ABC must have been playing a joke on FlashForward viewers this week. Follow along...
The show has often been compared to Lost. That drama aired an infamous episode ("Stranger in a Strange Land," season three) in which Jack traveled abroad, met an Asian woman and got a tattoo.
Many critics consider it the worst episode in Lost history; and producers have cited it as a reason why they demanded a series end date from ABC: so they would no longer be forced to write filler episodes in which nothing happens.
Enter "Believe," last night's horribly uneventual hour of FlashForward. It also involved a man traveling, an Asian woman, and a tattoo. It was also an incredibly boring hour of television.
Similarities to Lost aside, we'll review the episode and ask questions that depict our frustration in a series of bullet points below:
- Why should we care about Bryce and Keiko? The show has barely featured Bryce at all. Then, he and his flash forward are suddenly the main focus of an installment that centers around two people's visions of love, one of whom we've never met before. It's worth repeating: 20 million people died in the blackout. We're expected to muster any interest in the imagined love lives of two strangers after that?
- For the record, FlashForward has now aired nine episode. SEVEN of those concluded with scenes involving characters viewers had never met before that week, and five of those new characters have never returned. (The exceptions are Simon and Suspect Zero.) It's one thing to surprise viewers with a suspenseful ending, but it's another to have those endings continually pile up with no pay-off in the weeks that follow.
- Did Al really kill himself?
- Did Mark really shoot that guy with the tattoo last week?
- We ask these questions because nothing has changed at the FBI, despite the supposed impact of those events when they took place. Mark cried into Olivia's arms last week because they now have a "second chance." So why are they still following leads from his future board? Why does Demetri think he's still gonna die? Al must be chilling in heaven, looking down at his former co-workers and muttering: I died for this?!?!
Nothing harms a show more than inconsistent character behavior and storytelling. But that's the problem FlashForward encounters each week. It can't make up its mind about the future.
Should we be rooting for it to happen? Is the FBI trying to prevent it from happening? Are they trying to determine the cause of the blackouts? Most importantly: why does everyone act as though the future is set in stone?
The series has never done an adequate job of proving these visions will come true. It's simply made the characters talk and act as though it will. That's frustrating enough. But we could forgive FlashForward if these actions were at least interesting and/or tied to major world events.
Last night, however, was nothing but the personal tales of two characters we hardly know. Did anyone out there feel invested in the fortunes of Bryce and Keiko?
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