Friday, April 16, 2010

FlashForward 1.15: "Queen Sacrifice"

“You know what, Vogel? Being around you makes me not trust anyone anymore.”


It’s another week of Benford drama on FlashForward. I know I’ve said this before, but oh how I wish Desmond could take a little break from being sideways-verse matchmaker just long enough to rescue his Penny from the doldrums of broody Mark and Lloyd. Sonya Walger has clearly proven that she’s better than the material she’s currently being given. We even get flashback Benford drama, to a time when Mark paid a visit to Olivia’s ER shortly after Charlie (yeah, Sonya Walger plays mom to a kid named “Charlie” in two shows…mind boggling) was born. Mark’s been shot, and although he’s expected to make a full recovery, Olivia tells him that since they have a daughter now, she really can’t tolerate him putting life in jeopardy. Just her luck, Mark’s been offered a new assignment by Wedeck. He’s going to sit in a van and do counter-terrorism surveillance.

This change in assignment clearly just delayed the inevitable though. When we flash to the present, Mark’s leaving his house to go stay with the Wedecks for a while. He and Olivia need some time apart following their argument in the last episode about leaving Los Angeles. Charlie is especially devastated by this. She’s in the back seat of Mark’s car and doesn’t want to get out. She gives Mark a new friendship bracelet, and I’m really hoping April 29 comes sooner rather than later, because these tiny, trying-to-be dramatic, “is the flash forward future coming true?!” moments are getting old.

It seems like Mark is dealing with his personal life problems by throwing himself into work. He and a few of the other MOSAIC team members watch the Dyson Frost video Demetri discovered in the last episode. Frost claims he’s experienced hundreds of flash forwards, and that’s how he knows so much of what happens between 1991 and 2010. He also says that like Demetri, he’s supposed to die on March 15, 2010, too. Hmmm…big showdown between team MOSAIC and team Dyson that day, perhaps?

There’s also a fun little scene of Simon and Lloyd working together on MOSAIC stuff at the FBI. They’re banter is very amusing. I’d be perfectly happy to just watch the Simon and Lloyd (and maybe Janis) show. Lloyd tells Simon that in his flash forward, he wrote a formula in lipstick on Olivia’s bedroom mirror. Lloyd’s still puzzled by what the formula is supposed to be, though. It looks like the inverse of some of their earlier work, perhaps a black out protection system. Lloyd later asks Olivia (awkwardly, of course) if she remembers any of the formula. Olivia does- she remembers that part of the formula was for a type of anesthetic. Lloyd now knows what he was trying to create- a “Quantum Entanglement Device.”

Mark’s making some breakthroughs of his own. He investigates Frost’s chess hobby, and discovers an old chess match is actually a code for a cell phone number. Mark calls the number and leaves a voice mail, and Mark and Demetri also head to San Francisco to pay a visit to Frost’s opponent in that chess match. Demetri and mark arrive in San Francisco to see that a large human chessboard has been taped off as a crime scene. The former chess opponent is dead, and Demetri is pretty angry, considering another chance to figure out his potential future murder has just passed them by.

Vogel convinces Mark that the reason bad things keep happening after the team makes a breakthrough is that there must be a mole. Considering Vogel’s actions in the past few episodes, I don’t trust him at all, even though he’s probably right. Mark, being the drama queen he is, decides to take the most extreme measures possible to round up the person who would have the audacity to mess up his life by squealing to the enemy about his investigation. An inter-agency task force is formed, and the whole team is essentially down. They all must give up the cell phones, and they’re herded into a conference room to wait while extensive checks and investigations take place. Which could take days. Nice going, Mark. Bet your coworkers are going to love you even more now.

You know what they say about paranoia- just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t something actually out to get you. It turns out there is indeed a bug in Mark’s office. It was hidden in the “m” key, which I think is kind of lame. One thing that was kind of interesting was that the bug was only triggered by sound, so it was undetectable to the regular bug-sweeping crew. And now I’m wondering if the FBI actually does have bug sweeping crews go through their buildings on a regular basis. Sounds kind of fun. I’m once again suspicious of Vogel, because he figured out the voice-activated trick pretty darn quickly.

Because Mark is so consumed by the thought of a mole, I’m very suspicious of what happens to Olivia and Charlie in this episode. They’re enjoying some time at an amusement park (the Santa Monica pier, perhaps), when Olivia notices somebody following them. He claims to be an FBI agent sent by Mark to be their security detail. I have a hard time believing Mark has enough brain power to spare with all the “woe is me” going on to think about getting security for Olivia and Charlie.

Elsewhere, it turns out that Keiko has been going to a certain sushi restaurant every day. This is the restaurant where she met Bryce in her vision. Every time the door opens, she looks up hoping it’s Bryce. She has no job and not much money, so she orders just some miso soup and rice. Later, she’s kind of randomly walking through an inner city neighborhood, and she walks past a car customization place. One of the mechanics is having trouble making the car he’s working on bounce (yeah, I’m sure there’s a better word to describe what I’m saying, and I may have lived in Baltimore for three years, but I was raised in the suburbs…sorry). Keiko, being the awesome engineer that she is, is able to solve the problem. Her skills get her a job, off the books, of course.

Meanwhile, Bryce’s personal life is also taking a turn he wasn’t expecting. Nicole is sitting with him as he undergoes a chemo treatment, and she comes up with what they think is a great idea. Since Bryce is going to feel like crap in about 24 hours thanks to the chemo, they want to try to pack as much fun as they can into that night. At one point, they’re standing right outside the sushi restaurant where Keiko is again eating dinner. Keiko shouldn’t feel too bad, though. She’s not eating alone this time. She’s having dinner with her new boss. I think she liked how he stood up for her and made sure the rest of the crew at the shop showed her some respect.

Nicole and Bryce are playfully arguing over whether or not they really want sushi for dinner when Bryce takes some initiative and kisses Nicole. The aftermath is kind of awkward. Not because Nicole has no feelings for Bryce, but she doesn’t want to be second fiddle to Keiko, the girl he supposedly feels he’s destined to be in love with. Keiko and her boss also hit a bump in the road, to put it mildly. The day after their dinner at the sushi restaurant, the shop is raided by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Keiko and pretty much everyone else at the shop are dragged of in ICE vans. Bryce actually sees one of the vans driving by as he’s leaving a voice mail for Nicole. At first, he starts apologizing for the kiss. Half-way through the message, he realizes he’s not really sorry he kissed her.

Although the “there’s a mole in the MOSAIC team” plot involved much brooding and hand-wringing, and gnashing of teeth on the part of Mark, there were a few things that made the plot worthwhile. The first was a very funny cameo by Seth MacFarlane, whose character was reluctant to give up the passwords to his personal computer files to the interagency task force. He was reluctant not because there was porn on his computer (what his coworkers suspected), but because he’s playing an MMORPG called “Warlocks of Avalon”

The other great part about this plot was the ending. And I’m not trying to be a smart ass- the ending really was rather great. Watching some surveillance footage, Demetri and Mark figure out who the mole is. In the video, their coworker Marcie (who has really only been in the background of the show until now), stirs sugar in her coffee on each day a major breakthrough was made in MOSAIC. And Marcie never takes sugar in her coffee. Marcie knows the jig is up, and she goes on a shooting rampage until Janis finally takes her down. I thought it was kind of lame that the mole was somebody we didn’t even really know until this episode, but then in one moment, everything changed. Janis and Simon are having a chat in the parking garage, and Janis tells Simon that the message he was trying to send by killing “Uncle Teddy” was received. She’s a second mole.

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