Friday, October 30, 2009

NEW!: FlashForward 1:6 - Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

Overall Rating: 8.9

Head-bangingly, hair-pullingly frustrating episode on the personal front (particularly between Olivia and Mark). There was one annoying flaw which I'll get to shortly, but this may have been the strongest episode of the show yet.

cut for spoilers

Plot Synopsis:

Taking this in parts again, we shall begin with Mark and Olivia. The show focuses first on Olivia - she's worried sick since she can't even reach Mark and after the frightening text message she got and her encounter with Janice in the E.R., for all she knows, Mark could be dead or drunk in a bar somewhere. She falls asleep clutching her phone following Janice's first surgery, but the FBI agents descend on the hospital to protect Janice and Mark finds Olivia. They promise each other that from now on, they're going to live for the moment and stop obsessing about their FlashForwards. While Mark takes Charlie out trick or treating and encounters a band of kids wearing masks identical to the ones the assailants in his vision wore (leading to a fruitless chase and a kid who, I'm quite sure, needed a change of underwear after he was caught by the FBI for TP'ing some guy's house on Halloween...LOL), Olivia tends to Janice, who begins bleeding out from her uterus. Olivia performs a very risky procedure to save the organ and Janice's slim chances at natural pregnancy.

Meanwhile, Lloyd struggles to convince his autistic son that things will be OK when he moves with his Dad out to Palo Alto and away from his dead mother's home. Dillon seems adamant that he wants to live elsewhere and while out trick or treating around hospital, he disappears, catches a bus to LA and is escorted by a shockingly kind young Angelino to an address he's been saying over and over again. He arrives at the Benford home, move to Nicole's shock, and just walks right in and takes a cookie from their cookie jar. It's his house too, he insists. When Mark takes Charlie home at Nicole's urging, she and Dillon seem to know each other instantly and have a trusting rapport. Next to arrive is Lloyd, and hot on his tail is Olivia. Lloyd recognizes the home after a moment to look around and blurts out that Olivia is the woman from his FlashForward. Mark turns into a caveman, gets all territorial and fiercely demands to Lloyd take his son and go - and never return.

Later that evening, Mark starts making all kinds of jealous accusations about Olivia's interactions with Lloyd and, backed into a corner, Olivia does the classic female thing (don't deny know it's true, ladies) and turns the tables on him, demanding to know whether he has been keeping anything from her. He finally admits that he was drinking in his FlashForward. Olivia is heartbroken by the admission, feeling like they're right back where they started years ago when Mark was last a victim of his alcoholism. Mark begs her not to punish him for something he hasn't done yet and Olivia points out the ironic and hypocritical nature of this (after all, he's been punishing her for the Lloyd thing this whole time). Mark wonders whether the whole "live for today" promise was just a lie and Olivia insists that's what she wanted at the time, but now she doesn't think they can. They spend the night on opposite sides of the house, drowning in their own misery.

Meanwhile, Agents Noh and Gough (um...I just realized how goofy that sounds) investigate a really loose lead that was on Mark's MOSAIC board involving a "blue hand" and "Baltimore"...Noh convinced Al that Baltimore refers to Baltimore St. in LA and they track a series of cryptic club signs with blue hands around the city until they discover their club has been ransacked and many of the members slaughtered. The assassins who tried to kill Janice, Mark and Demitri came from this club (based on the blue hand print on their arms), so this will become an important part of the investigation going forward.

Janice, after her trauma, realizes how badly she actually wants to have a baby just from her being told that it's going to be exceedingly difficult to conceive naturally. Her former girlfriend sends her flowers, but she seems more disturbed by the gesture than touched. Also, we get our first real taste of who Simon (the mysterious caller linked to Lloyd and the blackout) is. Evidently, he's a manipulative, extremely evil, and demented individual, and his really REALLY cheesy pick-up lines only work on complete idiots (we meet one such idiot in this episode).

Writing: 9.2

You know the writing is good when at various moments, you're yelling loudly at the screen, saying "Oh my GOD!! WHY are you DOING THIS???" Now THAT'S investment in the characters. Mark and Olivia are blind...ignorant fools. But they're imminently human idiots - we can all believe everything they do comes from completely organic roots...and that's why it's SO FRUSTRATING to see them go right down the road that will lead to the demise of their previously healthy marriage. ARGH!!

Also...given that this is a Halloween episode, it's only fitting that the show continue it's ability to make you reach the edge of your seat via your skin crawling their on its own and the scene where Simon describes in brilliant detail (while he's still inside of his latest conquest!) the cold, methodical murder he sees himself committing (joyfully!) in his FlashForward. It's utterly BONE-CHILLING and truly DISTURBING on every level.

Acting: 9.0

Focusing primarily on Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, Christine Woods, John Cho, Dominic Monaghan, and Jack Davenport, this episode is a FORCEFULLY good piece of acting drama. There's really no major weak link...perhaps minor roll player Lee Thomspon Young (Gough) was a little flat, but Mark and Olivia in particular were played just plain perfectly in this episode. There's a danger when you go from lovey dovey promises to possibly marriage-ending feuding in one episode that the transition won't be believable but it's executed brilliantly. The tense scene between Lloyd, Olivia and Mark has been a long time coming and it was everything I imagined it would be, perhaps minus Mark breaking Lloyd's face (which I'm kind of amazed he did not do). I thought Janice was a little too emotional...her character is supposed to be this hard-ass (based on Demitri's description of her college days and my own observations of her style of delivery) and she's all over the place here...I know she just got shot, but I'm a little surprised they didn't have her play it more stoically. That might be a director's call, not Christine Woods' though.

Message: 8.5

The one thing that really ticked me off about this episode was the mysterious young woman riding the west coast train who became Simon's latest sexual conquest in one night - she started out strong, rebuffing his first few pick-up lines. But in a matter of hours - before learning anything about this guy - she's in his sleeper car and he's in her (yes...really). And here, she finally gets him to talk about his FlashForward? And learns he's a horrible psychopathic killer? Seriously? Are women really like this in the minds of Hollywood? I demand better from the women in MY life...but that's just me. :)

In any event, the show continues to impress me with its mature take on Mark and Olivia's marriage - despite their current fallout, I believe the message is clearly pro-marriage. We're supposed to be very frustrated - and trust me...any viewer reading this WILL be.


SIMON: I know what caused the FlashForwards
WOMAN: Oh really?
SIMON: You don't believe me?
WOMAN: Sure I do. Scientists, police, and governments around the world are out looking for an explanation for weeks and the drunken barfly on the Golden State railroad has all the answers.
SIMON: Does your phone have internet access?
WOMAN: Yeah?
SIMON: Do me a favor (she looks skeptical). Humor search "Genius Physicist Nobel Winner." (she decides to play along) "Which picture came up first, the one of me getting awarded the prize or the jaunty one of me holding my lab goggles in front of my genitals?" (cut to her phone showing the
WOMAN: So you're really...?
SIMON: That's right.
WOMAN: So what caused them?
SIMON: Well you see, the answer has been staring us in the face all along. I'm afraid it's you! You see according to particle physics, such an attractive force cannot exist in our universe without having a disastrous impact on the surrounding space. It's only a matter of time before your continued presence here induces another blackout!
WOMAN: (eyes rolling) Do these lines really work on anyone?
SIMON: Well fortunately, I happen to know the one place where we can put you to mitigate the damage you might cause.
WOMAN: Let me guess...that place is...your sleeper cabin!
SIMON: Damn...I really thought that line would work. (squickish LOL)

and later

WOMAN: (now naked, with Simon between her legs) So tell me about her (referring to the girl she imagines being in his FlashForward)
SIMON: Alright...well he looked dreadful! And he smelled like a meat locker.
WOMAN: I don't understand...
SIMON: I don't know where I was...but in my FlashForward...I saw myself with my hands around a man's throat. Whoever he was, I felt myself choking thumbs pressing into his trachea until I heard something snap. He just stopped and I let go. And I looked down at his lifeless body...quite contentedly! (the woman looks utterly horrified)

Do you see what I'm talking about...these writers are really good at this kind of stuff...yyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh

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