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FlashForward

FlashForward is a drama based around an incident where everyone on Earth loses consciousness and sees a vision of their future. ABC 2009-2010

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Episode 10 - A561984

28 March 2012

Synopsis: Mark and Demetri arrive in Honk Kong and track down the mysterious Persian woman. She tells them that Mark will kill Demetri. We see that she has many of the same clues as Mark and is harbouring D Gibbons. Mark is relieved of his duties for his reckless actions on Chinese soil. Lloyd announces to a global audience that his experiment caused the blackouts though Simon denies this. Simon seeks out Wedek and asks if he can help the Mosaic taskforce track down the real cause. Lloyd tries to transfer Dylan to a more secure location and Olivia offers to help. But before he can he is kidnapped at gun point. Zoey realises she wasn’t at a wedding in her vision but a funeral. Janis asks Bryce for advice on sperm banks.

The Good: This episode certainly drives the mystery elements of the plot forward. Nhadra Udaya seems to be intimately involved in solving the blackout mystery, we see D Gibbons’ face and we see that Simon and Lloyd most likely weren’t responsible for the blackouts.

Lloyd’s abduction could provide some much needed intensity in future episodes as well as causing friction amongst the Benfords. It was a clever way to further embed Dylan into Olivia’s life and bring her vision closer to reality. Particularly well written was Olivia’s admiration of Lloyd for taking responsibility for causing the blackouts. It drew a specific difference out between Lloyd and Mark. Lloyd risked his life to put people’s minds at rest. Where as Mark lied about his vision and then angrily hurled blame at Olivia for their potential breakup. If fleshed out the two men could make for very interesting rivals. Lloyd, honest and polite but perhaps foolish. Mark, brooding, reckless but relentless.

The reaction to Lloyd’s revelations was better than I feared (though see The Bad). The instant uproar amongst the journalists seemed entirely believable and the gun shot was very appropriate I think. The distraught woman who fired is a good representation of the understandable emotional reaction of those who had lost people in the blackouts. The disagreeable hospital administrator was good to see too, Lloyd would be a marked man.

Simon remains a breath of fresh air and the scene between him, Wedek and Janis was fun because it was three of the more convincing actors\characters on the show interacting. Certainly his ego allows for more entertaining dialogue and his decision to work with Mosaic should be fun. If Bryce and Nicole are developing a romance then her gift to him was a nice little moment building their affection.

Mark’s determination not to let Demetri suffer for their unauthorised trip was admirable. Losing his job was the logical result of his actions.

The Bad: I firmly believe that when developments happen on a TV show which don’t reflect the real world, the show loses integrity. On some level even the least aware viewer will note that something seems less convincing than it should be.

Osama Bin Laden was apparently responsible for the deaths of around three thousand people and nations went to war. If twenty million people were killed, even in an accident, then Lloyd and Simon would not be able to walk the streets. There is no way the FBI or any other branch of law enforcement would not be required by the President to arrest them for questioning and for their own protection. It is ludicrous to suggest otherwise. The fact that Lloyd hasn’t proven the experiment was the cause or secured Dylan’s safety first did not help him look sensible either. A less important detail was the simulcast going out to, apparently, every corner of the globe with the announcement. That doesn’t happen in the world. For copyright, technological, financial, linguistic and time zone reasons. Just another thing chipping away at the show.

Then you have Mark and Demetri arriving in Hong Kong with guns. That’s right, two American FBI agents, flying on a commercial flight, to Communist China were allowed to carry their guns through the airport! Again it has no credibility. You can’t carry or stow weapons on a plane unless you have been authorised. It’s pretty ridiculous that a gun fight doesn’t then end in the Chinese authorities arresting everyone involved. But even if you accept that the American ambassador’s armed guard dealt with the situation without arousing suspicion – they then send Mark and Demetri back to the airport holding one of their weapons in plain sight! No, no, no. Just dumb on every level.

Now I know many viewers don’t care about these details. They accept them as part of a scripted drama show and it does not affect their enjoyment. So let me get to the plot details.

If I believed that Demetri and Mark were really friends, I might care about the revelation of who killed Demetri. But they don’t seem like real friends. Nothing beyond the flimsiest of dialogue is used to establish conversations which sound like real people. We know they are both generally nice guys, with nice partners who fight on the side of good. But we need more than that. The revelation just comes across as hollow. Are we now going to endure fake tension between the two as they hurl meaningless accusations against one another? All Nhadra knew was the serial number of Mark’s gun. What does that prove? Again the characters are slaves to people’s flashforwards. To use 9\11 as an analogy again, the next day most of the world was back at work, getting on with their lives. Where as in Flashforward they are overwhelmed by their visions. It doesn’t seem convincing and it doesn’t bond viewers with the characters.

On the other side of the world, Olivia and Lloyd suddenly throw caution to the wind and start flirting with each other. Again I found this unconvincing. His announcement to the world was a reasonable excuse for them to drop their awkward avoidance of one another. But the “many worlds” theory he explains just sounds like blatant flirtation on his part and she is suddenly staring up at him with school girl looks. It all feels rushed. Worse than that, he claims “Out of respect” he won’t continue the flirtation before brushing hair away from her face. That is universally understood to be the act of a lover and nothing else. Out of respect! It made him look ridiculous and their interaction entirely designed to reach a stage of intimacy that they hadn’t naturally evolved to.

Then there is Zoey who suddenly realises she was at Demetri’s funeral. We are into Heroes levels of inconsistency here. The previous episode dealt with Bryce going to Japan all based on the emotions he remembered from his vision. Those same emotions are key in Olivia, Nicole, Simon and Janis’ visions. So why didn’t Zoey feel sad and understand that she was at a funeral. No one else had trouble identifying the situation they were in. The answer that seems obvious is that it was designed to be a “revelation” which would come later in the show’s development. Again, reminding you that this is a TV show and not helping us to bond with Zoey or Demetri’s family.

The Unknown: Nhadra Udaya is a big mystery. Who does she work for? Why does she have so many of the same clues as Mark? How does she know D Gibbons? Is she telling the truth about Mark and Demetri?

Who has kidnapped Lloyd? Who designed the Somalia experiment before Simon?

Best Moment: The immediate response to Lloyd’s announcement felt about right.

Epilogue: Every show stretches the sense of reality in order to make the plot more dramatic. That is forgivable. But there is so little to care about here.

Human drama is built around people who want things and can’t get them. It’s that simple. This drama is built around people whose lives are dictated by what they saw in their visions. That isn’t a reflection of how people really behave and the result is not good.

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Comments

  • Oh that's cool. I heard somewhere that the UK is going to get Iron Man 2 before the USA for some reason. If you're into comic book movies.

    Posted by Joe, 06/12/2009 5:16pm (9 years ago)

  • Yeah, because of Thanksgiving the UK saw it before the USA. A rare moment :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 04/12/2009 10:34am (9 years ago)

  • Dang you got this review up fast. The isn't even done airing in America. It just got done over here not an hour ago.

    Posted by Joe, 04/12/2009 2:43am (9 years ago)

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