Even in the alternative universe of FlashForward, with 20 million dead and the rest of the planet busily trying to wrap their heads around glimpses of the future, you can’t get away from Christmas. As John Waters recently said, “You can love it, you can hate it, but you can’t ignore it,” and in the winter finale of the show, gratuitous Christmas songs are woven throughout the continent-spanning intrigue, and we’re left with plenty of cliffhangers and a few moments of awkward holiday cheer.
“What’s a little martyrdom between friends?”
Lloyd Simcoe and Simon Campos go before a room full of angry members of the press on the campus of Stanford where the two work as particle physicists. Lloyd has gotten his way, and they’re telling the world that their little experiment with an enormous particle accelerator (the likes of which, in reality, only exists in Geneva), trying to replicate the energy of the big bang, caused the blackout. Simon is less eager to take responsibility, and makes sure everyone knows that the results were “utterly unforeseeable.” A crazed woman in a bad blazer sits fumbling with her pockets and looking crazy throughout, and then reaches for a gun and fires a shot at Lloyd, screaming, “You killed my family.” She misses. Lloyd and Simon quickly make themselves scarce, and back at the FBI field office, Wedeck vows to track them down. Janis, brilliant gal that she is, remembers Simcoe’s name from the hospital where she recovered from her gunshot wounds, and immediately goes to stake the place out and wait for him.
“You’re right, she does sound like Eartha Kitt.”
The episode opens with the mystery woman in Hong Kong — whose name, we quickly learn, is Nhadra Udaya (Shohreh Aghsashloo) — watching the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol, the “you will be visited by three ghosts” part. Cute. Mark and Demetri have disobeyed Wedeck’s orders and flown to Hong Kong to investigate Demetri’s potential murder, and all they have to go on is the location of the call, and the improbably accurate “linguistics” evidence showing that the caller is Tehran-born and London-educated. (Also, she sounds like Eartha Kitt, and must be a smoker.) They track her down to a restaurant where she eats dim sum regularly, flanked by four armed bodyguards. Still not knowing who she is or why she’s so heavily protected, the two agents confront her, and she ends up telling them that Demetri ultimately gets shot by Mark himself, at close range, by Mark’s own gun — the serial number of which she has memorized. This of course makes Mark go completely insane, and just as she sees it in his eyes and says, “Don’t,” he flips over the table, goes rogue, and takes Nhadra hostage. Cue the arrival, within seconds, of the entire Hong Kong police force, as well as this creepy dude who met them at the airport, Marshall Vogel, who claimed to be an FBI agent himself. Hint: He’s not. After Mark is knocked to the ground, he says to Nhadra, “This isn’t over,” and she delivers the ultimate deadpan response: “It never is.”
“Are you taking the piss?”
Simon arrives at the FBI field office to have a sit-down with Wedeck, and makes it clear that he won’t be arrested without a fight. He comes back the following day to share information, and Janis shows him the satellite images from 1991 of the weird towers in the Somali desert. Not only does Simon improbably identify the area the images were taken, he can identify the devices, which he says are “specialized pulsed lasers for a plasma afterburner that increase the rate of acceleration for traditional radio frequencies.” Did you get all that? Well, get this: He came up with the idea for them in 1992, and the technology still hadn’t been built yet. Also of note: Dominic Monaghan, the actor playing Simon, would have been 16-years-old in 1992. Anyway, someone either went back in time with Simon’s technology, or came up with it before he did and didn’t take credit for it. In any event, Janis immediately pins it on the mysterious D. Gibbons. “Gee, a techie, social misfit, chess-playing physicist. That should narrow it down,” quips Simon.
“Are you going to the memorial?”
Zoey phones Demetri’s parents, who do not approve of him marrying her, to beg them to come to the Hawaiian wedding she saw in her flash. She saw them there, so obviously they have to listen to her, right? A colleague reminds her to come to a memorial service that night for another colleague named Joyce, and Zoey ends up having a revelation about the white rose she’s carrying in the flash: That wasn’t her wedding that she saw, that was Demetri’s funeral. And she finally admits, after talking to Demetri’s mother, that she didn’t see him there at all. Nonetheless, and despite his mother confirming that she saw the funeral, too, Zoey remains pathologically optimistic about changing the future.
“So, you went to Harvard?”
Olivia gets Dylan Simcoe a transfer to a more secure children’s hospital in Glendale, and Lloyd is grateful. But rather than stay hung up on the whole “you killed 20 million people thing,” she quickly changes the subject to his alma mater, which was announced all over the news. She herself almost went to Harvard, and wouldn’t you know it, she almost lived in the building next door to Lloyd’s in Cambridge, the very building where his wife lived. He immediately hits on her, sort of, by talking about the Many Worlds Theory, in which all of our choices in life get played out in different ways in alternate universes — basically he’s saying, yeah, we’re probably married in a parallel plane.
Just as they’re loading Dylan into an ambulance, Olivia senses there’s something wrong with these brusque paramedics, and it turns out they’re not paramedics. They’re evil, evil bad guys who shoot a security guard, take Lloyd hostage, pistol whip Olivia, and leave Dylan crying in the street.
“The whole penis thing is kind of a problem for me.”
Meanwhile, Janis chats up Bryce (who is given a lucky-cat statue by Nicole so that he can find his love Keiko before it’s too late), and asks about how she’d go about having a baby, sans penises. He sets her up with some pre-natal vitamins and a sperm bank. Done and done.
“You really should answer your cell phone.”
Mark and Demetri get a special escort out of Hong Kong by creepy Vogel, and Vogel quickly admits that he’s not really on their side: He’s CIA, and so, probably, is Nhadra, and this “whole Mosaic thing” is a lot bigger than their silly investigation. Naturally Mark gets a call from boss-man Wedeck, who’s already seen footage of him flipping over the table and going insane at the dim sum place. He fires him, and Mark surrenders his badge to Demetri. They’re left sitting at the gate in the airport watching the same black-and-white Christmas Carol, which must be very popular in Hong Kong. It’s the part where Scrooge is talking about living in the past, present, and future. Cute.
Meanwhile, Nhadra is shown back at her office, not watching the movie right at that moment, but harboring D. Gibbons, whose scary face we finally get to see. She says, “They’ve been following you since the doll factory,” which isn’t entirely true — they don’t seem to have any leads on him whatsoever. But anyway, he’s there, they know each other, and Nhadra has her very own Mosaic wall that looks a lot like Mark’s except with more stuff on it. So yes, whether or not this would be the case in reality, the CIA and not the FBI is winning the war on the blackout, and/or they had a hand in it.
From the look ahead: We have to note the two-months-ago cultural reference shown in the previews of upcoming episodes, in which bad guy Ricky Jay quotes Where the Wild Things Are: “Let the wild rumpus begin!” Also, Bryce makes out with Nicole (!) and Olivia, obviously, hooks up with Lloyd — after all, her husband’s a jobless alcoholic! God bless us, every one.