Well, crap. FlashForward is still happening. Every week I think it'll be replaced by reruns of Sports Night while my TV starts printing $20 bills, but nothing doing. Last night's ep, "The Gift," was a big old fist to the face of crazy, mainly because it finally featured a main character question the falsifiability of the visions but did so in such a patently stupid way you have to wonder what's in store for the rest of the season. Oh yeah: Black Agent dies! So, spoiler alert, I guess.
The episode spends most of its time dealing with a website called Already Ghosts, because everyone knows that (a) spooky websites are totally the way to go if you want to make a great show, because hello Cry_Wolf was a game-changer, and also (b) if you want to start a super-secret underground society that the Feds can't trace, the Internet is the way to do it. Every time I saw the site's logo, I wanted someone to say, "Already Ghosts DOT COM," to heighten the impact. Ghosts, btw, are what the people who didn't have visions have taken to calling themselves, since they're already dead (they say).
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Also, Token Black Agent gets to meet MI-6 Agent Fiona Banks (Alex Kingston), who he saw in his vision. We also find out that in his vision, Black Agent gets a phone call and admits to killing a woman! So, there's that.
Anyway, Black Agent helps Mark and Demetri investigate the Blue Hand guys -- you know, the illogical cult that the FBI somehow stumbled onto last week -- and discovers that the Blue Hand people are leaders in the Ghost community, and everybody meets in underground rooms that look like test runs for Se7en and they punch and kick and shoot each other because they know they'll be dead soon anyway, so why bother. Black Agent and Mark and Demetri go undercover at the club, and I shit you not, in one corner of this dank basement are people dressed up like Abu Ghraib prisoners! And they're being tortured! This is the second ABC show in a week to have jarring hyper-political references (I'm looking at you, V, with that atrocious bit about universal health care), and it's unsettling and weird and lazy. Plus the Blue Hand group leader turns out to be Leoben the Cylon. The Feds take him in for questioning in hopes he can tell them about the blue-handed guys that shot Janis, but he doesn't help at all! What a bad criminal!
Quick question: What the hell happened to Seth MacFarlane?! He was totally an FBI agent in the pilot. Okay so look, through a series of plot points that are already proving forgettable 20 minutes after the fact, Black Agent comes up with the idea that maybe -- JUST MAYBE -- the visions don't have to go down like people think they will, and that the future can be changed. Which, well, duh. There have been moments all along where the agents could have tested the circular logic pushing them to chase clues they saw in a vision, like when Demetri found the soon-to-be customs officer with a bong that would have prevented him from living out his vision. But for some reason, nobody ever tried to do anything till Black Agent, who leaves a note for Demetri to deliver to the woman he knows he'll accidentally kill and then leaps to his death from the roof of FBI headquarters. Dude! Needlessly melodramatic. Plus the show tried to romanticize his death like he'd done something noble that spurred his comrades onto greater lives in which they questioned their supposed destinies, but really, he could've just written a memo about how to start proving/disproving visions. There has to be a better way to discredit a vision than KILLING YOURSELF. Ugh. Oh yeah: Nicole the Pointless Babysitter Character volunteered at the hospital and helped Brooding Surgeon with his vision, and Aaron learned from one of his daughter's fellow soldiers that she got totally blown up in Iraq. Which, drag, but hang on to your time-travel life preserves because at the end of the episode she SHOWS UP IN HIS KITCHEN. Guys, can you feel that? It's the feeling of spectacularly bad plotting.
I really can't believe the network picked this up for a full season, but I'm also sickly curious to see what happens when April 29, 2010, rolls around. After the timeline catches up with the date in the visions, do people just move on? Does Tom Cruise get arrested for future-murder? Somebody tell me already!