FlashForward's second episode was very like its first: Repeating itself, spelling things out and asking questions like "Just how expensive are websites in the FlashForward world, anyway?" Oh, and I am apparently the series' mysterious villain. Spoilers!
First off, good job to whoever edited together the "Previously on FlashForward" recap of the first episode; you pretty much hit every important plot point and made me realize that the whole episode was pretty much forty-two minutes of filler surrounding that. From next week, I'm just going to start recapping the "Previously"s; it'll be easier.
The episode opened with shots of the Earth from space, while kids sing "Ring A Ring O' Roses," which sounds creepy because, hello, kids singing anything sounds creepy. We Google-Earth-zoom in on a playground where all the kids are lying on the ground while Charlie (alcoholic FBI Agent Mark and Future-Cheating Surgeon Olivia's kid) stands and watches them.
Is it a dream? Another Flashforward? No! It's "Blackout," where the kids pretend to be blacked-out and dreaming the future again for fun. Just like (we're told later) kids everywhere played at 9/11. (Is this true? Did kids really do that, or are the writers just trying to explain away their dramatic opening and tell you again how important the flashforward was? Because if it's really true, that kind of freaks me out!) Charlie doesn't want to talk about what she saw in her flashforward, though, and with good reason, but we won't find that out until the end of the episode.
Cut to an AA meeting, where Ferris Bueller's best friend is ranting about flashforwards making everything pointless because we all know the future, and giving Mark's sponsor Aaron a chance to remind everyone yet again how important the flashforward is: "Everyone's struggling. Look, everyone is trying to come to terms with the flashforward," he says, just in case we'd missed the recap. Or the several times we'd been told that last week. Just how important it is is driven home yet again when we get to the FBI headquarters, where the exposition-happy boss seems to have a grossly-exaggerated idea of his own importance: "We're the ones people look to when the world goes to pieces!" he tells his agents, which... might be true? For some people? I'm not convinced, do people really have that much faith in the FBI to explain everything? Luckily, his rant is interrupted by the arrival of the head of Homeland Security, who's pissed at the way they're going about investigating what happened.
Thing is, she's upset that the FBI is using bureau funds to set up the JoinTheMosaic website/ARG. In itself, that seems ridiculous, but by the time she says "You're spending millions of dollars on hope?" I was right there with her. Millions of dollars? On a website? Couldn't they have just signed up to Livejournal or something? She calms down when she sees the video footage of the mysterious awake figure wandering around the baseball stadium during the flashforward, though, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with the website. Homeland Security: Easily distracted, apparently.
Meanwhile, Olivia takes troubled Charlie to work, only to send her away quickly, when it comes time for her to meet Lloyd, father of the child who mysteriously knew Olivia's name last week — and the man in Olivia's own flashforward. She recognizes him instantly, but he doesn't (Olivia later explains that this is because the flashforward finished before he turned around and saw her face, even though we can clearly see him turning around and looking at her in the flashforward - Good work, editing people). He goes from disgruntled dick to Hugh Grant in record time, and Olivia is totally smitten and pretending not to be.
Back at FBI HQ, Mark and Demetri are arguing over whether or not Mark's empty wall of weird is going to turn out to be of any use whatsoever when a D. Gibbons - one of the few post-its on there so far - comes into the office looking for them. Turns out, in her flashforward, she was arguing about pigeons with someone on the phone and mentioned their names, so she thought she'd visit and bring some cupcakes. Demetri is skeptical, because that's his role on the show, while Mark offers up another of his ridiculous growly bon mots: "Could be nothing... Could be the key to everything" (Somewhere, Joseph Fiennes is asking his agent how he got into this). Turns out - surprise, surprise! - it's the latter; thanks to the wonders of technology - but not the million-dollar website - they soon discover that someone has cloned D. Gibbons' credit card and is using it in Pigeon, Utah. So they go to investigate.
(By this point, Charlie has revealed that she saw Lloyd's kid Dylan in her flashforward, Olivia has told Mark that she's met the man in her flashforward, and Mark has said "I don't know what never means anymore!" because he has to speak in meaningless cliches for some reason. But do we really care about the Olivia/Lloyd future pairing?)
Meanwhile Janis, Expositionary FBI Boss and Homeland Security woman are analyzing the footage of the man at the baseball stadium. Thanks to the kind of supercomputers that only exist in television shows, they work out that he's 5'8" and 150lbs, which just so happens to be a description that I fit into (well, I'm a few pounds lighter, but those supercomputers can be wrong). I also happen to know that I have not had a flashforward, so maybe I should log myself onto the Mosaic website and out myself as the man they're now calling "Suspect Zero." Because, you know, "suspect one" would be ridiculous.
In Pigeon, Utah, the FBI set up a trap to catch the fake D. Gibbons that fails, but in the process Demetri meets someone else who saw nothing during the flashforward... Helpfully, she dies pretty soon afterwards, leaving him convinced that he's not long for the world. She dies when she, Demetri and Mark find an abandoned doll factory and go inside, tripping off an alarm that sings "Ring A Ring O' Roses" — just like the start of the episode — and leads them to a shadowy man who apparently has access to Mark's meaningless phrase generator, saying "He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over" before dropping lighters into fishtanks of gas, exploding lots of grenades and shooting people — including the woman who didn't see her future — for effect.
After all the pyrotechnics, Demetri tells Mark that the forensics team (One of whom has just taken a photo that Mark saw in his flashforward) have discovered a cellphone and a white queen chess piece, and that partially-destroyed hard drives showed evidence of "heavy duty computer hacking" that showed that Faux D. Gibbons is also investigating why the flashforward happened.
Turns out that that might not be the case, though; the recovered cell turns out to have made a call during the flashforward... to Suspect Zero, of all people. In case viewers missed the significance of this, expositionary FBI boss says "And then there were two."
But I bet you're wondering what use that million-dollar website turned out to be. I mean, it's all been paid for by fictional taxpayer money, after all, right? Well, after Demetri is goaded into uploading his lack of flashforward onto the site, he gets a mysterious phone call from a mysterious Asian woman who tells him that she knows that he'll be murdered on March 15, 2010. But that's not the biggest shocker of the week: The episode ends with Charlie finally (kind of) revealing what she saw in her flashforward, when she tells Mark that "D. Gibbons is a bad man." CountdownToAlcoholicFBIAgent'sFamilyInPerilGO!
Next week: Some old guy says he saw the reason for the flashforward in his vision. In that it's only the third episode of the first season, somehow I don't think we'll find out whether he's telling the truth or not.