FlashForward Episode Two: White to Play

Charlie, Mark and Olivia’s young daughter, stands at a playground and stares at a group of children lying unconscious or dead on the ground. Someone calls “Time’s up!”, and they all stand -- it turns out they were just reenacting the collective blackout during the flash forwards. All of the kids excitedly share their experiences. When Charlie refuses to say what she saw in her flash forward, she gets into a fight with a boy and ends up running away. She runs into the street and sees the National Guard moving into formation. Military helicopters swarm over downtown Los Angeles.

At FBI headquarters, Stan informs everyone that eighteen FBI agents have resigned in the three days since the attack. Lynn Whitfield, looking beautiful yet distinctly terrifying, makes an appearance as Deputy Secretary Anastasia Markham. Anastasia is appalled that Bureau funds have been used to set up the Mosaic Collective website, where everyone worldwide is sharing individual experiences of the flash forwards. The FBI is searching for patterns. It’s noted that the flash forward began at the exact start of the hour, which suggests it was a scheduled event. (There are a bunch of random unidentified agents in this scene, but I feel it is very important to point out that one of them is played by that cutie who plays Cyborg on Smallville.)

Mark leaves the meeting to head to Charlie’s school. Charlie’s teacher is worried that she saw something traumatic in her flash forward. Mark and Olivia worry that Charlie saw that their marriage was on the rocks in the future. I’m just guessing here, but… think bigger, guys.

At the hospital, which has a beefed-up security presence, Olivia finally meets Lloyd, who is the father of Dylan, the injured boy, and also the man with whom Olivia is having an affair in the future. Lloyd doesn’t recognize Olivia -- in her flash forwards, his back was to her. Lloyd tells Olivia that Dylan is autistic. Awkward about the whole situation, Olivia blows him off a bit and hurries to get away.

Demetri and Mark discuss the progress they’ve made investigating the elements on their evidence wall. Just as they’re trying to track down the mysterious “D. Gibbons”, Janis comes in and announces that D. Gibbons just came into the office, asking for Demetri. Mark and Demetri meet with Didi Gibbons, who owns a cupcake shop in Anaheim. In her flash forward, she saw herself in her shop arguing on the phone -- she was saying something about pigeons and angrily telling the caller to contact Mark and Demetri.

(There’s an interlude while Stan relates his horrible and humiliating toilet-related flash forward to Mark, but I think it’ll be better if we all forget about that. Moving on…)

In the hospital, Olivia points Lloyd out to Charlie to see if she saw him in her flash forward. Charlie doesn’t seem to recognize him. She does, however, recognize Dylan. When she sees him lying in the hospital bed, his head bandaged, she freaks out and demands to know what happened to him.

Janis sees that someone fraudulently used Didi Gibbons’s credit card recently in Utah. The FBI gang theorizes Didi was arguing with the credit card company on the phone in her flash forward -- the “pigeon” comment refers to Pigeon, Utah.

Olivia shows up at Mark’s workplace to tell him about Charlie’s hospital freakout and about meeting the man from her flash forward in person. Mark gets kind of upset and bitchy about this evidence that she’ll apparently be cheating on him in six months.

After Didi’s credit card is used to buy a bus ticket, Mark and Demetri head to Utah. They meet with Sheriff Keegan, who, like Demetri, also saw nothing in her flash forward. This seems to make Demetri feel better. Oh, Demetri.

Janis, Stan and Anastasia try to identify the stranger on tape who is up and wandering around Detroit’s Oxide Super-Stadium while everyone else is unconscious during the flash forwards. They dub the stranger Suspect Zero. Ah, it’s like the good old days of Heroes, when Sylar was known as Patient Zero. This is no bad thing.

Mark, Demetri and Sheriff Keegan stake out the bus stop. There’s no sign of the suspect, but Mark sees a nearby vacant doll factory. Thinking of the photo of a doll on the evidence wall in his flash forward, he suggests investigating. Mark, Demetri and the sheriff enter the building, which is thoroughly creepy, with barrels of doll parts scattered about. Upstairs, dolls hang from the ceiling in nooses. They trip an alarm, which makes all the dolls start singing “Ring Around the Rosie.” A figure with what looks like a bomb moves out of the shadows. They order him to freeze, but he tells them, “He who forsees calamities is doomed to suffer them twice over,” then tosses a lit flame into some liquid. There’s an explosion and a gunfight, in which Sheriff Keegan is killed. Sorry, Demetri.

The crime scene photographer takes a picture of a baby doll, the same photograph pinned to the wall in Mark’s flash forward. Demetri is freaked out by the sheriff’s death, but is trying to hold it together. They discover the guy killed in the explosion -- D. Gibbons -- had been trying to hack into high-security computer networks. He’d even been trying to hack into the Mosaic Collective.

Back at the FBI office, Mark hangs the doll photo on his wall.

Lloyd explains to young Dylan that his mother died during the collective blackout. Out of nowhere, Dylan asks to see Olivia.

Demetri, Janis, Stan and Anastasia discover that D. Gibbons made phone calls during the time of the collective blackout to another cell phone. Janis tracks the signal and determines that that D. Gibbons was talking to Suspect Zero.

Janis and Demetri share a nice moment where Janis discusses the weirdness of being pregnant in her flash forward. Aw, man, Demetri’s totally going to get her pregnant, isn’t he? Oh, sure, they talk about Demetri’s as-yet-unseen fiancée in this scene, but there are sparks between these two. Janis posts the story of her flash forward on the Mosaic Collective, which has accumulated over 900,000 postings by this point. At Janis’s urging, Demetri also posts his (complete lack of a) story.

Mark and Olivia share a quiet moment. Olivia worries she did the wrong thing in telling him about Lloyd; Mark reassures her it’s okay. Anxious to prevent the future seen in the flash forwards from taking place, Mark burns the friendship bracelet Charlie gave him in a fire.

Demetri gets a call from a mysterious woman with an accent in response to his posting on the Mosaic Collective. Her flash forward involved Demetri: She was reading an intelligence briefing about his murder, which will take place on March 15th, 2010. Beware the Ides of March.

Mark tucks in Charlie. Mark assures her none of the bad flash forwards will come true. Charlie tells him she hopes hers doesn’t come true, because: “D. Gibbons is a bad man.”


levitatethis said…
I thought the same thing as you...the baby is Demetri's (what? They did have good chemistry!).

I'm liking the pacing of this story and that's helped by the fact that everyone is pretty open with each other about having had visions (so there's none of this plodding "no one wants to admit they saw something when they 'blacked out'" crap) which means the plot gets moved along decently.
MetaTed said…
Thanks for the great show recaps PotA! They are great for someone like me who doesn't catch everything during the show.

One thing that caught my eye was that Didi Gibbons flash forward seemed to be during the daytime. Or perhaps it was just the weird lighting they use to signify the future visions?

And yes, Janis' future does seem to imply that she and Demetri will be doing the no pants dance within the next few episodes. Hopefully she'll realize why she's so upset during the sonogram and have him wear protection ...
Lou said…
Great recap Morgan. This show continues to build at a good rate. Every week seems to be adding a new item or two to the wall and I think that work really well as a narrative frame. It also demonstrates how far Heroes has sunk in terms of well-paced storytelling *sigh*.

Good theory on the baby being Demtri's. But I thought we had seen his fiancee? Didn't she say in her flash she'd seen them together at their wedding? It was in the promo shown at the end of last week's premiere(see here) That's why Im so intrigued why he didn't have a flash when it appears she sees him alive.

I think the lady who told him he dies on 15h March seemed suspect. If we go with the FBI theory that the blackout was somehow orchestrated by a group of people, maybe she's one of them and wants to convince him he's dying as maybe his lack of a flash is the key to working everything out.

OK I just made my own brain hurt with that one, so I'll stop now.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah, the pacing's great. It makes it a pleasure to watch. Everything seems to take place very naturally and logically, and like you point out, levitatethis, there's no sense of frustration with people withholding information from each other. The dispersal of information seems pretty natural -- we don't know what happens in, say, Charlie's flash forward yet, but I don't feel like I'm being jerked around by the writers, either.

One thing that caught my eye was that Didi Gibbons flash forward seemed to be during the daytime

I hadn't picked up on that, but you're exactly right, MetaTed -- it did seem to be daylight. Huh. Interesting. As you say, could just be the lighting...

I know Demetri's finacee will be showing up in future episodes -- it'll be interesting to see if she can shed any light on what happens in his future. It seems too cut-and-dried that he's going to get murdered a month before the events in the flash forwards, so I'm sure there's going to be a twist. Definitely something fishy going on with the secretive woman who called him.
levitatethis said…
When watching a show (generally speaking) one of the things that bothers me is when information is unnecessarily withheld. It drives me up the wall so I'm liking that this show (so far) isn't doing that. And as you noted Morgan even with the stuff we don't know yet it doesn't feel like we're being jerked around.

I forgot last time but I wanted to give props to Shohrheh Aghdashloo who played the mysterious women at the end who told Demetri he would be murdered. She's a fantastic actress and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the movie "The House of Sand and Fog" (should have won for that role too). I'm so excited to see her on this show.
Morgan Richter said…
I wanted to give props to Shohrheh Aghdashloo who played the mysterious women at the end who told Demetri he would be murdered.

Oh, cool -- I'd seen her name in the credits and then forgot about it. (I haven't seen House of Sand & Fog, but she's cropped up in a whole bunch of projects, including that one X-Men movie everyone is trying very hard to forget). I didn't put it together that she was the mysterious woman. I imagine we're going to see more of her. (Great casting overall, by the way: Courtney B. Vance, Jack Davenport, Lynn Whitfield... The casting people have earned their paychecks.)
Anonymous said…
The shadowy man does not die, he escapes though a tunnel or something.
Just watched it on hulu.
Morgan Richter said…
The shadowy man does not die, he escapes though a tunnel or something.

Good to know. I missed that.
Patrick said…
Enjoying this show and loving the recaps!

However I'm afraid I do have some concerns.

1. I didn't like it when Deputy Secretary Anastasia Markham walked into the room and the lead FBI guy said something like, 'Well well, Anastasia Markham, deputy director of Homeland Security, a pleasure to see you'. People don't talk like that in real life. Everyone in the room would have known who she was. When someone new walks into a room in real life the greeting isn't: 'Ah, [Insert name], the [Insert Job and Title], how are things?' They just say 'Look Markham we don't need your help' or whatever.

There seems to be a bit of this in the show, extra lines designed for the audience's benefit.

2. A few too many flashbacks to last week's episode. It was just seven days ago!

3. As soon as the sheriff was introduced and we learned that she hadn't a vision it was clear that she was a dead woman walking. This wasn't subtle at all.

4. In fact so much is being made of Demetri being killed that is seems clear that there is NO way he will die. There will be an ingenious twist to keep him alive. A coma is too lazy, so I suspect that he doesn't exist in the timestream on 29 April 2010, for some reason or other.

I did love the ending, though. I hope that kid is safe in six months time. I really do. Joseph Fiennes' reaction was superb - now that's how to do it without unnecessary lines.

I also liked the toilet humour, as it were.

I'd prefer if they were letting the story breathe. But at times it seems like things are rushed storywise to get to certain points that they need to be at.
Morgan Richter said…
"Ah, Patrick, the Ireland-based frequent commenter to PotA, how are things?" No, you're right. Distinctly awkward. They probably could have smoothed that one over a bit more. I agree, too, that the pacing for this one wasn't quite as smooth as last week's ep. Still, I'm enjoying the journey. Joseph Fiennes is knocking it out of the park, as is... can't think of the actress who plays his wife, too lazy to look it up, but she's very good. As is their young daughter. Really helps with the emotional investment level. Even in the scene where Mark is being distinctly bitchy to Olivia, who hasn't cheated on him yet and who seems horror-struck at the idea that she appears fated to, his reaction seemed pretty natural.

After the buildup? Yeah, I'll be shocked if Demetri really does get offed on the Ides of March. Good. I like Demetri.
Dan said…
I'm with Patrick on the slightly more awkward dialogue this time around. There seemed to be a lot of people reminding one another of things everybody knew. At least in the first half of the story. By the second half they had their flow back.

So, D Gibbons is a bad man. Is he worse than Sylar? Maury Parkman??

Also, am I the only person who keeps thinking Dave Gibbons, Watchmen artist, every time that name is mentioned? Would that make the man in the baseball stadium Alan Moore? I'm sure AM is always at baseball games.

A couple of final questions:

Why does 5'8" and 160lb make the baseball person so definitively male? Am I getting my Imperial conversions muddled up? Are those measurements really so crazy for a woman?

Also, if I was Mark, I'd have put a little note beside the photo saying 'Look out for bombs' or something. Kinda muddles up the predestination thing, I suppose.
Morgan Richter said…
If D. Gibbons turns out to possess only Maury Parkman levels of menace, I'll be highly disappointed. Your Imperial conversions are just fine, Dan. Like you, I had a brief moment where I thought 5'8" and 160 pounds sounded like extremely reasonable proportions for a woman. Then I was distracted by something shiny and thought no more of it until you brought it up. For comparison purposes, evidently Catherine Zeta-Jones comes in at 5'8" and a svelte 130 pounds. So the mysterious figure in the stadium could very well be C.Z-J wearing a bulky parka. And wouldn't that be a fabulous twist?
Dan said…
That would be an awesome twist, Morgan. I've never trusted C Z-J. All that Michael Douglas-marrying? Very fishy.

BTW, Olivia is played by Sonya Walger, who also plays Penny Widmore on Lost. It all comes back to Lost...
Morgan Richter said…
Until we discover otherwise, I'm going to go ahead and assume C.Z-J is Suspect Zero.

I'm beginning to suspect this show is deliberately courting comparisons to Lost.
levitatethis said…
I'm on board with those who believe the mysterious figure at the baseball stadium is Catherine Zeta Jones. That woman always seemed shifty to me.

I agree that the dialogue at times felt a bit stilted this time around and the writers will need to work on that, but overall it was a very strong follow up to the first episode so I'm happy.
Morgan Richter said…
Yeah, I'm still in the honeymoon period with this show where I'm perfectly willing to overlook some clunky bits of exposition, provided they keep bringing a thumping good mystery. (I mean, there was plenty about that first season of Heroes that was somewhat ungood, but there was so much awesomeness that it was easy to forgive. As a very wise man (Don Henley) once said, those days are gone forever -- I should just let 'em go...)
Jason Gilman said…
Pretty good episode overall. On reflection the only thing really missing was anything to do with Mark's AA sponsor's daughter still being alive in Afghanistan. Hopefully we'll see something about that again within the next couple episodes, but it's understandable that you can only squeeze so many subplots into a given episode.
Dan said…
I'm beginning to suspect this show is deliberately courting comparisons to Lost.

And isn't everybody's favourite junkie rock star hobbit due to make an appearance at some point? Any idea how he fits in?
Morgan Richter said…
Jason, I was a little surprised we didn't get to see anything of Mark's AA sponsor's (Aaron?) plotline this episode -- just a quick scene of them at a meeting. Probably we'll get more this week. Aaron seems like he might end up being fairly integral to things.

Dan, I'm eagerly awaiting the appearance of the hobbit. Hobbits make everything better! (A patently untrue statement, actually: I recently watched some awful direct-to-video film about Harvard debaters (pretty Sendhil Ramamurthy was in it, you see), in which the mere presence of Sean Astin failed to raise it to a higher level. Sad, really.)

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