Friday, October 16, 2009

FlashForward: Season 1 Episode 4 - Black Swan

Hello all of you leather pants wearing fearless dancers of the world and welcome to yet another recap here on the FlashForward "almost" Addicts blog!  Well, Lord of the Rings and LOST fans have been patiently waiting for a certain character to show up on this new serial drama, and he sure showed up in a big way didn't he?   We'll get to it a bit later.  For now let's discuss our reaction to this new installment of FlashForward.  Pretty good yet again wasn't it?  It was a solid outing that advanced the story lines of some of the key characters who are heading towards a "potentially" defined outcome. Once again we had a struggle of the Believers vs. Not-Want to Believers in this episode and then ended with a crazy cliffhanging moment.

This week continued to focus on Demetri's coping of his supposed March 15th expiration date.  Olivia and Bryce have a new patient at the hospital with an interesting outlook on life.  Meanwhile, Olivia has a few more run-ins with Lloyd Simcoe - her supposed future lover!  And we get a little more information about why the Benford's nanny Nicole went MIA after the flash.  Let's dive in!

Date: October 20th, 2009

MOSAIC Investigation
Basically by the end of this episode, we feel like we pushed the pause button on the MOSAIC Investigation.  Demetri leads Mark to what seems like a dead end, and the Mark decides to grow a pair and follow up on a hunch from last week by the end of the episode.  But, even when it seems like nothing happens, there are still moments to discuss!

Demetri and Zoey Discussion

  • Zoey, in the midst of wedding planning, seems to be digging for information for a story from Demetri.  Looks like Zoey is a journalist or news reporter of some kind.  She was asking about Alda, the terrorist that Mark and Demetri were chasing in the first episode (prior to the blackout).
    Thanks commenter MIB815 for pointing out that Zoey is a Defense Attorney!
  • Basically, Zoey convinces Demetri that if "Bin Laden in Prada" has anything to do with the blackouts, they should be drilling her for info.  

Mark and Stan Wedeck Discussion

  • Mark tried to get the green light to follow up on the 1991 Dead Crows lead in Somalia.  Chief Wedeck was very reluctant to send Mark on another wild goose chase across the country, claiming that all they got from the trip to Germany was a story about dead birds.   Hmmm, really?  I could've sworn that report said that PEOPLE were unconscious too in 1991.   I guess it was all a writer's excuse to hold that storyline off for an episode!  
  • Apparently the CIA is giving the FBI the runaround on providing access to their files on the Somalia incident. Hmmm, that's interesting isn't it?  Could the government possibly be involved in this worldwide catastrophe?  
  • Mark briefly mentions to Agent Gough about a computer hacker they had recently caught that would love the opportunity to hack into the CIA mainframe.  Gough quickly convinces Mark that this is illegal and not a good idea.

Alda's Lead

  • Demetri attempts to get information on the blackouts from Alda.  She claims she was not involved and that they need to talk to her associates (who all died in the blackout).  Does that mean they ARE involved?   
  • Alda sells Demetri by telling him he's running out of time, which seemed to imply that maybe she was involved and had information on Demetri's fate.  Later we find out Alda had overheard that Demetri didn't see anything in his flash forward so she seemed to be messing with Demetri's head.   
  • She does give up a clue "Custom Choice Restaurant Group" that leads Mark and Demetri on a Wedeck approved mission since it is a "legit" lead on a known terrorist.  
  • Dem and Mark head to Indio, California to what seems to be a regular old Burger joint.  Once the cook gets wind that the FBI are there, he bolts out of the place with his backpack.   Crazy chase scene ensues ending in a trailer park where they find out that he is a drug dealer with his own special brand of weed called Yellow Cake.  The guy they caught is a total classy guy complete with PIMP Chain.

  • The man said that in his flash he was rolling with 19 inch rims so he thinks he becomes the Scarface of Pot!  
  • When he told them that you can't fight Fate, Demetri went off the deep end and started beating on the man.   This leads to a brawl between Demetri and Mark.  Mark is fed up with Demetri being all depressed (I think we all are Mark!).  Demetri informs Mark about his supposed murder on March 15th and the anonymous caller.   Mark clues Demetri into his plan of learning as much as they can to PREVENT the future from happening.  He vows to help Demetri solve his murder before it happens so that they can stop it from happening.  Okay, now we're getting somewhere!   He said you can't live in fear. In his flash he saw gunmen coming after him. But he's choosing to fight to make it not happen.   Let's hope Demetri gets out of his funk now! 

Mark vs. Alda

  • Mark attempts to interrogate Alda which is where we found out she didn't have any more information on Demetri than anyone else in the FBI had.   But he asks her about Somalia, Detroit, Utah (the 3 different towns featured in the previous 3 episodes).   Alda still claims to not be involved but she still eggs Mark on with telling him that the question he needs to be asking is "Why?". 
  • She then gets into the Black Swan metaphor.  I hate to do this again, but anyone that watches LOST will likely see another tie in here with the Swan Station, the DHARMA Crew wearing Black Swan Station outfits in season 5, the endless motiff of Black and White, and of course the Black Rock. I have no theories on this, but I didn't want to upset anyone by NOT mentioning it!
  • Black Swan events are high impact events that no one can predict (e.g. September 11th, or a massive worldwide blackout where everyone gets a glimpse of the future).  Its origin dates back to the 1700's where scientists believe that all swans were white, and alas they were wrong.   Fascinating! 
  • She then begins to speak of a Sufi Parable in Russian about a boy and a lit candle. (10/19 Thanks Commenter M for pointing out that the she was probably speaking Arabic which makes sense since Sufism refers to the mystical dimension of Islam!) The old man asks where the light comes from and the boy blows out the candle and says "if you tell me where this light went I will tell you where it comes from."   I'm sure there are tons of ways to look into that statement and compare it to the show and the meaning of life and what not. But for not I'm just gonna throw it up here and allow it to be analyzed and digested by you fellow readers! 
  • What Alda was getting to was that she has worked for dangerous people willing to sacrifice their lives for ideology.  She doesn't think Mark has the stones to do whatever is necessary to get tot he truth.  This inspires him to "get out of the dark" and tell Agent Gough to look up their Hacker buddy "Cheetah Dust" or "Cheeto Dust".   They're going to hack into the CIA Mainframe.  Stay tuned for next week! 
  • So what do we think?  Is Alda a shady character?  She seems to know how to push these guys' buttons and get them to do things.  But is it for her personal amusement or is there something larger at stake here?  I'm undecided.  But she does seem to be of value still.   
  • Note: They made a point of showing us the Kangaroo again from the October 6th blackout.  We have been told this will play an integral part of the show.   So, I thought I'd just bring it up again!  

  • Sidenote: Haven't heard much about Red Panda lately, but we know that is still out there!
  • One more thing that happened during the MOSAIC scenes.  We catch a glimpse of Agent Gough searching for "Celia" on the MOSAIC site.  He puts his head in his hands before he gets interrupted.   Not much to go on right now, but we know he was in London on business during his flash and not with a Celia.   So what's that all about? 

The Return of the Nanny
So everyone's favorite nanny returned in this episode.  We follow her through her slow unveiling of what she saw in her flash.

  • Before Mark and Olivia reveal to Charlie that Nicole will be returning, Joseph Fiennes gets to show off his "English actor playing an American imitating an Englishman" acting skills.  Mark stars as "Eggbert" the talking egg in making Charlie breakfast.  Ahhh good times.  I have to say though, in the battle of English actors playing Americans, Sonya Walger (Olivia) is knocking it out of the park!  
  • This is another chance to show Mark and Olivia still being affectionate towards one another.  We can only assume that this is going to get progressively worse during the season as they fight to avoid their supposed fate.
  • Meanwhile we find out that Nicole and Aaron Stark have a connection.  Apparently, Aaron is the man that recommended Nicole to the Benfords as a nanny for Charlie.  Aaron's daughter Tracy just happened to have been Nicole's nanny back in the day.   This was another chance for Aaron to show that he is one of the resident Men of Faith on the show by saying that everything they saw "they saw for a reason".  

  • Sidenote:  In case anyone didn't read the comments from last episode's blog posting, I had read and discussed several theories around Tracy.  In Aaron's flash, we apparently only see a face and maybe one hand.   There is a chance that whatever remains were sent back to the United States were only PART of Aaron and Katie's daughter.   Could we perhaps be running into Tracy with no legs in a wheelchair at some point this season?  Something to ponder!

  • Back to Nicole, before she heads to the Benford house, she goes to talk to a cricket loving priest!  Apparently, she has a church-going sister that looks just like her named Paige.    Nicole wants to repent for things from her flash that haven't happened yet.  She wants to volunteer to do things for the church.   Apparently the Church is loaded up with volunteers due to the fallout from the massive tragic event of the blackout.  But when she started questioning if God was punishing her for something, the priest gets her in contact with the volunteer lady, Audrey Ridgeway.  I guess we'll be meeting her in the future! 
  • Bonus points for anyone who spotted the Jesus T-shirt that said "Jesus is my EpiscoPAL"   Ahhh good times.  
  • When Mark returns home at night, he has a little chat with Nicole.  Nicole feels bad for disappearing for awhile and was wondering why they didn't fire her.  The Benfords seem to consider Nicole as one of the family.  This allows Nicole to open up about her flash.  She saw herself drowning and feeling like she deserved it.  We got a glimpse of the man's face.  I thought he looked like Jerome Murphy from last week's episode but we already know he's supposed to be in Customs letting Geyer into the United States.  So that doesn't make sense.  Could this be the "bad man" D. Gibbons?  Could Charlie be witnessing it?   Could Nicole feel like she deserves being drowned because she swore to protect Charlie and she failed?   Could the man be the mysterious Simon that we just met at the end of this episode?  Doesn't really look like him, but you never know! 

  • Mark tells Nicole that they're going to fight the future in so many words and that it "wasn't her" in the flashes.  He's going to have an FBI agent talk to her.  Perhaps they'll try to do a profile of the man she saw in the flash?  
  • The night ended in a glorious feast of BRINNER with Mark, Charlie and Nicole!  (Thank you J.D. and Turk from Scrubs for creating the perfect word for Breakfast at dinner!) 

Ned Ned and Hospital Drama  

Ned Ned
The episode opens up with a "14 Days Ago" text, hence how I did the highly complex math and came up with the current date being October 20th!  We get to see another shot of the blackout affecting the masses in Los Angeles.  Everyone is going about their normal day in a park and then bam, everyone falls over.   They did this whole scene to a very odd and upbeat tune.   There is a bus full of people that drives directly into a body of water.  Everyone is unconscious and drowning.  2 minutes and 17 seconds later, a man wakes up with his head above water and full of confidence.  He helps rescue a woman from the sinking bus.   14 days later we see him show up in Olivia and Bryce's hospital.

  • The guy's last name is Ned, and is first name is Edward but his friends call him Ned.  So, yes, he confirms his name is Ned Ned.  Now I knew I recognized this actor from other things so I went ahead and looked him up.  You might remember him as the creepy son that "takes a liking to" Vince Vaughn's character in Wedding Crashers (drew that nice painting of him).   Or, if you REALLY have a good memory, you might recall him as the guy that knocked up Claire on LOST with Aaron! Yep, that's him! (huh...funny...he was an artist on LOST too) 
  • So Ned said he didn't need a doctor for 2 weeks since the flash, but needed one now for the pains he has been having since the crash.  He thought he bruised his spleen.   He is a very chipper guy and made a joke about morphine being "More Fine" because that's how he's feeling for the first time since the crash.  This eventually led Bryce to ask about his flash.  
  • Ned brought up how he was wearing leather pants which he never does and he was dancing in a club with all of the confidence in the world.  He also brought up that his skin changed color and that he assumed he was African American.   But, again like Bryce, Ned seemed to be in a depressing place prior to the flash but when he saw his future he was confident and on top of the world.  (if you think wearing leather pants puts you on top of the world that is!)  This goes again with my "different types of flashes based on your current status" theory. 

  • Ned seemed to have a whole new outlook on life, hence the heroic saving of the woman in the bus crash.  
  • Bryce and Olivia get into a heated debate in this episode about using FlashForwards to help with a diagnosis.  Olivia is mainly trying to write off the accuracy of them because she does not want to believe her flash of being with another man (Lloyd Simcoe).   She instead tries to change the subject to Bryce needing to go to therapy for his attempted suicide.   Bryce eventually tells her he doesn't need therapy because the future changed him. 
  • Bryce eventually diagnoses that Ned has Addison's Disease which causes skin discoloration.  Olivia had already prepped Ned for surgery based on some crazy CT Scan results.  Bryce recommends a shot of hydro cortisone or else Ned will die in the surgery.  Olivia refuses to treat a patient based on the FlashForward. 
  • In surgery, Ned begins to code, Olivia tries everything then takes a breath and mentions that he has Addison's Disease and calls in a shot of hydro cortisone.   Naturally, it worked.  So once again, someone's flashforward revealed accurate information.  So, even if the future wil be somehow prevented, like Mark said they are still able to gain information from these flashes to help them.  
  • Ned, a believer like Bryce, said he was never worried because he was alive in his flash.  Bryce informs Ned that the future saved him too.  

Lloyd's run-ins with Olivia and Bryce
Throughout the episode, we see Lloyd interacting with these 2 characters as his son Dylan is still in the hospital.

  • Olivia continues to remain distant to Lloyd, afraid of making any connection with him.   Lloyd continues to be persistent to get advice on his son.  Olivia tries to get Dylan transferred but the Chief reverses the request.  So as much as Olivia tries to get them out of her life, she can't seem to do it. 
  • Lloyd asked for advice on ways to connect with his son.  We find out he has the keys to his wife and Dylan's house.  Olivia recommends him leaving the hospital, probably for selfish reasons, and to spend time in Dylan's room to get to know him.  
  • Lloyd does take Olivia up on this.  While the are pictures around the house with Dylan and both of his parents, there is a drawing that he made that is labeled "My Family" and only shows him and his mother.   This seemed to impact Lloyd but I could be just looking into things!

  • We also see Star Wars Clone Wars bedding and a book of magic which eventually Lloyd uses to try and bond with his kid.  Olivia, seeming to lighten up a little bit, watches on from the doorway.  uh oh! I see a crack in the armor! 
  • Lloyd runs into Bryce as well.  Bryce left a sketch of a woman in Dylan's room.  He mentions that it is someone that he hasn't met yet or something like that.  Do we think we recognize this woman?  I have read musings that Janis's "un-conceived" child's father could be Bryce!   If Bryce knew he was going to be in a happy relationship and would be an almost father in his future, that might give him something to live for.   But does that sketch look like Janis?  I'm not sure.   But clearly we should be on the lookout for this woman!   

  • After seeing a news report about a postal worker's flash of a cop that will save his life, Bryce asks Lloyd the new "how's the weather" conversation piece:  "What did you see?"   Lloyd's story seems to resemble Olivia's.  He got a call from someone but wasn't sure who.  Here's the kicker...he knew Dylan was nearby and we could hear him laughing.  This might explain how Dylan knew Olivia.  But it still doesn't explain Olivia not seeing Dylan.  Unless, she has a repressed memory of the future!   Anyway, Lloyd said that there was a woman who called to him and he knew they were together.  When he turned to look at her he woke up.  So, this pretty much confirms that Lloyd doesn't know Olivia is her eventual suitor, right?   Well, one would think until the bombshell at the end!   
  • After Lloyd was doing magic tricks with his son, he was headed out to get Dylan some food.  His phone began to ring.  He sees that it is SIMON. (anyone that has been anticipating a certain actor's entry into the show, already knew who we'd be seeing next!)  Lloyd looks nervous, takes a deep breath and picks up the phone.   

  • Lloyd told Simon that he can't talk right now.  Simon said "Well, I'm truly sorry about that Lloyd.  But talking to me is just one of those little inconveniences you're going to have to put up with now that we're responsible for the single greatest disaster in human history."   We get a sneak peek of who Simon is.  

Aaaaaand CUT! 

Yes everyone, it's certainly Dominic Monaghan!  LOST lovers know him as Charlie, Lord of the Rings obsessees know him has Merry, and now FlashForward addicts know him as a potentially bad bad boy!  Welcome Dominic to the show!   So seeing how he made his entrance to FlashForward, it raises some interesting questions.
  • What DOES Lloyd know about the flashes?  Is he a pawn in the event?  It seemed like he hesitated to pick up when Simon called.  And Simon seemed to talk to Lloyd like they forced him to be involved.  But that's all speculation.  
  • Perhaps Lloyd had a vendetta against his ex-wife and wanted his son back?   
  • He accurately depicted his flash.  Does this mean that he may have known he was going to have a Flash before the blackout but didn't know what it would be?   Does this make him different than Suspect Zero who was walking about during the blackout? 
  • Who is Simon?  Is he the head honcho or just a foot soldier of an evil organization that caused the blackout?  Or something else?  Was he involved in the 1991 Somalia blackouts?   He probably would have been too young, right? 
  • As I mentioned before, we haven't heard much about Red Panda lately.  But could this be the start of us seeing members of the Red Panda organization?  
  • What's up with Lloyd and Simon being of UK descent?  Neither of the actors have tried to adapt their natural born accents for am American one like Sonya Walger and Joseph Fiennes.  So does the root of this organization trace back to the United Kingdom?   I guess we'll eventually see!
Lots of questions to ponder, and I see this as a good thing.  We are slowly being pulled into this new mythology and getting more intrigued with every nugget of information we get.  Now, FlashForward just needs that BIG episode that will turn the world upside down, make all of our jaws drop and hook us for the long haul.  Then, we can officially call ourselves FlashForward Addicts!

For those of you who don't know, FlashForward was picked up for the entire 1st season, so anyone who has been nervous of getting into a show of mysteries without getting any resolution, put some of your fears at ease!  It will be a busy blogging season for me in January!  I will do my best to keep up the level of effort in all 3 blogs, but I am only human!   Anyway, as always, thanks for reading the blog.  Pass it on to your friends, co-workers and family!   And let's start having another great discussion.  Let the comments begin.......NOW! See you next week!

Special Thanks again to THE ODI for posting screen captures from the episode!  

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Mib815 said...

Zoey is a defense attorney. But you've been doing a really good job with your recaps now as you said, this show needs a "Walkabout"

Mike V. said...

Thanks MIB. I must've missed that in an episode. My attention to detail isn't quite at LOST levels yet! :-) I appreciate the compliments on the blog! Yes, we need a Walkabout or a All the Best Cowboys... The 1-2 punch of LOST episodes that got me hooked for good!

Unknown said...

"the black swan - the impact of the highly impropable" is also a very intriguing book by author nassim nicholas taleb.

btw, does anyone of your readers know where the parable about the man, boy and the candle is from? i also thought alda was speaking either farsi or arabic. my boyfriend speaks russian and he would have said something if he'd understand anything.

Mike V. said...

M, you could be right on her speaking Arabic. For some reason, I thought she was russian, not sure why! But considering she mentioned it was a "SUFI" Parable, it probably was Arabic. And as the world's most "reliable" source states...SUFISM is "generally understood to be the inner, mystical dimension of Islam"

Thanks for the info!

Rukshan said...

Either that show was very dull, or had many hidden clues. As for the bit about Ned,it made perfect sense medically (other than the fact that no anesthesiologist would take a case like that without a proper pre op assessment)

Its a shame they didn't` go to Somalia, I bet they would have found some evidence of that giant tower, but I think that restaurant must have some importance, may be the yogurt they are going to sell.. or the drug dealer is the one that shoots him.

The guy who is drowning the baby sitter is probably after some info on her boss or some religious nut she met at the church during her volunteer work.

overall not a great episode, except for charlie showing up!

Jojo said...

BTW, I forwarded your blog to all my FF friends. Really like your recaps. Thanks, JOJO

Mike V. said...

Rukshan, nice thoughts! Yeah, I wouldn't say this was my favorite episode of the 4 we've seen but it was alright. Just waiting for a big breakthrough jaw dropping episode!

I did ponder the drug dealer being the guy that eventually shoots Demetri too. Anything's possible! Here's the thing...if you knew you were going to get shot 3 times in the chest on march 15th...wouldn't you plan on wearing a bulletproof vest that day? lol Random thought but just sayin!

I like the thoughts on the drowner...that it could be a religious nut. For what we know money is still on D. Gibbons! But a lot can change before 4/29!

Agree, loved Simon (charlie) showing up!

jojo, thanks for the props on the blog! Glad you're liking the recaps. And thanks for sending it on to your friends!

David said...

Haha, Mike when you said about wearing a Bulletproof Vest on that day, you weren't thinking of a certain Dr Brown were you? :P

Mike V. said...

It wasn't intentional, but it's probably subconsciously embedded into my brain!! lol

"my God they found me. I don't know how but they found me.....RUN FOR IT MARTY!!!!"

Anonymous said...

I think this has been covered, but Alda was speaking Farsi. I always have the closed captioning on when watching the show so I don't miss anything. If they're speaking a foreign language it'll tell what the language is. Same thing with songs in the background, it'll tell you the band/singer's name. Just a thought :) Love this blog :)

Mike V. said...

Thanks anonymous!

Great Tips! And if my TV's weren't so darn complicated to turn the CC on, I'd probably check that out!! Eh, who am I kidding? I'll be looking into it anyway!

As with music...I think I like my Shazam app on the iPhone method just because the app impresses me every time i use it! lol

Glad you're enjoying the blog!

Anonymous said...

Glad I could help :) I don't want to get off topic and bring up Lost, but it is very helpful for that show. A few times during the "whispers" it would show what was being said during them.

Megan said...

No one else thought that the babysitter was having a vision of her being baptised?
The guy drowning her looked a LOT like that absolutely useless priest she spoke to, looked like he was in black (with a white collar, perhaps?), and she said she felt like she deserved to be underwater, and that she felt a release.
Plus, she's now turning to the church.

Although being underwater for 2min 17sec sounds like a bit overkill for a baptism.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
What very good question