Tuesday, October 27, 2009

NEW!: FlashForward 1:5 – Gimme Some Truth

Overall: 8.7 – An interesting shift in perspective.

Cut for spoilers.

Plot Synopsis:

Mark, Demetri, and Stan are called out to D.C. to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the Mosaic investigation. What ensues is a good deal of political dirty dealing. Here’s the scoop, written in chronological order from past hints to current events:

Stan worked for the current president, Dave Segovia, on his election campaign. Apparently, at one point this involved covering up an extra-marital affair Segovia was having with a woman who presently lives in Georgetown with the president’s son. Oops! Senator Clemente, now the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the president’s opponent; apparently, she discovered the substantial bribe Stan offered the woman in question to keep quiet, but she was unable to prove it before the day of the election. Consequently, she is now itching to take Stan – and Segovia – down a peg. During the Senate hearing, she demands that Mark explain the genesis of the Mosaic investigation, and, to be quite frank, Mark sounds like a kook. Clemente tears Mark to shreds over the fragmentary nature of his flashforward, and Stan, frightened that his department will lose the funding they need to keep Mosaic in operation, “pulls a rabbit.” He goes to the president – who, incidentally, has just offered him the position of Director of Homeland Security – and presents an incriminating photo of the president with the aforementioned woman. This bit of blackmail secures the necessary funds, but it comes with a price – Clemente is now the new Veep.

On the personal front, Mark is forced to admit to Stan that he was hammered in his flashforward, and Stan begins to doubt that Mark’s visions are trustworthy. In the meantime, Janis dates a (female) restaurateur who gets a little too curious and discovers via Mosaic that Janis was pregnant in her flashforward; Janis is completely freaked out by this foray into her personal life and calls off the relationship. Also, Olivia starts to worry about Mark’s alcoholism when she overhears Aaron urging Mark over the phone to go to an AA meeting in D.C. Her worries are later confirmed when an unknown individual sends Olivia a text message revealing that Mark was drinking in his flashforward.

Cliffhanger of the week: Just as Mark, Demetri, Stan, et. al. prepare to leave the Washington swamp, they are sideswiped by a black van. Out of the van pour a group of Asian assassins who blow up the agents’ car. A fire-fight ensues, and the agents take down their assailants. Meanwhile, Janis is also attacked by two Asians, who shoot her in the stomach before she hits them both. The last thing we see is Janis sprawled on the road, bleeding.

Writing: 9

It’s important, I think, for a show to wrench itself out of its usual point of view from time to time so that we can see the main characters from another perspective. It is also important to ground a show’s characters within a believable reality, particularly when a show is set in the present day. Gimme Some Truth does both – and what’s particularly admirable is that the writers, in pulling off this episode’s shift in setting and perspective, don’t allow the principal antagonist to lose. Clemente is one ambitious, ruthless career politician – indeed, I’m pretty sure – based on the information she supplied regarding her flashforward – that there is a blatant power grab in that character’s future. But however much she is grandstanding here, is she proven wrong? Quite the opposite: Stan has just enough faith in Mark to play his ace, but he certainly doesn’t think Mark’s method is defensible in a traditional sense. Actually, once we hear Mark’s reasoning verbalized before an audience, the conclusion that he’s gone a bit mad seems eminently rational. Excellent work!

Acting: 8

I hope we see more of Barbara Williams as the manhood-busting Clemente. What can I say? I have a thing for middle-aged actresses who play merciless politicians. I also really enjoy Courtney B. Vance’s reaction when Mark finally admits that he was “loaded” in his flashforward; the horror is very well played. Vance may turn out to be one of my favorites out of the regular cast, as he seems to be able to do comedy and drama equally well.

Message: 9

This episode’s message seems to be: “D.C. is a morally corrupt cesspool that makes everyone worse for being there.” These days, I agree whole-heartedly! The electoral process is so slanted in favor of incumbents that no one in Washington really has any incentive to work for – gasp! - the common good.


None this week. Unfortunately, I have no rewind-able source. Feel free to add some in the comments!

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