Episode 21 - Countdown
8 February 2012
Synopsis: Simon asks Janis to take him to NLAP so he can find clues as to who is behind the global blackout. Demetri agrees to take them there after telling Zoey that he impregnated Janis. Hellinger will only talk to Mark and tries to convince him that he will die unless he releases him. Mark ignores him but ends up beating him up and getting kicked out by Stanford. He ends up drinking, getting into a bar fight and then put in jail. In Afghanistan Tracy dies and Aaron discovers that Jericho were experimenting with flashforwards. Nicole tells Bryce about Keiko just as her mother arrives to take her back to Japan.
The Good: The setup for the final episode is decent; it's helped by the season long anticipation of these moments. You do end up feeling sorry for Mark. He is so sweet to Charlie and yet can't get anywhere with his investigation. It's the exact same story we just saw play out with Demetri but there is a certain fascination with a character who thinks they are about to die and how they behave. I did like Olivia leaving to get some space from her love triangle and keeping Charlie away from the men who will report her father's death.
The Bad: But then again wasn't she under FBI protection? And I'm pretty sure the scene in the "previously on" where Gabriel implies Lloyd and Olivia work together to solve an equation wasn't in the previous episode. It looked like a deleted scene which had been added in.
In general Mark remains one of the least interesting or likeable leading men I have ever seen on a network drama. The way the flask of alcohol is handed to him felt a little too much. There isn't much subtlety on this show and it just felt like a badly telegraphed moment. It was also funny to me that the street party was absolutely rocking at 6pm. Now this is a criticism I'm sure you can level at many other shows but every person in the background (while Mark drank outside) was jumping and dancing and screaming. You really don't get that level of excitement except ten minutes before new years. You certainly wouldn't have that excitement four hours plus before the visions kick in. It's not a big deal but just another dent in the show's credibility.
Hellinger managed to talk and talk without saying much. It was as if the writers were trying to make his dialogue like Dyson Frosts's, full of intrigue and dramatic statements. But in the end he seemed to just repeat himself, telling Mark he was going to die, showing odd affection for Mark and offering no details whatsoever on how his release would save Mark's life. Then he seemed to deliberately provoke Mark by bringing up Charlie. Which is odd because that didn't help Hellinger's cause of getting released, it also seemed very contrived. Why would he say Charlie would be better off without Mark unless he wanted a punch in the face? It came across as if his conversation was meant to provoke Mark indirectly to fulfil fate but made quite the opposite impression.
Demetri's revelation to Zoey underlines both what an idiot he is and how badly the story was written. To not consult Zoey on being the father of Janis' baby is a pretty unforgivable betrayal of trust. To have slept with her as well and concealed it for so long is unforgivable. The more you think about it, the more of a douche he looks like. But worse than that is just how complicated an emotional minefield that story really is and how inadequate this show is to handle it.
The Bryce-Nicole-Keiko story never received enough attention to turn into anything more than fluff. We have seen far more of Nicole so it's difficult to be excited by Bryce and Keiko now hooking up. The fact that there will be no season two makes this storyline feel doubly redundant.
The Unknown: Who is going to drown Nicole and how does that connect to her guilt over lying to Bryce? Tracy may not yet be dead which makes it harder to see where Aaron's story is going.
Why would Simon have gone to Janis? He didn't know that she was a double agent. For all he knew she was working with his enemies. Even if she told him the truth, why would he believe her? Unless I am missing something that seems like one of those moments where the writers have forgotten what Simon knows and just assume he knows what the audience does.
I liked Jericho being linked to the flashforwards (and presumably the President too). It could be that the President was using people in Afghanistan to discover the future and use it to the advantage of the US. That might explain why Vogel was seen announcing Mark Benford's death before it had happened. Perhaps he was ordered to kill off a man who was getting close to exposing the conspiracy?
Best Moment: Nothing really. I suppose the format of time counting down was a decent idea to help viewers start putting the pieces into place.
Epilogue: The episode was fine. Just more nonsense and unconvincing moments as we wait for the show to wrap up.
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