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Pawns of Fate and Other Labored Metaphors
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Three years before the blackout: Olivia's pelting into a recovery room, where Mark is wincing heroically. It seems he got in the way of a bullet. Olivia frets, "I'm not sure I can handle this any more." Mark's reply: "Livy, I was an FBI agent when you married me." Olivia does not point out, "And you were a single man when you married me. But that changed, and so can this." Instead, she points out that she did not go to all the trouble to bring Charlie into this world only to expose her to the unwelcome childhood experience of daddy dying. "I've got to know that our family comes first. Something's got to change," she says. Mark sighs -- so unreasonable, this woman, with her reminding him of the whole wife-and-kid thing -- and concedes that Wedeck's just offered him a position on a Homeland Security task force. It will probably be safer: "Two guys in a car eating burritos and listening to phone calls in Farsi. I'll be out of the line of fire. My biggest concerns will be boredom and cholesterol." Olivia frets that Mark will hate it. Not if he expands his range to encompass flautas and the occasional quesadilla, he won't. Mmmm, flautas. Mark tells Olivia that yes, he probably will hate the new desk/car job, but he would hate losing her and Charlie more.

And in the present day, because Mark's family comes first, he is leaving them. He's staying at the Wedecks' place. I desperately want to see what kind of home life the Wedecks have. Oh, please, let's get a glimpse of the domestic routine soon! ANYWAY, Olivia gives Mark the reproachful "We could have been on a United flight to Denver instead" look, and they sort of shake hands (?), and then they look at Charlie, who's been hanging out in the car, alone and unattended for 20 minutes. How fortunate that the day is a cool and rainy one, so that Charlie doesn't cook while her parents dither.

Mark slides into the car to talk to Charlie, who's in her PJs, and answers her questions about where he's going and for how long. Then she hands over another friendship bracelet: "It'll keep you safe from the bad guys until you get back. Let me put it back on." We cut to Mark's flashforward, and he looks profoundly uneasy, and I have to ask: Why? He's not going to see Charlie for a few weeks! He can "lose" this bracelet too, then invent a story about it giving its life to save him from the bad guys. Mark hugs his daughter goodbye with "I love you so much, Charlie-bear," and we flash! to the credits.

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