Spoilers for last night's "FlashForward" coming up just as soon as I spill out some bong water...
"137 Sekunden" was an improvement over last week's episode and the second half of the pilot, but I still worry that there are some fundamental problems that "FlashForward" simply can't overcome.
I'm glad that we got more of a sense - with the FBI funeral and the largely empty flight (with the nervous airline exec) - of how much the blackout itself messed up the world. But the show has neither the screen-time nor the budget to adequately depict the chaos created by the blackout, which still feels like the show views it as a minor nuisance compared to everyone's reactions to their flash-forwards. And that just makes that obsession seem silly. Perhaps if there was more of a contrast - if we saw people diving so deeply into their visions to escape the terrible reality created by the blackout - it might work better. I got the sense that's what David Goyer and Marc Guggenheim were going for with Courtney Vance's eulogy, but it's one of those things that the show's format just doesn't seem equipped to handle, which makes the whole global blackout something where the creators bit off more than they're going to be able to chew.
Beyond that, I'm starting to bang my head against the wall with the circular logic so many characters, particularly our man Mark, are employing. He arranges for the Nazi to be freed because the Nazi said (and the bong-smoker confirmed) that he was freed in his vision, and his picture is on the wall in Mark's vision because Mark puts it on the wall here. And the Nazi assumes he's helpful because in the future he wasn't in prison, but in the future he wasn't in prison only because he claimed to be helpful, not that he was actually helpful. I get that this is the nature of paradox, but it made Mark seem like a sucker well before he found out for sure that he had been played.
Also, in these situations where characters in the present use flash-forward knowledge to make decisions, shouldn't anyone be questioning why no one in their flash-forward behaves as if they're already familiar with what's happening? Shouldn't the Customs guy have recognized the Nazi? Shouldn't Mark know that the men with guns are coming for him? And, since they don't, doesn't this suggest that the future isn't going to play out the way the flash-forwards say? And, therefore, isn't it even dumber to make decisions based solely on the theory that this is how the future is supposed to play out?
That I'm spending this much time dwelling on the quantum mechanics is suggestive of the larger problem with "FlashForward." I don't want to keep bringing up "Lost" every week - though it's hard not to when they keep bringing in "Lost" faces, this week with Kim Dickens (aka Sawyer's baby mama) as Aaron's ex-wife - but that show just did an entire season about time-travel, about whether the future can be changed, temporal loops, and a lot of the other things "FlashForward" is dealing with. And it was much more engaging because the characters were richer, and because the show only occasionally stopped for people to discuss the way it all works, whereas here it seems that's all that anyone does. Everyone on "FlashForward" is spending their time talking about what happened in the past, or what's going to happen in the future, while making precious little happen in the present.
In fairness, "Lost" already had four seasons to build up its characters before getting into the time-travel shenanigans, but even at a comparable point in its first season, most of the regular cast was better sketched-in than anyone on "FlashForward" is so far. This script made an effort to give Demetri a personality and make us care about his impending demise, and to give us more backstory on Aaron, but it still feels like broad generalities, as opposed to anything specific to these men. One's the harried engaged guy (who now knows he's gonna die before his wedding if he doesn't change the future), the other is the alcoholic struggling to stay sober, and I've seen all these beats before.
Unless some of these characters start feeling like actual people soon, as opposed to two-dimensional archetypes running along a Mobius strip, I'm not going to care about whether their futures come true or not, and I'm not going to be watching this show anymore.
What did everybody else think?