FlashForward: “The Nail That Stands Out Gets Hammered Down.”

FlashForward (ABC)

FlashForward (ABC)

Tonight’s ep poured out big bountiful beaucoup buckets of Bryce.  That’s as good a place as any to start.

Bryce, and The Case of The Mysterious Tattooed Lady

They’re setting us up for one massive, five hankie tearjerker kerpow!, if the adoring gazes swapped between Bryce and his mystery girl are any indication.  See, it turns out that Bryce is sick.  Stage 4 cancer sick.  It’s OK, though.  “I’ve got something to live for now,” he assures Olivia, after sharing the news.  Alas, a terminal cancer patient saying, “I’ve got something to live for now!” within the context of a show about global disaster is probably the equivalent of some wide-eyed heroine in ‘Friday the 13th: Part 27’ standing over the body of Jason Voorhees and saying, “It’s gonna be OK now!” just because Jason’s been stabbed, electrocuted, sawed in half and shot five times.

But never mind that.  Let’s ride the wave of tender blossoming romance for now.

As Bryce struggles to hold back the chemo induced vomit, he struggles too with the complexities of the Japanese language, which he’s teaching himself – the better with which to communicate with his future soulmate.  Nicole – still Bryce’s walking confessional where such matters are concerned – agrees that he’s crazy, but it’s a good crazy.  A loco de amor crazy.  Bryce continues to stare fondly into space while reliving the flashforward in which he meets his Japanese dream girl in a Japanese restaurant and fondles her Kanji-engraved wrist.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, we learn that Bryce’s dream girl is Keiko Arahida.  She’s a robot engineer who has just landed her dream job at a top Japanese robotics firm.  And by “dream job,” we mean a soul-crushing stint as a cubicle dweller where she is forced to fetch tea for the bigwig sexist douchebags at her firm.  Yeah, it’s not quite what she envisioned, either.  She’d rather be Bob Dylan.  Try telling this to Keiko’s traditional mom, though – she’s proud of her daughter’s soul-crushing stint as a cubicle dweller, and she thinks the only thing better than her daughter’s soul being crushed by corporate killjoys would be for her daughter to also merge DNA with some nerdy accountant, spawn, and produce the next generation of cubebots!  Later, Keiko stumbles into a tattoo parlor and tells the guy she wants a tattoo.  The hardcore needle-wielding proprietor just smirks at first.  “The nail that stands out gets hammered down,” he tells our plucky cubicle dweller.  She doesn’t care – she wants to get inked, already.

Bryce, meanwhile, has been showing his drawing of Keiko around the hospital.  One of his Japanese patients recognizes her T-shirt.  It’s from a local sushi bar in Toyko!  So when Olivia signs Bryce up for an exclusive drug test trial in Houston, he takes the next logical step:  he hops a flight to Toyko and starts showing everyone his etching.

Now that Keiko has a tattoo, she wants the life to accompany it.  She quits her job on a whim.  Her mother thinks it’s about time Keiko moved out already.  And if she could cease to exist, too, that would be even better.

In spite of his ability to mangle the Japanese language in new and exotic ways, Bryce somehow convinces a cook at a restaurant to not only identify Keiko, but tell him where she lives.  Bryce shows up on Keiko’s mother’s doorstep.  The very same doorstep that Keiko’s mom just booted her daughter off of not too long ago.  The mother claims to not know Keiko.  A dejected Bryce returns to L.A..

Unknowingly, he’s returned with a guitar-toting, tattoo-sporting, mother-defying Keiko on the same flight, though they do not meet up just yet.  In her flashforward, she’s actually got the benefit of consulting a sign at the door of the Japanese restaurant where she meets Bryce.

It’s in Los Angeles.

Mark, and The Case of the Tattletale Texter

Olivia’s in the shower when her phone rings.  She asks Mark to grab it.  Apparently her smartphone is anything but.  It keeps one incriminating text permanently open for days on end – the “Mark’s been drinking in his flashforward” text.  Doh!  Only Olivia doesn’t think it’s a big deal that (a) her smartphone is anything but, and (b) that she didn’t tell Mark about the text, because he’d already confessed to her that he’d been drinking in his flashforward.

Mark thinks it’s a big deal, because (a) he’s intense and considers everything to be a very big deal, and (b) he only told two people about that particular, vodka-related detail of his flashforward.

Cue the confrontation scene with Aaron!  Aaron can’t believe Mark would accuse him of something like that!  He doesn’t want to be Mark’s sponsor anymore.  He doesn’t want to be Mark’s friend anymore, either.  He takes it out on some chairs.  Mark wonders if he made a mistake, maybe?

Cue the confrontation scene with Wedeck!  Wedeck is a white-collar professional, so he doesn’t throw chairs around.  He just tells Mark to get out of his big, posh office.

Mark goes groveling back to Aaron at episode’s end.

Aaron, and The Case of the Drunken Undead Daughter

Aaron watches Tracy slumber blissfully.  Actually, he watches her sleep off the effects of a third of a bottle of gin.  But still – kids are so cute when they’re asleep!

Mark phones Aaron (right before that whole fiasco about finding the text on his wife’s dumbphone), and informs Aaron that top secret military groups like Jericho are….well….top secret.  Yeah, he hasn’t had too much luck uncovering a wealth of information about them, but he did determine they are somehow affiliated with some fancy think tank in Santa Monica called the Burroughs Foundation for International Peace.  Yup.  With the word “peace” in their company name, they’re surely up to no good.

Later, Tracy is cooking for her dad.  She also wants to slurp wine in front of him.  Screw his A.A. issues!  She’s got issues, too!  Big, important, military conspiracy issues!  She’s entitled to a glass (or vat) of wine, right?  Dad disagrees.

At episode’s end, Mark comes to apologize to Aaron about that whole snark accusation thing from earlier.  Aaron is preoccupied with other things.  Like the fact that his daughter is a hot drunken mess.  Just like he used to be.

Demetri, and The Case of the Cryptic Caller

Mark, Demetri, Wedeck, Vreede and a few others are meeting with an uptight broad named Ms. Levy from the NSA.  She’s supposed to be telling them all about Suspect Zero and his fancy bling-y ring, which is emblazoned with an alpha symbol, which in her professional opinion could stand for absolutely anything, only she’s distracted.  She admits she’s not comfortable speaking freely in front of everyone on this team.  She gives Demetri the stink eye.  See, after Demetri’s recent phone call with the anonymous foreign agent, the NSA has flagged him as a “security concern.”

What’s great about being flagged as a security concern is it means that phones have been tapped.  When phones are tapped, certain conversations can be replayed.  Demetri is interested in playing back one phone conversation in particular.

Mark, Demetri, Vreede and Wedeck are later listening to that one phone conversation in particular.  Demetri thinks it has only served to freak him out further while bringing them no closer to determining the identity of the dialing doom-monger.  But Vreede knows a little somethin’ somethin’ about ambient noise.  In this case, he’s able to pinpoint that the caller was phoning from Hong Kong harbor.

Wedeck begins to recite his almost-standard patter by now, about how Mark and Demetri can’t go flying around the world to chase down some half-assed lead!  After that directive, Mark has one of his own: screw Wedeck!

Field trip to Hong Kong!  Yay!

More in two weeks time.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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