Saturday, May 8, 2010

James Callis on FlashForward, part 7: "I Like Tomatoes."

This is a picspam/blabber about episode 19, Course Correction. Basically we did not get a lot of Gabriel, but next week is his big episode (and his last, sniff!). However, the little glimpses we did have were hilarious and adorable.

I love when he listens to the walkman! Too adorable!
I'm really liking the Olivia/Gabriel interaction. Olivia is no longer freaked out and treats Gabriel like a caring mother or big sister. There's a camaraderie based on doctor/Mommy instincts: "This guy needs me." In other words, Olivia feels the same as us: she wants to cuddle Gabriel. (It could also be because she's in a familiar setting where she has the upper hand, not in a creepy abandoned 80's mental hospital where he mysteriously shows up.)

Lloyd happens to be in the hallway and Gabriel shows up all "Lloyd? Lloyd Simcoe! I knew it!" Olivia escorts him kindly back. Lloyd is weirded out but not particularly scared of Gabriel. He is a scientist who has a lot to do with the blackouts, after all. Also note: James in a US hospital gown! So cute!

"I need my shoes," says Gabriel.
"Your shoes didn't fit, that's why your feet were bleeding," says Olivia. Awww! (L) That's too cute. I can imagine his whole outfit has been the same since the 1980's. I don't want to ponder on his hygiene, but it's somehow adorable that he doesn't care if his coat and shoes are so tight.
"I like those shoes," he says, obviously not caring about the bleeding (and inflamed, judging by the antibiotic drip) feet.

Again, Olivia is acting as the gentle Mommy as Gabriel settles back to bed. We are not treated to a shot of his feet, and I'm kind of happy about it. Gabriel lets Olivia touch him ("Can't touch this!" was hilarious, but it's nice to see him comfortable like this too.)

Gabriel insists that it's good Olivia and Lloyd are now together, while Olivia insists they aren't, like she's talking to a silly child. "You're the best thing since sliced bread, right? You're the best thing since sliced bread!" Gabriel says, excited. I'm not sure what to make of the repetition of catchphrases like this - is it part of his social awkwardness, a routine that makes him feel safe? Or maybe it's the writers' idea of funny? I must admit I don't find it as adorable when it's not "Can't touch this!" (It could be ad libs, of course, but since these phrases are very American, I doubt it.)

The FBI agent (Vreede) shows up to bring him a burger. He unwraps it and inhales the scent greedily like he hasn't eaten much lately (possible) or he's just really fanatic about food (also possible). Gabriel demands, "Where's the beef?!" and Vreede says, "Got it right here," handing over the burger. Eh. It'd be cuter if it weren't such an obvious pun. At least they didn't have him go "Got milk?!"

Gabriel's focus is not completely on the food though, he's listening in on Vreede and Olivia, looking suspicious. Are we meant to take these moments to mean that he's actually eevil? I really hope not.

Vreede wants to investigate Gabriel at the FBI, but Olivia wants him to stay in the hospital until he's better. He also needs a brain scan. Hilariously, Gabriel mouths the words, nods and points at his head. He doesn't seem bugged that others are talking about him as if he isn't even in the room. I guess he's used to that.

James and a burger! *drools* My "James and food" fetish was very happy about this episode.

Gabriel has an amazing photographic memory, and he's drawn a very exact replica of the "Mosaic" blackboard, i.e. the FBI's clues so far on the case of the blackout. He says he was visiting there, so he saw it, and we see him (in the adorable hoodie from next episode promos) clearly memorizing the clues. Vreede realizes this is one of his flashforwards.

(Are these the same jeans? The other ones were baggier, I think. Maybe they gave him a whole new wardrobe. Except for the awful sweater.)

I'm trying to decipher his expression. Is he really supposed to be a villain? Are we going to find out, in the next episode, that he only pretends to be a good guy? But I see no reason to believe that he isn't really a savant - he does have photographic memory, he does have recurrent flashforwards, he was at Raven River. So that part at least is true. But is he pretending to be less high-functioning than he really is? Why would he memorize the clues like this? Is he working for someone? Maybe someone's abusing his skills to their own ends. We'll see.

There's been some discussion on the terms. Someone corrected me that he's not an "autistic savant" because autistic and savant are not the same thing. Others say "idiot savant", which sounds inaccurate to me if he's actually highly intelligent. But eh, if someone knows more please enlighten me. I'll just say savant from now on.

Edit: ah, thank you Wikipedia. Savant syndrome - not the same as autism (although they often overlap). I'm not sure how the show deals with these terms though. It could be that he's depicted as an autistic savant specifically.

Whether or not he turns out to be a villain, let's just enjoy the Gabriel we know and love for as long as it lasts. Possibly the funniest scene so far - he suddenly goes "Oh no! OH NO!" and picks at his burger. "I don't LIKE pickles!"

"I don't like lettuce!!" (He looks terrified! (L) I must admit the lettuce looks old and weary though.)

"I HATE ONIONS!!!!" (Begone ye foul demon!! This goes in my gallery of Best Expressions Ever.)

(instantly calms down) "I .... like tomatoes. I like... like tomatoes."

This is Gabriel. It's hilarious, but it's also kind of sad - he has to have it just so because this brings him safety.

This whole guest spot has been such a triumph for James. We'll see what next week brings!


Elina said...

You make the best picspams, ever and always. :D

I love the expression when he finds the tomato "ooohhh!" then eating it :D :D A person who appreciates the simple pleasures in life, like food!

Those jeans are definitely better, they do look tighter.

Is savant a real life term, or something used in scifi shows where people can actually have psychic abilities?

Deniselle said...

Awww! *hugs*

His expressions are the best. The question is how he and the others could do that scene without cracking up. :D

It's amusing that the other clothes were so tight, except for the baggy jeans (maybe he stole those off some hobo?)

Savant is a real life term, referring to someone with a disability/brain problem who has exceptional skills limited to some area (memory, mathematics, etc.) Actually, let's see.

Ah, OK, it seems autism is common among savants, but it's not synonymous with it.

(Darold Teffert is a hilarious name.)

Nicole Anell said...

Maybe it's an American thing, but I still find him repeating things like "best thing since sliced bread" and "Where's the beef?" cute.

(In case you don't know: "Where's the beef?" is from an old Wendy's commercial from the '80s - I like the idea that he repeats things from TV - I actually thought he was *trying* to make a joke by quoting it and the guy didn't really catch on.)

P.S. His "You deserve a break today" in the first episode was an old McDonald's slogan. :)

Deniselle said...

Ah! I knew "where's the beef" from it being quoted all over, but I didn't know about the McDo's thing. These references are pretty old; McDonald's came to Finland in 1982 and we still don't have Wendy's, so it's no wonder I didn't know them.

I've always found TV ppl speaking in pop culture quotes kind of annoying. It's like they're trying to emphasize that this is TV.

But you're right that it could fit his persona. Maybe repeating old catchphrases makes him feel safe. Like he was in Raven River still in the 80's, before Frost came along, and this is from an era he remembers as safe and positive?