This week it was revealed that one of the two showrunners of FlashForward, Marc Guggenheim, has left the show. Many reports point out that this was the plan all along, but some mention that ABC executives have been dissatisfied with the storytelling in the series so far. Not surprising, if so. It’s a fantastic premise with plenty of promise but so far it hasn’t lived up to expectations. Let’s see if there’s any improvement with the fifth episode, spoilers follow if you haven’t seen it yet…
The episode started with Mark and the team in a car park in Washington DC. Suddenly, from nowhere, a group of Chinese men open fire on them. Their car is blown up by a rocket launcher in an attack which looks impossible to escape. We then go back to 39 hours earlier and look at the events building up to this moment.
Most of the episode centres on Senate hearings looking into the work of the Mosaic project and other government agencies’ investigations into the blackout, questioning whether the money is being spent wisely. The Senate has quite a good point, as Dimitri mentions, when you say out loud what they’ve been doing, “it sounds totally nuts”. I enjoyed the paranoid CIA man, thinking that this global event was specifically against America, and blaming it on China who had fewer casualties because they were asleep at the time. Mark was invited to the stand, where he failed to convince because of the lack of detail he could remember from his flash. As he later revealed (and as we saw in the first episode) this was because he was drunk at the time of the flash. Mysteriously, someone anonymously texted Olivia with this information.
A special mention here to Joseph Fiennes and his portrayal of Mark as a man so intensely slappable that 3D TV can’t come soon enough. If there are any redeeming features to his character, can someone please point them out? John Cho as Dimitri is likeable, Courtney B. Vance’s Stanford has presence, but Fiennes? Really quite irritating. Mark is our lead character and he’s someone most people would quietly slink away from if introduced at a party.
While the show was in Washington it decided to be a substandard version of 24, with some underhand goings on in the White House. Something to do with the President having an ex-lover that he needed hushing up, it served the purpose of giving Standford some leverage with which to keep Mosaic going. Which is fine, but there’s the impression that this story might keep going, an unwelcome diversion from the main plot. We were also introduced to Senator Clemente who saw herself as President in her vision. During the episode she was made Vice President, so it’s not too difficult to work out what’s going to happen at some point in the next six months.
Meanwhile – lesbians! Yes, Janis, who saw herself pregnant in her vision, turned out to be going out with a lovely lady called Mya. Didn’t see that coming, right? As we all know, it’s literally impossible for lesbians to ever get pregnant, so the mind boggles as to how her vision could be true. Most of her scenes were too long and too soapy, although it did introduce the concept of looking up a prospective partner’s Mosaic posting as a slightly creepier alternative to stalking them on Facebook.
In one of the few moments of the hour that felt like genuine plot progression, the team found satellite images of the unusual towers being built in Somalia just before the “proto-blackout” there. Maybe we’ll have more on that next week. Hopefully. And what happened to that hacker they talked about last week? And Simon, introduced at the end of the last episode?
The episode climaxed where it started, with the shootout in Washington. Astonishingly, the team were unhurt after the entirely unsurvivable car explosion (just because the guy raised his rocket launcher in slow motion, it doesn’t mean they had that much time to escape the car) but meanwhile back in Los Angeles, Janis was also attacked and was shot in the belly. But, barring some massive twist in the premise of the show, we can be confident that she’ll be fine and pregnant in no time.
The whole shootout looked pretty dramatic, but presumably after a long day in the editing suite, it was soundtracked to “Like a Rolling Stone”. What were they thinking? I can only presume that it was meant to be funny. That’s the only possible explanation. It was meant to be funny, right? Right?