This week's episode of FlashForward, "137 Sekunden," had a few more hints about the characters' futures, although the focus completely shifted away from last week's mysteries and went in a new direction.
The investigation of the guys I'm calling the "Walkies," Suspect Zero and D. Gibbons, was put on hold, as was the mystery of "What Charlie saw." But instead we got some good character development, which the show was needing after so much mystery overload the first two weeks.
One thing about Charlie playing no role this week – the writers might not want to make such a point of saying she's going to be picked up from school by her dad if they're not going to show him doing it. More than one viewer had to wonder if Charlie had been forgotten, since she never "hung out at work" as promised with dad, who took off to Germany instead. Because Charlie predicted a future of doom and gloom with a bad D. Gibbons, it's probably not a good idea to imply she's been forgotten at school by her father. We've already got a missing babysitter; we don't need a missing kid.
But while Charlie was shuffled aside for now, we got a great subplot going with Aaron Stark, who saw his dead daughter Tracy alive in his flashforward. He called in a favor from Mark to get her remains exhumed. ( references galore in this scene, as Aaron talks about taking a "leap of faith" – something that's repeated in the episode. And we get another alum, Kim Dickens, playing Aaron's wife, Katie, who works in a bar called Tinhorn Flats and doesn't believe Aaron's flashforward. And speaking of , ahem....Kate and Aaron?)
We were introduced to Demetri's fiancé Zoey, and we found out that her flashforward does show a wedding on the beach on April 29th, although it appears she didn't exactly Demetri there. We also met Wedeck's wife, Felicia, who sees herself adopting a child in the future, and we discover her first glimpse of him is at an FBI funeral.
And Mark took off for Germany to Quale Prison to pursue one of the leads from his magic bulletin board – a Nazi criminal named Rudolph Geyer who says he knows why the blackout lasted 137 seconds.
Unfortunately, Geyer didn't know anything about the 137 seconds, but what he did tell them ended up being one of the show's most interesting clues.
What we found out this episode:
- Star Clue: When Demetri picked up Zoey at the airport, there was a sign advertising Star Air. The star on the sign was the same as the three nautical stars seen on Mark's bulletin board and tattooed on the arm of one of his future attackers. It was obviously put there on purpose. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but I think it's not about the airlines itself but was just supposed to point us toward the star's more general meaning, which must have to do with a journey of some kind. Perhaps the masked invader is keeping track of his journeys, of which there have been three.
- Dead or Alive?: Aaron's daughter's remains do indeed match the DNA that the military has on file for her, indicating at least some part of her body was in that grave. This doesn't mesh with Aaron seeing her alive in his flashforward. Was the flashforward wrong? Or does it merely provide a greater mystery? And for a real conspiracy theory, does his daughter have something to do with the blackouts and her whereabouts are being covered up by the government?
- Janis' Ring: In the series premiere, Janis revealed her flashforward pregnancy and stated that she didn't even have a boyfriend. I guess we just found out why. This makes the mystery that much more puzzling.
- D'oh Noh! Demetri Noh, or "Home Slice," as I like to now call him, is told that he gets shot three times on March 15, 2010. Poor guy spent most of the rest of the episode helping people out with futures, including a hilarious future customs agent named Jerome Murphy (the underwear dancing was almost as good as the line, "I know what a bong looks like"). We were told <a href="http://www.newsarama.com/tv/091008-flashforward-pre-game.html">here on Newsarama yesterday</a> that the woman in Hong Kong (who imdb.com lists as Nhadra Udaya) will be appearing again, so I'm betting Demetri finds her somehow. I'm loving Demetri's character, so watching him try to prevent his own murder sounds like it may become my favorite part of the show.
- Bogus Title: The series writers pretty much fooled everyone by teasing that the meaning behind the two minutes and 17 seconds would be revealed this episode. It wasn't, unless you buy the whole Kabbalah bull. Sure, Herr Geyer provided some key information, but those previews showing his lie were a cruel yet enticing trick. I'll give them this: They did show us his bird book in the preview, which ended up panning out.
- The Crows: It turns out crows died during the blackout at "Quale Prison." Lots of them. It's fairly ridiculous that the Audubon Society constantly tracks these things with such detail, but that nitpicking aside, this is probably our most revealing clue yet because it leads Mark and Janis to a similar, more contained event from 1991. But it's interesting to note that the crow is a symbol of death, the bird that ushers the soul into the next realm. With all these missing people, the symbolism could be important, since the idea of them being in another realm is hard to avoid.
- Somalia Smoke: We got a flashback to an African boy in 1991 who followed a murder of crows he saw flying over a nearby hill (yeah, "murder" is what a group of crows is called. Get it? Smart old Nazi, ja?). As he got to the top of the rise, he saw a town where all the crows had fallen to the ground, and it appeared there were people passed out as well. The fact that the boy has a pretty obvious scar indicates we'll see him as an adult soon (maybe Michael K. Williams from HBO's ? The scar matches...). The CDC reported that there was a "mass loss of consciousness" associated with the Somalia event.
- The Earth Farted: In one of the better lines from the episode, one agent jokingly said, "So the Earth farted and we blacked out?" It referred to a theory that was being dismissed. But in the flashback to 1991, it appeared something actually fart and knock everyone out. As the flashback ended, the camera panned up to reveal a huge smokestack belching some type of smoke into the air, and one gaseous puff in particular appeared to be mushrooming out of its top. The implication is that the blackout not only happened before, but is linked to some type of emission. Was it natural? Or a test of something man-made?
- The Birds!: Just a reminder that in one agent's flashforward, we saw a bird hit the window. Since we're being told birds are affected by the blackouts, could the bird in the flashforward mean another blackout occurs on April 29th?
- Missing Babysitter: Nicole's disappearance would be a lot more mysterious if we didn't see her in a preview shown after the first episode. But the show is definitely wanting us to notice her absence. Where is that darn babysitter?
Also, on the "birds" reference, I noticed that when the "FlashForward" title was shown, there were birds behind it. Using my handy-dandy DVR, I went back and found out there are images behind all the titles. Last week's was the white queen. The first episode's was the friendship bracelet.
Another note: The "flashbacks" where viewers are shown things to "remind" them of people's flashforwards are a little heavy-handed. When Felicia saw the boy at the funeral, we really didn't need to see her flashforward again. This happens from time to time, and it's getting a little redundant. I mean, we've seen Lloyd Simcoe turn his head so much his neck must be getting stiff.
Overall, there were plenty of things to enjoy in "137 Sekunden," and as promised, we are getting lots of answers right up front about what caused the blackouts. So far we know there are people who didn't black out – at least two – and one was investigating the blackouts while communicating with the other. We also know there was a similar blackout before, apparently caused by an emission.
And don't forget, you can post questions for the writers here, and we'll ask them next week in our FlashForward Pre-Game.