“If you’re dead – and that’s a big if – wouldn’t you want to know how it happens? Ya, but if you know maybe you can prevent it.”
What did you see?
That has been the pre-eminent question for the characters in Flash Forward through the first three episodes. It wouldn’t be much of a show if everyone saw themselves sitting in their respective cubicles filing TPS reports, so of course each character is pulling his or her hair out over what they saw. Last week, in episode three, we saw the flash forward of a new character trying to deal his way out of a German prison. But unlike the rest of the main characters, what he saw after he woke up from the blackout may be more important than what he saw during the 2:17 in question.
In his case, seeing his near-future brought obvious pleasure as he was out of prison. But as we learned with the other characters, the future isn’t always so bright. Which has be wondering: If you could have a flash forward, would you?
Would you see?
Would you be willing to take a glimpse of your future knowing you could see your comfortable world turned upside down? You’re pregnant but don’t know how. You’re with a child you thought killed in war. You’re with another man.
You don’t see anything.
I would. How could you not? A glimpse of your future?!? If not for the sake of curiousity, then for a chance at answering the age-old question: Can you change the future?
Here we come to the essence of Lost and what will certainly play a central role in the plot as Flash Forward unfolds. The Lost characters believe you can, a point Jack brought them to with varying degrees of difficulty. Rather, they believe you can at least try, or should try if the future you would prevent is worth preventing.
Agent John Benford apparently also believes you should try to prevent the future if you know it will be less than desirable; we’ve seen him burn his daughter’s friendship bracelet. But then we also see him trying to recreate the bulletin board he sees in his flash forward, so maybe he is conflicted between wanting to prevent a future in which he will have gone back to drinking and lost his wife to another man, no this sucks.
The Lost-Flash Forward similarities continue to mount
“It’s called a leap of faith, Jack.”
The epic confrontation between Jack Shepard and John Locke outside the orchid station in the Lost season four finale put it all on the line in the never-ending debate between the faithful and the faithless. There hasn’t been a defining moment of that magnitude yet with Flash Forward, but a discussion of faith does arise with the show’s central characters as they face the prospect of a future they have already seen and don’t much care to see again.
Time and Destiny
Time travel of one sort or another emerged as a central plot device during Lost’s fifth season and fans responded with a massive collective nose bleed. It doesn’t seem at this point like we’ll see the Flashies jumping back and forth throughout the calendar, but destiny is approaching center stage, and with it comes the endless debate over whether or not you can change the future.
The Losties – primarily Jack – believe you can change the future and enough believe you should at least try that they were willing to give Jack a shot at it. In Flash Forward, the jury is still out. Agent Benford took a tentative step toward affecting the future by burning his daughter’s friendship bracelet, but neither show seems to buy into the butterfly effect so the effect of this on changing the entire course of his flash forward is doubtful. We are definitely seeing destiny begin to unfold as the characters start to come into contact with the people they will see in their flash forwards.