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FlashForward Recap: Dark Matter

Is it just us, or did the hiatus really mess with the "real-time parallel universe" thing the FlashForward writers were trying to create, where we actually arrive at the episode where everyone's flashes come to pass on April 29, 2010? Because Demetri is supposed to die on March 15, and whoops, in the FlashForward universe, it seems like March 15 is coming up next week, a month behind schedule. Anyway ... this week's episode messed with us in a number of ways, not least by introducing Seth MacFarlane as a random FBI agent we swear we haven't met before (even though IMDB tells us he had an uncredited cameo in the pilot).

"You forgot your bracelet."
Creepy little Charlie, the Benfords' kid, pouts in the car while Mark and Olivia hash out the beginnings of a trial separation — you'll recall, in the last episode, Mark just couldn't choose family over work by escaping fate and moving to Montana. So he's going to stay with the Wedecks for a while, and Charlie makes sure he puts his little braided, embroidery floss bracelet on (don't kids do macramé anymore? too busy texting?) to "keep the bad guys away." The bracelet figures into Mark's evidence board somehow, so it always feels like a bad omen of a gift from a demon child who sees the future, but, anyhow — thanks, Charlie.

Olivia and Charlie later have a "girls' day" at the Santa Monica pier, and a strange man who likes frozen yogurt is following them. He turns out to be a security detail hired by Mark, and Olivia calls this "comforting."

"I myself have had hundreds of flash-forwards."
Really, Dyson Frost? You're some kind of flash-forward junkie? Just can't go a week without another fix?

We learn that D. Gibbons, a.k.a. Dyson Frost, a.k.a. Michael Massee (who's had a whole career of creepy roles in Se7en, Lost Highway, and shows like Cold Case) is both a chess fiend and a chronic flash-forwarder, essentially controlling the past from the future in some crazy chesslike game that makes our heads hurt. He's flashed forward so many times that he was able to plant a tape of himself back in Somalia in 1991 talking to Demetri about what happens in 2010. Also, he keeps seeing himself dying on March 15, the same day as Demetri, so he sees their fates as linked. He gives Mark the "next move," and Mark immediately, as if he were some sort of Mensa member that we've thus far never known him to be, starts decoding chess games from tournament game sheets from the eighties. How does he figure out that there's a code embedded in the number of seconds it took Dyson to make each move (one of which is where they get the name of the episode, "Queen Sacrifice")? Because he's a secret savant, that's how! The code is a phone number, which belongs to a disposable cell phone, at the other end of which is, naturally, a recorded message from Frost.

Mark and Demetri then head to San Francisco for five minutes to track down Frost's onetime chess nemesis from 1987 ... and he is murdered an hour or so before they get there, right in the middle of a life-size chess board near the Golden Gate Bridge.

"There are several references to Tachyonic dark matter." "In '91?"
So we're all clear that Dyson Frost is leaping around in time to bring technology back to the safety of the Somalian desert in 1991. Lloyd spends this episode trying to decode some of the equation pieces he finds in documents from Simon's mission to Somalia and trying to remember the formula he saw in lipstick on Olivia's mirror. He pays Olivia a visit, and she says she recognized some part of the formula — because she's a doctor, she knows about quantum physics. Lloyd realizes that QED stands for Quantum Entanglement Device, and there you have it: That's all we get.

[Read with Japanese accent] "I didn't come all the way to Los Angeles to work in a sushi restaurant."
It's time again to circle back with Bryce and Keiko, who remain two floating leaves in the winds of L.A., unable to connect. Keiko remains loyal to her future love, loitering in the sushi restaurant from her flash without ordering much because she has no cash. While Bryce, on the other hand, seems to be horny and spending an awful lot of time with Nicole still, because she has no other real value to the plot thus far. Keiko takes a job with a neck-tattooed Latin dude named Emil who owns a custom auto shop. Prodigious engineer that she is, Keiko digs low-riders with hydraulics, and she knows her way around German cars better than most of the other illegals working in the shop.

As luck would have it, Bryce (who's awfully sexy for a cancer patient), decides to make out with Nicole while his love Keiko sits in the sushi restaurant just a few feet away, and Keiko promptly gets nabbed by the INS the next day, and thrown in a paddy wagon. Could Bryce be choosing a new fate in which he somehow doesn't die because candy-striper Nicole loves him back to life?

"My dad used to know a guy who went blast fishing … "
Benford and Vogel realize they've got a mole (our vote was always for Vogel), and they end up discovering a voice-activated transmitter hidden under the M key on Mark's keyboard. An "inter-agency task force" descends on the office to start grabbing peoples' cell phones out of their hands and rounding people up in conference rooms. It's here that we meet two new agents: Marcie and Agent Curdy (Seth MacFarlane).

Curdy's mostly just worried that the feds are going to discover how many tax dollars he's wasted playing some RPG called Warlocks of Avalon, in which he's a seventh-level Druid. Marcie seems like a bigger suspect when Janis starts pointing the finger at her. Benford and Vogel question Janis about all the unauthorized breaks she's been taking lately, and Janis says she's been getting fertility treatments (no mention of the long, hard "fertility treatment" she got from Demetri in Somalia!) and checking into Marcie's past.

Lo and behold, Mark pulls another genius moment out of his ass when he notices on the surveillance cameras how Marcie only takes sugar in her coffee on the days when significant information dropped in their case. She was signaling someone, and they only have to look at her the wrong way now to make her start shooting up the FBI office and running for her life. Enter Janis with her shooting and martial-arts skills, and down go the bad guys.

But wait! There's more. And here's where the show once again fucks with our heads in the final few seconds: Janis is a mole, too! She admits it to Simon, telling him "message received" in regard to his killing Ricky Jay. So unless she's just the most amazing FBI agent ever, and she's only trying to milk Simon for intel, all our hopes for Janis being a bad-ass lesbian hero have been dashed. She is an evil lesbian with no morals who's involved with the plot to take over the world, all the while trying to get pregnant. What?

Dialect Note: There's at least one instance, in the opening scene in Wedeck's office, where a piece of Fiennes's dialogue clearly sounds like it was looped, postproduction, so take comfort that the creative team knows his American talk needs serious help in spots.

Photo: Ron Tom/ABC