I’ve been off the FlashForward bandwagon for a while now, so I caught up with this week’s episode to see if it was still worth watching.
Knowing that [[FlashForward (TV Series)|FlashForward]] is getting a critical mauling makes it tempting to go with the flow and savagely rip the show apart. The thing is, I feel there’s sufficient mystery in the show to keep me engaged, even if I sometimes have to look the other way and pretend something ridiculous just happened.
This week’s episode is very Janis Hawk centric. We get – through a series of disorienting and out-of-sequence flashbacks – a big reveal that Janis is a triple agent. So, despite being led to believe that she was simply a mole within the FBI, it seems that she’s helping the CIA to watch the mysterious organisation that has her watching the FBI. Phew. That’s a lot of work. I hope the three pay packets are worth it.
Minor grumble: If Janice was feeding information to “Mysterious Agency, Inc”, but secretly working for the CIA, why did she want to quit Mysterious Agency the day after the blackouts? Surely she’d have spoken to her handlers at the CIA first?
In other Janice news, the fish shop lady who’s been giving her instructions orders Janice to kill Mark Benford. And she does it in such a throwaway fashion, like she just thought it up on a whim. Why kill Benford? Why now? What’s the point – we know he has a FlashForward, corroborated by Lloyd Simcoe’s FlashForward.
Wooly bending of the FlashForward rules
Flipping over to the non-event that is Aaron Stark’s package tour of Afghanistan, we see him driving with his guide. The said guide talks briefly about a FlashForward involving seeing his wife and child dying in a car accident which he survives. Then, they encounter a blockade and a number of gunmen open fire on them, presumably killing the guide. Um…so how’d you have a FlashForward then?
I grant you, maybe the guide was simply wounded by that shot to the chest. But the gunmen proceeded to spray the van with bullets while Stark hid behind it. I’m guessing the guide in the front seat took quite a few additional bullets.
Why’s this relevant? People who died before “the event” didn’t have a FlashForward. Duh.
Funny autistic Sylar moments
James Callis plays the strange autistic Gabriel, a man who follows Olivia Benford around with weirdly accurate ominous warnings. Here’s a funny thing though – if I described a dark-haired man with thick-rimmed glasses, stubble and a cap pulled low…called Gabriel…I’d be describing Sylar from the first series of Heroes. But with autism.
It’s unintentional, I’m sure, but it’s hilarious that no-one spotted this glaring similarity. I wonder if he can lobotomize people with his index finger.
The appearance of Gabriel feels like a clumsy way of giving Olivia Benford some relevance to the future of the show other than being Benford’s long-suffering wife. She’s the key to the future. Blah blah blah.
Anyway, to sum up, FlashForward isn’t nearly as intelligent or compelling as the series concept promised in the beginning. And yes, it totally feels like they’re making it up as they go along. Bending and breaking their own rules at will. And it’s the grimmest show I’ve ever watched. Nobody’s having fun, nobody’s smiling. But…switch your brain off, and it’s a decent hour’s worth of escapism. It can be totally ludicrous at times, but maybe what the show needs to do is work in a tongue in cheek knowingness to acknowledge how outlandish it all seems. Because watching some of those poor actors delivering their lines with straight faces is one of the funniest parts of FlashForward.