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FlashForward: White to Play

"What's worse than causing worldwide devastation?"
"Causing it twice."

Do you think there were enough toy and game references in this episode? A chess reference for a title, kids playing Blackout in the schoolyard -- even the cupcakes. Appropriate for an episode centered around Mark and Olivia's daughter Charlie, and the mystery of her blackout. And of course, the hanging, burned and dismembered dolls were one great big honking metaphor for what someone just did to nearly everyone on earth.

Now we know that at least two people were awake during the Blackout. Someone did this to the world on purpose. Why? What could they possibly want? What purpose could there be to all of those deaths? How many wallets can you steal in two minutes? Did the bad guys, whoever they are, know that they would get a glimpse into the future? (Actually, if they were awake, they missed it, didn't they?) (And I'm assuming that the blast wasn't caused by what happened on Lost at the end of last season, because that would just be too much of a fanwank.)

The subplot about Demetri's upcoming murder was disturbing, especially in light of what happened to that cop. In fact, I even assumed at first that Charlie hadn't had a FlashForward at all, and the reason that Mark and Olivia broke up was because Charlie was going to die. But no. Instead, Charlie seems to know quite a bit about "D. Gibbons." How could she know? Where was she six months from now if she wasn't with either of her parents? Kidnapped?

Mark burned the bracelet Charlie gave him. Will she give him another one? Is what happened in the FlashForward a possible future that can be changed, or will Demetri die on March 15, no matter what? Of course, if the FlashForward was caused deliberately, then someone can make it happen again. It's like being able to hold the entire world hostage.


-- The Mosaic web site is fascinating, and a cool way of furthering stories about the FlashForward. Homeland Security should have given the local office a medal instead of a dressdown.

-- Demetri will die on March 15. The Ides of March.

-- The suspect in... was it Detroit? is 5'8", about 150 lbs. Probably a man, although it seems that it could be a woman, too.

-- The toilet story got even funnier. I didn't think that was possible.

-- Two days ago, I visited one of the damaged landmarks they showed in this episode: the Griffith Observatory, my favorite place in Los Angeles.

Not quite as engrossing as the pilot — I did start to yawn at one point — and I'm still waiting for this series to catch me, but it was still pretty intriguing. Comments welcome, as always,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. This was such an odd episode--I'm so glad it was yours to review, Billie.

    I'm worried about some of the possible Terminator-style continuity loops that seem to be happening on this show. To wit: Mark is investigating D. Gibbons because he had a Big Board with D. Gibbons's name on it. But D. Gibbons's name is only on the Big Board--and the Big Board only exists--because Mark saw it in his flashforward.

    Ergo, Mark's flashforward exists in a time in which he's aware of the flashforward and knows exactly when it's going to happen. And yet, during the flashforward, he seems to not care that his past self is viewing what he is; he doesn't do anything to clue his past self into what's going on.

    I'm not sure that I'm making sense, but I'm worried that the show is making less sense. Does anyone have a nice explanation that will make me feel better?

    And, hey, where's my crush?

  2. One thing, I noticed was the inconsistency with the pregnancy flashforward. In the flashforward, she asks for the sex of her baby, but if she had seen it in the flashforward, why was she asking for it then? Was that just a mistake or was it intentional?

  3. Exactly, Pop! So they've already changed the future, right?

  4. As a note with the bracelet...not sure if anyone else noticed, but the colors were different between the one he was wearing (the one he burned) and the one in his flash forward.

  5. Thanks for the comments. I'm not watching it twice and obsessing over details (not yet, anyway) which means I'm definitely not noticing everything. So please do post anything you notice!

  6. So far intrigued by the investigation into the blackout but I’m already finding the Olivia/Lloyd plotline tiresome and it’s only been two episodes. Eager to see how things play out for the seemingly doomed Demetri. Is his fate sealed and is that what drives Benford back into the bottle, the death of his partner?

    What did D. Gibbons say before he blew up the doll factory? Sounded something like “he who foresees calamites suffers them twice over”. Is that a quote from something or a play on that old phrase about the forgetful being doomed to repeat the past? Perhaps he was hinting that a second blackout is due.

  7. Hi Mark,

    I think it's a Jean Sibelius quote, although my research was rather slap-dash. My first thought was that is was from some translation of The Trojan Women (Cassandra), but I guess I was dead wrong.

  8. Hey Josie,

    I think what you are refering to is the "Grandfather paradox". See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox.

    I know of two answers:
    1. Self Consistency - only time-lines that are a closed loop can exist.
    2. The multiverse - each choice we make is a possible future and leads to other crossing futures. These choices can overlap. Like a possibility wave-function in quantum mechanics. Even the possibility of a choice can lead to others. A good example is a road map where each road is a time-line and the junctions are the place they meet.

    Seems to me the writes would rely on one of these since its well known in science fiction. I think that the flash-forward was a junction that someone messed with.

    Hope that helps you suspend belief :)

  9. Hi, WhyMe,

    Yes, or a 'grandson paradox' (instead of changing the past they're creating a new future). The self-consistency theory sounds promising for the suspension of belief. I think I'll stick with that.


  10. Oops. Clearly, there was a glitch in the Matrix.

  11. Could anybody explain to me, how kids played 9/11 or Katrina, please?
    (like they were playing Blackout in this episode)


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