Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shady Lady: The Perils of Shipping in FlashForward

FlashForward is pretty good. It’s not the post-Lost beacon of light that ABC was hoping would lead them forward, but it’s definitely getting better. It’s like the Artemis Fowl to Harry Potter – pretty good, but always marred by its inferiority.

But a word of caution to all who dare to ship in these unsteady waters.

WARNING: Spoilers for the latest episode.


To be fair, I think we shippers are quick to raise our expectations to TV shows, quick to forget the burns we’ve suffered in the past in the hope that this time, we’ll find that ultimate, perfect OTP who actually get their happy ending. When has that ever happened in a sci-fi drama? X-Files, sure, but how anticlimactic was that? Buffy, don’t even go there. In all honesty shipping is something the fans are pressing on the producers, who see romance as merely another plot device. But still we ship, in vain hope, and it mostly just brings us pain. No reason to think it’s gonna be different this time, yet I can’t help it. I have obsessive-compulsive shipping disorder.

In FlashForward, I have three ships. They are all more or less doomed. They are also random, and unconventional, but in the name of full disclosure journalism I’m going to tell you what they are and let you judge me for it:

1. Bryce and Nicole

Probably the least unconventional and most likely, these two seem headed in the right direction after their unexpected kiss in ‘Queen Sacrifice, and I like the story that’s being told through these two: does Bryce follow the potential happiness that his flash showed him, or does he take the unbeaten path, choose the unknown future in order to be with the amazing girl he’s found and who seems perfect for him? And will Nicole be able to accept his love, knowing that he’s always going to be keeping one eye open for Keiko? I believe in the love that’s in front of you, and I think the audience in general is more invested in Bryce/Nicole because we’ve actually been given their buildup, so here’s hoping they actually stand a chance. But I’m thinking not, because that would be too easy: Nicole is still facing her drowning, and Bryce IS, I believe, going to meet Keiko in that restaurant. The twist I’m hoping for is of course that Nicole and Bryce went to the restaurant together and Bryce will come to Nicole’s rescue at the last minute… but it just seems too easy, and Keiko seems like she’s going to be more important as the episodes go on.

2. Lloyd and Olivia

Haha, seriously, I know I should ship Mark/Olivia, I just can’t. They have no chemistry, and Mark annoys me to no end… so hellooo Lloyd. Unlike most people I actually think that Lloyd is attractive, and Olivia and him are far more interesting! Mark and Olivia are in a marriage that’s falling apart, and Lloyd and Olivia are in the stages of bonding and crossing The Line, and that’s just a way more interesting story to me. But the fact that they got together this past episode kind of suggests to me that they’re not going to be endgame; Mark is the hero after all and I think they’ll work it out, if for nothing else then because of Charlie (random sidenote, Sonya Walger also has a child called Charlie in Lost. Coincidence?! Well, probably). I think Lloyd comparing himself to Lancelot last episode was hilarious, but very fitting: Mark is the one Olivia should be with, but Lloyd is the forbidden, the temptation, and the one she wants. Is it founded on anything but the knowledge that they will be together in the future? Maybe not, but then remember a few episodes ago when they talked about almost having met in college. There’s something fated about the two of them, and I can’t help ship them, as wrong as that is. I’m in the minority here, but I don’t care.

3. Demetri and Janis

TOLD YOU you would judge me! This ship isn’t even a ship. These two people are not even a possibility because a) Janis is gay, b) Demetri is getting married, c) Janis is evil apparently and d) Demetri is so gonna die. But I shipped them since the Pilot! Demetri is my favourite character, Zoe annoys me, and I liked the idea of Janis finding out she was going to be pregnant, and the big question was who the father would be. And I’m glad they didn’t abandon that question because it’s far more interesting to have it be someone we know rather than a sperm bank. Because they actually got together to make Willa, and that was just so shocking and unexpected and warming to my fragile shipper heart! Somehow, I knew that Demetri would end up being the father, and this is what drew me to the pairing... But of course, now we found out that Janis is the mole - which, can I just say, is so inconsistent for her character and a bad move on the writers’ part because we want people on the show we can trust and who we like, and Janis was becoming such a person. She’s pregnant, with Demetri’s child, and I have to believe that this will make her come back to the good side… but I don’t know. They’re having a child together and I’m excited about it, but the fact that Janis would betray her friends like that? Kind of puts a damper on the whole thing.

So. Am I doomed to disappointment with this show or what? I guess the funny thing is that what all these three couples have in common is that I actually didn’t in a million years think that they stood even the tiniest chance of validation. I’ve actually got more than I hoped for so far… I guess I should be thankful! But the truth is that FlashForward just isn't a show you watch for the romance. You watch for the surprises, like the reveal that Janis was the mole, and you're better off forgetting about OTPs and ultimate romantic happiness. One day maybe I'll learn my lesson.

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