Thankfully, after the disheartening debacle of last week's episode — with its awkward writing and mashed-up plot points — we return this week to some semblance of the exciting and cinematically complex FlashForward that we had grown to love over the last six months.
Finally, we reach March 15, 2010, the day both Dyson Frost and Demetri Noh are supposed to die, or are they? And the nice thing about this episode is that there aren't any weird distractions from the main thrust — every scene adds up to the same end: how to save Demetri.
"Alda, Shut Up."
Zoey, having already secured cold-hearted Alda Hertzog as a client, has yet to get anything useful out of her to save Demetri. She heads to the jail and Alda says she'll give up something else if Zoey gets her a same-day hearing. There's some hubbub about Alda pretending to have appendicitis for the judge, but all of this is a ruse so that a couple of window-washers can blast Alda out of the building. Before she leaves, though, she gives Zoey a single clue: Demetri's body, in her flash, was found in "Building 7." 9/11 reference? Not this time.
"Once we've glimpsed it, the future wants to happen. It gains weight."
We get a glimpse of Alda six months earlier, being hired as some sort of handler for Dyson Frost by the larger evil cabal that we still don't have a face for after the death of Flosso (we thought Flosso worked for Frost, but now we think they both just worked for somebody else, whom Janis apparently works for too). We see Alda in a fashionable white coat and pantsuit number, walking with the stylish Lucas, one of Flosso's men — the first true fashionistas of the FlashForward universe. We also see the blackout-blocking black ring apparently created by Frost, which contains much "micro-circuitry" that protects against flashing. Frost shows her a set a dominoes with a white line of dominoes snaking through it. This is his "garden," and, he says, the white represents his escape route.
Now we're back to March 15, as Frost has Demetri tied to a chair with Mark's gun rigged up to an automatic firing device aimed at his chest and set to go off if he moves an inch. Frost displays and explains a complex chalkboard thing with a similarly snaking line all over it, his "garden of forking paths" which maps out all of Frost's decisions and the futures that branch off from each one. As complicated and rainbow-colored as this "map" is, it still doesn't seem nearly complicated enough in our opinion, given how many decades it has to span and how many fucking decisions and variables there would be. But we digress.
Frost delivers a good monologue (see clip below) in which he explains that each flash acts as a kind of "atmospheric pressure" that fights against free will and alternate destinies. He also says something about Raven River in the eighties. More on that later.
"I like Horton."
Creepy Charlie is brought in for questioning about her carnival sit-down with Dyson Frost, and she tells the assembled agents how she and Frost discussed their favorite Dr. Seuss books. Frost likes One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, while Charlie prefers the far more intellectually complex Horton Hears a Who. Frost gives her a picture to pass on to her dad, which turns out to be a painting by Ingres called Oedipus and the Sphinx, with a note on the back about meeting at Union Station at noon.
Once Mark gets there, he's out in the middle of the historic station while Janis (who still sounds like she had a cold on this shoot, but it was slightly improved) watches on monitors to see if anyone approaches. A little African-American kid walks up and gives him a backpack. Inside it is a phone on which Frost calls him and starts feeding him instructions they can't hear. He ends up crawling out a vent in the men's room with a ZoomCar key (guess they couldn't get Zipcar onboard for the product placement) and drives north for three hours into the Antelope Valley. He then runs up a mountain in his suit while barely breaking a sweat, only to find Frost coming at him with a gun.
Clever Mark carries a water bottle full of gasoline with him, and manages to spit some on Frost to distract him. This, apparently, is not how Frost imagined this day playing out, and he's upset. He says something about how they have to save the world. As they're struggling, he spots a dirt bike on a road down below, and there's a glint of light off a gun in the distance. Frost is shot. By whom? That biznatch Alda Hertzog.
"Does anybody use halothane anymore?"
Okay, we had it wrong about Olivia knowing physics. The piece of the formula she saw on the mirror in her flash isn't part of physics, it’s the formula for an inhaled anesthetic, halothane. She asks an anesthesiologist about it, and he says they only use it in developing countries nowadays.
"She'll have a small soy latte, no foam, extra shot, half sugar, half aspartame."
Moving on, Vreede corners Olivia in her office and tells her that the dude whom Dyson Frost shot at a homeless shelter in the last episode had dialed her cell phone in October and texted her about Mark drinking. He had an address book with him, which turns out to belong to a psychiatrist who deals with savants, played by Geoffrey Owens (Elvin from The Cosby Show!) who can't help them in the slightest.
But then, as they're giving up and getting coffee, another savant dude approaches Olivia and rattles off her coffee order (does anyone actually order aspartame, like ever? Let alone half sugar, half aspartame?). He says he's stood behind her "here, in this line, on this day, many times." He says something about the Raven River experiments and then runs off with the closer, "The dominoes are falling, Olivia." This frustrates us, but we are intrigued.
"This is it. My hand, my gun."
Suffice it to say, Mark finds Building 7 on an abandoned army base in the Antelope Valley and saves Demetri. He fiddles with the rig that's set to shoot Demetri with his gun, removing the red wire then the blue wire, like "red fish, blue fish," then aims the gun above Demetri's head. When they get Demtri out of his chair, though, some water spigots get released and wash Frost's complicated chalkboard puzzle clean. "Even in death, he manages to screw us." But Mark manages to retain one item he saw, way up at the top. "December 12, 2016 — The End." Don't tell us that, like the Lost creators, these guys have mapped out six years of this shit already. We'd like to see it get picked up for next season, but let's not get crazy about this. We've got plans. We'll be busy washing our hair in 2016. Or something.