Flash Forward: Season 1, Episode 4 “Black Swan” (B)
Fortunately there’s no mention of any kind of religious phenomena as the reasoning behind any of the science fiction elements here, but there’s also not much progress made. The opening sequence was well done, and I think that showing different people’s experiences before and after the flash forwards is just as intriguing as the flash forwards themselves, and certainly much more fascinating than the events that transpire well after the flash forwards occurred (see “The Nine” for why focusing primarily on the after-aftermath doesn’t work well). Olivia’s determination not to let her life be ruled by what everyone saw in their flash forwards is interesting in the way it clashes with everyone else’s ceaseless obsession with what the predetermined future holds for them. The central patient’s logic that he knew he had no reason to be scared because he was alive in his flash forward was cool, and I think it’s that kind of thinking that will enhance the show and keep it going strong rather than all of the characters’ likely futile efforts to prevent the inevitable future from coming to be. Babysitter Nicole has been made intriguing as a character as a result of the rather violent and seemingly meaningful flash forward she had, and it’s great that such a minor character is being given such a tremendous showcase. It’s a bit of a disappointment that future Olivia-lover Lloyd didn’t see her in his flash forward, but he’s now so central to the plot as his phone conversation with one Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) reveals that he was part of the group that made the world black out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. That’s a big surprise, and it’s great to have Monaghan ("Lost") on board, especially as a seeming super-villain.