FlashForward Episode 01-18: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Though it doesn’t establish the timeline, I’m going to say that we start about two-three years before the Blackout because we’ve already established that Janis, Dem, Marcy, and Al all started work at the FBI two years before the blackout. A group of trainees is running along the “Yellow Brick Road,” a 6-mile, obstacle course in Quantico, VA “dreaded” by every graduate of the FBI Academy.

Janis claims that she’d never wanted to be an FBI Agent.  She was a lawyer who hated her life, and when a friend (Demetri) joined, she decided to go along with him.  She loved every minute of it.

It turns out, that Janis is telling this story to a woman at a cocktail party two years before the blackout.  The woman asks if she’s married, so it’s not a date.  The woman’s named is Lita, and she’s a head hunter.  Janis isn’t interested in quitting the bureau just yet, but neither if Lita, how about a little multitasking?

Cut to the present, Vogel, Janis, Vreede, Mark, and Stan are going over the blueprints and photographs Mark lifted from Frost’s briefcase.  Vogel, ever anxious to contribute by pointing out the obvious, reminds them that Frost was killed right before he was about to divulge any information by a woman who just happened to get out of jail that day and who they’d been investigating since before the blackout was ever on their radar.  Mark wants Alda back too, but the important thing is Dem’s alive.  Vogel doesn’t think the blueprints mean anything, and starts needling Mark about it, who needles right back.  Stan invites them to stand down on the testosterone level. 

Mark puts Janis on point with the photos and blueprints and Vreede in charge of the “Raven River” aspect.  When Dem comes back, he’ll join Vreede.  Clearly, they’re on the right track.  The group behind the blackouts was desperate enough to eliminate Frost, and that shows that the FBI is on to something.

Liv’s leaving the house when the Flashforwarder who approached her at the hot dog stand last week starts yelling about how it’s important.  Somehow, he’s gotten into her kitchen.  He tells Liv about a Pixies concert she went to and Scott’s wedding at the vineyard.  He was at both with her.  His name is Gabriel McDowell.  She tells Gabriel that her husband is FBI and that she can call the agent outside at any time.  Gabriel starts insisting that she made a mistake…she should be with Lloyd, and he’d tried to stop her before.  Liv screams at him to get out, and starts to scream out the door at Dan, the agent.  Gabriel runs away, but not  before telling Liv that the “proof of the pudding is in the eating,” and begging her “not to buy coffee from the man that looks like Mr. Clean today.”

Janis is at the OB/GYN’s office.  She learns that the baby isn’t growing properly due to Janis’ anemia.  The doctor wants her to get a high-res ultrasound.  Janis can’t believe this is happening right now.

Liv calls Mark from the car and tells him about Gabriel.  She’s almost at the hospital when she comes across an accident scene.  The security guard tells her that a teenager texting (don’t text and drive, kids!) jumped the curb and ran into a group of people.  It doesn’t look good.  Especially for the coffee vendor who’s stuck under the car who bears a strong resemblance to a certain cleaning icon….

Two years before the blackout, Janis walks into the Pet Emporium.  She’s looking to get a specific type of fish, and when she totally screws up the asking, admits that she’s looking for a woman named Carlene.  Lita sent her.  Janis doesn’t really like fish, but Carlene points out that if she’s going to come in every few weeks to talk to her, she’s going to need an excuse.  She pushes a new tank, a couple of tetra fish, and instructions to Janis that all she need s to do for right now is to do her job well, get in on the inner circle, and keep the group informed.

Back in the present, Janis walks Mark through the information she’s gathered. Alda’s prints are on the blueprints and photographs.  Mark’s pretty sure that’s impossible because she would have barely had enough time to get to the kill zone.  Janis says something else is strange. There were soil particulates on the photos that trace to a specific region of Afghanistan.  Mark wonders what Frost would have been doing there.

While he ponders this, Aaron actually shows up there.  He’s drinking coffee when he’s approached by Stan’s link, Malik (Crossing Jordan‘s Ravi Kapoor). Malik wants Aaron to leave with him, but Aaron refuses.  Malik tells Aaron that he’s being watched.  He doesn’t blend as well as he thinks.

Back in LA, Janis speaks with a anthropology professor about the blueprints.  There’s a link with an ancient calculator found in the Mediterranean.  He would love to help, but needs time to review the data?  Can he keep the blueprints?

Janis heads to the Pet Emporium and shows a copy to Carlene.  She wants the original and all copies to be destroyed.  Janis wants to know why, but since answering questions wasn’t part of the arrangement, no dice. Janis breaks into the professors office.  She steals the prints and blows the power on the computer so that the electronic scans are also eliminated. As she gets into the car, she looks incredibly guilty.

As Charlie watches television at night, Liv starts flipping through old photos. She finds one of Scott’s wedding and stops.  It’s her and two friends hoisting flutes of champagne.  The waiter behind them?  Gabriel.  Shocked, she opens the other album: the one with the photos of her at the Pixies concert.  Right behind her and her friend? Gabriel again.

Janis breaks into Mark’s office determined to get the original prints.  She pulls them off the wall and is rolling them up when she’s discovered by Mark.  She claims that the antiquities professor misplaced the originals, and she needed to make him another copy.  He wants to know why the originals weren’t in evidence, and she tells him about the doctors appointment.  Mark then asks how she got in. He gave her his passcode.  When?  That time they were in DC, and he needed the file.    Mark agrees, but it’s totally obvious that he’s on to her.  He asks for the blueprints back, tells her it’s a rookie mistake, and tells her that he’ll get a copy for her in the morning.

At the hospital, Liv meets with Vreede and shows him the photos of Gabriel.  She tells him about the visit and that Gabriel brought up Raven River again.  Vreede tells her about an angle he’s been working and about a psych hospital in Arizona.  It’s been shut down for about twenty years, but it was the first hospital to work with autism.   Liv wonders if they also worked with savants.

Aaron tells Malik about Tracy and the doctor who can lead them to her.  Malik thinks they can find him.

Janis goes to the hospital for her high-res ultrasound.  There’s a problem with the baby’s abdominal growth.  The doctor needs her to slow down, sleep eight hours a night, and reduce her stress level.  Janis’ cell phone rings, and despite the doctor’s objections Janis answers.  It’s Mark.  He tells her that the Professor’s in his office.  Janis arrives and while she thinks she’s in trouble when the professor tells her about the power failure, he reveals that he actually had taken photos on his phone.  Working with them, he sees that the device is some sort of astronomical clock designed to calculate a series of dates.  The first one?  October 6, 2009.

Cut to the day of the blackout.  Janis is at her desk, Mark and Dem are in the car.  Dem sends the photos of their suspects to Stan and Janis (at this point, Alda is still unidentified), and Stan instructs her to take the photos down to imaging.  As she’s walking down the stairs, she blacks out.  She sees the ultrasound, and when she wakes up she sees the destruction outside.  She knows her role and can’t stop vomiting.  The next day, she heads to the Pet Emporium and demands that she be let out.  Carlene refuses. Even if she wanted to let her out, it’s not her call.  Carlene tells her to go home, pour a few drinks, and come back tomorrow.

Liv and Vreede head to the crumbling hospital.  She hopes Vreede told someone where they were heading so that they would know where to find the bodies.  They split up, and Gabriel approaches Liv.  He knew she’d be here.  She always is.

Janis says goodbye to Mark, and he wants to know what’s up with her.  She tells him that she’s pregnant.  There was a question about the health of the baby, and she’s been distracted.  He congratulates her, and they tell each other they can count on each other.  Mark reminds her that Frost’s last words to him were, “In the end, you’ll be saved by the woman you see every day. “  Janis says that clearly, that means she’s going to save his ass.  Mark thinks it might mean Liv. Janis, even though she’s going somewhere, she starts to review what they know about Dyson Frost.  They come to the conclusion that there’s a chess connection.  The White Queen piece on Mark’s board.  In chess, the Queen is known as a “lady.”  Mark brings the piece down, breaks it open, and finds one of the rings.

In Afghanistan, Malik is driving Aaron through a dark road.  Aaron comments on a photo of Malik’s family, but Malik isn’t interested in chatting about them.  Aaron wants to know what Malik saw.  Instead, he tells him about how on the day of the Blackout, he and his family were driving.  The car went over an embankment, and only he survived.  It doesn’t matter what he saw.    They arrive at the first roadblock.  The group lets loose a whole lot of firepower at the car.  Malik is hit while Aaron manages to return fire.  Then, another group comes out of nowhere and fights them off.  That group finds Aaron.  It turns out they’re led by Kamir (the doctor).  They found Aaron because “he doesn’t blend as well as he thinks.”

Back at the psych hospital, Liv and Vreede ask Gabriel about all the things he claimed to have “seen.”  He takes them to a room where “they did it.”  Every other day for two years, patients were put to sleep.  Gabriel never knew where he’d end up.  Sometimes long trips, sometimes short mundane ones.  They were watched by Doctor Frost.  When they came back, they had to write it all down.  They were special because they could remember the future.  When Frost was finished with them, he told the staff to kill the patients.  Now that Frost is dead, they don’t have anything to fear.  Liv wants to know why Gabriel’s been following her.  It’s because he thinks she’s going to wrong way.  In all of her futures, she’s always been with Lloyd, not Mark.  In the futures he saw, she was at Harvard with Lloyd.  But she went to UCLA with Mark.  Gabriel gets more agitated.  Harvard was a fork in the road; she was a piece of the puzzle.

At the FBI, Mark shows Lloyd and Simon the ring.  Janis reminds them that Suspect Zero was wearing the ring.  Simon identifies it at as a QED.  The ring was the thing that kept Frost and Zero awake.  Mark surmises that the group attacking the office wasn’t coming for him on April 29.  They were coming for the ring.

Two years before the blackout, Janis meets with Vogel.  He tells her that she’s been identified as a person who might be approached by another group to be the mole.  The CIA knows something is going down that’s “going to make 9/11 look like a fender bender,” and if Janis is approached, they want her to say yes.  She’ll need to do things that will go against every fiber of her being, she’ll be in constant danger, and they’ll manipulate her in ways she’ll never understand.  But her country needs her.  She says yes to Vogel, and later, to Lita.

Back to the pet store, Janis tells Carlene that the FBI has the ring.  Carlene wants it back. Janis isn’t sure how it’s going to happen, but Carlene points out her two previous mistakes.  She doesn’t want to make a third.  Oh, and there’s one more thing…she needs to kill Mark.