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"What did you see?"


 He who foresees calamity is doomed to suffer it twice over.


Two FBI agents, Mark Benford and Demetri Noh, are investigating a terrorist cell when an event called "the Blackout" occurs. Everyone on Earth blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds. Twenty million people die. And more than that: during the two minutes and 17 seconds, the people didn't just black out, they had visions of what they were doing six months in the future.

Janis Hawk, their co-worker at the FBI, has a vision of herself pregnant. Olivia, Mark's wife, sees herself with another man. Demetri doesn't have a vision at all, leading him to believe that he will be dead in six months. Mark himself has a vision of his own Room Full of Crazy with clues about what caused the Blackout (as well as him falling off the wagon). And Mark's daughter Charlie says there will be "no more good days."

The series built a nice Myth Arc with a great HSQ. Based on the 1999 sci-fi novel by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer (who gets a blink-and-you-miss-it Creator Cameo in the pilot), though it shared little with the book other than the flashforward concept and a character name or two. This show is not to be confused with Flash Forward, which is totally (and tonally) different.

Character sheet can be seen here.

If you're just getting started on watching this show, know the Wild Mass Guessing page for this show has been divided into folders letting you read theories as you go without being spoiled.

Despite having a strong start, ratings progressively dwindled throughout its run until it ended up with about a third of its original viewers, and it never made it to a second season, leaving fans pondering the season-ending Cliff Hanger. Zap2It declared FlashForward the most missed show after a poll determined that 46.3% of voters would miss it the most (by comparison, the runner-up, Ghost Whisperer, had 17.1% of the vote), and there were rumours that Starz might pick the show up for a second season, but it appears this has come to naught.

This show contains the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Janis Hawk, who knows tae kwando and manages to shoot an assassin dead even while bleeding from a gut wound in "Gimme Some Truth."
  • Actor Allusion: In episode four, Olivia calls Mark "The Shakespeare of children's stories," which is probably a reference to Joseph Fiennes's role in Shakespeare in Love.
    • In the previous episode, Demetri accidentally knocks over a bong at a suspect's house, and says, "It's OK, I know what a bong is", in reference to Harold and Kumar.
  • Anyone Can Die: Double subverted. At first, the fact that most characters have visions of themselves in the future seems to show that none of those characters are going to die before April 29. But after the Self inflicted death of Al Gough, it is now believed that the future can be changed and that anyone without a flash forward can still live, and likewise, any with a flash forward can still die.
  • Arc Words: Mark's whole Room Full of Crazy.
    • Frost's whole warehouse wall full of batshit crazy.
  • Arc Number: 12/12/2016.
    • And 6th October 2009 - the date of the flashforward).
    • And 29th April 2010 - not just the date that people experienced in their flashforwards, but also originally meant to be the airdate for the final episode, until its scheduling was changed.
    • And 2 minutes, 17 seconds... keeps getting mentioned moreso even than the others (in the intro voiceover for every episode, as well as being mentioned in-episode multiple times) - 137 seconds, 137 Sekunden (the German - also used as one episode title). A lot of importance was originally attributed to the number by characters early on, but later this stopped being treated as important. One theory is that it is because 137 is very nearly the reciprocal of the universal Fine Structure Constant. (137.0359990...)
  • The Artifact: Zoe. Her role was originally supposed to increase later in the season, and in the second season that never got to be, due to Demetri's death as expected. Instead, the new showrunners decided to keep him alive since John Cho had become popular following the release of the 2009 Star Trek, and the ratings needed all the help they could get. As a result, Zoe has little to do after Demetri survives his would-be death beyond break up with him, and is gone from the series by the season/series finale.
  • The Atoner: Lloyd doesn't start out this way, but becomes one as the series goes on.
    • The same goes for Dyson Frost. It even results in his death.
  • Benevolent Boss: Though he does not allow himself to be taken advantage of, Wedeck really cares about his employees. He most definitely comes off as A Father to His Men after Janis is shot, and sheds sincerely touching Manly Tears when Al Gough kills himself.
  • Berserk Button: Agent Noh and Olivia Benford do NOT care or want to hear what your flashforward was about, because neither of them want theirs to happen.
    • Demetri also REALLY doesn't like it when people tell him that he can't fight fate.
    • Don't accuse anyone of blabbing secrets to Olivia.
    • Simon is capable of anything when someone tries to manipulate him into doing something he doesn't want to do. Even murder.
    • Aaron does NOT like people messing with his daughter.
    • Call Mark a failure, question his self-belief and he WILL try to end you.
  • Big Bad: It seemed at first that it would be D. Gibbons, aka Dyson Frost, but it actually turned out to be Lucas Hellinger. Although, the finale implies that he was just a middleman and the real Big Bad was someone else.
  • Black Bra and Panties: Mark buys this as a gift for Olivia. She throws them away, since she had been wearing them in her flash forward.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Alas, poor Al Gough.
  • Blue Oni Red Oni: Mark and Demetri, respectively.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Mark Benford's laughingly over-the-top English accent while playing with the egg in the kitchen with Charlie (don't forget that Joseph Fiennes who plays Benford actually is English, see Fake American below).
  • Breakout Character: Attempted with Demetri Noh. Originally he was indeed supposed to die midway through the season, and his fiancee Zoe would have gotten a larger role in the second season due to her belief that the FBI failed to prevent Demetri's death. But with the ratings slipping, and the showrunner replaced by three people early in the season, the writers decided to keep him alive instead in the hope that the extra popularity John Cho had gained from playing Sulu in Star Trek would help the show's ratings. Cho and Demetri were popular, but not enough to save the show.
  • Break the Cutie: Keiko, after graduating from the reputedly finest university in Tokyo and being employed at the workplace of her dreams, ends up having to serve tea because tradition demands a woman has to serve the tea and she is the only woman employed at the company.
    • And don't forget her mother's tantrum over Keiko's refusal to deal with an arranged marriage or put up with being turned into a waitress by her employer.
      • Also, upon arriving in the US to start her new life, she gets employed at a car workshop, only to be busted by the ISA on her second day at work.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: A variant on this. Janis shoots a man on a motorcycle in the chest from head-on and kills him, but the woman riding right behind him is left untouched.
  • Bury Your Gays: Janis is revealed to be a lesbian, and by the end of the episode has been shot and left for dead. However, this is later partially subverted when she survives, but is left unable to bear the child she now desperately wants.
    • Might have been completely subverted now that she might be is pregnant with Agent Noh's child
  • California Doubling: Mostly averted, since the show is set there, but Southern Somalia looked suspiciously like Southern California...
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Flosso, a Smug Snake who regularly smokes cigars despite his crippling emphysema because that's what a villain is supposed to do. He even outright says that he's a villain when introducing himself.
  • The Cast Showoff: The brief moment of karaoke in one episode seemed one part Rule of Funny, one part a brief showcasing of John Cho's singing ability.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Flosso's killer emphysema.
    • Mark's pistol, the one that was even predicted to murder Demetri Noh on March 15th.
    • Also, Dyson Frost's white queen, which contains the ring he used to stay awake during the blackout.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Alda Herzog. Captured in the pilot, appears a few times throughout the series, then finally takes a major role in "The Garden Of Forking Paths" where we learn she was part of the group responsible for the blackout. She then escapes from custody and kills Dyson Frost.
  • The Chessmaster: Played with (briefly) then subverted at the end of the 2 hour recommencement special. In one of the scenes with Simon's 'Uncle', the quick can notice a chessboard on a computer screen being panned off-screen. He later ends up dead after admitting to being only the middleman, not quite the guy in control after all.
    • Played completely straight by D. Gibbons, who has seemingly planned for every single thing that's happened in the series because he's seen them all in his many flashforwards. And apparently, he became a grandmaster when he was fifteen.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: Implied. Mark is there in his flash forward, and he sees people coming to get him. One would assume they would grill the entire building staff from top agents to the janitors emptying the trash to see if anyone else was at the building and saw anything that may clue them in to these soldiers, but instead it seems the viewer is left to assume this trope.
    • Ultimately justified in that the entire building has been evacuated due to a bomb inside of it, set to go off immediately after the flash forwards were going to happen. It's never fully explained how no one else realized this would happen, though, given the number of extras who must have had flash forwards about it.
  • Creepy Child:
    • Charlie, in some ways.
    • Most of her classmates veer into this when they're playing "Blackout".
    • So does Dylan.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Believe," which focuses solely on Bryce Varley and his Asian girlfriend Keiko in their quest to find each other.
  • Death Trap: Dyson Frost puts Demetri into one.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Dyson Frost
  • Downer Ending: You know that second blackout everyone spent 22 episodes trying to prevent? Happens anyway.
    • Wasn't completely a downer though, as they did manage to save millions by getting the warning out before it happened.
    • It was intended to be just the season finale, with the second blackout and the tantalizing glimpses of both the blackout itself and several flash forwards setting the stage for the second season. Which, as we now know, ain't gonna happen.
  • Dramatic Irony: The episode "Let No Man Put Asunder" begins with a flashback of Demetri, Marcie, Janis and Al's first day in FBI. Mark greets them with a speech about how they're going to give their lives to people who might not even know them, at which point the camera focuses on Al.
  • Driven to Suicide: "Dear Celia..." Goodbye, Al Gough.
  • Enhance Button: Strongly averted and lampshaded - even the NSA couldn't reconstruct a face from a blurred security camera picture under a month.
    • Wedeck seems to believe in it, when he demands a few blurry pixels be enhanced into an identifiable ring. That had better not work.
      • It did work and they spent quite a while trying to justify why the tiny ring could be enhanced when the face could not. It's still unbelievable.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: John Cho and Jack Davenport have both gotten shirtless scenes. Joseph Fiennes is all broody and not bad on the eyes either.
  • Evil Brit: Simon seemed to be this initially as he claims responsibility for the Blackout, but then in "A561984" he starts co-operating with the FBI, and his claim is thrown in doubt when he reveals he had no knowledge of the pylons in Somalia. Now possibly double subverted when we've seen that he was (albeit unhappily) working with the people responsible for the blackout as The Mole.
    • There's also Lucas Hellinger, the show's apparent Big Bad.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Simon vs. Flosso in Revelation Zero, Part 2. Simon wins.
  • Fake American: Definitely a few of them.
  • False Reassurance: Inverted: A Nazi war criminal is able to secure his release from prison by telling the main characters that, in his flashforward, a murder had been his "Get Out of Jail Free" Card. Once the paperwork had been filed, he then told them that he saw a dead murder of crows outside his window when he came to.
    • Subverted when it turns out that the murder of crows is indeed a clue that points to the possibility that a mass blackout has occurred before.
    • "Oh, we've had training."
  • Fan Service: Janice and Maya making out in "Gimme Some Truth".
    • The brief Cat Fight in "Queen Sacrifice" between two Action Girls. Both wearing fairly light blouses. In a pond.
    • Whenever Janis goes into full Action Girl mode the camera never ignores her tight pants or blouse.
  • Fauxshadow: Did anyone else think, based on the contents of his vision, that Vogel had to be The Mole, until it turned out to be someone else?
  • Flash Forward: The entire show is built around this premise.
  • Flat Earth Atheist / Skepticism Failure : Several people are shown to be skeptical of the flash forward despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, calling them meaningless "visions" and getting angry at people who are considering the visions as true just in case because they could possibly save lives. Explained in that these characters were shown to have really awful futures they don't want to be true.
  • Foregone Conclusion: December 12, 2016. The End. Whatever that would have meant.
  • For the Evulz: Generally assumed to be the motivation of the people who caused the global blackouts and is planning on doing it again, at least until their motivation becomes more clear.
  • Genre Savvy: Dylan, of all people, as he seems to be the only one who thought of leaving messages to his past self in his flashforward.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Have you heard of the double-slit theory?" "Well, I did a little experimenting in college..."
  • A God Am I: This is Simon's viewpoint on the fact that his experiment maybe caused the blackout.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: Invoked by Dyson Frost after Demetri tells him "You're Insane!."
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Flosso intentionally invokes this.
  • Heel Face Revolving Door: Simon.
  • Heroic Suicide: Al Gough commits suicide so that the woman he found he accidentally killed in his flashforward can live.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The Bradbury Building.
  • Hostage Situation: Subverted. Flosso kidnaps Simon's teenage sister to use as a bargaining chip to control Simon. Simon decides to just kill Flosso and then hunt down his sister.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Janis says this word-for-word after revealing her double mole status to Mark.
  • Idiot Ball: Come on, Mark, you don't recognize a unit tattoo when you see one?
    • Then we have anyone who thinks Tracey is dead.
      • Speaking of Tracey, it takes an idiot ball of exceptional size to tell someone that your daughter, who is thought by most to be dead and is in fact hiding from badass army types, IS STAYING AT YOUR HOUSE.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The mooks in the final episode. Mark runs in front of the group of mooks who are firing like crazy, and Mark manages to take out at least one of the mooks, and gets nary a scratch himself.
  • In Medias Res
  • Insufferable Genius: Simon
  • I Knew It!: A rare In-Universe example. A member of the CIA in "Gimme Some Truth" has a theory that China is behind the blackouts with an incredibly shaky basis, which both the Mosaic team and the U.S. Senate dismiss outright. At the end of the episode, however, the Mosaic team is attacked by a group of Chinese gunmen, seemingly proving the agent's theory correct.
    • They seem to be dressed and acted more like gangbangers than professional hitmen, even the way they held the guns. More likely they were hired by Monaghan and Davenport to cover up the ones who are getting close.
      • And yet the autopsy of the few of them the Mosaic team manage to kill suggests that these men are trained professionals.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: The second episode opens with "Ring Around the Rosie" and images of children lying completely still on the ground. Later on, the fake D. Gibbons has dolls which also sing the song. It's creepy.
  • It Meant Something to Me: Poor Demetri...
  • Ironic Echo / Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Mark in the finale. "What did you see?" * BLAM*
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A truly touching moment between Mark and Gabriel in "The Negotiation". (No, not like that! It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • Karma Houdini: Anyone involved in the global blackout apart from Dyson Frost, who's dead, and Hellinger, who's still in FBI custody as of the end of the series. Alda Herzog and Evil Pet Shop Lady are still on the loose, and no one apart from Aaron even knows about Jericho's involvement.
  • Kudzu Plot
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Switch "characters" with "factions" and you got it. There is the FBI, the Blue Hand, the men with the three stars tattooed on them, the man who acquired seven rings from them and promptly killed one of them, Simon and Lloyd who are part of a larger group, the Jericho Private Military Contractors and, judging from the woman from Hong-Kong who phoned Demetri, the Chinese. All these groups may or may not be connected.
    • There are quite a lot of characters too.
  • Lucky Translation: The "murder of crows"-pun only works in English. Luckily for the international dubs, the crows were technically murdered. This way, the old Nazi's deception revolves around the fact that the murder-victims are not human, as opposed to the meaning of the word "murder".
  • Magical Database: Well, the FBI are trying to create one with the Mosaic website, which tracks people's visions and cross-references them.
  • Me Love You Long Time: Bryce and Keiko (seeing as she is repelled by her Japanese suitors and prefers him).
    • And inverted with Demetri and Zoey.
  • Messianic Archetype: Simon accuses Lloyd of trying to be one.
  • Mind Screw: You may have a tough time in the first episode differentiating the flashforward from the real world if you start watching when it happens.
    • The ending, thanks to its cancellation.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The kangaroo, though it's probably intended to appear as a zoo escapee.
    • An escapee of the most incompetent zoo in the world, apparently, as it's still running around in "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps".
      • Well, the LA Zoo is currently defending themselves from a lawsuit alleging they abuse their animals, so...
    • And it's still running around in the series finale! How the hell did no-one do anything about that kangaroo in six months?
      • Well, during Hurricane Andrew, much of Miami Metro Zoo was destroyed and lots of animals escaped. Some, including a giraffe were never recovered. Dead or alive. If you can lose something as big and prominent as a giraffe, a kangaroo is child's play.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Running Gag to Bryce and Keiko.
    • An incredibly sad running gag.
  • The Mole: The audience is led to believe this is someone who was apparently working with Mosaic all this time but was never given so much as a name before this. Subverted. The mole is Janis Hawk.
  • Mythology Gag: Frost's Room Full of Crazy Conspiracy Wall has CERN in block letters, a reference to the Large Hadron Collider's involvement in the original book.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Blue Hand group uses Mosaic to track down people who didn't have a Flashforward and convinces them to join a suicide club.
    • Nice job killing the man who would eventually lead war-torn Somalia to peace, Vogel.
      • Vogel is CIA. It could be taken that once he learned Abdi was going to be a peacemaker, he began looking for an opportunity to kill him. Cause', you know, that's what the CIA does.

 ???: What did you see, Vogel?

Flashforward: Mark Benford is dead.

Vogel: I was Shooting The Dog doing my job.

  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Dr. Raynaud, the highest ranking Blue Hand we've met so far.
    • Possibly lampshaded by Mark when he asks Raynaud what made him turn from an ordinary nice guy into Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Olivia invokes this one in non-humorous context.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mark delivers one to Hellinger in the penultimate episode.
  • Noughties Drama Series
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Nicole's knowledge of Japanese language and culture.
    • Or it could be You Didn't Ask.
    • Various characters seem to remember New Flash Forwards As The Plot Demands, or at least new parts of the one they had, on a regular basis.
  • Newspaper Dating: That's how they find out that the visions are supposed to show the future.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Strongly, strongly averted. One of the reasons for the investigation into the flash forward is that 20 million people died in the blackout due to car crashes, train derailments, doctors passing out during surgery, and plane crashes.
    • Actually, it could be argued that even 20 million is a rather low number of casualties considering the event...,
      • Well, the number of injuries are presumably much higher. People can survive some pretty brutal things. And China is mentioned to have suffered little damage due to it being past midnight there. Presumably same goes for India, sparing the two most populous countries the worst of the catastrophe. It is a strech but it is possible to have just 20 million dead.
    • Played straight at other times, though because it is firmly established that the entire LA area was one big traffic accident because of the flash forward. Every car on the road was in a fender bender at the least. However all the cars you see in the series are all pristine - there should have been plenty of cars with dents, scrapes and scratches (the body shop Keiko works in six months after the event should have been still cleaning up by doing body work!). And the long shots of streets and freeways - everything looks fine - no dented light poles, etc that weren't damaged enough to be replaced.
  • No Ending: Due to the cancellation of the series after a cliffhanger in the finale.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The head of the Senate committee in "Gimme Some Truth" is practically the embodiment of this trope.
  • Office Lady: Keiko.
  • Oh Crap: When Demetri's fiancee realizes that what she saw wasn't a wedding, it was a funeral.
    • "Hello, Demetri. My name is Dyson Frost. I'm recording this in 1991. Got your attention, didn't I?"
  • Opening Narration: Starting with the third episode, there's a quickie explanation of The Blackout.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Brían F. O'Byrne as "American" Aaron Stark.
  • The Other Darrin: Dylan Simcoe was recast in the middle of filming the pilot. Some scenes feature Dylan #1 and some Dylan #2; one of them took over for the series proper.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: The President, as played by PeterCoyote, is halfway between President Personable and President Jerkass.
    • Don't forget he's also President Playboy. It's how he gets blackmailed by Wedeck into keeping Mosaic open.
  • Papa Wolf: Aaron Stark.
    • Mark can turn into this if you talk about his daughter in a way he doesn't like.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: The event that kicked off the Myth Arc.
  • The Rainman: Gabriel McDow
  • Real Life Relative: An interesting case in that Alex Kingston used to be Joseph Fiennes' sister-in-law (she was formerly married to one of his older brothers, Ralph).
    • And John Cho's wife Kerri guest-starred in "Queen Sacrifice".
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dyson Frost was trying to redeem himself, but he got shot by a sniper working for the Big Bad before he could tell Mark what he needed to know.
    • Al Gough qualifies as well. He killed himself so that he wouldn't inadvertently kill a woman he didn't even know.
      • Who then gets killed anyways.
  • Red Herring: Brilliantly double subverted in "Queen Sacrifice."
  • Redshirt Army: The Red Panda escorts. They even lampshade it, when the Somali warlord explains that the purpose of the Red Panda guys was to die in order to intimidate the hostages.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Hey guys, remember Marci? You know, the mole?
    • Done rather well as her motivator was that - as a wallflower - nobody ever paid any attention to her in the first place.
  • Retired Badass: Aaron Stark, as of "Blowback."
  • The Reveal: Simon is Suspect Zero.
    • Marcy is a mole.
      • The twist is that so is Agent Janis Hawk.
        • A double twist is that Hawk is actually working for the CIA as a mole in the organisation of whomever wants her as a mole in the FBI.
  • Ring of Power: A set of seven rings worth killing for in "Playing Cards With Coyote". It turns out they were what kept people awake during the blackout.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Mark Bedford has one.
    • Nicole Kirby's mother spends her spare time gluing pennies to the wall in one room of her house. All of these pennies are from the year Nicole was born.
  • Running Gag: Simon constantly hitting on Janis.
    • Also the kangaroo.
  • Scenery Gorn: The first 17 minutes of the pilot is dedicated to showing what would happen to downtown Los Angeles if everyone blacked out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds. Helicopters sticking out of skyscrapers, freeways full of twisted metal and bodies... it's pretty darn Gorn-iffic. Gorn from around the world is mentioned through the rest of the episode, but not shown (700 plane crashes?!).
    • And it continues through the subsequent episodes. The earlier episodes had establishing episodes of damaged skyscrapers and burnt buildings. The number of these slowly reduced as episodes progressed and they were repaired but every now and then, there are still damaged buildings visible even in the most insignificant of background shots.
  • Screw Destiny: What Mark's trying to do by burning the friendship bracelet.
    • In episode 7, Al Gough does this by killing himself.
    • Olivia gets in on the act in episode 8 by throwing out the lingerie she saw herself wearing in her flashforward.
    • Mark again by getting himself fired in episode 10. Considering what he did (went to China against his boss's orders, then kidnapped a woman at gunpoint and got arrested and deported by Chinese authorities), it's not likely he'll get his job back in the next few months.
      • Oh, Nevermind.
    • He is successful in not killing Demetri.
  • Science Marches On: In the 1999 novel on which the television show was based, the flashforward was caused partly by the activation of the Large Hadron Collider.
    • In-universe example:

 Simon: What I designed was theoretical. It could only be done in the future. And yet, it's been standing here for 18 years.

Janis: Well, welcome to the future.

  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Who doesn't already believe that Mark and Olivia's marriage is going to fail? They seem to have grown distant already just at the thought that she will cheat on him. Even more so now that he knows she's met the man in her vision and she knows he was drinking in his Flash Forward.
    • The Blue Hand, not having flash forwards, realized they will be dead in six months and begin committing suicide. Make of that what you will.
    • Demetri would do well to learn that one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.
      • For that matter, so would Dyson Frost.
    • The Finale goes to town on this one. So the second blackout was predicted by Gabriel's modifications to the board, who modified the board because he modified the board, because he modified the board, because he modified the board? Come again?
  • Shipper on Deck: Gabriel is visibly distraught that Lloyd and Olivia aren't together, as them not being together affects the fate of the world. Somehow.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: how Mark gets into the building where Demetri is stuck in a Death Trap in "The Garden of Forking Paths".
  • Shoot the Dog: Mark engages in this pretty heavily in "A561984".
  • Shout-Out: D. Gibbons could be a shout-out to Dave Gibbons. There was also a poster advertisement in the first episode for Oceanic Airlines.
  • Smug Snake: Heroic variant in Marshall Vogel of the CIA. Most infuriatingly, he's most often right.
    • Lampshaded in "Queen Sacrifice" where Mark, Demetri and Janis all tell him to **** himself at different times whenever he suggests one of them could be The Mole . Turns out he was right about Janis, too.
    • And in the villain corner, Carline, Janis's contact within the mysterious conspiracy is one full-stop.
  • Sorry I Left the BGM On: A trumpet player in the foot chase scene in "Black Swan".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A massive shootout (and Janis bleeding out) all to the tune of a karaoke-version of "Sister Christian." Motoring!
    • In "Black Swan", the flashforward occurring in Echo Park (with all the carnage that implies, specifically, an out-of-control city bus heading straight into a lake, running over several unconscious people in the process) set to Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet".
  • The Sponsor: Aaron Stark, who is Mark Benford's AA sponsor. As the series progresses, his focus shifts from helping Mark with his addiction to finding his daughter.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • Several, including the stuff that was on Mark's wall of crazy. It'll drive you mad just thinking about the reason he put up those cards: he put them on the wall because he had a vision of them on the wall.
    • In the second episode, Mark puts up a picture of the burned doll on the wall. But the doll wouldn't have been burned (and he wouldn't have gone into the doll factory at all) if he hadn't had the vision of the burned doll picture in the first place. Oh no, I've gone cross-eyed.
    • Also, the Nazi war criminal from "137 Sekunden", who would never have been released if he hadn't seen that happening in his blackout.
      • However, it looks like this is about to be shaken up, now that Al Gough killed himself because of what he saw in his flashforward, where he was very much alive.
  • Stealth Pun: When the agents have to give cover stories about what they saw in their flash forwards, Janis says she was baking bread. Actually she was having a pre-natal sonogram, or in other words she had a bun in the oven.
  • String Theory: Mark's Blackout wall.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: In "Queen Sacrifice".
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Some of the events in the flashforwards were themselves caused by the flashforwards (see above). However, apart from a throwaway line mentioning a party in Times Square, none of the visions show any awareness that this was the moment they all foresaw. And now someone has apparently died despite the fact that he was alive in his flashforward.
    • Except Bryce, he says, "so you're really here" to Keiko, referencing that this is the moment he saw.
  • Token Minority: Mostly averted, as there are three of the six regular cast members playing FBI agents are black, as is Demetri's fiancee. Lynn Whitfield and Gina Torres have also appeared. Still only one Asian regular, but he's co-lead and has been getting Character Development, so...
    • Now the Japanese girl in Bryce's vision, Keiko, seems to be getting a bigger role.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Aaron Stark, in "Blowback,". When his daughter is kidnapped by Jericho, he proceeds to beat information out of the mole, tap the phone in the head honcho's house, and leave the mole TIED UP AND HANGING FROM THE CEILING in the Big Bad's house...with "Happy Birthday" written on his chest.
    • Also, to many, Mark Benford. In the first block of episodes, it wouldn't be a stretch to say he was in the running for most hated character. After the hiatus, he has become much more level-headed, proactive, decisive and mature about his responsibilities.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: All the time.
  • Wham! Episode: "The Gift." If you don't cry at the end... you probably left your soul at a bus stop somewhere.
    • About half the episodes qualify, to one degree or another. "A561984" is probably the biggest one yet, even more so than "The Gift". Just about every point of the meeting with the woman in Hong Kong is its own mini-wham, and then you have Simon working with the Good Guys and the things he reveals, plus what happens to Lloyd (and his son and Olivia!) at the end.
    • "The Garden of Forking Paths". Dyson Frost isn't actually the Big Bad. And now he's dead. And Demetri's successfully managed to Screw Destiny by not dying on March 15th. Or has he?
    • "Countdown". Oh, boy. Where to begin? Everyone's future goes severely downhill and strays very far away from the flash forwards: Mark is expelled from the bureau after beating up Hellinger (something the latter had just predicted it would happen), starts drinking again, gets in a bar brawl and is thrown in jail for good measure. Zoey departs for Hawaii alone after Demetri tells her he impregnated Janis, who in turn might have lost her baby while handcuffing Simon. Lloyd can't complete the tachionic equation since Olivia decided not to let her flash forward become true. Nicole reveals Bryce she knew where Keiko was, but he misses her (again) because she's returning to Japan on immigration agents' watch. All of this mere hours before the moment of the visions. What else? Oh right. Too bad for Aaron, Tracy is dead.
      • And then all of that gets totally reversed soon immediately after. Except for Demetri.
  • Wham! Line: "Message received." Spoken by Janis, revealing that she's a second mole in the FBI.
    • The episode before: "Hello Demetri. My name is Dyson Frost. I am recording this message in 1991. [pause] Got your attention, didn't I?"
    • Dyson Frost again: "Hello, Charlie! :)"
    • Evil Pet Shop Lady to Janis: "We need you to kill Mark Benford."
    • Series Finale: "They Found Him!" Whatever that meant.
  • What Do You Mean Its Not Symbolic - The New York Times review of the pilot included a list of historical events tied to the flash forward date of April 29, 2010, and suggesting speculation over the date's significance would be more fuel for Epileptic Trees. In actuality, it's just the 50th birthday of Robert J. Sawyer, author of the Flash Forward novel, which coincidentally falls close to the airing of the first season finale.
    • December 12, 2016- The End. Hurm...
  • What Happened to the Mouse? - Early episodes mentioned the Vice President being the new president in her flash forward, implying the old one would die. However, the April 29th episodes focused entirely on LA and Somalia, and even then, you'd think we would have heard if the president died.
    • Or get his impeachment. We saw her flashforward, it was a little unclear. What more interesting - what about Arabian boy who was seen by Wedeck's wife? Did writers forget about him or something?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Janis, Olivia and Wedeck have all given this treatment to Mark. Demetri has gone as far as punching Mark in the face, although that was more his Berserk Button going off.
  • Whole-Episode Flashback: Especially in the early season, episodes would be split between new footage, flashbacks of the flashforwards, and flashbacks of scenes from the 'present day' timeline.
  • Wire Dilemma: In "The Garden of Forking Paths", the Death Trap Demetri's in involves one of these.
  • Wrench Wench: Keiko
  • You Are Too Late: In the finale, Lloyd and Mark discover when the second blackout will take place. Unfortunately, it's due to happen just minutes from when they found out, so they're unable to stop it.
    • Slightly subverted in that they managed to save millions of lives by getting the last-minute warning out.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: They're not sure if this is true yet, but it looks like it might be.
    • Special Agent Jett Jackson Al Gough just proved you can fight it and Screw Destiny by killing himself, even though he had a vision of himself six months in the future after he had accidentally killed a young mother.
      • However, in episode 19 she dies suffers massive injuries in a freak car accident. Chance? No: The universe correcting itself. It is implied that the she will still die on April 29 and the events of Al's flashforward will happen to someone else.
      • On the other hand, Demetri survived so you can fight fate, but have to overcome a sort of historical "inertia" to do so.
  • You Killed My Father, Prepare to Die: Simon does this, twice.
  • You're Insane!: Demetri to D.Gibbons in "The Garden of Forking Paths". Gibbons' reply: Most oracles are.