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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 6 - Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

28 March 2012

Synopsis: Demetri and Al go in search of clues to the identity of the gunmen who Janis killed. Her injuries make it unlikely she would be able to conceive a child. Next door Dylan leave the hospital and using his flashforward as a guide makes his way to the Benford household. When Lloyd, Olivia and Mark all come face to face it becomes clear why Dylan travelled there. Mark admits he was drunk in his flashforward and he and Olivia argue over their lack of trust. Simon arrives in LA and finds Lloyd to talk about their “experiment” which killed twenty million people.

The Good: It’s another strange episode from FlashForward. It’s still difficult to know how to feel about what is going on and that confusion is not what generates loyal viewers.

Having said that there is still lots of good stuff. The autistic Dylan can’t accurately discern between what he saw and felt in his flashforward and the present. It’s a clever use of his condition and the blackouts to bring the protagonists together for the big confrontation. The scene where the members of the potential love triangle all meet was very interesting. The writing had built up to this confrontation really well so that as a viewer you knew what a big deal it was. Lloyd behaved as well as he could and even through his anger Mark knew no one had done anything wrong yet.

This is where things became complicated. Understandably Mark was really upset. Who wouldn’t be under the circumstances? His bitterness and feelings of betrayal poured out and I thought the argument was pretty well written. Mark finally admitted his drinking vision and Olivia pointed out that by omitting that he had already begun the breakdown of their marriage. It is a sad irony for Mark and whether he meant to or not he came across as pretty unlikeable. Hurling accusations at Olivia while hiding from his own lies (more on this in The Unknown).

Elsewhere Simon (Dominic Monaghan) comes into sharper focus. Unlike most of our characters he has a definite edge and purpose. He injects plenty of personality into his scenes and by introducing a character who presumably is involved in creating the blackouts the show might start to become more intense. If Lloyd does indeed believe that he is responsible for the blackouts then it adds another layer to his shock at being solely responsible for Dylan now. After all, he was apparently responsible for his wife’s death.

Similarly Janis’ wounds seem to add another reason for her tears at discovering she can have a child in her flashforward. I did like Al knowing about Demetri’s lack of a flashforward. If something like that happened in the real world you figure you would want to know what all your friends saw.

The Bad: The Demetri and Al search for evidence about the “Blue Hands” felt very dull once the episode ended. It felt like we sat through a long investigation progress which will only lead to information being read out of a file next episode. But the real shame is that neither character revealed much about themselves during all that time. Those scenes where the perfect time for the two to bond properly and share their personal pain and establish their characters.

Instead we got a thoroughly generic story about Janis’ drinking prowess. That word generic is rather haunting the show at present. Simon’s opening seduction of a fellow passenger contained some awful lines. The attempts at double entendres fell incredibly flat and his explanation of schrodinger's cat seemed to be present only to make the scene look cool rather than actually having any relevance to the flashforwards.

Then we return to Mark’s acting. By the end of his scene with Olivia he really came across as bitter and unlikeable. The way he kept cutting her off was particularly rude. Mark could become a very brave character for the show to explore. A leading man who pushes everyone away and sinks into his addiction to cope with the stress of trying to save the world. But I’m not sure that FlashForward is trying to be that brave. I don’t think these writers could adequately handle his alcoholism and I suspect they want him to remain a sympathetic figure. So as with every episode I say they need to find a way for him to come across as vulnerable and likeable pretty quickly.

One clanger that keeps dropping is why Mark and Olivia don’t ask Charlie directly what she saw in her flashforward. Here Mark asks her whether she knows Dylan from school and she says no. So ask her where she does know him from! It becomes obvious a few moments later why she does know him but considering she brought up D Gibbons it still makes no sense not to ask her for more.

The Unknown: What experiment did Simon and Lloyd conduct? Who was Simon killing in his flashforward? Was that the kangaroo from the pilot and why is it still around? Is the bird dying in Al’s flashforward evidence of another blackout headed the world’s way in six months? Speaking of April 29th, did the woman on the train claim that people on Mosaic were all planning to meet then for a kind of New Years style party? If so that renders all talk of the flashes coming true as they were seen irrelevant. That detail needs to be made very clear because if people begin planning their lives around that it would change everything about everyone else’s flashforwards instantly. That point really needs to be driven home.

Best Moment: I am no expert on autism but I like the way Dylan was portrayed here. I liked the way he introduced himself to Mark, giving away lots of information but nothing relevant. But then once Lloyd gets him safely back to the hospital he gives his first outward sign of love and understanding to his father. “That’s for coming to get me Daddy” he says. It’s simple and meaningful and Lloyd plays it absolutely beautifully. He is surprised and heart melted to hear this love from his son. Very well done.

Epilogue: It’s another tricky episode, boring and fascinating in different places. The mystery does deepen though so I imagine fans will be back next week for more.

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