Last Night’s TV – FlashForward


I have to say, I was more than a tad disappointed with last night’s second episode of FlashForward. Last week, it ticked all the boxes; mystery, strange global phenomenon, Easter Eggs from Lost, and dozens of intriguing questions were raised.

And from the makers of Lost, I’d expect nothing less than excellence, and unfortunately, FlashForward’s offering last night, White To Play, caused the show to lose a good deal of its credibility for me.

For instance, in one scene, we saw our heroes waiting for a mysterious person who’d stolen the identity of a Miss Gibbons. This was the D.E. Gibbons who appeared on a post-it note on Mark’s much flash-forwarded board…

However, this person didn’t turn up for the bus he – or she, we didn’t know at the time – was booked on, so the hordes of SWAT teams stood down and apparently disappeared into thin air, because in the next scene, the two main protagonists, Mark and Demitri, were heading into an abandoned warehouse with only a local cop for company.

A shoot out ensued complete with an explosion after the mystery man they were after issued some form of riddle or word of warning, I’m not sure which. Local cop was toast – and she, by the way, just like Demitri, hadn’t seen anything in her flash-forward – and mystery man escaped.

Now surely, with all that firepower available to them with those SWAT teams, one might think that it would’ve been a plan to have them tag along into the creepy warehouse? Or at least have them outside where they could pitch in should they be needed? Or even have them come running, guns ahoy when they heard shots?

I know these might seem rather pedantic details but I can’t stand these sorts of ‘cheats’ in shows that ask us on the one hand to trust our disbelief entirely into the care of their suspended hands, then go and do something so unbelievable, they threw said suspended disbelief spang onto the floor with a thud.

Lost never did that; throughout the bizarre and weird things that happened, nobody ever cheated. Nobody took liberties with the storyline to get around a sticky problem. The sticky problem in this case being, “How can we have mystery man escape, because he’s very central to the story and we need him alive?”

They’d have done better to just leave off bringing him into it so early rather than write ‘around’ him and have two highly experienced agents wander off without notifying the ten tons of backup around them that they were investigating a warehouse where they’d be sitting ducks. It simply wouldn’t happen.

And that’s the ‘cheat’. We know it wouldn’t happen, therefore, any credibility the story may have had, however fantastic that may have been in premise, is lost. The devil is in the detail as they say and that’s never more true than with TV shows that are trying to get themselves the prefix ‘cult’.

Then there’s one other thing which, before last night, I may well have let go but now take issue with. How come nobody warned themselves or said “oh, hi me!” during their flash-forward? After all, six months hence, they all know the exact date and time when their unconscious selves are going to glimpse their future selves, so wouldn’t you be somewhat more prepared?

Wouldn’t you, if you were Stamford, hang on for ten minutes before going to the loo rather than have your unconscious self visit you there? And apropos of Stamford, even though it was a very funny scene when we saw him giving mouth-to-mouth to man who’d been drowning in a urinal, wouldn’t you just take a minute to warn the guy?

But I’d figured the issue of that whole if-you-know-you-can-change-it thing would be addressed at some point, and of course, it might well be yet, but now I have doubts about the show’s storyline credibility, I wonder if it’s going to be something rather lame?

Furthermore, my final niggle about last night’s episode was that it would appear this handful of feebs and homeland security people are the only ones on the entire planet investigating on behalf of officialdom everywhere. Surely, by the point at which we joined the show again last night, some kind of global task force would’ve been in the process of forming? Or at least information sharing between countries?

But as with the likes of Independence Day, it would appear that the rest of the world is content to leave the matter in the hands of half a dozen all-American, testosterone and Uncle Sam fuelled individuals.

However, with all that said, I’m sure I’ll still be tuning in next week, if only to find out what happens to Demitri. In the show’s closing moments last night, Demitri received a phone call from a woman who told him she knows the date and time when he’s going to be murdered. So can he avoid it happening? Can he change the future?

And the other thing that got me intrigued last night was how come Mark’s daughter Charlie knows about Mr Gibbons, and knows he’s a “bad man”? What did she see in her flash-forward? The Charlie character reminds me somewhat of the Allie character from Taken in that clearly, she’s got a big role to play in the whole shebang…

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what episode three turns up, but I so hope that FlashForward ups its game next week or they might just be minus a viewer by episode four.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.