Stark Raving Bland: The Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward 1.13

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

When ABC executives reportedly addressed FlashForward’s objectives during its’ extended hiatus, it’s (hopefully) doubtful that one of the network’s missives was, “Y’know what? People need more of Aaron Stark.” So seeing him become a focal point of “Blowback” was a classic example of trying too hard with a character who doesn’t deserve it.

Here you had a character that went from mopey sidekick (and looking mopey compared to Mark Bedford is as impressive as wearing the douchiest Ed Hardy shirt at a UFC show) to, this week, Ex-Marine Hardened Ex-Con Amateur Hacker. What, he’s not a ninja on the weekends? His character isn’t worth a spit in the scope of what should be the show’s driving plot – the GBO and the efforts to find the people behind it before it happens again. His only connection to anything important going on is the chance that his daughter, who exists as nothing more than a plot device for him, has been abducted by those same culprits. And somehow, this suddenly-brilliant tactician records a phone-call that proves his suspicions, if not a bigger conspiracy behind it, yet he neither records the call, nor hands it over to his buddy and his FBI co-workers?

But maybe I’m being too hard on the guy. Let’s see what the Roundtable thinks of his antics.

Mahsino: I kept on thinking what a jerk of a friend Mark is. That guy never seems to return Aaron’s calls and be like: dude, you may wanna hold off on traveling to a war torn country to rescue your daughter single-handedly from a band of mercenaries. But then again, Mark probably wouldn’t have talked him down. And didn’t Tracy have a mom that was introduced. Why was she not let in on the whole fiasco?
Diana: At first I was mad at Stark for being so callous in admitting that his daughter was alive when he knew people were after her. That didn’t seem in line with his character, but I recognize it was necessary to move the story along. But I did kind of enjoy him turning all bad-ass and stringing that guy up by his feet. Oh, and how awesome is it that James Remar has been added as a baddie? I’ve loved him ever since The Warriors. Now if they just got rid of Mark, that would make this show perfect for me. Who needs his returned phone calls, anyway?
jen*: So…is it wrong that I kinda fast-forwarded through most of this storyline? I mean, I saw the important stuff, like the unrequited phone call and the ‘Happy Birthday’ scare, but I still can’t bring myself to care about this corner of the FF-verse. It was all a bit ho-hum for me. I did get the foreshadowing about Mark’s drinking tho – as his sponsor won’t be around to prop him up in the future, perhaps this is how he ends up back on the bottle.
Andrea: Aaron, Tracy, more inconsequential to FF than Mark, blah blah blah. Next question.

On the bright side, we had Zoey stepping up, and calling Demetri out on the fact he’d break every rule for her, too. But really, nobody’s considered the possibility of Mark accidentally shooting Dem?
jen*: I’m loving more screentime for Zoey, and also for the couple – but I want more kissy-kissy. Sorry, y’all, I just think this pair is too hot not to warrant a tad bit of makeout when they can sneak it in. I think Gabrielle is being awesome in her lawyerly role, flexing on the terror-girl with her “were you in jail in your FF?” line. It was leaning a bit on the too much side they way she served the FOIA papers on Dem’s boss in the middle of the office, though. Discretion being the better part of valor, and all.
Diana: The writers don’t do a good job of tying up all logical possibilities, including an accidental shooting. Given that Al has seemingly proven that the future can be changed, why not hold the beach wedding before the impending murder date? And why didn’t they destroy the gun? The police evidence locker is not the best place to keep stuff you want to find later. Jen, I agree with you–Zoey and Dem need to stop fightin’ and get with the lovin’.
Mahsino: I always assumed someone was just going to shoot Dem with Mark’s gun, and from the end of this episode, that seems to be where they’re going.
Andrea: What I was feeling about Zoey’s and Demetri’s storyline this week is the writers gave the whys of Zoey’s “confrontational” attitude that we Black women get painted with waaaaaay too often, namely that some of us may use it because we give a damn about something or someone. (Though I wasn’t feeling the writers using a modified version of Sanaa Lathan’s “I-realize-I-love-you” speech from Something New.) Some of us use directness to figure out how best to get and/or protect that thing we want or cherish partly because we can’t count on racial or gender advantages to achieve our ends. And, yeah, Demetri was rightfully pissed off, but he understood Zoey and didn’t start trippin’ on her being an angry Black woman and, worse, calling off the wedding and breaking off the relationship. He didn’t drive her to a Steve Harvey-led panel on Nightline. And I do think Zoey suspects Mark will shoot Dem, which is why she went to his house and interrogated him. Though, if I were Zoey, I’d ask a singular question: “Why the hell are we centering our lives around your ridiculousness?”

So, Janis needs to conceive a baby RIGHTFRIGGINGNOW and Charley Hobbit is going on the road with her and the team. Uh oh … they wouldn’t, would they?
Mahsino: They would. Because if there’s one trope television loves, it’s the hot lesbian of convenience.
jen*: And yet hot is not where I go when I see Janis. I just see lesbian-of-convenience. Who really believes that her baby is coming towards her from somewhere? [tho not yet conceived?] I know it’s not beyond the lengths that tv will go, but after the fight she took to the fertility folks to get pregnant by next week, I just can’t see her sleeping with a d00d. I won’t be surprised, just disappointed.
Diana: Lord, I hope Simon Charley Hobbit is not the daddy.
Andrea: *Side-eyes whole Janis story arc. And Simon Charley Hobbit on GP.*

Michael Ealy’s character is starting to grow on me; it’s obvious he’s got an angle here. But would it be too obvious for him to be Jericho/D. Gibbons’ man on the inside?
Mahsino: Yeah, he’s clearly a mole.
jen*: Definitely. Also…I didn’t love the ego-polishing he threw Mark’s way by telling him that the entire show hangs on his shoulders and that he’s SO valuable. Bah.
Diana: Have they mentioned what Ealy’s FF is? I may have missed it as I glazed over in some spots. I think he’s playing on Mark’s weak constitution–definitely an agenda.
jen*: I haven’t seen Ealy’s FF, yet. Maybe he’ll use this trip to Somalia to get close with Mark’s teams and when they come back they’ll hit him in the back of the head and take over the show and then forget about that sponsor guy and intern guy and we can have a show that is way more interesting with way more hot guys! But I digress.
Mahsino: Now that you guys mention it, how much do you want to bet Ealy is the one who lets the masked men into the office?
Andrea: Diana, Ealy’s FF hasn’t been revealed yet. Then again, perhaps he, like Demetri, didn’t have one because he’s a dead man walking and all this bad-assery is his last hurrah.

Open Mic!
jen*: Was it intestinal fortitude or just beyond unrealistic for Mark to take Lloyd to his house and walk through his entire FF with him? And while we all knew the gun wouldn’t be in the box, did anyone know I’d close the show with Oh, Timbaland in my head? Where did he come from, anyway?
Diana: Oooh! I did a double take. What is Timbaland doing on this show? It’s not even sweeps.
Mahsino: I’ll admit, I did a quick IMDB search as soon as I saw him on the screen. Is he a diehard fan or something? And that whole Mark and Lloyd home tour, I was doing my own narration. It went a little something like: this is the bedroom and this is the bed where you’ll soon be screwing my wife.
Arturo: Worst. Episode of Cribs. Ever.
Andrea: Mark is rolling with a God complex–good call by his shrink, though another side-eye on her giving him psychotropic drugs to tease out his FF–mixed with a savior/martyr complex, thinking he’s suffering through questioning Lloyd for the better cause of saving the world from another blackout. Gawd, just let me put on my Zoey weave and pencil skirt and roll up on Mark with the single question of, “Why the bloody hell are we centering our lives on your ridiculousness?!?” Then I’d roll out and tear up another hotel room with Demetri.;-)

Next Week: The gang goes to Somalia. Oh, this should be good.
Images & Links courtesy of Flash Forward Wiki.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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