M: The last couple weeks in our reviews of FlashForward, we have been weighing our expectations of the show against what it is delivering. It’s tough, as the show had such HUGE expectations coming in, but isn’t delivering an equally huge product. The show itself is still good, its just not epic, so it seems less good because of that. (E: So true. I definitely like it less because I though I’d like it so much more.) Again this week I think they delivered a “good” episode, certainly worthy of watching, but still not getting up to the level I feel they should be at. Spoilers after the cut….
Now, admittedly there were some good moments in “Black Swan”. The episode began with a scene from the blackout of people strolling through a Seurat-esque park as the blackout strikes. We soon find a bus crashing into the pond in the park, and see Kier O’Donnell (the brother from Wedding Crashers, from in Vince Vaughn’s words, the “nude gay art show”, who also doubles as Aaron’s deadbeat dad on Lost and the baddie in Paul Blart: Mall Cop). He very serenely wakes up and saves a woman while swimming out of the bus (E: To the strains of “It’s Oh So Quiet” which I found both apt and disconcerting), then goes the the hospital two weeks later. He lets Dr I-was-about-to-kill-myself-but-am-now-fine-because-of-my-flash-forward know that in his flash forward he was rocking leather pants…. and was black. This leads to a moment of acceptance of the flash forwards for Olivia, as she almost kills him for refusing to take his blackness in the flash forward into consideration. (E: I was convinced that he was going to die on the operating table and would have some important organ transplanted into a black man. I think I like my idea better.)
We got a good chase scene through a trailer park, a useless feeling plot about the blond terrorist from the pilot, and some fun scenes with Mark and Charlie goofing around with eggs. (E: Very cute, that. Joseph Fiennes really comes alive when he’s mugging. And his wife calls him Shakespeare, which is a nice little snark.) We got a little background info on Nicole, the reappeared babysitter, who used to be babysat by Mark’s AA sponsor Aaron’s “is-she-or-isn’t-she deceased” daughter Tracy, and that Aaron still looks out for her. We also got some good scenes with the Simcoes, both Dylan and his dad, Mrs Norris, with daddy learning somethings about his estranged autistic son to be able connect with him.
We did, however, get another horrible stereotype of a priest, as apparently TV writers believe that anyone who goes into the clergy to be an idiot, or soulless, or both. Nicole goes to try to volunteer, and while telling her that they’re all full on volunteers (yeah right!) her off he calls her her sister’s name and basically tells her to get lost. Yes, very Christ-like. Argh. (E: At least the “Jesus is my Episco-pal” t-shirt is so tragic that it’s kind of awesome.) And we learn that she sees herself getting drowned in her flash. From the scene they show, it looked to me like it was the priest drowning her. That made me wonder if it might end up being an adult baptism (E: I had the same thought – I don’t know if Episcopals do that, though, seemed much more Evangelical) but that’s probably me putting too much faith in the writers.
The big take away for me came after another great ending, where Simon (the eagerly anticipated Dom Monaghan) tells Mrs Norris (E: That’s Mr. Simcoe to the rest of us) that they are responsible for the greatest catastrophe in human history. This show knows how to end an episode. From “D. Gibbons is a bad man” to the kid in Somalia, to this week, we’ve had three great endings in a row. If they can somehow bring the rest of the episodes, or at least enough of them, up to that level, then they have a chance at living up to the expectations. If they don’t… well, let’s just hope they do.