Everything we thought we knew turns out to be wrong in the return of ABC's FlashForward - Well, except for that whole part about Joseph Fiennes being an impossibly wooden actor and it not being a very good show. Spoilers!
You can tell that the show's writers took the advantage of their lengthy break to rethink some parts of the show, if only because there were two pretty major backtracks in the two-part "Revelation Zero" double-bill that relaunched the show last night. Sadly, they weren't really backtracks of the good kind. Here're the major points of what you missed:
We Don't Know What Caused The FlashForward Again
That whole Large Hadron Collider thing? No, it wasn't that after all, according to Flosso, the (temporary) new villain who kidnapped previous villain Simon (AKA Charlie from Lost) and ineffectual future Olivia boyfriend Lloyd to tell them just that very thing. Their experiment only amplified the effect, which means... Well, we don't really know yet. But we also learned...
Simon Was Patient Zero
Yes, that's right. Simon's flashforward where he was killing someone? All fake, because he didn't blackout at all, thanks to a magic ring that blocked the effects of the flashforward wave. Yes, a magic ring. And, get this - the reason he was in a baseball stadium in Detroit? Because he'd been flown there by the Real Bad Guys to meet, after attending his father's funeral and it turns out that (1) Simon has been working with the Real Bad Guys since he was 13, (2) his father was killed by the Real Bad Guys to give Simon an alibi for the day of the flashforward (Why? I have no idea), and (3) now the Real Bad Guys have kidnapped his sister to make sure that he keeps working for them. You see, people? Simon's not really evil (as long as you ignore the fact that he was working with the RBG since he was 13 as well as the fact that he ends the episode killing Flosso upon learning about his sister)! He's just another pawn! A pawn in a larger, unknowable game! Oh, and talking of pawns...
Drinking Is Bad, But Drugs Make Mark A Better FBI Agent
Mark, suspended for being mentally unstable and unable to perform in a scene without going way over the top with his starey eyes and shouting, goes to see an official FBI shrink who moonlights as a plot device, giving him special exposition-enhancing drugs so that he can remember more of his flashforward. Turns out that FutureMark is working with Lloyd to solve the mystery of what's going on - which must make for fun stake-out conversation: "So, still sleeping with my wife, then?" "Yeah, it's going great. How's that drunken tortured scenery chewing working out for you?" - and that FutureLloyd and FutureMark are trying to stop a second flashforward at the end of the season (Don't worry, gentlemen: The terrible ratings might do that for you).
Last night's double bill felt like a season opener, just in terms of info dump and attempting to get momentum going as quickly as possible, but none of it seemed organic or convincing, considering everything we've seen up to this point. Yes, the writers get points for quickly explaining Suspect Zero's identity and the significance of the rings (and Flosso in general, for that matter), but it was all done in a way that seemed desperate and nonsensical. ABC's enforced rethink of the show may yet result in a better FlashForward, but it'll take more than what we were given last night.