Like sands through the hourglass..
So are the Days of Our FlashForwards….
And so begins the weakest episode of the series thus far, one that strays too often into straight soap opera territory and using all its cliches in the process.
We pick up our action just after the attack on the FBI Gang in DC and Janis’ shooting in LA. Janis is wheeled into (Soap Opera Convention #1) the closest hospital, which is also Our Heroes hospital… who should be on staff to pick up the GSW but (Soap Opera Convention #2) our lead actress who happens to be available and ready to take her in. Pretty soon Janis is prepped for surgery and (Soap Opera Convention #3) our lead actress also happens to be the one to operate on her. Janis is saved and wheeled into recovery, but later (Soap Opera Convention #4) develops a sudden, life-threatening complication that only our heroic doctor (Soap Opera Convention #5) can fix – but with tough decisions.
Now apparently Janis can’t have children because of the injury, which seemingly negates her Flash Forward. Notice she tells Wedeck that there’s basically a “99% chance” she won’t be able to have a baby, which leaves the door open just a crack for it still to happen. What will the reaction of the others be to this seemingly fracturing of the validity of the FF’s? I find it hard to think even now, only 3 weeks post-blackout that this hasn’t happened to others around the planet… something happening that would render their flashforward highly unlikely if not impossible.
I had a random thought – let’s say 580,000 people from around the world entered data into the Mosaic project. That’s about .1% of the population of the Earth at this moment. Assuming all things being equal, would the ratio of recognizable flash forwards versus the dark, no-visions (like Demetri’s) be roughly the equivalent to the ratio of people who would typically die out of 580,000 over a typical 6-month period? i.e. if 578,500 people recorded flashes and 1,500 recorded no flashes, might that equal the typical death rate of 578,000-1,500 over 6 months? I don’t know what the precise ratio is but it’s interesting to wonder.
Then, by the same token, out of those 578,500 that recorded flashes – how many of them themselves have died already? Did all terminal cancer patients with <6 months to live have dark flashes? If they didn’t, would that give them hope to live? Or if the marginally sick cancer patient who has a decent prognosis have a dark flash, would it pull them into a self-fulfilling prophecy? The psychological questions are endless, and I really wish the show would explore them a little more. Maybe in subsequent episodes they will, starting with Janis.
Meanwhile the Soap Opera continues – Olivia’s flash forward begins to manifest itself, as little Dylan runs away from the hospital and finds his way to her house where presumably he and dad Lloyd will at least be visiting with his dad in six months. He and Charlie greet each other like buddies who just saw each other at school, thought they’ve never really met. (ed: they did meet for 137 seconds in their flashforward.)
Lloyd comes to the house, recognizes it, and is understandably awkward around Mark. When Olivia gets home we finally see (Soap Opera Convention #6) – the amazingly dead-headed, ignorant, jealous husband. I can’t stand this character of Mark when he’s like this, and I’m liking him less and less each episode. After kicking Lloyd and Dylan out, he has a knock-down drag-out with Olivia over her still future infidelity – even beginning to accuse her of starting a flirtation with Lloyd at the hospital on purpose. Each of Olivia’s arguments are well-reasoned and appropriate – she hints that she knows Mark may be sliding back into alcoholism, which he’s done before, and Mark finally admits he is drinking in his flash forward. Mark continues to be a pre-alcoholic paranoid jealous ass (and I say this as a man, ashamed for the behavior of a member of my gender – even if he is fictional).
I will admit I continue to appreciate that decision the writers have made not to let secrets linger – now everyone knows what everyone saw in the Lloyd-Olivia-Mark circle of flashes (save Lloyd’s true background, which we’ll get to in a moment). So far I don’t have to give that plot contrivance a (Soap Opera Convention #) .
Simon (Dominic Monaghan) hurtles toward LA in a rail car, flirting with beautiful women and establishing his character. We see he’s little like our favorite Drive Shaft guitarist from LOST – suave, sex-starved (well, I guess Charlie was a little like that), arrogant, and apparently brilliant. He brags about knowing why the blackouts happened and demonstrates the Schrodinger’s Cat theory that when an outcome is in doubt, all outcomes are possible. Which I suppose gives way to the multiple universe theory and that the flashes were glimpses into a possible, or alternate universe of possibility. Something similar to this summer’s Star Trek flick, where the timeline we all know and love and grew up with is still there, but Nero and Spock Prime’s excursions into the past caused a secondary timeline to exist. We’ll see how this explanation works out, and how much Sulu-er, Demetri will play a part…
Speaking of Demetri (how odd will it be when the next Trek sequel comes out to watch Cho, then an unknown playing Sulu, reprise his role with 1-2 seasons of Flash Forward in the target audience’s head?), he and The Other LA FBI Guy (they pop in and out so frequently I lose track) chase down a lead from Janis’ shooter. A blue hand tattoo leads them (via remembering a point from Mark’s flash-forward enabled Fox Mulder Memorial Big Board ™) to a Blue Man Group Reunion turned ugly. Apparently there’s a cult of guys running around shooting innocent FBI agents to stop them from busting in their concerts. Or something like that, it’s never really made clear. Mainly it cements some of the details revealed in our character’s flash-forwards (just as Janis’ are collapsing).
I have a specific complaint about the rather gratuitous sex scene between Simon and his paramour on the train – did they have to show her with her bare legs wrapped around his torso in the bed? It’s a bit embarrassing to watch with my 13-yr-old, who loves the show because of the mysteries and action, without having to expose him to R-Rated stuff on at, oh, app. 8:15 pm on the East Coast…
1) Enough with the pop-ballad background music to the intense action/emotional scenes? It’s just kinda got that cheesy 80’s vibe to it.
2) So now a firm count of 20,000,000 people dead in the blackout. And all because it was…an experiment? Could it be as simple as an accidental side-effect of some scientific project, not done out of malice or greed?
3) Loved Aaron’s Obi-Wan costume, and Nicole’s…what, Sally from “Nightmare Before Christmas”? I’m not sure. I also loved Aaron’s “Let’s go in the kitchen for some milk and cookies, kids (while the grown-ups fight)”
4) What happened to Sad Sack FBI Guy Who’s In the AFLAC Commercials that was in the car with the others guys being attacked in DC? I guess he stayed behind. Maybe he’s from the DC home office. Maybe he’s got Fox Mulder’s old job :)
See you next week!