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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 4 - Black Swan

28 March 2012

Synopsis: Demetri interrogates the woman he arrested just after the blackouts. Much to Mark’s irritation they follow up on a lead she gives them rather than Somalia. Demetri tells Mark about his murder and agrees to help investigate the mosaic leads instead. Nicole returns but tells Mark she was being drowned in her flashforward. Olivia doesn’t want to think about Lloyd or her flashforward but is pushed into doing so by Bryce. His faith in the flashforwards coming true allows him to correctly diagnose a patient. Lloyd gets a call from Simon (Dominic Monaghan), someone who claims that they were responsible for the blackouts.

The Good: The opening scene was another winner as a bus sails into a lake tragically drowning its unconscious passengers. I’m glad the show continues to use the blackouts to give us a picture of the craziness that would have ensued. Similarly I liked Olivia’s fellow surgeons discussing a medical breakthrough which a colleague saw in his flashforward, together with a news bulletin about people’s flashforwards. Lloyd comments that “what did you see?” has become the new stock piece of small talk and we learn that churches are inundated with volunteers looking to do good in these uncertain times. All these little details help build the fabric of a world shocked by such a global event.

Olivia’s attempts to get far away from Lloyd make sense. I liked the scene where he tried to get advice from her and she tried to avoid him. She remained on the right side of rude throughout and in the end couldn’t help but be helpful. Her acceptance of the truth of the flashforwards could make for an interesting relationship dynamic with Lloyd and Mark. She showed pleasing logic by asking Bryce to see a psychologist after an attempted suicide.

Speaking of Mark, his argument to Demetri was good to hear. He wants to use all their knowledge of the future to make sure it doesn’t come true. Not that that wasn’t clear already but by explaining it to Demetri he gave it a moral clarity and got Demetri more firmly behind his investigation. Stanford’s decision to ignore the spurious Somalia lead made sense from his point of view and kept the main investigation on the backburner for another episode.

The Bad: I’m not sure if Alda Hertzog has anything to do with the blackout (see The Unknown). But assuming she doesn’t then her high and mighty speech to Mark was dramatic dialogue for its own sake. She ticked all the boxes for a significant scene, foreign quote, mysterious analogies, veiled threats and challenges, but it didn’t seem to mean anything. She just seemed to be taunting him and if that is the case then the writers rather damaged their own brand. What this scene did was make me question if Geyer the Nazi’s dialogue was all similarly hollow. It makes me wonder if this show is going to be all style and no substance.

That is of course the ongoing concern here. Mark and Aaron remain pretty soulless to watch. And we still have Bryce acting like a changed man but with no detail or definition to him beyond seeming like a nice guy. Throw in Nicole feeling guilty and miserable but with no hint of who she is or even how she knows Aaron. It all makes this episode difficult to enjoy because each scene feels somewhat blank and uninteresting. I’m not sure what the purpose of the priest who talks to Nicole was. But if it was to make the church look unsympathetic, incompetent and uninterested then it worked.

I wasn’t happy with Mark asking Al to call a known hacker in order to break the law. Last episode he called Demetri to ask if he would break the law for Aaron. If he treats the rules with such contempt and doesn’t fear asking people to do illegal things then it undermines his character and the show’s sense of reality. He is supposed to be a real good guy and it shouldn’t be that easy to break the law.

Bryce and Olivia’s plot was particularly disappointing. Initially Ned’s claim that he would be black in six months sounded really intriguing. Could this be a big twist in the future visions storyline? No. Instead that revelation was turned into a very generic hospital drama plot as Bryce figures out that Ned has a rare condition which will change the pigment of his skin.

The Unknown: What is Alda Hertzog’s connection to the blackouts? Who is Simon and how could he and Lloyd be responsible for the blackouts? Who was drowning Nicole and why? Why was Agent Al searching “Celia” in mosaic? How does Aaron know Nicole?

Best Moment: The opening scene.

Epilogue: Not good. The show’s characters are so colourless at the moment that they can’t really afford to have a dull episode with nothing else to keep you entertained.



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  • I actually liked this episode a little more than you I think. On one hand the show as a whole is frustrating because they've thrust about 15 characters upon us without having really let us spend any time getting to know them. Lost of course did this to us as well, but the stakes ramp up in Lost over entire seasons as opposed to having such dire circumstances in every single episode. Slowly developing your mass ensemble of characters when you start a show that has one goal for those characters: survive. With Flashforward, though, it's almost as though they've bitten off such a large chunk that they're having a hard time balancing it all. We're supposed to care about an ensemble of characters, follow all of the flashforward developments, be into the Mosaic investigation, and a vast array of other things just right from the get go.

    Should Olivia's struggle to get away from Lloyd mean more to me? Perhaps it would if I had any insight into the relationship between her and Mark and thus have a reason to root for them as oposed to her falling for another man. Perhaps Mark's impending fall back to alcohol would seem more devastating if we saw him struggle to quash the addiction in the first place. I'm reminded of The Wire, and when one of the main characters sobers up in Season 4 after 3 full seasons of drunken mistakes. And then the mounting fear in Season 5 when his temptations start to creep back.

    I like that we finally had the chance to see Bryce fleshed out a little bit more, but as you said...the "fleshing out" is really nothing more than showing us he's a pretty good guy. What of him before?

    I could care less about Aaron and his desire to reunite with his daughter whom he saw in his FlashForward.

    I could go on and on and I guess the major thing is, the FlashForward makes for a great concept...but I feel like it would have made an even better Season 1 finale as opposed to a Season 1 premiere.

    Give us a whole season of thinking the show is just about a major FBI investigation on terrorism (perhaps with a little X-Files/Lost like bits and pieces of the possible supernatural along the way) and include the major players surrounding the agents' lives.

    Zoey, Agent Noh's girlfriend, was in Seattle for 3 whole episodes yet I didn't care a lick. I was unmoved when they were reunited after both being lucky enough to survive through a global calamity which claimed so many lives.

    I should stop cause I could go on and on about the lack of interest in specific characters up to this point. On to why I actually kind of liked this episode:

    I think more than anything else it was just refreshing to get away from Agent Benford for a little while. Though he was still prominent in the episode it seemed as though he was more of a part of the B Plot this week, and the hospital story was the A Plot. Your point about it devolving into your typical medical drama is entirely valid, and a point I hadn't really thought of, though in my defense I don't really watch medical shows (other than Scrubs) so it may not have effected me as much.

    I was happy to get something more of an insight into Olivia and Bryce. I thought the actress who plays Olivia did a great job of conveying her thoughts without using any words at times.

    That Lloyd is connected in some way to the blackouts just kind of ended the episode on a lame note for me. Everything is becoming too convenient and centralized. This is a global event, and I'm to believe that the major players (or those connected to the major players) all live in the same major city?

    Posted by Brando from the Cinemaphiles, 22/10/2009 8:11pm (10 years ago)

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