It’s about as thrilling as it sounds. Because FlashForward really wants to win the William Faulkner Confusing Timeline Award away from Lost, this episode opens three years before the Black-Out. Ah, the tranquil years of the Bush Administration.
“I promise that I’ll never, ever cheat on you with a British quantum physicist.”
So back in the day, Mark is in the hospital nursing a little GUNSHOT WOUND and Dr. Olivia is telling him he needs to slow down and be careful and not head up any major agencies that might investigate dangerous supervillians and their time-altering plots. This scene seems tacked on in a hasty and desperate attempt to add a little depth to the Mark/Olivia romance so let’s just summarize items of note: Mark just got his assignment to the anti-terrorism task force, he loves his wife and kid more than anything, and he calls Dr. Olivia “Livy,” which is a cute nickname that apparently they don’t use anymore.
“Who the hell are you?”
Back to the present, where Mark is leaving Olivia for some undisclosed but presumably sad reason. Except that Charlie won’t get out of the car. Awww. Charlie drags out that Mark is off to see (stay with? engage in a new, extremely modern relationship with?) FBI Director, and before he can go she hugs him. Oh, and tells him he “lost” his bracelet before tying it on his hand.
Wait, wasn’t the first one intentionally burned to prevent Mark’s flashforward?
Survey says: yes.
I guess she made him a new one? That makes sense, cause Charlie does have a lot of time off-screen to kill.
Over at FBI headquarters, the gang is watching the Dyson Frost video that seems to know everything. Ol’ Frosty says that he knows about the Black-Out and about Demetri because he himself has had hundreds of flashforwards and in all of them he dies on March 15 with Demetri. Then he uses lots of chess terminology because he’s just so sinister. The next move is Mark’s!
“FBI Director promised us porn!”
The whole thing is explained one more time for us idiotic viewers, and Mark reminds us that Dyson talked about different flashforwards and narrowing possibilities, so the flashforwards are only possibilities. We gotta find Frost!
Simon and Lloyd have been reunited and Simon keeps talking about how impossible it is that someone stole his invention and how much it sucks to lose fingers and all his other problems. And Lloyd is just like, cry me a river.
“AND I had to be on Lost this week!”
Lloyd gives Simon one of the formulas he was working on for flashforward protection, but it’s all useless without the second formula that he saw on the mirror in his flashforward. Simon tells Lloyd to go see Olivia again and I am amazed that the writers found ANOTHER way to get Lloyd and Olivia together.
This is really no better than Facebook stalking.
Meanwhile, Mark has found some guy that once played Frost in a chess match. Wow, these leads are getting slimmer and slimmer. Are you sure you don’t want to talk to his fourth-grade teacher or dentist, instead? Demetri’s eyes light up at the chance to fly somewhere on a vague hint just like they used to, pre-season break, but first Mark wants to go even DEEPER and analyze the games themselves. Because clearly everything that Dyson Frost ever did had something to do with Mark Binford. Can’t he just have a hobby? Give the man a break!
So now stay with me, loyal viewers, because here’s where it gets awesome in a geeky National Treasure sort of way/really stupid in a plausibility sort of way. The amount of time it took for Frost to make moves is a code, and when converted into Morse code gives ten digits. This is assumed to be a phone number, and running it through the magic FBI system gives Mark a prepaid cell phone.
So before I embrace my inner sci-fi geek and throw myself into how cool this is, let’s get all those pesky reasons why not out of the way. Dyson Frost did this in the late 80′s, no? So somehow his flashforwards were complete and thorough enough so as to reveal to him the entire concept of cell phones? Much less, prepaid cell phones? And how could he be sure he would get the phone with this number? And don’t get me started on the idea of the area code. I suppose Dyson might have foreseen the plan working and known he needed to do it exactly as he did, but that sort of robs any credit I had just assigned to Dyson for creating such an intricate code and to Mark for solving it.
BUT I DIGRESS.
So Mark dials the number leaves a message for Dyson. It’s your move, he says cryptically. Oh, Mark. Such the drama queen.
“Yeah, maybe you should have left a call-back number? Status update? Anything useful at all, Mark?”
Over in a sushi restaurant, Keiko (Bryce’s Japanese girl) is sitting and hoping that her flashforward man will show up and whisk her away to the Land of Secondary Characters that I’m sure Bryce rules. But alas, he does not arrive. Also, she turns down a waitressing job. RIVETING.
Me, I hope NOT to see Bryce.
And then because he hasn’t taken up enough of our time this evening, Bryce is waiting in the chemo ward with Nicole. He says he doesn’t want her to see him like this (I just don’t want to see him. Rimshot) but Nicole awesomely reminds him about the whole gluing-pennies-to-the-wall thing. Then they make an awkward date. Judging from the way things have been going, I’m guessing the last twenty minutes of this episode might just be Bryce and Nicole deciding which wine to order and attempting to figure out 15% tip on a $43.58 bill.
Sweeping aerial views of San Francisco! The City by the Bay! Home of That One Guy Dyson Frost Played Chess With! Mark and Demetri show up at a weird giant chess board just to be told by Detective John Smith that their chess player was just found dead. Uh…I guess at least they got a nice trip to the Bay Area?
Is anyone else just thinking about whether he knocked up Janis or not?
Mark walks with Agent Vogel and they reiterate that they really need to solve the mole problem. There’s some talk about blast fishing, so I guess Mark is just saying he plans on doing something bold and dramatic to flush out the leak? If it were me, I would make everyone in the organization take a ten question quiz about who the mole might be.
Bring it back, ABC! We swear we’ll watch it THIS time!
So Agent Vogel leads a bunch of scary men into the building and takes away FBI Director’s authority and cell phone, and even though he’s like AH HELL NA they still heard him into the conference room with everyone else. Dramatic music plays as everyone else is herded away and Mark looks on SUPER dramatically, as though he just ordered a genocide or something.
I mean, seriously. It’s not like they’re off to the Gulag or something.
Seth MacFarlane is totally in the conference room with them! Remember when he was on like one episode a million years ago?
And hey! What’s Katey Sagal doing here?
Over in Mark’s office, Vogel finds a hidden mic under the ‘M’ key on the keyboard. Because Mark is the golden boy, Vogel says we have to go figure out who could have planted the wire. This is getting exciting!
So Vogel wants to question Demetri first, because of the failed mission and because he doesn’t ever get tired of screwing over Demetri, and Demetri chooses to play it self-righteously and somehow make it Mark’s fault that the agency needs to question him. It’s just procedure, Demetri! We all still love you.
After calmly explaining to Demetri that the real mole needs to think everyone is under suspicion (DUH), we see that things are tense in the holding room. Everyone we’ve ever met is nervous about being the mole, and Seth MacFarlane says he’s just glad he didn’t give up access to his personal files.
I have a lot more ways to insult Palin that I want to keep secret for now.
Jk, jk, he says he’s a level seven druid in an RPG and he doesn’t want those files public. Oh, Seth. What a card!
Keiko stumbles on a really stereotypical Hispanic lowrider gathering. And I cannot WAIT to see where this is headed. She starts talking to a guy who can’t get his car to bounce and says she can help him. We all collectively remember that she was a robotics genius or something and the guy’s heart visibly melts. But he keeps up the mild racism by calling her ninja girl.
Sort of the poor man’s Orlando Bloom.
ANYWAYS. Janis is being interrogated and reminds them that she took a bullet on these assignments. Mark tells her that she has had a suspicious amount of time off recently and demands a reason. Janis keeps insulting Vogel, which is awesome, and then starts talking about Marcy’s sick brother in Missouri. That’s the Katey Sagal, right? Apparently Janis was privately investigating Marcy because someone mysteriously deposited $50,000 for her brother’s health care and Janis suspected her. This is an interesting wrinkle, but so randomly introduced. Also, if Janis is the mole (which would break my heart), props to her for such a stellar evasion. Mark holds his head because suddenly there’s “morality” involved. And is there a reason they’re all so mean to Vogel? He’s kind of a jerk, but they all treat him like he’s got no soul or something.
Dr. Olivia and Charlie are at a carnival. Olivia distracts Charlie from her depression with rides and a mysterious man follows them. That pretty much describes every fair I’ve ever been to, also.
Mark learns that Marcy’s brother was declared on her original paperwork but was lost due to clerical error. Then he and Demetri rekindle their long-dormant bromance as Mark opens up about moving out of the house. I wish we could get more of their heart-to-hearts, because I find them very sweet in a manly way.
“Could I just have sex with you? That’s what I do when Janis wants to talk to me about ‘feelings.’”
Dr. Olivia freaks out and runs from the guy at the carnival, but then it turns out he’s FBI security detail. Nifty.
This makes me happy, because we haven’t had any good Olivia freak-outs in awhile.
Over at the Central Casting Hispanic Body Shop, the poor man’s Orlando Bloom tells everyone that Keiko has been hired, and really this reminds me of the beginning of a touching against-the-odds film about an intelligent woman struggling to make it in the gritty, male-dominated world of car repair. I’m thinking Amy Adams could get a chance to try out her dramatic abilities?
Lloyd shows up to see Olivia (whose eyes grow about twice their normal size in like two seconds) and tells her AGAIN he would never be here if it weren’t important. If I had a nickel, am I right? So anyways, he wants to hear all about her flashforward again and she tells him she did see the equation but didn’t recognize any of it, except for the chemical formula for an antiseptic. Lloyd says some sciency stuff about building a quantum entanglement device and Olivis is like, “good, that clears that up” really sarcastically. LOL, Oliva, you and me both.
Keiko is at a restaurant with her charming new employer (who I guess could actually be played by Orlando in this film I’m now casting. Working title: ‘Details.’ I was thinking ‘Body Shop,’ but then it would be porn) and she asks him about his flashforward. He says it was bad and he doesn’t want to talk about it.
Bryce and Nicole are also out on an awkward date. Nicole has some weird metaphor about Bryce being a gremlin. They argue about dinner a little and then Bryce kisses her! OMG! But Nicole says he’s just thinking of his mystery woman. And then they JUST miss going into the sushi place with Keiko! Oh, you crafty writers.
In a shocking and extremely racist turn of events, the body shop is raided by immigration officials. The jerk chief official (Nicholas Cage) arrests Orlando for employing undocumented workers and they round up Keiko, also. Isn’t the world at stake or something? Why is this the Bryce show from now on? HE JUST HAPPENS TO WORK WITH OLIVIA!
This seems like overkill.
FINALLY back to the mole hunt. Demetri and Mark notice that Marcy is putting sugar in her coffee! Lock her up! In a plot point to be rivaled only by the Dyson Frost chess pattern, the addition of sugar to the coffee points to the FBI’s crucial investigative trips. We astute viewers knew that when she awkwardly mentioned she doesn’t use sugar earlier in the episode, something was up.
So then there’s this cool moment where Marcy makes eye contact with Mark and Demetri across the hall, grabs a gun, and shoots Seth MacFarlane! She’s shooting as many no-name agents as she can get her hands on a rushes for the stairs as Mark and Demetri pursue. When she gets outside she jumps onto some masked man’s motorcycle, but then, because Janis is a badass, she shoots the driver and tackles Marcy in the fountain.
This is a lot like a fanfic I’m working on…
Oh, and then they just leave the masked guy there. WHAT?
Dyson gives Mark a jingle and says that now that the mole is gone, he’ll come forward with info.
Simon tries to pick up Janis, and Janis continues to be a badass by telling Simon he gave awful CPR to his “Uncle Teddy.” And then! Janis is all like, btw, I’m also a mole! And I’m like, kljbvibsibgvisfvc???
Ok, Janis = mole. Discuss while I get my jaw off the floor.