As was pointed out in the comments on my last FlashForward review, having got this far I’m now duty-bound to follow this series to its inevitable bitter end. In an effort to make it a less painful experience I’ve taken to consuming multiple alcoholic beverages beforehand and this is helping me find the inner core of this show.
What I’ve discovered is that at its heart this isn’t a drama, but a knock-about comedy, when seen from a certain perspective.
It’s also one where the production team seem to have been told that they’ve got at least three seasons, possibly more, to progress the bigger story arc. I don’t know why else they would think this, because there is no story progression in Believe, which obviously means they’re in no rush.
As if to prove how much time they’ve got, they introduce a new character, the imaginatively named Keiko, who is the Japanese girl in Bryce’s flash. Much of the first third is taken up with her, and the reinforcing of Japanese racial stereotypes, though nothing worse than Hiro and Ando have committed already, I suppose.
But she does bring us our first piece of unintentional hilarity. She’s at work practicing the guitar (as you do) to a video of Bob Dylan. As this video initially showed his head I didn’t really grasp what she was doing, and for a moment I actually thought she was trying to learn English this way. The idea of someone doing this and then their attempting to mumble through a conversation was a spark of comedy genius, until I realised that she was trying to imitate his guitar technique.
This seemed daft, but no more so than the idea that Bryce could learn Japanese in about two weeks, which we’re next expected to accept. In this we also discover why he tried to kill himself, which is that he has terminal cancer in his brain. This was an important detail he left out of his first conversation with Olivia on the subject, but it’s one he now happily shares.
She’s sympathetic, but not very logical. Because she seems to oddly accept that Bryce having a medical condition that could easily cause seizures and him wielding a scalpel in surgery isn’t incompatible. But as Bryce freely admits, he’s never been a good doctor, so his patients aren’t going to make it anyway, I guess.
Last week I made much of the moronic image analysis guff they ran, not once, but twice. And for good measure they run it a third time this week, and even try to come up with an excuse as to why this seems so stupid. The reasons the CIA lady gives about why they can’t see the face are a joke, and they then make even more unrealistic advances where, from a single blurred image where the object in question is just a single pixel across, they extract a 3D model of the ring!
That klaxon you hear in the background is the BS alert, and it’s on maximum volume setting.
I could also talk about all the abysmal scenes with Aaron, but I think they’re best forgotten, along with most of what’s in here, really.
So in summary: Bryce takes an 11,000 mile round trip for a bowl of noodles, Keiko goes half that distance to become a Japanese Bob Dylan, Mark and Demetri are flying to Hong Kong despite being told they can’t, and everyone else goes around in ever decreasing circles. Riveting, this wasn’t?
But, thankfully, we now get two weeks off before episode 10, which is co-written by series showrunner David S. Goyer and Scott M. Gimple, who has worked on the show so far as ‘executive story editor’. Not something I’d want on my resume.
Maybe by then this show will have been put out of my misery, but knowing my luck, it won’t.
Check out our review of episode 8 here.