Max steers the topic in a far more bizarre direction because he hates hearing her say the word "aplomb," not un-hunching his hunched hunchiness (diagnosis: switch to Centrum Silver), putting down his Sanka, and asking, "What if I came with you to Northwestern?" Because things went so well the last time Max went on a national tour to track Liz down at her school. Liz cautions Max that she can't go through some "emotional roller-coaster," and tells him, "I'll be right back." Ouch. That so meant "no," by the way. Liz stands up and walks to a nearby table, where a woman hands her a check with some cash on top of it, and Shiri pockets the money and promises herself she'll pay the woman back out of her back-end deal on Swimfan. But as the cash changes hands, Liz is suddenly rocked by a flash of the woman at the table being assaulted and shot right in the chest by an angry man with a gun. The woman leaves. Liz lacks aplomb. Max walks over and sees a faint Liz sitting on a stool, and Liz looks up and reports, "I think that woman is gonna be murdered." Oh, good. Now she can tell the not-too-distant-future. I hope she can see it tomorrow when she's really working in a diner.
Max and Liz run out onto the street to see the single woman walking alone down a dark alley. Well, Jesus, World's Dumbest Pedestrian, what were the chances you weren't going to be assaulted? Good thing she wasn't wearing her suit made of money, as she so often does when she strolls the subways really late at night. But Max still sympathizes, and he and Liz look in horror as Liz's vision starts to come true. A man leaps out of seeming nowhere and takes the woman down. But it's no matter, because just as he unearths the gun from the first act going off nine seconds later, Max waves a hand, and a car alarm goes off. The man starts to run. Max and Liz run back inside. The woman looks at them go. How dare they save her life? Bitches.
But Liz's addled internal monologue carries on despite our most stern warnings: "The trouble with making plans for the future, even when you can see the future, is that fate has a way of intervening and upsetting the best laid plans of mice and men." Like the book says: we may be done with the past, but the past ain't through with us. Cue Aimee Mann. But Liz has a slightly different literary antecedent: "Robert Burns, 1785." A caption appears in Microsoft Word font MS Alien Bold to tell us that we are now at the smoky remains of "Rogers Air Force Base, New Mexico." A gloved hand in a white biohazard suit picks up a melted videotape labeled "Isabel 5/10/02" and places it into a plastic bag. Make a mental note of how fucked up and unplayable that tape looks. If you cough near a videotape, it's over. This thing has been recycled into a superball. But happy birthday, if that day was your birthday. Not to put too fine a point on it, Liz explains that her Robert Burns knowledge "was on the SAT too." Or maybe she means the SAT II. Either way, constructing an opening monologue crafted around the thrilling concept of a reading comprehension blurb on a standardized test has got AP Shitty written all over it.