Sunday, March 28, 2010

FlashForward 1.11-1.12: "Revelation Zero"

“Using a drug to enhance memories? Uh, I don’t know, I don’t think magical mystery tour is the best way to go for someone in recovery.”


FlashForward was back last week with a jam packed two hour episode. Overall, the episode was more focused that past episodes of FlashForward have been, centering mostly around the mystery of Simon and Lloyd’s part in causing the blackout and their subsequent abduction. That said, I definitely enjoyed the second hour, which focused heavily on Simon, more than the first. The first seemed a bit like more of the same to me, focusing heavily on the annoyingly broody Mark, but the second half really developed Simon as a unique, compelling character.

The beginning of the episode deals with the fallout of what happened back in the fall, especially Mark’s almost causing an international incident in Hong Kong and Lloyd being abducted from the hospital’s ambulance bay. Mark has been suspended from the FBI, and CIA Agent Vogel is now in charge of MOSAIC, much to the team’s chagrin. Olivia is also at the FBI office, telling the agents what happened at the hospital when Lloyd was abducted. Simon is at the FBI now too, since he’s helping the MOSAIC team with their investigation. Mark and Olivia seem to be kinder to each other now. Mark sees the security footage of Olivia and Lloyd hugging goodbye in the ambulance bay, but he doesn’t rage over it. He lets Olivia recover from the trauma, and the next day he accepts her explanation without question.

Despite having Janis and some FBI back-up watching over him, Simon is kidnapped by guys in creepy masks, much like the guys from Mark’s flash forward. Speaking of Mark’s flash forward, Mark has to see a therapist if he ever wants to be reinstated at the FBI, and she gives him this drug to remember more of his flash forward. It’s really rather odd that a therapist would be so adamant about this sort of treatment, but I guess they had to come up with some way for Mark to suddenly remember more details from his hazy, drunken vision. The most important new bit of information is that he was having a phone conversation with Lloyd, and he tells Lloyd that there’s going to be another blackout.

Most of what goes on while Lloyd and Simon are held captive ranges from the lame to the overly disturbing. Their captor uses extremely forced dialogue and tells them to call him “Flosso.” My original reaction was that “Flosso” is an extremely lame name for a villain. And he even goes as far to state that he’s a villain. Multiple times. Things get overly disturbing when Flosso starts torturing Simon to encourage Lloyd to reveal details about their experiment. Lloyd refuses, and Flosso has his goons cut off one of Simon’s fingers with a cigar cutter. If there’s one thing I hate watching on television, it’s torture, so this didn’t sit well with me.

More compelling was the smaller side story going on with Nicole. Mostly because it filled in some more of her back story. Nicole’s mom is schizophrenic, and ever since the black out, it been increasingly more difficult to keep her under control. Near the beginning of the episode, she lights a Bible on fire. Things get even more difficult for Nicole when she’s volunteering at the hospital and thinks she sees the man who is drowning her in her flash forward. She’s shaken up, and one of her coworkers suggests she goes to “Sanctuary.” Sanctuary is a sort of a religious gathering led by a former window washer who barely escaped death during the blackout.

The story from part one bled into about the first 15 minutes of part two. I almost think that the two hours as a whole would have been better had the story been wrapped up at the end of part 1, just because, like I said, Simon’s story post-abduction is more compelling. After telling Wedeck the full story of his flash forward, Mark is back on the case, albeit in a not-entirely-official way. This sets up parallel investigations into Lloyd and Simon’s whereabouts. Demetri, Vogel, and their team follow the ambulance that was hijacked by the abductors, and Mark follows a restaurant menu that he saw on his conspiracy wall in his flash forward. Demetri and Vogel’s investigation just leads to a set-up with a bomb.

Mark’s investigation leads to a cheese steak shop whose specialty is the Tofurkey soy cheese steak. I don’t really like cheese steaks (heresy for a Philadelphian, I know), but as Philadephia-area native, I’m just a bit offended! Cheese steaks are supposed to be greasy and not at all healthy! Anyway, Mark finds out that the restaurant recently moved, so he goes to their old location. There’s graffiti of an 8 ball on the door, which recalls the beginning of the conversation Mark had with Lloyd in the flash forward. Mark crashes his car through the locked door just as Lloyd and Simon are about to be executed, and the two scientists are saved. And finally, the story of Nicole, Bryce and the Sanctuary preacher is wrapped up with a conversation between Brice and the preacher which I think is supposed to foreshadow a romantic relationship between Bryce and Nicole. There’s also a sweet scene where Bryce meets Nicole’s crazy mom.

Simon fakes penicillin allergy to facilitate what he thinks is a successful escape attempt from Janis, and he hightails it back to his family in Toronto (the Campos family immigrated to Canada when Simon was a child). Janis, however, is a better agent than Simon gives her credit for, and she’s right on his tail. She gives him 24 hours in Toronto in exchange for wearing a tracking anklet and staying under her supervision. Simon’s family is a lot of fun, especially his mother, who doesn’t seem to know what to do with him. At one point Simon again thinks he’s successfully escaped to go talk to one of his old professors, but again Janis is right on his tail. Simon wants to ask the professor if he knows of anything that can be done to prevent another blackout. The professor, unfortunately, doesn’t have any ideas.

Back at the Campos house, “Uncle Teddy” pays a visit. “Uncle Teddy” is actually Flosso, which somewhat explains how Simon got so mixed up in this mess. You see, he’s Suspect Zero. He was abducted from his own father’s funeral and taken to Detroit to see the havoc his experiment would wreak. Afterwards, he is instructed to meet up with Flosso and one of his goons. Flosso says that Simon can’t expect that all the help he has received wouldn’t come with a price. The goon as much as says that he killed Simon’s father. Simon returns the favor by strangling the goon- it’s this scene that he has adopted as his faux flash forward vision.

While the rest of the Campos family is distracted from a phone call from Simon’s missing younger sister, Flosso takes the opportunity to threaten Simon some more. His organization is actually holding Simon’s sister captive, and they’ll start shipping her to Simon in pieces if he doesn’t cooperate. To add insult to injury, they’ve also killed Simon’s favorite professor (the guy he was visiting earlier). This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak, and Simon is done being pushed around. Flosso has emphysema, so Simon finds it easy to kill him and make it look like natural causes.

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