FlashForward: Enter the Nihilists


The Gift
Season 1 Episode 7

Ken Tucker pointed out in his recent Entertainment Weekly review that, unlike on Lost, FlashForward’s creators “don’t test our patience in teasing out info — if anything, they dump new pieces of the puzzle into our heads every week.” Instead of the puzzle work, this week we get shovelfuls of emotion as several characters confront the meaning of fate, as well as a slew of plot points and the most dramatic twist to date. And finally, someone fucks with the future.

The curtain rises on a woman frolicking in the gauzy afternoon light with her children. Back at her car she finds a flier under her wiper with a blue hand symbol and the URL alreadyghosts.com (it just forwards to ABC’s site — we checked!), and a note on the back that says, “We know you are one of us.”

“You ever try dirty rice?”
Agent Gough meets the woman he saw in his flash, a British intelligence agent named Fiona Banks (Alex Kingston). There’s some quick explanation about how she caught wind of the just-opened case and immediately flew to L.A. because she knew about it from her flash, and suddenly she and Gough are alone and talking about their bond, having shared two minutes and seventeen seconds of dream space in a blackout.

She asks Gough who he got on the phone with in their shared flash, and he replies, “my attorney.” He doesn’t tell her the reason for the call — because he’s killed a woman. Then he invites Fiona back to his place for some dirty rice, and she declines, because … well, it sounds dirty.

“You can’t escape what’s coming. No one can.”
Agent Noh quickly discovers that the whole “blue hand” thing is actually a death club in which the “ghosts” of Mosaic — everyone like him who didn’t have a flash and are theoretically as good as dead — get together for events around the world. Benford, Noh, and Gough manage to locate the only projected stopwatch in all of downtown L.A., which leads them to this underground club where nihilistic folks with face piercings are living out their greatest Abu Ghraib torture fantasies for kicks (what?).

They nab the guy who seems like a ringleader, and he rattles off some crap from a fictional nineteenth-century philosopher named Reinaud and refuses to identify the Asian guy who shot Janis. Since his fate is written, he may as well rot in prison out of loyalty to his fellow ghosts — and we now understand an essential message of this show: destiny = evil.

“Do you have any idea how many people live in Japan?”
Our optimistic buddy Bryce takes some time out from operating on people to show Nicole his drawings and tell her all about the gorgeous and marvelous Japanese girl he met in his flash. (Presumably, he’s been blissfully masturbating to the image of her face ever since he painted it.) Luckily, babysitter Nicole is not only a candy striper in Bryce and Olivia’s ward, she’s also fluent in Japanese! Much like when Benford whipped out his surprise knowledge of Arabic in episode four, she solves the mystery of an incomplete kanji that Bryce saw in his flash, which turns out to be the character for “belief” (likely a popular tattoo among surfers). How will he ever find his Asian love in this great big world? Mosaic, of course.

We’re starting to think, by the way, that the only reason Bryce exists on this show is to balance out all the death, alcoholism, divorce, and darkness that otherwise plague most of the other characters, and that his plotline will be the first to get phased out if we see a season two.

“I was with her in the Humvee…”
Aaron, meanwhile, meets up with Mike, the dashing and doe-eyed soldier who witnessed his daughter’s death. Mike hands Aaron the knife that he sees himself giving back to his daughter Tracy in his flash, and Aaron hands him a job. But Mike quickly bursts Aaron’s bubble, saying, “I watched her die.” There seems to be more to this story, not only because they were ambushed by some mysterious secret force dressed all in black, and he only sees her lying there unconscious but ALSO … Tracy magically appears, seemingly in the flesh, in Aaron’s dining room the next day!

“I choose hope.”
Gabrielle Union, er, Zoey, delivers this line when confronted with the truth that Demetri is a “ghost.” She’s insistent that she saw their wedding (even though he’s in the blurry distance), and since they have these two conflicting visions, one dark and one light, she convinces him to choose the path of light, hope, and figuring out how not to get murdered.

“I found a way to change the game.”
Then we’re back to Agent Gough, whose attorney call gets fleshed out a bit more with another flash to his flash — it turns out he just thinks he killed a woman named Celia, or that he caused her death, and his lawyer is trying to tell him it was all an accident. There were kids involved. They’ll end up in foster care. After we see him dramatically savoring some homemade dirty rice by himself, he’s in the office the next day delivering a letter to Demetri’s desk. “Make sure it gets into the right hands,” he says.

Cut to him on top of the Federal Building in L.A., standing on the edge, ready to jump. Mark, Demetri and Chief Wedeck all run up the stairs in time to see him there and get a few last words in. He delivers the above quote, and swan dives off. Gough is now the first character to prove that suicide is the answer … or rather, suicide is a wrinkle that changes everything. Through the magic of television, we see Fiona back in London taping up the windows so birds don’t fly into them in six months, and we see this mysterious Celia playing joyfully with her children, with a new lease on life she doesn’t even know she has.

Loose Ends: Lloyd Simcoe is moving to San Francisco to get away from Olivia and Simon, and we see Simon, during the closing voice-over, fingering a bracelet with beads that spell out ANNABELLE.

Video: When at a freaky death club party, do as the death clubbers do:

More Recaps: Jason Hughes at TV Squad found many things beautiful, “even the simple act of Fiona trying to prevent the bird’s death” from her flash forward.

FlashForward: Enter the Nihilists