Last night I had an opportunity to watch a couple of shows that I watch on a regular basis… Flashpoint and Fringe. Must have been a night for the “F’s” section of the alphabet soup of shows we watch regularly.
Both episodes touched upon some very interesting themes…
Like soldiers, first responders such as police, fire/rescue, doctors, and so on, are affected in ways the rest of us don’t truly understand. There are always things that can be done better in our lives and jobs. Sometimes these little regrets can snowball if you obsess over them. First responders have the added responsibility of having other peoples’ lives in their hands. So if a mistake is made, even if it’s only a perceived mistake and not an actual one… it can sometimes get under their skin like a burr and poison their thoughts in disturbing ways. But again, this is only conjecture. I have a retired police officer for an uncle and an active fireman as an uncle and I can only imagine the strain they are under at times.
Flashpoint (episode: “Haunting the Barn”) dealt with a situation where a retired police officer became obsessed with a case where two children were eventually killed after a home invasion. He felt responsible. He thought his way into a box he couldn’t get out of and 20 years later at retirement time wasn’t distracted by the job any longer. He snapped at friends and loved ones who only wanted to help.
It was quite a powerful episode I thought – building on a situation earlier in the series where Ed Lane (played by Hugh Dillon) second-guessed and obsessed over a particular sniper shot after the fact.
Flashpoint is a great, underappreciated show in my opinion.
And then in Fringe, amid the liquefying brains of “The No-Brainer”, Peter (Joshua Jackson) tried to protect Walter (John Noble) from a part of his past. Peter wasn’t sure his father could deal with bringing up memories of the laboratory assistant who had died in a fire 20 years ago. So when the lab assistant‘s mother tried to contact Walter, Peter sheltered him.
Eventually Peter saw the light and Walter was strong enough to deal with it. And it was really Peter’s fear of losing his father again at the heart of it.
All of these feelings of loss and regret are very human – but it’s tough to effectively share that on screen without great characters, story, and writing.
It’s nice to see good writing make a comeback on television.
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