Mark Benford is a recovering alcoholic who loves his wife and daughter. His wife likes to leave him little hate notes, telling him she hopes she never sees him or such like. His daughter is young, and a babysitter watches her during the day. Mark is an FBI agent, while his wife, Olivia, is a doctor. Mark's day starts with an AA meeting, followed by a stakeout with his partner, Demetri Noh. They are in luck - the suspects they have been following are ready to be arrested! But in the dangerous pursuit, the flash forward occurs. All humans the world around black out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Many see flashes, that don't feel like an hallucination or a dream. Some don't see flashes.
During the black out, car crashes, plane crashes, and other disasters occurred. What would happen if everyone blacked out for that length of time? I was a little surprised that 700 planes crashed, figuring that they would be okay for the short period of time, but perhaps the pilots were too disoriented to right their planes upon coming to. I am assuming that no one on the planes had flashes of the future since they died. Mark wakes up to find his car has crashed, and the highway in chaos. People are justifiably freaked out, including Mark and Demetri. They snap back to reality when they see their suspects' van, but the only occupant alive is an unknown female.
I'm a little confused about this, but I think Mark makes a slow-motion run to the hospital where his wife works, since cell phones are inoperative. During his run he sees looting and a kangaroo, which hops on by. I think that the Benfords must have connected by phone at this point, because I don't really remember seeing them together until that night.
At the FBI, the agents quickly figure out thanks to Mark's remarkable memory of his flash that it was actually a flash forward, as well as the exact date of the flash. Mark and Demetri develop the wall o' notes that Mark saw in his vision since they are put in charge of the investigation. They also decide to develop a database of flash forwards, which I really think is a good idea.
Meanwhile, in other happenings, Olivia's colleague Bryce is saved from suicide by his flash, which apparently promises a much better future than he expected. He joins Olivia at the hospital as they work to save those injured during the black out. One of the victims is a small boy who happens to know Olivia's name, even though they had never met, in the past.
We learned something of the flashes experienced by the characters we've met. Mark flashed on his office in the FBI, where he had resumed drinking and was a hunted man for knowing too much (I really hate it when that happens). Olivia, meanwhile, flashed that she was having an affair with a man she didn't know. Charlie, their daughter, told her babysitter that all the good days were gone. The babysitter did not reveal her own flash, but apparently something bad happened in it, something for which she wishes to atone for in the past (I think my nose just bled). Demetri, on the other hand, had no flash, and he is clearly concerned this means he is dead six months in the future.
The actors all did a fine job. Joseph Fiennes is appropriately heroic as Mark, and Sonya Walger believable as the caring doctor. It's always a pleasure to see Courtney B. Vance and Alex Kingston. John Cho also did a good job as Mark's partner with no future. And a lot of us were surprised by Seth McFarlane as an agent - apparently he'll make future cameos this season.
Some thoughts on the mystery:
- What did Charlie see? Will she be like Maia Rutledge from The 4400, wise beyond her years, or just a child confused by her flash?
- What's with the kangaroo?
- I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought that the man at the baseball game who appears to be the only one who didn't black out looks like he could be the father of the little boy who knew Olivia. We also learned that the father of the little boy is the man that Olivia has an affair with in her flash.
- Some commentators have thought that Demetri might be the man at the baseball game, based on the fact that he had no flash and was not in the car with Mark when the black out ended.
Lost fan alert: Sonya Walger, who plays Olivia in FlashForward, is, of course, Penny Widmore Hume from Lost. Did the producers purposely give Olivia's child the same name as Penny's child on Lost? Also note that Dominic Monaghan, Charlie Pace, will be appearing soon.