FlashForward: Scary Monsters and Super Creeps (S01E06), episode review

FlashForward

[[FlashForward (TV Series)|FlashForward]] gets curiouser and curiouser, doesn’t it? I’ve just finished watching the Halloween-themed episode Scary Monsters and Super Creeps, which went a long way toward intensifying the drama between the characters.

The addition of former Hobbit Dominic Monaghan to the cast did little to impress me though. Anyone who saw Monaghan’s appearance in Chuck last year (as a caricature of a rock star) will notice a distinct similarity in how he has approached his character in FlashForward. So we’ll forget about that part for the moment.

In a very hospital-centric episode, we get the loose ends from last week cleared up – sexy Agent Janis is going to live, but is devastated by being rendered infertile. Is it a bluff or has she really changed her FlashForward? Who knows? Benford and Wedeck kiss and make up after their tiff last week, and Demetri continues to struggle with his lack of a vision.

The episode gets really tense when Lloyd Simcoe’s son escapes from the hospital and heads straight for the Benford’s house. Clearly he can’t distinguish the present from the future and decides to go ‘home’. This is all very well, until Simcoe follows him there and soon recognises the house from his flash-forward – just as he’s sitting there talking to Mark Benford.

So, when yummy mummy Olivia returns home, she’s shocked to see current husband and future lover in the same room together. The awkwardness is palpable, and kudos to the three actors involved for making the scene so intense and uncomfortable. Simcoe’s realisation that Olivia and he are linked (literally) in the future is brilliant, and you can almost see the pennies dropping into place for him. The aftermath is top quality, as Mark and Olivia’s relationship starts to fracture into distrust and resentment – she being worried about his drinking and he being worried about her (perceived) future infidelity.

I am a little worried for [[Joseph Fiennes]] though – his scarily intense facial expressions are a cause for concern. Surely he’s going to rupture something if he doesn’t relax those eyebrows soon?

And I’m also going to give a little link love to this review over on AV Club. They have some very thought-provoking comments on the nature of the Benford’s marriage and why we, as viewers, aren’t particularly invested in Olivia and Mark as a couple.

The show has always played the idea of a marriage falling apart as something of an understood tragedy, but it’s never done the legwork to get us invested in why it would be a tragedy. I’d tend to agree that any marriage crumbling is a sad thing, but the show has done so little to set up Olivia and Mark as characters beyond what they saw in their flash forwards that it’s hard to be terribly moved by scenes where their marriage seems on the rocks. What if the marriage was already a little in trouble? What if the marriage was so ridiculously happy that it seemed shocking it could fall apart that fast (I think this is what they’re going for here, but it’s never played)?

Now, on to the end of the episode. Simcoe gets in a car and we can clearly see a masked figure lurking in the back seat. Yep, it’s Dominic Monaghan, apparently fresh from his shag with the babe on the train. It’s clear that the two are co-conspirators in the FlashForwards, but Simcoe seems unsettled about something. Is it an attack of conscience, or does he see a rosy, soft-lit future with Mark Benford’s wife? And if Simcoe and Simon were responsible for the FlashForwards, how come they experienced their own visions?

Unlike the AV Club, I’m enjoying the series so far. Perhaps it’s because I’m not expecting perfection from the series and just letting the story unfold. Let’s face it, from what I’ve seen of Heroes lately, that’s an example of a golden turd of a series. FlashForward isn’t yet bogged down to that extent.

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