TV: Flashback Fever

A recent number of TV episodes that caught my eye all seem to feature an oft-used device: the flashback. Obviously that has been an integral part of shows such as Lost and How I Met Your Mother, but there’s been a few other series that have taken peeks into their own storylines to fill in some gaps. Not only does this give us more insight into our favourite characters, but it also provides a glimpse at “the other side” of some stories that we may have seen or heard reference to already in the series.

Sanctuary has been an OK show so far, but the stories have been getting either irrelevant, or kinda weird (the drug-dealing, “folding men”, demimonde episode comes to mind). This past episode (“The Five”) was finally a bit more interesting and meaty. They brought back Druitt, a teleporting enemy since ep. 1 who is intimately connected with two main characters, and added a Nikola Tesla backstory flashing back to when main character Helen Magnus was at Oxford (in the 19th century). The flashback portions were very short, but it was like looking into the keyhole to see an alternate history where science and the supernatural were comingled. I hope they spend time expanding on that angle rather than focusing on the creature-of-the-week.

I have already declared how much I heart Supernatural but I especially liked this week’s episode (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) that covered a bit more of the interregnum when Dean was stuck cooling his heels in Perdition. Flashbacks reveal how Sam got involved with the demon Ruby again, and how he learned to use his hell-spawn powers to “pull” demons out of their hosts. The flashbacks were great, but this episode also had some heavy-duty plots and introduced big-bad-demon Alistair to the mix. Now I’m looking forward to the episode that flashes back to how Dean and Alistair got acquainted in Hell.

I knew last week’s episode of Heroes was special even from the opening credits (which replaced the usual Heroes logo with the episode title, “Villains”). This episode flashed back (via Hiro’s incredibly hokey vision-quest) to events that happened throughout the one year up to the start of the series. Cool already, no? What made it even cooler is that the stories featured bad guys such as Sylar, Mr. and Mrs. Petrelli, Linderman, Elle, Mr. Bennett, fiery Meredith and her (surprise!) brother blue-fiery Flint. There was so much juicy backstory and so many cool connecting of dots (for example, bio-mom Meredith actually caused the fire on the train that bio-daughter Claire ran into in episode 1) that I can’t even list them all here. This is the kind of story that I love, so after a season with too many confusing and pointless plots, I was really glad that they went back to the winning formula of past shows like season 1’s “Six Months Ago” and “Company Man”. I’m a little sad to return to the normal timeline for this week’s episode (but we need to see how the heroes stop Arthur Petrelli and his decapitation — ew! right? — rampage).

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