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November 06, 2009

"Flash Forward" Jumps Into Gear with "The Gift" (Spoilers)

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Lee-thompson-young Okay, "Flash Forward" grabbed me tonight more than it has since the pilot.  Before, the most macabre moment was the grainy surveillance video of the lone moving figure in the stadium.  You know, the only person still awake during the worldwide human black out that sets everything in motion.

Tonight's episode, "The Gift" wasn't macabre, but it it certainly knocked the wind out of me. 

It was all about the uncertainty of the flashes forward.  Are they or are they not inevitable?

FBI agents Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), Demetri Noh (John Cho) and Al Gough (Lee Thompson Young, pictured left) investigate the Blue Hand club, a group of people who saw nothing in their flashes forward and have decided to live like it's 1999, meaning anything goes.  Including rounds of Russian roulette with six shooters.

Remember, if you saw nothing in your flash forward, it's probably because in the future, you're dead.  That's something Demetri has been trying to come to grips with while still hiding it from his fiance, Zoey (Gabrielle Union).

The head of one of the Blue Hand groups is a former teacher played by Callum Keith Rennie who played Leoben Conoy (Number Two) in "Battlestar Galactica." 

Loved Leoben!  He was one of my favorite Cylons.

But back to "The Gift," Demetri finally tells his fiance about what he saw, or rather didn't see, and she's like, it hasn't happened, it won't happen.  Benford and Noh however are slowly becoming convinced that everything they saw will happen--no matter how hard they try to prevent it.

Which brings us to Al Gough's flash forward.  It involves an MI-6 agent, Fiona Banks, played by Alex Kingston and a call Al gets on his cellphone.  It isn't until the end of the episode, after Al has left a letter for someone named Celia with Demetri, that we discover the cellphone call is to notify Al that Celia is dead.  A distraught Al is guiltridden because he says, Celia's death is his fault. 

As we watch Demetri read the letter explaining the story to Celia, a woman Al's never met, we also watch as Al makes his way to the roof of the police station.  Demetri realizes what he's about to do and when he and the other agents get to the roof, Al's on the edge.

He says, "If I'm not here, that means we can change things.  What I saw, what you saw, doesn't have to play out that way.  I found a way to change the game."

And then he jumps.

Oh man! 

I don't know what got to me more, the acting or the way it was all put together, but I found myself tearing up.  I haven't been very emotionally invested in these characters so far, but that all changed tonight.

And plot-wise, Al was right, this changes everything.  Or does it? 

Does Celia die anyway at someone else's hand?  Lots of questions to ponder, but the show stepped up a notch creatively tonight and hopefully they'll keep it up.

Well done.

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