'FlashForward' recap: Setting Things in Motion | EW.com

TV Recaps | FlashForward

Jeff Jensen takes on the new series' fall finale and its time-travel/parallel-universe themes

FlashForward | Demitri felt the only way to try to change a future had him dying in a few months was to find out everything he could…

STARING DOWN THE FUTURE Demitri felt the only way to try to change a future had him dying in a few months was to find out everything he could about it, something his guardian angel disagreed with (Ron Tom/ABC)

Mark lost his job, his gun, and maybe his soul. Demetri learned the (alleged) identity of his (possible) killer. Simcoe got abducted by those most ruthless of scourges — killer paramedic goons! And the whole world was thrown into hair-pulling outrage when they learned that two super-geeks with a literal Big Bang Theory may have been responsible for the October 6 global power-nap that killed 20 million people. Last night’s fall finale of FlashForward was an eventful thriller that brought the season’s protracted first act to a close. The episode made use of Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics (FlashForward application: might the flash-forward visions actually be peeks into parallel worlds?) and was bracketed by references to perhaps the greatest time-traveling/flash-forwarding/alternate reality-peeking story ever told, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (specifically, the 1977 BBC adaptation starring Michael Hordern). In one of the featured clips, we heard a ghost say to Scrooge, ”I am here to tell you tonight that there is still a chance and a hope of you escaping my fate” — pretty much FlashForward in nutshell. It was the show’s very special holiday episode, complete with a lovely young woman plotting her own immaculate conception. (That would be Janis, who flatly declared herself ”super gay,” embraced her baby-making flash-forward future, and delivered one of the best lines of the TV season: ”The whole penis thing is a problem for me ‘cuz because I… don’t… like them.” How about that for TMI in the family hour!) Without being overt, offensive, or polemical about it, FlashForward used its Christmas-timed story to remind us that our real world believes in some pretty far-out stuff, from the power of Japanese cat lucky charms (the Maneki Neko!) and Catholic prayer beads, to the possibilities of particle physics and theoretical science, to the annual make-believe fantasy of Santa Claus. In such a world, would a temporal shift in global consciousness really be all that far-fetched? If your answer is yes, then Bah Humbug to you, too. Enjoy that steaming lump in your stocking exactly three weeks from now.

Furrowed Brow and Kumar Go To Hong Kong

Benford and Noh were never going to get away with their unsanctioned overseas covert op, and sure enough, they got busted for it right away. Upon landing in Hong Kong to go hunting for the mysterious Nhadra, aka The Lady Who Knows Too Much About Noh’s Death, aka The Lady Who Poisoned Her Son To Death In Season Four Of 24 (one of my fave cold blooded shockers from that twisty series), Mark and Demetri were confronted by a smug secret agent man who pretended to be FBI but was really CIA. ”Marshall Vogel” told the Mosaic Men that their clandestine mission became not-so-clandestine the second customs scanned their passports. His advice: wing it back home, ASAP. A very pissed Boss Wedeck seconded the motion when Mark finally took his call. But Benford was defiant with both Vogel and Wedeck. He also covered for Noh, telling Wedeck: ”By the way, I lied to Demetri. I told him you changed your mind about us coming out here. Merry Christmas.” Mark’s reasoning? ”If things go south here,” he told Noh, ”you’re definitely going to still want to be carrying a gun.” Alas, things did go south, and then some.

I always like it when detective stories go out of their way to show their detectives using their detective brains and being all detective smart. So I liked the scene where Benford and Noh were ambling down the street (kudos on the quite-credible Hollywood backlot approximation of Hong Kong) and brainstorming ways to solve a needle-in-a-haystack problem — tracking down an English-educated Iranian woman living in an Asian country. Noh — who decided to dub the husky voiced mystery lady ”Eartha” after Eartha Kitt, aka Catwoman from the Adam West Batman TV series (which is why henceforth, we shall be referring to her as Catwoman) — suggested finding and then staking out a newspaper stand that sold both Persian media and Persian cancer sticks. Mark suggested they find a Persian restaurant run by Persian people and asked them if they could recognize Catwoman by their recording of her Purrrrr-sianesque voice. (Kitt represented the show’s coyest Christmas reference: She was famous for her 1953 recording of ”Santa Baby,” and she died last year on, yes, Christmas day.) (On another note, I briefly considered a 1000 word tangent that explored the episode’s implied linkage of ”Catwoman,” ”a cat has nine lives,” ”Schrödinger’s Cat,” and ”Many Possible Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics,” but then decided an awkwardly placed parenthetical would work just as well.)

NEXT: Mark goes down a dark and lonely road