Post Game TV Recap: FLASHFORWARD S1E7 "The Gift"

SDCC 09: FLASHFORWARD Panel

By Vaneta Rogers

Wow. Talk about a game-changer.

By the end of "The Gift," the last episode of ABC's , some tape on a window became symbolic of a whole new approach. With one character's actions, this universe has now established that the future is a given. What people saw in their flashforwards can be .

Just last week, I pointed out that the only evidence we'd gotten so far that the future could be altered was the burning of Mark's friendship bracelet. (And who, like me, half expected Charlie to merely make him another bracelet before April 29th?) Besides the bracelet, everything else was coming true, and the show seemed to be saying that there is no way to avoid what's going to happen in six months.

But not anymore. This week's change to the future cannot be altered. The tape's on the window, and the latest development means the entire series has taken on a new tone and possibility.

Before we get into the details of this episode, there are a couple things I need to note first:

- Krap! The Kangaroo!: I completely forgot to mention last week that we saw a kangaroo jumping through Mark's neighborhood, echoing the kangaroo shown hopping around in downtown Los Angeles just after the flashforwards. Showrunner Marc Guggenheim <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/tv/091001-flashforward-pre-game.html>told Newsarama</a> a few weeks ago that we'd see the kangaroo again, so I guess this counts as that appearance. However, he also promised "you will find out what the kangaroo was doing on the streets that day." So far, that hasn't happened.

- Question Answered: I contacted the writers at ABC with the question you guys were asking about Nicole and Olivia's flashfowards and got an answer back:

Newsarama: Several of our readers guessed that Nicole was being baptized in her flashforward. Some others believe that maybe Olivia misinterpreted her feelings for Lloyd or maybe wasn't saying "honey" to him. Would it be possible for someone to misunderstand what they were feeling in their flashforward? Did they hear their future thoughts? Or just their future emotions?

Writers:

So there you have it. I think this answer means it's possible that Nicole was feeling and thinking about her guilt, and therefore things weren't "what they seem," as this answer said. Her feelings as she went under water were what she remembered, and if those feelings were focused on her guilt instead of what was actually happening above the water, it seems possible your guess of a "baptism" could work.

However, I also have to point out that, during the senate hearings we saw, it was stated that most people experienced a full 2 minutes and 17 seconds of their future during the blackout. If that's true of Nicole, I've never been to a baptism where the pastor held someone down for that long! However, maybe she fainted or blacked out during her baptism, and therefore it felt like she had been drowned.

And, it seems like the writers are saying that Olivia's "feelings" of intimacy toward Lloyd were also her thoughts. So I don't think it's as possible that Olivia's flashforward is being misinterpreted. I think she and Lloyd both know that now.

OK, on to this week's episode...

Once I started writing down some of the key things that happened, I realized there was a lot packed into this episode, including:

- Death Club: Our FBI agents found a clue in the "blue hand" part of their investigation: Alreadyghosts.com (a url that in real life takes to you to ABC's FlashForward website). It's an organization for people who had no flashforward, much like our friendly Agent Demetri Noh.

- Dead End?: Unfortunately, there's no indication the "alreadyghosts" organization has anything to do with the actual flashforwards, despite the clue on Mark's bulletin board. It turns out the bodies they found  last week were probably suicides, since the group likes to play Russian roulette. However, the connection to Janis' attacker still exists, since he had a hand stamp from having apparently attended an alreadyghosts meeting.

- Benford Bickering: Mark and Olivia dropped the "we don't trust each other" line from last week and at least held onto hope for their marriage. Lloyd stopped by Olivia's office and confirmed he has no intent to break up her marriage, which I believe is the truth. And he's moving back to "the Bay Area" as soon as Dylan is released from the hospital.

- Annoying Squirrelio: They keep dropping that cartoon into the episodes and it's getting a little bothersome. The voices are those of the actors (you could really tell this episode), and it's obvious there's some meaning behind all these appearances. But I can't figure out what it all means.

- Oh Nohs: Demetri told Zoey the truth about his lack of a flashforward. Finally! Their releationship problems were getting a little annoying. But he didn't reveal the Ides of March revelation that he would be murdered on March 15th, the tip he got from the mysterious Hong Kong caller. Oh well, at least he told Zoey half the truth.

- Turning Japanese: Nichole became a lot more interesting when it was revealed she can speak Japanese. (Bam! Ditzy babysitter stereotype destroyed!) After a stint as a volunteer at the hospital, she helped Bryce interpret some of the symbolism he saw in his flashforward.

- Drawing Doctor: Bryce became more interesting too, because the sketch we saw a couple weeks ago is only part of the story: he's an amazing artist. (Bam! Suicidal artist stereotype reinforced!) It turns out he's obsessed with drawing and painting the woman he saw in his flashforward. At Nichole's prodding, it looks like he might be going to Japan to find his future love, or at least posting on the Mosaic website to start the process of uniting with her.

- Daughter of Aaron: Aaron met someone who saw his daughter die while chasing . While this seemed to point toward her really being dead, those who have guessed that the "40 pounds" in her casket were just a portion of her body got confirmation that she did, indeed, lose a leg. Maybe that's what is in her casket? A leg?

- Celia Solved: The mystery of why Agent Al Gough was looking up "Celia" on the Mosaic website was answerd. We found out that during Al's flashfoward in London (where he was meeting with MI-6 agent Fiona Banks and saw a bird hit the window), he was talking to his lawyer about how he had killed Celia, a woman with two children. It was an accident that caused her death, but the accident was Al's fault.

Then came that ending, where everything changed and the story took a brand new turn.

We found out Al Gough is guilt-ridden over his discovery in his flashforward that he will cause Celia's death, and he can't figure out a way to stop that from happening.

So he decides to control the future and kill himself. He jumps off the FBI building. And with this character's death, .

All the episodes in this series have, up to this point, been indicating that the future is determined. Even when the characters tried to prevent the future, they somehow seemed to cause it. Fate, it seemed, held a power over the show's characters that couldn't be broken.

But with Al's suicide, "Fate" no longer holds that power.

As the actor who played Al, Lee Thompson Young (of fame) told Zap2It:

This made the episode one of the best we've seen so far. And before he died, Al came up with the idea that Fiona should put tape on the window to prevent the bird's death. And she does -- a nice little symbolic ending to summarize the character's actions.

As if that moment weren't enough, the show throws us another surprise. Aaron's daughter Tracy is waiting in his house.

Whoa! So much for that dramatic reunion we were all expecting in April! Or wait. Does that still happen?

So what did you think? Did Al's suicide change the series as much as I thought it did? Did you expect Tracy to show up before April? Got any other theories you want me to ask the writers about? Post your thoughts and discussion, and we'll meet again next week after "Playing Cards with Coyote."

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