Friday, October 16, 2009

Review - FlashForward Season 1 Episode 4 Black Swan

After the pilot, FlashForward has been unbelievably disappointing. I'm not going to bail yet - the mystery is still intriguing - but the writers are going about it all wrong. Last night there was more playing around with characters and no advancements other than the big shocker in the end: Lloyd Simcoe is in league with Simon (Dominic Monaghan) and has knowledge about the flashforward.

Mark and Demetri come to blows over where their investigation should go. Mark wants to go to Somalia while Demetri wants to follow up on the nuclear material case they were on right before the blackout. The CIA won't give them satellite imagery of Somalia when the event happened, so they go chasing a lead from the blonde terrorist they caught in the pilot. Nothing happens except Demetri tells Mark he'll be shot and killed. Later, Mark commissions the hacker named Cheeto Dust to get the satellite photos by hacking into the CIA.

Olivia and Bryce disagree about the flashforward and they argue over Ken who is black in his flashforward while he is white right now. Bryce figures out that he has Addison's Disease and Olivia doesn't agree until it is almost too late. By doing so, Olivia has put at least some credence into the vision which is the last thing she wants.

There were several throwaway scenes between Zoey and Demetri, the Simcoes, and several other characters. Nicole was back and told Mark she gets drowned in the future, and deserved it. The writers are trying to make us connect with them so we can comprehend how they feel in the aftermath of such an event. So far, they are not doing a good job. I don't care about the characters, and I don't understand their thinking.

FlashForward is a show suited perfectly for real philosophical issues. Dollhouse has managed to transform itself from a creepy sex show to an interesting show that looks at technology, the soul, and other metaphysical ideas. Flashforward tries, but fails miserably.

There is a huge point the writers are trying to drive home. Not how or who, but why the flashforward happened. The writers completely ignore that it is impossible to find out why without getting to the bottom of other questions. Are the flashforwards an exact look at the future? Was actual brain chemistry changed by the flashforward (it appears so)? How is the financial sector reacting to the flashforward (money makes the world go round)? By ignoring these fundamental questions, the condensed world of the FBI and a hospital begins to look quite stupid.

Those are some of the more pertinent questions, but my brother brought up something extremely interesting last week.

Mark is basing his actions on what he sees on the Mosaic 6 months later. Assuming the flashforward and future are constant, in the world of the flashforward, Mark was also led to that moment by the flashforward. Is the flashforward an external, artificial event that changes the future by creating a false image that becomes reality?

FlashForward can be a great show. There are many avenues to take it, but right now, it is barreling down the wrong path, and the producers are lucky have made such a great pilot. 

Score: 8.4/10


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