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'FlashForward' recap: Janis goes bad -- and so does the drama

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Flashforward-Sacrifice

Image Credit: Ron Tom/ABCThe implosion of FlashForward continues. The ratings have spiraled downward, and with it, the quality. I can sum up my recent frustration in a word: Janis. I really liked her character… until last week, when the writers led us to believe that she and Agent Noh had sex in Somalia in order to make her pregnancy flash-forward come true. What a groaner. And I don’t mean the hot-and-bothered kind of groan, either. Just bothered. I didn’t believe either character would have made that choice. To paraphrase a line from another show I happen to write about: It was, in fact, a violation — a violation of character integrity; a violation of my investment. I was particularly bummed for Janis, a strong, smart, sexy, wholly admirable woman worthy of being crushed on by both male and female viewers. She’s gay, and while I understand the sex she (presumably) had with Demetri was a means to an end, I felt the turn of events confused her character instead of making her more complex. The regrettable fuzzing of Janis continued last night with the even more ridiculous revelation that she’s a double agent who’s been undermining Team Mosaic’s investigation into the global blackout. Okay, maybe we should have seen this coming. After all, her character is named after a two-faced Roman deity. And who knows? She may not be working for evil people but for forces of good working in secret and with the requirement of subterfuge. Still, it’s hard not to take a cynical view of this plot twist. It doesn’t feel like part of the master plan, but rather a late game invention, a hail mary move designed to generate drama. The move is reminiscent of the similar move by 24 to turn Katee Sackhoff into a CTU mole/bad gal. These retcons feel like desperate ploys aimed at propping up failed characters or manufacturing plot. What’s worse is that they’re all for naught. 24 has been canceled. FlashForward’s termination is inevitable. For those of who remain committed, the death throes have become that much harder to watch thanks to the busted gambit that is Janis.

Other developments:

At least the bad guy was interesting. FlashForward managed to cultivate even more intrigue around Dyson Frost. The message-for-the-future videotape was cool. We learned he’s flashed-forward hundreds of times, gaining much info into future events — hence his ability to stay ahead of technology and the investigation. We learned that he’s destined to die on march 15, just like Agent Noh. I thought the scene where Agent Benford found a coded telephone number in his past chess matches was pretty inspired. If only FlashForward had more scenes like that.

Bryce cheated on his dream girl. FlashForward has been cultivating romance between Bryce and Nicole for several episodes now, and I’ve been buying it. Their smooch last night in front of the sushi restaurant was inevitable and credible. Nicole was troubled by Bryce’s move. She attributed his affection to frustration in his quest to find his flash-forward crush, Keiko. Bryce initially agreed, apologized — then rescinded the agreement and the apology. He seemed to come into awareness of the great irony of his flash-forward: as he’s been searching for a dream girl he’s never met, he’s been falling in love with the sexy friend who’s been there every step of the way. Still, Bryce’s near misses with Keiko were a little much. That kiss with Nicole outside the sushi restaurant? Keiko was sitting right there on the other side of the window, having a bonding moment with the hot rod mechanic that had given her a job. I liked their chemistry, too; it could be that both she and Bryce have similar trajectories, finding love with other people as they search for other people. But I can do without the silly almost-meets.

Lloyd Simcoe’s lipstick equation. Olivia Benford’s future bed partner got another piece of the puzzle about the weird math he saw written on Olivia’s mirror in lipstick. Bottom line: it has something to do with quantum entanglement, which has something to do with exchanges of information between states of matter do to their connection on the subatomic level. Or something like that. This could explain the science behind the flash-forwards. For example, a character in the past is connected to his future self, forming a link through which information can be transferred. But here are some other theories. What if characters became entangled with other characters during the quantum event that was the global blackout, making their flash-forwards actually visions about other people? When Simcoe saw himself in bed with Olivia, he was actually experiencing a couple minutes of Mark’s life. Another theory? The bad guys have constructed a quantum computer capable of hacking into the mainframe of reality. Perhaps the bad guys were targeting select individuals, seeking to implant specific visions into their minds, but the work of Simcoe and Simon Campos inadvertently amplified their work to affect the whole world.

Nahh, that doesn’t really make much sense, even to me.

RIP the Family Guy guy. The creator of Fox’s Family Guy and The Cleveland Show, animation auteur/professional ham Seth McFarlane, reprised his odd cameo as FBI Agent Jake Curdy. He got a very a funny moment in which we learned he’d been using company time playing a Dungeons and Dragons-like Internet role-playing game. Fellow geek Simon Campos was very impressed to learn he had achieved the rank of seventh level druid tricked out with cool weapons. But then Jake was shot and killed when Janis’ fellow mole got busted and tried to blast her way to freedom. Don’t worry, Seth: at least you still have your day job.

Those were the things that most interested me about last night’s episode. What interested you? Are you interested at all in FlashForward? What do you make of Janis’ turn?

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