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July 31, 2014

Review: FlashForward - The Gift

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 6th 2009 3:00AM
Lee Thompson Young(S01E07) You know, even without Dominic Monaghan appearing (save for one scene), this episode really captured my attention. There was some further development in the blue hand case, but for the most part it was about the people of the cast and how they're dealing with their lives at this point between the blackouts and the time of their visions.

Since the beginning, I've been waiting to find some confirmation as to whether these were inevitable futures, or just possible futures. And every week, I got more and more proof that it just seems like they're racing toward these inevitable destinies. Even the contradicting visions, like Zoey's vision of her wedding with Demetri, and his lack-of-vision left room for interpretation: she was a bit away from him on that beach.

But really, this episode was about Al Gough. We finally got to see the rest of his vision, and it's a doozy. Plus, Fiona showed up in the Los Angeles office, where she and Al meet again ... for the first time.

I expected at some point someone to try and definitively prove that the flashforwards weren't set in stone, but I didn't think it would be via suicide. But, again, until this week we had no idea what Al was being tortured with. Neither he, nor we, have any idea how Celia was going to die, only that it was a freak accident that involved Al for which he was taking responsibility.

The burden of taking the life of a mother, even accidentally, and putting her children into foster care would be too much for almost anyone to bear. I'm not sure about Al seeing it as a freeing experience for himself and Demetri, but that's because it's hard to see suicide as freeing. Yes, it would prove that the visions can be prevented -- at least we would assume so -- but there were other ways to try and avoid whatever happened to Celia.

It was very effective to show us Celia living her life with her boys, both in the beginning and at the end. The emotional presentation of Demetri reading Al's note over the video montage of the aftermath of his suicide was beautifully handled. The moment when Mark embraced Olivia, confident now that both of their visions could be prevented, was very powerful. And even the simple act of Fiona trying to prevent the bird's death from the vision she shared with Al.

The fact that the future has now been changed, unless Al somehow sits up and walks off the gurney, changes so much about the possible directions the show can take. The visions are now a guide to a possible future, and one that is preventable. That has to change the way the LA branch goes about their entire investigation. Now Mark can actively work to avoid drinking. He and Olivia can work on their marriage, and Demetri can be fully committed to his upcoming wedding.

It's interesting that I'm still just as interested in the personal stories of these characters as I am the big picture. In fact, with no real progression of the big picture this week, I would have expected to be disappointed and perhaps a little bored. But every facet of character development we got was just wonderful.

Especially the twists and turns in Aaron's story this week. When the soldier told him he witnessed Tracy's death, and we saw what he saw, I tried to stick to my guns that maybe her leg (or legs) got blown off and that she was still alive out there. Her remains were supposedly around 40 pounds or so, and they were DNA tested to have been her, but that doesn't mean she couldn't be incomplete and alive.

But then, there she was. Now, granted she was sitting and did not get up so she could still be missing one or both legs. But now I want to know how she's there, and how she goes from there to wherever she was when Aaron was with her in his vision? Of course, the visions aren't absolute anymore so I don't know what to think.

I've read some reviews online that think this show is falling apart and that it isn't worth watching anymore, but I disagree. I think they're impatient about the plot developments. Just remember how slowly Lost revealed its secrets, and remember that it was as much (if not more) about the characters as it was ever about the plots ... especially in the beginning.

FlashForward is doing just fine. It's had a few mishaps along the way, but all good shows do. It's still got the potential to be great; I haven't lost the faith just yet.

[Watch clips and episodes of FlashForward on SlashControl.]

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Austen S.

Is it bad that I was rooting for him to jump? Great episode, though.

November 10 2009 at 10:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Raicuparta

This makes no sense!
If the flashforwards were possible futures, then they wouldn't be dreaming about investigating the flashforward, because it was the flashforward itself that made it possible to change thigs (the suicide thing)! So if they see themselves investigating the flashforward, means that in the vision the flashforward happened, meaning that the black guy I can't remember the name shouldn't have a vision!

Or, the only way it could be possible to change the future (and make sense) would be if the visions showed another future, where the blackouts never happened. So they would see a normal world, but could change it because there was a difference between the world they live and the world they saw: the flashforwards.

I'm not sure if anyone is going to understand me...

November 08 2009 at 5:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Raicuparta's comment
Raicuparta

This is kind of what I think of Lost, if they succeed in reseting time. If humans were the variable, then the responsible for the change that would reset time should be Daniel, but as we saw, he didn't change anything (he died and his mother already knew about it). So if Daniel found out about humans being the variable, he should be the one to change things. So if time does reset, I'm thinking it makes no sense.
I hate time traveling-flashforwarding tv shows/movies xD

November 08 2009 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derick Brown

"she was a bit away from him on that beach"

If your fiancee died a month before your wedding would you still show up hoping that he'd be there?

Demetri dies in March (right?) and the flashforwards go to April 19th.

Their visions are in direct conflict with each other.

November 08 2009 at 3:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The1337

Has no one in the whole world committed suicide before Al?

I'm confused since many people commit suicide daily and I'm guessing the flash forward didn't have the same effect on all suicidal people as it did to Bryce. Also, I'm sure Al wasn't the first person to think of suicide.

November 06 2009 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dave

Good review of a very good episode.
I wish just once I could read a review or discussion of this excellent program without someone mentioning Lost. Stories and actors from Lost have no relevance on this show.

November 06 2009 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dave's comment
Dutchy

Then you missed a particular scene from the pilot. :P

November 06 2009 at 6:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Derick Brown

That was just a billboard. It's like the Pizza Planet delivery truck from Toy Story driving by on a Sydney in Finding Nemo. The creators are just putting in little nods to their fans.

November 08 2009 at 3:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Duane

This one was good, but the big surprise at the end with the daughter sitting in the living room may have been a bit over the top. There's a difference between "I didn't see that coming" and "Aw come on, that makes no sense!"

I like the suicide angle. In that instant it changed the whole premise of the show from "Ok, how are we gonna get from point A to point B" to "Are we still going to end up at B?" It's proof of free will. The ending was very "original Terminator" like that -- we thought we knew the future but now who knows. You could almost see a case for that being the end of the show, if it hadn't been picked up. "Experiment" gets people stuck in the loop of a self-fulfilling future (happening because they think it has to happen and therefore they're making it happen), until one guy gives "the gift" and breaks the cycle. Happy ending, go about your business.

November 06 2009 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Duane's comment
chaosrain

As for the daughter...dad just got 35lbs. of remains that DNA matched his daughter. They could have been her legs. Granted, it'd be strange that she didn't bleed out when her legs were severed, but it would make the story work. If she stands up on her own two feet next episode, I'll join you in calling shenanigans!

November 06 2009 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amanda82977

Fiona had the best line in the show last night that was just tragic. They were speaking of the bird hitting the window & Al suggested marking the window and Fiona says:

But then the bird would just crash into another window.


This made her actions at the end show seem that maybe she changed her mind. As much as I feel that Al taking his life will change destiny for Celia, what if now it's just someone else that causes the freak accident.

I love this show because there are a bunch of friends of mine that watch it as well & everyone is pretty diverse. I love that I have conversations over the next few days of what we all think things mean & how they change things. Just like how I love reading what others thing on here it's ice to see a show that is well written & even though the idea seem far-fetched at times, we are all just along for the ride with it. I have never talked to so many people that are so baited for the next episode.

As for the Aaron's daughter Tracy... I was so happy to see her. Can't wait to see how that plays out!

November 06 2009 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
greatone

Great episode!!! This was the 2nd best episode of the season so far. The writers did a great job in setting up Al's flash forward. I did not expect him to kill himself but looking back I should have seen it coming. First, Al seemed to have a death wish when he played Russian roulette with the man at the warehouse. I don't think Al thought about suicide at this point though. I think the though of suicide came into his head once he heard the story of the bird in Fiona's flash forward. Once Al realized that the bird death in Fiona's flash forward could be prevented just by covering up the window he felt like the only one way to prevent Celia death was to commit suicide. If Al knew when Celia was going to die he maybe could prevented her death. Since no one knew when Celia's accident would happen, Al felt this was his only choice. Great job by the writers to leave him limited options in preventing Celia's death.

The more you think about it the more you realize the rest of the episode leading up to Al death was really sad. To me it seems Al was getting everything in order right before he died. First, Al went home to cook his last meal, dirty rice, which was his favorite dish his mother made. Then he wrote a goodbye letter to his best friend Demetri to explain why he did it and also a letter to Celia. Lastly, Al final speech about "changing the game" gave all his friends both hope and sorrow.

I haven't watched V yet but right now I think this is the best new show on the TV right now.

November 06 2009 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

Just a guess.
I think the plot line will be that the perpetrators of the flash fwd dreams are trying to cause a whole series of events (in the future) causing a climatic final consequence and this we have no knowledge of as yet. Ergo the flash fwds are a way of causing mass hysteria almost forcing a series of minor, seemingle unrelated, events to create the ultimate event. Stopping these individual possible futures could well cause the ultimate event NOT to happen.

Thus the unravelling of the plot will be that the FBI characters trying to explain to people they are still in control of their own destinies...... THEN much later when some success is being obtained these same characters will learn that the thei good work is now likely to cause a very beneficial final event NOT to happen. That's when the characters turn to frustration and drink as they question on which side they should really be...

November 06 2009 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kris

I was thinking that if we saw these were only possible futures, it would diminish the show in some way, but now I see it only complicates matters even more. People have seen "the future." So now, the decisions they make can either continue to lead to that future or can lead to a different one, which may be better or worse than the one they saw. In fact, all choices become suspect.

It's a bit like the story of Oedipus the King: Oedipus learns from a prophecy that he'll kill his father and marry his mother. To prevent the prophecy from being fulfilled, Oedipus (unaware that his present parents are only his adoptive parents) leaves his home and travels toward Thebes, killing a man at the crossroads--who turns out to have been his real father--and marrying the widowed Queen--who turns out to be his real mother. Had Oedipus not tried to defy his prophesied fate, would he have fulfilled it? Or by trying to avoid it, did he seal his fate?

Here's the connection: the choices the characters make are now either going to seal their fate or change it. It will be interesting to watch these decisions being made and seeing the impact they have upon the characters' lives.

November 06 2009 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kris's comment
Derick Brown

Your point is DIRECTLY tied to those of all the Blue Hand members. With all of the dangerous games they are taking part in, are they causing their own missing visions? If they'd never had (non)visions would many of them have ended up dying? And if they are all killing themselves sooner than they originally would have died, they're changing how everything is in the future the same way that Al did by jumping.

November 08 2009 at 3:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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