Thursday, October 15, 2009

FlashForward Meets Shaft and House in 1.4

A tip-top episode 1.4 of FlashForward tonight, which provides yet another proof that the visions of the future are true. In fact, so far, all we've had are confirmations - Agent Gough's meeting with his London counterpart, the death of the Utah agent who had no vision - with the exception of Demetri's fiance's vision of their marriage. In fact, tonight we had two confirmations, as Lloyd Simcoe confirms that he was in Olivia's home (though he didn't see Olivia, only heard her voice).

But the Shaft part is especially neat and convincing. A white guy's vision on a bus under water sees himself cool, on-top as never before, and African-American in the future, like "Shaft or Bryant Gumbel," as he puts it. Further, he's calm as can be when he wakes up almost under water. He even heroically saves someone.

But how can a white guy change into a black guy in six months?

Back in the present, he ends up in Olivia's hospital 14 days after the blackout, complaining of pain. It's more serious than that - Olivia's says he needs an operation. He's still incredibly calm. This gives Dr. Varley an idea. Like House, he realizes that Addison's disease could account for both the white-to-black transformation, and the smooth calmness. Addison's disease affects the adrenal gland, making it pump melanin instead of adrenalin. A nervous Caucasian can turn into a calm African American...

In one of the most significant interactions of the series, Olivia resists Varley's diagnosis. Of course she does - she does not want her future to be true, just as Varley hopes that his is. The patient almost dies. But Olivia accepts the patient's future and Varley's analysis just in time, with a take away that moves her a big step towards thinking her future may be inevitable.

And so the only opposition to the flashforward visions - the only outright conflict of visions - comes from Demetri and his fiance. Accordingly, he wants to move their marriage up to an earlier date - prior to the date of his murder reported to him by Behrooz's mother, last week (that is, the Iranian agent, who played Behrooz's mother in 24 a few seasons ago). But how can he succeed? If he's able to change the date, that means Zoey's vision was wrong - how could she see them getting married in six months, if they were already married - which pitches them and us right back into the paradox.

And just to up the ante, Dominic Monaghan's character Simon puts in a brief appearance at the end of this episode .... and he seems far more sinister than Charlie ...

6-min podcast review of FlashForward
See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost and 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability and 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer

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