Flashforward is no longer with us. Doomed from birth and neglected by promiscuous parents with a penchant for lizard people, the show really never had a chance. But as the season finale demonstrated, the series is not one to go down without a fight, with Future Shock bringing the story full circle and ultimately leaves us teased with the hint of things never to come.
The episode continues from where Countdown left off. It's April 29th, the day foretold in the original global blackout and we are 78 minutes from the actual moment prophesied in the visions. But many are yet to take their assigned places on the crowded stage. Mark Benford is in jail, Tracy Stark is dead and Keiko is awaiting deportation. Oh don't worry my anxious friends, because fate (read writers) have a way of nudging all the moving parts into their predetermined place, it's only the smaller details they like to mess around with, like a plagiarizing writer disguising old for new.
Some of the course corrections aren't the most fluid of adjustments, but they were arguably necessary to reach the only destination that would have made any sense. Mark Benford's re-deployment is one such an example of a strange turn of events. After being suspended from the FBI for battering the head of the mysterious evil organization, he continued to spiral downhill; his exploits culminating in a drunken bar fight and incarceration. This is where the odd U-turn occurs, as Assistant Director Wedeck realizes that after getting drunk and punching some faces, that Mark is ready to have his badge and gun back. I wish my boss was that understanding, but I'm not even allowed to photocopy my groin in the office, then again I do work in a school. It's no surprise that Mark eventually finds himself alone in the FBI with masked gun men on their way to trade bullets and possibly anecdotes (mostly bullets). However, this misdirect was a little unnecessary and ended up creating a somewhat unbelievable series of events. Tracy Stark, provides perhaps the oddest bit of backtracking. As you'll remember, Tracy died near the end of the last episode in one of the biggest contrasts to the proposed time line. Well yeah, she's not dead because the guy was just a bit wrong. The Afghan doctor thought that when people are really still, then it's game over and time for a funeral. In a separate pending court case, he stands accused of burying sixteen sleeping children and one of the Queen's guards.
Although many of these maneuvers did feel quite forced, many were satisfying answers to questions I had been asking since the pilot. Why is the FBI headquarters empty in Mark's Flashforward? Well there are four bombs in the building so everyone has been evacuated. Why is somebody trying to kill sexy Nicole and what does she feel so guilty about? She's actually being saved from drowning and had been hiding Keiko's location from Bryce (you would have thought that in two minutes and seventeen seconds she would have known the outcome to her underwater escapades, but I'm nitpicking). Simply put, the episode acted as a dot connecting exercise and no one would have been surprised to see almost every character in their predetermined place. The season finale was never going to provoke any shocking twists and needed only to explain the preceding events that led to each of the conveniently significant moments. In this respect, the episode was a triumph, with the writers doing an excellent job of attending to each story and sub-plot, whilst maintaining focus on the more prominent chain of events inside the FBI building. It had appeared as though Janice would not fulfill her flashforward, but in fact her journey to the hospital room was as believable as it was satisfying. Wedock also ends up in a bathroom stall, but he isn't taking care of the same kind of business anymore.
One thing that needs to be addressed was the decision to change some of these lesser details from the original Flashforward. Janice's baby is now a boy, Simcoe is no longer post-coital, Mark Benford isn't drinking and Charlie doesn't hear Vogel tell someone her father is dead (although this was a bit of a lame: "he's dead.... because he did go into the building after all"). These alterations were obviously added to freshen up the scenes that we are now all too familiar with, but it didn't make sense for a seemingly predetermined set of events to vary so much from those prophesied. Surely ones fate is either determined or it is not, it can't be a bit of both. Another problem with the time-line was the apparent paradox occurring in Bryce and Keiko's meeting. They share loving feelings for one another that originate in a premonition of that very moment. 'Chicken and egg', eat your heart out.
Future Shock finishes as expected, with a second global blackout and a spectacular series of special effects and images of sleeping bodies in a selection of famous landmarks. It's an excellent way to finish a series but a frustrating conclusion to the show. Obviously, this is through no fault of the writers, who have clearly much more of the story to tell, but the main questions of what the purpose of these Flashforward's is and what future the conspiracy is trying to avoid, is left unanswered?
A satisfying conclusion to the season, if not slightly predictable. All the major plot-lines are attended to and most, if not all, result in a realization of the events witnessed in the first flashforward. Even though we knew we'd get here eventually, it's still fulfilling to witness the events that led each person into position and the forced aspect of some of the maneuvering does little to derail the excitement. Flashy and expertly paced, the final episode in the ill-fated series goes out with a literal bang and lets everyone know what it'll be missing.