Thursday, April 01, 2010

FLASHFORWARD: ten down...

Over the past few weeks, thanks to Hulu, I've succeeded in knocking off the first ten episodes of FLASHFOWARD. I am digging it. I read the novel by Robert Sawyer and the show made some very smart televisionally strategic moves in the scope, POVs, and details of its story. The show is many layers removed from the novel, and in fact, it looks like the show's writers must have changed "the answer" to the mystery of the novel. I do like that. That the show even has me thinking that is a real treat. At most I expected some decent stories that might have taken place in the universe of the novel's story, y'know? But this is a new universe altogether.

Except for some odd accents that slip into dialogue by supposedly lifelong English-speaking Americans and Los Angelinos, I dig the cast, which features Shakespeare In Love, Juliet Widmore, rock star scientist Charlie Pace, and young Sulu and Cyborg. Also *random!* a cameo by Seth MacFarlane?! Wack.

O, I *do* wince every time I hear Juliet call Shakespeare "babe." That is really reserved for Desmond, y'know?

*BEWARE* Beyond here, there be *SPOILERS* If you haven't watched the first... five episodes, I think, the rest of this post will spoil a plot thread, so skip accordingly, please.

There is something that I'm waiting to see, a clever trick that exploits the flashforward phenomenon. The thought occurred to me when I suspected that we might have already seen one instance of it, in the Nazi's story. The idea behind my trick requires that someone has foreknowledge of the flash, and knows which 137 seconds of the future everyone will see. Knowing this, this mastermind can then stage an event to occur during that time, and event that will be witnessed six months earlier, and presumed by most, if not all, to be an actual event.

For instance, let's say a flashforward happens at noon on Monday, March 29, and gives a one minute glimpse of the future beginning at noon on Friday, April 2. Knowing that people will be flashingforward to noon on Friday, I arrange to have myself kidnapped while walking in Davis Square to get some lunch. At noon on Friday, a van screeches up over the curb of the sidewalk on Highland Street. Out jumps a couple of my friends in ninja outfits who bag and tag me and shove me into the van and zoom away. All this in front of dozens of bystanders. These bystanders, unconscious at noon on Monday, precognitively witness these events, and when interviewed, all will tell the story of a handsome young devil, the world his oyster, women want to know him, men want to be him, basically, a super awesome guy, being abducted by superpowered ninjas who only managed to subdue him with superior numbers, as he demonstrated himself to be a skilled and powerful combatant as well. Yes, exactly. That flashforward vision, taken to be real and genuine, can now be used to manipulate people to do things in anticipation of this terrible event.

Maybe police will be assigned to that location at that time of day, leaving other bank-ful parts of Somerville conspicuously vulnerable to criminal activity with reduced risk of police interference. Maybe we intentionally use the van of someone we don't like, a politician, perhaps. All those precog witnesses will pretell the van's plate number and thusly connect it to and discredit this person. Maybe I actually hire a look-alike to play me in the kidnapping, giving me a future alibi, allowing me to engage in some shadowy scurrilous something or other on my own.

Hrmm... I didn't think this example thru very thoroughly and am having trouble coming up with ways to exploit it in a flashforward, potentially future-manipulating and self-fulfilling, way.

The most successful incarnation of this would be to have alternate versions of my friends and myself commit the hoax kidnapping, freeing our prime versions to do whatever we want at that time when we actually live those 137 seconds. This means that the flashforwards are actually also flashOvers, and so, do not muck with our native spacetime continuity.

OK, how about that Nazi's story? In his flashforward, he sees himself at customs in an airport, apparently free and allowed to travel. There are a handful of other people in the vision, but only one that he can identify by name, the customs agents who processes him, and he knows who he is by his name tag or plate. So, Nazi gives up this customs agent's name to the FBI and the FBI track him down to corroborate. Turns out the guy has just applied for the job, and his vision DOES match the Nazi's, only fron his point of view. When I saw this, I realized that Nazi guy, once free, could STAGE this scenario for the 137 seconds of the flashforward. Show up before a customs agent in an airport and go thru the motions of being processed, and back in the past-present, customs agent-to-be would think of his vision as genuine, and the vision itself, staged, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Nazi uses his vision as leverage to get himself freed, see?

It's not LOST, but it's got some fun potential.

Keep on keepin on~

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