Back at the FBI, Hellinger is calmly, if apologetically, telling Mark that in most futures, the special agent team sent into the BI warehouse survives. Mark is not consoled by this. He hammers on the "When is the next blackout?" line of inquiry, and Hellinger replies, "You're going to die, Mark. I take no pleasure in that. I really don't. We've had many conversations in this room. You're a decent man. This is just all over your head." Mark asks again, "When is the next blackout?" Hellinger replies, "Mark, you work hard. You're passionate about what you do. But don't you see? All of this is just so futile. Your faith -- it's admirable. That board in your office. How much time have you spent looking at it, all on faith. But deep down, you've gotta know what that board really is -- it's nothing but a scrapbook of your failures." Well, that explains the cunning lace borders and stickers reading "#1 AGENT LOL" all over it. Mark persists, "Tell me when the next blackout is." Hellinger finally loses a bit of his composure; voice rising in incredulity, he reels off things on the board -- including the freed Nazi, who hasn't had jack to do with anything, as of yet, and the botched Somalia trip -- and concludes, "You and that board, you're Mr. Stick-To-It. That's why you're going to die! You just don't give up! You just --" Hellinger breaks off with a rueful laugh, then concludes, "I am going to miss you. Charlie's going to miss you too. But there is an upside -- and deep down, you know what I mean. You're going to die, but your daughter's going to be better off when you're gone."
TWANG! Benford snaps like a misdirected rubber band, and proceeds to fulfill Hellinger's earlier prophecy that he'll lose his cool. Vogel comes in after a few minutes, with a few agents, and they drag Mark off while Vogel looks at Hellinger and spits, "Clean yourself up, playboy."
Out in the hall, Wedeck is giving Mark his best "I am very disappointed in you" look, and boots Mark out of the office, since he's become a liability on the job. It's not an easy decision for him, obviously, but Mark screaming like a lunatic as he's dragged off sort of underlines the necessity of the eviction.
4:17 p.m. Bryce and Nicole are finally heading out the door, en route to a picnic and fireworks. Nicole whinges about not wanting to picnic with a few thousand other strangers who are also excited about flashforward night, but Bryce thinks it'll be awesome to share the experience with teeming masses of humanity. Nicole decides to bring down the conversation: She's worried her vision's already coming true because she's set it in motion. Remember that she said she was drowning, but she felt she deserved it for doing something wrong? Nicole thinks what she did to deserve being drowned is keeping the Keiko information from Bryce. She spills the details and Bryce is none too thrilled to discover that Keiko's in an INS detention facility in Lancaster.
Actually, hold that thought: Keiko's mom has come to bail her wayward child out of American prison. Keiko is slightly stunned at this turn of events, even more so when she learns that her flight leaves before 10 p.m., thereby making it impossible for her to run to the sushi restaurant and meet Bryce. Or will it be? We do have one episode left, after all.
6:38 p.m. And yet, it is already dark in Los Angeles. In April. There's a huge flashforward party taking place in the streets of downtown L.A. -- a phenom only slightly less implausible than it being pitch-black in the daylight savings-enacted springtime -- and some stranger stumbles into Mark, telling him sincerely that his flashforward has him giving up drinking tonight, and giving his flask to Mark on his way to sobriety. Mark, who has been tormented by everyone telling him how the future is inevitable and he's toast, takes the flask. He recognizes it from his vision, then bursts into tears. Overwhelmed by the grinding gears of a future he can't change, Mark begins to drink. My hat off to the writers -- Mark is one of my least-favorite characters, and I've had nothing but pity for him this episode.
6:46 p.m. Janis and Demetri talk as they drive north on a remarkably deserted freeway. He tells her tearily, "I feel like I lost my best friend. It's like I didn't know who you were." Janis tears up a bit too. But, Demetri concludes, he does know her so he's going to drive on because he has faith in that. Janis closes her eyes, either overcome with self-loathing or overcome with the feeling that she doesn't deserve such a good friend.
A minute later, we're in a crowded bar, where Mark is making up for lost time per his years of sobriety. A fellow barfly makes the mistake of commenting on Mark's friendship bracelet, and Mark decides now would be a fine time to brawl. He does a pretty impressive job of holding his own, too.
Cut to Olivia driving away from her house. She fields a call from Lloyd on her headset and sighs about how she just needs to get away from it all. Oh, where is Gabriel when you need him? She's had how many episodes of people telling her the universe is out of whack because she's not with Lloyd, and what does she do? Persist in pushing it off-balance because she needs spaaaaaaaace. Lloyd tries to explain this with, "Certain conditions have to be met if --" but Olivia snaps, "Don't make this about free will. I have Charlie to think about! I'm not going to be in that house with you tonight." She clicks off, and Lloyd's all, "Great -- my life's screwed up on both a personal level and a multiverse level."
And now Mark's in a holding cell. I wonder who will bail his poor, sorry ass out.
The episode ends with a montage of people all bummed about their flashforwards -- Aaron, Keiko, Bryce (who is at the detention center), Nicole, Mark, Olivia and Charlie.
Lisa Schmeiser would not take a swig from a flask a mystery man proffered, no matter how much he insisted that it was fate. But she would tweet at lschmeiser.