Flash Forward Wiki
"Black Swan"
1x04 BlackSwan.jpg

Episode Season {{#pad:1|2|0|left}}, Number 04
Air Date October 15, 2009
Title Image black swan
Written by Lisa Zwerling
Scott Gimple
Directed by Michael Rymer
Guest Stars Keir O'Donnell as Edward Ned

Rachel Roberts as Alda Hertzog
Lee Thompson Young as Al Gough
Barry Shabaka Henley as Agent Vreede
Rizwan Manji as Maneesh Sandhar
Arjay Smith as Louis
Sean O'Bryan as Father Seabury

Co-starring Ryan Wynott as Dylan

Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Debbie
Lennon Wynn as Charlie Benford
Justin Dray as Meade
Adam Tsekhman as Vladimir Petrov
Kathy Vara as T.V. Reporter

Uncredited Dominic Monaghan as Simon

Gabrielle Union as Zoey Andata

Episode Images

Black Swan is the fourth episode of Season 1 of FlashForward. It first aired on October 15, 2009.



The woman who survived

The Global Blackout is revisited in the form of a flashback. This time, there is a slow motion scene of a park where people begin to blackout. A bus crashes into a lake and, except for the back seat, is submerged underwater. At the end of the blackout, a man who was braced against a pole and whose head remained above the water regains consciousness takes off his headphones. Almost immediately, a woman comes to the surface and starts speaking a foreign language. The man calms the woman and helps her to escape from the bus by kicking out a window. She swims away. He begins rising to the surface.

Angeles hospital[]

Angeles Hospital

At Angeles hospital, the man from the bus later checks himself into the hospital under the care of Bryce and Olivia. He, apparently, finishes his tale of the GBO by saying that he swam to shore and wished that he could have saved more people. Bryce asks what he saw in his flashforward, to which he replies that he was confident and happy. He is in a club that he has always wanted to visit. In the mirror he sees himself as a black man. He attributes his ability to remain calm during the flooding of the bus to learning in his Flash that his future is secure.

Olivia attempts to purchase a small bag of potato chips from a vending machine, but it jams and, after hitting the machine, she walks away in disgust. She asks the status of "Bus Crash Man" and Bryce begins to ramble about Ned's Flash. With annoyance, Olivia calls Bryce back to the present and he tells her that there is a delay in scheduling Ned for his CAT scan. Olivia tells Bryce she had spoken with Dr. Blythe Flemming, the psychiatrist with whom Bryce is supposed to be consulting on a weekly basis and had learned that he was not keeping his appointments. Just as she tells him that he will have to keep his appointments if he wants to keep his job, a clattering sound comes from behind. She turns to see a food tray come out of a room, followed by Lloyd Simcoe, who ends up with coffee on his shirt. Simcoe apologizes as he picks up the tray and returns to the room. Olivia tells Bryce to transfer Dylan Simcoe to physical therapy as soon as possible. She finishes by telling Bryce to do the scan of Ned himself if no one else can do it.

Olivia encounters Lloyd in the cafeteria. He thanks her for putting up with him and observes that she is uncomfortable with his comment, although she denies it. Lloyd apologizes again for the food tray incident and talks about the difficulty he is having with Dylan and with his lack of sleep. Olivia responds that he should not be sleeping in Dylan's room every night; Lloyd comments that the police had given him his wife's house keys. Olivia tells Lloyd to visit Dylan's bedroom at home because he might learn something about his son. She reminds him that spending too much time in a hospital is not good for anyone and walks away. Bryce greets her and reports that he has the completed scan of Ned. Olivia tells him to have Dylan moved to physical therapy immediately and walks away.

Bryce's unknown friend

Lloyd stops to talk to Bryce and gives him a notebook Bryce had left in Dylan's room, telling him he is on his way to something that was recommended to him. It includes an image Bryce drew of a woman who he says he has not yet met. After a news item about the Mosaic Collective, Bryce asks Lloyd about his flash. After commenting about "global consciousness" and "temporal anomaly," Lloyd explains he was in a house other than his own. He received an urgent phone call and, although he did not know the caller, knew that the call was important. He knew Dylan was nearby, possibly in another room. After the call, he heard a woman's voice and turned toward her, but the Flash ended before he saw who she was. However, he knew they were together and that she was important to him somehow. A hospital employee delivers an envelope to Bryce. He excuses himself and takes the envelope to Olivia who saw Lloyd and had already turned to walk away. Bryce explained that he has the results of Ned's C-T scan. Olivia examines the film and diagnoses a hematoma. After another discussion about the relevance of Flash experiences, she tells Bryce to get Ned's consent to surgery.

As Edward Ned completes his consent to surgery, Bryce reminds him of the risks. Ned repeats that he is not afraid and feels that all the worrying from the past is gone. He says that in six months he will have confidence. Knowing the future has changed him.

Bryce searches the term "pigment change" on the Internet. When he gets the results he looks troubled. He goes to Ned's room to find him gone. Bryce asks the nurse where the patient went. She says he went to the operating room. Bryce tells her to call and quickly walks out of the room saying, "We're about to kill our patient." Bryce tells Olivia that he knows what is wrong with Ned. He recalls all the information Ned told them when he checked into the hospital about his flash. From his Internet search, Bryce says that Ned has Addison's Disease. Olivia and Bryce argue. Olivia refers to the "here and now" as why she needs to proceed with the surgery. Bryce continues to talk about Ned's Flash and that Olivia is burying her head in the sand because of her Flash. Olivia becomes annoyed with Bryce and tells him not to scrub for the procedure. During Ned's surgery, one of the doctors asks if anyone had been to Grand Rounds today. He says a guy from Yale said he could enhance memory of flash forwards using a calcineurin antagonist. Midway through surgery, Ned's blood pressure drops dramatically and then his pulse stops. The doctors attempt various ways to revive him, but none of them work. Finally, Olivia accepts the information Bryce had given her that Ned may have Addison's disease. She tells the other doctors Ned is having an Adrenal crisis and calls for an IV push of hydrocortisone. Ned's heartbeat is restored and he recovers.

Afterward, Olivia and Bryce review the days events. Bryce apologizes and Olivia accepts. She asks him if he is really okay, considering that he was about to commit suicide when the GBO occurred. Bryce assures her that he is fine. As they part, Olivia sees Lloyd in Dylan's room doing a magic trick for his son, then telling him he needs to rest before there are any more tricks. Dylan says, "Thanks, Dad." as Lloyd goes to get some soup for his son.

Lloyd Learns More[]

On Olivia's suggestion, Lloyd goes to his wife's house and through Dylan's room. When Lloyd enters the house there is mail on the floor. He walks through the living room and looks at a picture of Dylan and his mom. In the dining room there is a basket of washed clothes ready to be folded. In the kitchen, he finds a calendar with pictures and appointments on the days of Tuesday through Friday. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are left blank except for two days. One is Saturday 3rd. There is a birthday party at 2 pm scheduled. On Sunday 11th, there is a BBQ at 1 pm. There is one picture of Lloyd, Dylan and his wife holding hands. In Dylan's bedroom, a kangaroo with boxing gloves is focused on. Dylan has drawn a picture of his family, limited to him and his mother. Lloyd finds a book titled "A Modern Magician's Handbook" by Marian Green. Dylan's bedspread is of a Star Wars scene with Yoda prominent.


At the Benford home, Mark is putting on a show for Charlie. Olivia enters the room and tells Charlie that Nicole had missed her and would be sitting for her again starting that day.

Near a stream, Nicole Kirby is finishing a take-out breakfast and talking with Aaron Stark. Aaron asks if Nicole would like an ice cream and the name of the place Tracy took Nicole when Nicole was little. Nicole answers that the place no longer exists. Aaron muses that Tracy spent all the money she made babysitting Nicole buy milkshakes for Nicole. Nicole tells Aaron that she has to get to work, because it is her first day back with the Benfords. Aaron responds that Mark Benford had told him that Tracy had "gone AWOL." Nicole apologizes because Aaron had gotten her the job with the Benfords and she had ruined it. Aaron assures her that if that were true, Mark and Olivia would not have asked her back. He adds that everyone is dealing with the problem and they all have to surrender to a higher power and have faith that whatever they saw was for a purpose. As he walks away, she stares thoughtfully.

Nicole visits Father Seabury's office; he enters while talking on his cell phone about the number of funerals being conducted. He asks Nicole how he can help her then, in response to the confusion on her face, explains that he keeps crickets in his office. Nicole tells Father Seabury she wants to do some volunteer work. Father Seabury says that they are full up because events like GBO causes people to want to help. Father Seabury asks Nicole to explain why she wants to volunteer. Nicole has a flash of her in water struggling. After the flash she asks Father Seabury how is she suppose to ask for forgiveness for something she hasn't done yet. Nicole says that in her flash she felt like she was being punished. She asks Father Seabury if he thought God made this happen. He says that it would be hard to believe a divining hand wasn't involved. Father Seabury gives Nicole a phone number for Audrey Ridgeway, the volunteer coordinator. He offers Nicole a "Jesus is my Episco-pal" T-shirt then gets up and leaves her sitting in his office.

That evening at the Benford home, Nicole talks to Mark and reveals her drowning flashfoward to him. Mark promises that he will help to keep her safe and offers to have an LAPD detective talk to her.

Zoey and Demetri[]

Zoey Andata and Demetri Noh are at a cafe named Zurika Coffee discussing moving their wedding up. Zoey tells a clearly distracted Demetri that informing his parents should be his job because she is not Korean, even though the elder Nohs would be mollified by a trip to Hawaii. Zoey then asks Demetri if he is present at the conversation. He assures her that he is and explains that he is trying to track down an informant. Zoey challenges him about whether they are holding a woman in violation of her civil rights. When he responds that he can not confirm her allegation, his fiancée announces that he just did; she goes on to say that from a professional point of view holding Alda reflects poorly on the FBI but that from a personal point of view she hopes, if Alda was involved in causing the Blackout, they interrogate her aggressively.


At the Los Angeles Field Office, Stanford Wedeck is telling Mark Benford and Al Gough that he is disappointed in the results of the trip to Germany ("137 Sekunden") and that he will not send them to Somalia based on a footnote in a CDC funding request. Al tells Wedeck that they have requested imagery from the CIA, but the "Langley" is resisting their request. As Al and Mark walk from Wedeck's office Mark suggests that "Mr. Cheeto Dust," a hacker whom they had arrested for hacking into the Department of Defense computers, might find Langley's computers interesting. Al reminds Mark that doing that would be a Federal offense and Mark reluctantly agrees. As they part, Mark asks about Demetri Noh's whereabouts and Al responds that Demetri had Alda Hertzog brought over for more interrogation.

In an interrogation room, Demetri and Agent Vreede are questioning Alda, who claims to be an honest businessperson who the FBI can not hold without bringing charges against her. Vreede and Demetri agree and tell her they can get her a phone card so she can call her embassy as soon as they figure out which embassy is hers as Demertri tosses several passports onto the table. Alda says the agents should be interested in her associates, but Demetri reminds her that her associates are dead. He tells Alda to give them something else and she says, "Customer Choice Restaurant Group." Vreede queries the FBI database and learns that the restaurant is in Indio, California. Demetri tells Alda she is running out of time and she responds that he is the one who does not have much time and that he should get out there while he can.

Mark and Demetri chase a suspect out of the Customer Choice restaurant through a trailer court until they finally catch him. During the chase, the suspect drops one of his necklaces. On the chain is a chalice and the word "Pimp". They find a tin box labeled "Yellow Cake". It turns out to be marijuana. The suspect says that his flash showed him rich from selling drugs. Mark and Demetri get into an argument about the way each is investigating the GBO with Demetri punching Mark. Demetri tells Mark about March 15, the day he is to get shot and killed from three bullets in the chest.

Who is Celia?

Mark Returns to question Alda after His return from Indio. Alda asks Mark if he knews what a Black Swan is and proceeds to describe the metaphor in relation to the GBO. Alda then quotes him a Sufi parable in Persian and remarks that unlike the suicide bombers she works for he is not willing to fully commit to finding the answers. After talking with Alda, Mark approaches Al. Al is typing in 'Celia' to the mosiac collective but closes his laptop when Mark disturbs him. Mark asks Al to contact 'Mr Cheeto Dust', A hacker mentioned earlier in the episode who they had previously busted hacking into the CIA and discussed using to find out more about the 1991 Ganwar incident in Somalia.


When leaving Dylan's room, Lloyd receives a phone call with the caller ID of Simon. LLoyd answers the phone and talks to Simon, appearing hesitant to chat. Simon insists that they need to talk and he should get used to him as they are “responsible for the greatest single disaster in human history.” Lloyd hangs up, as Simon does as well.



  • A scene early in the episode has Mark Benford, using an English accent, acting out a role as Eggbert the Egg for his daughter, Charlie. When Olivia enters the room, he drops the egg and she jokingly calls him "the Shakespeare of cheesy Dad humor." One of the most well known roles played by actor Joseph Fiennes, who plays Mark Benford, was as William Shakespeare in the popular film Shakespeare in Love.
  • The drowning woman on the bus in the beginning of the episode shouts "Nem tudok úszni!" repeatedly, which means "I can't swim!" in Hungarian.


  • "It's Oh So Quiet" by Bjork. (A bus plunges into a lake during the flashback).
  • "Atomic Dog" by George Clinton. (Ned 'rocks leather pants' in his flash forward).
  • "Look What You've Done To Me" by IKO.( Lloyd enters the his ex-wife's home and explores Dyan's room).

Bloopers and Continuity Errors[]

  • In the opening sequence, after everyone has become unconscious, a stunt actor riding a bicycle extends his leg to break his fall to the side.

Cultural References[]

  • Alda Herzog tells Mark Benford that "black swan" is a metaphor referring to a high impact event that is beyond human understanding. The use of the metaphor comes from the 17th century when the scientific assumption that all swans were white was overturned by the discovery of black swans in Australia. Thousands of years of scientific confirmation was invalidated from this single piece of evidence. A book published in 2007 by Nassim Taleb entitled The Black Swan was built upon and helped popularize this premise, which is now referred to as The Black Swan Theory. The book maintains that our culture is negatively impacted by "our blindness with respect to randomness, particularly large deviations." Taleb argues that, particularly in the realms of science, politics, and economics, we rely too much on inductive reasoning and the presumed predictability of future events on the basis of past ones. We thus fail to expect, or prepare for, the unexpected.
  • The character Ned Ned joins the company of a few other fictional characters with the same first and last names. For example: Wilson Wilson, the somewhat strange neighbor in Home Improvement; Humbert Humbert, the obsessed narrator in Lolita; and, of course, Major Major Major Major, the character who is continually battling bureaucracy in Catch-22. Here, Ned appears to be the antithesis of Major Major, who became so riddled with anxiety that he became a recluse and only went in and out of his office by climbing through a window.

External links[]

FlashForward Season One
"No More Good Days" • "White to Play" • "137 Sekunden" • "Black Swan" • "Gimme Some Truth" • "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" • "The Gift" • "Playing Cards with Coyote" • "Believe" • "A561984" • "Revelation Zero, Part 1" • "Revelation Zero, Part 2" • "Blowback" • "Better Angels" • "Queen Sacrifice" • "Let No Man Put Asunder" • "The Garden of Forking Paths" • "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" • "Course Correction" • "The Negotiation" • "Countdown" • "Future Shock"