Cordial Deconstruction

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Prop (In)Convenience Theater Review: Flash Forward, “The Gift”

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 5, 2009

In Tonight’s Episode of Flash Forward, “The Gift”, three undercover FBI agents are attempting to gain entry to a meeting of the underground Blue Hand club.  In an entry room outside the main area, an elderly man meets them and puts a revolver on the table and asks them, “Who’s gonna play?”  To clarify what he’s asking, the man picks up the revolver, puts the barrel under his chin and pulls the trigger (no gunshot), puts the gun back on the table, and repeats his question, indicating one of the undercover FBI agents must do the same and play Russian roulette for them to gain entry.

Agent Al Gough immediately picks up the revolver, puts the barrel under his chin and pulls the trigger as well, also surviving, and puts the gun back on the table.  Agent Demetri Noh then says, “I get it, no bullets, good gag.” Believing the gun must not have been loaded.  The old man opens the cylinder and ejects a single round of ammunition with a semi-jacket hollow point bullet, hands it to agent Gough and says, “Your ticket in;  Welcome to the Blue Hand, gentlemen.” And walks out of the room.

Agent Gough was willing to play Russian Roulette without re-spinning the cylinder (meaning he had a 1 in 5 chance of pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber) because he was alive in his flash forward, and therefore knew he would not die in the present.

The problem is that the round clearly had a primer strike on it, meaning it was either a dud, or an intentionally inert round, though I assume we weren’t supposed to notice that.

To clarify for those less familiar with firearms, this means that the primer had already been struck by the firing pin.  Either the round was dud that should have gone off but didn’t because the primer was defective, or the round was intentionally loaded with an already detonated primer to make it inert.

If we give the prop master the benefit of the doubt and  assume the prop was supposed to have a primer strike, it would actually raise an interesting question as to whether that was a dud or a intentionally inert round.  If it was an intentionally inert round, then the Blue Hand club likely just wants to see if you’re willing to pull the trigger, but doesn’t want to actually kill you.  If the round was a dud, it would raise the possibility that the future is fixed and whatever you try to do to change it will always fail, no matter what, but something that happens at the end of the show pretty much nixes that idea.

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