Thursday, 29 April 2010

Spotlight: FlashForward – The Garden of Forking Paths

Despite our rather dubious feelings towards ABC’s new hit show, every Tuesday my friend Mike (Author of the Slate Scrawl blog) get together to talk about this show and we were both forced to FlashForward Title Cardagree that if there was an episode worth talking about, it was this one.

The episode opens with Mark asking Charlie what Dyson Frost said to her last week and in typical FlashForward style his daughter closes her eyes and recalls every detail as if it was happening to her right then and there.

Specifically she gives them the following Dr. Seuss quotation. “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.” As Dyson points out, Dr. Seuss has all the answers. Then Dyson hands over a picture of Oedipus and the Sphinx with a meeting place written on the back.

Meanwhile Zoe goes to see Alda to ask her to help Demetri. Alda demands that she has a hearing before she will help Demetri. However, Alda uses the hearing as a chance to escape, leaving Somalia 4th JanZoe with only the tiniest scrap of evidence to help find Demetri, “Building 7”

So Mark follows Dyson’s instructions, going to the Railway station where he gets handed a phone with further instructions, telling him to ditch the rest of the FBI and come alone to a lonely place high in the hills.

Meanwhile Demetri is sat in a chair, Mark’s gun pointed at his chest. Behind him, written in chalk on a huge blackboard, is Dyson’s “Garden of Forking Paths.” Dyson explains that over the years he has engineered hundreds of flash forwards, which generated many possible futures. Each time a significant event occurred in real time the result would be only one of these possible futures. “Take the day of the Blackout, had we failed, a different path would have opened up, so we move on to the next Ed Germain Fellowshipdecision point. A new path, which brings us to today, March 15th. The most important fork of all.”

Dyson explains that once you have seen a possible future, that future actually becomes more likely, like the self fulfilling prophecy of Oedipus. If you actively seek it out, or actively avoid it the future is likely to happen exactly the way you saw it.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen Demetri.” Dyson remarks as he walks away. “But in all likelihood one of us is going to die today.”

So with an hour and thirty left on the clock before Demetri dies, Mark meets with Dyson on the hilltop.

“Why me?” Mark asks. “Because I don’t trust the FBI, and neither should you.” Dyson remarks. “We Diver Picturesfound the mole.” Mark reminds Frost. “And you think that makes you safe? You have no idea.” Dyson tosses Mark a pair of handcuffs, but before putting them on Mark requests that he be allowed a sip of water. This is a poor line and a terribly conceived plan. The water, which doesn’t even look like water, is gasoline and Mark spits it at Dyson, causing him to drop to the ground as the gas burns his eyes.

“This is not the way it was supposed to play out.” Frost whines. “Where is Demetri?” Mark demands. “You already know where he is. I gave Charlie all the answers.” Frost screams. “Walk, we’re running out of time.” Mark insists. “I know.” Dyson protests. “The whole world is.” (we’ll see what this means later.) “In the end you’re going to be saved by the lady you see everyday.” Who is this? Olivia? Charlie? Janis?

Moments later Dyson Frost is shot by the recently escaped Alda. Mark tries to get his answers but Frost is already dead. Mark takes Dyson’s brief case which contains 3 more pictures from the big board in Mark's flash forward. He also takes Dyson’s car, Tower Blueprintsusing the GPS to locate where Frost is holding Demetri. 423 Ingres Street.

Ingres was the name of the artist that painted the Oedipus picture, but where 423 came from I don’t know. Dyson claimed he gave Charlie all the answers, but I can’t see them.

Mark gets to the compound with minutes to spare. He phones the office and Wedeck gives him the only clue they have, building 7 (again not a clue from Charlie) Mark rushes in to save Dem. He disables the sensors by pulling the wires 1, 2, Red then Blue, but the trigger mechanism is still set to fire. With only seconds to spare Mark pulls the gun upwards so that it is now pointing at Demetri DiesDemetri’s head (genius move btw). The gun goes off… but it misses and Demetri lives.

I had said from the start that they wouldn’t kill John Cho, but even I had my doubts. The last few moments were very tense indeed, well done FF. However, the firing mechanism was mechanical, all Mark had to do was block the trigger, so why didn’t he? He was in an industrial warehouse, a simple brick or piece of sheet metal would have done just fine. That was the main thing that annoyed me this episode, but on the whole it was very tense and enjoyable.

After surviving the death trap Demetri gets up from his seat, which triggers a secondary insurance measure as a series of sprinklers erase Dyson’s Garden Vogel Diesof Forking Paths. In fact, the only entry that Mark can remember is the last one dated Dec 12th 2016 which simply reads THE END!

And that, my friends, just reignited my interest in the show. I’ve been wondering where a second and subsequent seasons could be heading and now we have an answer.

Also this episode Olivia and Vreede have been trying to connect the dots. The homeless man that was shot with Mark’s gun last episode was the same man who sent Olivia the text telling her that Mark was drinking in his flash forward. The episode ends by introducing the dead man’s friend, none other than James The End 2016Callis better known as Battlestar’s Gaius Baltar.  

Gabriele (James’ character) tells Olivia he has stood behind her in line at the coffee stand on this day many many times and that he needs to talk to her about the Raven River experiments. If Gabriele is not an escaped mental patience then it would seem that Dyson isn't the only person experimenting with time travel and flash forwards.

And that’s about it for this week, hopefully I’ll find the time to bring you “The Hammer of the Gods.” at some point in the next couple of days. Until then, this has been My Two Cents…

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