Flash Forward episode 5 review

Billy wonders when FlashForward will start to make sense, or if he’s misunderstood that it should.

5. Gimme Some Truth

I’m tired of breaking down this show in detail, so I’m not going to bother this week, as it was typically all over the place.

Having not actually mentioned any of these characters or relationships previously, the FlashForward bandwagon turns up in Washington DC, and runs smack into a caricature of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the form of Senator Clemente. We also get introduced to the President, played by smooth operator Peter Coyote, who it turns out is an old buddy of Stanford Wedeck.

This could be an interesting President, because he’s allowed to play basketball without any security present, it seems.

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But for me the twist of this story is that Senator Clemente really represents our cynicism in where this show is going, which when you dissect what’s been presented so far, is pretty silly. She didn’t make it that way, it’s just when exposed to daylight it looks dumb, just as dumb as the guy who stands up and suggests the Chinese are behind it.

But this is DC, and it’s all about backbiting, under the table deals and the wielding of federal power, or that’s what we’re told. What slightly shocked me about this was that DC is knee deep in special interests and commercial lobbyists, but they must have had a day off so that the big boys could play.

In the bigger scheme of things, I can’t seriously believe that so soon after the blackout the Senate would be interested in asking Mark Benford questions on the stand about what he saw. No, they’d actually be having a major argument about Federal funding to repair the damage done, and how this might be paid for. This is one of the major issues that they’ve failed to even consider in FlashForward: the dollar cost of the blackout. Or that nobody would be able to get car insurance to drive unless another event was excluded from coverage. Commercial airlines wouldn’t get coverage to fly, and the watersports industry would cease to exist. Strange how nobody talks about these rather obvious impacts?

Along with the DC guff, there are two other threads this week. There’s one really thin one about Olivia Benford finding out that in Mark’s vision he’s drinking, and then getting an unsolicited text message to that effect just in case she wasn’t paying attention. Of the main cast members I think Olivia is the weakest. She swings wildly from overconfidence to total lack of self-belief in a heartbeat, and I’ve yet to see what she and Mark have in common that would make them marry.

The other thread is included for those who didn’t get all the unsubtle hints we’ve had so far that Janis Hawk is gay. Unless her current romantic interest becomes a relevant character, I’m not sure why we needed all this detail? The most laughable scene in this sequence was the one where she takes ‘Maya’ to a restaurant, and then ends up kissing her on the lips. And when she does this, not one single person eating at the tables looks at either of them! Really? Most people would glance if it was a heterosexual couple, but they choose to ignore good-looking lesbians? Please!

This was only overshadowed for the silliness award by Mark accompanying Standford, Demitri and Vreede on a drinking session, when he’s a reformed alcoholic.

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But before the end they even manage to top that in about two minutes of chaos. Mark and the three other agents, who have been drinking, get the bellhop to bring their car to the front of the hotel. Does Mark ‘The Sober One’ drive? No, that would be logical. He gets in the passenger side and Stanford takes the wheel. Then, in an instant, the car is being struck by a large shiny RV out of which Chinese assassins jump (I laughed here) and launch an RPG at them.

I estimate they have less than a second for all four of them to exit through just one side of the vehicle, yet they all do and then they’re totally uninjured and can return fire. To say this is a WTF moment is putting it mildly. I just don’t accept a vehicle can be blown up by a rocket propelled grenade with you alongside it (or in it), and there are no consequences!

Had the idiots in the RV not driven into them to start with, and instead just fired the RPG, they’d all be dead! Where did they hire these guys, Chinese Hitmen R Us?

The two sent to kill Agent Hawk are no less inept, with one making a really obvious approach while his accomplice is so far away I assume he’d been for donuts. The second guy manages to shoot her, but looks like he missed all the vital organs.

If you didn’t get my underlying theme here, I’m getting bored how sloppy this production has become (or was it from the outset?). I’m getting that make-it-up-as-we-go-along 24 feeling, like none of what is presented was sense-checked before the cameras rolled.

As I write this it’s been announced that showrunner Marc Guggenheim has departed the production, leaving co-creator David Goyer in this particular hot seat. Given how lumpy this pancake mix has been so far, I strongly advise Mr. Goyer gets his creative whisk moving rapidly or April 29th will be a future that this show will see only on DVD.

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Check out our review of episode 4 here.