FlashForward Season 1, Episode 5 Review: Gimme Some Truth

“Gimme Some Truth” is the first FlashForward episode to open, somewhat appropriately, with a scene set in the future. Taking place thirty-nine hours in the future we see a car, containing Mark, Wedeck, Demetri and Vreede, get attacked and subsequently blown up.

With this brief promise of an action-filled climax the episode returns to the present time, switching pace. The group is preparing for a Senate hearing that will review the investigations of federal agents about the blackout. The Mosaic project’s funding is in question and, we learn, the hearing’s chair is likely to be hostile to their case.

Barbara Williams is superb in the role of the chair, Senator Clemente. Bitter at Wedeck’s role in the events of the presidential election campaign six years earlier, she seems to look on the hearing as an opportunity to hurt his career, alleging that he not only exceeded his authority but that he failed to ask serious questions of the team before doing so.

While episode two toyed with the repercussions of the agency having appointed itself investigators of the blackout, here Clemente poses many of the questions viewers have asked of the show’s premise. Most critically, why assume that just because Mark saw himself investigating the blackouts in the future that his investigation would be successful?

Although the episode does not definitively answer these questions, the sequence does provide satisfaction. Characters are held accountable for their illogical decisions as they realize how far out on a limb they really are.

Before the hearing the President (Peter Coyote) had spoken with Wedeck, offering him a place in his cabinet. As the hearing deteriorates Wedeck returns to speak with him, threatening to expose a sex scandal the President had been involved in six years earlier that he had covered up. The price for his silence is that the President must use his influence to ensure that Mosaic receives its funding.

Later he arrives at a karaoke bar where Demetri and Vreede are drunkenly (and amusingly) performing. Upset at the way things went, he directly asks Mark a key question that was dodged during the hearing – why was Mark’s vision a series of fuzzy images when everyone else remembered theirs clearly?

Followers of the series already knew the answer but it comes as news to Wedeck: Mark, a recovering alcoholic, was drunk in his vision.

The scene is easily one of the best that the series has managed so far, largely because of the brilliant performance from Courtney B. Vance as Wendek. In that moment the character realizes that he has put his career at risk by blackmailing the President without being told the full story by his agent. He is mad not only at Mark but also with himself for having not thought to ask the question that was so obvious to Senator Clemente.

Back in Los Angeles, we get to explore the private life of Agent Janis. When she goes out on a date it becomes clear why she was so surprised that she was pregnant in her flashforward. When her date reveals that their flashforward showed them with a wedding ring on their finger, Janis avoids revealing her own for fear of scaring them off.

The next night the pair meet up for a second date but Janis has an unpleasant shock when her date reveals that they’ve read her entry on the Mosaic website. Upset at what she feels is an invasion of her privacy she abandons her date to head back to her apartment.

By this stage the thirty-nine hours have passed and the attack we saw at the start of the episode now plays out. Simultaneously in both Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, attacks are sprung on the agents, one of whom is shot and left bleeding on the ground.

We presume that this character will recover because we have seen their vision during the flashforward but cannot be certain. Of course, if the character dies then we will know that the future seen in the flashforwards can be changed. It is possible that an answer to one of the series’ biggest questions could be just around the corner.

“Gimme Some Truth” leaves us with more questions than answers. Who sent the text message? Did the President order the hit? Was Clemente telling the truth about her vision and, if not, why would she lie?

In spite of this though the episode combines strong dramatic scenes, character-building moments and an action-packed conclusion to great effect. Next week’s episode cannot come fast enough.

– Aidan Brack

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