Post Game TV Recap: FLASHFORWARD S1E4: "Black Swan"
SDCC 09: FLASHFORWARD Panel
In this week's episode of FlashForward, titled "Black Swan," much of the story returned to focus on Olivia and her future-beloved, Lloyd Simcoe, while we were re-introduced to Nichole's quest for redemption.
But it was those crazy Brits who stole the show at the end.
Before we get to that ending, the opening sequence was probably one of the most powerful views we've seen of the blackout, as a bus rolled uncontrollably into the water in the middle of a park filled with unconscious bodies, all to the eerie strains of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet." The scene worked so well I backed it up and played it again.
The character we met who was inside the bus, "Ned," ended up in the hospital and became the center of Olivia's storyline as she battled against Bryce's belief in the future. She almost cost Ned his life with that battle, but in the end, fate won out, as it seems to be doing throughout this series. Ned really does go through a pigment change that turns him "black," and his Addison's disease takes away his nervousness enough that he wears those rockin' black leather pants.
Besides the drama of the main hospital story, which admittedly was pretty cool for those of us who love time travel (how often does a mainstream network hospital drama get its diagnosis from the future?), there wasn't a lot of development in this episode, either in the main mystery of what caused the blackouts nor in development of our characters.
However, there were a few seeds planted for the future. What we learned in this episode:
- Title Card: The writers confirmed for us last week that the title card always contains a "flashforward" to what's going to happen. This one was pretty boring. We see Mark's finger pointing at a black swan on his bulletin board. I'm kind of hoping they'll have an unexpected clue in one of these that tells more than just the episode title.
- And He's in Love?: Olivia calls Mark the "Shakespeare of Cheesy Dad Humor" in the kitchen as the episode begins. The humorous scene, which provided some much-needed characterization for the always-serious lead character, also gave Joseph Fiennes fans an Easter egg, since the actor played Shakespeare in the feature film .
- Tim-Tim and Squirrelio: Not only was Charlie holding that big red squirrel from the "Tim-Tim and Squirrelio" show again, but there were a couple of advertisements for the cartoon in this episode (including one on the side of the bus). Whether or not the cartoon becomes significant, there's no doubt the writers are hoping we notice it.
- Government Involvement?: The CIA are not readily sharing satellite photos of the area of Somalia that experienced the mysterious localized blackout in 1991. In fact, they're giving the FBI the "runaround." It could be that they're too busy, but that's not the way it sounded. After the show pointed out in the last episode that the FBI is getting an overload of information on the blackout, the fact that they can't get the CIA's involvement on this one blackout-related request seems suspect. Could the CIA have something to do with the flashforwards?
- Bryce's Girlfriend: Bryce was drawing a sketch of a very pretty woman, but when he was asked who the woman was, he said he didn't know. He hasn't met her yet. I assume the fact that the sketch exists means the role has been cast. Maybe now we'll see what was so great about his flashforward that he decided life was worth living.
- Jett Jackson's Celia: OK, I really shouldn't call Lee Thompson Young's character "Jett Jackson," but for anyone who watched that Disney show, it's hard to see the actor as anyone else. But the point is that Agent Al Gough (the real name of Thompson's character) was looking up "Celia" on the Mosaic website. (I tried it on the real <a href="http://www.jointhemosaic.com">Mosaic website</a> and didn't get any hits for Celia. However, the stories that on there ended up entertaining me far too long Thursday night.) With Al's search, it looks like we might meet this "Celia" soon. (But apparently Al doesn't sketch as well as Bryce does.)
- Mr. Cheeto Dust: Mark is told by the hot blond prisoner "Alda" that he doesn't have the guts to do what it takes to solve the blackouts. He must have taken that as a challenge because he soon after asks Al to contact a computer hacker they once busted. The hacker's name, "Mr. Cheeto Dust," is one of the many laughs this episode provided (my favorite, though, was when Ned said, "I'm like this invincible, fearless black guy, like Shaft or Bryant Gumbel"). Mark is hoping to break into the CIA server to find out more about the blackout in Somalia.
- What's Nichole Going to Do?: We still don't know what little Charlie saw in her flashforward, but the babysitter's vision not only revealed she's going to do something potentially bad in the future, but we saw the guy who's trying to kill her. And as she's being drowned by her attacker, she feels like she deserves it. The fact that it's Mark who is assuring her that she won't do anything wrong, I have a feeling Nichole's target for her wrong-doing will end up being Mark himself.
- Doom and Gloom: I'm just going to point out that A) Nichole is going to do something so bad that she'll be killed for it; B) Demetri is allegedly going to be murdered on March 15th; C) Something is going to happen to Charlie that is horrific enough for her to say, "D. Gibbons is a bad man" and there are "no more bad days;" and D) Mark is going to have people hunting him down with guns. My point is that whatever happens between now and April 29, 2010, it's not going to be pretty for our lead characters.
- Quirkville Church: Nichole's priest is a little... different. He's got an awesome T-shirt that says, "Jesus is my Episco-Pal," but he's also got crickets in the desk drawer. And he seems to be in a hurry to scoot young Nichole out the door. Whether the cricket or the T-shirt mean anything is questionable, but he's at least a horrible counselor to his flock if that's his reaction to a young girl asking for help.
- Magic and Kangaroo: Lloyd is coming across as a sympathetic character as he goes to his dead wife's home (since they'd been separated) to find out more about her life with his son. On one shelf is a kangaroo, and Mark saw a kangaroo jumping around the streets of L.A. right after the blackout. The kangaroo might mean nothing, but the soul searching by Lloyd made him a sympathetic character just in time for him to entertain young Dylan with some magic.
- Simon Introduced: It was a long time coming, but we got to see Dominic Monaghan at the end of the episode. For fans who adored him as Charlie (including me), it was a welcome addition. For everyone else watching the episode, it as more about revealing the truth about Lloyd Simcoe.
- Indio, Calif.: The restaurant lead didn't end up panning out, as the "yellow cake" they found there was just some dude's stash, but the characters said "Indio" about four or five times. Could mean something. Plus, that scene with the jazz trumpeter was pretty cool.
- Brash Brits: Those Brits are up to no good. When Simon calls Lloyd on the phone -- our first introduction to his character -- he says Lloyd has to talk to him now that they are responsible for the "single greatest disaster in human history." It's quite a twist that sweet, confounded Lloyd, whom Olivia calls "honey" in her flashforward, is in leagues with the folks who caused the blackout. I know a lot of people guessed Lloyd was hiding something when he didn't acknowledge Olivia from his flashforward. But it turns out he really never saw Olivia's face. Yet it appears he's a bad guy nonetheless.
Because ABC just ordered 12 more episodes of FlashForward, it looks like we'll get answers to at least a few of the mysteries that have been set up in the first four episodes. As Black Swan ended, all our ducks appear to be in a row now:
- People were awake during the blackout, and we know about two of them: Suspect Zero and D. Gibbons.
- Charlie and Dylan know more than they're saying.
- Demetri is going to be murdered, although his fiance seems to think he's not.
- Nichole's going to do something very bad.
- Aaron has a journey to take that may very well be related to Mark's central mystery.
- There was a blackout in Somalia in 1991, and it was linked to some kind of emission.
- Whatever makes people black out and see their future also kills crows.
- And Lloyd Simcoe's pending affair with Olivia is the least of what makes him mysterious and edgy. He's got something to do with this whole thing.
One of the writers told us after the pilot that "the first four episodes are about laying the groundwork for the rest of the series." And yes, the groundwork is most definitely laid. Now the fun begins, and that means lots of guessing.
A few of my theories? I think the bad thing that Nichole does will be related to how Charlie knows D. Gibbons is a bad man. I'm betting Aaron's daughter Tracy will be part of a government cover-up that relates to Somalia. And I think whatever Lloyd's involvement was in the blackout is related to how his son became autistic.
What are your theories?
And don't forget, if you want to ask the show's writing staff any questions, just post them below so we can include them in this week's "pre-game" interview.