Olivia meets the man from her vision.
During two minutes and 17 seconds of unconsciousness, everyone sees a glimpse of their lives six months into the future. In the first episode, FBI agent Mark Benford begins to investigate the incident as the extent of the aftermath slowly becomes clear.
While pursuing a criminal with his partner Demetri Noh, FBI agent Mark Benford suddenly blacks out at the wheel of his car and crashes. Upon regaining consciousness, he clambers free from the wreckage and is greeted by a scene of utter carnage. Every vehicle on the road has crashed, bodies are scattered all around and survivors are screaming in anguish. In the distance, a helicopter embedded in the side of a skyscraper drops to the ground, while smoke billows from fires dotted across the LA skyline. "We've got to call 911," says Demetri. "Trust me, they know," replies Mark.
With the cellphone networks jammed, Mark races to the hospital where his wife, Olivia, works as a surgeon. On the way, it becomes clear that everybody experienced the blackout. While some make the most of the chaos by looting shops, others stand around in confusion. A crowd gathers at a shop window where a TV news report reveals that the mysterious event affected not just LA but the entire world. Just then, Olivia manages to get through on the phone and tells Mark that she and her colleagues all collapsed during an operation, with the result that their patient died. However, both she and their young daughter Charlie, currently at home with a babysitter, are fine.
At FBI HQ, director Stanford Wedeck, calls an emergency meeting to piece together the day’s events and calculate the scope of the disaster. Having eliminated the possibility of a terrorist attack or a natural phenomenon, the agents are at a loss to explain what happened. “What about the Vatican – has the pope chimed in yet?” asks Stanford, sardonically. However, Mark is more interested in the blackouts themselves than the cause of the incident. “We’ve been saying that people blacked out, but that wasn’t my experience,” he says. “It felt more like I was having a memory, but it wasn’t of the past – it was of the future.”
As Mark describes his experience, he and the other agents realise that they were all unconscious for two minutes and 17 seconds, and that they all had a personal vision of the same date in the future – 29 April, 2010. “So you’re saying that everyone’s consciousness jumped forward six months?” asks Stanford. “As crazy as that sounds, yes,” says Mark.
Stanford sets up an investigative task force and places Mark, Demetri and Janis Hawk at the helm. “Seven billion people caught a glimpse of the future,” says Mark. “Maybe one of them knows why this is happening.” While Janis builds a website to gather testimony from around the world, Mark and Demetri start work on an evidence board. In Mark’s vision of the future, he was in his office working on the same investigation he is now beginning, so he writes down any names, places or dates he recalls. He also notes that he was wearing a friendship bracelet. However, Demetri can offer little help, since he saw nothing during his blackout. “What if I didn’t see anything because six months from now, I’m gonna be dead?” he asks.
Later that day, Mark confesses to his friend Aaron that he has his own reasons to fear the future. Despite being a recovering alcoholic, Mark was drinking heavily in his vision – and masked men were looking for him. His wife Olivia, meanwhile, tearfully confesses that she saw herself having an affair. But Aaron is convinced that the future can be changed. “Until you see something that corroborates these visions, it’s all fantasy – the future is still up in the air,” he says. Mark takes solace in the theory, until that night when his daughter gives him a present she made for him – a colourful friendship bracelet.