The second episode of FlashForward aired tonight on Five, and I have to say it still has yet to win me over. It’s enjoyable enough and there’s plenty of interesting things to keep me coming back for more, but from the first two episodes I wouldn’t put it near my top shows of the year.
The episode centred around a “D Gibbons”, a name on one of the Post-It notes in Mark’s (Joseph Fiennes) vision. Via an unusual lady with some fine looking cupcakes, they track him down to a bus station in Pigeon, Utah and then a disused doll warehouse with some entirely un-clichéd creepy dolls singing nursery rhymes. Olivia (Lost’s Sonya Walger) for the first time met Lloyd (This Life’s Jack Davenport), the man she was seemingly in a relationship with in her vision. She tried to distance herself from him, doing whatever she could to keep the seemingly inevitable from happening, with the weight of the visions of the future putting her and Mark’s marriage under pressure, despite them still being in love. Lloyd, meanwhile, faced the challenge of telling his autistic son Dylan that his mother died during the blackout.
Something I didn’t particularly like was the way the audience was often treated like idiots. Throughout the show the viewer is spoon-fed clips from the first episode and the dialogue was full of exposition, explaining every single point in case you were too dense to miss it. It was saying “Look, there’s the photo from the vision. Do you see? The photo that was on the wall in the vision and looked like this, remember? Have another look in case you’ve forgotten it from 2 minutes ago, while we make the picture all blurry round the edges and make a swooshing noise!”. Some plot points were so predictable as well, as soon as Demetri met the police officer who also didn’t have a vision, it was obvious she wouldn’t survive the episode.
But just like the first episode, while much of it dragged, there was just enough intrigue to come back next week. When we finally met D Gibbons, he was a mysterious figure who we found out phoned the creepy man in the baseball stadium, known as Suspect Zero. It was revealed that young Charlie’s vision was of D Gibbons, “a very bad man”, while Mark attempted to prevent his vision coming true by burning the friendship bracelet he was wearing in it. Demetri got a phone call from Hong Kong, someone saying that in their vision they were reading about his murder which takes place on March 15th 2010 – an echo of the Shakespearian warning to beware the Ides of March (and we know what happened to Julius Caesar).
So overall, while it was very slow paced and occasionally infuriatingly dumb, the mystery is just enough to keep me hooked. Maybe next week someone will finally ask why they’re all doing mundane things like sitting on the toilet or lying in bed when everyone knows that April 29, 2010 is going to be the day they can communicate with their past selves.
It’s certainly not a bad show by any means, and it’s possible it’ll still get better over time, but I think we can all put that “the new Lost” thing firmly to bed.