Friday, November 6, 2009

FlashForward: The Purpose of the Flashes

 I posted this in the comments to another post, but decided it merited an entry of its own.

A persistent mystery of the show is why certain characters in the flashforwards are doing certain things in the future. Why, for example, is the FBI head sitting on the toilet if he knows that Mark will be attacked by masked gunmen elsewhere in the building? If the people in the flashforwards experienced visions of the future themselves, they would presumably behave differently. At a minimum, you would expect the FBI head to be waiting in ambush for the gunmen, rather than taking a dump.

One possibility is that the people in the flashforwards never blacked out at all. If that's the case, however, what was the FBI investigating with Mark's clue board? Other possibilities include that the FBI was investigating a planned blackout that had not yet occurred, or that Mark alone experienced a flashforward.

But there's a much simpler explanation consistent with what I perceive to be the purpose of the flashforwards. The future glimpsed therein is part of a timeline that no longer exists. In that timeline, everyone on the planet blacked out, but no one experienced flashforwards. Mark's clue board reflects the FBI's efforts to determine the cause of only the blackouts. But there's no Mosaic collective because no one experiences flashes of the future. That timeline no longer exists because, in the timeline we're watching, people experienced blackouts and flashes.

That's the key to understanding the purpose of the flash forwards. They're an effort to destroy the old timeline in which people experienced only blackouts by creating a new timeline in which people experienced both blackouts and flashes of the future.

Update: November 10, 2009

Unfortunately, it appears this speculation is probably incorrect.  As Fargus perceptively notes, the Blue Hand appears as a clue on the Mosaic Board in Mark's flashforward, confirming indirectly that most people therein experienced both blackouts and visions of the future.  On that note, I also want to preview an idea I plan to explore further in another post. 

I'm increasingly suspicious that "ghosts" like Demetri are not actually destined to die.  Quite the contrary, their blank flashforwards are like the box containing Schrodinger's cat before it's opened.  The lack of visions is a sign they're capable of altering the future glimpsed by others.  The Blue Hand parties are a systematic effort to eliminate these variables by someone who doesn't want the future to change.  Gough's leap of faith will work by allowing Celia to make some important change to the timeline.

As always, you're welcome to post anonymously, but please identify yourself somehow, so I can distinguish between anonymous posters. Thanks!


Capcom said...

Interesting. I could get into the idea that the FFs are a future that won't happen now. That would really throw a wrench into the works. And, make Al's unfortunate death for naught, which I suspect will turn out that way after all. Was there an "Al" that killed himself in the book too?

But I don't really understand how intent of a planned blackout on the world can coincide with the two apparent bad guys arguing about how their experiment caused this accidental side-effect on the world. Could Dylan's dad be mistaken that it was accidental, but "Charlie" knows that it was really intentional? He does rather clam up when the subject is mentioned, unless that's just one of those TV-pregnant-pauses-for-effect. It could be that someone said to Dylan's dad, "Sure, go ahead and throw the switch, nothing bad will happen," knowing all along that it would happen, but he didn't.

I really must write down these character's names on a piece of paper, I can't remember them all yet. :-B

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I probably had the same problem with names at the start of LOST, Capcom, at least with the ancillary characters. I made a comment to what Big said here on the last FF entry if you want to check it out.

I'm just cynical. Big's idea is brilliant, the show's writing is not. I'd like to see Big describe his idea in an Orientation-like video and mail it, well, take a taxi on over to the studios. Big could then tell the execs that his FF was of the show being off the air...

dj said...

"Big could then tell the execs that his FF was of the show being off the air..." BAHAHA!! Good god, man!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Thank you, dj. I'm here three nights a week and I hear the bratwurst is pretty good.

Fargus... said...


I like where you're going with the idea, but I think the existence of the Blue Hand as a clue on Mark's board disproves it. The Blue Hand club arose as a consequence of people who hadn't had flashforwards finding each other. If nobody had had flashforwards, there would be no reason for the club, would there?

Bigmouth said...

Fargus: You are, of course, correct. D'oh!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Big, I'm intrigued by your Blue Hand speculations after Fargus's comment. Perhaps Dimitri will stop with the death-think once the BH is delved into. Wonder if there was a cult-like deal in Somalia?

Capcom said...

Greg, have you found any V-dedicated blogs yet? :-)