Recap – FlashForward 1.19 “Collision Course”

FlashForward has been on an upward swing the last few episodes, so if you missed last week’s episode, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” read a recap here.

This week’s installment, “Collision Course,” opens in Palo Alto, California at NLAP, two days before the blackout. Simon and Lloyd are discussing the timing for their experiment when Simon notices Lloyd is wearing the same jacket he wore when the ground was broken for their particle accelerator. Lloyd insists it’s just an accident, but Simon tells him “There are no accidents.” Simon receives a phone call from his mother, in which she tells him that his father has died; he’ll be home immediately. Two days later, Lloyd is preparing for the final countdown to his experiment. At the prescribed time, the accelerator fires two atoms into each other, recreating the Big Bang. The camera zooms out to reveal a wave of energy emanating from California, and spreading across the globe. Oddly, simultaneously, there is a second wave spreading from Asia. The two waves collide, and the blackout hits. Everyone at NLAP collapses, with the journalist hitting her head on a desk. When they wake up, Lloyd sees the journalist, turns her over, and finds her dead.

Cut to a week before April 29th. Lloyd is being interviewed on a news program to discuss whether the flashes will come true. Lloyd explains that to quantum physicists, observation shapes reality, so it is possible to change the futures seen in the flashes; however, everyone may still be pushed toward the futures they saw. Like a “course correction,” the anchor suggests (for a show that doesn’t want to be compared to Lost, it certainly makes obvious allusions). Celia, the woman who was supposed to be killed accidentally by Al Gough, is brought on the show. She thanks Al’s family again for his great sacrifice, and that she is proof the future can change. The program takes phone calls, and one caller asks Lloyd whether brain damage was possible. Lloyd answers he doesn’t believe so, and takes another call. The second caller asks if it is possible a second blackout occur. Lloyd says, unequivocally, that a second blackout would be impossible. Celia is asked if she fears for her future, to which she responds that the universe has a different plan for her. Lloyd concludes the program by saying that come April 29th, they will all be where they are supposed to be.

Simon, now with a shiny black fake finger, is traveling in an SUV across a bridge. Out of the window, he sees…his sister, Anabelle. He orders the driver to go back, and he rushes up to her. Red dots that appear to be laser sights dance around Anabelle’s face. She tells Simon that he has twelve hours to get the ring and hand it over to her captors. Simon notices the license plate number on the white van across the bridge, and finally at the pleading of his sister, leaves for the FBI. Once there, he asks a young tech to run the license plate number without telling his superiors. For an unknown price, the tech agrees. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Bryce is receiving chemotherapy. Nicole accidentally enters, not knowing he had an appointment to receive chemo at that time. She gives him a book, The Places That Scare You by Pema Chadron, to help him deal with his treatments. She tells Bryce that she wishes he would tell her when his chemo appointments are so she can be with him. He explains to Nicole that he doesn’t tell her about his treatments because he doesn’t want her to feel obligated to be with him. She promises that she doesn’t feel obligated.

Demetri arrives at a crime scene and finds Fiona Shaw of MI6. Fiona had previously worked with the FBI when the blackout first occurred, and had seen herself working with Al Gough in her flash. The victim is a man named Andy who was supposed to have died from an allergic reaction, but survived past his “death date.” An attendee at Blue Hand meetings, Andy was found dead, poison placed in his coffee, despite being in a room full of guns. In fact, this is the fourth member of the Blue Hand to have survived their “death date,” but wind up murdered later. Demetri thinks it may be time to talk to Jeff Slingerland, aka Dr. Maurice Raynaud, the leader of the Blue Hand. Outside the hospital, Lloyd and Olivia grab some coffee and go for a walk. Lloyd is worried that he lied to the public by telling them that there won’t be a second blackout. Further, he has no idea if the blackout caused any brain damage. He needs to crack the QED device so he can prevent another blackout. Olivia understands that he’s stressed, but he needn’t be; she will help him if she can. Arm in arm, he thanks her, and they walk off.

Mark calls Simon to come to his office. He knows about the license plate number Simon wanted run; young techs won’t ruin their careers, even for a promised trip to the Bunny Ranch. Simon tells Mark that his sister ran away, but Mark calls his bluff. There is video of Simon meeting Anabelle on the bridge, and her posture and reactions to him indicate that she is in trouble, that she has been kidnapped. Simon cops to the truth, and tells Mark that he tried to get the license plate run because he will do anything to save his sister. That is exactly what Mark is afraid of. Is Mark afraid that Simon has been compromised in some way, Simon wonders. Mark isn’t sure, but he knows that Simon has put the Mosaic investigation in jeopardy by not being truthful. Simon has one reason to be at the FBI, and that’s to figure out the QED. Mark will find Anabelle.

Later, Simon is reviewing the video of his sister on the bridge. Lloyd, meanwhile, is looking at the QED ring, trying to figure out how it works. Simon tells him that he should get over his guilt because they did nothing wrong. “We can’t save the world,” he tells Lloyd. “Yes, we can,” Lloyd defensively replies. “Isn’t that a bit messianic?” Simon wonders. Lloyd wants to know what is bothering Simon, so Simon finally tells Lloyd about his sister. Lloyd tells Simon that he would have helped look for her if he had known. Simon knows, but there was nothing for Lloyd to do. Lloyd locks up the ring, and tells Simon that he will help in any way he can. In Wedeck’s office, Mark tells Wedeck about his conversation with Simon. Wedeck informs mark that Simon’s polygraph was inconclusive, but that they have to keep an eye on Dr. Campos.

Demetri and Fiona make their way to the high school where Slingerland teaches. Slingerland insists he is no longer affiliated with Blue Hand. The agents tell him about Andy. Slingerland replies that it is a shame what happened to Andy, but that the universe has a way of evening itself. Life is energy and it must remain balanced. When one person is born, another dies. If someone lives past when they are supposed to die, that energy needs to be balanced. This unnerves Demetri, so the agents leave. At the hospital, Bryce informs Olivia that Gabriel is doing well physically, save his right foot. Dylan appears, and asks Olivia where Charlie is. Olivia asks Lloyd, when he enters, what they are doing there. Dylan has occupational therapy, and he wanted to see Olivia; so did Lloyd. Gabriel sees Lloyd and starts yelling, “I knew it! You’re so good together. Olivia and Lloyd, sitting in a tree….” Olivia gets Gabriel into his bed, when Vreede enters. He has lunch for Gabriel, and asks when he can bring Gabriel to the FBI to question him. Olivia says Gabriel won’t be ready to leave any time soon, but she allows Vreede a few short questions when Vreede asks. Vreede hands Gabriel a book with elaborate drawings inside (the same drawing that flashed in the title card). The book is Gabriel’s, and he had drawn the picture from one of his flashes. In fact, it is a drawing of mark’s Mosaic board. Gabriel digs into the hamburger Vreede brought him, but begins to get upset when he sees the pickles, and lettuce and tomatoes…wait, he likes tomatoes!

Mark and Wedeck review videos of the van used to carry Anabelle to the bridge as it traveled through the city. They are able to narrow its location down to a few square blocks so Mark will go out to look for it. When Simon sees Mark leaving, he asks to come along. Mark refuses because he doesn’t trust Simon, not at all. Further, Simon’s “volunteer” for the Bureau is beginning to feel very convenient. Simon has only one responsibility: to figure out the QED. With Mark gone, Simon sets to trying to extract the ring from its locker. He tries to guess the password of the electronic lock, but appears to be unsuccessful. He goes right up to the locker’s glass, and stares at the treasure, remembering his sisters words, “Please, Simon, give them what they want.” Bryce visits his oncologist. There is good news; the experimental treatment has worked. Bryce’s cancer is in full remission. Excited, Bryce thanks the doctor. “Your future awaits,” the doctor tells Bryce as he leaves. Elsewhere in the hospital, a nurse asks Nicole about going to the immigration offices and administering flu shots to detainees. Nicole agrees, so the nurse gives her some files of the patients. Amongst the pile, Nicole sees the file for Keiko.

Demetri and Fiona, meanwhile, head to the coffee place from where the poisoned coffee cup found at Andy’s residence came from. They interview one of the baristas who remembers Andy coming in. He came in with one of his friends: a tall guy with a horseshoe ring. Demetri remembers seeing Slingerland wearing a horseshoe ring (and drinking a cup of coffee!). Demetri and Fiona make their way to the school, but Slingerland sees them coming, so he runs out of the classroom. When the agent enter, one of the students asks if he is Agent Noh. When Demetri replies in the affirmative, the student says the teacher wanted her to tell Demetri “that the universe always pushes back.” This statement reminds Demetri of Celia’s comment on the news program that the universe has a different plan for her. Slingerland is going after Celia. Slingerland waits in a car until he sees Celia walk down the sidewalk. He accelerates toward Celia (who was supposed to be killed in a car accident by Al), but just before he hits her, a car, driven by Demetri, crashes into him. Slingerland gets out of the car and tries to chase after Celia, but Demetri tells her to run. Demetri radios Fiona and tells her that hes chasing after Slingerland on foot; Fiona says she is on her way. Demetri catches up with Slingerland and knocks him down. At that moment, Celia turns to see the scene, but is hit by a car — Fiona’s car. Demetri rushes over, to find Celia still alive. He goes back to Slingerland who again tells Demetri that the universe will remain in balance and get what it wants. Slingerland’s last words to Demetri are, “See you soon,” before dying.

Meeting in a parking lot, Simon tells Lloyd that he is sorry he didn’t tell his only friend about Annabelle’s kidnapping. Lloyd reiterates that he would have helped, to which Simon assents. Lloyd asks if Simon wants to grab a drink, but he demurs — Simon has to be somewhere. At the hospital, Bryce runs up to Nicole, telling her he has news for her. Nicole, clutching Keiko’s file, has news as well. Bryce, unable to control his happiness, grabs a hold of Nicole’s face and kisses her hard. His cancer is gone! Further, he doesn’t want to waste any more time; they need to forget what they saw in their flashes. They are here now. This is what matters.

Later that evening at FBI headquarters, Fiona stresses over hitting Celia. Demetri tells her that it wasn’t her fault, it was an accident. Fiona remembers a conversation with Al when she told him about her flash, and about the bird hitting the window. Al remarked that she should try putting tape on the window so the bird can avoid it. She said that the bird might just fly into another window. “But it’s worth a shot,” Al had replied. Fiona’s phone brings her back to the present. It’s the hospital: Celia’s injuries are extensive, so the doctor is no optimistic about her recovery. The doctor reminds her that it was an accident. “There are no more accidents,” Fiona says to herself as she hangs up.

Mark is out searching for Anabelle. He stops at a set of warehouses and finds a maintenance worker. The worker explains that a white van tore out of the complex, damaging an electrical box along the way. Mark thinks he knows where to find the van, so he calls for the SWAT team. When SWAT arrives, they surround a white van abandoned in a warehouse. Mark slowly opens the back door and finds Annabelle, alone, tied up in the cargo hold. Mark calls Simon and tells him that Annabelle has been found. Simon asks to talk to his sister . mark agrees, but then Simon has to talk to Mark. “No more lies,” Mark tells Simon, and Simon agrees. Simon makes sure his sister is OK, but when she hands the phone back to Mark, Simon hangs up, and leaves the hotel room he was in. Mark and Wedeck run into the room Simon and Lloyd have been working and find that he ring is gone. Simon must have taken it. (Note: There must have been a scene cut out where Mark and Wedeck find Simon with an odd interest in the ring, because the jump from Simon hanging up on Mark to the ring being gone was way to large.)

At Lloyd’s house, Olivia is over, showing Lloyd Gabriel’s brain scan (and enjoying a glass of wine). Gabriel had hundreds of flashes, but has had no brain damage. Neither had any of the patients who were having scans at the moment of the blackout. There is no need to worry. Lloyd notices in Gabriel’s file that Gabriel is a savant, and asks about Gabriel saying that Lloyd and Olivia are supposed to be together. Did Gabriel mention if they were happy? Olivia responds that she only knows how she felt in her flash (i.e. good). They kiss. A knock at the door interrupts them — it’s Mark. Olivia, embarrassed being caught there, quick;y packs up her computer and files. As she exits, Lloyd tries to save the situation by thanking her for showing him the brain scans (not a lie!). She says it wasn’t a problem, and tells Mark she’ll call him. Mark, chooses to ignore the scene, and tells Lloyd about Simon disappearing after Annabelle was rescued. Lloyd reflects and tells Mark that earlier that day, Simon acted as if he was saying goodbye to Lloyd. Mark asks him if Simon was acting strange on the day of the blackout. Lloyd remembers how after Simon received the call that his father had died, Lloyd asked if they should delay the experiment. Simon was adamant that the experiment occur on October 6th at 11:00am.

Lloyd and Mark return to the FBI to meet with Wedeck. Mark asks if Simon is capable of perpetrating a global blackout. “Simon is capable of anything, and he always has a plan,” Lloyd replies. Wedeck has asked the tech to compare Simon to Suspect Zero. Simon’s physical attributes match Zero 99.9%. Although eye witnesses put Simon at his father’s funeral in Toronto, there was a private Canadian plane that asked for an emergency landing near Detroit, the location where Suspect Zero was filmed awake during the blackout. “Simon Campos is Suspect Zero,” Mark states. Mark moves on to questioning Annabelle about whether she can identify any of her captors. She cannot, as they all wore weird looking masks. Well, then what would the men who held her wnat with Simon? Annabelle replies that she doesn’t know. Did she hear anything at all? Anything that would give a reason to why they would want Simon? Dead into the camera Annabelle replies, “They said Simon is going to cause another blackout.”

Commentary

If FlashForward had produced fall episodes like those show since its return this March (and they didn’t take four month hiatus), I guarantee the show would be on stronger footing. Again, FF gave us a great episode this week. It was fast paced, moved the mythology along, yet still had some resonant emotional moments. Heck, even the Bryce/Nicole scenes were excellent, and didn’t distract from the more interesting (and important) Mosaic storyline. Yes, Janis was absent from the episode, but all in all, I thought it really worked. There were some great directorial and thematic moments, as well. Namely, the relationship between Demetri, Fiona and Al. I thought the story did a wonderful job showing how Demetri’s “energy” has balanced the “energy” lost when Al killed himself. Al was supposed to live and kill Celia with his car. Demetri was supposed to die. Al died, and Demetri lived. Further, Fiona (another agent investigating Mosaic) killed Celia (likely) with her. This was all brought home directorially when Demetri and Fiona were in FBI headquarters, at night, sitting at the table as the camera panned across them. This was a replica of a similar scene between Al and Fiona in “The Gift.” Throw in the conversation, at least in Fiona’s mind, with Al about the bird, and the connection was complete. Really great work by the writers and director. Again, I really enjoyed this episode, and wish installments like this and the others this spring were the norm back in the fall. This could have been a great show, and not one likely to be axed by ABC in two weeks.
What did you think about “Collision Course?” Did you enjoy the episode as much as I did? What did you think of the Nicole and Bryce scenes? Did you like having them back? Do you think Nicole will tell Bryce about Keiko (I do)? What worked for you and what didn’t? Would you like to see more Fiona in the future? Please leave your questions, comments and theories below. Be sure to check TVOVermind for any news regarding FF‘s renewal chances, and for all other TV news. I’ll be back next week with a recap of the episode that takes place on April 29th, the day of the flashes. Until then, I’m off to find the best thing since sliced bread.

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