Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flash Forward: Black Swan

This is the episode of AWFUL MUSIC. Gack. The opening shows people dropping to sleep to a slow and horrible tune that I thought would never end. Make it stop! And the jazz music playing while they chased a pot dealer, eeeeww. It was just intrusively ugly stuff.

Anywho. We have Mark Benford obsessively trying to grasp any lead that ties into his blackout Mosaic board. FBI chief Stanford Wedeck refuses to fund a trip to Somalia to check out the crow deaths there 18 years ago.

Instead, Dmitri, taking a cue from blond terrorist detainee Alda, gets to take the team to Indio, California to find a connection at a restaurant (I wrote the name down grr grr but can't find it).

The restaurant owner says his "group" is currently just that restaurant and that their plans for the future include a new flavor of yogurt. Then he loudly announces that they need to get some food for these FBI Agents. An employee scoots out the back door and the guys give chase to screeching jazz, have a confrontation about Dmitri's impending death and they go home. Mark assures Dmitri after this confrontation that they will solve his murder ahead of time, and it will not happen.

My first thought was that the whole scene with the restaurant etc was wasted air time, but thinking about it, it makes no sense that the restaurant owner would shout out that the customers were FBI agents as he did. I'm hoping he knew that his cook was a Pot Potato and that he knew the guy would would run and the agents would be distracted away from him and his "group" which they were. I expect them to pop up again later in the storyline so this big chunk of the episode isn't fluff.

Mark later interviews Alda (aka snotty blond terrorist) and she tells him he needs to ask Why the blackout happened (implying it was done by human hand) and she mentions that she runs with some nasty types who will do anything for their own idealogical reasons. She sneers that Mark isn't the kind of person who will do anything necessary to find the truth, leading him to defiantly arrange for a Cheeto eating hacker to sneak into CIA satellite images of the Somalia dead crow zone from 18 years ago.

Alda describes a Black Swan event as High impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events beyond the realm of human expectations.

Olivia deals with her seemingly inevitable fate as she tries to pass off her future lover's son to another unit in the hospital. He bounces back to her because he is still on anti-biotics.

She crosses swords with her co-worker Bryce, who wants her to treat a patient based on a diagnosis driven by the patient's very odd FlashForward vision. She is able to save the patient only by trying a treatment that makes no sense without the future element as a factor. She is crushed to see that the patient's FlashForward is probably correct, and by extension her own may be inevitable as well.

Wayward babysitter Nicole returns. Her vision was of herself being drowned by a man and feeling that she deserved to die, that she had done something worthy of being killed. She is wracked with guilt and terror. She seeks help from a pastor who is a real bumbler, distracted his duties and not listening to her at all. She finds her consolation with Mark, who tells her they will stick together and find out who the man is she saw in her vision.

The episode ends with Dominic Monaghan calling Lloyd Simcoe (father of the autistic boy and Olivia's future lover) and telling him they are "responsible for the greatest disaster in human history".

Further Reading

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable from the New York Times Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about the history behind Black Swan Events.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Home Page intriguingly called Fooled by Randomness.

Delve deeper with the wiki entry on Black Swan Theory

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