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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 12 - Revelation Zero (2)

21 March 2010

Synopsis: Flosso cuts off Simon's finger but Lloyd won't speak until Dylan is threatened. Thanks to a clue from his flash Mark finds them and frees them. Nicole talks to Timothy the window cleaner and decides to introduce Bryce to her mother. Simon slips out of Janis' care and heads home to Toronto. She catches up with him but agrees to let him help his family search for his missing sister. His Uncle Teddy (Flosso) comes to dinner and Simon kills him. In flashback we see that Simon was Suspect Zero and Flosso has been grooming him since he was a boy to help create the blackout. We also learn that Flosso had his father killed and kidnapped his sister.

The Good: In theory Bryce and Nicole becoming romantically involved is interesting. His flash was built around an overwhelming love for another woman so is their romance doomed or changing their destiny?

The Bad: This was one atrocious waste after another. The producers aimed to turn Simon into something special here and instead they burnt through a few of the only good things they had, destroyed any remaining credulity left in the show and produced a massive mess of an episode. It's sad that so much money and potential was pissed away in one orgy of mindless plot developments. Even sadder is how naive this attempt to create drama really was.

I don't know if Timothy is going to become a regular character but here he was over scripted and didn't sound like a real person. He sounded far too presumptuous in telling Nicole that maybe she was being baptised rather than drowned. Rather than being a clever suggestion it just underlined the inconsistencies surrounding how each character describes what they saw. Another problem is that Bryce and Nicole have no chemistry and I lay that entirely at the feet of the writing. All we ever see is him saying that most meaningless of reassuring statements "Everything is going to be ok." Having her introduce him to her crazy mother was a strange choice too. This show is crying out for some scenes where characters behave like normal everyday people so we can relate to them and this wasn't it.

A strange production choice was to have two duality sequences right after one another. First we had Lloyd's interrogation dove tailed with Demetri closing in on the rigged ambulance. The deliberate misdirection is a standard device. But it was then followed by Timothy's flash and inspiring words about God being blended with Mark deciding to follow his flash to rescue Simon and Lloyd. To have these scenes so close together rather dampened the effect of each.

Simon having his finger amputated could have been an entire episode but was blown through in as flippant a manner as was possible. It was filmed badly, it reduced the drama and suffering and loss to nothing by the episodes end. Simon also then took out murderous revenge on one of his captors which was not commented upon. That is still a crime and however understandable he should have been arrested for it and put in prison on manslaughter charges at a minimum.

Mark's rescue mission was, as usual, based not on solid detective work but on his flashforward. Once more it raises uncomfortable questions about how the future could have existed the way it did when the events which created the future only happened because of what was seen in the future. But on a simpler level knowing that Mark and Lloyd talked in the future helps eliminate any tension from a gun fight involving them.

Then the two part episode turned into a Lost ­style flashback for Simon and it was a disaster. The story they told was that Flosso entered his life when he was a boy, pretended to be a relative in order to steer his genius toward the physics which was required to create the blackouts. Then Flosso had his father killed, his sister kidnapped and finally his professor murdered too in order to further coerce him. So Simon turned around and killed Flosso. Did you follow all that? Not only did this add up to far too much information to sink in but each death or revelation made the previous one seem less real and less relevant

Let's go in order shall we. First off we have Janis, one of the few convincing characters on the show made to look like a fool. Simon escapes from her care three times essentially. On each occasion there is no credibility because she insisted he was under strict protection yet let him out of her sight each time he gave her another sob story. Not to mention the complete absence of armed police officers who were present at the airport and hospital but conveniently disappeared whenever Simon needed to skip out. But really how dumb does she look for putting his missing sister ahead of an investigation where 20 million people died? For all she knows the sister is shacked up with a friend or boyfriend and is just fine. We also have Mark being reinstated for breaking the law. He was suspended for reckless behaviour and yet somehow driving through a door on account of his drunk future memories is enough to win him his job back instantly.

The identity of Suspect Zero was one of the few intriguing mysteries which the show had generated and Simon filling that role is a major letdown. Ask yourself what was the point of him being there? He saw it all first hand and I suppose Flosso wanted some grainy footage of him walking around to hold over his head. Which might make sense if Flosso weren't already holding his sister at gunpoint and threatening Lloyd and his son too. It's a complete mess and it's a sure sign of a show which doesn't know what its doing that such a major revelation has no consequences whatsoever. He sat in the stadium and watched everyone fall asleep, seriously, that's all that was.

The revelation that his father was killed just to create an alibi to keep him away from the experiment is so dumb I can't believe they wrote it. First just because, as Simon says himself, by helping to build the experiment people were going to hold him to account anyway. His presence at the actual experiment on the day was never going to save him. And second because they managed to kill off a character's father and it meant absolutely NOTHING! It boggles the mind to think that a character can discover in one episode that his uncle has been manipulating him his entire life, has his father and professor killed, kidnapped his best friend and sister and yet it means absolutely NOTHING! Do I care more about Simon or the story or Flashforward after all this? No, I do not.

So Simon then kills the man who killed his father, blowing through another important story in a few seconds. Worse than that is of course that having become a murderer Simon doesn't think to shed tears and agony for his part in the loss of his father. No instead he quips about how he now has a cool story to tell about his flashforward. Should I even go into the question of how he knew what a flashforward was or would look like? Or quite why he thought admitting to murdering someone would be a good thing to go around telling people?

Back to the story and Flosso comes to dinner which really should have been the most shocking and disturbing thing ever. Imagine if you found out that your entire academic and professional career had been organised by a family member who secretly wanted your help to kill 20 million people in service of something presumably even worse. That is such a complicated emotional story that it ought to take an entire season to tell, yet it is laid out in about five minutes.

Then Flosso admits he kidnapped Simon's sister in order to coerce him. But if that wasn't enough inducement he also had Simon's professor killed and displayed in public in the trunk of his car a few feet from an FBI officer. We only just met the professor, his death means nothing, it was so unnecessary and wasteful.  But why stop there? Simon then kills Flosso. Which when you think about it, makes perfect sense. Unless of course you want answers or you want to protect your sister.

I should also mention that Flosso needlessly went to the trouble of kidnapping Simon and torturing him to get Lloyd to talk. Considering the kidnappers had Dylan in their grasp it surely would have been easier to bring him along to coerce Lloyd, which they then ended up threatening to do anyway. So why bring Simon into it?

The Unknown: Who does Flosso work for and how is D Gibbons involved?

Best Moment: Simon killing Flosso seemed like a man who had been bullied turning around and taking just revenge on his tormentor. But really it had no impact and left you wondering if he hadn't just done something incredibly foolish. Not to mention that Janis was once more absent while Simon was in danger.

Epilogue: An episode which demonstrated the most appalling lack of judgement, forethought and common sense that you are likely to see on TV. It's difficult to think what else they could have done to devalue drama and a sense of reality with this garbage.

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  • Hey Paul, another good point. Their investigation is inconsistent and it hurts the show. I will continue for now as long as people are listening :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 23/03/2010 7:25pm (9 years ago)

  • Totally agree with your review of both parts. Such a high-concept and complicated show needs to have some sort of base in reality, and you would hope that would be through the characters. NOPE! They seem just as fantastical and unlikely as the plot. What is more worrying is that the FBI division assigned to investigate the whole thing is running around basing its leads on Blue hand-prints and pictures of Somalia from space - yet, when a couple of scientists admit to the world they did it, the resources can only stretch to a woman following one of them around. With the stakes of punishment as low as this, whats the point! What a TERRIBLE storyline!

    I won't blame you if you give up on this show now. However, will still continue listening if you decide to carry on.

    Posted by Paul W, 23/03/2010 6:45pm (9 years ago)

  • I appreciate your sympathy :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 22/03/2010 10:20am (9 years ago)

  • I haven't read your review or heard your podcast yet (will do so now) but I can already say that I don't envy you having to review this episode.

    Posted by Mark B, 21/03/2010 10:09pm (9 years ago)

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