TV RECAP: ‘Flash Forward’ Season 1, Episode 3

As a new feature here on The Flickcast, Dave Press, who normally does our comic book recommendations, will be doing recaps of some of our favorite TV shows. Enjoy — Ed

161kzgiThe new Lost clone brought to us by Batman Begins writer David S. Goyer and Star Trek Deep Space Nine creator Brannon Braga is actually better than Lost. Which is really not hard to do. You know the premise: the entire planet blacks out for 137 seconds and everyone sees their individual futures for the date of April 29, 2010.

Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare himself from the Oscar winning Best Picture Shakespeare in Love, leads a team of FBI agents that includes Seth McFarlane and “New Sulu” John Cho, to investigate the blackouts.

The first episode starts with Fiennes and his team encountering their blackouts. Fiennes, in his blackout, sees his board  in his office with various random and completely ridiculous names and numbers and pictures creating a mosaic of clues. As of the first episode his character is a recovering alcoholic, and as he drinks in his flash forward, his office is being invaded by Dead Presidents with machine guns and laser sights. Spooky.

Fiennes’s wife, played by Sonya Walger, sees herself with another man, which disturbs her and causes tenson between her and her husband. John Cho’s character doesn’t see anything, which frightens him to the point of thinking that he won’t be alive on April 29.

To solve the connection Fiennes and his team create a website, called Mosaic, that allows users to log onto and share their blackouts in hopes of connecting individual blackouts to find the source of this strange phenomenon.  The big question, and the cliffhanger of this episode is a man who didn’t black out and was wide awake and walking around. They found security footage from a baseball game in Detroit, featuring this man, calling him Suspect 0.

The second episode, written by Green Lantern screenwriter Marc Guggenheim (also part of Spider-Man’s rotating brain trust in the Marvel Comics series) was quick witted and actually funny, as per Guggenheim’s pedigree. An example of this, Fiennes bureau chief was on the crapper during his flash forward, and found another agent drowning in the toilet next to him, and had to perform mouth to mouth.

This had me laughing out loud, and reminded me of many funny moments from Eli Stone which was created by Guggenheim, and his Green Lantern writing-partner Greg Berlanti.  I like the fact that he’s a part of this team, because for a serious show, there needs to be some light-hearted moments. So I think I can tell right now that I’ll definitely be enjoying the episodes with Guggenheim’s credit.

The events that happen in this episode is Fiennes and Cho’s characters track down a person of interest that was revealed in Fiennes’s blackout. This person, a D. Gibbons, (cup cake maker extraordinaire) reveals that someone named after herself has been using her identity to travel around the country. They track this person’s last known whereabouts to Pigeon, Nevada, where John Cho encounters someone else who did not have a flash forward.

His fear that it means he’ll be dead by the following April 29th was confirmed when this Pigeon, Nevada police officer dies in the encounter with D. Gibbons–who blows up a doll factory.  At the end of the episode, Cho is convinced to put his lack of a flash forward on the Mosaic website resulting in a phone call from Shoreh Aghdashloo (from the horrible X-Men 3) telling him that in her flash forward she was reading a report that Cho’s character would be murdered on March 15, 2010. Proving that he does not live to that flash forward date.

Much of the second episode is spent with the super annoying wife and child of Joseph Fiennes’s character, played by Walger and Lennon Wynn.  They encounter the man who Walger sees in her flashforward, the man she calls her lover. The daughter, named Olivia, carries on about some stupid doll for most of the episode, won’t play a school yard game and creepily says at the end of the episode that “D. Gibbons is a bad man.”

That little girl gives me the willies, but little kids do that to me.

Last night’s episode opens on where John Cho and Aghdashloo are having the conversation in which its revealed that Cho will die before April.  He spends much of the episode trying to track down that Aghdashloo’s number.  However, Joseph Fiennes is called to Germany when a former Nazi mass murderer explains that he knows why the blackouts lasted as long as they did.

However, this old extremely evil man leads them on to get himself a pardon and be extradited back to the United States for his information.  Most of the episode is spent battling the moral fiber of finding answers to the blackout vs the need that this man serve his time for murdering families and being on the run much of his 86 years.

Eventually Fiennes gets him his pardon and the old German Nazi dude, tells him that crows died outside his window after waking up from his blackout. This seemingly innocuous lead that really burns (rightfully so) Fiennes leading him and his partner, Peyton List, to research crows dying and see if its happened before. It has, in Somalia in 1991, where this small village where it happened led to mass blackouts of the townspeople. The episode closes on crows dying again over a small town in Somalia with this giant monstrous sentinel thing erupting from the ground. Its weird and kind of Galactus-y.

Most of these episodes are exceptionally strong in character and have well-developed mysteries that lead one thing to the next and keep on moving along. The show is expertly written and executed, and why I say its better than Lost is that though these characters are faced with real moral issues and the fact that virtually everyone is battling the knowledge of what could happen in the future.

This leaves us with a television show that battles the philosophical question of whether the future is ordained for us, is there fate, or do we create our own futures? What if that latter idea, was stripped away from us, knowing that the future is going to happen and that there is little we can do about it. Sure, these questions abound throughout these three episodes and continue to be harped upon but they need to be; they would be.

Even though alot of people may be turned off from this show as just another attempt at copying Lost this show is actually better. Instead of building one mystery on top of another with absolutely no natural direction for why Lost does what it does, these characters on this show are actually focused and grappling with one mystery that happened to everyone and continue to strive towards answers. Whereas Lost just seems lost in its own weirdness, (Sorry, can’t help myself) this show actually tries to find answers. At the same time, this show embraces its weirdness and grounds it in character.

I think this is a superb start to an intriguing show, and I’m looking forward to analyzing and thinking about it here at The Flickcast.  What did you all think about it?

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  • Justin
    October 19, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Better than LOST? Ok, I am trying to give this show a chance, and it’s not bad, but come on. First of all, the acting isn’t that great. The story right now is just barely bringing me back for the next weeks episode. And it’s been 3 episodes. That’s quite a bold statement. And what’s with the jab “it’s not that hard to do”. What are you implyng, that LOST isn’t that good? Well, pick a better show to “clone”. LOST is one of my all-time favorites, and has a cult-like following. Maybe you should wait until FF is more that a month old before you proclaim it better than a show that’s been drawing in viewers and winning awards for half a decade.

  • dude
    October 14, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Quit comparing this show to Lost. It is not similar and you cannot tell if it is better by watching only 3 episodes. Both shows are cool

    • David Press
      October 14, 2009 at 8:14 am

      Actually, I’m not comparing it. I’m just saying others compare it to Lost. Clearly, I mean they are both very different.

      • Ryan
        October 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm

        I just started watching the pilot on Hulu and my immediate reaction without reading any reviews or previews– Lost clone. At least in its execution. For example, the very beginning scene has Fiennes (a.k.a Jack) waking up to chaos and destruction (a.k.a Plane crash). Then from reading previews each person has their own unique future storyline… very similar to Lost’s backstory approach. Not to mention Sonya Wagner who plays Penny in Lost has a starring role in FlashForward.

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