Recap – FlashForward 1.20 “The Negotiation”

If you missed last week’s episode of FlashForward, “Collision Course,” Check out a recap here.

This week’s episode begins with Wedeck’s voice intoning the usual “On October 6th…,” but this time, he is giving a speech to his FBI employees. Tomorrow is D-Day, April 29th, so they must be prepared for anything, including an attack on their building. Mark and Demetri are coordinating SWAT and other security measures. Janis and Vreede will brief agents on other special procedures. Their assignments given, the agents break up. Wedeck asks Mark what plans are in place to locate Simon and the QED ring, and Mark explains they are doing everything possible to locate him. The agents enter the conference room where Vogel is showing a news report of Suspect Zero. Somehow, the news got a hold of the video of Simon in the stadium. Mark points out that it is not the FBI’s video, as the angle is different. Who shot this video, and why did they release it now?

Simon is in a darkly lit bar, practicing his American accent and his new name, David Walker. A woman, Lita, take a seat next to him. She asks if she’s seen him before, and when Simon responds “no,” she tells him that he mustn’t hide his pretty face under a hat and sunglasses. She tells him that if he tries to hide, “they” will just find him. She tells him that she has an offer for him, but that they need to talk somewhere else. Simon agrees to leave, and they do. Meanwhile, Zoey is waiting for Demetri at his desk. When he arrives, she asks him if he can take off tomorrow. Laughing, because he obviously can’t take the day off, asks why? Zoey tells him that they should fly to Hawaii. Demetri immediately protests, saying that people are depending on him, he needs to be there to protect his colleagues and the people of L.A. Zoey protests, saying that, for once, they should make it about them, and no one else. She takes out a pair of plane tickets, and hands one to Demetri, telling him that she will be on the plane with or without him. Demetri says that what she is doing is unfair, but she leaves without responding.

Olivia and Gabriel examine Mark’s Mosaic board. Mark enters and says hello to Gabriel. Gabriel introduces himself, and Olivia as “Olivia Simcoe.” Before Mark can ask him why he called Olivia by that name, Gabriel starts to ramble about how Mark’s board isn’t right. He begs Mark to look at his book and compare the board to Gabriel’s drawing of the board. Mark asks how he drew the picture (“With a pen.”); has he been on Mark’s office before. “Yes,” Gabriel replies, “with Dr. Frost.” Those gathered try to leave, but Gabriel refuses and throws one of his tantrums. Olivia says she’ll stay behind, and once she does, Gabriel calms down.

Meeting in a bar, Janis tells Vogel that she wants out of her mission. Vogel tells her that she can’t say no to killing Mark. They are so close to solving this case that the only way out for Janis is to finish what they started. Janis reluctantly agrees, but tells Vogel that Carleen’s group are getting antsy. Vogel replies that she should give them something big, and exits. Later, in the FBI offices, Janis sees Demetri. S he apologizes for not returning his calls but she’s been busy. He tells her that they need a plan for the baby. He wants to be a part of the baby’s life, but Janis doesn’t agree. The baby is hers alone; Demetri has a life with Zoey, so he should just walk away. Elsewhere in the office, Mark sees Olivia and tells her that he has set up security to patrol her house tomorrow. Olivia remarks that she misses the days they spoke not of security details, but PTA meetings, groceries and the like. Mark agrees. They notice that Gabriel is in Mark’s office again, reconnecting strings on the Mosaic board. Mark asks him why he is changing the board. Gabriel, showing Mark the drawing in his book, tells Mark to “make it look right.”

In Afghanistan, Aaron and Khamir survey one of Jericho’s bases. Aaron takes photos of the camp and uploads them to a contact back in the States. Meanwhile, Simon and Lita are in a motel. Having just finished some extracurricular activities, they see that Simon has been positively identified as the awake man in the video of the blackout obtained by the news organizations. Lita explains to Simon that their boss, Hellinger, wants to speak with him. They are the only friends Simon has, now that he has been identified, so it would be best if he listened to Hellinger’s offer. She warns Simon that Hellinger is rather charming, until he’s not. There is a knock on the door — it is Hellinger. At the FBI, the agents show Gabriel some pictures, among which are the murdered homeless man and Nhadra. Gabriel says that they were all at Raven River. Mark asks if through all of the flashes he had, does Gabriel remember when the next blackout will occur. He doesn’t, but he does remember someone else at Raven River who used to help Frost: the Bug Guy. Can Gabriel remember anything more specific about “the Big Guy?” Well, Gabriel drew a picture of him on page fifteen of his book (Lost shout-out??). It is Hellinger, although the agents don’t recognize him as such. Demetri enters, and Gabriel tries to hide in the hood of his sweatshirt. He yells that Demetri shouldn’t be there. He is supposed to be dead. Demetri has to die for everything to work out right.

Back in the motel room, Hellinger tells Simon that it is time for him to come home. He can understand that Simon is angry with him, but he really has no other choice. He can’t resume his work, and can’t go out in public. If he will come work with Hellinger, Simon can continue to work, he’ll be paid well, and they will even arrange for him to see his sister. “That’s the carrot. What’s the stick?” Simon wonders. Hellinger says “the stick is the stick.” It’s a measure to which he’d rather not have to resort, but at some point, he will have to cut his losses. Simon tells him that he knows Hellinger can’t kill him because Simon is the only person who can calibrate the accelerator. Simon will let Hellinger know what his decision is soon. Simon grabs his hat and exits.

At the FBI, Mark tells Demetri that they are closing in on the bad guys, but Demetri is barely listening. “Did Gabriel get under your skin?” he asks of Demetri. Yes, he did, Demetri answers. He asks Mark if he thinks the future is somehow course correcting. “Do I believe the universe is pushing toward once certain outcome? No, I don’t,” Mark replies. Demetri wonders if he is screwing up the world somehow. Sure, Demetri is screwing things up, but it has nothing to do with the universe, Mark jokes. The partners laugh, and look over at Olivia and Gabriel. Demetri remarks that he can’t wait until after tomorrow when they can go back to living normal lives, not always looking toward the future. At that moment, Lloyd enters and starts speaking with Olivia. “I’m looking forward to it,” Demetri says. “Yeah, me too,” Mark agrees. Lloyd says hi to Gabriel, and tells Olivia that he’s having a hard time figuring out the decoherence equation. Gabriel begins rambling that Lloyd just needs to combine the pieces of the formula, and that Olivia and Lloyd need to work together to solve it. The would-be couple just look at each other, as Mark watches the scene.

Aaron radios Wedeck to see if he received the photos Aaron sent. When Wedeck confirms he did, Aaron tells Wedeck that he is going to go into the camp to rescue Tracy. Wedeck pleads with him to wait until military backup can be sent, but Aaron refuses. Tracy is being moved immediately by some of Jericho’s men, so he’s going in. Back in L.A., Janis meets with Carleen, who tells the FBI agent that her group is growing impatient; Janis needs to kill Mark. Janis explains that she’s waiting for a time when she herself won’t get killed. Well, it must be done before tomorrow night. Further, Janis hasn’t given them any information on Mosaic lately. If she can’t produce, both she, and her baby, would be in danger. Janis asks if Carleen has ever heard of Gabriel. When Carleen says she has, Janis tells her that Gabriel has been telling the FBI everything about Raven River and that he’s being moved to a safe house later that day. Janis returns to the FBI office. Mark states that Gabriel will be moved within the hour, and Janis suggests Olivia go with him or else Gabriel won’t be cooperative. Mark reluctantly agrees before heading to his office. Gabriel is there looking at the mosaic board. Mark asks Gabriel what he sees. “Loose ends,” Gabriel responds. Mark asks him if Olivia is “Olivia Simcoe” in all of his flashes. Yes, she is; Gabriel further explains that he has seen many things, and they’ve all come true. Mark asks one final question: in all of Gabriel’s flashes, was Olivia always safe? Yes, Gabriel replies. She is always safe.

In Afghanistan, Aaron snipes the two guards holding Tracy. He runs down to her and recovers his daughter. Back in L.A., Wedeck reviews the photos of the Jericho camp. He calls the President, and asks him if he knows about Joshua Base. The President says he’s never heard of it. “Then you won’t mind if I turn these over Vice President Clemente,” Wedeck says. The President realizes the gig is up, and tells Wedeck that he knew this call would be coming at some point, he just didn’t think it would be Wedeck making it. Wedeck hangs up, and places a call to the Vice President’s office. Mark, meanwhile, announces that they are ready to move Gabriel. Hearing this, Janis enters the bathroom and calls one of her contacts to inform him that Gabriel is being moved. She hangs up, looks longingly in the mirror, and places a hand on her slightly-bulging stomach.

Vreede drives the van that is moving Gabriel, with Demetri in the passenger seat, and two agents guarding Gabriel in the back. A car cuts off the van, stopping it, but after Vreede yells at the driver for his lack of driving skills, it moves on. Vreede pulls up behind a truck stopped at a stop sign, when the truck’s driver gets out and opens fire on the van. Vreede throws the van in reverse, but crashes into an oncoming SUV. Men jump out of the SUV and shoot up the van. They approach the van and open the rear door, revealing Gabriel with his hands up. Gabriel then pulls out a gun and shoots the assailants! It’s not Gabriel, but Mark. Demetri and Vreede jump out of the van too and apprehend the remaining bad guys. Later, the SUV pulls into a garage at Hellinger’s headquarters. Mark, again dressed as Gabriel, gets out, but when Hellinger realizes he is not Gabriel, a SWAT team enters and sweeps the building of Hellinger’s men. Hellinger is able to run to his computer and start a file deletion program. Mark catches up to Hellinger and arrests him, seeing a picture of Simon just as it disappears from the screen. Mark demands to know where Simon is, but Hellinger doesn’t answer. Simon happens to be in a basement somewhere (in Hellinger’s building?), looking at the QED ring.

Janis heads to her car. She opens the door, but Mark slams it closed from behind. “Who do you work for?” he asks her. “The CIA,” she replies. She xplains that she was recruited by Vogel when she first graduated from Quantico. Mark tells her that he became suspicious when she sold out Marcy, and then completely blew her cover when she set up Hellinger to get caught. Mark wants to know why she exposed herself now. She tells Mark that they wanted her to kill him, and she couldn’t do it. Further, she has spent the last three years of her life in between two worlds, with no friends, no one to turn to. “If you sacrifice everything, be prepared to walk alone,” Mark responds with little sympathy, before walking away. As he leaves, Janis yells after him, asking him not to tell Demetri — she wants to do it. That evening, walking with him, Janis does tell Demetri about her triple agent status. She got pregnant as a way out of the whole situation. Demetri insists that all of them, he, Janis, Zoey and the baby, are all connected, but Janis says they aren’t. It is her and the baby together, and Demetri and Zoey together. She tells him that he doesn’t want to be a part of the mess she’s made of her life. “I already am,” he replies.

At the safe house, Gabriel watches cartoons. Demetri enters and wonders if he can ask Gabriel a question. He wants to know if he was alive in any of the futures Gabriel saw. No, Gabriel tells him, but people were very sad at Demetri’s death. If Demetri remains alive, will the future change? It’s not possible, Gabriel tells Demetri. “Everyone is ending up where they are supposed to be.” Aaron, who had rescued Tracy and brought her to Kandahar, carries her into a tent. He recognizes some of the drawings on the walls as those form his flash. His vision has come true. Meanwhile, Janis enters her apartment at the end of a long day. She turns on the light, when someone appears from the shadows with a gun drawn. It is Simon who says, “I need your help.”

Commentary

Reversing the trend of recent episodes, this was not a very good installment of FlashForward. For me, it bounced around way too much, with emphasis landing too heavily in some spots, and not heavy enough in others. I couldn’t care less about Aaron and Tracy at this point, and Gabriel’s tantrums are beginning to wear thin. I am still intrigued by Janis’ storyline, and whatever is happening with Simon, and those plots received a good amount of screen time, but we only saw Lloyd for a few seconds. It just felt that the balance was off. All of the bouncing around seemed to come at the sacrifice of some important scenes, like the one that was shown in a flashback of Mark dressing as Gabriel and catching how Janis gave Hellinger up. I would have liked to see this scene in sequence, instead of oddly tacked on to the end. I do find Demetri’s plight intriguing, and what the next twenty-four hours mean to him, so the final episode of the season (nay, the series! The show literally got cancelled as I was writing this!) should be rather interesting.

What did you think of “The Negotiation?” Were you as distracted as I was by the bouncing between stories? Do you think any of these plots should be dropped? It’s kind of funny asking these questions as the series won’t be continuing past next week, but what would you have liked to see the series do with these plots moving forward? Why do you think the show failed? Any words of advice for writers creating the next great serialized drama? Please lave your thoughts, theories and comments below. Be sure to check out TVOvermind for all the renewals, cancellations and pick-ups announced in the next couple weeks. As long as they air it, I will be back next week with a recap of FlashForward‘s final episode. Until then, I’m off to become bulletproof.

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