Friday, April 23, 2010

FlashForward: Season 1 Episode 17 - The Garden of Forking Paths

Hello Future Dwellers!  I must say, that was one intense episode of FlashForward!  And I really wish that more people stuck with the show.  Hopefully, ABC is seeing enough promise with it to renew and give it a 2nd chance next fall.  After all, there is a lot of ground to cover between now and December 12, 2016!  And I certainly would like to see THE END!  As we see, this is only the beginning and things are getting very interesting.  Let's not waste any time in getting to the recap.

This was one of the 2 episodes we've all had marked on our calendars.  The March 15th episode and I'm guessing we all want to see the April 29th episode!  Sadly, because of the long hiatus, the actual calendar dates aren't matching up with the show's calendar, but it doesn't make it any less effective!   So in last week's episode, we witnessed Demetri trying to run away from his death and in the process cause the events that would lead to his ultimate demise.  The entire episode is dedicated to finding Demetri, but we do learn a few other things along the way that will lead to our future investigations.  The Trial and Escape of Alda Herzog and Vreede/Olivia's investigation into the minds of savants.  Naturally, we'll initially focus on these 2 storylines as an appetizer for the main course!

The Trial and Escape of Alda Herzog

Flashback to 6 Months Prior to the Blackout
So, as we all suspected we do find out that Alda, from the first episode, has been involved in the Global Blackout conspiracy to some degree.  She is an acquaintance with another man we apparently saw during Lloyd's kidnapping as one of the interrogators.  My memory must not be as good as it used to be because I totally forgot about him!  Oh well, he seems like a better actor than Dental Flosso, so we should be good on that front.  ("I'm Flosso and I'm a villain!!!")   
  • I believe what we saw was the warehouse in Pigeon, Utah or I guess it could be the warehouse where Demetri is held (don't think it matters).  This man was taking Alda to meet Dyson Frost.  He implies that Dyson has been difficult to work with ever since all of their experimentations on him.   But they must continue to rely on him because there are only a few people on Earth that understand the physics involved.   I would guess Simon and Lloyd are the other 2.   Well, I'm glad they don't expect US to understand it all! 

  • The man says that he may need Alda to "take care of him" if the situation becomes too unmanageable.  Foreshadowing anyone? 
  • As they enter the building they already know that they're dealing with some nut job as he has black and white dominoes set up all over the floor.

  • As introductions are being handed out, we learn that Dyson pretty much created and engineered the Raven River Experiments.  This is the first time we are hearing about these experiments.  But as we start learning in the Olivia/Vreede storyline, they could be helpful in future investigations.  
  • Dyson Frost is one of the few remaining participants still alive. 
  • They begin talking about the Global Blackout.  Dyson says everything is on schedule for October 6th.  He said that he set up Global Monitoring stations to track the wave forms propagation.  (okay...)  I'm guessing Pigeon was one of these monitoring stations.  
  • Dyston mentions that if Lloyd Simcoe and Simon Campos find their dark matter, then they're on their way.  They definitely had enough foresight from the flashes to know how and when to create this blackout.  
  • It seems that all this man cares about is if Dyson has created the QED yet (The Quantum Entanglement Device).  At this point Dyson has created the first one.  Of course, we learn that their are 7 by the time of the blackout.   The man is impressed with all the micro-circuitry built into such a small device. 
  • Dyson then shows them the video surveillance footage from outside the warehouse.  You know, where they discussed "offing" Dyson.  He promises to be a dozen steps ahead of them when the time comes.   We had no reason NOT to believe him based on everything we learned up to this point! 
  • Before they exit Alda asks about the dominoes.  Frost calls it his Garden.  The white ones chart the path of his escape (from death).  And I don't care how old you are, it's always fun watching dominoes fall! 

Present Day
Zoey is prepared to go to extreme measures to extract any information she can out of Alda.  Alda requests a hearing and forces Zoey to make it happen even though it could damage her reputation. 
  • Long story short - We do get to the hearing.  And it appears to be an elaborate scheme to engineered for Alda's escape.  Here is what I wrote in our March 26th recap of the episode "Blowback":  "But Zoey asks if Alda was in prison in her Flash Forward.  Alda doesn't comment.  So I guess we can make 2 assumptions.  She is in prison, and by letting Zoey represent her, she is hoping to get out.  Or vice versa, she is NOT in prison and perhaps letting Zoey help her is the way she gets out. "
  • I know, not hard to call that one, but I thought it was funny how it exactly worked out that way!  
  • So the hearing is a failure and Zoey is reprimanded by the judge who asks her never to pull a stunt like this again.   But she does get information out of Alda.  Alda saw in her FlashForward that Demetri was found in Building 7.  

  • Before any other information could get out, she signals her window washer friend to blow the window and Alda makes a jump for it.  And there you go!  This plays into events in the main storyline later on. 

Vreede/Olivia Investigate Savants
Olivia's Surgery
  • After Olivia performs surgery Bryce asked her what inspired her to go OLD SCHOOL on the anesthesia.  As we learned in a recent episode, Olivia helped Lloyd uncover part of his FlashForward's formula by recognizing an anesthetic that is part of a future QED.  (C2HBrClF3 Halothane ) 
  • This causes concern from Bryce who realizes that Olivia and Lloyd are spending a lot of time together lately.  I forget if Olivia told Bryce that she was with another man in her FlashForward.   But regardless, we see in this entire episode that she is not thrilled with being near Mark in the least.  Ugh, crazy future visions dictating present events! 
Vreede Comes to Visit
In an attempt to help locate Demetri, Vreede needs to ask Olivia about a connection made to her from one of Dyson Frost's victims.  
  • Well we got an answer and none of our speculations were correct.  The mysterious text message that Olivia got stating that Mark Benford was drinking in his flash came from a prepaid cell phone and one of Dyson Frost's victims.  The homeless man that he shot last week 3 times in the chest.  
  • Olivia doesn't want to go with Vreede to look at the body but Vreede urges her to go.  In the end, she does end up coming. 
  • At the morgue, Olivia again says that she does not know this man.  Then they show the man's brain, which I'll refrain from sharing a close-up screenshot!  They realize that the man was capable of retaining a lot of information.   And they realize that he is a savant.  It's not a recognized medical condition according to the most reliable source (sarcasm) Wikipedia!  But there are autistic traits but also have increased ability, expertise and brilliance.  Hmmm....isn't Dylan autistic?  Nothing mentioned in this episode regarding to him, but look out! 

  • Vreede keeps wanting to pursue by looking at an address book.  He insists that Olivia is connected to him and we just don't know how yet. 
Neuro-Science Center
  • The address belongs to a Dr. Ebbing which apparently had his address book stolen by this victim.  
  • They show Ebbing a picture of the homeless man and ask if he was a patient of his.  He doesn't seem to recognize him but acknowledges it could be possible.  Many savants are referred to him from across the country. 
  • Ebbing speaks of savants and how they have photographic memories and are like "human video cameras".  Hmmm perhaps they could retain massive amounts of information from FlashForwards??  Or could theses savant traits have been acquired from repeated experimentations of flash forwards?  

  • Besides giving us more information on savants Ebbing seemed to be very unhelpful in the investigation.  Although he did question why Olivia was interested in savants.  Here's a wild theory, maybe Dr. Ebbing was involved in some of these Raven River Experiments?  Seems like such a minor character in a one and done scene, but just his attitude during it seemed fishy! 
  • Outside, Olivia gets in line for a coffee and while she is ordering an interesting looking man starts repeating exactly what she was going to order.  He mentions how she ALWAYS orders that on THIS DAY.   He then asks her to say what she's supposed to say: "how do you know my coffee order" and then his response is "that's what you say.  I say 'I have stood behind you in this line many times.  You always order the same way.'"  
  • He clarifies that he has stood behind her HERE at this very coffee cart, in this line, on this day many many times.   His name is GABRIEL and he says that Olivia deserves a break today.  He mentions the Raven River Experiments.  His friend wanted to talk to Olivia about them (we assume the murdered homeless guy...murdered by Dyson Frost).  He knows about the text that Olivia got.  He says he knows about the FlashForwards, the Blackout.   
  • Vreede tries to intervene and say that he needs to come and talk to them at the FBI.  But then Gabriel says that Vreede doesn't ever say that. hmmm   Then Gabe does his best M.C. Hammer impression repeatedly by saying "U Can't Touch This".    How great would it be if we get a flashback to these 80's experiments and we have them all listening to M.C. Hammer while being FLASHED to the future? 

  • Gabriel, clearly a savant, gets spooked and walks away.  But not before he refers to the dominoes falling.   Looks like Olivia and we just got our next "BREAK" in the investigation.
  • What was going on at Raven River?  We know that Dyson is one of the few survivors left.  Was Dyson trying to kill them all?  Could he not get to Gabriel in time?   I'm intrigued!   

Operation: Find Demetri 
March 15, 2010
Charlie Gets Questioned
As we saw at the end of last week's episode, Dyson Frost came to meet Charlie.  Apparently, he dumped a lot of secret clues into their meeting.  But the FBI had to work pretty hard at breaking the 6 year old so she'd reveal the information! 
  • As I mentioned, Olivia continued to give Mark the cold shoulder.  I'm sure the big hook-up with Lloyd has something to do with it.  But she still is upset that Mark is continuing his investigation even though it supposedly leads to his death.  A Death that Charlie learned about in her flash forward and is very afraid of. 
  • But, in the meantime, Stan is the one that cracks the code on getting Charlie to spill.  She closes her eyes and envisions the whole thing.  

  • Charlie did her best "I'm not supposed to talk to strangers" routine, but Dyson outsmarted her telling her that he knows her name!  He's no stranger.  Anyway, after Dyson says he's working with Mark, they start talking about Dr. Seuss.  And 2 books in particular.  Dyson's favorite is One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (My wife'  favorite as well.  I'm a Green Eggs and Ham guy myself).  Charlie calls it a LITTLE KID book.  But Dyson is inserting clues to help Mark in the end.  The book can be for grownups too because Dr. Seuss has all of the answers.  It's funny how literal these things end up being (like that whole 8 Ball clue a few episodes back).  Charlie's favorite is Horton Hears a Who.  Dyson talks about how Horton was a trooper and carried his mission through to the end because he had faith even when others doubted him.  All symbolic to what Dyson is doing as well.  You could even say Mark is doing it too even though his flash should advise him against it.     
  • Then Dyson hands Charlie a photo and asks her to give it to her father.  And then he left.  The back of the photo provided a location.  

  • The picture is of Oedipus and the Sphinx - you know the guy that received a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother.   And in receiving this, everything he tried to do to escape it led to it actually being fulfilled.  Kind of what Demetri did by trying to avoid his fate.  Vreede brings up the great point that by going to rescue him they may end up doing the same thing by sealing Demetri's fate.  Mark implies that he is aware this is possible, but I guess it's just hard for them to sit by and let it happen!  He made a promise to Demetri and he plans to keep it. 
  • So Mark will meet at High Noon at Union Station with the great riddler - Dyson Frost

Meanwhile in Building 7
Demetri is strapped in with an overload of sensors everywhere.  And a red dot sight from Mark's gun pointed right at his chest.  Any motion he makes causes the trigger to start automatically moving into motion.  Yikes!  Oh and there's a timer and it's counting down to the trigger pulling anyway!   OUCH!  This is quite the pickle he's in. 

  • Behind him is some kind of ROADMAP of various futures intersecting into milestone events.  Dyson explains to Demetri that it is his Garden of Forking Paths.   As we get a closer shot, we see a lot of the events that led to March 15th.  Somalia, Hong Kong, KILL MCKINNON (the savant homeless guy), Queen Sacrifice.   And of course a reference to the author (Not LOST) of FlashForward the novel in "Sawyer Court".   

  • During Dyson's speech we start seeing other information that maybe hasn't occurred yet.  Maestro di Color, Ed Germain Fellowship, Ansible Theory.  Ansible apparently is used in lots of science fiction stories and talks about the potential ability to send communications via "faster than Light" means.   And of course, Light Speed can be associated with travelling to the future.   But I'll let you goes depict this stuff on your own! 
  • Each line is a future that branches off of each critical decision he made.  He refers to how it started in the 80's at a place called Raven River.   They engineered THOUSANDS of Flash Forwards sometimes jumping 20 minutes other times 20 years.  Each time they saw a different possible future.  He uses the Blackout as an example.  If they failed to make that happen, a different path would have opened.  They moved on to the next decision point because they succeeded.   Today is one of those decision points.   The day of BOTH of their murders. 
  • 78% of  the time in his Flash Forwards, Dyson does not live past today and Demetri ends up killing him.  He gets into the idea that once they glimpse the future, THE FUTURE wants to happen.  We have been saying this since September with all of the Self-fulfilling prophecies and stuff.  To escape the pressure they have to do something drastic. (Hmmm like Gough jumping off of a building? or setting up a sensory triggered gun aimed at Demetri with a timer?)  
  • Dyson is attempting to conform to the predicted future as closely as he can but still allowing for the possibility that they both live.  He talks about how most Oracles see too much information and it ends up destroying them.  And then he leaves for his next part of his plan.   Demetri is left there to die.  
  • Dyson does leave him with the one tidbit that in all likelihood, one of them will die today. 

Union Station
Mark has arrived at his destination and his being watched by Janis and a bunch of FBI cronies.   There are a couple false alarms with people walking up to him until finally a little kid with a superman backpack shows up saying he was paid $50 to give him the pack.  

  • The backpack has a picture of Demetri being held hostage in it. On the back of the photo is a number: 423   Yeah, any LOST fan knows that the numbers 4 and 23 are significant on that show.  One cannot help but thing this is an homage to its TV Predecessor.  And I am choosing to think so! 
  • Then Mark's phone rings.  It's Dyson who instructs him to not say any words because he knows the FBI is listening.  He has Demetri and will kill him if Mark doesn't follow instructions.  Mark does utter a few words but Dyson stops him again.   He gets Mark to utter 2 words during the conversation which end up throwing the FBI off to a false address.  Figueroa and Pico.  In case anyone is wondering this is a main drag in Los Angeles where the Convention Center, Staples Center and Nokia Theater are.  
  • Dyson wants to come in and tell Mark when and why the next blackout will happen.  He has parted ways with his associates (Alda and the other guy and Dental Flosso!   Maybe Nhadra too?  We saw him working with her earlier in the season) and they will do anything to ensure that he doesn't make it into custody. 
  • The 423 also ends up being the amount of time left in Demetri's life. (4 hours and 23 minutes).  By the way, apparently you can just push a button and it sets a digital watch to this exact time! 

  • Mark gets his directions and begins to run!  He tosses the cell phone and gun in the bathroom and then behind a panel grabs a ZOOMCar Key . He then  runs out to the car, gets a new cell phone in the car and heads out via Dyson's directions.  He evades all of the FBI that are tracking him. 

The Meeting of Mark and Dyson
  • He heads north and ends up on a dirt road until it dead ends. He just happens to have a water bottle on him and he takes a drink.  Seems meaningless at the time.  He continues north with a compass on foot for one mile. 
  • When he gets to his destination Dyson shows up with a gun pointed at Mark. "Time for you and me to save the world."
  • Dyson reveals that most of his associates wanted Mark dead months ago, but Dyson wanted to see things play out to this day.  Dyson tells Mark he doesn't trust the rest of the FBI nor should he.  We know Janis is still doing something fishy there.  Anyone else? (I still don't know about Wedeck!)   
  • Dyson pulls out some cuffs and tells Mark to put them on and then they'll talk.  Instead Mark asks if he can take a swig of his water first.  Yellow looking water now.   He swigs it and then spits it into Dyson's face and takes control of the situation.  He syphoned gasoline from the tank.  Impressive Mark!! 

  • Dyson starts ranting how this isn't how it's supposed to play out.   He tells Mark that he already knows where Demetri is.  All of the clues were in the information given to Charlie.  Dyson says the whole world is running out of time and in the end Mark will be saved by the lady you see every day.   And then he was about to spill some important information but notices a bike not far off and realized Mark had been followed.  Then a shot fires from a sniper rifle.  It's ALDA!   Dyson goes down.  His last words are "I did what I did for a reason." and then it's over.   Man they're killing these people off like crazy!  But I guess someone had to die on March 15th!  

  • So who is the lady Mark sees every day?  Olivia?  How much more cryptic could that be!?  And is THE END December 12, 2016 (we'll get there) or is it April 29th, 2010?   If it's the former, we really need like 5 more seasons to find out! 
  • In Dyson's briefcase, Mark found a few more of the pictures from his MOSAIC Investigation board.  Nice.  

  • Mark heads back to the vehicle and checks the previous GPS locations, there just happens to be a 423 Ingres Street.  He starts heading that way! 

The Moment of Truth

  • At this point Zoey has made it to the FBI HQ and provided them with the Building 7 intel.  Mark calls and says he doesn't know which of the many buildings he is at has Demetri in it.  It turns out that the buildings are numbered on the roofs. Janis, still being helpful, explains to Mark which one of the buildings it is and then Mark heads that way.  He shoots the lock off the door and then he finds Demetri.  He's alone and has that crazy Death Trap all set up.  2 minutes and 20 seconds to go. 

  • Mark decides he's going to try and remove the gun.  Oh boy.  And we see the Mark holding his gun and point it right into Demetri's chest, just like it was foretold.  

  • Fortunately for Mark and Demetri, Mark remembers One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish!   There just happens to be a Read wire and a Blue Wire connected to this gizmo.  Loved Demetri asking with a minute to live if Mark was quoting Dr. Suess.  Good times! 
  • Demetri tells Mark that there should be no regrets whichever way this goes.   He pulls the wires off and then is able to move the gun.  He slowly moves the gun upward over Demetri's head and the timer runs out.  3 shots fire out.  Demetri survives!!!!  Whew....But my favorite part of the whole scene was that the 3 bullets went right into Demetri's Chest on his picture behind him.  GOOD  TIMES!!!  I had a good laugh about that one for a bit.  

  • Demetri was feeling great after that.  And then they debated on if they could let him get up.   Sure enough, when Mark set him free the sprinkler system went off and washed away the Garden of Forking Paths.  OH MAN!!!!  Even in death, Dyson Frost manages to "screw us."  Well said, Mark. 

  • Time passes and everyone gets to the scene of the almost-crime.   Demetri and Zoey reunite.  Janis walks by Demetri and Zoey.  Is she pregnant by him?  We have yet to find out but it sure could add more drama to his life! 
  • Everyone is all happy but there is a shadow of disappointment at almost getting a HUGE break with seeing how many future events would play out.  Events AFTER April 29th. I would assume in the 20-something percent of the time when Dyson did not die on March 15th. 
  • Mark acknowledges that he remembers a few of the events but one sticks out in his mind very clearly.  One that I couldn't resist bringing up 2 times already.  The furthest one from today at the top of the wall.   All of the various branches seemed to lead to it.   DECEMBER 12, 2016 - THE END

  • Janis looks as shocked as Wedeck and Mark.   The End of WHAT?   Exactly. 


So there we go folks! What an episode.  Things are really escalating to a great finale for this season.  Hopefully it is escalating to a fantastic setup for next season.  The actress that plays Janis seems hopeful that ABC will renew.   We will see.  But at least until then, we should have some entertaining TV to watch!   Sorry for the delay on the recap.  I wasn't able to watch until Friday morning.  Hopefully, you all can forgive me.  It might happen one or 2 more times before the end of the season!   

Anyway, I will be back in all of my recapping glory for next week's episode.  Until then, the comment section is yours to fill up!  I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 


Pictures courtesy of ABC and my iMAC! 

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Kelly said...

ah, it was sooo nice to see James Callis from Battlestar Galactica playing Gabriel. i miss that show!!

Mike said...

I think this show has really been getting better. I hope they renew it. I was sad to see Dyson get killed though, he was such a fun character.

It is interesting how Dyson's action in kidnapping Demetri led to his death, because if Demetri wasn't kidnapped then his girlfriend wouldn't have been so desperate as to get an emergency hearing.

Perhaps the way that Olivia can save the day is by figuing out something with the QED and the anesthesia. Everyone has a QED=no problem with blackouts.

Mike V. said...

Kelly - i knew i recognized him from somewhere! That's pretty cool!

@Mike - I agree about Dyson...he seemed so integral to the entire thing, but I guess that's what they wanted us to think.

Yeah maybe Olivia will be integral with the QED....I dunno...i just wonder if Dyson was referring to "THE END" when he mentioned the woman that is with Mark every day. But it could have just been to get past this initial hurdle of April 29th. We'll see!

Redhead said...

Mike..first trip to your site (from Lost site). Have been following this series since the beginning and love it. Lots of similar black/white and numbers, Charlie and The End. I'm going to have to read your previous recaps now. So many recaps so little time.

Bryan said...

Really enjoyed this episode... nice recap. I like how you put Desmond instead of Demetri in one spot... just can't get Lost out of our heads :).

Floreen said...

Yeah, I was trying to reserve my commenting on Lost of which I think I see some parallels here. Plus is too early for me to make much noise about it.

Mike V. said...

@Redhead - Welcome! Yep feel free to read all of the recaps, but there wasn't much to speculate on in the beginning you may just be reading word for word in what you saw! But I won't let that stop you from reading them!

@Bryan - thanks for the props on the recap...Ugh...I'm trying to be so good at not throwing lost names in there! I would fix it, but since you enjoyed it maybe I'll leave it in there. naaaaa can't do it!

@Florin - definitely early in FlashForward to start major speculations. I am just hoping for it to get renewed at this point!

Floreen said...

@Mike V - Let's hope so, it shows a lot of promise so far. I will also try to keep lost on the other

Do you post this on as well? Would it help you for us to get the links to it as well?

whiterabbit48 said...

Love your recap. Been following your LOST recaps, and this is the fist I have read of FF. I , too will need to read your earlier ones on this show.I missed "Charlie" this show.....

Mike V. said...

@Florin, thanks yeah! I put the gather links at the bottom of each post. I appreciate your help!

@White Rabbit! Thanks for checking this out. I'm glad you're enjoying all of the blogs. And definitely check out the older posts. Like I said..there wasn't much to talk about back then...but I'm sure I found a way to keep them entertaining! lol

Floreen said...

@Mike V- I haven't found any gather links in this one.

Mike V. said...

Hey guys...i need 7 hits on this Gather post...anyone want to click on this and help me out? LOL THANKS!

Flashforward post on Gather

Floreen said...

@MIke V - I did scored you one.

MJ said...

Your link for Gather that you have in your comment needing 7 hits is from 4/8 and not this past week.

I went to both on gather though

Mike V. said...

Thanks MJ! That was actually intentional lol This stuff runs monthly, and that one was 7 away from 500 views which is one of the milestone markers. You may have just earned me an additional $2.50! LOL Woo hoo! It's the little things in life.

Another one of my FF posts is close to 250 hits now, but I don't think I'll get it by the end of the month. The latest one actually got some significant views...must be because the episode was so good!

Anyway, thanks all for your help!

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