After taking Thanksgiving off last week, FlashForward returns tonight with its fall finale. The show will then take the rest of December off before returning in January, though viewers won’t have to wait that long to get a literal flash-forward glimpse of what’s to come. At the end of tonight’s episode, ABC will offer a super-sized, three-minute preview of the second half of the season. It’s a smart move. Even loyal fans have been griping about the show’s deliberate pacing, and as EW reported a couple issues back, the show is responding to the criticism by accelerating the storytelling and revealing more of the mythology, starting with the episodes that arrive with the new year. So offering them a preview of what’s coming up in January could help assure them that their patience will be rewarded. (Note: Those middle season eps are also being engineered to be entry points for new viewers, so curious novices won’t feel too lost.)
Personally, I find my interest in FlashForward intensifying, not taxed, though that may have something to with how I’ve come to the show. I saw the pilot back in the summer and was really intrigued by it. But life and work got in the way of making a commitment to watching the show on a weekly basis when it launched. All that changed in November. I decided to catch up on what I had missed and gobbled up the first nine episodes in the span of two days. Experiencing FlashForward that way certainly created the illusion of a fast-moving story, and certainly made it easier to have grace or forgive some of the early season’s genuinely clunky or groan-worthy moments—like, say, the poker game that Simcoe and Simon played a few episodes back to decide if they’re going to tell the world of their belief that they caused the blackout. (FYI, that whole storyline gets revisited in a major way tonight.) At the same time, gorging on the episodes all at once got me even more deeply invested in all that’s really great about FlashForward. In particular, I love the character-driven approach to exploring themes of fate and predestination. I love trying to figure out the larger mystery of what caused the global blackout and what the flash-forwards are really all about. And I love exploring all the literary references and scientific ideas the show drops in each episode. Tonight’s episode, for example, turns Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (the ultimate flash-forward tale!) into a recurring motif and also makes uses of the “Many Worlds Interpretation Of Quantum Physics.” Don’t know what that is? Well, that’s why God invented Wikipedia.
To date, EW hasn’t posted full recaps of FlashForward on Fridays—but that will change beginning tomorrow. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on three questions: What do you enjoy about the show? What frustrates you about the show? And finally: Joseph Fiennes perpetually furrowed brow: Pro or Con?
Photo Credit: Ron Tom/ABC