Last week I was hoping that FlashForward would continue to improve, and this week it certainly did, with a good, solid, well-structured episode which offered a game-changing moment and another good surprise ending. As usual, spoilers follow if you haven’t seen it yet.
There were some silly moments still, though. We discover more about the blue hand people, who turned out to be “ghosts”, people who like Demetri did not have visions and therefore expect to be dead before April. This is a great concept, but when the FBI track them down they find them in an underground club where they like to do dangerous things like play Russian roulette, electrocute each other, and listen to an industrial-metal dirge in an effort to make it seem a bit like the club from The Matrix. It was all a bit cliched, probably not helped by the fact that this was supposed to be a place where people could act out their darkest fantasies before they die – not really material that an American network show could explore, so it didn’t.
Also, once again, Mark Benford did not come across as a sympathetic character. He didn’t really do anything except look moody and say less than complimentary things about people who didn’t have visions, even with Demetri in the room.
But there were plenty of good things about the episode. We finally had a glimpse of Bryce’s vision, where he saw himself with a beautiful Japanese girl, which made him decide to keep living, and who can blame him? This presumably sets up a forthcoming story arc where he sets out to find her.
We returned to Al’s vision of himself in Scotland Yard, with Alex Kingston coming over to help investigate the blue hand case. We discover that he also found out from his flashforward that he was responsible for the death of a mother, something that has played on his mind ever since. In a moment that completely changes the way we’ll have to look at the visions, he threw himself off the roof of the FBI building to prevent his future from happening. This proves that the future is not set in stone, characters who think they’ll survive are still vulnerable, and importantly for Demetri, people who think they’ll die could still live, freeing the story up and making things a bit more exciting. It also poses the question of what the visions really are, if not a glimpse of the future. It’s a risky move, though, because the visions have become an integral part of the show and there’s a danger they could now become meaningless. Perhaps Zoey was right and what she and Demetri saw (or didn’t) was two alternate visions of the future, and they still have the chance to change it. I’m sure they’ll be more twists and turns on this to come.
Meanwhile, a Aaron continued to come to terms with the loss of his daughter after his vision had given him hope. He had hope again when a Corporal who was in Afghanistan gave him her knife, which he saw in his vision, but he later explained how he was there when their Humvee was blown up, and he had seen her die. We saw this in flashback, complete with dialogue that seemed to be ripped straight from Generation Kill (they were Hitman-II, they were radioing Godfather!), and her death wasn’t entirely convincing. In a final twist, which I wasn’t expecting until several episodes down the line, Aaron went home and found his daughter waiting for him.
Despite still having some clear flaws, this was probably the most focused, well-rounded episode so far. Many previous episodes felt as if they could easily be trimmed down to half the duration, but tonight’s was leaner, with more scenes offering points of interest and the story has started to finally get moving. It’s great to see that someone has finally done something big to try and change the future, a long time after Mark was seen to burn that bracelet, even though it’s lead to the death of a main character. While I was starting to lose faith in the series a few weeks ago, I’m now once again looking forward to seeing what happens next.