Episode Review:FlashForward:"The Negotiation" (Season 1, Episode 20)

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It's April 28th, the day before Zero Day. Do things happen the way we think they do? Well, not yet….

Recap

A TV station has come into possession of more footage of Zero (aka- Simon). Demitri tries to track this tape down as Zoey becomes a demanding, needy wench.

Olivia brings Gabriel to Mark and shows him the book where he has drawn the Mosaic board. He insists that Mark make the board look like the book. Gabriel is brought in to find out when the next blackout will be. Gabriel is not happy at all about Demetri's 'above ground' status. Apparently he is not able to process things outside his flashforwards.

Simon makes contact with the bad guys… full body contact. His (ahem) contact is putting him in touch with Mr. Big (or 'Big Guy' as Gabriel calls him). They want him to calibrate the accelerator for them, but Simon may be too smart for them.

Aaron gets Wedek the intel he needs, and then goes after Tracy. Wedek is not happy about this, but Aaron proves himself more than capable and retrieves Tracy. The intel implicates the President, and Wedek calls him to warn him. He then calls the Vice President to inform her of what he's found-Joshua Base.

Tracy is injured, though, and they have to get to Kandahar to a hospital.

Janis is being pushed harder by her rather creepy handler to get Mark dead. She goes to Vogel, trying to get pulled out of the cold. He tells her that they are very close, and that she can't be pulled in.

The FBI decides to move Gabriel to a safe house. Janis plans on getting him killed. Demetri and Vreede are the ones assigned to get him there. They fall into an ambush… on purpose. Mark is disguised as Gabriel. He makes his way into Big Guy's HQ, and they capture Big Guy (named Hellenger.), but the computers are wiped before they can get any intel out of them.

Mark figures out that Janis is a CIA mole. They talk, Mark tells her that she can never be trusted… but she wants to talk to Demetri herself. Demetri is (surprise) the father of her child, and wants to be involved. Noh goes to visit Gabriel (who's watching Roger Ramjet…) Gabriel states that Demetri is supposed to be dead, and you may find a different path, but you won't find yourself in a different place.

Janis is ambushed by Simon, who needs her help…

Analysis

For an episode where they are setting the chess pieces up, this ep moved well. The acting was less annoying, in spite of the addition of yet another Brit (doing a Dustin Hoffman impersonation) to the cast.

Demetri is a bit of a cypher at this point. Is he planning on doing something stupid (aside from impregnating a lesbian)(aside from marrying a lawyer with all the lovely personality traits that entails)?

Mark is finally growing on me as a character. I'm kind of saddened by the fact that this series is doomed, because here, at the end, it's very nearly interesting. The cleverness of the reverse ambush was refreshing, and capturing Hellenger felt… exciting? (I know, what am I saying?) Mark hasn't started drinking yet, which makes me think that his flask isn't alcohol, it's some sort of drug that mimics death.

In an interview found here, Carlton Cuse (LOST producer) said
We feel that we as storytellers, basically can only approach the storytelling the way that we do, which is it felt like there was no way that we could just be answering existing questions without the show feeling didactic. There would have been no larger narrative motor. For the show to devolve into running through a checklist of answers, we would have been, honestly, crucified for that version of the show.
I agree-- and FlashForward is the series that they would've been crucified for producing. Questions and answers are not a narrative engine, it's didacticism. This is why the early episodes didn't work- there was no flesh and blood on the skeleton. It is a very well constructed skeleton, but only now are some muscle and sinew being added to it.

Pity, this show could've been a contender.

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