FlashForward: Let No Man Put Asunder

We open with a flashback to Mark welcoming a fresh new crop of agents, including Demetri, Janis, and cute dead Al (hi, Al!), to the FBI. Marcie -- the agent who was revealed as the non-Janis mole last episode -- is there as well, in a clumsy attempt to shoehorn her into the FlashForward backstory where she didn’t exist before. Gah, I hate this sort of thing. Call it the Nikki and Paulo syndrome. Or worse, HRG’s partner Lauren on the dismal last season of Heroes, who apparently was his partner/love interest all throughout the prior seasons as well, even though we never saw her. Or heard anyone mention her, ever. It’s vaguely insulting. If Marcie was such an integral part of things, we should have seen her before last episode, period. Trying to convince us of her importance in retrospect isn’t going to work.

Present day: It’s March 12th, three days before Demetri is supposed to be shot and killed with Mark’s missing gun. Demetri and Mark grill Marcie about her motives and her employers, but she’s not forthcoming, other than to say she was recruited by her anonymous employer three months before the blackouts. Marcie reveals that in her flash forward she saw herself in jail, but that she felt happy and important for the first time since joining the FBI, because they needed vital information about her employers from her. Yeah, she’s loveable. Feds from Washington swoop in and whisk Marcie off into their custody.

Little Charlie and little Dylan scheme to meet in a park for a playdate, which unintentionally brings Olivia and Lloyd closer together. Olivia and Lloyd share some tender moments while watching over their kids. Later, Olivia swings by Lloyd’s house to discuss their mutual attraction, and they kiss. It’s all very romantic and dreary.

Stan’s nemesis, Vice President Clemente, meets with him in secret. “It’s been quite a while,” she says, perhaps as a nod to the fact that it’s been eleven episodes since the Stan/President Peter Coyote/Senator-turned-VP Clemente plotline was last mentioned. I swear, FlashForward, I’ve tried to be on your side, but you’re just all over the place. She asks Stan about the contractor Jericho -- her records show Mark had been asking about them. Stan knows nothing about this. Poor Stan really doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of his department, does he? Clemente recently learned the CEO of Jericho tripled the security around his Malibu compound, which seems like a strange fact to show up in her morning briefing, but whatever. At least she has her finger on the pulse of something. She reveals her interest in Jericho: In her flash forward, in which she saw herself as President, she knew Jericho had somehow threatened national security.

At the office, Stan grills Mark about Jericho. Mark admits he looked into them as a favor for Aaron. Stan asks to talk to Aaron, who, per Mark, is “off the grid” -- Mark hasn’t been able to find him lately. Mark seems monstrously unconcerned about his close friend’s disappearance, to the point of being kind of annoyed that Stan is bothering him with such minutiae. Oh, Mark. Never change, you callous bastard.

Aaron returns to his cheap hotel room to find Stan there. He draws a gun. Stan calms him down and introduces himself. Aaron tells Stan all about Tracy. Stan offers to help get Aaron to Afghanistan to find his daughter, provided Tracy gives the FBI the necessary information to bring Jericho down. Stan gets Aaron the proper security clearance, loads him up with weapons and cameras, and sends him on his merry way.

Mark’s missing gun -- which they determine Marcie smuggled out of the evidence locker -- is used to kill a middle-aged man sleeping on a cot in a downtown mission. A man is seen speeding away from the crime scene in a late-1970s blue sedan. Demetri and Mark investigate. A man driving a similar vehicle gets into a high-speed chase with the LAPD, which culminates with him running into an office building, killing a bunch of people, and taking a woman hostage. Mark and Demetri enter the building, and Demetri confronts the man, Ross Webber, who turns out to be a garden-variety conspiracy nut who wants to talk to Macho Man Randy Savage. Which I guess we're supposed to find zany, but since there are a couple of dead bodies lying around this scene, I'm having a hard time finding the funny in it.

Holy crap, this scene is shot in the Bradbury Building. It’s this strange, gorgeous, architecturally weird historical building in downtown Los Angeles -- it shows up in films a lot, most notably in Blade Runner. Why are they using it in this throwaway scene? It’s such a great set, and it feels like it’s been squandered on this scene, which could have been set in any old office building.

Anyway, Demetri and Mark end up shooting Webber, but then discover Webber’s gun isn’t Mark’s gun -- he’s not the guy who killed the homeless man in the mission. Thus, they’re no closer to finding Demetri’s future killer.

Demetri decides to run away to escape his fate. He asks Zoey to get married immediately, so they can scamper off to Hawaii before March 15th to keep him safe and non-murdered.

Mark, Vreede and Janis take Demetri out and get him drunk, pre-wedding. As Janis bundles him into a taxi, Demetri makes fumbling, drunken apologies about whatever happened between them in Somalia. Janis says, “I’m pregnant,” then the cab speeds away before Demetri can reply. Wait, what?

Vreede shows the gang surveillance footage from a convenience store, where Dyson Frost is seen getting into a 1970s blue sedan. Ergo, he’s probably the one who shot the man at the mission. Ergo, he’s probably the one who murders Demetri in a couple of days.

While getting ready for his wedding, Demetri gets knocked out by Dyson Frost. Dyson stows an unconscious Demetri in the back of his car, then goes to a carnival, where Olivia is improbably manning a booth. For a surgeon, Olivia seems to have a lot of free time on her hands.

When Demetri doesn’t show up at the wedding, Mark calls Olivia and tells her to keep a close eye on Charlie. I’m really not sure of his logic -- how does danger to Demetri automatically translate into danger to Olivia and Charlie? -- but in any case, the warning turns out to be warranted: Dyson Frost approaches Charlie, who is running around the carnival by himself, and sits down beside her.


vallikat said…
Just scanned because I haven't actually watched the episode yet. I was curious though to see how they jump us forward in time from November to March. Evidently, they just glossed over that little fact.

Clearly it had to be November when they went to Somalia. That is the only way to account for Janis being so far along in her pregnancy when she has her FF. So if it is now March 12, she shouldn't just be pregnant, she should be 4 months (give or take a couple weeks) pregnant. So I suppose they don't plan on explaining that. I wonder if that means they will reshoot the ultrasound scene so that she is not as far along as she was initially.
Anonymous said…
Thank goodness for your recap. I had the episode on in the background while I read Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire" (which, btw, is really good).

I picked up only bits and pieces of information...enough to go, "Huh?" while feeling little investment in the characters.
Morgan Richter said…
Evidently, they just glossed over that little fact.

Pretty much. I should point out that I mostly just listened to this episode instead of watching it -- my cable has been acting wonky and I kept losing picture. So they may have put up a handy "Five Months Later" chyron and I missed it.

It also says something about my enthusiasm for this show that my cable has been out for most of a week, and I haven't scheduled an appointment yet to have somebody fix it, even though I had plenty of time to do this before this episode. Watching this show has become a chore, and I just don't care enough about it to worry about not having crystal-clear reception.

I had the episode on in the background while I read Stieg Larsson's "The Girl Who Played With Fire" (which, btw, is really good).

I have not yet read any Larsson. "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is next on my reading list, mostly because I have a friend who insists I remind her of the main female character personality-wise, and I'm curious to know whether I should feel complimented or insulted.
Anonymous said…
Morgan - I got so into reading "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" that I finished it in three days. I could hardly put it down. A friend says you remind her of Lisbeth Salander? She's certainly a fascinating character and I really do like her. She's a bit of an extreme personality. She doesn't take any crap. When she gets knocked down she thinks her follow up actions through. I will have to note that with regards to you :-)

Anytime a show becomes a chore to watch it's problematic. It shouldn't be an effort and certainly not one without a payoff. While it was on last night I figured anything I missed (which was a lot) I'd get in your recap.
Morgan Richter said…
She's certainly a fascinating character and I really do like her. She's a bit of an extreme personality.

From what I've gathered from reviews and word-of-mouth, I appear to have relatively little in common with her (my friend was quick to reassure me that I'm "less extreme" than Lisbeth, so there's that). I'll have to read it to figure out what she meant.

It's the lack of payoff that's bothering me with FlashForward. I think the tone is wrong, or something. Thinking of the end of last week's episode, where Marcie shot and presumably killed six FBI agents, inside the FBI building, and nobody seemed to have the appropriate reaction to that -- it was more of an attitude of, "Yay! We caught the mole!" Much like the scene with the hostage-taker in this episode, where he's going off on a wacky tangent about how cell phones caused the blackouts and Randy Savage... but there's a couple of innocent people he just shot and killed lying right there. It just seems off.
Patrick said…
At least we've got to March! There's a chance we might still get to see 29 April before the show is cancelled. Let's not waste our time going back over previous episodes to see how the jump in time was worked out. At the start of this episode - which had no title card revealing a shift forward - we were told that Mark had left 4 messages for Dyson Frost. So some time has passed. But the cross-examination of Marcie had just begun (and she had a black-eye from the fight with Janis) so not so much time has passed from the end of the last episode.

No mention of funerals for any FBI agents killed either. You are very right Morgan when you talk about things being a little off. I also didn't like that Cho told Mark he risked his life in the bank for selfish reasons - rather than to save the hostage. Seemed a bit cold.
Morgan Richter said…
I was sure I'd missed something with my poor cable reception, what with Marcie still looking battered from last episode but it suddenly being March. Very strange.

Demetri not being concerned with the hostage's life bothered me, too, Patrick. I don't need fictional characters to be paragons of virtue -- flaws are interesting, and I'd be fine with Demetri being kind of self-involved -- but I do need them to react like genuine human beings. And in the last few episodes (really, starting from the trip to Somalia, where everyone was perfectly willing to accept the Somali warlord as an ally after seeing him murder their translator and pilot), the reactions haven't struck me as terribly realistic. It's a little off-putting.
vallikat said…
Just finished watching the episode. This was probably my least favorite episode thus far.

The time jump throws the whole thing off kilter IMO. I just find it disconcerting.

Even if I could just ignore it, there are still many problems with this episode.

Stan hooks up Aaron (a man he knows only as Mark's friend and whatever he gleaned from background checks) for his mission into Afghanistan. Yet his own agents, people that he should be able to trust, have been blocked by him practically every step of the way. For what purpose? He said himself that Aaron would probably not be coming back. So what if Aaron is killed and unable to find out anything about Jericho? It just doesn't add up with what we know about Stan's conservative nature.

Why would Janis pick that moment to tell Dem that she's pregnant? What point or purpose does that serve? Does she just want him to die knowing that his bloodline will go on??? Really? I don't know. It just seemed like really bad timing to me.

Why does Olivia feel that just because her marriage is breaking up that this somehow means she is destined to start a relationship with Lloyd? If she can't avoid him she certainly doesn't need to seek him out. They can change the future just by not giving in to it. She was adamant about that very thing before and now she seems to have changed her mind entirely. Why?

Marcie? *sigh* Her whole existence makes precious little sense to me and I have the distinct feeling that in the end it's not going to matter. Her excuse doesn't add up. She felt unappreciated as an agent (and oh boohoo, no on bothered to ask her about her flashforward. Newsflash Marcie: That's because you didn't exist 6 months ago) and so when she was approached and asked if she wanted to be part of something big she decided it might be nifty to turn traitor? She saw herself happy in prison so she decided that killing her fellow FBI agents was a good thing? Really? I mean if she saw herself in prison how does she know that she didn't just surrender upon questioning rather than attempt to make an escape? Why even attempt to escape at all if being in prison was the happiest she had ever been?

Each episode creates more questions and more loose ends and time is ticking on getting everything resolved.

Flashforward is an experiment gone very wrong.
Morgan Richter said…
Vallikat, I wholly agree with your entire comment, especially the part about Marcie. It seemed as though we were expected to sympathize with her feeling unappreciated and overlooked by her colleagues, but, y'know, many of us feel underappreciated at our jobs and yet manage not to open fire in the conference room and kill six of our coworkers.

The characterizations have all drifted wildly off base. Stan sending Aaron into Afghanistan, Olivia reversing her position on Lloyd... It's messy. Even just the small things, like Demetri not showing up for his wedding, so Mark calls Olivia and tells her and Charlie to be careful. As far as Mark knows, there's no connection between Demetri's murder and Olivia and Charlie, so it seems like a weird first reaction. (Also, I guess the man who was following Olivia and Charlie last episode really was hired by Mark, because Mark would've received Olivia's voicemail thanking him for that by now, and surely that would have sent him into a panic if he hadn't hired him. So I'm guessing he's no longer having them watched, because Dyson Frost was able to waltz up to little Charlie without anyone stopping him.)
Patrick said…
Newsflash Marcie: That's because you didn't exist 6 months ago

Hilarious vallikat!

was meant to be in NYC today but twarthed by the volcanic ash.
Morgan Richter said…
Aw, Patrick, I'm sorry the ash has scuttled your travel plans! That must be frustrating. I hope things resolve themselves soon.
Patrick said…
also thwarted by my inability to spell! may get away on wednesday for 2 nights, which is not the longest of visits to the USA!
Art Vandeley said…
Great summary. Thanks for writing that because I just can't be bothered to pay attention to the show for some reason. Am I the only person who was like, "Geez, how many guns does Dimitri own?"
Morgan Richter said…
Thanks, Art. It's getting harder to pay close attention to the show with every passing episode. It's become sort of a dismal mix of tedious, confusing, and silly, and it's just not much fun to watch.

Patrick -- I'm sending you good wishes that you get on a flight soon, now that planes finally seem to be moving again. A short visit to NYC is better than no visit at all!
Patrick said…
No, sadly won't be going. Will have to leave it for the summer. I love my summer trips to America - I buy Entertainment Weekly and get excited about all the new shows. Last year I kept posting that Morgan should recap Flashforward. I believe I predicted that it would be the new Lost, a great success, and the best show of the year. Go me!

Did anyone else mind that Al, Demetri, Janis and even Marcie all began at the FBI at the same time - just two years ago! I'd feel a little worried that the Moasic investigation was in the hands of Mark (who can't detect anything unless he saw it in his FF) and four agents so new to their jobs. No wonder it isn't getting very far.
Patrick said…
I don't like to say 'I told you so' but among my comments were:

'What I like about FlashForward is that everyone sees events 6 months into the future - so season one will bring us to that point and beyond' [September 15]

I also insisted that we wouldn't have 'to plod through lots of filler'.

By episode 3 I was debunking the theory that Demetri was the father of Janis's baby. Although I also commented that:

It just feels that not a lot happens each episode - just a lot of dialogue, not all of it good - and then in the last five minutes we get something juicy like the guy walking around during the blackout, or the crows'. [October 9].

That sounds about right.
Patrick said…
My prediction that the hot-blonde terrorist would be working for the good guys didn't really come to anything either.

Did we ever find out what kind of terrorist she was, what she was trying to do, and whether it was connected to the FF?
Morgan Richter said…
Patrick, that stinks about your cancelled trip. I'm sorry. Stupid volcano.

So, John Cho is pushing forty. According to the FBI website, Special Agents must be younger than age 37 at time of appointment. If Demetri has only been an FBI agent for two years, he was really kind of pushing that upper barrier when he applied. Not impossible, of course, but it adds a little to the absurdity factor of Demetri, Marcie, Janis and Al all becoming Special Agents at the same time.

Ah, the hot blonde terrorist... I don't think we have any clue yet who she's working for or how she ties into any of this. I don't know if we ever will. The show is maddeningly sloppy and full of neglected plotlines.
Dan said…
"Geez, how many guns does Dimitri own?"

Art Vandelay, this is totally belated, but that was exactly my response, almost verbatim. After he shot the bad guy, I turned to my wife and said "Boy, Demetri sure has a lot of guns, doesn't he?"

I can't remember if Aaron was some kind of ex-Forces soldier-dude when the show started. I like to think he wasn't and is just kinda making things up as he goes along. It makes me feel as though any one of us could be recruited by the FBI to sneak into Afghanistan and research evil paramilitary organisations.

Going off the grid, now.

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