Well, I love how subtle the episode is. We start with Nhadra Udaya (Shoreh Aghdashloo) watching a A Christmas Carol and studying her own flashforward-type mural. Oh my gosh, if people don't repent of their current actions, they'll have a lousy future!
Mark and Demetri head to Hong Kong, which pisses Weddick off to no end. Then he notices a press conference on television, and his mood goes even further south because…
Lloyd and Simon hold a press conference and Lloyd basically takes credit for creating the flashforward with a fancypants physics experiment, whilst Simon glowers in the background. When Lloyd is asked point-blank, "Are you taking responsibility for all the death and damage caused by the blackout?" Simon practically tackles him at the podium to keep him from saying, "Um, yes." But Lloyd does manage to assure people that blackouts won't happen again, a vow which I imagine will be endlessly amusing to Ricky Jay and his cadre of tattooed thugs.
After Wedeck sees the press conference, he sends Janis out to fetch Simon and Lloyd. She does not immediately get to Lloyd -- he's more concerned for Dylan's safety and just wants them to be left alone. Since Lloyd is now Public Enemy Number One, his quest to get Dylan into a secure facility is not taking off -- not until Olivia takes pity, steps in, and gets Dylan transferred to a private hospital. The two of them have a conversation where Lloyd briefly talks about the theory that there are many worlds, courtesy of the decisions we do or don't make, and in another world, he and Olivia knew each other from Harvard. It's all very warm and fuzzy until the end of the episode when Lloyd's kidnapped in front of Dylan and Olivia.
Simon comes in on his own. He and Wedeck commiserate on their pain-in-the-ass emotional colleagues, and Simon asks for full access to the Mosaic investigation. Wedeck wants him to jump through a few hoops first, so Simon comes in the next day, checks out the Somalia satellite pictures and chatters on about the mystery plinth: He designed the plasma afterburner back in 1992 as a way to more efficiently broadcast radio signals, and he can't wait to see it being built. Janis and Wedeck are all, "Funny, because this one was up and running in 1991." For the first time in his life, Simon can only reply, "Guh?" And he's so pissed about his plasma afterburner being lifted by someone else -- Wedeck's all "D. Gibbons, mayhap?" – that he agrees to help the FBI. I am unreasonably excited about the snark factor when Simon and Wedeck team up.
Mark and Demetri, meanwhile, do little to advance Asian/American relations, as Mark threatens potential leads with things like "I will send you to Gitmo!" and "I will sic my big brother Voldemort on you!" They eventually find Nhadra Udaya in a dim sum restaurant. She is hesitant to tell them anything because "the act of telling you may bring about the incident we are all trying to avoid," and says she only warned Demetri because his death is but the first in a series of unfortunate events. But Mark and Demetri give her the Bambi eyes and Nhadra says that Mark will be the one to kill Demetri; she even names the gun model that Mark's carrying and rattles off its serial number. Spooky! "It will be your gun, Agent Benford, and you will pull the trigger. And then again. And then again," Nhadra intones.
This so pisses Mark off that he takes Nhadra hostage, and poor Demetri covers him as they attempt to escape the restaurant, no doubt thinking all the while, "You're going to kill me? With the stupid crap you're pulling, you're practically inviting me to kill you." But the CIA's man in Taiwan arrives and manages to get them out of the situation. But at a high cost -- Wedeck gets hold of the security tape from the dim sum restaurant, courtesy of the U.S. ambassador to China, and he's so pissed off, he orders Mark to surrender his gun and his badge.
We also find out that Nhadra is pals with the man we all know as D. Gibbons; when she warns him that the FBI's on his tail and "I can't protect you," he's all, "Well, I guess I'll find someone who can."
Also, Zoey finds out what her flashforward really means. Clearly, she's never watched 30 Rock, as anyone who has knows that in Korea, white is the color of mourning, and on April 29, 2010, Zoey will not be walking down the beach to wed her fiancé, but to bury him with his family.
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