FlashForward returned to Five from it’s very long mid-season break tonight with a two-hour episode, made up of what was originally planned to be two separate episodes titled Buddha In The Ruins and Kairos. Read on for a recap and my thoughts on tonight’s show.
The episode starts on the day of the blackout, with a window cleaner who falls from his platform from the top of a high-rise when the world blacks out and whose life is saved by his safety line luckily catching on something. We see a lot more of the blackout, and while the CGI is on a TV budget, it’s still really good to finally see a bit more of what happened around the world. The window cleaner says that the blackout changed him for the better, his flashforward was of him as a religious preacher, so he set up a group called Sanctuary. He then went on to spend much of the first hour narrating the episode with ponderous religious rhetoric, “wise” words and other such rhubarb, just like that annoying one in Heroes.
At the FBI, the recently fired Mark is being given a telling off from Stan (yes, I’m having to look the names up) for his unauthorised shenanigans in Hong Kong, and is ordered to see a therapist, so is now apparently un-fired. Meanwhile, Olivia is being questioned about the incident at the hospital where Lloyd was kidnapped. At one point she accidentally calls Lloyd “Mark” (she’s forgotten the character names too, then). Simon is there too, enjoying his time at the FBI but wondering where the beer is. Flying the flag for us Brits, there.
Simon goes to Lloyds place with Janice to look at his computer system. He still wants a beer, and when she goes to the kitchen she’s met with some masked men who knock her out. When she wakes up, Simon is gone. He’s taken to the place where Lloyd is being held, and they bicker about Lloyd’s foolhardy decision to tell the world that they were responsible for the blackout, something they weren’t completely sure about. They’re interrupted by the bearded man we saw with the suitcase with rings inside a few episodes back. He introduces himself as Flosso and says that he is a “villain”, before questioning Lloyd about his particle acceleration experiments, who refuses to answer, saying he’d rather die than tell him how to produce another blackout. Flosso replies that he and Simon didn’t cause the blackout, but simply amplified it. Later, Lloyd tries to put a note he scrawled in blood on a restaurant flyer, reading “Help Us”, outside the basement window, but it blows away, and Flosso returns with it before asking again for details about the experiments, threatening to cut off Simon’s finger unless Lloyd answers.
Olivia suggests to Mark that they leave LA, to make sure the bad things from their visions don’t come true. He goes to see his new therapist, and recounts his flashforward which she points out doesn’t seem like the usual 137 seconds. She offers him some drugs to help him to remember. He sees his evidence board more clearly – including a picture of a Hydra, the Red Panda logo (first seen in the pilot episode) and Lloyd’s “Help Us” note, and realised that he was on the phone to Lloyd, the other end of the phone call we’ve seen so often in Olvia’s vision, and Lloyd mentions that there’s going to be another flashforward.
Oh, and Nicole’s mother burned a bible and collects pennies. Nicole meets the window cleaner. Bryce is concerned. Yawn.
Mark visits Red Panda, which seems to be a humanitarian aid organization and might later be his ticket to Somalia. He then goes to the restaurant on Lloyd’s note and finds it recently moved after the original location burned down during the blackout. He goes there and rescues Lloyd and Simon, something the other FBI agents have been trying to do all episode long. As Simon gets into the back of an ambulance, Flosso is waiting for him, mentioning that Simon’s been working for him all along.
We then see a flashback to the day of the blackout, and Simon is at his father’s funeral in Toronto. He is taken against his will by a driver, and then by helecopter, to Detroit, where he attends the baseball game. He is on the phone with D Gibbons, who is giving him instructions, and he sits and finds a ring in his popcorn. Just after he puts it on, the blackout happens, and he is the only person who stays conscious, and walks out just as we saw on the CCTV. He is “Suspect Zero”, the scary figure seen at the end of the first episode. Flosso was there too, saying that Simon’s been part of this since he was 13.
Simon escapes from the hospital but Janice tracks him down to Toronto. His little sister Annabelle has gone missing and it seems he’s there to help find her, but when Janice’s back is turned, he escapes again. She easily tracks him down to Philip, a friendly old professor Simon once worked with. Simon’s there to ask him to help build a device to prevent people being affected if another blackout takes place. Back at the family home, “Uncle Teddy” arrives – it’s Flosso. To the rest of Simon’s family, he’s an old friend who helped him through college and university after the family moved to Canada from England.
We then see a little more of what happened at the baseball stadium after the blackout. It emerges that Flosso’s men were behind the death of Simon’s father. When he found out, in his fury he killed one of his henchmen – what we previously thought was Simon’s vision was in fact what he was doing while the rest of the world was starting to wake up.
Simon’s family get a call from Annabelle, while Flosso shows him a live image of her being held at gunpoint, saying it’s being done to get him to co-operate. He takes him outside and shows him Philip’s body, saying Annabelle will be mailed back piece by piece if he doesn’t do what his bosses want. Simon says he’d prefer to talk to the bosses in future, killing Flosso.
So… FlashForward is back and it’s just as infuriating as ever. There was plenty of good stuff in these episodes, some very good stuff with plenty of answers and the plot moving along nicely. But, at the same time, there was still lots of the sort of things that plagued many of the earlier episodes, with some utterly terrible dialogue and too many scenes that neither seem relevant, entertaining or interesting. Things did pick up a head of steam in the second hour, though, and there were signs that the story has been plotted out for the rest of the season, so hopefully things will keep going quickly in the coming weeks. But I really was hoping for something a bit better from it’s return after such a long break.