FlashForward – “The Gift”
Here is the episode description from IMDb.com:
“Mark, Demetri, Gough and MI6 agent Fiona Banks investigate a Blue Hand club and its possible connection to some recent suicides. Meanwhile, Aaron receives a surprise visit from a former army buddy of his late daughter's, Demetri comes clean with Zoey about his lack of a flashforward, and Nicole helps Bryce uncover the mystery of his flashforward while volunteering at the hospital.”
I really want to like this series. I don’t watch shows merely to rag on them. But this episode, like the last couple just haven’t had the “oomph” that the pilot had. It’s the same characters, yes, but that spark is definitely missing.
Let’s jump right to the meat of the episode:
A recurring character died in this episode and it didn’t really affect me. Young FBI Agent Al Gough (Lee Thompson Young) couldn’t deal with his vision: he accidentally causes the death of a woman, Celia (she dies from her injuries in the hospital), and her two young kids are to be remanded to state foster care. He’s destroyed this one family. To prevent that from happening, and to make a stand against people who had visions of nothing and go to underground Blue Hand Clubs (sort of Fight Club meets the S&M scene, for people with nothing to lose), Gough commits suicide by jumping off the FBI building.
I think the reason it didn’t impact me is because we only ever got glimpses of it. Gough got a phone call in his flash telling him the woman had died. We never see Gough meet Celia, let alone how he causes her death (the caller tells him it was accidental). We didn’t get to experience this tragedy that Gough has now seemingly avoided. We were TOLD about it all, and the telling was in tiny shards. If this was told properly I should have been devastated by Gough’s death and moved by his sacrifice for Celia and her family, but I wasn’t.
The other big happening was with Aaron (Brian F. O’Byrne) meeting Mike, an ex-solider friend of his supposedly deceased daughter. Mike tells him that he was there with Tracy when their Humvee was hit with rocket fire, and we see this in a flashback. Mike sees Tracy’s severed left arm and one of her legs. The flashback ends on her face and upper torso. Mike gives a pocket knife back to Aaron the father had given to his daughter. In Aaron’s flashforward he saw himself returning this pocket knife to a very much alive Tracy, in what looked like an Army tent. At episode’s end, Aaron walks into his home to find Tracy sitting at the table. Is she real or a vision of some sort?
After the pilot I was very interested in the dilemma of whether or not the future is set in stone or if it can be changed or at least altered from the flashforwards. Now they've thrown an interesting monkey wrench into the works, which is a good thing. I'm still interested in the overall story, but I'm not as invested in the characters.
They haven’t found a way to balance moving their complicated plot/mythology forward while still keeping the human element. While network sibling Lost may have stumbled a few times in that first season, the characters (and actors) were so compelling, viewers didn’t mind. FlashForward isn’t quite in that league. It has good actors and characters, but no one POPS from the screen. And just as it starts to develop an interesting mystery, building some story momentum, it drops into a lower gear and slows down.
Dominic Monaghan's possible villain Simon hasn't been given much screen time since his debut a couple episodes back. There was only one brief glimpse of him in this episode, in the closing montage sequence. David S. Goyer is a huge comic book fan, and what they're doing with Monaghan's character feels like what they do in comics when you see a villain for only one or two panels. He's slowly plotting and planning, but doesn't have anything to do with that issue's story. That works in comics, but not on television. Let's get to it.