Friday, October 30, 2009

FlashForward: “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps” Not Scary or Super

Photo from ABC
Last night’s episode of FlashForward titled “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps” was neither scary nor super nor creepy. Instead, it was somewhat mundane.

Charlie – er, I mean Simon (Dominic Monaghan) is supposed to be half mad scientist and half James Bond as he tries to pick up a woman while riding the train. His attempts at being sexy and mysterious were laughable as Monaghan is neither. He says he knows what caused the flash forwards, but seems to joke about it. While entangled in bed with this woman (somehow, the sight of it makes me laugh even more) he reveals to her that he choked someone to death in his flash forward. What nice pillow talk.

Meanwhile, Agent Janis Hawk (Christine Woods) is in emergency surgery from her gunshot wound from last week’s episode ”Gimme Some Truth”. Of course, with the many surgeons in Los Angeles, she is coincidentally operated on by her colleague’s wife, Dr. Olivia Benford (Sonya Walger). Janis pulls through the first operation – I find myself thinking they spent way too much time on the operation, by the way - and she worries that her flash forward of having a child may not come true. Her boss, Agent Stanford Wedeck (Courtney B. Vance) remains at her side while he sends the rest of the team off to relax from their own trauma from the previous week. But later, Janis starts to have more problems and she is back in surgery, with Olivia tending to her again, trying to be mindful of Janis’s flash forward of being pregnant. Janis survives this second operation, but she reveals that it may be impossible to have a baby. I can’t remember her exact wording, but I chuckled that it seemed to be phrased that there is a slim chance she could still get pregnant, which means she probably will because after all, the impossible is much easier to occur on television.

Agent Demetri Noh (John Cho) meanwhile, ignores Wedeck’s instructions and decides to work on finding the men who shot Janis. He and Agent Al Gough (Lee Thompson Young ) use information from their flash forwards and from the clues that Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) saw on his board in his office during his flash forward. In the morgue, when Demetri sees an image of a blue hand on one of the men Janis shot, he realizes this is a clue from Benford's flash forward of his board of clues, and he also remembered the word Baltimore next to it. This seems to connect him to a Baltimore Street, where he and Gough find a figure of a blue hand pointing on a stop sign. Some of the fingers are missing and they somehow guess this is the number of streets to follow to the next sign, and so on, until it leads them to a house where the find several dead bodies, with blue hands. I assume these were the men that shot Janis? It all seemed a bit too easy.

Meanwhile, Agent Benford continues to go from scene to scene just exuding his own special angst, which I still think looks more like a bad case of indigestion. He goes trick or treating with his daughter Charlie (Lennon Wynn) and, after seeing a rogue kangaroo go by that he also saw after the flash forward, he sees three men in masks just like he saw in his office during his flash forward. He assumes the worse and yells “FBI!” and chases after them, drawing his gun even though there is no evidence they did anything wrong. When he catches up with one of them and yanks off the mask and sees it is just a young guy who was worried Benford was chasing them for their hand in a Halloween prank, Benford looks annoyed. He gets a call to come home, never apologizing for pulling a gun on someone for no reason at all.

It seems that Dylan (Ryan Wynott ) who is hospitalized but somewhat upset about going home, continues to repeat the phrase that it is his house too. He sneaks out of the hospital and ends up on a bus and wants to go to 25696 Sawyer Court, which we find is the Benford home. Of course, the bus driver just takes him there, his only worry is getting the boy to pay the fare, and does not call the police or anything like that, which would have made more sense. Nicole (Peyton List), wearing a Halloween costume that I wasn't quite sure who she was supposed to be, calls Mark to come home. Dylan also seems to know Charlie and they seem very comfortable with each other. When Dylan’s father Lloyd Simcoe (Jack Davenport) gets called to the house to retrieve Dylan, he walks in and recognizes the house from his flash forward. He now knows who the woman is in his flash forward, and when Olivia walks in, the look on her face confirms it to everyone. Trouble ensues. After Lloyd and Dylan leave, the Benford’s argue about the flash forwards and the truth, Mark finally admitting he was drinking in his flash forward. After chastising his wife for an affair she hasn’t had yet, when she comments about his drinking the future, he says:

Mark: Don't condemn me for something I haven't done yet.
Olivia: Do you even care what you just said?

Yes, it is clear now that Mark thinks he is Mr. Perfect and the world revolves around him and his own flash forward. He doesn’t seem to see that her imagined affair doesn’t correlate to his real past history with drinking. It also seems clear that their flash forward is doomed to come true because, well, the vision of the flash forward likely causes the rift between the two of them. Get it? Yes, it sounds a little confusing, but it is obvious that everyone's vision of the future is having a huge effect on their actions in the present, and possibly had they not had the flash forwards, their lives would not have had those same outcomes.

Later, after Lloyd returns Dylan to the hospital, he gets in his car and Simon is in the back seat. Simon tells him that both he and those that he works for are not too happy that Lloyd disappeared. Lloyd seems to have a problem with the fact that their "experiment" has already killed 20 million people. I think that scene was already shown either in a TV promo or in a “tease” after last week’s episode, so it was no surprise. It seems this show doesn’t want any suspense or drama; sometimes I think they would leave things like this out of their promos.

The only items of interest revealed in this episode are the blue hand, and the fact that Simon and Lloyd conducted some kind of experiment that causes the flash forward. I remain underwhelmed.

Along with mediocre acting, the background music choices that FlashForward uses are questionable. It never seems to fit the mood of the scene. Dominic Monaghan’s introduction was ill-fitting and the whole seduction scene was comical, and I don’t think that was the intent. Has this role been miscast? Only time will tell. But the whole show seems miscast, with Joseph Fiennes being far to stiff and lifeless for a role that seems to be better suited to someone who can actually emote. Either that, or the writers need to give Fiennes better dialog and scenarios which allows him to show his acting ability. Unless the show is able to better deliver characters that are believable, dialog that doesn’t seem forced, and a more suspenseful show, viewer interest may die off over time. I think the premise of the show has possibilities, I hope that somehow they find a way to pump up the drama, and the mystery, before the season ends.

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1 comment:

Music Wench said...

I liked this show when it first made it out of the gate. Seemed to be more cohesive than Lost, which lost me after populating the island with more people than live in many small towns in my area.

It's still got me intrigued but I am getting tired of the Mark and was not impressed with Dominic Monahan's debut.

Oh well, it's one of the only shows I'm watching this season so I'm bound to be more patient. lol