Flash Back to Catch Up With FLASHFORWARD

SDCC 09: FLASHFORWARD Panel

What would happen if the entire world blacked out at exactly the same time?  How would your life change if you were given a glimpse of where you'll be in six months?  What if you saw nothing?  When debuted this past fall, it grabbed the attention of scores of TV viewers.  The show went through some changes and lost a bit of it's audience, but it promises to come back strong on March 18th.  The first part of the season will be released on DVD on February 23rd, and we got a chance to check it out.  In case you haven't watched, we're going to break it down for you.  

Like many shows on television right now, (, and ) explores what happens if you're given a vision of the future.  Couldn't think of anything creepier, personally.   So here is the deal:  

Everyone in the world loses consciousness at exactly the same moment...well, almost everyone.  They're out for 137 seconds, and during that time, they are given a vision of exactly where they'll be six months from now.  We see flashes of a possible affair, a meeting of lovers who haven't met yet, a pregnancy for a woman who had never even considered motherhood, and for one man, absolutely nothing.  A group of FBI agents are trying to get to the bottom of the event, and a similar mass loss of consciousness in Somalia in 1991.  Is this a planned event?  What does it mean?  How does one man manage to change his fate?  Is this a possible future or is there no way out?  Who is this mysterious man who didn't flash?  Here are the major players and where we are at Episode 10.  (Spoiler alert)

Special Agent Mark Benford:  (Joseph Fiennes)  A recovering alcoholic who sees himself drinking in his flash forward.  He also sees himself piecing together clues about the origin of the event in a collage on the wall.  His wife (Dr. Olivia Benford) may be having an affair in hers.

In episode 10:  Benford and partner Noh have gone to Hong Kong to investigate the mysterious phone call that Noh received from a deep-voiced Persian woman, telling him that he would be murdered on the 15th of March.  (note:  episode 10 took place in December...previews suggest that the timeline will continue the same day...so we have time before the murder)  Benford is told that he is the one who will murder his partner.  The woman knows the serial number of his gun (A561984...the name of the tenth episode) and says Benford will shoot him three times).  Benford is later relieved of his FBI status by a newly introduced CIA agent, played by Michael Ealy.

Dr. Oliva Benford:  (Sonya Walger) She sees what she believes is a flash of a relationship with a man she's never met (Dr. Lloyd Simcoe).  When she treats a boy after the event and runs into his father, she recognizes him as the man in her vision.  Though she is upfront about her vision, it causes problems with her husband.  She and Mark have a daughter named Charlie.

In episode 10:  She helps Simcoe, who has just revealed to the world that his organization may have caused the blackout, to relocate his son to a new hospital.  During the discussion, Simcoe brings up the fact that, if things had gone differently in Olivia's life, they might have met at Harvard.  He brings up the “Many Worlds Interpretation” in which any decision we make exists in a parallel universe.  (Please check out the Wikipedia page...too much for this article.)  They share a moment.  When his son is being transferred to a safe hospital, Olivia realizes that the men taking him are not legit.  Simcoe lets himself be taken to save Olivia and his son, who is left in her care.

Dr. Lloyd Simcoe:  (Jack Davenport)  His estranged wife dies during the flash, and his autistic son Dylan is being treated by Dr. Benford.  Dylan recognizes Olivia and her daughter Charlie recognizes Dylan.  At first he appears to be nothing more than a caring dad, but Lloyd is more than he seems.  He believes that, along with his Stanford research partner Simon Campos, he is responsible for the blackout.

In episode 10:  He sacrifices himself for his son and has an obvious moment with Olivia.  He believes the experiment his company has done with their National Linear Excellerator Project caused the blackout.  By taking responsibility, he has put his son in danger.  And he clearly has feelings for Olivia.

Dr. Simon Campos:  (Dominic Monaghan)  Quantum physicist and partner of Dr. Lloyd Simcoe.  Maybe not the nicest guy you've ever met.  Unlike his partner, he doesn't believe he caused the event.  In his flash, he fights with, and then kills a man.  

In episode 10:  After Simcoe admits fault at a press conference, Campos tries to backtrack.  At the office of the FBI, he's is shown a picture of an invention of his, a Specialized Pulse Laser for a Plasma Afterburner in Somalia.  He tells Agent Hawk and Assistant Director Wedek that this was a design from  1992 and that he hadn't made it yet.  They tell him this picture was from 1991.  Mark enters an office that Camps is in at FBI headquarters, and sees a video of Olivia and Simcoe hugging.

Special Agent Demetri Noh:  (John Cho)  Unlike the other characters, Demetri sees nothing in his flash, leading him to believe that he won't be alive six months from now.  A call from a mysterious woman telling him the date of his murder only confirms his belief.  He is becoming more and more fatalistic while trying to help his partner Mark solve the mystery.  He's engaged to Zoe Andata (Gabrielle Union), who believes she's flashed forward to their beach wedding...except Demetri isn't actually seen.

In episode 10:  He goes to Hong Kong with Bedford to find the Persian woman who called him about his murder...only to have her tell him that Beford is the one who will shoot him.  His fiance Zoe realized that the vision she had was of his funeral and not their wedding.  She goes to see his mother, who tells Zoe that, as much as she would now love to have her in the family (which was not the case before), she knows what she also saw was a funeral.  Zoe tells her that they can change the future.

Special Agent Janice Hawk:  (Christine Woods)  A member of Mark's team, Janice flashes on herself having a sonogram.  She's never imagined this as part of her life, but is starting to consider the possibility.  It may cause some complications with her girlfriend, however.

In episode 10:  Janice, in the middle of the investigation, can't take her mind off the possibility of a baby.  In talking to Dr. Varley, she realizes that if she wants this to happen, she has to start trying now.  After explaining her dislike of the male anatomy, Bruce gives her the name of a sperm bank.

Aaron Stark:  (Brian F. O'Byrne)  A former alcoholic, Aaron is Mark's sponsor...things are becoming awfully complicated for him.  His flash involved his daughter, who he believed was killed in Iraq.  He firmly believes that she is alive after the flash, but when he does find her, she isn't the daughter he remembered.

In episode 10:  Aaron isn't thrilled that Mark accused him of sending a text about drinking in his flash forward.  He's having issues with his daughter's drinking and tells Mark that he can no longer be his sponsor.  But he asks him to be there for him as a friend.  (Mark has been investigating the private security agency that seems to be out to get Aaron's daughter.

Dr. Bruce Varley:  (Zachary Knighton)  When the flash knocked everyone out, it stopped Bruce from committing suicide after hearing a diagnosis of stage four kidney cancer.  His flash involved a Japanese woman he's clearly in love with, but had never met.  He believes his flash is a positive thing, and works to convince his superior Olivia that this is the case.  He's been searching for the woman in his vision.

In episode 10:  We see how bad Bruce's cancer is in a flashback and why he was going to commit suicide.  We also see Keiko, the Japanese woman he flashed on.  She's a brilliant robotics engineer who is stuck in a job that uses her for traditional female tasks like serving tea, while she longs to escape her fate and play guitar.  In their flashes, she is running to a restaurant with a guitar.  Bruce travels to Japan to find her, but she has since moved to LA.  Looks like they may meet after all.  

Nicole Kirby:  (Peyton List)  The nineteen-year-old babysitter to Mark and Olivia's daughter Charlie.  Her flash showed her being drowned by someone she doesn't recognize.  She was a friend to Aaron's daughter and is helping Bruce on his quest to find his mysterious love.  She also speaks Japanese.  

In episode 10:  She clearly has feelings for Bruce, but she's spending time helping him find the girl fo his dreams.  She gives him a statue of a good luck cat.  The right paw is up for luck in love.

FBI Assistant Director Stanford Wedeck:  (Courtney B. Vance)  Mark and Demetri's boss and leader of the investigation into the flash forward event.  In my favorite flash, he sees himself sitting on the toilet, reading a newspaper.  Obviously not every event is significant.

In episode 10:  His agents are out of control and he's not happy.  After Benford is fired, he tells him that he succeeded in changing the future.

<i>Check out the Season 1 Part 1 DVD, released February 23, 2010 for a preview of the upcoming episode.  

Flash Forward returns to ABC on Thursday, March 18th at 8/7c.</i>

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