It is episodes like this that I wish I had come up a new word for my "one word" review of a FlashForward episode! Because, the W - O - W word is reserved for the one and only LOST! But that was one CRAZY GOOD episode of FlashForward wouldn't you agree? It better be, because as we found out at the end of the episode, we're not getting any more episodes until March 4, 2010. TV Guide explains that it was a strategic decision on ABC's part to wait out the Winter Olympics. I'm sure we'll get promos during LOST once it returns in February to start driving some excitement for its return.
This was a very special Christmas episode of FlashForward and its gift to us was some generous plot advancement. Mark and Demetri head to Hong Kong in search of the Persian woman with information on Demetri's supposed murder. Lloyd and Simon hold a press conference to assume the blame for the blackouts, but Simon still opposed. The LA FBI dealt with the fallout trying to track down both Simon and Lloyd. Zoey makes a startling discovery about her flash. Janis pays a visit to the Hospital where she was saved and has separate run-ins with Bryce and Lloyd. And the bond between Olivia and Lloyd takes a major leap forward. (Notice, there was not one scene or phone call between Mark and Olivia in this episode.) Here we go!
But we learn something new about Nhadra in this first scene. She has a MOSAIC wall herself, and Demetri is on it with the episode's title A561984 on it. We haven't seen her flashforward yet, but one can assume if she's putting so many facts together that she too was in her office in her flash as well. Now, her memorizing a crazy number like that as well as other things? I don't know, maybe she has a photographic memory or something.
Mark and Demetri begin their search
Mark and Demetri, going against Stan's orders land in Hong Kong. They debate about how they're going to find their woman. Mark thinks the woman's Persian accent should stand out in Hong Kong. Sure, because the city is so small and there aren't a lot of people! Stan is constantly trying to get a hold of Mark on his phone. Then Marshall Vogel comes in claiming to be FBI.
- Vogel rambles off everything he knows about Mark and Demetri including birth dates, dates of potential deaths (3/15/2010 for Demetri) and that their searching for the woman.
- Vogel instructs them to turn right around and go home. They are in a Sovergn territory of Communist China whom they still believe is somehow responsible for the blackout. (Remember the D.C. episode with all of the Chinese hints including the Asian hitmen? And of course, the fact that most of them were sleeping during the blackout due to the time of night).
- Mark finally picks up his phone and delivers one of his questionable comedic lines "HI CUPCAKE!" I couldn't help but laugh anyway. Stan is furious that they went to Hong Kong against his orders. Mark goes on with the whole speech about changing the future like Al Gough did. He also covers for Demetri saying he had nothing to do with disobeying orders.
- I can't help thinking that Stan is being a little shady as of late. Plus there is still the mystery TEXTER out there that texted Olivia about the drinking. I would hate to think Stan is the mole, but it can't be ruled out right now. And breaking his plasma TV? Was it really worth getting THAT furious if something else isn't up? I guess time will tell. I still like the guy and will continue to believe he is the fearless and faithful FBI CHIEF!
- Anyway Mark and Demetri decide to take their chances and head out on their search.
- I guess we should mention that we met Gordon Myhill, one of the people Lloyd sent that email to. He looks like a familiar actor, but I can't place him right now. Gordon is the Director of the National Linear Accelerator Program (Ahhh, so THAT is what NLAP means from the email addresses a couple episodes ago!). He introduces Lloyd Simcoe and Simon Campos as Associate Directors of the Plasma Wakefield Program. Due to the essence of time, I cannot fully go into Plasma Accelerator research right now, but I thank Wikipedia in cases like this and put a lot of hope in its accuracy! When I searched on Plasma Wakefield, I also saw references to the infamous CERN European Particle Physics organization, which is where a lot of people have speculated this all going towards. As Mark so bluntly puts - maybe it is...maybe it isn't!
- Before Lloyd heads out to speak, Simon instructs him to stick to the talking points and to not start speaking out of guilt. Simon feels that due to Lloyd losing his wife that he will try to explain too much and make things look worse.
- Lloyd and Simon head out to the podium. Lloyd begins to explain that they were experimenting with a proton driven plasma wakefield accelerator in attempts to reproduce the energy levels after the Big Bang, but on a more controlled scale. The experiment was performed on October 6th at 1100 hours Pacific Time (the time of the Global blackout).
- A question comes from the crowd asking if they accept responsibility for the deaths and damage that resulted from the blackout. When Simon sees Lloyd beginning to accept, he jumps in saying that the results were unforeseeable.
- Things begin falling apart quickly. Lloyd ends up back at the podium talking about his wife dying because of the blackout, screaming we are the cause as Myhill and Simon look furious. Lloyd explains that coming forward and stating that the experiments are on hold indefinitely should put the world at ease that there won't be another blackout.
- A woman in the audience grabs a security guard's gun and takes a shot at Lloyd crying that they killed her family. She misses. Pandemonium occurs.
- Note that the whole world was watching this broadcast: We see them watching in Los Angeles in the FBI Headquarters, in the Hospital where Olivia works, we see the only shot of Aaron tonight as he watches the news. And Mark and Demetri are watching on the streets of Hong Kong.
- Backstage, Simon goes off on Lloyd saying that they need empirical evidence. He refuses to give in and if Lloyd is going to then they are at war. Hmmm, did the writers decide to take Simon's role a different route? Or did we just not know enough about him yet? Like I said above, he didn't seem to care about claiming responsibility before. Of course, BEFORE it wasn't bragging in front of the whole world, it was just between him and Lloyd. I guess I could see him changing his tone.
- Well, my first thought would be that some people in Philadelphia need help! Because, being a local, I can say that cheese steaks anywhere else aren't worth a thing! Of course, that could be why these people need help! They need a nice Cheese Wit'out from Pat's!
- Anyway, just wanted to share. Feel free to speculate or mention your favorite Cheese steak eatery!
- Demetri thinks maybe Lloyd and Simon coming out is a Game Over. Mark says that nothing is certain at this time. Gotta be crazy to think that this man's face is plastered all over the world and is the man that is supposed to have an affair with his wife!
- So Demetri goes for some humor by referring to the mystery woman as Eartha Kitt (or Catwoman from the old Batman TV show with Adam West). Mark agrees that her voice is very Eartha Kitt-like. Ahhh good times. The jokes are getting better, but I still want them to take it to another level!
- So then they figure out where Persian newspapers are sold, and then are looking for Iranian cigarettes because clearly she has a smoker's voice. And then they stumble upon a Persian Restaurant that Mark identifies by the name. The restaurant is closed so they decide to head in TOMORROW. But not before Mark yells "YAHTZEE!" Ugh, Mark, let Demetri crack the one-liners!
- In the restaurant they question the owner who claims to not recognize the woman from the phone recording. Mark tells Demetri to cover the door.
- Just when we think it's going to get violent, Mark uses some scare tactics on the owner to get him to spill the beans. Flashed his badge, talked about a kidnapping of a man with information in Bangkok. It worked!
- They finally get the name of the woman Nhadra and where she frequently goes to eat. In addition to this restaurant, there is a Dim Sum place.
- Demetri wondered why Mark didn't let him stay for the interrogation. Mark said that Demetri shouldn't have to get his hands dirty like he did. Alright, maybe I've watched too much Jack Bauer, but come on! That was getting his hands dirty?!
- So we finally get to the meeting of Demetri, Mark and Nhadra. And, we can't forget the several gunmen that also joined them at the table!
- Nhadra tells them that they shouldn't have come. Calling Demetri was a mistake. She was trying to prevent a domino effect that started with Demetri's death from happening. She fears that telling any more information may be the information that causes the future to play out as she saw it. (ahh that seems to be the case in many other story lines)
- She reveals that she DOES know the killer and that he is sitting at the table. And of course, as many speculated, the killer who shoots Demetri at close range 3 times on March 15, 2010 is none other than Mark Benford!
- How does she prove it? Remember the number she had on her MOSAIC board? A561984 just happens to be the Serial Number on Mark's gun! Mark pulls out the gun and confirms it.
- "Over the next few months everything will present itself" - Nhadra says
- Demetri and Mark refuse to believe it. Why would Mark shoot Demetri? I guess we really can't guess it now. But yes, this could cause Mark to hit the booze instead of Olivia's affair. Or a combination of the 2. Could it be accidental? Forced by someone else? Could Demetri be about to almost do something where Mark has no choice but to shoot? Or I guess there is the scenario where Mark is just furious with him about something and kills him. But that is way too easy! Plus, I still don't think Demetri will die because THAT is too easy too!
- Mark gets furious with Nhadra and decides to flip the table over and grab her as a hostage. She's a material witness to a murder!
- The gunmen follow into the streets where Agent Vogel shows up and forces Mark to give Nhadra up.
- Vogel takes Mark and Demetri into custody. It turns out that Vogel is working for the CIA and not the FBI. He mentions that MOSAIC is bigger than Mark, the FBI and any country's intelligence agency. Mark is just a tiny spec. Well, they did create the WEBSITE! But, even so, it makes more sense that more organizations around the world would be looking into the flashes as well. But I don't understand how the CIA is now invested in MOSAIC since we saw that Washington was not supporting Los Angeles's investigation. But who knows? Maybe they're the ones that put the hit on them. Doubtful but maybe!
- Wedeck calls Mark as he's watching security footage of Mark going bezerk in the restaurant (getting his "hands dirty"). Stan informs Mark that he successfully changed the future. He doesn't even have to say the words since we know that Mark was in the FBI office on April 29th, 2010. So if he's not working for the FBI, how would he be in there? Well, maybe he's the one that broke in!
- But for the time being, Mark hands his gun with the serial number to Demetri. If he doesn't have the gun how can he shoot him? He hands his badge to Vogel and then has one more one liner. "You and I have something in common now. Neither of us work for the FBI". I don't see how we'll go the rest of the season with a rogue Mark investigating the blackouts, but I guess it's possible!
- We see Nhadra looking at her board with someone in the room. She is talking about how they have been following this man ever since he blew up the Doll factory. The man, on his computer playing chess and holding what looks like Rosary beads says that he'll have to find someone else to protect him then. And yes, we now have a face for D. Gibbons!
- So it doesn't look like Nhadra is so much performing her own MOSAIC investigation, but rather following Mark's investigation. We saw the 137 Sekunden Man (Geyer), we saw the doll from the doll factory, a picture of Demetri. We need to know what she saw in her flash forward! Just by that picture and serial number alone wouldn't prove that Mark was going to kill Demetri.
- And is she working WITH D.Gibbons? Does that mean she is one of the bad gals behind the blackouts/flashes? Was she one of the 7 Ring wearers and didn't even have a flash? Is she putting ideas into Mark and Demetri's head to MAKE the future happen?
- We'll have to wait until March to get some answers. And I'm guessing it's only going to be January on the show for a couple episodes!
- Zoey had called Demetri's parents to try and convince them to come to Hawaii for their "D-Day" wedding. We learn that his parents have not been the biggest fans of Zoey. But Zoey is relentless because she knows she saw them in her Flash.
- A co-worker shows up and we find out that another one of their fellow co-workers, Joyce, died. Zoey doesn't seem to have known her well but she said she wouldn't miss the memorial service.
- Later, during this memorial service, Zoey sees a white rose and thinks back to her flash realizing that she also was carrying a white rose. It is then that she realizes that she wasn't in Hawaii for her wedding to Demetri, but his funeral instead!
- Kudos to all that had already figured this out! I knew those flashes weren't adding up when we never saw Demetri in them!
- Zoey goes to visit "The Noh's" and has a discussion with Mrs. Noh. She now realizes that even if the Noh's would never be at their wedding they certainly wouldn't miss Demetri's funeral. Mrs. Noh said that she was trying not to talk to Zoey because they were hoping for the visions to not become real. They saw real love in Future Zoey's eyes and realized how much she cared for Demetri. Everything has changed and they would be proud to have Zoey as part of the family. But they want to change the future.
- Janis realizes she remembers the name Simcoe from when she was recovering in the hospital from her gunshot wound. Olivia was tending to Dylan Simcoe. She did some research and found out that Lloyd was his father. Kind of convenient, but if it advances the plot, it's okay by me!
- Stan sends Janis to the hospital to wait for Lloyd to check on his son. (See hospital storyline below)
- Later on, Wedeck receives a phone call. Apparently Simon had arrived on the premises. It seemed a little shady, like they already knew each other for a second. But if they do know each other, they played it off well afterwards that they didn't. Stan asks if he is here to turn himself in. He said he's here to prove that it wasn't NLAP's fault. He said that it wasn't his idea to come forward.
- Simon requests access to MOSAIC's resources and then he says he will be able to help them progress on the intel that they have. Simon agrees to let him come back the next day and if he can provide valuable information, then they will discuss a future role with the MOSAIC investigation. Simon accepts the deal, even though he doesn't appreciate Stan's unappreciative tone.
- Janis was back at the FBI between hospital visits and pulls up the screens of the towers in Somalia.
- Simon immediately realizes the location by the geographic layout, even though the FBI had tried to make it difficult to determine.
- He also then recognizes the design of the tower. He called it a Specialized Pulsed Laser for a Plasma Afterburner that accelerates traditional radio frequency machines waves and it was something that he designed back in 1992. He expects to win a Nobel prize in a couple years for the design. He thought that this was a structural model of the design and not a real tower.
- Once he finds out the towers are real, he refuses to believe it. He doesn't believe anyone else could have designed this structure due to 2 facts. The technology isn't even available yet. When a scientist discovers something that will change the world, he/she would want to achieve immortality by claiming the design as their own.
- The only contradicting fact is that Simon said he came up with the idea in 1992 and these towers were USED in 1991 let alone probably were built before.
- Janis and Stan then reveal Deacon Gibbon's name and show a sketch of what they believe he looks like. They think that this might be a man who didn't want fame and didn't mind being anonymous. They suspect he may somehow have stolen the design.
- Simon vows to help find D. Gibbons if he is the indeed cause of the blackout. He also wants some revenge if the man stole his plan.
- So, Radio Frequency accelerators. I did some Googling, and it would seem that Radio Frequencies are used in Cell Phone towers. Physics talk is not my strong point, but the use of cell phone towers in the blackout is not dismissed by Simon's information, it seems to actually be supported by this concept. Many cell phone towers were probably constructed in the 90's and 00's, could they have these accelerators built in somehow? Or have they conspicuously built these towers all over the world over time? Or are the towers in Somalia powerful enough to cause the blackouts for the entire globe? How long would it take to develop a technology to be able to go from covering the radius of a town in Somlia to the blacking out the entire world? Would 18 years do the trick?
- I'm not going to pretend to try and solve it, but I will put the questions out there for more intelligent minds than mine to take a crack at it!
Lots of talk between Bryce and Janis in this episode and it's all about making babies!
- Bryce feels like he's being watched by the FBI while Janis is waiting for Lloyd's arrival.
- They eventually get into her whole flash of being pregnant and how the surgery has caused the possibility that she may never get pregnant. Janis is thinking she's going to throw in the towel.
- Bryce, still hopeful that his vision will come true tries to convince Janis to never give up. And if she was 4 months pregnant in her flash, then she needs to get pregnant in January.
- Janis says she still wants to get pregnant. Bryce says to not give up.
- Janis returns later and COMES OUT to Bryce saying that she is SUPER GAY so she doesn't know how she is supposed to get pregnant. Bryce says that he knows a good sperm bank (I guess that means there are bad sperm banks out there?). He is going to refer Janis to Dr. Jane Parker. Perhaps she's the doctor giving the sonogram in Janis's flash? We'll find out some time next year!
Lloyd looking for safety
- Janis does not get very far with Lloyd when he arrives. His sole objective is to get Dylan and find some place safe to go. A threat has already been made against him and he probably fears more are on the way. His request to Janis is to leave him and his son alone.
- Lloyd then turns to someone in the hospital trying to get his son transferred to some place safe. The man is very uncooperative because of the press conference.
- Olivia comes to the rescue and says she will call Traverse. "You need help. I will help you." Well, that's a big mood change from every day preceding since the blackout! She must have been impressed with Lloyd taking responsibility for the blackouts.
- Olivia works on the transfer papers. Lloyd is thankful especially with the "inconvenience" he has caused the Benford family.
- Olivia is convinced that Lloyd didn't personally do anything and that he was brave in coming forward.
- Then it happens, they find some things in common. Lloyd went to Harvard in '98 for his doctorate. Olivia was going to move in a building near there but didn't because Mark got a job in the FBI and decided to come to Los Angeles with him. Lloyd says that he met his wife who lived in that same building.
- Lloyd then goes into the Many Worlds theory that some physicists believe. The belief is that for every possible decision that anyone could have made, in some other world/universe, the opposite decision was made. In other words, Olivia did move into that building and Lloyd and her did meet and fall in love.
- Interesting. Now would they bring up this Many Worlds Theory just to get our heads spinning or do we think this is going somewhere? Perhaps the flashes were not of THEIR universe but of some slightly skewed alternate universe where things COULD happen? It seems plausible if you get beyond the alternate universe lingo. Because, if people start making decisions that will LEAD to what they saw in the flash forward, then the alternate universe becomes THIS universe. Right? And that would also explain how Al was able to kill himself even though he was in the flash forward. He made a decision different than what was shown in his flash. So changing their future would all be able making the right decisions. But how do you know what decision is the right one? Yikes. This is another one of those topics that can get my head spinning, but I like the concept!
- Later on, Olivia and Lloyd bring Dylan out to an ambulance. Things already seem shady when the paramedics introduce themselves. John and Reed. That didn't seem like information we needed to know!
- Before we get to that, we must point out that Olivia and Lloyd have an emotional goodbye speech and embrace. Lloyd tells Olivia that out of respect he will choose NOT to believe in the Many Worlds Theory even though many physicists do believe it. Well, we all know that means he does believe it! But that hug where he touches her hair and all? It seems like these 2 are falling right into something they are trying to avoid. Well, at least we thought Olivia was trying to avoid. And with Mark in Hong Kong, it gave her enough time to form a bond with him and his son. But it doesn't stop there!
- Dylan starts causing problems and doesn't want to leave. John and Reed state that they don't have time for this. They then pull guns out, shoot one of the hospital workers, slap Olivia and take Lloyd hostage in the ambulance.
Thanks as always to THE ODI for the great screen captures from the episode.
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