From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Flash Forward: “Gimme Some Truth” and “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps”

“Gimme Some Truth” is an episode about two things: The Truth, and Action. The episode opens with a quick attack and then pops back in time to an “earlier that day” where our intrepid FBI agents spend time in Washington DC so that Agent Wedeck (Courtney B. Vance) can testify before the Senate regarding his department’s use of their budget to investigate the blackouts. It’s about the truth of what they are doing, and how.

gimmesometruthWe glimpse Wedeck’s Washington connections: his former friendship with the current president and his contentious relationship Senator Clemente who had a vision she would be President in six months. The President is offering the Director of Homeland Security to Wedeck, but Wedeck doesn’t think Clemente would let a nomination pass. He’s also not sure if he wants the gig.

Now, Senator Clemente is skeptical about the FBI’s private investigation on the government’s dime. Wedeck testifies, but Clemente goes after Benford and his lack of clear vision. Benford is ripped to pieces by the Senator. See, Benford was drunk during his flash forward and while he doesn’t admit that in his testimony, he later admits it to his Wedeck.

Oh, and Agent Janice Hawk (Christine Woods) begins a relationship with a chef. This episode is mostly about the testimony and the history of Wedeck with the President and Clemente, but there is some well done personal relationship stuff between Janice and Maya. It’s a new relationship, but it seems to be an authentic one. It’s just about two people meeting and becoming interested in each other.

There’s a great dramatic attack on Benford and Wedeck at the end of episode. A gunfight. Men with a grenade launcher blow up a car. Elsewhere, Hawk is also attacked and shot. Her lying on the ground, shot in the stomach, is intercut with her flash forward of an ultrasound and her happiness at being told it is a girl. Kinda heartbreaking, but do we have our first answer as to whether visions can be changed? If she dies, we get the answer. If she lives, we still wonder.

I question the ability of these FBI agents to win the shootout and walk away unscathed. Their attackers only came with one grenade? They wouldn’t drop at least one agent? Weak, y’all.

Outside of the implausibility of no casualties in the parking garage, this was a well done episode.

“Scary Monsters and Super Creeps” is a much stronger episode than I have come to expect. In the wake of “Gimme Some Truth”, there were serious issues to deal with. Mostly this is the attack on the FBI agents and the question of whether or not Janice will survive being shot, but also whether Mark Benford’s drinking in the flash forward will hamper the investigation.

The drinking is a focus of Benford’s personal life, but other than a brief interaction between Benford and Wedeck, it is ignored, as it is not pertinent to the investigation. Maybe it shouldn’t be. If Benford was “loaded,” as he said in the previous episode, shouldn’t this call into question what he remembered seeing on the investigation board? Yes, he and Demtri are discovering things he “remembers” from the flash forward, but what is he missing? Benford was “loaded” and thus impaired. What key piece is he missing and how will we know that he missed it?

Now, regarding the attacks on the agents, it’s like the attacks have lent credence to their investigation. The President’s deal with Senator Clemente took the heat off of the FBI, and of course they are to investigate the attacks, but it seems like Clemente’s opposition was a door that was closed as quickly as it was opened. If that’s all we get from Congressional opposition / interrogation, Flash Forward will be missing a potentially vital piece of the puzzle. The door is not re-opened in “Scary Monsters and Super Creeps”, but hopefully later this season the writers will revisit this.

What this does mean is that, as far as we know, Wedeck’s team will be given free rein to investigate as they see fit. From an investigative standpoint, this episode is more about the attacks than the blackouts, but Dmeteri quickly realizes that the blue hand stamp on the captured terrorist is the same one from Benford’s visions. Demetri and Agent Gaugh (Lee Thompson Young) follow this lead and find that there are stickers of the same blue hand throughout the city. The attack and the blackouts are connected!

In other news, Janice Hawk is wheeled into the hospital and Olivia Benford is the surgeon. Knowing of Janice’s vision, she adjusts the surgery to do the best she can to also save Janice’s womb even though this would not be the usual procedure for Janice’s situation. This leads to an excellent scene near the end of the episode where Janice attempts to deal with the potential loss of being able to bear a child.

scarymonstersReturning to the marital discord, this is the first episode which I found the potential triangle to be compelling. After a nice moment between Olivia and Benford at the hospital, Llody Simcoe’s (Jack Davenport) autistic child runs away from the hospital to his “home” on Halloween. He takes a city bus and just walks in to the house. At first you think this is his mother’s former house and maybe a new family has moved in.

But later, after the commercial, we find that this is the Benford’s house. Conflict! Mark Benford is home, Lloyd arrives to pick up his child, notices that the living room and staircase looks familiar, and then Olivia returns home. What we get is some spectacular tension, and, at least in this scene, everyone plays it perfectly. While we can suggest that Benford has not handled Olivia’s vision well in terms of their relationship, his tightly reined in anger at seeing Lloyd in his home and his barely polite terse responses is spot on. What other response is there for Benford?

Praise should be given here for the acting work of Sonya Walger and Joseph Fiennes. Both play these scenes perfectly and this is some of Walger’s best work on the show.

dominicThe great introduction in this episode, though, is that of Dominic Monaghan–a guy who begins the episode as a lady’s man with a drink in his hand telling the woman on a train that he is a genius scientist and that he knows the cause of the blackout. He later reveals his vision to her of choking another man to death. THEN, it is revealed that he was the other man on the phone with Cheating Man previously revealed his complicity in the blackout. Monaghan is one of the masterminds behind the whole thing and there is a nasty tinge to his character.

Just…well done.

“Scary Monsters and Super Creeps” has me itching for more Flash Forward. That’s a welcome feeling.

Joe Sherry lives near Minneapolis. He blogs at Adventures in Reading.

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