Flashforward: Back to [Boring] Basics

Oh, FlashForward. Remember when you downgraded from boring suckitude into poppy camp action? It was just last week, but it feels so long ago. Last night, though, you were back to your old expository tricks, rattling off plots and coincidences like it was going out of style. Like I fear you soon might be. Even though ABC has picked up FlashForward for a full season, the producers said in September that to tell the story they want, they'll need three seasons. They won't be able to do that if they keep making episodes like last night's "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps," which was 90% repetitive filler and 10% mild relevance.

The episode opens with Dominic Monaghan seducing a chick on a train by describing the Schrodinger's cat paradox. Man, that line worked for me so many times when I was single. Part of the cold open was interrupted here in Houston by a storm warning from local news, but when FlashForward returned, I wasn't lost at all. That's what this show has become: something from which you can literally excise footage without losing meaning. Oh yeah, Charl -- sorry, Simon -- tells the girl that in his flashforward, he strangles and kills a guy. Then he sleeps with her.

Janis, still freshly shot, gets operated on by Olivia, though to save her life, Olivia winds up performing a procedure (a b-lynch; Google it at work!) that reduces Olivia's ability to have children. So, that's an oopsy. Just once, though, I want something to happen that proves/disproves the visions.

The boss tells Demetri and Underdeveloped Black Agent Stock Character #356 to leave the hospital, so Demetri goes all Lethal Weapon and enlists Black Agent for a manhunt across the city for the guys who shot Janis. Black Agent, pretty easily taking the Danny Glover role, does his best to calm Demetri down, but no dice. They find a stamp of a blue hand on the body of one of the gunmen Janis took down, and so naturally they follow that through a series of logical leaps that strain the bounds of rationality, even for a network genre show. It's like when Stephen Colbert spoofs Dan Brown. Seriously: Demetri remembers that Mark's vision board had the phrases "blue hand" and "Baltimore" related, so he decides to check out Baltimore Avenue in Silver Lake. (Apparently the FBI is in danger of being attacked by kids in skinny jeans with really strong opinions about Smiths records.) Demetri and Black Agent drive around and see a blue hand sticker with three fingers, so they drive three blocks away and find another sticker ZOMG, and that points to a house, and in the house there's bloodstains and corpses with blue gloves. Yeah. Just: Yeah.

There was also the whole drama with Olivia and Mark and Lloyd the British guy who's apparently gonna hook up with Olivia by flashforward day. Lloyd's son, Dylan, who's autistic (if I remember), bolts the hospital and makes his way to Mark's house on Halloween, saying, "It's my house, too." Mark and Lloyd are just figuring out who the other guy is when Olivia gets home and realizes the problem. The good moment, though, was when Lloyd found Dylan at Mark's and looked around the living room, realizing it was the place he'd seen in his own vision. But instead of playing out the thread and seeing what happened, the writers had Mark get all huffy and kick Lloyd out, and then he was a total dick to Olivia and acted like she'd already slept with the guy. DUDE. You of all people should know that these visions are mostly true, so throwing a fit isn't gonna help. You are actually driving her away, into the arms of the dude you just threw out! Score another one for circular logic.

Simon shows back up at the end to melodramatically remind Lloyd -- and you, the lucky viewer -- that they're in cahoots and caused the blackout. Lloyd even says, "Our experiment killed 20 million people, Simon. What more is there to say?" Um, not much? Really, this show just loves killing time. Like when Mark saw kids out on Halloween wearing masks like the guys in his vision, and he chases them down only to find out that of course they're pranksters. They couldn't be anything else. But we still got a needless chase, just to pad the hour.

Best part of the night: The ad for the new (and final) season of Lost, coming in January.

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