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FlashForward: Better Angels

“Even if you knew the rules, which you don’t, I don’t think they apply anymore.”

Ah, children. They’re our future, after all. They’re also very useful for advancing slow-burning mythology. Our show this week featured two talkative tykes: Charlie in LA and the young Somali boy in the 1991. Both were traumatized by the supposed death of their parents: Charlie worried that Mark would die after hearing about it in her flash; the Somali was convinced that his mother had died, and he left his village, went to the refugee camp, and never saw her again. He really got the ShortStraw of the ParallelPlots.

Both plotlines were about stopping what will happen. In Somalia, the young boy had turned into a Jefferson Davis wannabe, until Janis showed him the errors of his aspirations in a few short moments online. Then he became Abraham Lincoln, hoping to unite his country. Then he got killed, and will never fulfill his destiny. (Sucks for Somalia.) He did, however, fulfill his role in the plot: we learned more about Somalia (nothing too revelatory, all things considered) and what happened there in 1991.

Back in LA, Charlie finally came clean about her vision: she overheard Lloyd talking about D. Gibbons, and then heard Vogel say that her father was dead. She associated the two, and her fear about her dad became wrapped up in mention of D. Gibbons. Kid logic. Olivia tried to stop the future once again, this time by attempting to move her family to Denver.

Mark nixed that idea: he sees his greater calling as stopping the next blackout. Because, goodness knows, he has to be in LA to do that, and he is completely irreplaceable. “There’s going to be another blackout” seems to be his “Don’t tell me what I can’t do.” I’m done talking about that now.

The third child whose future is up for grabs in this episode is Willa, Janis’s prospective baby. I hope she and Demetri do hook up; they’re such close friends, and he’s such an awesome guy. Choosing the name Willa is significant: according to the Internet, it’s the female form of William, and relates to the English verb to will or desire. (I’m not sure this is etymologically correct: the English name comes from the French Guillaume, which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with willing. But if I know one thing about the world, it’s that you never explain someone’s baby name choice to them. They know what they want to know and anything else will send them into a pregnant-lady tizzy.)

This episode was so-so. It wasn’t as bad as last week’s, and it moved rather quickly. But it was also really boring: I don’t feel like we got any new information, even though we did get a lot of exposition. Really, the first half was hijacked by the Somali’s story, which was touching but irrelevant to our heroes and our plot.


• Although camels in Somalia are probably more common than kangaroos in LA, the little boy’s encounter with Mr. Camel was very similar to Mark’s MarsupialMoment in the premiere.

• When holding a shoulder-held rocket launcher, it’s probably better not to keep your finger resting on the trigger.

• According to Charlie’s cartoon show, heroes are people who help others, even when it’s hard. I’m more of a fan of Joss Whedon’s definition: heroes are people who get other people killed. It seems more pertinent for the Somali adventures, too.

• Did they pick the Koran quote with the freakiest chapter and verse they could find for a reason, or was it just coincidence?

• I guess the bright light in the sky in Somalia wasn’t aliens, but was an effect of the pylons.

• The science station in Somalia was very Lost. There was even a videocassette and a chess board.

• The ratings for this episode were the lowest ever. I don’t think we should expect a renewal.


• Simon: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Poor Dante. He never knew how frequently this line would be abused. I hope he's getting a cut.

• The Somali: “That man was here for a purpose. And now he has served it.” Casting call: red shirt.

• Janis: “They showed them tomorrow, and ripped it away.” That’s unforgivably cheesy.

Two out of four Black Camels of Death.

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


  1. One thing I love about your reviews, Josie, is when an episode's boring, you say it's boring. I really struggled to stay connected with this one, and was beginning to wonder whether it was just me. Sometimes, when a show's not working for you, it can seem so much worse than it really is. Great review, though. It filled in the bits I missed whilst browsing the internet, making a coffee, reading the newspaper, ... scratching myself.

  2. I think this episode was far better than the last one & I really hope that reviewers give this series a chance.

  3. I'll say again that I love your reviews, Josie, even when I haven't seen the episode. I loved your line about Dante.


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