No Future For You: The Last Racialicious Roundtable For FlashForward

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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FlashForward sold itself on the promise that it could become the next Lost. Instead, it bowed out as ignomiously as Heroes, canceled after only one year, and guilty of the same major sin: failing to capitalize on a multi-cultural ensemble.

But this show actually blundered on a greater scale than Heroes – not only was it created by sci-fi faves Brannon Braga and David S. Goyer, but its’ primary POC players – John Cho, Courtney B. Vance, Gabrielle Union, Michael Ealy and Barry Shabaka Henley – were already known quantities going into the show. In a disturbing omen, you had Cho coming off Star Trek and two successful Harold & Kumar movies, but still in second-banana status behind Joseph Fiennes, who hadn’t had a hit in any medium in more than a decade. Fiennes didn’t do himself many favors with the mostly listless character of Mark Benford, who only seemed to come alive until after his marriage dissolved sloooooowwwwwlllyyyyyyy over the course of the season. Worse yet, the creative team chose to shunt these actors and their characters to the background and burn screen time on nothing characters like Aaron Stark; a pair of Magic Autistic Saviors; and star-crossed, bird-brained near-lovers (more on them later), among others.

chobenford1Not that the series finale, “Future Shock,” didn’t try to redeem its’ ever-beleaguered protagonist, as Mark went into Army of One mode and
ohbytheway finally solved the riddle on his wall – that the show and the series would end with a second flash-forward. In this regard, he got something denied to his his counterparts on more-ballyhooed contemporaries like BSG and Lost – a sense of agency. Here, Mark chose to literally walk into the assault he always knew was coming, and to fight his way out. Similarly, you had Wedeck figure out why his flash-forward had him, literally, on the toilet – because and Vreede chose to go in and save Mark’s ass. (Wedeck, by the way, got the episode’s only “F-CK YEAH” moment in shooting the guy in the bathroom).

As for Demetri, he ended up outliving his own flash-forward, and choosing to experience another one as the series ended. Of course, it made him look like an even bigger ass for cheating on Zoey in order to fulfill Janis’ own vision. (At first, I thought this was almost elegant; Dem’s flash-forward was blacking out in the midst of the second event. But I would be corrected, as you’ll read below.)

In retrospect, The show-closing final montage is so open-ended it becomes funny, in a sad way. Despite Pre-Teen Charlie excitedly telling us, “They found him!”, this show in fact went off the rails awhile back. I know someone remarked on this in an earlier ‘Table, but it really is true: as a BBC production, where 6 or 8 episodes are the norm, this show might have rocked as a procedural mystery with a sci-fi bent (think Life On Mars or Ashes To Ashes). And more importantly, the characters who we wanted to see in the spotlight might have gotten to stay there. Including poor Al.

Now let’s get the Roundtable’s final thoughts on this episode, and the series.

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Keiko & Bryce’s encounter was, appropriately, a horrible misfire. You’d think that Bryce’s feelings for Nicole might’ve given him pause; if he’d told her, “I just want to see this through,” or invited her along to meet Keiko so they could figure out what the hell to do next, that would’ve shown some, you know, maturity. Instead, we got the really really questionable bit with the POC woman at the facility, and the awkward bit with Keiko’s mom at the airport before the parallel “storybook endings.” I’m just glad we’re not gonna get the double-date episode. Your thoughts?
jen*: I always fast-forward through the parts with Nicole and Bryce, but I could see that he just dropped her. I didn’t really care, but it didn’t seem natural, either. That whole thread was completely unnecessary. And I was kinda pissed that Keiko’s mom ended up having to get arrested for the star-crossed lovers to actually meet. (For a whole 17min. Bah.)
Diana: Nicole is better off w/o him. His failure to think about her more, especially based on her impending FF–that she might be drowning to death. A better man may have given her more consideration. But whatever. Maybe Keiko will figure it out and dump him for Half-Stache. That thing at the airport was weird but a necessary plot device.
Andrea: Yeah, but then, that’s sort of the whole problem with a predicted romance: we already know. The best–or most cliched, depending on your viewpoint — romances in fiction, IMO, makes you wonder if the couple will get together due to their own foibles and/or outside forces. Nicole wasn’t a force, just a woman in love who didn’t have the heart to steal Bryce’s heart from Keiko. The writers made way too many assumptions with their character development … which is part of the reason we’re saying goodbye to the show now.
Mahsino: I just think he’d make a horrible boyfriend. The way he fell in love, with Keiko, then Nicole, then back to Keiko the day before he was scheduled to meet her was just irritating. If I wanted to see angsty puppy love, I’d go back to watching anything on the CW.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO VREEDE?
jen*: Seriously. Where did he go? I didn’t see him after he was creeping on the stairs and Wedeck nailed that dude.
Diana: Don’t know. Did we ever know what was in his FF?
Andrea: Homie crept off the set and kept stepping.
Mahsino: We did see him chasing after that guy after he fulfilled his flash-forward of typing in the code. That sort of cryptic ending would lead me to believe he got shot or died shortly after. You know they liked to dispense with colored folks without much sentiment.

Demetri and Simon are the new Lloyd and Simon, I guess?
Andrea: I don’t think Demetri cared about the science — or have the scruples — to be another Lloyd. Hmph.
Diana: Nah. I still don’t think Demetri likes Simon. May I say that Cho looks really good in all black. I hope he resurfaces real soon on the small screen. i know a new Harold & Kumar film is in the works so he may be busy on that.
Mahsino: But if you remember, Diana, it didn’t really seem like Mark liked Demetri at the beginning of the series, so it could work. In fact, I wouldn’t have been all that opposed to the pairing.
jen*: Demetri can’t really be a partner with anyone unless they sign on for all his figure-out-how-not-to-die shenanigans, with occasional “make-you-gayer” comments/actions. I’ve divested from everyone on the show and am glad it’s over now. I second Diana’s hope – More Cho on TV [in a better vehicle].

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Janis got what she wanted – and then got shafted all over again. Still, it’s hard to see what she’d have to offer the Anonymous Big Bads at this point, no?
Mahsino: I just thought they were going to torture her.
Diana: Maybe they want her child. The boy has Demetri’s genes.
Andrea: I thought the same thing…but what would they want Demetri’s genes for? Handsome can’t disguise sexual jainkiness.
jen*: Why would Dem’s genes be important? And since Janis’ having a boy instead of a girl, does that mean she was really s’posed to get knocked up another way?

Speaking of the ABB, we still don’t know what the larger point of all these FFs really is, since we haven’t seen them actually manipulate anything of consequence.
jen*: I think I’m gonna read the book. Maybe it’ll make more sense.
Arturo: I skimmed the wiki. Basically it’s all about Lloyd, so at least there’s one central focus.
Diana: Well the kids, Lloyd, and Olivia seemed to be coalescing more and becoming more interesting as a group of characters. Also, Mark basically told Vogel to save Lloyd.
Andrea: Hopefully, that 2-hour movie extravaganza that’s usually in the works when TV networks are deluded into thinking will regenerate interest in a show will ::in announcer’s voice:: ANSWER THAT BURNING QUESTION! REVEAL SECRETS! CHANGE LIVES!
Mahsino: If you put it in the Syfy announcer’s voice I might agree, because that’s the only place I could see this turning up.
jen*: I think they could probably do a better job of just adapting the book …

kangaroo1Open Mic!
jen*: Dem couldn’t have seen nothing due to him having a flash-forward, because it was 17min later and everyone else (who didn’t die) had one … so … he’s the only big testimony that the future can be changed. Bittersweet, now that I’m not that into him.
Diana: They still didn’t explain that darn kangaroo that went hopping by once again. Wouldn’t other animals be running around too?
Mahsino: There was a dog in the airport that was walking around, so I guess it doesn’t affect marsupials and only some mammals.
jen*: I forgot about that dang kangaroo! Guess the FF just affects people and certain kinds of birds.
Andrea: Maybe the kangaroo had a ring on while the other animals were passed out. :-P And since I was the one who recommended the show, I feel like I should give the show’s benediction. So here it goes: BYE!

Thanks to everybody who hung in there with us – reading and commenting, if not actually watching the show. But let’s close out on an optimistic note: any new shows coming up that you want us to look at?