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"White to Play"
1x02 WhiteToPlay.jpg

Episode Season {{#pad:1|2|0|left}}, Number 02
Air Date October 1, 2009
Title Image white queen chess piece
Written by David S. Goyer
Marc Guggenheim
Directed by David S. Goyer
Guest Stars Shohreh Aghdashloo as Nhadra Udaya

Lee Thompson Young as Al Gough
Lynn Whitfield as Anastasia Markham
Marina Black as Sheriff Keegan
Michael Massee as The chess player
Alan Ruck as Tomasi
Lisa Darr as Principal Byrne
Stephnie Weir as Deirdre "Didi" Gibbons

Recurring Lennon Wynn as Charlie Benford
Ryan Wynott as Dylan Simcoe

Marquessa Moreland as Sonographer
Sufe Bradshaw as Ms. Gerber
Curtis Harris as Zack

Episode Images

"White to Play" is the second episode of season one of FlashForward. It first aired on October 1, 2009.

Mark and Demetri head to Pigeon, Utah, to track down a suspect who may be connected to the GBO, Olivia comes face-to-face with the man from her flash forward, and Mark and Olivia's daughter, Charlie, has trouble coping with the aftermath of her flash forward. Demetri receives an ominous telephone call from an unknown woman.


Charlie's School[]

A quarrel breaks over playing "Blackout".

A group of school children are lying on the ground outside of school, unmoving as an ominous-sounding chorus of "Ring Around the Rosie" is heard. An unidentified person is conscious and is watching the children. The perspective changes and the unidentified person is revealed to be Charlie Benford, who is clutching a stuffed animal toy and, obviously uncomfortable, is staring at the children. Zack jumps up, declares "time's up" and the rest of the children jump up as well, immediately asking one another what they saw. The first boy asks Charlie what she saw as the rest of the children approach her. She says she didn't want to play the Blackout game, and the children confront her for not playing along. The boy begins to pull at her toy, tearing off its arm. Charlie pushes the boy down angrily and takes back the arm. A teacher sees her and berates her, but Charlie runs away down the street as the woman chases her. She crosses an intersection, narrowly avoiding a collision with a car, and comes to a halt at a military blockade.


Aaron scolds Mark's behavior during the support group meeting.

On October 10, 2009, Mark Benford and Aaron Stark are sitting in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting while an intoxicated man speaks about his difficulty dealing with his vision. Mark interrupts him, telling him to leave and spare them whatever he has to say. As he and Aaron leave, Aaron objects to Mark's interrupting the man. Mark says he's been dealing with problems of his own. Aaron reminds him everyone is dealing with the same thing, just in different ways and that they are all prophets. Mark heads to work.

At a staff meeting at the Los Angeles Field Office, Stan Wedeck announces that six agents from the field office had resigned that morning bringing the total resignations to eighteen in the past three days. He reminds his staff that they are confused as everyone, but that they have a responsibility. He is interrupted by a woman who applauds and comments that the speech was worth the flight on a military aircraft from Washington, DC and that she had heard that there was a field office that had taken it upon themselves to investigate the GBO. Wedeck introduces the woman as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Anastasia Markham. Mark comments that if anyone else is better positioned to investigate, he will be glad to send them the case file. Mark's cell phone rings and he leaves, explaining that there is a problem at his daughter Charlie's school.

Stanford shows Anastasia Markham a video footage of Suspect Zero.

At Charlie's school, Mark meets with Olivia and Principal Byrne, who expresses concern with Charlie's unwillingness to discuss her vision. Mark and Olivia explain that they have been letting Charlie work through the process by herself. Byrne tells them they may want to rethink their approach. Afterward, Mark and Olivia discuss the situation, coming to the conclusion that Charlie may have seen the man in Olivia's vision. They decide to try as hard as possible to be strong for one another and for Charlie, and somewhat relaxed they return to their old custom of telling each other sarcastic jokes about their relationship. They kiss before parting to return to their workplaces.

At the FBI field office, Anastasia expresses doubt and skepticism regarding the legitimacy of the Mosaic Investigation. Janis Hawk explains The Mosaic Collective to Anastasia Markham, mentioning the site has had 600,000 story submissions in the past 17 hours. Al Gough points out the improbability of the event occurring exactly at the top of the hour if it was not intentional; Demetri disagrees. Markham's demeanor changes when Wedeck shows her the security video of Suspect Zero.

Olivia comes face to face with Lloyd Simcoe.

Olivia brings Charlie and her toy to the hospital with her, pausing at a wall filled with photographs and pleas for help. Olivia assures Charlie that when everything is cleaned up, everyone will be found. Inside the hospital, Bryce Varley gives Olivia a status update and she explains that she has Charlie with her because the babysitter is nowhere to be found. Olivia brings the toy to an empty room and begins to suture it. As she is working, Lloyd Simcoe approaches her to confront her about "avoiding" his son and thank her for saving his life. When she sees Lloyd, Olivia relives a portion of her Flash in which she is lying on her bed in nightwear as a bare-chested Lloyd excuses himself to make a telephone call. Lloyd reveals he knows very little about his son except that he is autistic and asks Olivia to answer some questions. She nervously deflects his inquiry, sending him to Bryce.

Stan prepares to perform CPR on Rafalski.

Back at the FBI field office, Demetri Noh argues with Mark regarding the friendship bracelet he is wearing, claiming that he wears because he wants the Flashes to come true. Mark explains that Charlie is in a fragile mental state and he had to accept her gift. He tells Demetri that, because Demetri did not have a Flash, the future he is worrying about is his own. The talk briefly about D. Gibbons and Janis interrupts them, announcing that a woman names Didi Gibbons is asking to see Demetri. Janis, Mark, Demetri and Stan Wedeck question Gibbons in Mark's office. Mark asks her about her Flash and she describes an angry telephone about pigeons with an unknown person; she screams at the person to talk to Mark and Demetri. Demetri again expresses doubt about proceeding based on limited information. Wedeck orders a background check on Gibbons. Afterward, Mark confronts Stan about his vision, and Stan admits that he was on the toilet during the vision as well as when the blackout occurred. He mentions he saw a man drowning in a urinal when he woke up and gave him mouth to mouth resuscitation, then threatens an obviously amused Mark to transfer him if he should tell anyone.

Olivia and Charlie are leaving the hospital when they approach the room with the Simcoe family. Olivia asks is she recognizes Lloyd, and she says she does not. However, when Charlie sees Dylan Simcoe, she becomes agitated and screams, asking who hurt him. She tells Olivia that Dylan was in her vision, but when pressed for more information she mumbles hysterically about not hurting Dylan.

Janis locates the city of Pigeon, Utah.

Back at the field office, Janis reports that the background check on Gibbons was favorable. The only curious information is that her credit card was used twice within minutes to make purchases in Virginia and Utah. Demetri suggests that a cloned card has been used. Wedeck tells his staff that the fact that Didi, in her Flash, was talking about pigeons may be significant. While Demetri suggests that such an idea is unlikely, Janis checks and finds a town in Utah named Pigeon. Wedeck orders that the Salt Lake City Field Office be asked to check on Pigeon. Mark excuses himself when he sees Olivia in the hall outside the office.

Olivia tells Mark about Charlie's reaction at seeing Dylan and that she had just met the man she had seen in her Flash. When Mark becomes concerned, Olivia reminds him that, although she saw Lloyd sitting on the living room couch, the GBO ended before he turned enough to see her and that she is certain that he did not recognize her at the hospital. They are interrupted by Demetri, who says that a Gibbons' credit card or a clone had just been used to buy a bus ticket in out of Pigeon, Utah and that a helicopter is waiting.

Pigeon, Utah[]

Mark and Demetri fly via a helicopter to Pigeon, Utah where they meet with Sheriff Keegan, who mentions that she didn't have a vision during the GBO.

Mark aims his gun at the chess player.

The chess game on the computer at the doll factory.

The FBI and the Pigeon Sheriff department have staked out the local bus station, hoping to be able to catch who ever had cloned Didi's credit card, believing he or she might be the right "D. Gibbons". However, after dark, the bus leaves and no one picked up the bus ticket, and as they decide to call off the stakeout, Demetri questions the validity of Mark's vision. As they are about to leave the scene, they spot an abandoned factory owned by a now-defunct doll company, which Mark connects with a photograph he saw in his vision. They break in and see a shadow moving on the second floor. As they approach Mark sets off a booby trap which plays "Ring Around the Rosie" and causes some of the hanging dolls to bounce around. They burst through the door containing a shadow. They find a man holding an two open Zippo lighters, surrounded by computer equipment in glass cases filled with a liquid, including a computer with an active chess game on-screen. He recites a quote by Beilby Porteus (see Trivia section) and drops the lighters into two of the glass cases and they erupt in flames. The Chess Player shoots Sheriff Keegan, who dies. Mark and Demetri return the fire, but The man escapes and releases a cluster of grenades into the fire, setting off an explosion. In the aftermath, investigators find a cell phone and a white queen chess piece. They guess that whoever the man was, he was doing heavy duty computer hacking, connecting him with several hacking attempts including an attempt to hack the Mosaic Collective website. Demetri suggests he may have been investigating why this was happening as well.

Los Angeles[]

Lloyd and Bryce discuss the implications of the flashes.

At the Los Angeles Field Office, Anastasia Markham is asking for more information about the conscious man at the stadium. While Wedeck enjoys a moment of victory over Markham, Janis replies they the conscious person had been designated as Suspect Zero and, based on video forensics and probability, been determined is a man five feet, eight inches tall weighing 150 pounds. Markham, finally convinced, expresses her hope that Suspect Zero can be caught before he causes another event.

At the hospital, Lloyd asks Bryce Varley if Dylan may have some non-hospital food. Bryce says he may and that his appetite is a good thing. Bryce goes on to say that his vision of the future was positive and that knowing the future has to be good; Lloyd appears to be unconvinced.

Olivia is leaving the hospital when she sees Lloyd brooding over a cup of coffee. He is nervous about talking to his son and assuming his role as his son's only parent. Olivia advises Lloyd to simply tell Dylan that he loves him.

Mark adds the crime scene photo to his office's wall.

At the field office, Mark adds the photo of the doll head that was just taken that evening to the wall of his office.

Lloyd accepts Olivia's advice and confronts his son, who seems to understand his mother's disappearance. To Lloyd's surprise and confusion, Dylan asks to see Olivia.

Demetri is called into the FBI field office at 3 AM and finds Anastasia, Stan and Janis with information: the cell phone Mark and Demetri found at the doll factory made a phone call during the blackout to someone at the baseball stadium where Suspect Zero was, and they assume the call was made to Suspect Zero. Later on, Demetri and Janis browse the now 900,000 postings on the Mosaic Collective website. Janis enters her Flash into the website; Demetri is reluctant to do so, but yields to Janis' logic that entering his "non-Flash" may help.

Nhadra Udaya calls Demetri regarding his death.

At the Benford household, Mark is sipping ginger ale and staring at a fire in the fireplace, obviously troubled. Olivia sits next to him and they talk, seeming to be in a better mood towards one another. She asks if she did the right thing by telling him about her Vision. He responds that she did because they should not keep secrets from each other. He relives a portion of his Flash where he is drinking and, when Olivia asks why he made a fire, says no reason, although Charlie's friendship bracelet is burning on a log.

As Demetri is leaving the FBI's building, he gets an anonymous phone call from a woman who claims she saw in an intelligence briefing in her vision that Demetri will be killed on March 15, 2010.

Later, Mark checks on Charlie, who is awake. She tells him she was bad at school because she is scared about what she saw in her vision. Mark asks her what she saw, and she replies that "D. Gibbons is a bad man".


Production Notes[]

  • Pictures posted on the ABC website in indicate that Agent Curdy, played by Seth MacFarlane, was to be present in this episode during the meeting scene at the Los Angeles Field Office.  This included a closeup and possibly lines (judging from his body language).  These scenes did not make the final cut. Evidently, the scene was shortened to begin after Curdy (as well as a few background agents) had left the room.
  • Peyton List (Nicole Kirby) was credited but did not appear.
  • The version of the episode placed on the Web for on-demand viewing omitted the AA meeting and Olivia's and Charlie's stop at the wall outside the hospital.


  • "Ring Around the Rosie". (Children at Charlie's school play 'blackout'; repeats as the fake D. Gibbon's device is tripped).
  • "Place to Be" by Nick Drake. (Mark adds the doll photo to his investigation board; Lloyd talk with his son Dylan).

Bloopers and Continuity Errors[]

  • Rafalski supposedly drowned in a urinal, but in Stan's Flash of giving CPR, nothing is wet.

Cultural References[]

  • Twitter: FBI director Stan Wedeck threatened agent Mark Bedford to transfer him if he revealed the details of Stan's flash on Twitter, the micro-blogging service.
  • Beilby Porteus: The chess player recited a quote by Beilby Porteus, which goes "He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over." Beilby Porteus (1731-1809) was an Anglican Archbishop from England who is best known to have been a leading abolitionist.
  • Demetri's supposed date of death is March 15, the same date as that of Julius Caesar's assassination.
  • Although there is some scholarly dispute about it, it's generally thought that the lyrics of the song used at the opening of this episode, "Ring around the Rosie," refer to the Black Plague: "Rosie" to the rash and pustules developed by victims, "Posies" to the flowers people carried to ward of the illness or to flowers that were put into the pockets of the dead to cover up the smell of rotting flesh, and "ashes" to the remains left after the bodies of the dead were burned.

Literary Techniques[]

  • Misdirection: The episode begins with an apparent depiction of the GBO in progress; a change in perspective then reveals that the events are from a later time.
  • Mark is noticeably darker in this episode compared to the previous, possibly the beginning of a spiral to the state of mind in his vision which led him to drink.
  • Foreshadowing: More deliberately this time than last, the use of foreshadowing is limited to Demetri. At the end of the episode, Demetri receives a call in response to his post on the The Mosaic Collective website. Nhadra Udaya, the caller, informs Demetri that he is murdered on March 15th, and that is why he doesn't see anything during the GBO.

Unanswered Questions[]

Unanswered questions
  1. Do not answer the questions here.
  2. Keep the questions open-ended and neutral: do not suggest an answer.
  3. Avoid questions that are unlikely to be answered.
Theories for these unanswered questions should go on this article's theory page.
  • Why is Dylan so eager to see Olivia?
  • Why is Demetri called into the FBI office at 3 am?
    • Why couldn't the cellphone discovery wait until the next morning?
    • Why wasn't Mark called, too?

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"