Episode: FlashForward 1.04 – “Black Swan”
Original Air Date: October 15, 2009
Screencaps by In A Dream Caps.
We’re four episodes into ABC’s new fall series, FlashForward, and I’m hooked and loving it. The basic premise is that on a regular day in 2009, every person in the entire world simultaneously blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds; during this massive loss of consciousnesses everyone experienced a vision of the future, specifically their own lives in a sort of prediction of March 29, 2010. While the entire world paused, mass chaos erupted as everyone was in the midst of activity, be it laying in bed or flying a commercial plane; 2:17 was long enough to cause mass casualties and accidents, and everyone came-to in a world of crashes, fires, and utter destruction.
Week by week we’ve been following the ensemble cast as they recover from the blackout (and its corresponding catastrophes) and try to piece together what it all means, and what the cause may be. We follow a group of FBI agents in Los Angeles who’ve started the Mosaic Project, a global website asking people to log their “flash forwards” and try to locate people with corresponding stories. Two of our agents, Mark and Demetri, were pursuing a possible terrorist suspect when the blackout occurred. We also follow Mark and Demetri’s wife and fiancée (respectively), their friends, and the web of main cast spreads out from there.
It would honestly take pages to try to catch everyone up, and summarize everything going on, so my approach will be to merely comment episode by episode and editorialize the info we’re finding out as an audience, as well as my reactions to the show. If you haven’t seen an episode yet, I insist you go to Hulu.com or ABC.com and check out the streaming full episodes available online. It’s catchy, fast, interesting and fresh; I’m sucked into the plot already and I can’t wait for Thursday nights to get a little more background on the mysteries presented. With that said, my thoughts on episode four, “Black Swan,” and spoilers are past this point!
I have re-watched the Björk-bus montage maybe six or seven times already, and I cannot emphasize enough how much I LOVE it! This is seriously the best, most fitting and ironic song choice the creators of the show could have ever selected. “Black Swan” starts off with a flashback to the blackout day, and we see a new character (Ed, or is it Ned?) on a bus. Once the driver of said bus blacks out, it peacefully careens into a local lake, and countless people aboard drown during what must be their lack of a flash forward (supposedly if you’re going to be dead by March 29, 2010, you don’t have a flash forward). This whole scene was brilliant!
The fast talk between Demetri and his fiancée Zoey is witty and well-written. I like Zoey’s catchy slang, asking if the FBI is “Gitmo-ing a suspect downtown,” and suggests, “if that woman has anything to do with the blackout, I really hope you’re getting all Dick Cheney on her.” The “her” being referred to is terrorist suspect Alda Hertzog, arrested the day of the blackout and thought to have some kind of link to what’s going on. She provides a tip that seems insider at first, but as the episode pans out, I’m wondering if it was merely observational. The FBI agents do follow her lead to “Customer Choice Restaurant Group.” A man flees after a few questions, and a foot chase through a trailer park ends up with the guys finding a small time pot dealer, not a powerful international terrorist (womp womp).
Meanwhile, back at the hospital we’re following Ed (who goes by Ned) who has a hematoma as a result of his bus crash, He’s oddly calm, and claims that in his flash forward he was a black man, partying at a club that he’s always been too intimidated to go to. Olivia and Bryce (the ER doctors) are torn over the approach to patient care, and it’s just a metaphor for how they each really feel about their flash forwards. Olivia saw herself in an intimate scene with a man who is not her husband, but is the father of one of her pediatric patients. She’s doing everything she can to stop her future from coming true; thus, she adamantly denies the validity of all flash forwards, to the point where her refusal to acknowledge them is frustrating and obviously personal. Bryce on the other hand, believes in and embraces the flash forwards, and he’s able to glean through Ed’s that he has a strange condition called Addison’s disease that significantly affects the best way to treat the patient now (he makes a connection to Ed’s vision of himself as black with the telltale overproduction of melanin associated with Addison’s disease). After Ed codes during surgery, Olivia has no choice but to give Bryce’s theory a chance. Ed is injected with cortisone (which his body, because of the Addison’s, doesn’t naturally produce) and he stabilizes immediately. Side note: the medical aspect of the show is actually well-written and more accurate than many primetime shows that solely focus on medicine.
Like Olivia, Demetri doesn’t want to see his flash forward come true. In this episode, he finally confides to Mark (his FBI partner) that he’s received some details about his predicted murder on March 15, 2010. Mark swears to Demetri that they’re going to work together and do everything they can to prevent his murder, and to help all of the people of Earth figure out what it all means.
Last week’s episode ended in Somalia, and we found out (supposedly) that a similar blackout happened there in the 1990s. Since Mark and Demetri’s boss sent them to Indio instead of Somalia, we didn’t really see much of a follow-up on that lead. I was hoping for some more investigating on that because of the cliffhanger ending we saw a week ago with the Somalian boy looking up into the sky during the blackout. He must have been on the edge of the area affected, because he could look down and see people laying unconscious, and then he looked up and saw something in the sky. That “something” was unclear, but my heart sank as I started to assume it was a UFO of some sort. I say that my heart sank, because so far I am loving the paranormal aspect of this show, and I’ll be really sad if everything gets chalked up to aliens.
Giving me some hope on my anti-alien plotline is the very last scene of this week’s episode. Lloyd is the patient’s dad that Olivia saw in her flash forward, and is who she’s been avoiding and trying to get away from as much as possible. All episode she keeps making arrangements to have his son (her patient) transferred to another floor. At the very end we see that a supervising doctor moved him back under her care; escaping him seems inevitable, and the weight of fate is starting to make itself known. After seeing Olivia’s fear realized (it seems to be dawning on her that she may not be able to escape him) Lloyd’s phone rings in the final moments of the episode. “Simon” is the name on the caller I.D. Lloyd begrudgingly answers and tells Simon he’s not interested in talking. Simon has other plans though, and he reminds Lloyd, “talking to me is just one of those little inconveniences you’re going to have to put up with now that we’re responsible for the single greatest disaster in human history.” With that, the episode ends and I’m left picking my jaw up off the floor.
So does this mean that Lloyd does know it’s Olivia in his flash forward, even though he’s playing coy? Does he know about everything? I also wonder if there is some sort of greater force at work here (like aliens, *rollseyes*) and somehow Lloyd and his pal Simon supplied them with information or some necessary part of the plan to make it all happen. I want to know what happened in Somalia and what that boy saw in the sky. I’m also wondering if avoiding one’s flash forward will prove possible at all. So far it seems like resisting the future just ends up playing into it more.
“Black Swan” was my favorite episode so far. The dialogue is the most natural it’s been so far, and since the show is an ensemble that started in medias res, it’s taken a few episodes of pure exposition to really catch us up and get us clued in. Now I finally feel latched in, and I’m understanding relationships and connections, and not still trying to jot down names to place who is who. Oh, and the Björk thing rocked, go online and watch it again, it was that awesome! This show’s budget is contributing to its awesomeness factor, and I love all of the big bang we get out of every disaster scene, this week’s flooded bus and burning city backdrop included. I’m giving “Black Swan” 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I’m eager for the next installation.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars