Friday, November 6, 2009

FlashForward: Season 1 Episode 7 - The Gift

There was one thing going through my mind during the first of the final sequence of twists that occurred on FlashForward last night:  HE MUST HAVE A TWIN BROTHER!!!   Kidding, of course!   Mental note: if that does happen, I think it will be a safe time to quit writing this blog!    But in the meantime, WELCOME BACK Flashers.  Rumor had it that we wouldn't want to miss this episode and 3 quarters into the episode, I was still wondering why.   It took me about 45 minutes into the episode to remember that they save the best stuff for the end of the episode.  Sure, everything that led up to it was interesting and important in setting up the groundbreaking ending.  But it should be stated that the show has developed a familiar trend of being pretty bottom heavy on the revelations!   Not that I'm complaining.   The show did its job again and has me hooked for another week!

Sidenote: If anyone watched the stellar premiere episode of "V" this week, check out my thoughts as well as updates on LOST on the Mothership of my Blogs.   I wish I had time to dedicate a full-fledged recap to that show as well.  Maybe one day.  But come this spring, I will be pushed to my limits!   - sidenote over

This episode followed Agent Al Gough, who had been more of a minor player until recently, Demetri and Mark as they tried to crack the case of the Blue Hand Group.  Demetri and Zoey run into some troubled waters, Mark and Olivia try to dance around their troubled waters, Bryce meets Nicole and Aaron gets a visitor from Tracey's past.  Let's dig in!

On the Homefront

Demetri and Zoey

  • Before leaving for their respective work days, Zoey reminds Demetri that they have an appointment to check out the proofs of their Wedding invitations.  They both talk about how both of their names are easily misspelled (I know I got Demetri right, but not sure about Zoey, come to think of it!)    
  • Demetri has been distant since the blackout and completely missed the appointment getting wrapped up with the work (which we'll discuss in a bit).  Zoey calls him out on it, Demetri leaves the argument on a bad note and goes out on his little FBI mission downtown. 
  • After a crazy night, he comes back and finally comes clean to Zoey that he didn't see anything in his flash.   Zoey remains convinced that he saw Demetri in his.  So, she thinks they have conflicting visions and she chooses to have faith.   Demetri professes his love for her and how he wants to make her happy, have kids, grow old, the whole 9.     Here's the thing, they showed Zoey's flash yet again and they STILL didn't show Demetri in it.  What gives?   Do we think Zoey is not being honest?   Or is she still just fooling herself?  Or, are we just not seeing all of the flash yet?    I still think Demetri would be an idiot not to go to bed on March 14th with a bulletproof vest on, and leave it on for all of the 15th!  
Mark and Olivia  
  • Mark and Olivia are recovering from the grand encounter with Lloyd and Dylan in their home last week.  They fool themselves into thinking everything is okay.   Olivia has to work late and tries to convince Mark of the reasons why.   Mark tells her that he trusts her.  She hesitates and says she trusts him too.   But clearly things are not going well! 
  • Lloyd and Olivia have a run-in at the hospital.   Lloyd stops in to thank Olivia for saving Dylan's life and to assure her that he would never come between her and Mark.  He would never want to break up a marriage.  He seems genuine, but there still seems to be something there that they're both trying to avoid.  Olivia continued to remain distant, however.  Clearly they can't stay in this stalemate all season.  They have to up the stakes before April 29th, even if Olivia still sticks with Mark in the end.   So I wonder what will draw them closer together?   
  • After a rough day at work where everything is pointing towards the flashes coming true, Mark, Charlie and Olivia are all on the couch.  Charlie convinces her mom to let her stay up a little longer with daddy.  Once Olivia leaves the room, Mark pulls out the waterworks.   oh boy!    stay tuned

Nanny Nicole meets Bryce  
Nicole, still trying to repent for whatever she is being drowned for in the future, decides to volunteer at the hospital Olivia works at.  She is enlisted to shadow Bryce and help him out where necessary, and becomes immediately helpful.
  • Well, newsflash, Nicole know Japanese because she lived in Okinawa while her dad was stationed there.  She also took classes in Japanese when she moved back to the states.  She was able to help settle down an older Japanese Lady who had received Sweet Peas, which are a bad omen in Japanese.    
  • The whole revelation had Bryce impressed.  I couldn't have been further off with the picture he drew of a woman in his FlashForward.   It's definitely not Janis!  (although, I still liked my theory on that one)   It is a Japanese woman with a Japanese symbol behind her.  Nicole immediately recognized the incomplete letter and finished drawing it.  She said it's the KANJI which means "BELIEVE".  

  • Nicole and Bryce must have bonded quickly because she went to Bryce's house where he started discussing his Flash.   He remembers images but just can't put it all together.   Nicole told him to go to Japan to find her which he scoffed at thinking it would be impossible to find her.   So, she advised him to post his story on MOSAIC and she may find him.   Did he really need Nicole to give him that advice?  Janis had to advise Demetri to put his story on MOSAIC.   Don't people know it's the newest thing since Google, developed in-house by the Los Angeles branch of the FBI?   Eh, just a little nitpick, I'm fine with the overkill!    So, I guess we'll just need to stay tuned for a Bryce-centric episode to get more of this story. 

As mentioned earlier, Aaron got a visit from someone in Tracy's Past.   Corporal Mike Willingham to be exact.  He was there as a favor to Tracy.

  • Mike acknowledged that he should have contacted Aaron earlier but he had been adjust to normal life and trying to find a job. Apparently, Tracy made a promise with Mike that if anything were to happen to her that he needed to give Aaron back a pocket knife that holds some significance between her and her father.   
  • Upon this, Aaron became very emotional since he hadn't seen the knife in 4 years when Tracy deployed.  The kicker?  In his Flashforward he is giving the knife back to her!  
  • Mike, not wanting to immediately spoil the moment, returns later to tell the tale of Tracy's death because he didn't want to give Aaron false hope.  We got a "flashback" (first one for flashforward!) to Mike and Tracy in an off road with their Humvee.   Tracy spouted out more military jargon in a minute than most people would in a lifetime.  Tango, Echo, Charlie, Bravo, name it and did I catch a "niner" in there? (actually it was sixer, but you gotta go for the Tommy Boy reference when you can right?)    Seriously, I'm still okay with the overkill!     The people they were chasing stopped and whipped out a rocket launcher.  Mike was able to escape, but Tracy was stuck in the car.    The rocket fires and the Humvee explodes.     However, we do see a shot of Tracy afterwards just lying on the ground with her leg separated.    Remember all of the theories that only "parts" of her were shipped back to the states?    Mike went back to check on her and said he saw her die.  But he also said he had to run, since they were shooting at him.   We'll hold off on theories for this until the end!  


  • Clearly, this was a blow to Aaron's "faith" in the flashes.  But he quickly recovers and calls Mike out to his place of work.  He told Mike that his story finally gave him some peace and wanted to return the favor.   Aaron gets Mike a job working with him.  awww

Follow the Blue Hand
Dear Celia
The episode opens with shots of a woman named Celia, and a voice over from Agent Al Gough.  We know it's Al in the beginning because A.) it sounds like him and B.) a few episodes back we saw him searching for a Celia on MOSAIC.  Anyway, he is writing a letter to Celia and says that he knows she has 2 young boys (twins) and knows that she didn't have a flashforward.  She ensured her that she is not alone.  They show her picking up a paper from her car that has the website and shows the Blue Skeleton Hand that we became familiar with last week.  Go ahead, it's a real site, but it just takes you to the official ABC FlashForward site for now. 

Blue Hand Investigation
Well, you certainly can't knock on FlashForward for opening a bunch of mysteries and making us wait for answers.  We got the answers to the Blue Hand quite quickly!   Mark, Al and Demetri are in the elevator about to start their day.  We start this investigation with a little chit chat that seemed unimportant at the time, but Demetri makes a comment that I figured might come back into play eventually.

  • Demetri is complaining that everything he says to his fiance is coming out wrong.  He just wants to go back to the way things were before the blackout.   Al reminded him that back in the day he used to crash on his futon until 4am playing Madden Football.  They did a little Madden trash talk of who was better (hey, I still do it, it's fun and you're never too old for it!).  Al accused Demetri of cheating.  But Demetri called it "finding a way to change the game".    You don't just throw a line in like that, without a payoff right?    We'll get there! 
  • The trio head into the morgue to investigate the bodies found at the blue hand house.   We get a sidebar that Janis is recovering nicely.  The bodies all have self-inflicted gunshot wounds.  They all of traces of alcohol in their bodies and the girl also had extacy.   Al also mentions that the one man is Ian Rutherford, which Mark immediately recognizes from Al's case in the flashforward.  
  • So, Demetri did some research with MOSAIC and the bodies and found out that they're all GHOSTS, the term given to people that did not see anything in their Flash.  He references the website explaining that they gather at events across the globe to embrace the inevitable.  The next meeting is in Los Angeles and is hosted by Dr. Maurice Raynaud.  (A symbolic name passed on to each host and named after some French doctor guy that discovered a disorder commonly known as "blue hands")  
  • A voice on the website started blaring out "Tonnight go downtown and check the time".   This was the way to find the death party.  
  • I should also note that Fiona Banks has flown in from London.  She mentions to Al that it's nice to meet him again for the first time.   Ahh, you never expect to say that sentence in your life!  We'll get more into Fiona/Al discussions in a bit. 

Already Ghost Death Party

3 FBI guys walk into a bar.  One is wearing a t-shirt of The Police (Mark), one wearing a ridiculous leather jacket (Dem) and the other wearing a cardigan (Al).   Which one stands out?   Ahh good times.  They bust on each other's attire for a bit but then continue to head into the generic "downtown" to find the party.   Oh look, there's a Blue clock on the wall of a building!

  • The FBI trio, get by the doorman with the easy password of "we got Dr. Raynaud's invitation".  They all get a blue hand stamp and they roll in to the next challenge.   
  • Some crazy old man with a pimp cane and a gun walks in and decides to start an impromptu game of Russian Roulette, by pulling the trigger on himself first.   Intense, but I still think the best TV Russian Roulette has to go to the one in the prison on season 3 of 24.  Wow, that was nuts!   Anyway, one of our FBI guys apparently had to play the game to move on.  Al, knowing that he was alive in his flash, grabbed the gun really quickly and pulls the trigger.   Nothing happens.   After they suggest that there are no bullets in there, the man empties the chamber and hands them a bullet.  Looking more closely at the bullet, it says "Not Today" on the side and is their ticket into the party. 

  • Mark finds a book of matches that he immediately recognizes from his "FLASH Board" so he swipes it up.   You have to wonder if that really is going to play a big role in future episodes or if they just planted that in the episode because they had shown it in the pilot episode.   Oh well, moving on! 

  • There is a hostess-type lady who is explaining the party and how the Raynaud changes at each gathering. And says there is something for everybody "No Limts, No Fear".
  • Okay, so this party was nuts.  There was one guy all wired up to electricity having water thrown on him.  There were many prepared nooses all over the place among lots of other crazy stuff.  Demetri brings up the fact that these people have nothing to lose.  They're dead anyway.   
  • Blue hand man arrives and what do you know, it's one of the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica!  (No spoilers please, I'm only in season 1!)  
  • Anyway, long story short (too late), Raynaud takes out a gun and is about to shoot himself and the FBI stop them.   He yells out "I want out!  I want it to end!"   Mark, so cool with his one-liners, tells him "Not Today..."   Yeah Mark, you use their own slogan against them!    
  • Sidebar: I've been reading lots of complaints about Mark comparing him to Jack on LOST (because there is a large "I hate Jack" fanclub out there).    And well, this episode was probably the best comparison since Mark did some crying!     But, I really don't have issues with either of the leads on the 2 shows.   Especially not Matthew Fox!  He's done some stellar work on LOST!   Let's give Fiennes some more time to ease into his American role before we chastise him!  

So Mark, Demetri and Al begin the interrogation process of Raynaud, who turns out to be Jeff Slingerland.

  • Jeff talks about his vision of a bottemless pit of darkness and emptiness, like he never existed.  He said that they all find each other through MOSAIC and gets a one liner in "Couldn't do it without you"!   
  • Demetri gets annoyed and starts pressing Jeff for answers on the Blue Hand stamped body of the man who shot Janis.  They get nowhere though.  Jeff explains that everything is mapped out, they could put him in prison it doesn't matter.  He's going to die.  What everyone saw is going to happen.   
  • Al is pondering all of this information and then asks the ultimate question "What if you're wrong?"   "You can't escape what's coming, no one can" is Jeff's response.    I think I figured out what their next interrogation strategy will probably be!
  • Mark and Demetri have a discussion later on.  Mark tries to crack more jokes saying Raynaud makes Marilyn Manson look like Mr. Rogers.  yikes...   Demetri asks how Mark is going to handle knowing the date of his death.   It's the same old speech.  YOU NEED TO FIGHT!   But I think Demetri gets to Mark this time when he says "everything in the flashes is going to happen. We can't stop it".   He explains how all of the clues they have been following are dead on.   This is what leads to Mark's crying fit at home later, by the way.

So, during the day Fiona and Al have some discussions about their flashes and start their Ian Blane Rutherford Case.

  • Ian Rutherford: Born in 1984, Father was in aviation, Mother makes cell phone components (hmmm Cell phones.  Lots of theories have already been made around Cell phone towers possibly being used in the blackout)
  • Fiona discusses her flash, she doesn't remember anything from the dossier besides Ian's name.  She just remembers Al and the crow hitting the window.  Her heart skipped a beat.  Al got a phone call and she looked over the ledge.  Wait, I thought Al looked over the ledge too?  Didn't we see that last week?   Did something change somehow?  (probably me looking way too much into it)   She wanted to help the bird but there was nothing she could do.
  • Fiona asks Al who the call was from.   Al recalls his flash.  It's his attorney and Al is realizing he killed someone (a woman to be exact).  
  • Later on Al tries to invite Fiona over for some dirty rice (nope, he actually meant food).  He was going to attempt to make his favorite dish that his mother usually cooks for him.   Fiona is jet lagged and declines.   But Al offers up an idea to change the flashes.   What if they cover the window with tape?  Maybe the bird won't crash into the window.   It's worth a shot, he says.    Finally, someone is trying to change things.  Mark burned the bracelet in episode 2, but this seems more significant.   Oh wait, we're not at the end of the episode yet! 
  • So we watch Al cooking his rice at home and sitting alone drinking a beer, left to ponder the future and cry a little bit like his boss, Mark.  

"Changing the Game"

Al comes into work, looking like a dead man walking.  Leaves an envelope on Demetri's desk, tells Demetri to get it into the right hands, and walks the opposite way of Mark and Dem (heading to the conference room).

  • In the conference room Stan, Fiona, Mark and Demetri discuss how to break Raynaud.   Stan is advising Mark to change his approach. 
  • Demetri opens up the envelope which has a note to Dem "There's always a way out" and a letter to this Celia (ahhh the letter from the beginning of the episode!)   He realizes Al is about to end his life.  
  • They find him on the top of the FBI building leaning over the ledge.  

  • Al, is determined to change the predestined future.  Demetri tries to tell him that they can find and protect Celia.  He's supposed to be alive 6 months from now.   "But if I'm not here, that means we can change things.  What I saw, what you saw.  It doesn't have to play out that way."  

    "I found a way to change the game"   Ahhh, Madden comes back to bite you a new one when you least expect it! 
  • And just like that, Al Gough becomes Al Went.   (I had to make at least one joke worse than some of Mark's this episode!)   Al jumps off the building, and just when you think that something might break his fall, we see his lifeless body at the bottom of the building.   RIP Al Gough.  We'll miss you but we'll never forget! 
  • Another sidenote: My "Twin Brother" remark in the beginning would never work anyway, because it was AL who had those flashes of the future not any potential twin brother.  So besides being potentially the worst storyline of all time (right up there with Teri Bauer has amnesia and Kim is chased by the Cougar), it's technically not feasible! 
So, we all thought that they would be able to change things right?  But who thought someone would throw themselves off of a building to prove it?   Questions remain though, will Celia still die without Al there?   Will the Rutherford case continue as planned?   Will other people follow Al's lead and try to change their destiny?  

In case you hadn't figured out what I was saying earlier, I'm guessing they're going to use this to their advantage when interrogating Raynaud.  Not a large leap, but they better use his death for something!   In the face of his death, everyone can't help but have a little hope for their own futures.


"Dear Celia, I don't know your last name, I don't know where you live.  But i know you have 2 young boys.  Twins i believe and i know you didn't have a flashforward.  It must be terrifying.  You are not alone.  Your situation is not as hopeless as you think.  Our paths were meant to cross.  I didn't know how, I didn't know when.  But things have changed now.  Things are no longer going to unfold as i had feared.  My gift to you is release from that dread, from the feeling that you're no longer in control.   We will never your life, live every day.  Know that the future is unwritten...make the most of it"
  • During this montage we watch Fiona back in London as she tapes up the window, following Gough's lead.
  • We see Celia playing with her kids and happy. 
  • We watch Mark run into the kitchen and strongly hugs Olivia.  Hope has returned!

  • We witness Demetri happily spending time with Zoey. 
  • Simon, absent from the entire episode, is staring at a bracelet that says "Annabelle".  What is that all about? 
  • Aaron is ready to move on with his life, gets out of his truck, walks into the house...and

    Tracy is sitting at the table.  "Hi Dad"

WOAAA!   Does this show know how to end an episode or what?  Just when you think you got your jawdropping moment for the week, she rolls in.   Double Game changing episode!     Yes, I figured she'd be in the house, why else would that be the last scene?  
  • But how did she get there?  How is she still alive?  What happened to her?  I guess she could have been taken hostage for awhile, but then how did she get free?     
  • Notice, they didn't show her left side, so they could be hiding the fact that she's still missing a leg.  That would definitely explain things.
  • Just when they give hope that the future can be changed, the other side comes up big with showing us Tracy is alive.   So, there has to be some kind of mixture of the 2.   Everything seems to be pointing towards the information, people and situations from the flashes are very real.  But the decisions that people make can possibly change what's in store.  I'm sure it all ties back to that Schrodinger's Cat philosophy, but I'll wait for it to be explained in layman's terms.   
I still wonder how this show is going to be able to sustain multiple seasons.   But the producers and even the book author himself are very convincing that this show has 3-5 seasons outlined, depending on its success.  (i.e. could be told in 3 seasons, but could be told better in 5).   There is a cliffhanger waiting at the end of season finale that will explain to us how this can continue on.   I thought the same thing about LOST back in the day.  How will it keep going?  They proved me wrong.  And, of course, I thought that Heroes was laid out in a way that it could go on forever!  See how well that worked?   Yikes... (yeah, I'm still watching and not sure why!)  

Anyway, great episode, great ending and looking forward to more!   What did you guys think of the episode?  Discuss away in the comments section below.   I'll see you next week!

11/8 Update: Thanks again to The ODI for the screen captures!  

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Gary said...

Excellent blog as always Mike! I thought that Demetri and the Madden comment seemed very strange too, but didnt pick up on it at the end when gough (or however you spell it) said "i found a way to change the game".

Gonzo said...

Great Episode! A complete 360. This is the one Episode that made me say WOW. Never expected a suicide. Anyway, keep up the good work Mike. Never had the time too watch Lost and just happened to stumble across your page. I did catch the Pilot Episode of V. Looks like it should be another great show on ABC. Hope you can somehow find the time to squeeze in a Blog for it. Thanks for all the great recaps on FlashForward.

back in a flash said...

Hi, Mike. I just finished watching and Zoey described her flash as: the beach, their wedding and "I know you were there." She doesn't say she saw him, she just knows he was there.
Simon's bracelet looks like a baby name ID bracelet put on in the hospital(but usually it's the last name). He looked kinda sad, so maybe his child (and wife?) were killed as a result of the experiment??
Lloyd seemed confident telling Olivia nothing is going to happen between them and he would never do anything to come between her and Mark, no matter what they (Lloyd and Olivia) saw. Since he was in on the experiment, he should know what he's talking about (shouldn't he??).
I think it was Tracy's right leg that was blown off and when Aaron came home her right side was showing but it was hard to see anything.
So we're getting conflicting opinions on "yes, you can" and "no, you can't" change your flash forward. Al changed his by taking himself out of the picture, but the Rutherford investigation will continue and he did work with Fiona if ever so briefly, so the flash is not cancelled, just tweaked. Will it make a difference who takes his place?
I totally didn't get the "torture chamber" Blue Hand Club. If I had nothing to lose I still wouldn't volunteer to be tortured - give me a soft pillow, a glass of wine and a heavy sedative.

Anonymous said...

hello all,
i was also wondering what the deal was with Simon and the Annabelle-bracelet, cause my name is Annabelle.. did we just missed out on something or is it an error? maybe in the beginning of Simons storyline they forgot the part about Annabelle? and maybe its his daughter or something?
grtz Annabelle

Mike V. said...

Thanks Gary! I didn't catch it at first either, actually. I realized when I was re-watching (while typing) that it was the same exact line. good times!

Thanks for the props Gonzo! I'll try my best with V to share my thoughts, but a dedicated blog is going to have to wait! (and I think you should try and squeeze in some time for of the best shows of our time, if not THE best!)

Thanks for the clarification Back in a Flash! Yeah the bracelet definitely looked like a child's bracelet of some sort. Definitely adds another layer to Simon. We'll see where they go with it! You would think Lloyd has some knowledge about the flashes, so he might know what he's talking about. But he also might be trying to convince himself as much as Olivia that nothing is going to happen. But it could just draw them closer. We'll see!

Yeah, now that you mention it, that WAS her right leg. Maybe she's wearing a prosthetic or one of those robotic legs or something lol

Annabelle (anonymous), I don't think we missed anything with Simon's story yet. Kinda like LOST, they're throwing some clues out there of things to come. We're not meant to have all the answers yet, but we'll get them!

Thanks for sharing your comments guys, keep it up!

Jenn said...

In the flashback with Aaron's dauther, did anyone else catch someone saying "they are not hajis." (I am not sure if that is spelled correctly, and please excuse me if that is a derogatory term.) If that is what they said, I wonder who attacked them. Could they be linked to the people who caused the blackout?

Mike V. said...

Jenn, I didn't hear exactly what they said but that would make sense if it's connected. They did use a rocket launcher...and the people that attacked Mark and Crew in D.C. also had rocket launchers. But, Rocker Launchers are also pretty common in the Middle East I would think. At least they are in movies and video games! lol

Deebo said...

Mike- You’re blog is fantastic and I love your recaps very much…For the record I am liking Heroes this year keep the faith!! Anyways Flash forward has been awesome this year…At first I thought that Al murdered Demitri but the suicide was done very well with an emotional punch…The question I have about Aaron was in his flash forward I thought that was when he was reunited with his daughter…wasn’t she wearing an army uniform of some sort in his flash? Wasn’t it over seas somewhere like Iraq?

Mike V. said...

Thanks for the kind words Deebo! Oh don't worry, I've stuck with Heroes this long, I'll hang on until it ends. But I have to say that the show had so much promise in season 1 especially leading to the season finale. But ever since they let everyone down with the anti-climatic final episode...they have not been able to capture the magic again. This season is interesting, but it still just feels like more of the same. That's all I'll say on it!

I'd have to see Aaron's flash again to see exactly what he saw. But I thought he just saw his daughter laying down covered in a blanket or something (or they just showed her face). I don't think she was wearing any military gear. But I could be wrong. Maybe I'll remember to check it later when I'm home! lol

Rukshan said...

Let me add to the little debate about heroes. I agree with Mike,It was a great start, but it kept getting worse. How long can they Kill Silar and keep bringing him back to life, once,twice its ok, but this is way too much.

Flash Forward just brought the game back with that guy jumping off the roof. I think they will play a lot with cause and effect after this. That blue d group would not have existed without the black out, so there's no way that they are connected to the black out.

The well suited men who blew up the Humvee probably were responsible for the pylons in Somalia, and now we have a connection between the terrorists they were chasing in the 1st episode and the Black out.May be its the same group responsible.