FlashForward: A561984

“The game’s not over.”

I know we’ve all be underwhelmed by FlashForward lately. ShowRunners being replaced like Spinal Tap drummers. Bizarre, emotional one-offs that do nothing to further the deepening mystery. Darling Dominic Monaghan only popping in to boost ratings. Poor Joseph Fiennes struggling with his accent and not even trying to act convincingly. And the causality-loop consciousness-shifting plot device that’s getting increasingly less coherent.

But, my FairWeather FlashForward Fans, I encourage you to give the show another shot. Take your time; we’re on hiatus until March. But this episode wasn’t too shabby, and the previews for the next batch look really exciting.

Lloyd Simcoe’s announcement that his team was responsible for the FlashForward made him an instant celebrity, instantly hated. He claimed responsibility for 20 million deaths—oops!—and, rather pathetically, attempted to claim that ‘his wife’ had died, too. He’s not really mourning his wife (who’s actually an ex), but the sudden change to his life and the sudden addition of his son. He might even be mourning his loss of scientific impartiality. He only seemed to realize what a great boon his son is when he (Lloyd) was abducted by the PseudoParamedics. I like Lloyd. He’s complex.

Simon Campos—oh, who am I kidding? He’s still Dominic Monaghan to me—started playing a completely transparent game with Wedeck. Dominic wants answers, and to get them he has to help the FBI. The answers he gets, though, aren’t what he expected: someone else invented his Plasma After-burner, a full year before he did. His reaction to the news was to spin around in his chair a la Dr. Evil. I burst out laughing, rewound the DVR, and burst out laughing again. So campy!

Two people inventing very similar devices independently has precedent (Newton and Leibniz come to mind), but the most unbelievable thing to me was that Dominic was inventing fabulously complex thingamabobs in 1992. The actor would have been 16 years old then. I guess he didn’t spend his teenage years standing in front of the 7-11 trying to get someone to buy him beer.

Gabrielle Union finally figured out that you don’t wear white to a wedding if the groom’s parents are Chinese. Her realization raises the question of how fully the consciousness shift worked: she didn’t know that she was in mourning in her flash, but Demetri’s parents did. Maybe she was overwhelmed with feelings of love, and didn’t ever parse out that it was love lost?

The game-changing revelation came in Hong Kong: Eartha Kitt told Benford that he was the one to kill Demetri, and she had the serial number to prove it. Yeah, that could lead to Mark drinking, and might be a clue that he’d snuck into the FBI building in his flash. But: as of the episode’s end, he’s suspended, and doesn’t even have his gun. And yet the easiest murder to prevent is the one where you know the killer, right? Hmmmm….

Lloyd doesn’t seem to believe in the many-world hypothesis, or at least not entirely. Learning that he met Olivia’s proxy, and wound up marrying her instead, seemed to kick-start his desire for the doctor.

I’m not sure what our Symbol of the Week is. The rose? The gun? The apartment that Olivia didn’t rent in Cambridge? The kitten of love? The ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future?

And I wonder if the show will pick up right where it has left off, or if it will jump to March to stay in real-time.

Flashes:

• According to the CIA guy, the US is officially blaming China for the blackout. Wow! I had thought that was just crazy talk at the Congressional hearing. I guess crazy talk equals policy sometimes. Who knew?

• Demetri: “A Persian, well-educated, Eartha Kitt.”

• Dominic: “A techy, chess-playing, social misfit. That should narrow it down.”

• The staring contest between Lloyd and the male nurse in the hospital was hilarious and awkward.

• Eartha Kitt knows D. Gibbons. I’m still incredibly curious about how Mark and Olivia’s daughter knew about D. Gibbons.

• Janis and Bryce seemed like they might make good friends. Maybe she should use his sperm.

Do give FlashForward another try.

Three and a half out of four Kittens of Love.

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

8 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I liked this one, too. Even though I'm starting to wish they'd kill off Joseph Fiennes and make Dominic Monaghan the star, somehow. I know that turning a villain into a hero can be difficult, but they did it with James Marsters, didn't they?

I still want FF to pull it together and entrance me. Is it too late? Has it lost momentum and crashed into the guard rail? Will people still tune in next March?

Robert J. Sawyer said the long hiatus makes sense, considering how often the show would have been pre-empted in January and February.

http://scifiwire.com/2009/12/flashforward-creator-defe.php

Great review, Josie.

Josie K said...

So we have to re-insoul Simon? I'll get the mau-ping; you get the incense.

Dimitri said...

I'm still on the fence about this show. I'm watching it more for its potential than anything actually on screen, but if you say I should keep giving it a chance, that's what I'm going to do. Behold the power of your reviews, Josie.

So Gabrielle Union's flashforward was finally confirmed as a being a funeral scene. Good catch with the Asians wearing white thing. That's what tipped me off as well.

I have a new theory about the visions, though. So far we've assumed any divergence in the timeline would occur after the blackout: either destiny is set and crazy things are about to happen to fit the visions, or this was an alternate future where there were no visions, so crazy things would have happened but now crazier things are going to overwrite them as characters fight their original destinies.

But what if the point of divergence happened before the blackout? What if the visions showed a future from a world where Olivia left Mark for Lloyd quite some time ago (and didn't somehow move in with him after just six short months), where Mark's alcoholism destroyed his relationship with Demitri to the point he would want to kill him by this point, where Janis had long considered having a family?

Perhaps the person who built the plasma after-burner thing before Simon is the Simon from that alternate world. Maybe he saw it following an experiment that allowed him to peek into our world's future the same way the blackouts offered peeks into his. Or perhaps I've just been watching too much Fringe.

My head hurts now.

Eldritch said...

"Eartha Kitt told Benford that he was the one to kill Demetri, and she had the serial number to prove it."

Why would she have that number?

Her mind jumped into the future for some 2 minutes and 17 seconds. During that time she had to find Dimitri's file, read it to discover he'd been killed, and then make the effort to memorize the serial number of the murder weapon.

Reading the file. Okay, maybe. Maybe her future self was reading the file at the time of the flashforward. But she couldn't travel back in time with a copy of the file. She would have had to take the trouble of memorizing such an extraneous bit of information on the spur of the moment.

Why would she do that?

Ben said...

I too very much enjoyed this one; it showed how good the show could be if they stopped focusing so much on love stories and topics that go nowhere and more on the mystery. This episode felt like the show has upped its game and I hope it continues this in the next few episodes. I also hope they flash forward (pun intended) in the series to March so we are still on the right dates. The next eps do look really good. Let's hope they can up there game.

Jess Lynde said...

It is interesting to get all of your takes on the episode. I didn't watch it myself, but I've read a really mixed bag of reviews. Many of those that really didn't like it thought that it was ridiculous that Simon and Lloyd could make such an announcement without a barrage of law enforcement types descending on them, and also that Mark and Demitri's adventures abroad were flat out ludicrous given that they were traveling without any sort of authority.

Reading your review, Josie, it still sounds like the show is a jumbled mish-mash of stories with no real direction. And nothing I've read suddenly makes me feel like the characters have become more compelling or worth investing in. Probably not completely fair for me to judge, given that I didn't watch the episode; however, at this point I'm not at all convinced that this show is worth another shot. But I will be checking out the reviews again when it comes back to see if it turns a corner.

I will say that I'm a bit disappointed to learn that Gabrielle Union's flashforward was to Demitri's funeral. As you say, I don't understand how she wouldn't have known how she was feeling in the moment, when previously everyone seemed pretty clear on their emotional/mental state during the FFs. Based on personal experience, I just find it hard to believe that she would be feeling anything other than profound grief and loss a mere 1.5 months after losing an extremely close loved one. Especially at his memorial service. It rings very false.

Josie K said...

Jess, even not having seen the episode, you do raise some really great points. I'm still not sure how to explain the Gabrielle Union thing...

Your comment about the characters is spot-on. Very few of the 'stars' are that interesting or nuanced, although I am rapidly becoming a fan of Lloyd and continue to like Demetri--neither of whom have a bizarre character 'twitch' like Mark's drinking or Bryce's lovey-dovey side.

The weak character stuff is why the non-mythos episodes felt so dragging for me; this episode gave me the plot I wanted, and I'm willing to let the characters happen gradually, as that will feel (I hope) more organic, anyway.

Dmitri, maybe I should start asking ABC for some sort of commission! I like your theory: it's so bizarre that it's perfect.

Rolf said...

Excellent episode. David S. Goyer kicks ass and should write this entire show on his own. (Together with Christopher Nolan he wrote Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, brilliant movies.)

Mr. Goyer is showrunner now, so I like to think this bodes well for the rest of the season/series.