Thursday, April 22, 2010

FlashForward 1.17: Mark, Demetri, and Hari Seldon

Robert J. Sawyer - author of the novel FlashForward on which the TV series is based - told me in our interview at the I-Con science fiction convention in Stony Brook, New York at the end of March that, before the season was over, I'd be standing up and cheering for Mark Benford.  I don't know if tonight's episode - 1.17 - was the one Rob had in mind, but I was certainly cheering.

The fate of Demetri hung in the balance tonight.  In FlashForward time, tonight was March 15, 2010, the day foretold and seen by Nhadra (Behrooz's mother from 24) as the day of Demetri's death.   Zoey's flashforward vision of their wedding, after March 15, which she realized was Demetri's funeral, added credence to what Nhadra saw.  So did the fact that Demetri had no flashforward vision at all.

Gibbons/Frost is holding Demetri prisoner, tied-up in a get-up of wires connected to a gun pointed right at his heart.   Any movement by Demetri, any attempt to put something in way of Demetri and the gun, will cause it fire.

It's not 100% clear what Frost wants out of all of this, but it has something to with stopping his own death, which he has also foreseen for this day.    Frost leaves a set of clues with Charlie, whom he talked to on the bench in the amusement park.

Mark first races brilliantly to get to Frost, in the best action sequence so far in the series.   He gets to Frost with just a little time left to save Demetri - Frost has left Mark a literally ticking clock - and Mark gets the drop on Frost-

Only to see Frost shot to death by Alda (female terrorist) who has escaped.   The Frost's death part of Frost's visions for the day has come true.   Will Demetri's?

Mark risks literally fulfilling Nhadra's vision - Mark killing Demetri with Mark's gun - by trying to turn the gun at least a little away from Demetri.   With seconds left - and with Demetri's life literally up for grabs by fate, because we've seen that most of the flashforwards do come true - Mark succeeds.   Demetri's death didn't happen, just as Gough's death did, both contrary to all the flashforward visions that have irresistibly, recalcitrantly,  come to be.  All that's shot is Demetri's picture on the timeline Frost has created on the wall.

It's a timeline that shows events well into the future - teeming with interconnections, like a Hari Seldon psychohistory map (see Asimov's Foundation novels) - come to life in today's Los Angeles.   But as soon as Demetri leaves the chair to which he's been confined, that map turns to sand and dissolves into the instant like an emptying hour glass.   One last trick of Gibbons/Frost.

You couldn't ask for anything more from this top-notch episode - written by David Goyer and Lisa Zwerling - except more tricks to come in the future.

7-min podcast review of FlashForward

See also FlashForward Debuts and Oceanic Airlines as a Portal Between FlashForward and Lost ... 1.2: Proofs and Defiance of Inevitability ... 1.3: Conficting Visions and Futures ... 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 ... Olivia Benford at Harvard in Flashforward 1.10 ... Flashforward 1.12 Parts 1 and 2 ... FlashForward 1.13: Aaron's Daughter, Mark's Gun, and Magpies ... FlashForward 1.14:  Somalia, LA, Fate Irresistible and Resistible ... FlashForward 1.15: Who's That Lady? ... FlashForward 1.16: Mark's Gun and Demetri's Wedding

Listen to 40-minute interview with Robert J. Sawyer

Listen to podcast about Asimov's Foundation series

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