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FlashForward continues on its even keel of subtle promise and overstated emotions. No one laughs without saying, "I'm happy," afterward. Like a mid-grade magician, it impresses and distracts frequently, though I end up wondering if my time would be better spent helping a charity. But Warren Buffet, I am not. This episode wisely contains its arcs to three, instead of toe-dipping in a dozen different places, as with the first two episodes. Such is the case with high-concepts.
Episode 3, "137 Sekunden," (137 seconds, the blackout's length) begins redundantly. Agent Noh (John Cho) receives a phone call from a mysterious woman asserting, as we learned last week, that he will be murdered on March 15, 2010. She refuses details and feigns emergence to hang up, though she's just standing around. The famous Jett Jackson (Lee Thompson Young) tries pinpointing the caller's location, but comes up short. He's told to sift through the million or so calls from the cell towers, so I assume it'll resurface next episode, given Noh's insistence. A brighter note: Noh's girlfriend Zoey (Gabrielle Union), no longer stranded in Seattle, flies back to him and later shares her flash-forward of their beach wedding. Noh lies, saying he saw the same thing. It's an interesting idea of contrasting futures; but I'm not sure we clearly see Noh in Zoey's flash-forward, so it's possible she could be mistaken. Or maybe I am.
The funniest moment here includes the fictional airline's C.E.O., sitting next to Zoey on the plane, explaining airline heads are initially taking all flights out to assure people things are safe once again. When Zoey asks him how it's going, he offhandedly replies "Gangbusters," as he shakily raises a highball glass for another order of Scotch. Well played.
In the C-story, Mark's (Joseph Fiennes) AA buddy Aaron (Brian F. O'Byrne) tries unsuccessfully to get his ex to allow the exhumation of their daughter Tracy, whom he saw in his own flash-forward. He wants proof she is the one buried, which makes me wonder if anyone bothered to peek in the casket during the funeral. Aaron plays the "if it was your daughter" card on Mark, and authoritative strings are pulled to get the exhumation. Lo and behold, Tracy really is the one buried, which either closed a pretty lame storyline, or offered that the visions aren't necessarily accurate. I hope something else becomes of it, even if it means more of Aaron's emotional pandering.
The episode's meat is the up-and-down A-story,.which begins with 85-year-old Rudolf Geyer (Curt Lowens), a murderous ex-Nazi war criminal held in a German prison. He requests a meeting with Mark, even calling him by name, saying he has the next piece of the puzzle, a "murder." Geyer's photo and the titular "137 sekunden" are details from Mark's vision, so he persuades Chief Wedeck to allow the trip.("No, you can't go." "But there's a reason." "Oh, okay then.")
Geyer states he'll only talk if granted a full pardon and citizenship to the United States. As a teaser, he explains, amongst other Kaballah facts, how the Hebrew spelling of Kaballah, when switched to numbers, equals 137. (Joel Schumacher take note: 23 is played.) Geyer then confesses he only asks for the U.S. pardon because he's going through a U.S. customs checkpoint in his vision. Meanwhile, Noh contacts future customs officer Jerome Murphy, and the facts check out. Geyer's pardon, much to German officials' dismay, is granted. His big secret? He saw a bunch, or "murder," of dead crows outside his prison window when he awoke from the blackout. He only knows this will help unravel things because he mentions it in his vision.. So he gives Mark a book about birds, and is a free Nazi.
Mark and Janis use a ridiculous computer program, not the Internet, to find records of past "mass crow deaths." When they find one in Somalia from the early 1990's, I shit you not, Janis acts like it means nothing, that they should focus on finding clues. Do real FBI agents actually have such adamant disregard for obvious connections, or are the writers just that...dumb-headed? Whatever. The show ends with a flashback to a small boy in the Somalian countryside, suddenly overwhelmed by the large number or crows flying overhead. That is until every bird suddenly falls to the ground mid-flight. The boy steps over a small incline to see they've all fallen in or around the ruins of what I can only assume is an evil little village. And from the cliff we hang, wondering, as Mark does, if there were previous blackouts elsewhere.
All in all, not a bad episode. Chief Wedeck gives a decent, if expositional, speech about how everyone is fighting to create the future, rather than allowing it to happen. His wife finds the young boy who appeared in her vision, at a memorial service for agents we never got to meet. It just looked like a 9/11-inspired thing. Otherwise, many other pre-mentioned storylines are absent, making them seem unimportant, but I am perfectly fine without the repetitious plot stating. I see myself back next week, but maybe you see me somewhere else. Tell it to the Mosaic Project.