This week's FlashForward - "The Garden of Forking Paths" - was a rock'n'rolla. Demetri's death day rolled around, Mark Benford got some much needed ass-kicking time, and Dyson Frost was an intriguing foe...until something bad happened. Spoilers on!
What happened this episode? Dyson kidnaps Demetri (and places him in a cunning time-sensitive deathtrap that uses Mark's gun!), Alda manipulates Zoe into allowing her to escape, Mark follows Dyson's gingerbread trail of clues to Demetri's whereabouts and saves the day! And Dyson...oh Dyson. You were such a sad-sack antagonist.
Why was Dyson such a meh-worthy villain this episode? It's not because he wasn't creepy - the episode opens with him giving Charlie an illustration of partially naked man (well, a painting of Oedipus, but that's still a smidge pervy) and waxed kiddie-fiddlery about Dr. Seuss. It's not because he wasn't menacing - the deathtrap he built for Demetri was right out of a James Bond caper. It's not because he wasn't calculating - the scavenger hunt he left for Agent Benford was cloak-and-dagger craziness. So what's my quibble with the shadowy Dyson Frost?
He fricking dies this episode.
Yes, Dyson Frost, the nigh omniscient mad genius who's been one step ahead of the FBI this entire season is gunned down unceremoniously by Alda Hertzog just as Mark Benford gets the drop on him. It's worth mentioning how Mark turns the table on Dyson - he hides gasoline in a water bottle, takes a swig, and blinds Dyson like a dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park. Savvy maneuver, Mark Benford! I know I've been giving you flak for your distinct lack of badassitudery lately, but damn! I rewound that the scene at least three times to see Dyson mewl, "GASOLINE...IT BUUURNS!" and you chortle "SIPHONED FROM THE GAS TANK!" as you hog-tie the bastard. Let's see that again, Agent Benford. You've earned it:
Anyway, back to Dyson. What's so infuriating about his demise is that we learn he has a giant Benford-like flashforward board of his own entitled "The Garden of Forking Paths" that details all of his possible futures, game tree-style. Of course, the Garden is destroyed by a sprinkler system when Demetri is removed from the deathtrap. Mark and Demetri groaned. I groaned too. So much villainous build-up for so little pay-off.
Still, I think Dyson's death could work if his machinations vex the Mosiac crew from beyond the grave. At the beginning of the episode, we're treated to a flashback of Frost meeting with Alda - Dyson invented the magic anti-blackout rings - and reviewing a closed circuit video in which Alda expresses her intent to dispose of Frost should he step out of line. Dyson tells her to GTFO and knocks over some dominoes to signify his "escape routes."
This scene could have been here simply to foreshadow his death at Alda's hand, but something tells me that Dyson - via meticulous planning and a ton of flashforwarding - could haunt the Mosiac crew even after his passing. Sure, he died on our reality's March 15, but he mentions that 78% of the time, Demetri ends up killing Dyson. This means that there are those 22% of realities in which Dyson lives. Could he have constructed a contingency plan if he knew he could become wormsmeat? Could he have left video clues à la Somalia? If the show pulls this off, I just won't tip my hat to the show, I'll tip a whole sombrero. That could be absolutely fascinating. How do you defeat an all-seeing mastermind who's already dead?
- We learn that Dyson participated in some "Raven River" experiments in the 1980s during which test subjects flashforwarded hundreds and thousands of times. We meet one of the Raven River savants. He warns Olivia, "The dominoes are falling."
- On Frost's chalkboard, the date December 12, 2016 is denoted as "The End." Ominous!
- Olivia learns that the lipstick formula on her mirror isn't physics, but the formula for an anesthetic, halothane.
- Despite Mark's prattling about Dr. Seuss, this scene was some undeniably primo prime time. Sombreros off, FlashForward.