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The Mystic Chords of Memory, Stretching to Every Grave

So she and Abdi repair to his office. After talking about how Lincoln's inaugural speech promoted unity in a divided nation, Janis gets onto Abdi's computer -- which has really zippy broadband service -- and she shows him the Mosaic project. As it turns out, several people saw Abdi speak at the assembly of the African Union. He was wearing "a wire necklace with an amber bead surrounded by two red ones," and Abdi says softly that his mother had a necklace like that. A second account has Abdi quoting the Lincoln quote I cited above. Janis says softly, "You don't need tanks or guns. Your destiny is to stop the war, not start one." Abdi looks profoundly moved by this insight.

Back in Los Angeles, Olivia's attempting to pry Charlie-bear's flashforward out of her recalcitrant little skull. She starts with, "Do you remember when Tim-Tim talked to Squirrelio about heroes?" Charlie says happily, "When Finnegan the supershark trapped them in the snowglobe of Snow Doom?" Olivia's all, "Exactly." The upshot is, being a hero often requires doing things you are afraid to do, or don't want to do. And Charlie can be a hero by saying what was in her flashforward.

Charlie eventually spills: She gave Dylan cookies, and the children overhear Lloyd say, "The man you call D. Gibbons lied to you." Since lying is bad, Dylan spells out on the fridge, "D. Gibbons is a bad man." Happily, D. Gibbons is nowhere near the house. Unhappily, however, two men are talking outside -- one of whom sporting the kind of earbud that usually marks a secret service type -- and Charlie overhears, "Mark Benford is dead." She collapses into sobs. I have to give the show a Really? REALLY hairy eyeball for their "D. Gibbons is a bad man" red herring. And you're telling me poor Charlie's been sitting on this foreknowledge of her dad's death for six months and hasn't turned into a basket case? But the poor kid -- imagine knowing that one of your worst kid fears was going to come true. The only thing worse would be finding out in your flashforward that the monster under the bed was real.

Cut to Mark and Olivia having a hasty bedroom conference. Mark is all, "Funny, but I'm alive in my flashforward" and Olivia's like, "Our daughter heard otherwise." This does raise interesting speculative forays -- is Mark too drunk to register being killed? Is it possible the "Mark Benford is dead" statement is meant to draw away security so someone as yet unseen can get to Lloyd? -- but neither Mark nor Olivia are thinking strategically about this. Olivia points out, "We could escape this." There's the Colorado Rocky Mountain high option -- Mark would indeed be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly -- but Mark has no interest in talking to God and listening to the casual reply, seeing it rain fire in the sky, or having friends around the campfire and everybody's high. He wants to stay in Los Angeles and prevent the next blackout, dagnabit. And this points to the major fault lines in their marriage: Olivia is a fixer, and Mark is a crusader, and both of them are convinced they've got the moral high ground.

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