FlashForward

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Hong Kong Phooey
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

As always, the episode begins with a reminder that "On October 6, the planet blacked out for two minutes and seventeen seconds. The whole world saw the future." And "On October 1, October 8, October 15, October 22, October 29, November 5, November 12 and November 19, the Flashforward episode began with a reminder that the planet blacked out, because someone somewhere thinks the people watching this show are so dumb, they can not possibly be expected to remember the premise of a show, nor that the show's title reiterates the premise."

"I'm here to warn you tonight that there is yet a chance and a hope of you escaping from my fate ..." Yep -- it's Jacob Marley talking to Ebenezer Scrooge in what qualifies as the Victorian-era Flashforward, A Christmas Carol. Nhadra Udaya (AKA Shoreh Aghdashloo) is sitting in her office and watching the movie, and the camera pans over from her sitting at her desk to the mural she's constructing on her office wall. It rivals Mark's in scale and accuracy, and as she sits, listening to the warnings to expect three visitors ("without them, you cannot hope to shun the path I tread"), the camera pans over the Hong Kong skyline and transitions to Mark and Demetri's landing in the airport the next day.

The guys are hanging out in the airport, the better for Demetri to express doubts about this overseas jaunt, and Mark assures him that "Linguistics pegged your caller as Iranian, specifically from Tehran, London-educated. How many Western, Persian-speaking women with that accent could there be in Hong Kong?" Well, when you put it like that, it sounds easy-peasy. Mark's mobile has been ringing throughout the conversation, and a suit-wearing man behind him says, "You really should answer your cell. It's your boss calling." The man introduces himself as "Marshall Vogel, FBI Legats Office, Hong Kong. Did you really think you were just going to stroll into town without Immigration flagging your arrival?" Mark declines to answer that and starts to make introductions, but Marshall jumps in there too, and rattles off many nitpicky details about Demetri. You just know he spent time memorizing all that and practicing his delivery in front of a mirror; he's that kind of strategy-loving federal toady. Marshall concludes, "I know all about that mystery woman and I know why you're looking for her. But this is a sovereign territory of communist China, a country that ours believes was responsible for the blackout." Demetri's like, "So you're helping, right?" and Marshall basically offers to help them back onto a plane bound for LAX.

Mark bails out of the conversation by answering his phone, and greets Wedeck with "Hey, cupcake." Hee! Wedeck's wrath manages to surmount the challenges of distance and spotty cell phone reception as he inquires at the top of his lungs: "What part of 'stay the hell out of Hong Kong' did you two idiots not understand?" Mark invokes Gough's name as proof the future can be changed, and says he's in Hong Kong changin' it up for his good pal Demetri. Oh, and, "by the way, I lied to Demetri. I told him you changed your mind about us coming here. Merry Christmas." And thus has Mark given Demetri the gift of plausible deniability. With gifts this good, Mark must be way in demand in the office Secret Santa pool.

Wedeck throws something across the office and breaks one of the five televisions hanging on his wall. Your tax dollars at work, Flashforwardians! I hope some of you saw tax protests in your future. Anyway, Wedeck is riveted to the screens -- not by the damage, but by the press conference that has taken over every station.

We're in Palo Alto, where James Frain -- wearing the air of grim purpose that served him so well on The Tudors -- introduces himself to the press as Gordon Myhill, director of the National Linear Accelerator Project -- and tells everyone, "Today, we have some important information concerning the events of October 6 that we feel needs to be shared with the global community." Backstage, Simon growls, "You know they're going to crucify us." Lloyd dryly asks, "What's a little martyrdom between friends?" Simon then snipes at Lloyd that the only reason he's doing this is because his wife died in the blackout, because it hasn't occurred to the nasty little genius that maybe Lloyd's guilt has a slightly wider scope. Lloyd gapes, aghast, then pulls it together because he and Simon are on.

The press conference is beamed around the world and Lloyd tells everyone: "Our speciality is proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration. What we're trying to do at this facility is to reproduce the kind of energy levels that existed just after the Big Bang, but on a much more controllable scale. We were conducting just such an experiment here on October 6, at precisely eleven-hundred hours Pacific Daylight Time. We are here today because we believe that the global blackout was precipitated by our experiment." Pandemonium erupts among the press conference attendees. Do not ask me what "proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration" is. My wakefield knowledge is confined to the city limits of Sweet Valley, California. And apparently everyone in the room is perfectly okay with their wakefield knowledge, because most of the questions take the form of "NOW you tell us?" and "So you're the one to blame for all those deaths?" Lloyd stammers that the experiment appears to be the cause, and Simon jumps in with the ass-covering statement, "We contend that there was no way to predict any of this happening whatsoever. This was utterly unforeseeable. Scientists conduct experiments all the time. We cannot stop conducting experiments because we are not 100% sure of the results." And it's a noble argument, but one that seems a tad tone-deaf to the crowds watching around the world. Among those crowds: Mark and Demetri in China. Mark looks around all, I look forward to seeing how the CIA handles things when the Chinese can legitimately point the finger at us as the cause of the blackout event. Demetri asks if Lloyd's admission means Mosaic is finished. Mark doesn't think so.

Back in Palo Alto, Lloyd cuts back through the scientific tuchis-covering to grab the microphone and say, "Please believe me when I say that our hearts go out to anyone who was hurt or who lost someone they cared for. MY own wife was killed and I would give anything to have her back. We understand people are scared there will be another blackout, but there won't be, because we are the cause --" cut here to Simon rolling his eyes in the universal symbol for "I am exasperated by these idiots with whom I must deal" -- "and we assure you that this could not happen again." A lady in the audience decides to add extra assurance by shooting at Lloyd, and the press conference goes from mere pandemonium to total screaming mayhem. Simon takes advantage of the fracas to pull Lloyd into a hall and berate him for going off-script, Lloyd accuses Simon of being a heartless monster, Simon slings the worst insult one scientist can give another -- ignoring the evidence in favor of subjective emotion -- and oh woe, can this marriage be saved? Simon concludes, "I do not think we were to blame for this. You do. And if you will not see my line of reasoning, it's all-out war between us." He stalks off, leaving Lloyd and I to wonder if that's really a threat or a gift.

Back in Los Angeles, Wedeck dispatches Janis to find Lloyd and Simon. Janis finds that being shot can come in handy -- while she was laid up, she had heard Olivia talking about Dylan Simcoe, and by the time you reach the end of this sentence, Janis has made the connection from Dylan to Lloyd and is off to the hospital to wait for Lloyd to come in and check on his son.

And now, the subplot that can be summed up in one paragraph ... Zoey calls Demetri's parents and makes an impassioned plea for them to come to the wedding, saying, "You're the parents of the man that I love. I want you at our wedding. In the future that I saw, you were there. And if you say you'll go, it makes it real. I'm supposed to

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FlashForward

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