - which is the symbol on the Suspect Zero's ring - and it's value is very close to 137 - which is a duration of blackout in seconds. Plus, it's some sort of physics that only 0.1% of people understands, so it would make a good technical bla-bla-bla - provided that they are going to explain something at least in the end. Coincidences like that just can't happen in TV series.

Billie Doux said...

I thought this episode had something of a Lost flavor since it focused on one character and we learned a lot more about him and about his, um... what would you call it? FlashForwardee, maybe? The subtitles made me think of Lost, too.

The rest of the story didn't do much for me. I felt rather bad for Tracy. She lost her leg and she's hiding from people who tried to kill her, so she may be a bit stressed; I'm not surprised that she's out of control. For Aaron and Mark, it's all about them and their alcoholism and the text message. I'm an ACOA and I keep getting impatient with this plot line.

Thanks again for your terrific review, Josie. I think you put your finger on the problem -- this show doesn't know what it is yet. It does feel more like a procedural than a sci-fi show. I'll see how I feel in a couple of weeks when the next one airs.

topher darling said...

I didn't care that much for this episode until the last two minutes, maybe that's just they cranked up the Bob Dylan. It was a sweet ending but it felt weird because they're the only two to acknowledge that their flashforward led them to that point.
Ugh, time travel makes my head hurt. It's the reason I can't watch heroes anymore.

André said...

I'm giving up on this show too. It seemed interesting enough in the beginning, but you could tell it was going to become annoying 2+ years down the road. The writers proved me wrong, they didn't even need half a season...
What upsets me the most is Joseph Fiennes, or rather his character, with his constant moping and self-righteousness. "Everybody needs to do as I say because I looked at a wall in my office in my Flash and I saw stuff there" - that the show never questioned this circular logic (in fact, it depends on it) is what annoyed me the most, followed only by how he treated his wife for something she hasn't even done yet.

Thanks, but no, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I actually kinda enjoyed this ep- there was a nice early Lost flavour to the flashbacks, and they did a great job establishing keiko's character from the start (even if they did borrow heavily to do a non-geek version of hiro's initial set-up, it had a nice spin).
I'm surprised nobody else picked up on the context of bryce/keiko's possible connection though- not romantic, necessarily. Bryce has renal cancer, and already had one kidney removed- they looked emotional, but like they hadnt met in person before... so it could be possible bryce just tracked down his kidney donor? (Also, i thought that was a liver scan at the beginning, which didn't initially fit my living donor theory, but stage 4 means it's spread from the original site- the minute he said it was renal, I figured keiko would end up in the states so that a transplant was slightly more logistically possible...).