FlashForward Episode Ten: A561984

So FlashForward was preempted last week (in the United States, at least -- Australia and the UK, it’s unseemly to gloat) because of Thanksgiving, and the last new episode that aired was kind of a filler-heavy dud. Hence, I’m feeling a little out of the FF loop right now. Luckily, tonight’s episode goes a long way toward getting me -- and the show in general -- back on course.

The mysterious woman (Shohreh Aghdashloo) who called Demetri to warn him of his murder watches A Christmas Carol from her sleek office with a panoramic view of the night skyline of Hong Kong. Taped to one of the windows is her very own flash forward-related evidence wall, which includes a photo of Demetri.

Mark and Demetri stride through the Hong Kong airport and compare notes on the mysterious woman. From her voice, they know she’s Iranian-born and educated in London. Mark’s phone rings incessantly, but he ignores it. A good-looking man in a suit approaches and tells Mark to answer the call, as it’s undoubtedly from his boss. The man introduces himself as Marshall Vogel, who is with the FBI legat -- legal attaché - to Hong Kong. Vogel knows the full story of why they’re in Hong Kong. He suggests they return home immediately to avoid getting fired. He’s kind of mean and smarmy. I like him. Mark finally answers his phone, and sure enough, it’s Stan, bawling him out for scurrying off to Hong Kong against his orders.

In Palo Alto, Gordon Myhill, the director of the National Linear Accelerator Project, addresses a large crowd of assembled reporters. He introduces Lloyd and Simon as assistant directors of the plasma wakefield program.

A visibly rattled Lloyd takes the microphone and explains that he and Simon were researching proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration. They were conducting a particle acceleration experiment on the day of the blackouts… and at this, the audience erupts into chaos. Worldwide, everyone watches the live press conference in shock. Simon takes over from Lloyd and says the result was unforeseeable, but the crowd is not placated. A woman grabs a gun from a security guard and opens fire at the podium. Simon hustles Lloyd to safety and bawls him out for not being more circumspect about their involvement. Simon insists he doesn’t believe they were responsible.

Stan calls Janis into his office and asks her to track down Lloyd and Simon, who disappeared after the press conference. Through an improbable series of deductions, Janis connects Lloyd Simcoe to Olivia. She heads for the hospital to look for Lloyd.

Zoey (I’ve been spelling it “Zoe” thus far. IMDB insists I’ve been in error) leaves a message for Demetri’s parents inviting them to the wedding. She saw them in her flash forward, so she knows they have to attend. One of her lawyer cronies stops and confirms she’ll be attending the memorial for someone -- a fellow attorney, most likely -- named Joyce.

Demetri and Mark search for the woman in the general area where the call originated. Mark finds a Persian restaurant and suggests they investigate.

At the hospital, Bryce considers posting about Keiko on Mosaic, but doesn’t. Good. After the last episode, we’ve had quite enough of Bryce and Keiko for a while, thank you. Janis asks him for Lloyd Simcoe’s phone number, but he refuses to give it to her. Somehow, they drift off topic to how Janis can’t have a baby now, despite her flash forward. Bryce encourages her to try to get pregnant, which only sounds like a skeevy come-on.

While Stan watches talking heads on the news discuss how Lloyd and Simon are mass murderers, Simon waltzes casually into his office, in all his hobbitty splendor, and strikes up a conversation about how Stan really should put him on the FBI payroll. For all the fresh life he’s breathed into the show, they should just be paying Dominic Monaghan his weight in gold ingots on a weekly basis. Simon doesn’t believe he and Lloyd caused the blackouts, and he wants access to the Mosaic investigation files to find who’s really responsible. Stan seems bewildered, but sort of convinced by Simon.

Lloyd drops by the hospital to check on Dylan. Hasn’t Dylan been ready to leave the hospital for the last five episodes? Janis tells Lloyd the FBI is interested in talking to him, but doesn’t really push the subject.

At the Persian restaurant, Mark and Demetri play a recording of the mysterious woman’s voice for the restaurant owner, who claims to have no idea who she is. Mark sends Demetri outside, then threatens the Iranian owner with extradition and torture. Yuck. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Hey, Mark? This is why no one likes us anymore, you tool. This scene is alarmingly unsavory, and my mild dislike for Mark has evolved into white-hot hatred. The owner gives Mark the name of the woman: Nhadra Udaya.

Simon meets with Janis and Stan. They show him classified images of the site where the crows died in 1991 with the location obscured, but Simon, who is a sharp cookie, pegs it as Somalia instantly from the geographical clues. When he sees the strange tower, he identifies it as a specialized pulsed laser for a plasma afterburner, which he designed in 2002. He claims the technology to build it doesn’t exist yet. Janis breaks it to him that: a) he’s looking at a photograph, not a computer model, and b) the photo was taken in 1991. This blows Simon’s mind.

Stan and Janis show him a composite sketch of D. Gibbons and give him the rundown: From what they’ve been able to deduce, D. Gibbons is a reclusive chess-playing physicist who’s been hacking into computer systems. Simon offers to help track D. Gibbons down and “give his testicles a squeeze” for scooping him on his plasma afterburner idea.

Zoey sits in church at Joyce’s memorial. It dawns on her, suddenly, that she never saw Demetri in her flash forward -- it wasn’t their wedding on the beach, it was Demetri’s memorial service. Wow. That’s kind of a weird mistake to make.

Mark and Demetri locate Nhadra at a Chinese restaurant, where she’s surrounded by heavily-armed Chinese men. When she speaks to the men in Cantonese, they put away their weapons and let Mark and Demetri join them. Nhadra tells Demetri that his murderer is sitting at the table: It’s Mark. She reads off the serial number of the murder weapon -- A561984 -- and Mark confirms it’s his gun. Mark, still acting like a great big tool, kicks the table over and kidnaps Nhadra at gunpoint. There’s a big standoff, and then Marshall Vogel arrives and defuses the situation and is awesome.

Olivia offers to help Lloyd transfer Dylan to another hospital to keep him safe from the angry mob. She tells Lloyd he was brave to take responsibility for the blackout. She and Lloyd talk in veiled terms about how they could have totally fallen in love when Lloyd was attending Harvard in 1998, which is when Olivia was supposed to attend, except she couldn’t because of Mark’s job. Olivia is eight million times flirtier with Lloyd now that he’s confessed to being responsible for the deaths of millions. Go figure.

Vogel tries to whisk Mark and Demetri out of Hong Kong. Mark guesses that Vogel isn’t actually with the FBI, because a real FBI agent wouldn’t have let them make such a terrible embarrassing mess in Hong Kong in the first place. Vogel admits he’s CIA, then compares Mark to a flake of dandruff. Vogel is giving Simon some healthy competition for the title of best new character on this show. When Mark’s phone rings, it’s Stan, irate about his shenanigans. Stan tells Mark, “You succeeded in changing the future,” and fires his incompetent, imperialistic, utterly toolish ass. Excellent move, Stan. Can you now hire Vogel to replace Mark as Demetri’s partner?

Nhadra tells D. Gibbons she can’t protect him any longer.

Having belatedly realized Demetri’s family has been dodging her calls because they know their son is dead in the flash forwards, Zoey shows up at the Noh house and talks with Demetri’s mother. Zoey tells her she wants to change the future.

Just to remind everyone she's still on the show, Nicole gives Bryce a present: It’s a manekineko, to bring him good luck in love. Janis stops by and asks Bryce for tips on getting pregnant, explaining that she doesn’t care overly much for penises. Bryce gives her a good sperm bank referral.

Olivia and Lloyd oversee paramedics loading Dylan into the ambulance to transfer him to another hospital. Their demeanor strikes Olivia as suspicious, so she shouts for security. One of the paramedics pulls a gun and shoots the security guard. Lloyd begs them not to shoot Olivia. The paramedics order Lloyd to come with them, and they drive off in the ambulance, leaving Olivia and Dylan behind.

Comments

Dan said…
No gloating from this little Aussie. Just bewilderment that ABC let it happen. I wonder if it will impact on their ratings.

A pretty good episode. Everything seems to be marching toward the pre-ordained future, which does make me wonder if there's any possible way Al's suicide could be undone. So fat, at least, he's the only evidence of the future being changed, isn't he? Everybody else seems locked in (sure, Mark might have been fired, but I seriously doubt that means he'll drop the case).

I would be impressed if everybody came to believe the future could be changed (and had been changed) and then, through some piece of clever writing, it was shown that, actually, it can't and hadn't been. Might explain how some people were taken by surprise in their FlashForwards™

Admittedly, I have no idea how such a clever piece of writing would work. But, then, that's why it's called 'clever', no?
Patrick said…
Dan has beaten me to the first post! I really enjoyed this episode, especially because I got to see it before America.

The key bit for me was that Simon's brilliant theories and discoveries were being used in Somalia in 1991, some time before he had arrived at them. The design of the building was identical to Simon's. I share Simon's disbelief that someone else arrived at the same ideas before him. So if that is correct, then Simon is the inventor of the building in Somalia in 1991, which means that somehow the design was transmitted back in time and used then.

In the same way I think the FF was not caused by Simon et al in 2009. Rather it was caused by Simon et al at some future point and what happened was a reverberation through time. In a way the FF are a memory rather than a glimpse of the future.
Patrick said…
'Just to remind everyone she's still on the show, Nicole gives Bryce a present'. I loved that line.

I've been annoyed by the Nicole-Bryce relationship for some time. It's clearly only designed to give Nicole some screentime until they write the plotline which sees someone trying to murder her. Her friendship with Bryce is just too convenient. Also, Bryce has never met Keiko. If I was dying of cancer, and a really cute girl started buying me presents and meeting to chat to me about life and everything, I'd find it very hard to keep thinking about someone I only saw in a FF for a few seconds and I'd start having guilty thoughts about Olivia's nanny. Fortunately for us Bryce is made of stronger stuff and is not even tempted.

Good to see his cancer is in remission again. The last episode seems to be the only one where it affected him in any way.
Patrick said…
'Nhadra calls D. Gibbons and tells him she can’t protect him any longer'.

Is this an error, or were there variations in the episode shown in the USA? In the episode I saw D. Gibbons was in Hong Kong in the room with Nhadra when she tells him:

'You shouldn't have come here. I can't protect you any longer'.

Zoey not being able to tell the difference between a wedding and a memorial service was also pretty bad. I thought it the FF you sensed the feelings and emotions of that time - yet she didn't notice that she was upset. Unless, of course, she knows Demetri isn't dead. I still think he went back in time and was Suspect Zero in Detroit.
Morgan Richter said…
It's probably my error, Patrick. I'll go back and recheck the episode as soon as I get more coffee in me. It's early here.

Everything seems to be marching toward the pre-ordained future, which does make me wonder if there's any possible way Al's suicide could be undone

Like I've been saying: Zombie Al. Seems so obvious.

Patrick, like you I'm certain Simon's plans were used to build the tower in 1991, using some post-2009 technology as well. Kinda interesting.

I'm starting to suspect Bryce has confused "terminal cancer" with "mild stomach flu." It's an easy mistake to make. It'd be awfully nice if Nicole could be given something plot-related to do in the downtime before someone tries to drown her.
Morgan Richter said…
Oh, good lord. ABC just announced that FlashForward, like V, is off the schedule until March. Since Heroes is off the schedule until January, December is going to be pretty quiet around here, unless I find something to fill the void. Suggestions?
Dan said…
March? Huh. Seeing as the show's moving in real-time, there'll be a lot of catching up to do. Why, Demetri will be on the brink of being shot by then.

In a way the FF are a memory rather than a glimpse of the future.

This, I like.

In the episode I saw D. Gibbons was in Hong Kong in the room with Nhadra when she tells him:

Yeah, that's what we got, too. I'm assuming Morgan just misremembered. Happens to the best of us.

It'd be awfully nice if Nicole could be given something plot-related to do in the downtime before someone tries to drown her.

Maybe she's being drowned because she's so pointless a character.
Morgan Richter said…
Yes, yes, I messed up. Already fixed.

Yeah, March. Which seems to be a last-minuteish decision, so I don't know if they're taking the whole real-time aspect into consideration. I know the show stopped production for a bit last month to give them time to punch up the scripts, but I understood it was only for six days or so.

It might get quiet around here. I'm not going to continue on with Heroes when it resumes in January -- the show has been joyless and low-energy lately, and in turn that makes me joyless and low-energy, and that just doesn't make for lively recaps, does it?

Seems like a lot of shows are taking extra-long breaks with nothing new coming in to fill the void. Ominous.
Dan said…
I can't blame you for not wanting to do recaps of shows you no longer enjoy, Morgan. Been there, done that. Not much fun.

Hopefully you can find something much more entertaining to fill the gap.
averys said…
ABC just announced that FlashForward, like V, is off the schedule until March. Since Heroes is off the schedule until January, December is going to be pretty quiet around here, unless I find something to fill the void. Suggestions?

You could try Dexter and/or Misfits. Misfits is a new show about people with abilities, quite entertaining provided that you don't mind lots of foul language and sexual situations :)

I'm sad to hear you're done with Heroes recaps. Although I understand it's becoming too painful, especially in light of recent rumors about the show.
Morgan Richter said…
I'm not a huge Dexter fan, Averys, but I'll definitely check out Misfits. Thank you!

I'm sad to hear you're done with Heroes recaps.

It's a natural progression of events. I should have stopped earlier this season, as soon as it became clear that the situation wasn't going to improve. The problem is, Heroes isn't even enjoyably awful in a way that makes it fun to watch (like, say, Smallville) -- it's just tired and sloppy and sort of mean-spirited, and it's painful to think of how much better it used to be.

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