The Corner

Flash Boreward (Spoiler Warning)

I’m trying very hard to like Flash Forward. But last night made it more difficult. I don’t mind the premise. The trick with anything sci-fi-ish is you can have as crazy a premise as you want, so long as how people deal with it is plausible. So I like the idea that everyone has a vision of six months ahead.

What bugs me, however, is that it appears we’re going to have to spend the next few months enduring all sorts of pseudo-philosophical debate and emotional tension to find out whether you “can change your  future.” The characters treat this like it is an incredible dilemma when you could figure it out all sorts of ways. First of all, if you lack any morals, you can just shoot the person you saw in your flashforward. If he or she is dead, you’ve changed your future. If that’s not your bag, you can just burn or otherwise destroy something you saw in your future. If you didn’t see something that lends itself to such mischief, surely someone did. Someone saw a one-of-a-kind painting or clock or whatever in the future. Remove the possibility of that object existing six months from now and you’ve settled the mystery. Heck, you can just scar or otherwise disfigure yourself. In fact, it seems to me that one of the first consequences of such an event would be for millions of people doing exactly this sort of thing.

Okay, I’m taking that part too seriously, you might say. I’d say, “You’re wrong,” but we can debate that another day.

The more worrisome thing is that last night’s episode was really badly written. The moral quandary of “Do we cut a deal with a Nazi?” is so ancient and tired. They couldn’t use a henchman to Idi Amin or Pol Pot? Is “Nazi” the only label our culture understands as irredeemably evil? What are we going to do when it’s physically impossible to have aged Nazis as characters in TV shows?

Even dumber was this bit about crows dying during the flash forward. Only the Nazi noticed? Come on! They later confirmed the sudden crash of the crow population by poking around on the internet. Someone made the chart of all the crows dying. So explain to me why they really had to cut a deal with the Nazi? Especially after he admitted he was just yanking their chains?

Oh, and the bit about all of the crows dying in Somalia in 1991 was lame for any number of reasons. The chief of them being that the event showed up in the computer because of a record of a CDC request made to DHS in 1991. Uh, DHS didn’t exist in 1991.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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