Thursday, December 3, 2009

Olivia Benford at Harvard in FlashForward 1.10

FlashFoward 1.10 - the finale episode in the first part of the season, with the series to resume in March 2010 - was as fine as the series premiere back in September, which is to say, packed full of action, surprise, paradox, emotion, and scientifically implausible but maybe not impossible possibilities - or science fiction on television at its best.

1. Olivia and Lloyd talk about Harvard and alternate universes. Lloyd was a student there, Olivia almost was, but got entwined with Mark instead. Lloyd met his wife in a building next door - which is where Olivia would have stayed had she gone to Harvard. The implication: perhaps love conquers all, including alternate realities or universes. What Olivia and Lloyd may be just beginning to feel about each other here, now, in "our" universe, may be an expression of a transcendent love which prevailed a little earlier in the Olivia-at-Harvard world. The kidnapping of Lloyd in the last scene (which I did see coming - something about the manner of the ambulance guys - but it was powerful nonetheless) leaves Olivia with Dylan, which is a big step closer to Lloyd, wherever his kidnappers may be taking him.

2. Mark and Demetri defy Stan and go to Hong Kong to find the woman who told Demetri of his death. I think of her as Behrooz's mother, after Shohreh Aghdashloo's memorable performance in 24, but her name in FlashForward is Nhadra Udaya, and she tells Mark and Demetri the astonishing, unbelievable: Demetri's assassin is Mark, who will shoot Demetri three times with Mark's gun (Nhadra knows its serial number). Mark vows not to let this happen, and I believe him, but .... what significance do vows to prevent the future from happening have in this, our, flashforward universe? Mark says to Nhadra, "this isn't over". She replies, "it never is". But the only evidence we have that the future can be changed is Gough's suicide - not very reassuring. (Good, by the way, to see Michael Eealy of Sleeper Cell in the Hong Kong business as a CIA agent.)

3. But back to the recalcitrant future: Perhaps the biggest payoff in fatality tonight was Zoey's realization that she was not at Demetri's and her wedding in her flashforward, she was at his funeral. Lots of fans had been suggesting this as an explanation. I'm still wondering why she didn't feel herself being profoundly sad in her flashforward - not an emotion she would likely be feeling at her wedding - but ok, at least this resolves the conflict between her vision and Demetri's lack of vision. And with the testimony of Behrooz's mother in Hong Kong, this is tightening the vise of future death around Demetri ever more convincingly ...

4. Still, there are grounds for hope. Demetri is now in possession of Mark's gun - after Stan removes Mark from service - which means that gun is at least one person removed from firing at Demetri. And Simon is revealing himself as maybe not the worst character in the world, and indeed someone who can actually help the good guys get to the bottom of this. For example, he's the inventor of the strange device we saw in that 1991 photo of facilities in Africa - except Simon says he didn't invent the device until 1992. Explanations wrapped in paradox, or maybe just time travel ...

5. Simon also throws of little light on D. Gibbons, one of the mysterious men wide awake during the blackout. And we see him near the end with Nahdra (Behrooz's mother), which to some degree throws everything she's told Mark and Demetri into doubt ... So, maybe that's good, too...

Hey, if you don't like complicated, watch Heroes - though, come to think of it, that's pretty complicated too. All good and great irresistible television is. And tonight's FlashForward was up there with the best. It was written by David S. Goyer (co-creator of the series) and Scott M. Gimple. Can the show keep up this level of story telling in 2010?

I'm betting it will even be better. The compelling story told so far demands it.

8-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 and 1.4: FlashForward Meets Shaft and House ... Drunk FlashForwarding in 1.5 ... Across the Universe in FlashForward 1.6 ... FlashForward 1.7: The Future Can Be... ... FlashForward 1.8: The Nightie as a Grain of Sand ... FlashForward 1.9: Shelter from the Storm

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