Saturday, October 24, 2009

FlashForward 1.05: "Gimme Some Truth"

“China. That’s starting to sound pretty good right about now.”

-Agent Vreene

When Thursday’s episode of FlashForward ended, I was thinking “This is insane!” My brain had been assaulted by quick cuts between multiple action sequences and super creepy visuals of people bleeding out. It was definitely the most emotionally affecting episode of the season thus far, but I still feel like there’s a little something missing. Some of the characters now have a bit of a spark of life, but many do not.

This was another episode that used that time honored technique of showing a future scene first thing, and then spending the rest of the episode showing how we get there. In this case, it’s Mark, Wedeck, Demetri, and Vreene getting into a car in a parking garage when the car comes under attack. It seemed intense on first viewing, and it is even more so when shown in context later.

We then flash back to “39 hours earlier.” Mark, Demetri, and Vreede are at FBI headquarters. The higher-ups want to polygraph them about what they saw in their flash forwards. Mark tells his usual story about being in the office late at night when guys with guns burst in. And again he conveniently omits mentioning he’s been drinking.

Afterwards, Mark talks to Aaron back in LA. He is working on fixing the alarm system at Mark’s house. Aaron tells Mark he should find an AA meeting in DC, and Olivia overhears this. She looks troubled. She is especially concerned because the last time Mark’s drinking got out of control, he was out of town testifying on a case and had just been promoted. Sound familiar? She expresses her fears to Aaron, who tries help. She’s really not happy later in the episode when she gets an anonymous text saying Mark was drinking during his flash forward.

The main reason the FBI guys are in DC is for Congressional hearings. Congress is considering which flash forward related government programs are worth keeping, and MOSAIC’s funding is at stake. Apparently Wedeck is a DC veteran, and he spends quite a bit of time trying to get support. It doesn’t help that Senator Clemente, an old rival, is chair of the committee considering the issue.

Janis is the one major FBI character left back in LA. She’s spending her down time in a martial arts class. She manages to kick the ass of the guy she’s sparing, and of course he has to immediately go and ask her out. Janis politely declines and then expresses her exasperation to a woman standing nearby. Later, Janis is actually on a date. With the woman. Her name is Maya. This isn’t exactly surprising, considering the Nazi’s observation about Janis’ thumb ring in “137 Sekunden.” On their date Maya reveals that in her flash forward, she’s wearing a wedding ring. Janis decides against one-upping Maya’s example of “too much too soon” and does not reveal her own flash forward

Wedeck is pretty ambitious in this political maneuvering. After consulting with only one other buddy, he goes straight to the President (who, at a press conference, by the way, suspiciously refused to describe his flash forward). Apparently the POTUS owes Wedeck from back in Wedeck’s DC days, so he’s hoping he can get some support. Wedeck does get support, of a fashion. The President wants Wedeck to be the new Secretary of Homeland Security (which he incorrectly calls “Director” of Homeland Security).

Wedeck and Senator Clemente really do not get along. After the first few hours of the hearing (where the CIA said they thought China was responsible for the black out), she approaches Wedeck out in the hall. She accuses him of having done something horrible six years ago that, had she revealed it, would have made her President. I don’t know why she’s whining about that, though. She also claims that in her flash forward, she actually is President. Needless to say, Wedeck’s testimony doesn’t go well. Senator Clemente wants to hear directly from Mark.

Mark’s testimony is pretty disastrous. The Senators aren’t impressed by “crow attrition.” They are also concerned that MOSAIC was started without getting permission from FBI headquarters. They think it’s kind of ridiculous that the LA office decided they should investigate just because Mark had a vision of himself investigating. And Senators aren’t impressed by stories of masked gunmen, either. Senator Clemente especially wants to know why Mark’s recollection of his flash forward is so fragmented when most other people can recall their own flashes clearly. He doesn’t have a good answer for her, because he doesn’t want to reveal he was drinking.

Janis has plenty to do at work, too. The FBI LA office has managed to procure satellite photos of Somalia in 1991 through some less than legitimate sources, and it’s Janis’ job to look through the photos for anything unusual. She finds some interesting stuff. Asphalt roads and pylons in middle-of-nowhere Africa. Even more suspicious, the pylons just happened to be finished construction within one month of the 1991 Somalia black out.

After work, Janis gets a second date with Maya, this time at an art gallery opening. Maya has a gift for Janis, a new alarm clock. Apparently Janis can’t figure out how to set her old one. From there, the date goes south. It turns out Maya looked up Janis on MOSAIC and found out Janis was pregnant in her flash forward. Understandably, Maya is a bit confused. Also understandably, Janis is pretty freaked out. She breaks off the date and leaves the art show in a huff.

Meanwhile, back in DC, Wedeck has a plan to recover from the hearings. He approaches the President with an incriminating photo of the President with a woman. This woman also has a son, and they live in Georgetown. I guess the implication here is that the President is the boy’s father. The President appears to give in and agrees to stop Senator Clemente from killing MOSAIC. When Wedeck leaves, however, things get sinister. The President makes a phone call and asks someone to “take care” of a problem.

My very favorite scene of the episode takes place in a karaoke bar. Agent Vreene is singing badly, and Demetri is drinking as much as he can. Mark is being broody. Demetri tries to ignore him and joins Vreene singing “Sister Christian.” Wedeck soon joins the group too. He is not at all happy with Mark. He wants to know why Mark’s flash forward wasn’t clear. He’s really, really not happy when Mark admits it’s because he was drunk.

As the guys leave the bar, they see on a TV screen that Clemente is the new choice for VP. Then things go crazy in the most intense scene I have seen on TV in a long time. The shoot out and explosion from the beginning of the episode happens in the DC parking garage as Janis is assaulted by two attackers in LA. She kills them both, but not before she’s shot too. The episode ends with Janis bleeding out in an alley, the new alarm clock rolling around in her blood.

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