Flashforward has been gaining pace in more recent weeks and the writers appear to be making a conscious effort to address certain unanswered questions which the first ten episodes provoked and failed to return to. An excellent example is the story of Mark’s sponsor, Aaron Stark, and his daughter’s presumed death, return to the US and then subsequent kidnapping. For nearly eight episodes we have heard almost nothing of, what to me, is one of the more intriguing plot lines. This week’s episode acts as a welcome return to some of these unresolved questions and focuses largely on Agent Noh’s immanent death as prophesied by the Flashforward.
Ironically enough, much of tonight’s episode is presented in the form of a series of flashbacks aimed at filling in some of the back story of the younger FBI agents, including the recently revealed moles and their possible motivations for betrayal. These are reasonably effective in their explanation of some of the less important choices that have lead the characters to their current situation. However, the jumps from past and present, as well as between the numerous sub plots, are poorly executed resulting in a deep lack of fluidity that left me mildly disorientated. So many stories and questions are revisited that it often feel as if we are juggling a series of situations, none of which are given adequate attention before jumping to the next.
The second half of the episode is less distracted however and Agent Noh’s paranoia and desperation takes centre stage, with an excellent performance by John Cho and with not a MILF in sight. I was beginning to become tired with his persistent state of panic, wondering why he didn’t just simply go on vacation for the week of his expected death, but his story does progress significantly. The largely MIA Aaron Stark makes a welcome return to the fray, with his pursuit of the mercenary group Jericho being given a helping hand from an unexpected source. This is still a shallow sub-plot, containing a rather textbook enemy in the form of a rogue military group that we know almost nothing about. This makes it difficult to engage with what could actually provide quite an exciting series of events as a Father goes out alone to recover his daughter, whilst punishing those responsible.
My favourite character form the show, Dr Simon Campos is entirely absent from this weeks episode, which is disappointing as he holds the story together and I am far more invested in his future than I am with Mark Benford’s. Speaking of Mark, was I alone in wondering why his accent seems to be different in the flashbacks? Spooky.
Although the recently revealed FBI moles are given some attention, I am still having trouble reconciling the idea that Janice is a traitor to her country, especially with her desire for a baby and the fact that the people she supposedly works for tried to kill her only a few episodes ago. An effort has clearly been made to give her more sinister mannerisms, but for me it is inconsistent with her behaviour in the first half of the season. I feel that the writers will have to address this situation and explain her motives quickly to justify what appears to be a slightly forced plot twist.
An important episode in some regards, although not quite as exciting or compelling as the last few additions. The choppy nature of the first half results in a lack of focus but Agent Noh anchors the episode and gives opportunity for some interesting insights. Although more informative than exhilarating, the flashbacks and previously neglected story lines are necessary as the writers regroup before building up to the season finale. The way the episode ends is genuinely haunting and acts as quite the cliff-hanger. This alone could end up being the turning point in a series that is quickly (maybe too much so) connecting the dots to reveal a conspiracy of epic proportions.
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