Friday, September 25, 2009

FlashForward: Season 1 Episode 1 - No More Good Days

Hello future dwellers and welcome to the first FlashForward recap!  Welcome to all Lost Addicts Blog readers and American Idol Addicts Blog readers as well as anyone new that has stumbled upon this new blog!  I am taking a risky step by already declaring myself an "addict" of a show that has yet to prove itself or for a show that has yet to even prove it can retain an audience!  But based on the pilot episode that I just watched, I think it is a bet worth taking.  Many of us LOST-obsessed folk have been restless waiting for its final season to begin, yet there is some reluctance at the same time.  Once LOST gives us all the answers and the Island lowers the final curtain, what will we be left with?  Probably more questions still, but that's besides the point!   FlashForward is clearly geared towards the LOST fanbase, but it definitely is a beast all to itself.   Based on one hour, I am already along for the ride!  Hopefully, I'll be still saying this 6 seasons from now.  So are you with me everyone? Buckle your seatbelts kids, because we're starting a brand new blog!

Well, I think most of us understand the premise of the show by now, right?  So I don't have to keep us in suspense for when it was revealed to us.  The entire planet blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds (why that length?  To be determined!).  The blackout caused mass chaos.  Planes crashed, car collisions, explosions galore, suicides interrupted, looters, riots, you name it.  No one yet knows what caused these blackouts. Anyway, the kicker is that during these blackouts everyone had a flash of their own future.  The future is at a specific date and time: April 29th 2010 10:00pm Pacific Time.  Over the course of the episode we learned that some people liked what they saw, some didn't, and certain people did not see anything at all.  There are believers and non-believers that what they saw was the actual future.  Just a note: Co-Creator/Executive producer David S. Goyer has already promised a solution to this season's major mysteries by the end of season 1.  Yes, we will see April 29th by the end of the season.  Convenient that that date also falls on a Thursday! Call it a bit of a "Lessons Learned" from its almighty predecessor LOST.  People demand payoffs during the evolution of an overarching mystery!

This recap will probably be a little different than the ones going forward because we were focusing on so many characters simultaneously in the pilot episode.  So let's do exactly what the episode did and get to know the main characters that we have met so far:

Character Introductions and Flashes

Mark Benford

Role: FBI Agent and Our Hero!

Joseph Fiennes (pronounced "FINES" everyone, like his brother Ralph Fiennes is pronounced "Ray Fines."  yikes) has done a good job adopting an American Accent to claim the role of potential "savior of the world" during this world-wide event.  His story?  He's a former alcoholic who has a lovely wife Olivia, which we'll get to in a second. He and his wife like stating the opposite of what they mean to each other (e.g. "You're a crappy husband" Post-its, "I hope I never see you again" text messages, etc...).  Why? Probably because they think it's cute!  But yikes, was it some crazy foreshadowing!  We'll get to that in a bit as well.  Prior to the Blackout Mark and his partner Demetri are tracking down some sort of terrorist (Alda?) who is planning to kill lots of people.   They end up in a high speed chase and then whoosh....FLASHFORWARD!

The Flash:  We see a bunch of images (might require some further analysis) before we focus in on Mark in his office, clearly drunk.  He sees a wall of names and clues, the case name "MOSAIC", the calendar with the date April 29, 2010, sees the time was 10pm, and someone is coming after him armed with guns sporting laser sights.   Here are some of the quick shots below we saw from Mark's Flash.

Special thanks to THE ODI for posting these shots on his site.  Check there for more screen captures.

Demetri Noh

Occupation: FBI Agent / Sidekick

Demetri is Mark Benford's partner.  He is engaged and at the time being trying to decide on his wedding song.  His wife, we have yet to meet, wants to dance to the classic Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton duet "Islands in the Stream."  Demetri's disgust for the song led to some good laughs prior to all of the drama.  He too was in pursuit with Mark of Alda when whoooooosh FLASH FORWA.......

His Flash:  Absolutely Nothing. This did not sit well with Demetri has he started realizing that everyone saw their future except him.  What does this mean?  Was he sleeping?  Maybe, but Demetri figures he would have been dreaming then.  He comes to the conclusion that he is most likely going to die before April 29th.  It will be interesting to find out what his fiance' saw (and we may have heard something in the upcoming previews).  He said that they should "discuss the future" when he gets home.   Hmmmmm

Olivia Benford

LOST Fans might recognize Sonya Walger as fan-favorite recurring character Penny from LOST.  No fear, since both shows are on ABC, Sonya says she can appear on LOST if any loose ends need to be tied up in the final season.  But here, Olivia Benford is the other half of the American Super Benford Couple.  Writer of nasty Post-Its and mean-spirited Texts to her husband!   She is a surgeon and was preparing to go into surgery when the blackout happened.

The Flash: We only get a brief glimpse of her flash but it shows her with another man in the Benford house, whom we meet by the end of the episode.  She is very distraught by this as she and Mark are having no issues 6 months prior.  But, we learn from Mark, that Olivia has stated that she will leave him if he ever starts drinking again.  If this future is to come true could she have left because of his alcoholism?  Maybe due to his obsession with the blackout/flashes?  Time will tell!

Bryce Varley

Bryce is another surgeon who works with Olivia.  He did not show up to work the day before the blackout.  Apparently things have been going bad and immediately prior to the blackout, he had a gun to his head on Venice Pier and was about to pull the trigger.

The Flash: Unknown, but we know that he was alive and that it seems he was in a better place 6 months from then.  He begins to rescue people waking up in the water after the blackout.  His mood is a little more positive than a majority of the globe who are trying to come to grips with what happened.

Aaron Stark aka Guy with the Big Beard

Aaron is Mark's AA sponsor and friend.  He is some kind of construction guy/electrician/telephone guy of sorts.  His daughter, Tracy, was in the military and supposedly died in Afghanistan and was shipped back to him in pieces.  Aaron was climbing up a telephone pole or something of that nature prior to the blackout.

The Flash: Aaron sees his daughter alive!  Woaaaaa.  What is going on here?  He realizes that she might be alive and has needed him for 2 years after he thought he had buried her.   Eventually there is a whole big discussion between he and Mark and the trademark phrase from all of the previews "You're worried your future is going to come true.  I'm worried mine won't."    This guy has "fan-favorite" character written all over him.  Possibly the John Locke of FlashForward.  Can't wait to look back on this post in a couple months to laugh at what I was thinking!

Other Characters: 

  • Charlie Benford - Olivia and Mark's daughter who was being babysat by the Nanny Nicole.  She had some nightmare of a Flash and we have yet to see it.  But she did get to tell us the episode's title "I dreamed there were no more good days"  oooh...always creepy when kids say stuff like that isn't it?
  • Nanny Nicole - She was being naughty and had her boyfriend over during babysitting hours and during the blackout.  We did not see her flash.  Not sure how essential her character will become. 
  • FBI Chief - Don't think we learned his name yet but he obviously will be important since he runs the FBI branch!  His flash consisted of him doing his "personal business" and reading the sports page.  He noticed that Kobe was injured and that the Tampa Bay Rays rallied.  I wonder if Vegas will close that day because people might already know the outcome of the games!  Probably something that won't be covered in the show!  
  • Janis Hawk - #3 of the 3 man squad to figure out what happened with the blackout/flashes. (Mark and Demetri the other 2).  It was her idea to start a website for everyone to post what they saw.  By the way, I believe this website was created for us all to use and is referenced on the right hand side of this blog:   Update: (thanks commenter Liz for correction!) Janis mentions that she saw that she was pregnant in her flash, but doesn't even have a boyfriend right now.  Interesting!
  • Agent Gough and Fiona - Agent Gough is the guy that told Mark his flash had him in London on April 30th at 6am (which is equivalent to 10/29 10pm in Los Angeles).   A bird hit the window.  It was important to note that Fiona saw the same thing.  
  • The Child Patient - A patient is brought in after the blackout and is injured pretty badly.  Olivia tells him he's going to be okay.  The child, having seen HIS future (we have not), says "I know Olivia"  Ooooh another creepy kid!  So what did this kid see?  And if he saw Olivia, why didn't Olivia recognize him? hmmmm  We were told his mother died and his father's name is Lloyd Simcoe.
  • Did I miss anyone?  What did YOU see?  (I'm gonna have a lot of fun with that phrase).  

Plot Points worth Noting

  • I had seen an interview with David S. Goyer where I think he said that everyone's flash lasted 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  So we are only seeing seconds of everyone's flashes in each episode.  It would seem that more will be revealed as the season progresses.  
  • Mark explained his flash like he was experiencing it.  He felt what it felt like to desire alcohol again.  He also described it as a memory that hasn't happened yet.   So they were not just seeing things, they were almost living it. 
  • Mark saw a Kangaroo while passing by the looters and destruction from the black out.  I think this kangaroo is going to be a recurring characer.  Important to the overall mythology?  I guess we'll see!
  • The moments following the flash were very reminiscent of LOST right after the crash.  That's probably as close as we're going to get to the similarities of the shows.  But I thought it was worth noting just because it was cool to see!  The gas truck exploding was like the big explosion of Oceanic Flight 815's  engine on the beach.  Mark overlooking the city and the chaos that the blackout caused was a nice visual too (couldn't find that picture!)
  • The MOSAIC task force was created based on the fact that Mark was working on the case in the future.  Almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.  
  • Things to look forward to in future episodes.  Mark saw a lot of things in his flash that went up on the bulletin board.  It looks like Demetri was creating the board exactly like Mark saw it.  D. Gibbons, Photograph of a baby doll (doll was burned, head melted, bullet casing nearby), Blue Hand, He was wearing a friendship bracelet.   His state of mind: He was scared.  The attackers wanted to kill him because of what he knew.  One of the men had a tattoo of 3 stars.  Not much we can do with this info quite yet, but definitely worth noting! 
  • Mark and Olivia discuss their flashes eventually.  Mark does not reveal he was drinking, but Olivia does reveal she was with another man after much pestering from Mark.  Hmmmm that can't help things! 
  • Mark and his daughter Charlie have a meeting of the minds on the swing set.  While she doesn't reveal her flash just yet, she does something equally important by giving Mark the "Friendship bracelet" he had seen in his flash.  And then she helps him put it on!  Mark is slowly seeing his future come true which has to be pretty scary since he knows where it is going.  Will he try to stop it?
  • The big cliffhangers: Lloyd Simcoe eventually comes to the hospital where his kid is.  He finds out that Olivia is the surgeon that saved him.  We see that Lloyd is actually the man Olivia is with in the future!  He decides to stay to meet her since he had the same flash as well.  crazy!  Still, we didn't see his kid in this FLASH scenario yet, so we gotta wonder how he knew Olivia's name!  Maybe he is there and we just don't know it yet?
  • After Demetri caves and tells his fiance' that he will dance to "Islands in the Stream," Janis calls him over to her computer where she is examining surveillance videos from all over the globe.  Everyone blacks out at 10pm.  2 minutes and 17 seconds later they wake up.  Except, in Detroit, at a Tigers game, there is one man, dressed in black with a black hat on, walking around the stadium unaffected by the blackout!  woaaaaa  Is he involved in what's going on?  Or is he some exception to the rest of the world for some reason?  hmmmmm  stay tuned to find out!

Easter Eggs
Not much to discuss here, but as I stated, us LOST fans are getting targeted for this show big time.  And during one scene, we even see a billboard for Oceanic Airlines!  Gotta love it!

So, the verdict for FLASHFORWARD after one episode?  Not bad for a Pilot episode!  It looks like ABC is going to put a lot of effort into making this show a success.  The production quality of this episode speaks miles for this!  I loved the episode and am looking forward to many more.  Stick with me as I figure out how to blog this one folks.  I may try a few different routes until we get an idea what a normal episode is going to look like.   Let's hope this one sticks around!    So what did you all think of the episode?  Are you excited for Dominic Monaghan (LOST's Charlie) joining the show in a few episodes? Nice that they showed him in a preview of an upcoming episode to try and lure more LOST fans into the fold!   Will the future play out just like we're seeing in the flashes?  Can it be changed?   Who is the man in the stadium?  Could that be Dominic's character?  Lots to speculate at this point.

I'd love to hear your comments.  And please forward the blog to anyone you know who is watching the show.  Let's get some good discussion going like we have had on the other blogs.  So, with that all said, I will leave you all with one question.  What did YOU see? (heh heh)   See you next week!

Special Thanks again to THE ODI for posting screen captures from the episode!  

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LOST Addicts Blog, American Idol Addicts