Wednesday, October 28, 2009

FlashForward - "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps"

Hello all.  Interesting title for tomorrow night's FF, huh?  Seems like words a child would use, or parents would use when discussing bad people with their children.  Will we see the return of Charlie and Dylan, who have been absent from the last couple episodes?  I think it's pretty likely.  What else am I looking for tomorrow night?  Read below:

*In the preview for "Scary Monsters..." at the end of "Gimme Some Truth," we saw a whole bunch of Simon (finally!).  The teaser voicecover stated "Dominic Monaghan joins the cast," so I assume he's now here to stay.  We saw him with Lloyd, discussing the blackout and their responsibility for it.  As I have theorized, I think Lloyd and Simon are responsible for the technology used in the blackout, and perhaps its distribution, but not necessarily the blackout itself.  I expect we'll be getting a nice download on their situation tomorrow night.

*Also in the preview, we saw Simon, with a lovely lady, claiming he knows how the blackouts occurred.  It will be very interesting to hear who he believes caused the blackout (if it wasn't him).  Will there be a link to the Badass Asian Assassination Squad?  The President?  Somalians?

*The last images from the preview (before my DVR cut off), were of Olivia, Mark and Lloyd meeting up, in what appeared to be Mark confronting Olivia with his knowledge that Lloyd is the guy from Olivia's flash.  Those specific words weren't said, and the preview goes to great pains to make us think that is what is going to happen, so I have my doubts.  I think Charlie tells Mark that Dylan was in her flash, and Mark traces that back to Lloyd, hence the meeting (as Olivia is Dylan's doctor).

*When we last saw Janis, she was bleeding out in L.A., after being shot by the above-referenced Assassination Squad.  I expect we will see her survive the shooting tomorrow night, but I'm interested to see if she has any of the revelations I predicted?  Will this somehow move her toward her pregnancy?  Will she return to Maya?  Will she realize life is short, she should be who she is, and come out to her co-workers?

*As I keep looking for it to no avail, I will anticipate we will not be seeing anything more on Suspect Zero tomorrow night.  Call it a Reverse Jinx.

*Following the pattern that has been established (Demetri and Janis alternating episodes as the "B" story line), I expect more Demetri in this episode.  What he will be doing, I have no idea.  Perhaps he will finally receive a lead on his murder.  Perhaps he will finally tell Zoey (which is evidently the right spelling of her name) about his flash.  If he does, I expect her to laugh it off, saying she saw him in her flash, but then realize that she didn't.  Tension!

*Lastly, I expect Olivia, post-meeting with Mark and Lloyd, to finally confront Mark about his flash.  Having learned from someone that Mark drinks in his flash (who sent the text?!), she needs to hear from him about what it means.  Beginning countown to destruction of their marriage in 3...2...1....  Further, I expect ridiculous fawning over Sonya Walger by me after what will surely be some great dramatic scenes in the episode!

That's about it.  We may get a few tidbits about Al and Celia, or Wedeck's wife and the adoption of the boy she saw at the memorial.  Jay and Jack over at the FlashForwardCast were entertaining listener ideas that Agent Vreede, played by Barry Shabaka Henley, may be a mole or somehow on the side of the perpetrators of the blackout because he couldn't (didn't?) set the alarm to the FBI building in his flash (would he really be responsible for that?!).  Personally, I don't think so -- I think he's there for comic relief, but, hey, you never know.  Maybe we'll get some more info on him as well tomorrow night.  All in all, though, I anticipate an episode heavy on Simon and heavy on Olivia.  Not that I'm complaining.  Remember, check out my thoughts on last week's episode, and check out the FlashForwardCast with Jay and Jack.  Thoughts on "Scary Monsters..." this weekend.  Until then...


Friday, October 23, 2009

FlashForward - "Gimme Some Truth," Ctd

Hello all.  I decided to break with my recently outlined protocol, and take notes during my first viewing of "Gimme Some Truth" so I could get my thoughts up today, as I will be away this weekend (Beantown!  Go BC!).  I thought this was another great episode (I know, I sound like a broken record), and I think the show is finding its groove.  So much so, that from now on, we should all assume I really like an epsiode of FF unless I think: a) the given episode is one of the Top 5 hours of television ever (like "The Constant" or "Two Cathedrals"), or b) the episode completely disappoints (like "Expose" *shudder*).  Anyway, there were some very interesting tidbits that arose last night, so here we go:

*The picture in the title sequence was the rolling alarm clock Maya gave Janis.  As opposed to the other pictures from previous episodes, this one doesn't appear to have any significance to the greater mythology of the show.  Well, unless Maya was an agent for the perpetrators of the blackout, and she was using it as some kind of marker for the hit squad sent to kill Janis.  That would be an awful lot to swallow though.  At least at this point.  Did make for a cool image rolling through Janis' blood though (solid metaphor too for everyone running out of time).

*Badass Asian Assassnation Sqaud!  This death troupe was, obviously, sent to stop the L.A. FBI from investigating Mosaic any further (I mean, they went after the boys in D.C. and Janis back in L.A. at the same time).  Why were they all Asian?  No real idea, but I have two theories: 1) combined with the belief that Simon and Lloyd (two Enlgishmen) are also in on the cause of the blackout, it shows that Mosaic is a truly international conspiracy; or 2) my theory that Lloyd and Simon created the technology used in the blackout, but it was stolen by an outside force, is true.  For now, I will lean toward the latter, mostly because I hope to be proven correct.  Also, was it the President that ordered the hit?  We did see him go to the phone in the Oval Office and say he was going to "need some help" after meeting with Wedeck.  Wedeck was certainly blackmailing the President with the knowledge of the President's mistress and son (by the by, it seemed like Wedeck was related to the mistress in some way, hence the kiss on the cheek and the warm relationship with the son, but you're a liar if you didn't think it was Wedeck's kid), so a hit job is possible.  Personally, I think this was a purposefully not-well-hidden fake-out.  I believe the true purpose of the call was to arrange for Sen. Clemente to be nominated for Vice President and get her out of the way to keep Mosaic funded.  An assassination order is not the type of call a President makes from the Oval Office.  Everyone knows he does that from the Situation Room

*The shootout was done well from a production standpoint.  I liked seeing the guys channel their inner-Rambo and take out the hit squad with abandon.  One thing though: I know they had a fight in the bar about Mark not telling Wedeck that he was drunk in his flash, but Mark seemed genuinely shocked Wedeck saved him when he was pinned behind the car.  Wedeck even gave the wordless, head nod.  Why would Mark be shocked by this?  They only had a spat in a bar!  Geesh!

*I totally dug the Senate Intelligence hearing, where the Committee was hearing testimony on blackout leads so as to properly appropriate funds.  Senator Clemente (played expertly by Barbara Williams), a real...firebrand, let's say..., was a great character and antagonist to be introduced.  A real Lady Macbeth type, who clearly has it out for Stan Wedeck, who, evidently, cost her the presidency.  How he did that, it wasn't clear to me.  Regardless, she was having none of what was being testified to by the L.A. FBI.  To me, her ambition is the cause of her frustration; first in not winning the presidency, but second, in that her flash showed her as President.  Her rational mind believes that there is no way for this to possibly happen (as she is just a senator at the time of the hearing).  She reacts incredulously to Mark's testimony because he is basing his investigation on the idea that is flash is the future, i.e. it will happen.  Since Clemente can't foresee her flash coming true, she certainly can't believe Mark's will come true either.  Clemente also refers to the Mosaic investigation as "voodoo" and "fraud."  Further, these comments seemed to be pointedly directed at Wedeck.  What is she implying about him? 

*How could Clemente see herself as President, when the current President's flash shows him being awoken by a Secret Service agent because something has happened (it's 1:00am in D.C. at the time of the flash)?  We have no reason to believe she is lying about what she saw (hell, it informs her whole character to this point), so how is this possible?  Is it a Zoe Bartlett kidnapping-type situation, where the V.P. takes over for the President if he can't perform the job and resigns temporarily?  (Sorry for all of the West Wing references.  I adore that show, and with tonight's FF set in D.C., it feels apt.)  It will be interesting to see how this works out.

*Janis.  Oh, Janis.  It had been alluded to, both by a Nazi, and her own admission at not having a boyfriend (in the pilot episode).  She wears masculine glasses, has tattoos, kicks ass in a tae kwon do class (you know, to butch her up), and rebuffs a handsome guy's request for a date.  Yes, it's true, Janis Hawk is a lesbian.  Was this all a little stereotypical?  Absolutely.  However, I do have to give the writers, producers, directors, and, of course, Christine Woods, a ton of credit for how they handled Janis' coming out.  As an ardent supporter of gay rights, and someone who wants more gay characters on TV, I thought FF did a fantastic job with this issue, precisely because they didn't make it an issue.  They slightly teased the coming out over the first four episodes, which makes sense because although it would be nice if a show just had a gay character from the get-go (you know, one where we don't have to wonder is s/he or isn't s/he; where the character just references his/her partner/spouse nonchalantly like I mention my wife in these posts), the fact that Janis is gay is actually consequential to her storyline: the mystery of how she is pregnant in her flash.  When it came time for the reveal of her homosexuality in (aptly) "Gimme Some Truth," it was done very well, and with the nonchalance I wanted to see.  Janis and Maya just went out for dinner, shared a kiss, and the story moved on.  Nothing done for a ratings boost, like some shows.  It's just who Janis is, and it's refreshing.  Well done, FF.  Oh yeah, then Janis got shot at the end, with her new clock winding its way through her blood.  Damn Badass Asian Assassnation Sqaud!  I think she'll live.  One last thing: in Janis' flash she is definitely showing her pregnancy.  Further, she is told that the baby is a girl.  The sex of a baby can usually be first determined between four and five months.  That means Janis needs to get pregnant by December.  November sweeps anyone?  (And, for that matter, where does one get a sonogram at 10:00 at night?)

*Now for my weekly adoration of Sonya Walger and Brian F. O'Byrne.  This should be short, because they were in their only scenes in this episode together!  Such a great job by these actors.  When Olivia overheard Aaron tell Mark to find an AA meeting while in D.C., her look of worry, and almost weariness, that she might have to go down this road with Mark again was spot on.  Further, as she teased the information out of Aaron (who expertly voiced the audience's question: "Are you asking for him or for you?"), you could see her further worry not only for Mark's sobriety, but how this situation could push her into another man's arms, thereby rendering her flash true.  Although, I did take her stated determination to not let that happen as honest.

*Who sent Olivia the text that Mark is drunk in his flash?  Only two people know: Aaron and Wedeck.  If Aaron was going to say something, he would have when speaking to Olivia.  Is Wedeck that petty after he and Mark's spat that he would tell Olivia?  Would he have Olivia's cell number in his cell phone?  All seems a bit hinky.  If it was someone other than Wedeck and Mark, the implication, to me, is that it is possible the flashes were planted into people's minds.  How you do that to seven billion people, I have no idea.  Maybe the rest of the blackout was just cover so a select few could be implanted.  Very odd, and something to be watched.

Quick Hits:

*I always like when time is measured in 39 hours or days, therefore missing the Biblical 40 hours or days.  Just means something "unholy" is about to happen.

*If Demetri's parents are that upset he's not marrying a Korean girl, would they really have given him the name Demetri Fortas Noh?  The only Fortas I know, is former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Abe Fortas.  He was responsible for the opinion that banned creationism in public school science curricula, in Epperson v. Arkansas.  Anyone know any other significance?

*I liked Mark's AA chip reading, "Keep Coming Back."  Seems like a nice mantra to keep him focused on Mosaic.

*Whoa!  How about Joseph Fiennes' real speaking voice during that volunteerism commercial?  I forgot how thick it was.  I apologize for my criticism of his mastery of an American accent.

*I loved how Sen. Clemente's questions voiced those of the audience, when she asked why would the L.A. FBI office, specifically, lead the blackout investigation.  I like the awareness of the audience's possible questions and doubts.

*Really? No one in the U.S. government noticed huge towers being built in Somalia?  Really?!?!  I still think satellites were used on the 2009 blackout.

*Great use of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."  I think the lyrics "How does it feel / To be on your own / With no direction home / Like a complete unknown," were particularly apt for Mark, don't you think?

From my preview of this episode, I went 1-for-6.  I was right that Demetri was not a main part of the story (although he can rock some karaoke), but otherwise, no Lloyd/Simon (but wait utnil next week!), no Bryce, no Zero, nothing on Aaron's daughter, no Al/Celia.  We did get Olivia finding out about Mark's flash, but he didn't tell her (pop out to the catcher).  I guess I'm expecting/wishing for the wrong things.

Prediction (Conspiracy Division): The President did not order the hit, but is involved in the conspiracy.

Predcition (Non-Conspiracy Division): Janis, having now been shot, will realize that there is more to life than her job, and will reconsider the baby, a relationship, and coming out to her co-workers.

OK, that's about it my friends.  If you have any questions, theories or corrections, please drop them in the Comments section below.  Don't forget to check out the FlashForwardCast with Jay and Jack.  As I said above, the show has really hit its stride for me, and becoming a higlight of my television week.  Hopefully, it's doing the same for you.  Thanks always for reading.

I'm off to see if Angelina Jolie can host my next appearance on Millionaire.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If I Had a Million Dollars....

After four years of waiting to be called, ninety-six hours of waiting over the weekend, thirteen total hours of waiting at the studio, four weeks of waiting for the air date, my episodes of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire finally aired this past Monday and Tuesday.  Of course, the first and most important question is: How much did I win?  Well, I won $25,000.  Not as much as I wanted to win (obviously), but nothing to shake a stick at.  Further, no one I was with all day my first day at the studio (herein referred to as "Happy Jail" for reasons that will become clear later) performed better, so at least I have that.  What follows below is a pretty extensive account of my time at Millionaire, including not only my actual playing of the game (for those who missed it), but also some tips and tricks should you ever find yourself in the hot seat.  I apologize in advance for the post's length.  It's VERY long.  Like a Mega-Post.  In fact, to save home page space, I will try something new for the blog, and put the majority of the post "After the Jump."  Click the "But Wait...There's More" link below to continue reading.  Also, let me know if you like this feature for the blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

FlashForward - "Gimme Some Truth"

Thursday night's episode, entitled "Gimme Some Truth," seems to be promising for some high-time drama.  In the preview at the end of "Black Swan," we saw glimpses of Mark testifying in front of what looked like a Congressional committee, a (sapphic?) fancy dinner for Janis, HUGE explosions, and Janis kicking some ass.  Not too bad for an hour of 8:00p television.  Aside from these moments, here's what I'm looking for:

*The full extent of Lloyd and Simon's involvement in the blackout will, obviously, not be fully revealed Thursday (Monday for my non-North American friends) night, but some hint to the reach and/or purpose of the conspiracy would be great.

*What did Bryce see in his flash?  Was he romantically involved with the woman he has been drawing?  Does she "save" him somehow?

*Suspect Zero?  Hellooooooo.  You there?  Anywhere?

*I have a feeling we won't be seeing a lot of Demetri on Thursday.  Not for any particular reason, but in past episodes, Mark seems only able to partner with one of them at a time.  Demetri was practically nowhere to be found in "137 Sekunden," and Janis was wholly absent from "Black Swan."  The preview showed us a bunch of Janis, so I think Demetri will be on the back burner this week.

*I want Mark to tell Olivia about his flash.  The dramatic irony at play in this situation is starting to make me feel less sympathetic toward Mark.  Yes, my love for Sonya Walger's portrayal of Olivia is well-documented (in just about every recap), and perhaps that is what is truly clouding my mind, but, as far as we know, Olivia is the one who is supposed to cheat on Mark in the future.  We should be sympathetic toward him until we have a full explanation of the Olivia-Lloyd dynamic.  Unfortunately, his refusal to tell Olivia about his flash is shifting my sympathies.  Seems like Aaron is going to pressure him some more to spill the beans, but we'll have to wait and see if he's successful.

*Speaking of Aaron, I'd like to see him receive some hard information that, indeed, his daughter is alive.  Up to this point, Aaron has really only functioned as Mark's conscience.  Yes, he did have the scenes about him exhuming his daughter's coffin, but if Aaron is going to be a fleshed-out character, they need to do the fleshing soon.

*Will Al step forward as a main character?  He was given that Celia bit last week.  Does that mean he will be moving into a more prominent role? 

OK, that's what I'm looking for on Thursday.  Don't forget to check out the FlashForwardCast with Jay and Jack.  Please drop a comment in, well, the Comments below with your thoughts, and, if you like what you're reading here, please pass the word on to your friends, colleagues and other watchers of FF.  My thoughts on "Gimme Some Truth" will likely be up next Monday as my wife and I are going to Boston for the weekend -- my first trip back to my alma mater in seven years.  Until then...


Watch Me on Millionaire, Ctd

So, I'm a moron, and, because I was busy writing my FlashForward recap, I totally forgot to promote my appearance on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.  The first part of my appearance aired yesterday, the 19th.  But, I was held over to today's episode.  So, if you'd like to catch the end of my appearance, tune in today.  Check out this link for where and when Millionaire airs where you live.  After it airs (and my final result is revealed), I will write a long post about my experience on the show.  Thanks for the support!

Monday, October 19, 2009

FlashForward - "Black Swan," Ctd

Sorry for posting this a little later than normal, I was busy running around in 40 degree (Farenheit, for my international readers) rain reffing soccer this weekend.  I had to stop shaking before I could type this up.  Anyway, I thought "Black Swan" was a very solid hour of FF, one that I thought really started to propel the story forward.  Here's some thoughts:

*I thought the opening was great, directorally (if that's even a word).  Loved the juxtaposition of the Bjork song (sorry, I don't know the title), with the slow-motion chaos of the blackout occurring.  The scene brought into relief what exactly would happen if the entire world blacked out.  People falling over, busses careening off the road, helicopters crashing, etc.  It would be utter disaster, and it was shown well.  One thing I did notice though: the birds, which were not crows, were still flying.  If this has any significance, I have no idea.  Just wanted to point it out.

*The picture during this week's title sequence was that of, well, a black swan.  More specifically, it was an actual picture on Mark's corkboard, with, presumably, Mark pointing at it.  We received, via Alda Herzog (otherwise known as "Hot, Blonde Terrorist"), an explanation of what a "Black Swan" is: "a high impact event beyond human expectation."  This sort of fits in with what I mentioned in the preview for this episode.  Certainly, the whole world blacking out at the same time is beyond human expectation.  But I wonder if there is more significance to the term "Black Swan" than that.  Why the picture then on Mark's board?  Is it the code name for the operation?  Further, as we know, black swans are native to Australia.  There were two other references to Australia in the episode, as well:  Ned's reference to doing the Australian Crawl, and the boxing kangaroo stuffed animal in Dylan's bedroom.  All of these references, plus the kangaroo that hopped past Mark in the pilot episode, and, heck, even the Oceanic billboard in the pilot signal to me that, like a wise man once said, Australia might be the key to the whole thing.

*Speaking of Alda Herzog, what is her deal?  She led Mark and Demetri to Customer Choice Restaurant Group, a one-store fast food business, for what reason?  Yeah, they found the pot dealer, but nothing of significance.  Will there be more there in the future (besides frozen yogurt)?  It seemed like a wild goose chase.  I think she'll have more to do with the blackout than she's letting on, but what?  Does she really know about Demetri's future murder, or was she truthful when she explained that he posted it on the internet (how did she get service?) and that the whole office is talking about it (when has she talked to other people in the ofice?)?  She obviously has some significance; I'm eager to find out what it is.  Also, it almost seemed like she was prodding Mark to investigate further when she told him that he was "not willing to do what it takes for answers."  I guess she could have just been acting snide, but it seemed more to me.  One last note on her: the camera very clearly focused on her tapping her fingers during Mark's interrogation of her.  Was there significance to this?  Was she tapping out a message?

*From a TV production standpoint, I thought the chase scene was well done.  Looked like the actors did a lot of their own stunt work, so that's always appreciated.  Of most note, however, was Mark's insistence that solving Mosaic is what will lead them to preventing Demetri's murder.  This is interesting because it informs the charcter's belief that the future can be changed.  Does this mean, though, that the future can be changed permanently, or will it only change until the situation (to borrow a phrase) is course-corrected?  Meaning, can Mark and Demetri successfully stop Demetri's murder, or can they just delay it to some further point in the future?  The answers to this question will go a long way to defining the show's concept of time, and what the rules for it are.  Some characters believe that their future is set (Bryce, Ned, Aaron). Some are hoping it isn't (Olivia, Demetri).  Others think they can definitively change it (Mark, Nicole).  This is obviously the big question we as an audience are supposed to be asking.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out. 

*I know I go on and on about her, but Sonya Walger is doing some excellent work as Olivia.  She can communicate brilliantly with the subtlest of looks.  Case in point, check out the look she gave the woman counting out her change at the check-out counter when Olivia wanted to esacpe Lloyd, and the look that flashed across her face when she admitted Bryce was right about Ned's Addison's Disease.  Ever so slightly, you saw Olivia register anger at being wrong, but also rueful realization that if Ned's flash was true, hers would be as well (perfectly contrasted to her earlier determined belief that the flashes were not true, precisely because she doesn't want hers to be true).  It led to her slightly-too-long look at Lloyd when he was doing magic tricks for Dylan.  Could she see, in that moment, how she could fall for Lloyd?  Fantastic stuff. 

*Bryce finally got some screen time this week.  It was nice to see him as more than the guy who almost killed himself.  In fact, to me, he's turning into the John Locke of FF.  His insistence that Olivia take his advice on Ned's case, was a classic Jack-Locke "Man of Reason, Man of Faith" argument.  Bryce even yelled at Olivia, "You're not listening to me!" in a manner that was very reminiscent of Locke's "Don't tell me what I can't do!"  Bryce has ultimate faith in the flashes as they "saved" him from suicide.  Similarly, Locke has ultimate faith in the Island as it cured him of his paralysis.  Whether or not Bryce holds on to the mantle of "Man of Faith" remains to be seen, but as of this episode, he is the front-runner.  Two last things about Bryce: 1) The girl he drew in his notebook looks Asian to me.  On the FlashForwardCast with Jay and Jack, they theorized that the girl was Nicole.  I'm not so sure.  2) Really?  Doctors wouldn't know about pigment change so tehy'd have to look it up on, essentially, WebMD?  Where's House when you need him?  (By the way, I apologize for all of the Lost references.  I'm pretty obsessed with the show, as this site can attest to, so it's not strange that I see parallels everywhere.  Also, it is clear ABC and the creators of FF are trying to make FF the replacement for Lost once it ends in May.  I'll try to keep the comparisons to a minimum, but I have to call it like I see it.)

*Nicole returned in this episode.  She had evidently been AWOL after seeing herself being drowned in her flash.  Interestingly, she said that in her flash she felt like she deserved to die.  What could she possibly do to deserve being drowned?  And as her flash wasn't blank, does that mean she survives?  It wasn't clear to me how she knew Aaron (did anyone hear anything that I missed?), but it appears that she will take a page out of his 12-step playbook and try to lead a "better" life so she doesn't get what she believes is coming to her.  We were shown the face of the person that was drowning her, albeit throught rippling water.  To me, when I froze the picture, it looked like Simon.  Their connection, I suppose, would be through Mark's investigation into Mosaic: if Mark gets too close, perhaps Simon goes after Nicole.  This seems a little too easy, but I have no other theories at the moment.  Perhaps more will be revealed if she works at a soup kitchen that Simon attends, or something. 

So, that's about it.  All in all a pretty good epis.....what?  There was something else?  Something big?  Oh, you mean....

*LLOYD IS IN ON THE BLACKOUT!!  Well, I personally think not.  Let me explain.  We see Lloyd take a call from the infamous Simon (Dominc Monaghan).  Lloyd doesn't want to talk.  He is obviously perturbed that Dylan was injured in the blackout.  Simon is having none of it for, as he explains, he and Lloyd are "responsible for the single greatest disaster in human history."  Now, the obvious meaning of this is that they, and whomever else they are in cahoots with, actually and purposefully caused the blackout.  The other meaning, and the one I am leaning towards, is that they created the technology that cause the blackout, but for some other purpose.  This technology was then exploited by the actual perpetrators of the event.  Again, the first explanation is just too easy.  Then again, I could just be looking for too many mysteries and conspiracies within the show (entirely possible).  Either way, this was a huge development that catapulted the show forward.  Great reveal that was expertly executed.

Quick Hits:

*One of my commentors, Katy Lied, pointed out that it was a bit unrealistic that Demetri would be able to marry Zoe as he would receive a lot of familial pressure to marry another Korean.  Well, the writers were listening to Katy, because Zoe flat out said that she knew his parents would have difficulty with the wedding plan changes because they already didn;'t like her because "[She's] not Korean."  Good work Katy.

*Hehehe.  Olivia called Mark, Shakespeare

*Any significance to the prominent display of Dylan's Star Wars: The Clone Wars bedspread?

*Mark speaks Sufi?  Really?!?

*Who is the Celia that Al was looking up on Mosaic?  Wasn't he in London in his Flash?  Was the woman he was meeting with named Celia?  Did I miss something obvious?

From what I wanted to see in my episode preview, we got: Nicole's return and reason for disappearing; a lot more info on Bryce, but still not what he saw in his flash; NO mention of Suspect Zero; NO Somalia or crows; and Demetri's persistent reluctance to tell Zoe what he didn't see in his flash, as I predicted (patting self on back).   All in all, I got most of what I was looking for, and a whole lot more (Lloyd & Simon!). 

Prediction: Lloyd and Simon did not perpetrate the blackout, but are responsible for creating the technology that caused it.

I have to say, FF has me hooked. Let's hope it remains strong so that it can take over for our favorite Island adventure next season.  The writers have, supposedly, mapped out five seasons worth of story, which is encouraging as these serials need a direction.  Here's hoping the execution is solid as well.  Drop your thoughts and theories below in the Comments.  Thanks always for reading.

I'm off to become the pimpin' Scarface of FlashFoward recaps.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

FlashForward - "Black Swan"

Tomorrow night's episode of FF is entitled "Black Swan."  What this means, I have no idea.  As we know, most swans are white.  However, some are indeed black.  These black swans are indigenous to Australia, a place that, of course, has resonance amongst fans of Lost (not to mention the Swan station).  I don't think there will actually be any reference to Lost, or really anything that has to do with Australia.  However, the black swan does have some meaning, not surprisingly, as a representation of antithesis, the opposite of the white swan.  If the white swan is supposed to represent grace and beauty, the black swan would represent awkwardness and thr grotesque.  How this fits with FF, other than their apparent obsession with birds, I can't figure.  Guess we'll find out tomorrow night.  My DVR cut off the preview for "Black Swan," but other things I'm looking for in the episode:

*As one of my commenters pointed out, Suspect Zero was nowhere to be found in "137 Sekunden."  Well, he was briefly seen in the Tigers Stadium security camera clip, but there was no further investigation into him that we saw.  I'd like a little Zero discussion this week.

*Speaking of Zero, I had heard incorrectly, Dominic Monaghan is supposed to make his first appearance in the fourth episode, not the third.  Therefore, he should show up in "Black Swan."  I still think he's Zero.  Hope we find out.

*What the heck happened to Nicole the babysitter?  They've referenced her the last two episodes, after giving her a lot of screen time in the pilot, so she must be important, right?

*Will Demetri come clean to Zoe about his flash?  Probably not yet, but I liked seeing the interatction of John Cho and Gabrielle Union.  More please.

*Is Bryce, the doctor who was going to kill himself, going to do anything other than be amazed at his second chance at life because of the flash?  What did he see? 

*What is the meaning of the dead crows?  Will the team go to Somalia to investigate the 1991 crow incident?  This reminds me of something I forgot to put in last week's recap: How the heck does the Los Angeles FBI office have the resources to send its agents to Germany, and then, presumably, to Somalia?  I know Wedeck touched on this in last week's episode (it was justified because Geyer mentioned Mark by name), but come on!  The FBI would be focused on cleaning up L.A. which, evidently, still has crashed planes lying on the runways at LAX.  I get it, the story needs to move forward, and the blackout was a glboal phenomenon, but perhaps having someone from FBI HQ accompany Mark and his team on their globetrotting adventures would be a bit more realistic. 

That's about it, specifically.  I, of course, would like to see more Olivia, and I want to know more about Janis, but the show is only 44 minutes long (excluding commercials), so I can't have everything.  If there's anything you'd like to see tomorrow night (or next Monday night, as my esteemed foreign commenters pointed out), drop a comment below.  Be sure to check out Jay and Jack's FlashForwardCast for an entertaining discussion of last week's episode, and check back here over the weekend for my recap of "Black Swan."  Until then...


Sunday, October 11, 2009

FlashForward - "137 Sekunden," Ctd

Before I start with my recap, I wanted to detail the schedule I try to follow in writing them.  FF airs on Thursdays, and I watch it live, just enjoying what happens and formulating preliminary thoughts.  I then watch it again over the weekend and take the notes that I turn into the recap, writing it on Sunday or Monday.  I try to avoid any other recaps before I write mine.  I then listen to the FlashForwardCast by Jay and Jack on Monday.  I listen to podcasts while at work, and download them first thing in the morning.  Jay and Jack's FF podcast doesn't appear on iTunes until late Friday morning, so I don't get it until Monday.  Anyway, that's the schedule I try to follow.  Of course, circumstances may change from time to time, but I'll try to stick to this timetable.

On to "137 Sekunden."  This was probably the best episode of the three that have aired so far.  Seems like the actors are getting comfortable in their roles, and the writers are getting comfortable with the pacing.  I'm still a little concerned with the creators' grasp of the mythology, but I think they'll get there.

*I think there's no way in hell Demetri is going to die.  As I wrote last week, John Cho is too important to the show to kill him off in a couple months.  But I have another reason too.  The show has said that the flashes all occur on April 29, 2010.  April 29, 2010 is a Thursday, the same day of the week the show airs.  This is clearly not a coincidence.  Demetri was told that he will die on March 15, 2010.  March 15 is a Monday.  I just can't imagine that such an important event would air on a day other than a Thursday when the show has made that point that it's most important event will occur in "real time." 

*I mentioned last week that an image of a white queen chess piece was shown during the opening title sequence.  We don't know why it is significant yet, but assumedly, it will be.  In the opening of this episode, a flock of birds was shown.  We would learn later that crows carry significance, so this opening image was a clue.  I think we'll have to look for more of these to help solve the mystery.

*We received some more comedic elements in this episode.  We had the "farting Earth," "Spidey sense," and "Britney Spears" jokes.  The difference with last week was that the jokes seemed to be better integrated into the script.  They were more natural, as opposed to the jokes yelling, "Look at us!  We're funny too!!"  Good to see.

*Demetri's fiance, Zoe, was finally introduced.  She is played by the fabulous Gabrielle Union.  I really like her and John Cho together.  There seems to be a nice ease to their relationship.  Anyway, Zoe's flash was, supposedly, of her and Demetri's wedding.  She assumed it was in Hawaii, which would seem to make sense.  Her flash was in bright daylight.  On April 29 at 10p PDT (when the flashes occur in L.A.), it would be 7p in Hawaii.  At 7p on April 29 would it be bright daylight?  Probably not, but it will definitely be light out (more likely dusk).  I know this seems like semantics, but if the show is going to maintain its credibility while emphasizing its time-based mythology, the writers are going to have to be vigilant about this stuff.  Further point: Zoe claims that it is her and Demetri's wedding, but she never saw Demetri (well, we never saw Demetri).  Was she marrying someone else?  I think not, but you never know.

*The bulk of the episode centered around the incarcerated Nazi, Herr Geyer.  Geyer claimed to know why the blackout lasted 137 seconds (or sekunden, in German).  Of course, this was a ruse employed to win his freedom.  If we have learned nothing else, it is never trust a Nazi!  The whole Kabbalah thing was just odd, but just odd enough that it may actually have some resonance later in the season.  One aspect of Kabbalah is that followers wear a red string bracelet.  Remember, Mark was given a string bracelet from his daughter, Charlie.  I know it wasn't red, but it could have deeper meaning.  Or not.  Gaier's flash showed him arriving at a U.S. airport.  If that were true, it would be 10p in L.A., and 1a April 30 in New York.  It appeared that the scene occurred during the day.  Perhaps not, but, as I mentioned above, the writers need to watch this stuff.  The interrogation of Gaier let Joseph Fiennes finally show us why he's a great actor.  I felt that in these scenes, coupled with his scene with Janis following the first interrogation, Fiennes was finally comfortable.  Much better job by him in this episode.

*The crows.  They were alluded to in the title sequence, and directly referenced by Gaier.  All of the crows around his prison were dead after the blackout.  This make sense if the crows were, too, effected by whatever caused the blackout.  Like airplanes, if something flying blacks out for over two minutes, it's going to die when it falls out of the sky.  Now, we didn't see any dead birds around L.A., crows or otherwise.  Nor did we see any other dead birds in Munich.  Does the blackout machine only effect crows and humans?  That would be rather bizarre.  Anyway, we saw that back in 1991, a similar event occurred in Somalia or Sudan (I think.  I forgot to write it down and don't have the episode on my DVR anymore.  Sorry!).  It seems that the large antenna/minaret thing caused the birdie blackout.  To me, it appeared to be some kind of sonic device, perhaps emitting a frequency outside humans' range of hearing that scrambled the birds' brains.  Seems plausible to me. 

Quick Hits:

*Squirrelio!!  Squirrelio!!  We saw part of his cartoon!

*What the hell happened to Nicole the babysitter?  They made a big deal of showing her in the pilot, then all of a sudden she's gone?  I guess she could have been written off the show, but why?  And why bring her back up again in this episode if she was written off?  Odd.

*The Lost similarities continue.  Aaron's wife is played by Kim Dickens, who played Sawyer's baby mama on Lost.  And her name is Kate!  And by the way, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Brian F. O'Byrne is awesome.  He and Sonya Walger are giving the best performances on this show, by far.

*Janis is getting annoying.  Now she's possibly gay?  So she's going to get a sperm donor in the next few months?  Or she's going to give it one last try with a guy to "prove" she's straight?  Also, she's obviously really smart and has seen some really wacky stuff since the blackout.  Why would she just dismiss the crow theory immediately?  Fix this character now!

*When Janis first searched the database for sudden crow depopulation, the screen did not show the blurb about the corresponding human "loss of consciousness" in 1991.  Only when the camera cut back to the screen was it there.  These types of continuity errors drive me insane.

*Wedeck's eulogy was probably the most emotional moment of the series to date.  Well played.

As far as what I wanted to see in this episode, I didn't get everything.  We got more Demetri, but no Dylan, Charlie, Suspect Zero, or Dominic Monaghan.  Further, I was totally off, at least for now, on why the blackout lasted 2:17. 

We saw that the large antenna thingy caused the 1991 blackout, on a small scale.  If the blackout device works because of a sonic pulse or the like, it must be large enough to reach the whole world. 

Prediction:  The perpetrators used the numerous satellites around the Earth to "broadcast" the sonic pulse to cause the blackout.

OK, that's it for "137 Sekunden."  Again, the best episode of the three so far, and I think the show is starting to find its groove.  Let me know your thoughts and theories in the comments below.  As always, thanks for reading.

I'm off to add up my name in Hebrew numerals.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Entertaining Thoughts Gives Birth

No, my wife and I did not have a child.  Rather, I have spun off a new blog called Entertaining Law.  This new blog will focus on legal issues that arise in the entertainment industry.  As my introduction post at E.L. states, I am not interested in the latest Hollywood starlet's arrest and mug shot.  I want to discuss real legal issues that artists and producers face in their businesses.  Entertaining Thoughts will continue to bring you TV recaps (yes, the FlashForward recap is coming soon), political commentary, and general inanity.  So, please continue to come here for more of the same.  However, if you have any interest in the legal comings and goings of show business, explained (hopefully) in an easy to understand way, please take a trip over to Entertaining Law.  I promise you won't be disappointed.  OK, I can't promise that.  I can promise you will have fewer minutes left of work when you're done looking at the site.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flash Forward - "137 Sekunden"

Hello Flashers!.......OK, that doesn't sound so good.  Hello fans of FlashForward!  Thursday's episode is entitled "137 Sekunden," or translating the German, "137 Seconds."  137 seconds is, of course, equal to two minutes and seventeen seconds, the length of the blackout.  The preview at the end of last week's episode did not offer a preview of Thursday's episode only.  There was a brief hit of an older German man saying that he knows why the blackout occurred for the amount of time that it did.  So, presumably, we will be getting that explanation tomorrow night.  The remainder of the preview focused on other scenes from later in the season.  Because we weren't given that much to go on, and we're still only two episodes into the life of this show, I only have a couple things I'm looking for tomorrow night:

*Well, why was the blackout two minutes and seventeen seconds?!?!  I'm going to assume it has some scientific explanation, like, 2:17 is the half-life of whatever isotope used to power the blackout machine.  Or perhaps 2:17 is the chapter and verse of some pertinent passage in the Bible.  I really have no idea, but I guess we'll find out!

*Will Simon, played by Dominic Monaghan, be Suspect Zero?  And will we meet Simon tomorrow night?  If I remember correctly, reports of Monaghan's involvement mentioned that he would first appear in the third episode.  I'm a fan of Monaghan from his Lost and Lord of the Rings appearances, so I'm eager for his introduction into FF.

*I want more Demetri this episode.  He was pushed back last week in favor of Mark and Olivia, so I'd like to go home with Demetri to see more of his life.  OK, that sounded weird too.  Moving on....

*How does Dylan know Olivia?  How does Charlie know Dylan?  Do the kids know each other?  As I posited after last week's episode, I think D. Gibbons is going to kidnap the children.  If so, Dylan must have seen him too in his flash -- perhaps we'll hear more from Dylan tomorrow night.

*The doctor guy who was going to kill himself before the blackout, what's his deal?  What did he see?  He had one line last week.  I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be a main character, so let's hope we see him more tomorrow night.

*I'd like to see more Funny Janis, and less Exposition Janis.  We need to connect with her more emotionally if we're going to care about her pregnancy.

Now, obviously, there's only been two episodes, and the show can't possibly have expounded on every character yet.  I realize this, so I'm not expecting, nor would I want, to have everything above addressed tomorrow night.  I just hope that FF realizes that the audience needs to care about more than Mark and Olivia if we are to stay engaged.  One of the best things about Lost is that from the get-go, the show asked you to care about everyone by focusing each episode on one particular castaway, all the while moving the main plot forward.  That's why we could deeply care that Boone dies only a little past midway through the first season (uh...spoiler alert!).  I wouldn't want FF to copy the "one episode, one character" motif, but the show must be careful that it doesn't alienate its audience by concentrating solely on its mythology, and ignoring multiple character development.  I guess we'll know more tomorrow night.  Until then...


Monday, October 5, 2009

FlashForward - "White to Play"

Hello folks.  So, like Lost, I'm going to offer some thoughts on ABC's new show FlashForward.  Like our favorite island adventure, FF seems like it will offer a dramatic sci-fi vibe with nuggets of mystery that fans can really dig into.  Only two episodes in, I think the show still has to find its groove (the production was given to a new producer/show-runner after its pilot was picked up), but it contains the basics of what could be a really great serial.

  *This week's episode of FlashForward began with a very odd and very creepy start.  The zoom in on the Earth with children singing Ring Around the Rosy (Rosey? Rosie?) reminded me of the "1, 2, Freddy's coming for you" song from A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Very unsettling.  I guess they're trying to remind us that the entire world experienced the blackout (the term I will be using for the event) but it just seemed odd to me.  And seeing a bunch of children laying "dead" on the playground was disturbing.  I mean, I guess it was supposed to be disturbing; it was just unexpected.

*There are some really great actors on this show.  Brian F. O'Byrne (Brian's AA sponsor, Aaron), Sonya Walger (Olivia) Jack Davenport (Lloyd Simcoe, Olivia's supposed future lover) and John Cho (Demetri) are doing some really great work.  Kind of odd that three of these actors are British, although that must be just a coincidence.  The show is worth watching just for these four actors.  Then, on the other hand, we have Joseph Fiennes (another Brit).  Now, normally, I love him as an actor.  He was great in Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, and other movies.  For some reason though, in this show, he seems off his game.  His understated delivery is fine, there's just something off.  As I mentioned in my fall TV review post, it could be that he is uncomfortable working in an American accent.  If so, I can only hope that he'll become more comfortable as the episodes progress.

*Fellow FBI agent, Janis Hawk(!), seems to be FF's answer to 24's Chloe O'Brien, insofar as she is the tech geek of the office.  But here, she serves another purpose: Super Exposition Girl!  I mean, my God, the amount of story-forwarding information she spits out in one breath is rather impressive.  Obviously, this is only episode two, so there is bound to be a lot of exposition, but I hope they slow it down.  Show us what happened/is happening; don't tell us.  Showing us, as opposed to being dictated to us, allows for a deeper connection with the characters and their situations.  A couple other things on Janis: what's the deal with Janis' tattoo of three circles on her right forearm?  Any deeper meaning to them (other than the show trying to make her seem "hard" so she can have a transformation when she has her child), or just because the actress, Christine Woods, has them?  How will she become pregnant?  I mean, I know how she'll become pregnant, but under what circumstances.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the child will be Demetri's.  Probably totally off here, but I have an inkling.

*I loved Olivia laughing, despite herself, to Lloyd's "Good luck with the procedure," line regarding Charlie's stuffed animal.  She clearly found Lloyd charming, but is obviously scared about her flash coming true.  More great acting by Sonya Walger.

*The great guys over at Jay and Jack, who produce the best Lost podcast on the net (named, oddly enough, The Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack, check iTunes), are producing a weekly podcast about FF called the FlashForwardcast with Jay and Jack (check iTunes).  Anyway, on their first episode, Jack mentioned that he was concerned about a lack of comedy during the pilot.  I couldn't concur more.  Lost expertly uses the character of Hurley to lighten the drama and provide an audience's perspective to the show.  I was concerned that FF wouldn't follow suit and just beat us over the head with the drama.  Fortunately, in episode two, the humor was brought, namely in the person of the head of the Los Angeles FBI office, Stanford Wedeck, played by Courtney B. Vance.  We got riffs on cupcakes ("I'm going to log these into evidence.") and Wedeck waking up from his flash on the toilet and having to give mouth-to-mouth to a fwllow agent drowning in a urinal.  We also had Demetri's joke about his last name, Noh, "It's Korean."  Funny stuff, but a whole lot of it.  In fact, they may have gone from 0 to 60 in two seconds, so I hope they find a happy medium.  I know, I know -- there is no satisfying me.

*I hope the show stops calling the flashes "flash forwards" in their entirety.  Just call them "flashes," which is what I'll be doing here.  I mean, I understand the idea of getting the title of the show stuck in the viewers' heads, but you never heard Ross and Rachel saying how they were all friends, or Norm and Cliff yelling, "Cheers!" with every pint of beer.

*Another script thing: there seems to be a lot of (for lack of a better term) "A-Ha!'ing" going on. This phenomenon occurs when one character is verbally reasoning out a problem, and then another character completes the end of the sequence with a tone that says, "A-ha! I now understand the entire problem!" even when the issue at hand is not of the greatest importance.  Case in point in this episode was the discussion about pigeons and Pigeon, UT.  Janis, Demetri and Wedeck are bandying about the significance of Dee Dee Gibbons' flash discussing pigeons and Utah.  Then, Mark says, looking intense with thought, "Pigeon's not a's a place!"  A-Ha!  I hate stuff like this; it's kind of lazy writing (shout-out to Jay and Jack!), but it's mostly the acting.  Joey Fiennes, shape it up!

*The Pigeon, UT scene: Thought this whole scene was pretty great.  As soon as the sherrif said she had a blank flash, I knew she was dead.  Specifically so we could have Demetri worry about whether he will die or not.  If Demetri dies on this show, I will be absolutely shocked.  I know Lost has killed off main characters, but the biggest mainstream star FF has is John Cho.  He's the key to the 18-25 year old bracket.  He's not going anywhere.  Anyway, I thought the technical aspects of the scene (and the show, in general) were pretty great.  Although, would they really take a helicopter to Pigeon, UT from L.A.?  Pigeon is approximately 750 miles from L.A., and even a military helicopter can only fly between 200 and 300 miles per hour.  You're telling me a local FBI office would fly about three hours via helicopter into the heart of the Rocky Mountains?  I don't think so.  As far as D. Gibbons is concerned, well, he remained shrouded, literally, in mystery.  His quote, "He who foresees calamity suffers them twice over," sounded deep, but really wasn't.  Yes, if you see your future, you can be traumatized by knowing the situation is coming, and then traumatized again when you actually live it.  FF obviously wants us to find him mysterious, so mission accomplished.  The idea that he is just looking for an explanation for the blackout (I forget which character suggested this. Janis?) seems way off.  Why would he destroy everything then?  Doesn't make sense.  I think he must be in cahoots with Suspect Zero in bringing about the blackout. 

*Speaking of Suspect Zero, is this really the name they are going to give him?  I assume, from Janis' calculations that Zero is 5'8" and 150 lbs, that this has to be Simon, the character played by Dominic Monaghan.  Dominic played Merry the Hobbit in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so he is clearly short enough to fit the description of Zero.  Plus, in at least one of the commercials promoting FF before the season started, we saw Simon ask if whomever he was speaking ot wanted to know why the blackout happened.  Sounds Zero-ish to me!  I just hope it is Simon so we don't have to keep calling the man in Tigers Stadium, Suspect Zero.  I know it's now Comerica Park, but the show didn't use that name either for the stadium.

Quick Hits:

*Mark and Olivia's daughter is named Charlie, which is funny because Sonya Walger's son on Lost, is named Charlie, named after Dominic Monaghan's character.

*In the title sequence for the show, there was a quick flash of the chess piece Demetri later found at the doll factory.  I have to check the next episode to see if a similar flash occurs.  Whether or not they are easter eggs that lead to solving the mystery (above and beyond their importance to the characters),we will have to wait and see.

*When Charlie first gave it to him, I figured that wasn't the bracelet Mark later puts up on his office cork board.  It will be interesting to see how he gets the new one.

*My wife is a ballerina, so I know all about bunions, and Sonya Walger has some bad ones.  Was she a dancer?

*Beware the ides of March, Demetri!  A bit too on the nose, don't you think?  Glad to see Shohreh Aghdashloo has corrected her respiratory problems though.

And now for a new feature.  Like Jack (from Jay and Jack) has a Crackpot Theory of the Week for his Lost and FF podcasts, I will be offering up a prediction of sorts each week.  Something just to see if my deductive reasoning about the show's mythology and my understanding of television in general can lead me to the answers we are seeking on the show.  So, here is the one for this week:

Prediction: D. Gibbons will kidnap Charlie and Llyod Simcoe's son.  That's how the kids know each other in the future.

That's all I have for "White to Play" (BTW, I still have no idea what that means).  On Wednesday I will offer up some questions and thoughts leading into the next episode on Thursday night.  If you have any quesitons or comments, please leave them in the Comments section.  Until Wednesday...

I'm off to log in some cupcakes.