FlashForward: Countdown

We’re finally up to April 29th, the day everyone experienced during the global blackouts. Let’s get the Afghanistan plotline over with first, as only two things of note happen: 1) Aaron discovers Jericho was conducting experiments with flash forwards in advance of the blackouts (what Tracy thought were slaughtered villagers were really just unconscious test subjects), and 2) Tracy dies from her injuries.

Bryce plans a big picnic with Nicole to celebrate Flash Forward Day. Nicole finally ‘fesses up about Keiko being detained by Immigration. Bryce rushes off to the detention center to free Keiko, but her mom has already posted bond and is ready to whisk her daughter back to Tokyo.

Lloyd calls Olivia to tentatively inquire about the possibility that they’ll be lolling around in bed together later that day, as per the events seen in their respective flash forwards. Olivia, who has her hands full with a wigged-out Charlie, hangs up on him.

Mark presents Demetri with a special mix CD of fifteen different covers of Islands in the Stream and urges him to run off to Hawaii with Zoey to get married. This marks the first and only genuinely cute and sweet thing Mark has done over the course of the season. Demetri meets Zoey at the airport and tells her about getting Janis pregnant in Somalia. A strictly rote I-did-everything-for-you scene ensues, which ends with Zoey storming off to Hawaii by herself. Fair enough.

Hellinger, who was captured by the FBI at the end of last episode, will only speak to Mark. Mark tries to grill him about future blackouts, but Hellinger won’t cooperate. Hellinger claims to have witnessed himself being grilled by Mark in dozens of different flash forwards. He picks up a notepad and scrawls out the different paths the day could take, per his vision: They all end with Mark dead.

One of Hellinger’s scribbled pathways includes notation for a tachyon, followed by the word “wipe.” Mark consults with Lloyd about tachyons. Lloyd gives him a quick physics lessons: Tachyons are particles, so the idea of a “wipe” makes no sense.

Mark finds that Hellinger operates a data warehouse called Tachyon Offsite Information Systems. He tells Stan and Vogel that he’s going to investigate it, per the reference on Hellinger’s chart. Stan and Vogel decide they’ve had enough with Mark rushing headlong into things that are destined to kill him and refuse to let him go. Vogel sends a strike team in instead. Naturally enough, it’s a trap, and the strike team is ambushed.

Olivia brings Charlie over to Mark’s office. Charlie is worried the events in her flash forward -- overhearing Vogel talking about Mark being dead -- will come true. Mark reassures her that he loves her.

Lloyd has some kind of breakthrough on the formula he saw himself working on (in between lolling in bed with Olivia) in his flash forward. He bustles Dylan over to the Benford house, but finds Olivia and Charlie gone -- Olivia is trying to avoid the events in her flash forward by taking a spontaneous road trip with Charlie.

Mark interrogates Hellinger some more. Naturally enough, he’s a total dick about it. I don’t think I’d mind Mark being a dick so much if he was, say, a grimly competent dick. Instead, he flies off the handle and throws tantrums and, in general, looks toolish and ineffectual. I don’t like seeing adults throw ineffectual tantrums in public. I lose respect for anyone who does crap like that. Anyway, after Hellinger refers to Mark’s evidence wall as a monument to Mark’s failures (got it in one, Hellinger), Mark beats the snot out of him. He then somehow seems surprised and offended when Stan angrily sends him home for the day.

When the Flash Forward writers and producers go on to different projects next season, I do hope they take away some hard-earned knowledge from this experience about the importance of having a sympathetic protagonist. We don’t necessarily have to find Mark cuddly and likeable, but it’d help if viewers felt something for him other than exasperated contempt.

Anyway, Mark wanders through the streets teeming with revelers. Some random guy hands him a flask. Mark thinks, hey, free booze, neat!, and breaks his long-held sobriety. He gets stinking drunk, gets into an unnecessary bar fight, and gets tossed in a holding cell.

Simon holds Janis at gunpoint in her apartment and tells her he needs her help to destroy the people responsible for the blackouts. At the request of the bad guys, Simon had uploaded a piece of software into the mainframe at the lab in Palo Alto prior to the October 6th blackouts. Janis assures him the FBI has examined the mainframe multiple times already, but Simon wants her to take him to the lab so he can look at it himself.

Demetri drops by while they’re arguing about this. He and Simon pull guns on each other. Janis tries to persuade Demetri to leave quietly and forget he saw anything. Demetri takes Simon into custody, but eventually agrees to help Janis and Simon break into the lab. They hit the road to Palo Alto.

Well, okay. It’s messy (really messy) and ungainly, but at least most of the events seen in the flash forwards were addressed, some more effectively than other. In next week’s finale, Bryce and Keiko will probably finally meet. It’s hard to imagine anyone trying to deliberately drown Nicole, but right now she’s feeling like a terrible person who deserves to die, much like she felt in her flash forward. Tracy died prior to the events shown in Aaron’s flash forward, and it’s not clear what specifically changed in his future to bring about her death, but I’m not too hung up on that. Olivia and Charlie will probably return home, seeing as Lloyd and Dylan are optimistically camped out in their driveway right now; while it’s difficult to see how Olivia and Lloyd will end up in bed together, at least the part about the breakthrough on Lloyd’s equation has a chance of coming true. And Mark is precisely stupid enough to drunkenly head on over to his office to get ambushed by masked gunmen as soon as he gets released from his holding cell, because that's just the way Mark rolls.

Janis? Janis will not be having a sonogram, as seen in her flash forward, because she’ll be running amuck in Palo Alto with Simon (who did not have a flash forward due to being awake during the blackouts) and Demetri (who did not have a flash forward due to being dead -- hey, does anyone really think Demetri’s going to live through the next episode?). And Zoey will be in Hawaii, where she can drop a solitary flower on the beach while thinking sad thoughts of Demetri. Gah. I don’t know. It’s messy and rushed and sort of awful (just like this recap!), but at least it’s coming to an end, and right now, that’s all that matters.

Comments

vallikat said…
Two weeks in a row I actually got to watch the show when it aired. :)

So last night we learned that Hellinger had a nice little money making scheme going with his Flashforwards. Nice. Is that somehow supposed to answer for me why the GBO was necessary and why another one will be necessary? Because maybe I'm just being dense, but it really doesn't.

I'm also at a loss about the Bryce/Nicole/Keiko storyline. She's known about Keiko all of what? A few days? A week at most? Yet somehow this is such a huge weight on her shoulders that she feels like she deserves to die for not revealing it right away? That's more than a little ridiculous. I mean I realize that the whole reason that they were able to become so close in the first place was due to her trying to help him track down Keiko. I understand her guilty conscience and her very mixed feelings at this point. But feeling like you deserve to die? That's a little overly dramatic if you ask me.

I still think Tracy's death would have been a more powerful moment if it had happened last time as soon as they arrived at that field hospital (or whatever that place is). However, I was glad that they did it. Her death made sense to me. See Aaron saw his future, but he had no idea how he was going to get from point A to point B, so he actively pursued point B. There is no way of knowing how things were really supposed to happen in order to get to the outcome he saw. So anything he did, however innocently could have changed that outcome.

I couldn't be more exasperated by Mark Benford than I am right now. If I had a gun I would shoot him myself. I'm very glad this character will cease to exist (in one way or another) by the end of next week's show. I'm not sure I could take another week of the most stupid FBI agent in the history of the bureau.

Dem!!! What are you doing????? Look maybe as a woman I should be applauding him trying to do the right thing, take ownership of his mistake, and stand by Janis. However, I just can't applaud him. He went into this with the expectation that he was nothing more than a sperm doner. He went into this with the expectation that he was not going to be part of this child's life. He went into it knowing that he would be around Janis for the first 4 months of that pregnancy while he was still maintaining his relationship with Zoey, never saying a word because he thought he was going to die. Yet now he feels this sudden need to come clean? For what purpose? Janis doesn't want it. Janis doesn't need it. Certainly Zoey doesn't need or deserve this. Mark may be a dolt, but on this one he was absolutely correct. He could have and should have flown off to Hawaii and gotten on with his life. I don't really get what he hoped to accomplish by telling her the truth at this point.

Olivia finds her brain and decides not to go prancing into her FlashForward. Good move.

Yet, I think you're right Morgan. I think she's going to end up going back home. I'm not sure why she wouldn't want to be there for Charlie and protect her from what she had to hear in her FlashForward (if Mark truly does get killed, I don't think Charlie needs to be alone at the moment that she potenially learns of it). However I think Lloyd will convince her that they need to recreate the circumstances of the flashforward in order for him to solve the equasion. *heavy sigh*

So next week it is off to NLAP. The end of a very long and frustrating journey. I can only feel relief and maybe a little sadness for the quality program that we got to see glimpses of but was never allowed to thrive.
Morgan Richter said…
Yes. Unless Hellinger somehow leveraged the blackouts to make a whole lot of money, I totally fail to see why it was necessary, or why there's going to be another one.

Unless Keiko had somehow died while being detained by Immigration before Bryce could find her, or unless Nicole had reported Keiko to Immigration in the first place, I have no idea why Nicole would feel guilty to the point of thinking she deserved death for not telling Bryce about Keiko earlier. I really think there was some other, entirely different plan for Nicole's character (i.e. she was involved in something shady) that got scrapped somewhere along the way. Remember her boyfriend in the pilot episode with whom she was fooling around on the Benfords' couch when the flash forwards struck? It seems like the original conception of Nicole was that maybe she was supposed to be more of a wild child, but clearly that's not where they ended up going with the character. So now they're stuck trying to come up with some plausible scenario that would fit her flash forward.

Demetri... Yeah. His motivations with regard to Janis's baby and his relationship with Zoey have been all over the map. I'm too exhausted with this show to try to make sense of anything he did in this episode. Zoey made the right move in taking off to Hawaii by herself and leaving him behind.

Props to Olivia at least for deciding not to calmly accept the events in her flash forward. Contrast this to Mark "Well, I Might As Well Get Stinking Drunk, Now That A Bunch Of Strangers Want To Murder Me" Benford. I too am looking forward to never again spending any more time paying attention to Mark's idiocy. One season is plenty.
Dan said…
I'm still obviously miles behind here, and with only one episode to watch. But I think I heard Bryce suggest to Nicole that they go on a picnic and, among other activities, bob for apples.

Did I hear that right?

Will Nicole's 'drowning' next episode be a fake-out apple bob? Or was the apple bob reference a fake-out in itself? In either case, if my girlfriend had a predestined drowning moment predicted for a given day, I feel I might well postpone the apple-bobbing until, say, the following week.

Engh. Whatever. I'll find out soon, no doubt.

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