If you missed last week’s excellent episode of FlashForward, “Blowback,” check out a recap here.
This week’s episode of FlashForward begins three years before the blackout. In the hospital, Olivia tends to Mark, who has received a gun shot wound to the chest. She tells him that she can’t handle the stress and danger of Mark’s job; now with a daughter, she needs to know the family comes first for him. Mark tells her that Director Wedeck just asked him to join the terrorism task force, meaning more burritos on surveillance, and fewer bullets to the chest. Further, he promises that his family will always come first. Flash to today, and Olivia is walking Mark out to his car. Mark will be staying at Wedeck’s house for the time being. Olivia doesn’t know what to say — she’s never separated from a husband before. Seeing Charlie clutching Squirrelio in the back seat of the car, Olivia tells Mark that she’s been in the car for twenty minutes. Mark gets in the back seat and tries to assure his daughter that he’ll only be gone for a little while. She gives him a string bracelet like the one he burned back in the fall in an attempt to avoid his flash. Saying it will protect him from the bad guys while he’s away, she ties it around his wrist. Mark doesn’t have the heart to remove it.
At the FBI, Mark, Demetri and Wedeck watch the Frost tape found in the tower in Somalia. The 1991 Frost mentions both the October blackout and the Pigeon, UT incident, as well as the fact that he’s been through hundreds of flash forwards. He continues, telling them that no matter his flash, he dies on March 15, 2010, the same day as Demetri. He concludes saying the next move in the game is Mark Benford’s. Mark wonders if the video is a warning to try to change the future seen in the flashes, and prevent a second blackout. Elsewhere at the FBI, Simon and Lloyd are working on the materials brought back from Somalia. While Simon is amazed that the technology he designed in 1992, Lloyd is more concerned with the documents found, and their references to dark matter — an unknown quantity back in 1991. Simon is only half listening; he’s happy that they are now off the hook for the blackout as Frost was having flash forwards in 1991, a year before he designed the towers. Lloyd reminds him that they were told they amplified the blackout, so they are still somewhat responsible. He continues, telling Simon about the formula he saw on the mirror in his flash. There were two parts, but he can only remember one half. Lloyd notes that what he can decipher looks like an inverse of the formulas he and Simon used at NLAP for their experiment that amplified the blackout. It seems Lloyd and Mark were working on a “vaccine” of sorts for the blackout.
In Mark’s office, Mark informs Demetri of something he found regarding Frost. Right before Frost disappeared, he defeated the number one chess player in the world, Ian McKinnon. Mark notices that in Frost’s three games against McKinnon, each of Frost’s moves were made in exactly two or four seconds, and there were a total of fifty moves. Demetri surmises that the pattern is Morse code. Further, as Mark notes, numbers are represented by five dots are dashes. Fifty moves, divided by five symbols per number, equals ten numbers. Phone numbers have ten numbers. Mark deciphers the code and calls the resulting phone number. The outgoing message is from Frost, congratulating the caller for figuring out the code and nothing more. The partners agree to go try to find McKinnon in San Francisco as he was the last person to have contact with Frost.
Keiko (where has she been) is dining at the sushi restaurant she enters in her flash forward. Each time the front door opens, she eagerly turns her gaze upon it, hoping it is the man she saw in her flash. The waitress asks (in English as Keiko insists) if she wants something to eat, but Keiko doesn’t have much money. The waitress asks her if she wants to work as a waitress (in cash, of course, because Keiko doesn’t have a work visa), but she demurs, saying she is there for a new beginning, at that beginning doesn’t include working as a waitress. Meanwhile, her intended love, Bryce, is in the hospital receiving his chemotherapy treatment under the watchful eye of Nicole. He insists that she doesn’t need to stay with him, but she calls him out on his pride. He admits to the “sin,” and, as Bryce will feel terrible the next day due to the treatment, agrees to go out with Nicole that night.
Mark and Demetri go to one of San Francisco’s chess parks. There, they find a crime scene. Someone beat them to McKinnon, as he was found with two shots to the back of the head. Back in L.A., Mark tells Vogel about McKinnon. Vogel notes that the amount of time between Mark’s discovery and McKinnon’s death was only eight hours, so the mole in the FBI must have tipped off the bad guys yet again. They need to find the mole immediately, so Mark offers to find him. Vogel brings in a group of CIA agents to secure anyone working on Mosaic in the conference room. The CIA agents also scour the office for bugs or other electronic devices, including Mark’s office. Under the “M” key, a CIA tech finds a bug. Vogel asks Mark who has access to his office; Mark replies; everyone in the conference room. Demetri is questioned first, and is rather indignant over that fact. Of course Mark doesn’t think Demetri is the mole, but he needs the actual mole to believe he suspects everyone. Back in the room, Agent Seth MacFarlane worries that the investigators might find something on his computer. Porn? wonders Simon. No, actually a role-playing game: he’s a seventh level druid with Lightning Hammer abilities, so he doesn’t want it taken off the computer. Mark enters and calls Vreede in for questioning. Marcy, another agent, wonders whether they are all really under suspicion. Mark throws the “M” key onto the table, which Simon picks up. “‘M’ for Mark. Nice touch,” he comments.
Keiko has left the sushi restaurant and walks down the sidewalk, stopping at a lot where guys are making their cars bounce. The former robotics engineer is amazed by what she sees. She finds a mechanic working underneath a car and asks what he is doing. He is trying to fix his car to bounce as well. Hydraulics or nitrogen boosters, Keiko wonders. Hydraulics, the mechanic, Emil Gutierrez, answers. Keiko explains that she knows how to make them work and asks for the wrench. Impressed and intrigued, Emil hands over the tool as Keiko slides under the car.
Janis is the next into the hot seat, noting that the interrogation is severely screwing with her trust issues. Mark and Vogel note that she has missed thirteen days of work in the last couple months, where she had only missed two in the previous years. They know that in her flash she was pregnant, so she’s been visiting a fertility clinic. Yes, they do know that, but that was only eight of the thirteen days. What about the other five? Janis finally admits that she as checking up on some of her co-workers. She found that Marcy has a half-brother who is deathly ill in St. Louis. Further, she received an anonymous $50,000 credit to her bank account just prior to the blackout. They thank Janis for the information, and she is dismissed.
Olivia and Charlie have a “Girls Day” at the amusement park. Unfortunately for Olivia, Charlie wants her father there. Over some ice cream, Olivia assures her daughter that both of her parents love Charlie very much, and that no matter what, they will always be a family. Charlie perks up, so Olivia takes her on the Ferris Wheel. Mother and daughter enjoy the ride, but, is that guy in the next car the same that was using the phone where Olivia and Charlie were previously talking? The girls make their way to the merry-go-round, and Olivia notices the man watching them again. When the ride stops, Olivia hurries Charlie away. They attempt to rush out of the park, but the man catches up to them. Olivia confronts him, asking why he is following them. He is an FBI agent, he explains, that Mark assigned to Olivia and Charlie for their protection. Later, when she returns to the hospital, Olivia leaves a message for Mark, thanking him for the agent. She hopes that he is well and that he’ll call her later. As she finishes the call, Lloyd interrupts her. He’s sorry for the intrusion, but he needs to speak with her; he needs to know exactly what she saw in her flash. He asks whether she saw a formula written on the mirror. She recollects that when Lloyd took a phone call, she got up, and found a tube of lipstick on the floor (the flash in the title card of the episode). She looked to the mirror and did see the formula, but didn’t understand any of it. She did recognize one portion: the chemical formula for halzane, an anesthetic. She writes down the formula for Lloyd, who realizes a connection to his flash: QED didn’t mean quantum electrodynamics as he suspected. Rather, it stood for Quantum Entanglement Device (how he got that from an anesthetic, I have absolutely no idea.). Lloyd leaves, telling Olivia that he swears he’s not harassing her. She knows — he and Mark are just trying to save the world.
Keiko has fallen in well with Emil. She did such a good job with his car, that he brings her to his garage. After some cracks at her expense from the other mechanics, Emil informs the men there that Keiko is a new hire, and as a result, a member of the family, worthy of respect. That night, Keiko takes Emil to the sushi restaurant, and tells him about how she goes there every day waiting or the man in her flash. He asks her why, and she explains that her flash showed her the best day of her life. Keiko asks him what he saw. He responds, simply, it was something different than hers. While they drink sake, Bryce and Nicole, too, are in Little Tokyo. Bryce, not a fan of Japanese cuisine, worries that the mystery woman from his flash will only want to eat sushi. Nicole remarks that he makes her sound like a mogwai, referencing the food restrictions placed on Gizmo in the movie Gremlins (as if you needed the explanation). Bryce is clearly amused by Nicole, as he takes her by the face and kisses her. She stops him, saying she can’t let him kiss her as he is thinking of another woman. He apologizes, and offers to buy her a burger to make it up to her. She agrees, and they leave; the entire scene directly in front of the window an oblivious Keiko is sitting in. The next day, Keiko isn’t working at the garage when ICE, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, busts in and arrests Emil for hiring undocumented workers. Keiko and the other illegal workers are arrested as well. Bryce, as the ICE truck drives by his car, calls Nicole to apologize again. He’s not actually sorry, though, because he really likes her, and is thankful to have her there while he’s going through his treatment.
Back at the FBI, the suspected agents are still in the conference room, 36 hours later. Mark and Demetri peruse surveillance video of Marcy drinking her coffee outside the FBI building. Mark notices something weird: Marcy is putting sugar in her coffee, something she normally doesn’t do. In fact, every time the Mosaic team went on one of its missions, Marcy was outside pouring sugar into her coffee. She must have been signaling her handlers. Marcy is the mole! When the partners stare her down in the conference room, Marcy grabs one of the guards’ gun, kills the guard, shoots Agent Seth MacFarlane, a number of other redshirt agents, and runs from the building. Outside, she is met by a motorcycle rider dressed completely in black. Marcy hops on the back of the motorcycle and the pair take off. Janis runs from the building, shoots the driver, causing Marcy and the motorcycle to crash into the fountain. Janis jumps in after her and takes her down with a nice roundhouse to the face. Mark places Marcy under arrest; the mole has been found. Back inside, Wedeck tells Mark he wished he was informed about Mark’s plan to flush out the mole. Mark needed to keep Wedeck in the dark so the mole wouldn’t suspect anything. So, he was used for the greater good, Wedeck notes, “a Queen Sacrifice.” Wedeck leaves and Mark’s phone rings. It’s Frost. He congratulates Mark on fixing his mole problem, and says he will be in touch. Saying nothing else, Frost hangs up.
Simon and Janis, finally free to leave, walk through the garage. Simon notes that he likes a woman with a firearm. Janis jokes that she’s probably not his type. She goes on, telling Simon that she looked into his Uncle Teddy’s death. It sure seems like the CPR Simon performed was the actual cause of death. It was like Simon wanted to send a message. Well…”Message received,” Janis says slyly. Simon grins broadly. Janis is a mole too! The FBI would never expect a double mole, and they would certainly never suspect Janis. “That’s the whole point, isn’t it?” she coyly asks, ending the episode.
I thought “Queen Sacrifice” was…interesting. There was some that I really liked about the episode. Namely, everything with Mark, Demetri and Vogel, as well as Olivia, Charlie and Lloyd was spot on. Yes, there were some major jumps in logic and believability, (like Mark finding Morse code in the length of Frost’s moves in his last three chess games or Marcy’s weird coffee habit) but all in all, I dug it. On the other side of the ledger, though, you have the Bryce/Nicole/Keiko storylines. There wasn’t anything in particular “wrong” with these plots, or the way they were performed, but rather, I felt like I was watching a completely different show. Other than the fact they had flashes, there is nothing in those stories that links them back to the main action. Seriously, think about Bryce/Nicole and Keiko — if you remove them from the show completely, nothing negative happens to the show. Nothing becomes less clear, nothing is left unexplained. They are utterly superfluous to the main story. Therefore, I can’t be bothered with them. Still, even with this criticism, I was still really into this episode.
Then the last three minutes happened.
OK, it was a great twist that Janis is also a mole, in that the twist was unexpected. However, my reaction wasn’t excitement. It was more, “Really? There are two moles? What is this, 24?” I jsut don’t see the reasoning here. You already have Simon who is semi-working with the bad guys, Gibbons/Frost who is on both sides, Nhadra who may be a good guy or a bad guy, Marcy who was a double agent, and now Janis who is also a double agent. I just don’t buy it. The breadth of this conspiracy just seems haphazard. There were more than enough bad guys to deal with when you throw in Jericho and the three-start tattoo guys (assuming they are not Jericho), that you didn’t need a trusted and appealing character to be a mole too. Maybe this is just my affection for Janis shining through, but I just don’t buy her as a double agent. I mean, she wants a baby…named Willow! Why would someone risk the baby she wants so dearly now by remaining a double agent? I just don’t get it. I guess I’ll have to wait to find out where this goes. Let me predict now that she is actually a triple agent and will end up on the side of good.
Alright, that’s all I have for “Queen Sacrifice.” What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about the “Janis-is-a-double-agent” twist? Do you find the Bryce/Nicole/Keiko stories to be unnecessary? What do you want to see from FlashForward? Please leave your questions, comments and theories below. Be sure to come back to TVOverMind for next week’s recap, and all of your TV news needs. Until then, I’m off to sing “You Are My Sunshine.”