Wednesday, July 7, 2010

FlashForward 1.20: "The Negotiation"

“There is no coming in from the cold here, Agent Hawk.”


“The Negotiation” was really more of the same from FlashForward, which makes it pretty obvious why the show was cancelled. This was yet another episode where way too many stories were happening, and no story was explored in any depth. It feels like we’ve hopped on board a freight train to the season finale because the writers suddenly realized that something needs to happen with everything they’ve been juggling for nineteen episodes. We’ve finally reached the point in time when it’s one day before “D-day,” the day that everyone saw in their October flash forwards. At the beginning of the episode, Wedeck is trying to rally the troops, as it were. He gives a speech that begins with the words he says in the voice over that begins every episode. There needs to be some heavy duty security in place to keep the LA FBI office secure when D-Day hits, and the job is getting more difficult by the minute. Someone has leaked footage of Suspect Zero to the media, and it’s different footage than what the FBI had in their possession.

Speaking of Suspect Zero, Simon is making a half-hearted attempt to hide from the nefarious organization that’s behind all this blackout craziness. He’s sitting in a bar, looking at his new, fake American passport and trying to practice his American accent. The problem being, of course, that he’s in a bar. Not really conducive to hiding. Lita, one of the organization’s hench…people, finds him pretty quickly. Hellinger, a man we’ve never heard of before who has suddenly become the Big Bad of the FlashForward-verse, sent Lita to give Simon an offer. Simon’s understandable not too happy to find out this catch after he’s already slept with Lita. He barely has time to get his clothes back on before Hellinger arrives to tell Simon that he needs to work for the nefarious organization. It doesn’t seem like Simon’s going to go along with the plan, especially since by the end of the episode, he shows up in Janis’ apartment asking for her help.

The major plot of this episode (if an episode of “FlashForward” can even have a major plot) revolves around Gabriel. Olivia brings him to Mark’s office, and Gabriel starts rearranging Mark’s conspiracy wall. Oh, and there’s also the tiny problem that Gabriel said “Olivia Simcoe” in front of Mark. I had a bit of hope for Mark when he seemed more upset about the conspiracy wall than “Olivia Simcoe,” but then he let me down, although not completely. He let me down because he brings up the issue with Gabriel again, and I know I’ve mentioned it before (probably repeatedly), but the Benford drama is probably my least favorite aspect of the show. Mark partially redeems himself by asking Gabriel if Olivia is happy in the futures Gabriel has seen.

Janis is facing increasing pressure from both the Hellinger’s organization and the CIA. Carline (the pet show lady who is Janis’ contact with the organization) tells Janis that she needs to kill Mark ASAP. Her bosses are getting impatient. From the CIA side, Vogel tells Janis that she can’t back out of the arrangement, even though Janis desperately wants out. Vogel does give her a suggestion on how to stay in the organization’s good graces without killing Mark, however. He tells Janis to “Give them something big.” When Janis is back at the FBI, she realizes what that “something big” is. Gabriel. He’s been explaining Raven River to the team and freaking out that Dem is still alive, and it’s time for him to be moved to a safe house. Janis, of course, tells Carline all about the plans to move Gabriel. I thought it was sort of odd that they met in a Laundromat instead of a pet shop this time around, but I guess it’s too much to expect for “FlashForward to explain discontinuity.

Janis is also facing some trouble in her personal life as well. Demetri really wants to be involved with the baby, and Janis would really rather that he wasn’t. She’s perfectly fine with Demetri focusing on Zoey instead. In fact, she’d almost certainly rather he focused on Zoey. Demetri’s got an ultimatum from Zoey (who still doesn’t know the truth about Janis’ baby) as well. Zoey bought plane tickets to Hawaii for D-day, and she essentially tells Dem that he’d better abandon MOSAIC and be on that plane. Demetri doesn’t seem too keen on the idea. I think everything changed for him when Janis said she was pregnant.

We see an FBI van weaving its way through the streets on Los Angeles, purportedly transporting Gabriel. I know that every time the van stopped for one reason or another, I expected an attack thanks to Janice’s conversation with Carline. That attack does eventually come, of course, but there is a twist that’s kind of fun. The skinny guy hiding in a hoodie inside the van is Mark, not Gabriel. Mark and the other FBI guys kick some ass and take over the operation from Hellinger’s goons. They resume the charade as the van pulls into Hellinger’s base of operations. Mark gets out of the van, and Hellinger greets him as Gabriel until he gets a closer look. Mark subdues Hellinger, but not before Hellinger deletes all of his organization’s files, including a file on Simon. Mark later tells Janis that he’s now certain she was the mole, and he’s not any happier when she tells him that she’s ultimately CIA as opposed to Hellinger’s organization. Janis then has to tell the truth to Demetri, who isn’t thrilled by the idea but still wants to stand by her.

There’s also a bit about Aaron and Tracey in this episode, which is pretty forgettable like their whole plotline is in general. In Afghanistan, Aaron and Kamir and Kamir’s crew stake out the Jericho base. Aaron gets some pictures and uploads them to a place from which Wedeck can retrieve them. His work for the FBI done, Aaron tells Wedeck that he’s going after Tracey. Wedeck, would rather Aaron come home, but Aaron’s not having it. While Wedeck calls the President and Vice President to tell them what he knows, Aaron and Kamir see some Jericho goons dragging Tracey out into the desert. Kamir’s crew (aided by some quality sharpshooting from Aaron) move in and retrieve a clinging to life Tracey. Aaron begs Kamir to take Tracey to Kandahar, but Kamir is skeptical considering Tracey’s condition. By the end of the episode, they’re right where they’re supposed to be- the building Aaron saw in his flash forward.

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