FlashForward: Episode 1.7 "The Gift" Review - Featured

I did not get what I wanted out of this episode, - namely, some actual development of the whole Simon situation - so I'd almost like to say that I was disappointed. But the truth is, this was a pretty phenomenal episode without it.



The 'intense' Benford family drama was (thankfully) sidelined for the majority of "The Gift," which opened up opportunity for further development of several characters who have been fairly simplified or limited up to this point.


The pairing of Bryce (Zachary Knighton) and Nicole (Peyton List) was pretty contrived, but it was also surprisingly effective. If suspension of disbelief regarding the ridiculousness of the Japanese-speaking and artistic capability can be achieved, then there is a lot to appreciate about these characters' shared scenes. For the first time, both of them had significant screentime without having to play second banana to one Benford or other. It's difficult to say at this point what is going to happen about this Japanese girl of Bryce's or how I'm going to feel about it. My hope is that it will provide an opportunity for the show to pursue a lighter-hearted storyline.


Aaron the electrician (Brian F. O'Byrne) was probably the least individually developed character leading up to "The Gift." He's divorced. He's lost his daughter, but seen her in his flashforward. he hangs out with the Benfords. What else does he do with his time? What else is there to him? Well, we still don't know. But after this episode, I at least have an even greater appreciation for the emotional complexity of the character. And, given that his daughter (Genevieve Cortese) just appeared - alive - in his kitchen, Aaron is sure to be the source of some genuine weirdness to come. Not because Tracy's appearance was surprising (because a - she was in his flashforward and b - her army buddy's "omg I saw her die!" story was utterly unconvincing), but because her appearance was surprisingly early, which implies that Aaron and Tracy's plotline may prove to be vastly more complicated than a father's desperate-but-hopeful search.


The main major plotline development of this episode came from the FBI's encounter with the Blue Hand, a community for "ghosts" - people who didn't have flashforwards and who, therefore, are assumed to be dead at that point in the future. The effect of this encounter was not the (expected) introduction of anything particularly mind-blowing. It was just finally an outright vocalization of the idea that's been hinted at regarding flashforwards but never really discussed: "Everything is scripted." Not a new concept, to be sure. But the delivery was definitely an achievement in utter creepiness thanks to Myron Natwick's Russian Roulette and a performance by the excellent by Callum Keith Rennie. My only criticism of Dr. Raynaud: As a self-respecting fan of sci-fi television, I can't say that watching a Cylon take the Jesus/Wolverine pose with two blue hands exactly screams originality to me.


What ultimately made this episode so great was FBI Agent Al Gough. I guess I can/should retract my statement of outrage from last week regarding the elevation of Lee Thompson Young to lead castmember status. DEFINITELY didn't see that one coming. And that is just fantastic. In true FlashForward fashion, the reveal of Al's full flashforward and his subsequent to make it impossible resulted in more questions than answers. The greatest of those: Will his effort prove successful? And if so, what sort of butterfly effect will there be?


Maybe I've just been watching too much Heroes. But I can't help doubting a character death, especially when he has appeared in the future. I've already voiced some belief in the possibility of more than one copy of certain individuals (namely, Demetri Noh, who had no flashforward and yet was in someone else's). I wouldn't dare make any predictions about what this all might mean in terms of the overall show and the (in)fallibility of the flashforwarded future. But I am sooooo excited and curious to find out how it all turns out.


Once again, previews lead me to believe that next week may contain some answers regarding Simon, Lloyd, and the grander scale/meaning of the blackout and flashforwards. If I end up disappointed once again, I will be unsurprised, if sad. Hopefully - hopefully - there will at least be more of Dominic Monaghan than a(n admittedly intriguing) four-second appearance in a truly excellent end-of-episode montage. I guess we'll see.



(This review also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com)

Comments

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Nov 6, 2009 4:53PM EST

I thought this episode was phenomenal. It finally brought up elements that go against the grain of the series thus far (namely, everything adds up to the future occuring as seen and finally we see a change to that). So, right when everything points to the future happening, we see a shocker that makes us wonder if that really is the case. Oh, and it should be noted that Demitri was not yet shown to be in his girlfriends flashforward. All we saw was a man on the beach but it was unclear who that was due to angle and distance. Maybe it was someone else entirely? Also, we really need to see Simon prove his evil. I can't hate the villian with only ever being told "This guy is bad."

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RachelLEditor
Nov 6, 2009 8:04PM EST

Agreed. I have been waiting for this episode since Week 2! It's about damn time...

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Nov 7, 2009 2:23AM EST

This episode was a game changer so to speak. We did not know if they could affect their futures or if it was just an inevitable eventuality, but showing that they can change things open up a holw new dramatic element of are they changing things or are those decisions they are making bringing about what they saw. Elements of fate and free will are very present, I like what they are doing a lot. I also loved the way in which they chose to show this concept too, with Cyborg(Smallville reference) jumping off of the building to stop him from hurting someone in the future. Very cool.

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Nov 9, 2009 5:23PM EST

I agree very good episode. what i think about the Aaron plotilne is that his daughter is a halusination because he is so stricken by greif and he is so desprate to see her either that or its going to get so confusing my brains going to hurt :P . As for the Simon plotline i belive he will be sort of a Ben type character from Lost and become a perminant addition to the cast. Anyone else think so?

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Nov 12, 2009 9:47PM EST

I don't necessarily believe that Simon is in any way as mentally disturbed as Ben was in Lost. Ben was frickin' loony! I think Simon is genuinely at odds with himself concerning the millions of lives that were lost because of him and his clearly evil comrade. Yeah, that other guy... that's the guy you should hate.
As for Aaron's search for his long lost soldier girl, imho, the reason why his daughter was in his kitchen when he came home as opposed to him searching overseas for her and finally finding here wrapped in sheets on a mound of dirt was because of our recently departed Federal Agent, Al Gough. His surprisingly uncharacteristic suicide obviously changed not only changed the timeline of the women (whose death he felt responsible for in his flashforward) he was trying to save but others as well.

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Nov 13, 2009 5:21AM EST

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