Tuesday, April 20, 2010

FlashForward 1.16: "Let No Man Put Asunder"

“If you think I’ve been making good choices lately, you’re crazier than I thought.”


I enjoyed this episode of FlashForward more than most. There were some emotional moments (a rarity on this show, since it hasn’t always been the best at character work) and some shocking twists that could prove to be very entertaining in the weeks to come. Overall, I feel like “Let No Man Put Asunder” really moved the plot forward. Demetri, Janis, and Simon are the characters I find most compelling, and this episode featured two of those three prominently, especially Demetri. Sure there were some things that irritated me (be prepared for a lawyer rant coming up about 2/3 of the way through this post), but I found this episode to be stronger than most.

The episode opens with a flashback to two years earlier when Demetri, Janis, Marcie, and Al Gough were first joining the FBI. Wedeck has Mark give a speech to the newest Agents, and I’ve got to say, the speech was pretty darn lame. Mark talks about how FBI agents are people who can be counted on to do the right thing at the right time. Those words just feel so empty and generic. What I did like about the first day flashbacks was a scene where Demetri asks to switch partner assignments with Al. Al was originally supposed to be Mark’s partner, but Demetri had heard all about Mark and really, really wanted to work with him. I thought that was some interesting insight into Demetri’s character.

The first half of the episode really explores the dynamic between the younger Agents. In addition to seeing their first day at work, we see how things have changed (or stayed the same) between them since that day. Demetri and Mark are questioning Marcie, since it was revealed in the last episode that she was the mole in the MOSAIC team and she shot several agents trying to get away. Demetri loudly demands to know who was behind the attack in DC and the other misfortunes that have befallen MOSAIC. Marcie just keeps saying she doesn’t know. Demetri is getting more and more frantic, and with good reason. March 15 is only three days away.

I was about to explain the significance of March 15 right there in that last sentence, but then I remembered my major criticism of the first half of this episode. Some things are a little spelled-out and spoon fed. There was a brief flashback to Marcie’s rampage, even though it happened in the last episode and was included in the previouslies. There’s also one of the most blatantly exposition-y lines I’ve heard in a while, when Demetri talks about “Mark’s gun, the one that’s supposed to kill me in three days.” Yes, Dem, we already knew you were supposed to die and be killed by Mark’s gun. No need to state it yet again. Mark think’s Demetri is jumping the gun with his questioning, so he decides to bring Janis in instead. Awkward! Janis protests mildly at being asked to do this interrogation, and she also looks a little uncomfortable throughout the whole process. Which makes sense, because Marcie’s in hot water for doing the same thing Janis did.

Some FBI higher-ups arrive to say they’re taking Marcie to DC. Mark and Demetri protest a little (okay, Demetri protested more than a little, understandably), but they’ve got more immediate fish to fry. There’s been a report of a homeless man being shot in his shelter bed, and the murder weapon was Mark’s gun. Apparently the man said something to the effect of “I knew it would be you” right before he was shot to death three times in the chest (hey, does that fatal injury sound at all familiar?). The other important thing Mark and Demetri learn is that the killer escaped in a 1970’s light blue sedan of some sort.

There are two other more minor plots going on (big surprise) in addition to everything related to Marcie and Mark’s gun. Olivia takes Charlie to the park to find out that her daughter has arranged her own playdate. Dylan is there, which means Lloyd is too, of course. It’s kind of awkward at first, but when Charlie gets hurt, Lloyd switches into Dad mode. Apparently this is all it takes for Olivia to finally succumb to his charms. Olivia makes a completely unneeded trip to the Simcoe house to thank Lloyd again for helping Charlie, and it pretty much ends in Lloyd and Olivia making out. This won’t end well.

The other minor plot is that Wedeck has a meeting with the new Vice President. She used to be that Senator Wedeck couldn’t stand in the DC episode. Clearly she’s on her way towards her flash forward vision of being POTUS. She knows that she got the job in her vision because a scandal involving Jericho brought down the current President. She also knows that Mark, who happens to be one of Wedeck’s Agents, was recently looking into Jericho. She wants Wedeck to help her bring Jericho down. With minimal help from Mark, Wedeck finds Aaron at a cheap motel. Wedeck gives Aaron all the supplies he’s going to need to get into Afghanistan and retrieve Tracey. Then Tracey can tell the FBI everything she knows about Jericho.

The quest to stop Demetri’s murder leads mark and Demetri to an old bank. They’ve gotten a report athat a man who had been driving a blue sedan from the 70’s is holding hostages there. It’s a dangerous situation, and Demetri does nothing to make his death less likely. Mark offers to go in first, but Demetri insists on instigating the confrontation. The whole thing ends with Demetri shooting the robber. Unfortunately for Demetri, the gun the robber was using wasn’t Mark’s gun. They followed the wrong trail. Demetri’s explanation for being so reckless during the whole confrontation is that he wanted to be able to ask his potential future killer “Why.” That seems like a pretty stupid reason to make your death even more likely.

Mark, perhaps seeing where he went wrong in his own relationship (self-awareness from Mark Benford-shocking, I know), tells Demetri he ought to run far, far away with Zoey. Demetri asks Zoey to marry him right away then go to Hawaii until everything blows over. Zoey thinks it’s a great idea, so the wedding is moved up. Because it’s such short notice, Agent Vreede is supposed to officiate, which I thought was kind of adorable. The FBI crew all heads to a bar to celebrate the upcoming nuptials, and it’s one of the few occasions where they actually seem like people as opposed to plot devices.

Okay, so I warned you there would be a lawyer rant coming, so here goes. There’s a flashback to the first time Demetri and Zoey met. Zoey was grilling Demetri on the witness stand. I’ve been mulling around the rules of evidence in my head trying to think whether or not Zoey even needed (or was allowed) to have Demetri’s notes, complete with doodles, up on the overhead projector. I guess maybe she was trying to use the notes to impeach him, but the whole thing just struck me as silly. It’s usually a pretty big no no to ask a witness to read something into the record that they wrote in the past, but I guess TV viewers just expect that sort of theatrics and shenanigans.

So I managed to keep the lawyer rant to a minimum. On with the plot. Demetri is pretty smashed from his celebration, so Janis offers to put him in a cab. I really expected her to be delivering him to Frost’s people in a scene sort of like the aftermath of Simon’s father’s funeral. That wasn’t the case, but the scene still managed to be somewhat shocking. Right before the cab drives off, Janis tells Demetri she’s pregnant. Well, I guess that isn’t so shocking. People have been speculating Demetri is the father of Janis’ baby since pretty much the beginning of the series. And, technically, we don’t even know if the night in Somalia was the cause of Janis’ pregnancy. Guess we’ll have to watch and see.

Finally Mark gets a real lead in his case. The blue 70’s sedan they’ve been looking for belongs to Dyson Frost. There’s no time to deal with that at the moment, though. It’s time for a wedding. Or not. Frost kidnaps Demetri as he’s finishing getting ready for the wedding. When Demetri doesn’t show up at the church, Mark figures out pretty quickly that something is wrong. He calls Olivia to warn her, but that may be too late as well. Olivia is at Charlie’s school carnival, but she can’t find Charlie. Turns out Charlie is still at school, sitting on a park bench. And who should sit down with her but Dyson Frost.

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