FlashForward: The Negotiation

As I mentioned last time, FlashForward is finally proving to be a really good show, just as it’s been cancelled by ABC. It’s a shame, although the series as a whole could be best described as being of mixed quality, it all seems to be coming together now and the writers seem to be proving that they did have a solid plan from the start, with so many elements from previous episodes now slotting into place.

It’s now the eve of the big day. The day before April 29th, with the whole world waiting to see if their visions will come true the next day.

A news channel broadcasts CCTV pictures of Suspect Zero walking around the stadium at the time of the blackout, although it is from a different camera angle to what was previously seen, meaning the footage wasn’t leaked from the FBI. Demetri learns that the tape was sent anonymously by a courier. It’s fairly obvious from the pictures that Suspect Zero is Simon.

Gabriel (who is played by Battlestar Galactica’s James Callis, a really good addition to the cast and yet another British actor on the series) is brought into the FBI building to answer some more questions. He’s shown photos of Nhadra Udaya (the gravelly voiced woman from Hong Kong) and the homeless man who was killed by Frost and says both were part of the Raven River experiments and that a man he calls “Big Guy” was the leader, showing everyone a sketch he drew of him in his notebook.

The woman who, years ago, told Janis she was a headhunter finds Simon. It turns out that her name is Lita and she seduces him in a motel room to keep him occupied until a man called Lucas Hellinger arrives. He is “Big Guy”, it seems, the man behind the blackout. He tells Simon that all is not lost, he can still work for them, be allowed to continue with his experiments and even see his family once or twice a year. Simon says he’ll think about it.

Aaron is still in Afghanistan with Kahmir, the doctor he saw in his vision. They find a secret Jericho base in the middle of the incredibly dangerous Helmand Province. Aaron sends images of the base to Stan, who calls up the President, his old friend (and also a friend of the Jerico owner), to tell him that he will be passing the photos on to the Vice President. The President says that he knew this phone call would come, but not that Stan would be on the other end of the line. Suddenly all the little things from earlier in the season are falling into place. This is the reason the Vice President had a vision of herself being in the top job. Stan tells Aaron to wait, but he ignores him and successfully rescues his daughter. She’s very badly hurt, and against Kahmir’s advice, Aaron demands that they go to Kaboul immediately. They arrive in the very same room that Aaron saw in his vision.

Janis meets her CIA contact Vogel at a bar, upset that she has been asked to kill Mark. Vogel tells her that if she doesn’t kill Mark, she’ll have to give them something, or they won’t trust her any more. So, she comes up with the only bit of information she can give, telling Carline (in a laundrette rather than a fish store this time) exactly when Gabriel is being transported, knowing how valuable he is to the people being the blackout because of the information he has retained.

Just as Janis said, the FBI van winds through the city streets, having close calls with suspicious-looking traffic. Suddenly, the road is blocked by a pickup truck and there’s a burst of gunfire. When the attackers open up the back of the truck, expecting to find Gabriel, they discover Mark, wearing Gabriel’s clothes and glasses, but also carrying a gun. The FBI quickly swoop and grab the attackers, forcing them to drive to the super top secret base. When they get there, Mark gets out, in disguise as Gabriel. At the last minute, Lucas sees the look of trepidation in his van driver’s eyes and realises something’s up. He tries to run, but the FBI have the place captured and Mark nabs him just after he erases all of the files on their computers, but not before Mark glimpses a photo of Simon on the screen.

Mark tells Janis that he’s worked out over several weeks, but especially today, that she’s a mole. She tells him about how she was recruited by Vogel as a double agent and had been told to kill him. She pleads to be able to tell her old friend Demetri herself and when she does, he’s upset at being deceived for so long. He says that she has to consider that he is now involved in her decisions because of the baby, something which she disputes. Janis returns home to find Simon pointing a gun at her and asking for help.

I’m not saying that FlashForward has become a brilliant series, as it clearly still has it’s flaws, but the improvement since the beginning of the season has been remarkable. What has been particularly impressive is the way that all of the loose ends and plot points from previous episodes, some of them long-forgotten, are all now coming together and making perfect sense. FlashForward was hyped as “the new Lost” before it began, and while it’s not in the same league as that show, it can be argued that it has had a better handle on its unresolved mysteries.

It looks like the next episode will be set on April 29th 2010, the day everyone saw in their visions, so it’s bound to be a good one.

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