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October 10, 2015

FlashForward: Black Swan

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 16th 2009 1:25AM
Dominic Monaghan (FlashForward)(S01E04) Any time we can go back and look at the blackout itself, I'm interested. But the use of an idyllic park scene and Björk's "It's Oh So Quiet" created an almost peaceful panorama -- until a bus drove into the lake, nearly missing someone lying nearby. Throughout the entire opening sequence, though, the scenes of serenity and death melded flawlessly with the song.

It was a great opening reminder of the event that put the entire series into motion, as well as an introduction to Ned. Ned is Dr. Benford's patient this week, who helps her come to terms with her own feelings about the flashforwards. He's also the calmest and most collected guy you could ever meet. But there's a reason for that.

What might be the most important thing for some people still on the fence about this show, Dominic Monaghan (Lost) finally showed up this week. As expected, he's going to be playing a pretty damned important role in the series. His introduction created a relationship with one of our main characters that I absolutely didn't see coming.

I know he didn't show up until the very end, but he called Lloyd Simcoe and basically established that both of them were involved with whatever happened during the blackout. So suddenly, Olivia's vision of her being in a relationship with this guy took on a whole new meaning. It's no longer just about the dissolution of her marriage with Mark, it's about everything that's going on.

Oh, I like that. I like that a lot.

Nicole also returned this week. She's the babysitter for the Benfords who had a vision of drowning. I couldn't make out the face that was drowning her, but I'm pretty sure it was not Monaghan's character. Nevertheless, with the revelations about Olivia's visions and their significance now to the overall plot, I am now suspicious of any vision that gets that much air time. Who is this guy, why is he drowning her, and why does she feel she deserves it?

A lot of the episode was about both Olivia and Demetri coming to terms with their flashforwards and learning how to deal with them healthily so they can get on with their lives. Demetri finally told Mark about the phone call he received forecasting his death on the Ides of March, 2010. Of course, he had to punch his partner in the face first. I love that that's how tough guys communicate on television and we all just accept it. Are there really guys out there who do this?

As for Olivia, her fear of her own flashforward pushed her to the point of wanting to violently reject all of them. She took it so far as to dismiss Bryce's diagnosis of Addison's Disease for their patient, Ned. Bryce put it together from a combination of Ned's complete calmness in the face of the blackout, his surgery and everything else, and Ned's vision that he would be a cool and confident black man by April 29, 2010. Black being the operative word there, as Ned is as white as Olivia and Bryce when we see him.

Luckily, she balked and accepted the correct diagnosis in time to save Ned's life. Do you think Ned was concerned that he almost died on the table? Nah, cool as a cucumber. He will be like Shaft!

So what we mostly did tonight was establish that these flashforwards are real and that everyone needs to accept them to move forward in their lives. I still think there's more to this sudden life change in Bryce from suicidal to happiness guru, but for the most part everyone seems to be on the same page right now. Think positively and work toward preventing the bad from the vision, like Demetri's supposed suicide, and take it a day at a time.

Only now we have Dominic Monaghan calling Lloyd. So was that Monaghan in Detroit at Tiger Stadium? Plus, Lloyd had a vision. He admitted it to Bryce and it matched up perfectly with Olivia's vision. Could he have faked that? I suspect that despite blacking out, he's still somehow involved in whatever happened.

Bringing in Monaghan now definitely ups the game, as it puts a face on the mystery. That'll keep us coming back to see what we can piece together ourselves from his appearances, perhaps faster than Benford's team can.

[To help put the pieces together, you can catch clips and full episodes of FlashForward on SlashControl.]

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Was anyone else annoyed by the constant use of "African American" to describe the white guy who turns black. Clearly, despite the color of his skin he is no more African than I am. It is like when ignorant white people call black people from Africa "African American" so ridiculous.

October 19 2009 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No word in the recap or here in the comments about the woman in handcuffs they were questioning. I forgot who she was, could you remind me? I think she is very important in the story and holds some clue to the whole mystery of blackout.

October 16 2009 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MK's comment

That woman was meeting with suspected terrorists at the beginning of the pilot episode. They were under survellience by the FBI. They were all in a high speed chase when the flasforward event occurred. The men in her vehicle died. She was taken into custody and "Gitmoed" (love that phrase). Best one-liner: "i hope you go all Dick Cheney on her."

October 18 2009 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sometimes I wonder what the writers are thinking. They have random scenes between characters that are supposed to make the audience "connect" with them interspersed with scenes of other characters investigating the flashforward in an uncritical manner. Currently, the characters are thinking one of 2 thoughts about the flashforward. Either I want the flashforward to be true so I will assume it's the future, or I don't want the flashforward to be true so I'll assume it's no the future. Has the flashforward changed everyone's brain chemistry so much they can think objectively? Full review of the episode.


October 16 2009 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

On the #137, from themysterious137.com...

If you have ever read Cargo Cult Science by Richard Feynman, you know that he believed that there were still many things that experts, or in this case, physicists, did not know. One of these 'unknowns' that he pointed out often to all of his colleagues was the mysterious number 137. This number is the value of the fine-structure constant (the actual value is one over one-hundred and thirty seven), which is defined as the charge of the electron (q) squared over the product of Planck's constant (h) times the speed of light (c). This number actually represents the probability that an electron will absorb a photon. However, this number has more significance in the fact that it relates three very important domains of physics: electromagnetism in the form of the charge of the electron, relativity in the form of the speed of light, and quantum mechanics in the form of Planck's constant. Since the early 1900's, physicists have thought that this number might be at the heart of a GUT, or Grand Unified Theory, which could relate the theories of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and most especially gravity. However, physicists have yet to find any link between the number 137 and any other physical law in the universe. It was expected that such an important equation would generate an important number, like one or pi, but this was not the case.

October 16 2009 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just looked up "137", and found this on 137.com...

"physicists ought to put a special sign in their offices to remind themselves of how much they don't know. The message on the sign would be very simple. It would consist entirely of one word, or, rather, number: 137."

"One hundred thirty-seven is the value of a number called the fine-structure constant. This constant, 137, is the way physicists describe the probability that an electron will emit or absorb a photon. Because this is the basic physical mechanism of electricity and magnetism, the fine-structure constant has its own symbol, the Greek letter a, "alpha"."

Don't really know what it means, but sounds like there's some physics explanation behind everything...

October 16 2009 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No mention of the line about him being the Shakespeare of cheesy father jokes?

October 16 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whatever the priest's motivation, he gets my award for Worst Priest Ever for how he treated Nicole in his office. Talk about a brush-off. I don't care about your immortal soul or your well-being, dear child, but please have a stupid T-shirt!

October 16 2009 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Barry's comment

Well you realize he was probably acting that way because, obviously, he recognized her from his flash forward, or at the very least something she said about what she saw matched what he saw and he put 2 and 2 together. If you knew that you were going to try and drown a person (and let's face it, a willing baptismal probably doesn't involve all that thrashing around under water), you'd probably try to avoid talking to or seeing that person entirely, to the point of being rude to them if they came to you for help.

October 16 2009 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone else notice that the priest was really uneasy or quick to get rid of Nicole. Maybe it was him that was chocking her!!

October 16 2009 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought it looked like a baptism too, but she was flailing, then went limp. Maybe she deserved the Baptism, but for whatever reason the Minister took this opportunity to kill her? I thought it looked like the same one she visited, who thought she was her sister. So he knows the family but doesn't know her well right now. Maybe that will change?

October 16 2009 at 9:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That punch in the face was so awful (those two are just awful actors on this show), I woulda let the guy walk home.

It looks like only crows died, maybe those weren't crows.

And I want to like this show but I think the constant harping on Penny and bad actor dudes flashforwards is wearing on me. I get it, they are both conflicted and don't want to accept it, but Jesus please stop spending ten minutes an episode showing just their flashforwards. I don't find it as a good plot point and it just seems these early episodes I've been tuning in for the last five minutes.

October 16 2009 at 9:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jason's comment

You did not just call Jack Davenport a "bad actor." That's just... wrong.

October 16 2009 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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