Episode: FlashForward 1.08 – “Playing Cards with Coyote”
Original Air Date: November 12, 2009
Screencaps by In A Dream Caps.
After a brief hiatus, I’m back with my take on this week’s latest installation of FlashForward, “Playing Cards With Coyote.” Spoiler Alert!
I watched this week’s episode twice, taking notes during my second viewing, and then sat down to type up my review. As I was sitting here trying to draw some connections, I decided to cruise over to the ABC page for the show and see what their official episode summary had to say. Now, after reading their three-page break down, I have a very different understanding of things. Somehow, I’m not making (or not being presented) some pretty important connecting details to tie things together just from watching the show.
I’m not sure if this is because connections are being made too subtly, or if I’m just not remembering details week to week, or if they just aren’t there. If anyone reading my review has some input on this, I’d honestly love to hear it. Am I slow, or is the show not getting its point across to the audience clearly enough?
Some examples from this week’s episode include the lingerie that Mark gave Olivia. I knew that Olivia threw it away, and lied to Mark about why she didn’t put it on. In my notes I even scribbled that I was unclear about why she did this. According to ABC, “Olivia is totally turned off because this is the lingerie she was wearing in her flash forward starring the ever-present Lloyd Simcoe. She tosses the sexy garb into the trash.” Well, that makes perfect sense, and I’m glad I read that. So Olivia tossed the gift in yet another attempt to avoid her flash forward’s validity. If the lingerie doesn’t exist, how can she wear it in five months time? Got it.
The other point of clarification the site provided was about the end exchange involving the man with the beard and the briefcase of rings. ABC describes this scene as taking place “at what looks to be a military base.” I just spent the last week of my life staying on a Marine Corps base, and I somehow didn’t even pick up on this. It looked like a kind of compound or government facility to me. I think the connotation that ABC calls it a military base is significant. I think they want us to correlate this whole briefcase/star tattoo crew with Tracey’s plotline and Jericho. I’m thinking we’re to assume that these men are Jericho, or are connected to Jericho in some important way.
Moving on from a couple points of clarification, let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode: can flash forwards be stopped? Everyone’s focus now is either proving or disproving the validity of flash forwards, no matter how far flung they may or may not be. Tracey is alive, and now Aaron is a believer that the visions will come true. A man with three stars tattooed on his arm is dead, and thus Mark thinks that flash forwards can be avoided.
The juxtaposition of this setup was great, until they made things so obvious. One of the most predictable plot elements I’ve ever seen (let alone the most predictable development of this series) is that there’s more than one man with the same tattoo. Oh, shock! This was almost embarrassing to me, it seemed so obvious. As we saw that the man in the pet store had the three stars on his arm, I thought: maybe there are others with the same tattoo. I thought that surely an FBI agent wouldn’t put all of his theoretical eggs into one basket. Well, sure enough, I was right and I was wrong. At the end of the episode we see more than one other man with the same forearm ink and yet, sadly though, Mark hasn’t thought of this (some FBI agent he is), and he’s blissfully thinking he’s put a stop to his own flash forward. I’m sure this illusion will come crashing down soon enough, but for now he thinks he’s out-smarted the blackouts.
Another obvious plot item was Ingrid’s future. When Janis mentioned “witness protection,” I literally rolled my eyes. Yeah, we all saw that one coming. Why else would she have blonde hair and be living in New York?
Despite some of the cheesier elements of the show, I really like the way the momentum is developing and building now. To me, I think the case has been made (and is gaining strength) that the visions are real, and that flash forwards will come true. In every person’s story, far-reaching things are coming together to make each vision more and more likely.
Janis is looking up sperm donors, and she’s still alive after being shot. Tracey is actually alive, and she’s back in contact with her father, Aaron. Olivia and Mark are acting cold towards one another, despite their words that they want to work through things. I could go on, but that’s the way I see each case building. The flash forwards are being set up to come true.
Simon and Lloyd have met up for a high stakes poker game, and after Lloyd’s sleight of hand magic, he won the right to go public with whatever it is they’ve done. I’m so curious to know how they caused this blackout (if they did) and what is behind all of this. I’m not getting my hopes too up though: I feel like to tell us the straight-up truth behind what caused the blackout would be a bad move on the show’s part. Once we know (depending on what the cause is), what else is there left for us to ponder on? Well, after six months time, what else is left? Once the cause is known, the visions will either play out or they won’t. At that time, if the cause is known, what else is there left to do and search for? I think the cause of the blackout is going to be the eternal carrot that the donkey’s always reaching for.
On a personal note, I love the concept of “ghosts” that have come up in the past few episodes. The walking dead, people without flash forwards. I think the idea of an underground society is really neat, and to be someone without a vision would be very scary indeed. I think it’s a realistic extrapolation that these people would seek each other out, and that many would become suicidal, or at least live as though they were in an end stage of life. A well-executed plot element in my opinion — I hope we see more quirky uncovering of human response to this strange phenomena.
I keep finding myself asking about different subsets and their relationships with flash forwards: the terminally ill, the elderly, prisoners, people in comas, people who were in surgery during the blackout (maybe they all died?). I want to know more about what populations were affected in special ways. I know this is a pretty in-depth curiosity that may not have anything to do with this season’s direct plotline, but it’s a fascinating aspect of the show to me, one that leaves me thinking long after I’ve viewed an episode.
Overall, I give this episode 3 out of 5 stars. I like the momentum and the overall plot, but this week was too cheesy and predictable for my taste.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars