FlashForward The Garden of Forking Paths S01E17 (ABC)

FlashForward title screen, via Wikipedia

A mysterious global event causes everyone on the planet to simultaneously see, for two minutes and seventeen seconds, his or her life six months in the future. When it is over, many are dead in accidents involving vehicles, aircraft, and any other device needing human control. Everyone who survived is left wondering if what they saw will actually happen.

A Los Angeles FBI agent named Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) tries to figure out what exactly happened and why it happened. Along with his team, he creates a database of people’s flash forwards from around the world called the Mosaic Collective (for which a website has been launched). Apart from the various catastrophic visions, people also see themselves engaging in unexpected behavior; for example, Benford sees himself drinking again, and his wife Olivia has a vision of herself with another man.


Well, it’s hard to attribute this series a science-fiction label, as unlike the book, the flash forward that the world experiences is only 6 months away. In the book, it’s 21 years and tied to the CERN Large Hadron Collider as well as the search for the Higgs boson. It’s based on a science-fiction novel of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer. That’s strange. I’ve been thinking about the Higgs boson for the last few days.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

* * * * *

A plot tool from Lost has become a TV series in its own right. That’s kind of funny. What’s not funny is how slow the story progresses. Even with Lost, the story moves at a certain pace. The first episode of FlashForward seemed to just crawl along, with nothing really happening at all.

It’s also described as a thriller, but I’d call it a fake-thriller, since none of the thrills are surprising. They are easily predictable. However, the show is beautifully shot. I hope that the next few episodes will move at a quicker pace and we will discover more. No improvement on the pacing. This show was picked up for a full season, but it’s still very slow.

I still can’t believe that Defying Gravity was canceled before this show. Seems like such a waste. At least in Defying Gravity, there is a lot better pacing and the characters are engaging.

As usual, things are moving along very slowly. Janis is alright, Simcoe and Benford finally meet. We learn that Simcoe is behind the flash forwards. He was working with a quantum physicist. I wonder if this is tied to the the search for the Higgs boson with the Large Hadron Collider, like in the book on which this series is based.

This series is faring better than Defying Gravity. It has been given a full first season.

We find out that Mark’s gun killed Dem in the future. This isn’t all. Their foray into Hong Kong has severe consequences for the both of them. Also, Simcoe and Simon make their press conference announcing to the world that they are responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. This makes them mass murderers in the eyes of most people. There is more going on though. Simon discovers as much when he finds that part of his theoretical research was turned into prototypes almost 15 years ago in Somalia, right at the time when one of the other blackouts happened.

In the last episode, we learned who Suspect Zero was and what exactly happened on that day. Although it does answer some questions, it poses some more. Someone in Campos’ family is involved as well as the mysterious D. Gibbons.

Aaron makes an idiotic mistake and Jericho finds his daughter. He goes on the warpath to get her back. Meanwhile, Lloyd and Mark start working together to stop the mysterious people behind the blackout. There will be another since they tortured Campos in front of Simcoe in order to get the full details behind his experiment. Apparently, his experiment enhanced the blackout way out of proportion. It was initially supposed to be a lot smaller.

I found it interesting that there were two moles in the Mosaic investigation. The big reveal is that Janice is one of them, and she’s got a cast-iron alibi. She actually took out Marcy and got shot, so no one is ever going to suspect her.

The big enemy Dyson Frost meets his end in this episode, but it was at the hands of the people who hired him. I guess that he couldn’t foresee this, or he did and couldn’t do much about it.

* * * * *

Dmitri is in Dyson Frost’s place. He’s got a map of the probable timeline changes and bifurcations. It looks like he is mapping future events.

Charlie is being questioned by Weddic and her parents about Dyson Frost. He told her that she worked with her daddy. He gave her a picture for Mark. The picture has a message in the back saying where to meet in order to get Dmitri back.

Zoey goes to see Alda. She says that if Zoey gets her a hearing today, she will tell her what she knows.

The picture is of Oedipus. By trying to get out of his fate Oedipus recreated the events that he was trying to avoid.

Dem is in some kind of contraption. His gun is facing him. The gun will go off if he moves.

Six months before the blackouts, the mysterious fixer brings Alda Hertzog to meet Dyson Frost. The fixer was one who asked Simcoe the questions about their experiment. He asks about the QED. The QED is the ring, a quantum entanglement device.

Frost appears in the warehouse with Dem. It started in the 80s in a place called Raven River. Every time they jumped, they moved to another future, a new path. Today is a very important fork. In almost every future, Frost doesn’t live past today, March 15th 2010. In 78% of the future he saw, Frost dies. He wants to conform to the future events in order to chart his escape. Frost doesn’t know what will happen, but in all likelihood, one of them will die today. Frost leaves.

Mark is at the train station. A kid gives Mark a bag. He was paid $50. There is a photo of Dem in the bag. Frost wants to come in, but the people who he work for don’t want him to come in. He doesn’t let Mark speak. Dyson wants to misdirect the feds. Dimitri has got 4:23 hours left. He has to run to the men’s room. He leaves his phone and gun. He escapes through a vent. There was also a Zoomcard access card. He makes his way to a car. There is a phone inside. He drives North. At a certain point, Mark gets out of the car. He’s got a compass and has to head somewhere.

Zoey gets a hearing for Alda. There are some suspicious window cleaners outside. Zoey got Alda to the courthouse on a count that Alda had appendicitis. She tells Zoey that in her FF, Dem was found in Building 7. She says that she’s got to be somewhere else. The windows blow open and Alda jumps out. She escapes.

Someone at the office comes to see Olivia. They found the cellphone that texted Olivia that Mark was drinking in his FF. He wants her to identify the body. The John Doe must have been some kind of savant.

Dyson Frost arrives with a gun. Mark outsmarts him and captures him. Frost sees someone in the distance. Someone followed. Mark. There is a shot. It’s Alda. She shoots Frost. Frost is dying. Alda leaves on a motorcycle. Mark goes through the bag and finds some photos and plans. He’s still got an hour left. He runs back to the cars. He goes to one of the locations that Frost had in his GPS. It had to do with Ingres.

Mark arrives at a warehouse. Mark finally gets cellphone service and calls the office. They tell him to go to Building 7. Mark finds Dem. He starts working on the gun. He remembers the Dr. Seuss rhyme that Charlie told him about. Dem is safe. As soon as Dem gets off the chair, the garden of forking paths is erased with sprays of water.

One of the savants that Olivia meets talks about the Raven River experiments. He says that the dominoes are falling.

Mark remembers December 12th 2016. It said the end right next to it.

* * * * *

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Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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