"Safe" (1.10)

Before I begin, I would like to advise those who have never seenFringe but would like to see it not to read any further, as this does contain spoilers. Episodes like this episode are why I like Season 1 so much. There is a lot of mythology, and it is part of an ongoing arc that moves through five episodes in a row. “The Dreamscape” is a bit of a break from the arc, but it still has a lot to do with the mythology. In fact, “The Dreamscape” is one of the most mythology-oriented episodes of the season, asking a great deal of questions but answering close to nothing. The arc is unfortunately broken by episode 1.12, “The No-Brainer,” a filler episode (for the most part, anyway) that doesn't have anything to do with the show's mythology. I really like this episode, ultimately giving it eight safety deposit boxes, because there is a great deal of mythology, and this is also the first episode in which Walter tells Peter that he “nearly died when you were a boy.” Plus, since Loeb is not killed off during Season 1, I am sure that he will be back, something that will definitely pay off and make Season 1 even better than it already is.

Well, my first comment that I want to make is that in regards to the scene during which Peter can't seem to believe that Olivia doesn't have a best friend, I wonder who Peter is to talk. Who ishis best friend, I wonder? I mean, I am sure that there are layers of Peter's past of which we are not aware; in fact, I know that there are, but if I had been Olivia, I definitely would have asked him that, asking who his best friend is. Anyway, regarding this episode, Peter definitely gets Fringie of the Week. First, there is that epic conversation between Peter and Walter, during which Peter basically tells Walter that Walter has been absent from his life for so long that he first of all doesn't know Peter and second of all has nothing valid to say about Peter's decisions, saying that Walter's absence from his life “renders any fatherly judgment you may have of me moot.” What breaks my heart is that the two of them would never have that conversation now, and Peter, of course, is about to discover his origins in the upcoming episode, episode 2.18, “The Man from the Other Side,” so everything that the two of them built since this episode will, quoting Peter, be “rendered moot.”

Anyway, Walter apologizes, telling Peter that he did not intend to pass judgment but instead intended to comment on Peter's potential. “You have no idea what you're capable of, Peter,” he tells him, which he almost tells him again in episode 2.17, “White Tulip,” when he writes in the letter that he later burns that “you are special, Peter, in a way no one else is." The Observers (September, August and December, anyway) seem to agree that Peter is special, too, and I think that there's more to all of this than just the fact that Peter is from the Other Side. I don't know what, but there is definitely more to it than that, I think, something of which Walter is fully aware. Then, of course, as previously mentioned, there is Walter's first mention of Peter's childhood, when he “nearly died.” We now, of course, know the truth behind that, but why does Walter tell Peter about the doctor named Alfred Grass? Did he make him up, or was teleportation actually a measure to which he resorted? It's very ironic, by the way, that how Peter rolling the coin on his knuckles, just like we see young Peter do in episode 2.15, “Peter,” impresses Walter so much, since he is the one who showed Peter how to do it (in this reality) and also interesting that it is what urges Walter to tell Peter that he “nearly died.”

There is also a lot of foreshadowing in this episode that suggests that Peter and Olivia will later be involved in a romantic relationship. He gets so excited when he hears “bar in Cambridge” and instantly seizes his opportunity to go with Olivia, clearly indicating that he has the hots for her. He is also clearly offended when Olivia's aliases that she uses at the bar puts Peter in the position of being her brother. “Brother?” he asks her incredulously, to which Olivia replies, “Yeah, and it works better that way.” Then, he urges her to stick around for a few more drinks, something to which she surprisingly agrees. During this scene, it is clear that they are flirting with one another, and after they play the game with the cards, it is revealed that Olivia is very skilled when it comes to remembering numbers, something that she says has been a talent since she was a young girl. Does this possibly foreshadow the Cortexiphan trials? Maybe, the reason that she is so good at remembering numbers is because the Cortexiphan gave her that ability. Anyway, it is clear that Peter wants so badly for that to have been a date, and, of course, Walter is his usual self in trying to hook Olivia and Peter up. When the two of them wake him up, telling him that it's because of something really important, he wakes up and says, “Oh, do you two want to use the room?” As always, you have to love Walter.

Speaking of Walter's Walterisms, he, as always, definitely has quite a few memorable moments throughout this episode. When Baltimore is mentioned near the beginning of the episode, for example, he says, “I was in Baltimore. I remember a woman with particularly large breasts.” He just feels this need to say whatever is on his mind, regardless of how random it may be, which reminds me of when, in episode 1.07, “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones,” he tells Broyles that he had a fruit cocktail once in Atlantic City, even though he is not the fruit cocktail kind of guy. “Think back twenty years,” Walter says to Charlie in this episode. “Imagine yourself then imagining yourself now, twenty years into the future. In your wildest imagination, could you ever think you'd be here?” Olivia then tells Charlie, after Charlie asks if Walter is stoned, not to mind him, since “his mind works in a different way.” There is the scene during which Walter says that he can see that Olivia's pupils are dilated, suggestive of either stress or drug use, and asks her, “Are you tripping, Agent Dunham?” There is also the scene, which I laugh hysterically at every time, during which Peter asks Walter why he needs so much rice, and Walter playfully aims a toy gun at Peter and says, “No talking!” Lastly, Walter says to Astrid, obviously having forgotten her name, as usual, “Miss, I'm going to repeat the demonstration with the rice. Care to watch?” Astrid bluntly replies, “Nope.”

If I am remembering correctly, Walter hid the teleportation device in 1985, and if so, this is the same year that he took Peter from the Other Side. I bring this up, because during the scene involving Olivia, Peter and Walter conversing after Walter realizes that the safety deposit boxes are his, Walter says that he was under a great deal of stress at the time. He was, indeed, if it was 1985. He also says that it always seemed like someone was watching him. Well, we do know that September has been keeping tabs on Walter (in reference to the ending of episode 2.03, “Fracture”). We don't know if it is this Walter or Walternate, but if it's this Walter, then that might explain why Walter would have felt that way; he wasbeing watched, observed. Anyway, I want to briefly talk about Jones, since he is one of my favorite villains ever, and he is, of course, in this episode. Something that gets me thinking is how and why Kohl, his lawyer, was accommodating Jones with just about anything that he needed. I would think that that would not be allowed. I love how much, as always, he reminds me of Hannibal, though, especially, in this episode, when Kohl declines Jones's offering of a new suit, telling him that he likes his own suit because it's lucky, and Jones says to him, “I can appreciate that.”

“Safe” contains the frequent “47” shout-out when Charlie tells Olivia that one of their suspects purchased three one-way tickets to Providence and landed forty-seven minutes ago. Anyway, though, Peter has a very memorable line in this episode. When he is questioning Eastwick, the man that is apprehended, he tells Eastwick that Eastwick is suffering from radiation poisoning and then says, “You violated the laws of Physics, Mr. Eastwick, and Mother Nature is a bitch.” I love that line. I do want to briefly talk about Nina, too, since she is in this episode. At the end of the episode, after Broyles discovers that Olivia is missing and indirectly accuses Nina of being involved, Nina resents the accusation and says to Broyles, “You know how I feel about Agent Dunham.” How does she feel? I mean, she doesn't sound very sincere, and I doubt that that speaks negatively of Blair Brown's acting ability. Nina says early in the episode to an employee that “we're in a race against highly motivated individuals.” Who is she talking about, ZFT or the Other Side? She also realizes that memories that she needs are possibly in Olivia's mind, which led us to believe, possibly incorrectly, that Nina had something to do with Olivia's abduction. I recall this episode being the last episode that aired prior to a very lengthy hiatus, and it drove me crazy. She is abducted, and then, we had to wait a good month and three weeks to find out what happens. Anyway, as I said, this is a pretty good episode. It makes mention of Syracuse, NY, which I find very cool, because I live very close to Syracuse; I have, in fact, been there many times. Anyway, stay on the fringe.

"The Dreamscape" (1.09)

Before I begin discussion of this incredibly intense episode, I would like to warn those who have not seen Fringe but would like to see it, because this entry does contain spoilers. "The Dreamscape" is one of my favorite episodes, because, as I just said, it is really intense. I love the epic scene near the end of the episode involving the "conversation" (if that's what you want to call it) between Olivia and Nina (a very strong and memorable scene), and I also love how, just like the pilot episode and "The Transformation" do, this episode reminds me a lot of Alias, my first J.J. experience, an experience that is responsible for my love for Fringe and for LOST (speaking of LOST, there is a rather blunt shout-out in this episode when Olivia finds an Oceanic Air ticket that belonged to Mark Young). Olivia's going back into the tank to explore John Scott's memories is very Alias-like, as a very similar situation recurs frequently during the course of the series (if you like Fringe but have never seen Alias, then I highly, highly recommend that you do). As I said, this is definitely one of my favorite episodes and receives nine killer butterflies from me.

The Observer is rather difficult to miss in this episode; in fact, I'm pretty sure that I spotted him myself the very first time that I watched this episode. When Mark Young and his colleague walk into a hallway during the very first scene of the episode, the Observer is seen very clearly mysteriously standing in the background, and it makes me wonder whether or not anyone sees him and wonders who the heck he is. The first scene involving Mark Young does really annoy me, though, because most likely, in actuality, it wouldn't happen, but it follows the classic "horror-movie" style so that there can be a story, and I am, of course, referring to how even after being cut a couple of times by the butterfly, instead of getting the heck out of the room, Mark looks down through the vent after seeing it fly down into the vent, which is just stupid. I don't think that this scene would actually happen in reality, because most people would have gotten out of that room as soon as the butterfly cut them, not stick around to find out what's going to happen next. Perhaps, though, the drug that was used doesn't just literally scare you to death but also makes you incredibly stupid.

Speaking of the butterflies, a butterfly with sharp edges, as you probably already know, is one of the glyphs, as is a frog, both featured in this episode, and, of course, it is intentional. In other episodes, too, the glyphs have been used within the episode, such as the seahorse in episode 2.13, "The Bishop Revival" and the hand, flower and butterfly on the outside of the Jacksonville Daycare Center in episode 2.14, "Jacksonville." Anyway, why does Olivia see the butterflies on Young's wall moving? Does this have something to do with Cortexiphan? I still don't understand that. I recall my reaction, anyway, to the first scene when I first saw this episode, and my jaw dropped (even though, at the same time, I was not surprised at all) when the scene reveals that Young worked at Massive Dynamic. Up until “The Dreamscape,” we are led to believe that Massive Dynamic is a shadowy corporation that possibly has sinister motives, and, at least in part, I don't think that that has really changed. Will it ever be explained, I wonder, why Massive Dynamic's logo is on the plane in the pilot episode or why it is on the crane in "The Arrival" (1.04)?

Even if for only a very small period of time, it is nice to see Olivia dressed nice, to see her life outside of the FBI. Notice, however, that she is still wearing black. I wonder who she is talking to on the phone during this scene. Perhaps, she is talking to Rachel? In this episode's Walter's food obsession seems to be coffee yogurt, and I love the scene during which he tells Astrid that “in case you haven't noticed, I can be quite obsessive,” to which she sarcastically replies, “Really?” as if she has noticed no such thing, but obviously, she has; we all have. This episode also really makes me miss Charlie even more than I realized I do, because I miss the relationship between Olivia and Charlie. She really trusts him, realizing that she can tell him about her visions of John Scott and therefore indeed telling him, and it's not common for Olivia to let someone in like that, especially since her problem is certainly not trivial; something has to be seriously wrong if Olivia wants to take a personal leave. It's a shame that Charlie is now gone, but I think that he was killed off so that Olivia would have to turn to Peter with more force than she had before, so that their relationship could progress, which it definitely has.

One of the many questions that this episode asks but doesn't answer is who the woman with whom Peter meets up is. Based on the way that they act around each other, I am guessing that they used to date, and although we know that her name is Tess, we don't know much else, really. We know that she has some sort of knowledge of Peter's past (before joining Fringe Division, that is, but not necessarily his childhood), since she says to him, “If I can find you, they can find you. They'll hurt you.” Who is they? I mean, near the end of the episode, we see the “they” that Tess refers to, but the very short scene does not tell us who “they” are. During the scene, a man (whose name, according to Fringepedia, is Gregory Worth) is seen talking on his cell phone speaking to an unnamed person about a man whose legs he intends to break, also an unnamed person, when Michael (Tess's apparent boyfriend that Peter assaults due to evidence that he is physically harming her) approaches the man and tells him that “he's back in town, Peter Bishop.” The first thought that crosses my mind as a result of this scene is that obviously, Peter has been to Boston before, so first of all, why, and second of all, why does he keep this secret? Whoever “they” are, will they end up hurting Peter? Will his decision to stay in Boston end up doing him a lot more harm than good?
As I previously mentioned very briefly, Olivia is still seeing John Scott in this episode, and I recall this being something that annoyed some people (the situation is not resolved in episode 1.13, “The Transformation”), but I really like it. Clint from theFringe Podcast frequently complains that season two allows the story involving Peter being from the Other Side to drag on too long, and the reason that I bring this up is because I disagree with that for the same reason that I disagree with this. The longer a story is drawn out, the more epic it will be when it explodes. “The Transformation” is one of my favorite episodes, because after Olivia has to deal with seeing John Scott and having his memories recalling themselves from time to time for such a long period of time, the problem is finally resolved. First of all, it makes Fringe much more of a serialized show (which I like and want), and it also makes the closure, when you finally do get it, that much more epic and satisfying. Anyway, because Olivia is still seeing John Scott, she urges Walter to allow her to go back into the tank, to which he reluctantly agrees.

I love how after Olivia asks Walter how long the process in the tank will take, he says to her that “what you have asked me to do is pushing the boundaries of all that is real and possible, not roasting a turkey.” I just find it funny, because he sure is one to talk. After all, it's not like he built a machine to travel to a parallel reality to cure an alternate version of his deceased son, but Walter really is especially out of control during this episode. Before Olivia goes into the tank, he tells her to listen to his voice, because his voice is her guide and her tether to reality, and then, he says, “Uh-oh. I just got an erection. Oh, fear not; it's nothing to do with your state of undress. I simply need to urinate,” and Olivia replies, “That's good to know.” You have to love Walter; he seems to like announcing, or at least seems to feel a need to announce, when he has to urinate, even if it means telling a nearly naked, beautiful woman that he has an erection. There is a lot of good dialogue in this episode, mostly involving Walter, as usual. When Olivia asks him what the Bible is for (the second time, that is, since he does not answer her the first time), he says to her, “Among other things, I thought it appropriate to pray you don't get electrocuted,” and she replies by saying, “Praise the Lord.”

There is a very adorable scene in this episode that I am sure Olivers (like myself) love. Peter tells Olivia that “if you need me, I'm here,” and she says, “Yeah, I know,” which results in the two of them exchanging smiles. It is such a memorable Oliver scene. Returning to Massive Dynamic, though, since this episode really is such an MD-Centric episode, I find it interesting that George Morales tells Olivia that “Massive Dynamic is hell, and its founder, William Bell, is the Devil,” yet, we haven't really seen this comment come into play at all. We still are not totally and completely sure of Massive Dynamic's intentions. I think that it is building soldiers to help this reality win the war, but did Morales know that? If so, why would he say something like that? Did Massive Dynamic kill him? If not, then who? As I previously mentioned, I absolutely love the scene between Olivia and Nina near the end of the episode. Nina tells Olivia that she doesn't remember having penciled her into her schedule, and Olivia tells her that she doesn't need an appointment. They are both independent and ambitious women, and putting them in the same room together seems to have humorous but intense results. I do think that Nina is well-aware of whatever drug was used to kill Mark Young and Morales, because she tells Olivia that “I seriously doubt that your witness will be able to provide any actionable evidence to implicate Massive Dynamic or William Bell of any wrongdoing.” To me, this is a discreet way of her saying that she knows Morales will end up dead.

The scene near the end of the episode during which Olivia, as usual, finds herself dissatisfied and therefore tells Walter that she needs to go back into the tank always cracks me up, because the scene takes place in the hallway outside of Walter and Peter's residence, and Walter asks, “In our room?” He always seems to make incorrect assumptions, such as when he assumes that when Olivia says, “How about a cup of tea?” she is offering one to him (in reference to episode 2.13, “The Bishop Revival”), and I always crack up when that happens, because it's like he's clueless, which is probably exactly the case. Olivia goes on, however, to insist that John did see her, to which Walter replies that he did not, because it is impossible (once again, however, not being in much of a position to tell someone what is impossible). We, of course, know, however, that John did in fact see her, something that we learn in episode 1.13, “The Transformation.” As I said, this is definitely one of my favorite episodes of Fringe, mostly because of how intense it is (especially that scene near the end between Olivia and Nina) but also because it is, by no means, “stand-alone,” leaving us with so many unanswered questions. Anyway, stay on the fringe.

"The Equation" (1.08)

Before I begin, I would like to warn those who have not seen Fringe not to read any further, since this blog entry does contain spoilers. I recall the Fringe Podcast referring to this episode, before it even aired, as “elegant,” and I definitely agree with that, ultimately having to give it eight red castles. It's incredibly creepy, but at the same time, there is indeed something “elegant” about it, especially with the beautiful piano piece that Ben can't finish. I love how until the very ending of the episode, the episode appears to be a “stand-alone,” but the ending, in its very short few minutes, makes the episode a mytharc episode, and I love episodes like that, episodes that seem to be “stand-alone” until the ending, when an epic revelation makes the episode a mytharc episode. I also love the green-green-green-red sequencing of the lights, something that seems to have a connection with the Observers, even though I can't see how this story has anything to do with the Observers, minus the fact that September obviously observes it. I love how an idea is introduced to which is later alluded, referring to the way that Ben sits in the corner of the room, obviously confused and full of fear, just like Olivia sits in the corner of the room inside of the Jacksonville Daycare Center after starting a fire. At the time, that obviously was not on our minds since we were not aware of that until later in the season, not until episode “Bad Dreams” (1.17), when Walter reviews the videotape, but I still definitely think that it is an intentional tie-in.

During a scene in this episode, Peter asks Walter, “The U.S. Government had you working on mind control?” to which Walter says, “Not the U.S. Government,” another clue that Walter was involved with the U.S. Army, something that is confirmed in “Peter” (2.15), and speaking of Walter, I love how he, throughout the first part of the episode, is frequently seen reciting Christmas Carols in an effort to help him remember where he first heard mention of the green and red lights. This is something that we see frequently throughout the show, Walter trying to use music to jumpstart his memory, and speaking of that, Walter walks through the lab singing “Jingle Bells” when Olivia walks in and says, “Hey, what the hell is he doing?” which is classic comic relief, something that, on Fringe, almost always, if not always, involves Walter, such as another scene in this episode when Walter says of Dashiell Kim, “I tried to help him solve [the equation], and he came at me with a plastic spork!” something that he finds vehemently funny. Also something that makes me laugh every time is the scene during which Walter wants to test the lights on Peter, and Peter asks him, “What do you want me to do?” and Walter says, “Just stare at the lights.” After doing just that for a few seconds, Peter suddenly realizes that he has a pair of scissors in his hand and that the sleeves of his shirt have been cut off. Peter, of course, immediately looks at Walter and says, “Did you do this to me?” and Walter responds, “You did.” I always laugh so hard at this scene. I love the look of utter confusion on Peter's face when he awakens from the hypnosis.

For one of the first times during the season, Peter shows a great deal of vehement concern for Walter. He strongly protests when Olivia suggests allowing Walter to return to St. Claire's so that he can get answers from Dashiell Kim, and this is clearly because he is concerned. He says, “You want to send my already mentally unstable father back to the institution that made him that way,” and he says it more as a statement than he does a question, as if to demonstrate the sheer ridiculousness of what she is suggesting. This not only shows that he really cares for Walter but also shows that he blames the institution for Walter's problems,not Walter. When Walter stands up for himself by saying that despite the fact that he'd “rather not,” he will go back to St. Claire's since Ben's life is on the line, the look on his face during the car ride there clearly shows that he is scared and nervous, and I feel so sorry for him when I watch this. What I find really odd about the scene when Walter, Peter and Olivia arrive at the institution is that a shot is shown of the pilot episode, the shot of which Walter is first seen after shaving. I don't really understand why this is done; perhaps, it is just a cheap tactic so that a new shot didn't need to be taken, or maybe, probably more likely, the shot is just shown to mirror a return, that the institution is a familiar place for Walter. I love how Peter calmly tells him that “when you get out, we'll be right here,” once again demonstrating that he cares about Walter.

The scene at the institution in which Walter first attempts to talk to Kim about where he was taken after being hypnotized by the green-green-green-red sequence, which was presented to him via a Christmas Tree, totally reminds me of the scene in LOST when Hurley visits Leonard Simms to try to get him to remember the significance of the numbers. When I first saw the episode on television, that is immediately what crossed my mind. I love how Kim is eating butterscotch pudding, which is a direct tie-in to the pilot episode, when Walter thinks that it's Monday and therefore complains, because the institution serves a “dreadful” butterscotch pudding on Mondays. Indeed, the butterscotch pudding that Kim is eating during this scene looks incredibly “dreadful,” definitely not something that I would want to eat. Anyway, Peter comes to Walter's defense once again when he tells Sumner, the director, that “after some of the things I've seen in the last three months, Walter strikes me as being one of the sanest people I know,” and I love this line. It's like he is telling Sumner that Sumner has no idea what kind of activity in which Walter has taken part, that Walter has been a functioning citizen involved in incredibly important matters, matters that have exposed Peter to crazy people and crazy situations that have caused Peter to reevaluate what he once thought of Walter.

Now, what is probably the most pressing question of this episode is who or what it is that Walter sees in his room at the institution. I mean, obviously, he sees himself, but is this merely a hallucination, or does he see Walternate? This scene, with the music and Walter singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” is very creepy (as is the scene during which Ben's mother begins to fall apart in front of his eyes, something that is both incredibly creepy and incredibly disturbing), and I think that it is a prime example of how when Fringe aims to convey a particular emotion to you, it hits the target dead-on, one of the show's most prominent strengths. Anyway, though, I think that what Walter sees is more likely Walternate, because he sees himself again before once again urging Kim to tell him where he was taken, and when he does urge Kim, he says, “There's a little boy out there. He's in trouble. We're his only hope.” After having seen “Peter” (2.15) I am sure that seeing Walternate reminded him of Peter, and this motivated him to do what he could to save Ben, just like he did for Peter. Of course, this could go the other way around, too. Perhaps, Ben reminded him of Peter, which made him feel guilty about what he did, therefore causing hallucinations, hallucinations that reminded him that on the Other Side, there is a Walter that is suffering from the loss of his son, and just as a side note, Joseph Slater from episode “Grey Matters” (2.10) reminds me of Kim. Slator had a story to tell, but no one believed him because of his mental instability, and the same is true of Kim; no one believed his ridiculous story of a dungeon in a red castle, even though, more or less, it was true.

I love Peter's line, “I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, because you may think you know what he's [Walter] capable of, but you have no idea what I'm capable of,” which is directed toward Sumner. Like I keep reiterating, Peter really comes to Walter's defense in this episode, displaying an incredible amount of care and concern for him, which is the start of the close relationship that we see between them during season two. There is a very touching moment between them in this episode when Walter is still under the impression that Kim was spewing off nonsense when he was talking about a dungeon in a red castle, and he therefore says to Peter, “Son, is that what it's like to talk to me?” It's pretty heartbreaking, because it only goes to show that Walter still has a great deal of civilization remaining inside of him, because he can see insanity outside of himself, and that scares him. He can't stand seeing it and realizing that he may have behaved that way at one point, something that is also seen in “Grey Matters” when he sees Slater and voices the exact same concern, which is that he can only imagine how he must have presented himself while at St. Claire's. It's really sad, and that is part of the reason why Walter is my favorite character. Out of all of the Fringe characters, I think that he conveys the most emotion to the viewer.

I also love the fight scene between Olivia and Joanne Ostler. It's epic, as most fight scenes involving Olivia are. I have noticed, though, that for some reason, it seems like Olivia puts on an even better show when she is up against men than she does when she is up against women, which doesn't make much to sense to me. It may be something that I have discussed before, but I just find it worth mentioning, because there has to be a reason for it, even though I don't have one to offer. I also love the conversation that Peter and Walter have near the end of the episode. First, Walter says to Peter, “This place is filthy. Did you have a party while I was gone?” and I have to laugh at this, mainly at the image of Peter throwing a party at their residence during season one. Then, though, Peter says to Walter, “What you did by going back into that place was very, very brave Walter,” and all that I have to say about that is that it really reminds me of how Peter tells Walter that it was brave to stand up for the people of Edina, New York at the end of “Johari Window” (2.11). What I don't understand about this episode, though, is why Ben suddenly had the equation in his head after the accident. Was it planted in his head, and if so, how? Also, why does Loeb kill Ostler? Does he perhaps feel that she knows too much, or maybe that she has used up all of her indispensability? These are all questions that, for me, remain unanswered. Anyway, until next time, stay on the fringe.

"In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" (1.07)

“In Which We Meet Mr. Jones” is definitely one of the better season one episodes and therefore receives eight and a half euphoric Peters from me, a solid rating. This is the episode that got me really hooked onto the show. This is the episode, as I have mentioned before, that really kick-starts the mythology and the pace of season one. It is the first time that characters other than the main characters (Olivia, Peter, Walter, Astrid, Broyles, Charlie, Nina) are introduced that are not just episodic characters but return throughout the season (Loeb is seen in a total of five season one episodes and Jones is, likewise, seen in a total of five season one episodes, including the season finale), and it is also the first time that ZFT is mentioned, giving something to think about as far as the previous six episodes are concerned. There are plenty of Walterisms throughout the episode, some of the best, in fact, and there is also a great deal of character development of Olivia, since we are shown a much lighter side to her that we don't really see beforehand save the second scene of the pilot episode when she is seen in bed with John Scott. Before I say any more, however, I want to warn you that if you have never seen Fringe but would like to see it, then please, don't read any further, because this blog entry does contain spoilers.

At the beginning of the episode, Loeb tells Broyles to look at page forty-seven of a document that he gives him regarding Joseph Smith, either a shout-out to Alias or just something that J.J. likes to randomly insert, since it is also seen and heard on LOST, as well. The beginning of the episode is, as a lot of Fringe episodes are, really nasty. I mean, there really isn't too much that can beat a really large, slimy, worm-like parasite with teeth wrapped around someone's heart. We see the first of Walter's many Walterisms in this episode when Broyles tells him that it is very important to him that Walter do anything and everything that he can to help since Loeb is a friend of his, and Walter responds by saying, “I see. Do you have any mints?” As usual, Walter is not focused, even when a gruesome crime is at hand, and has food on his mind. It happens again when Walter tells Peter that he had two things go through his mind, the first of which is related to the case, but seeming to forget the second, Peter questions him in regards to the second thing on his mind, and Walter says, “I would still really like some gum or some mints.” I love how Olivia talks about him when she implicitly mentions him to Samantha Loeb, saying that “I can tell you that there's a doctor here who is uniquely qualified to save your husband's life,” seeming to hesitate before she says “uniquely qualified,” as if she has to think about what she has to say that would be putting him in good light but would also be true.

There is also the scene during which Broyles tells Walter that he appreciates everything that he does, which makes me laugh every time that I watch it. Broyles tells Walter that he appreciates all of the work that he puts into Fringe Division, and Walter says something to the effect of Broyles being quite welcome. Walter then says, however, “You know, I had a fruit cocktail once in Atlantic City. Mind you, I'm not the fruit cocktail sort of guy,” and that is his story. Of course, Broyles is not amused by this (even though I definitely would have been) and approaches Peter, telling him that Walter needs to be controlled so that he can focus, which, of course, causes Peter to rant about that responsibility is now suddenly his even though it is impossible. There is also the scene during which Walter wants to speak to Peter on the phone, and when Astrid hands the phone to Walter, Walter greets Peter by saying, “Hello, Peter. This is me, your father, Walter Bishop.” I just love how he, for some reason, finds it necessary to afford all of that information, as if Peter wouldn't know who it is to whom he is talking. Then, of course, as usual, Walter gets Astrid's name wrong and calls her Asteroid, which is especially great, because everyone is too flustered to say anything; they probably don't even notice, in fact.

There is definitely a lot to say about Olivia in regards to this episode, too. For starters, Lucas tells her that “there is something that has shifted in you. Something's different,” and I think that this directly relates to my theory that she has not always been the hard-headed and rather stoic woman as which we know her. John Scott's betrayal, however, hardened her and caused her to hide her emotions. Lucas sees it in this single scene, and we have sort of had the opportunity to see it, too. As I previously mentioned, we see her in the pilot episode laughing with John Scott while she is in bed with him. This is, in fact, the first that we see Olivia in the entire series. We certainly don't see her laughing too often anymore. Between John Scott's betrayal and being brought into this task force known as Fringe Division where the fate of the world is (literally) her responsibly, she was hardened, and it's unfortunate, because boy, that girl's smile is beautiful when she shows it. Most of the time, though, in film, television and literature, happy people aren't as interesting. Walter is an exception, but I think that even he fits the bill in some senses, because his frequent euphoria is due to his mental instability, which is problematic and calls for an interesting, complex character. As I say time and time again, I don't know of many TV shows in which the characters are as complex as they are onFringe, with the possible exception of Alias.

I mean, as I said, we definitely see some character development out of Olivia in this episode. I love how Broyles tells her that she might as well not waste her time going to Germany since she won't be granted access to speak to Jones, and she says, “You don't know me well enough to say something like that to me,” and similarly, she tells the warden in Germany that she has “reason to believe he will talk to me,” after being told that even if the prison did allow her to speak to him, Jones would most likely not talk, anyway. I just love her, because she is very focused and intent on reaching a goal, regardless of what she has to say or do. When she and Lucas are at his place and she tells him a brief story of John Scott (the Observer, by the way, is clearly seen at the airport, merely seconds before Olivia and Lucas meet up), I would have thought that Olivia killed Scott if I had been Lucas, just because of the tone of her voice and the look on her face when she tells him that “he died.” At the same time, though, she loosens up with Lucas, allowing us to see a new side of her, a side of which we haven't seen much prior to this episode. I am not really sure what the purpose of Lucas is in this episode, though. He has not recurred yet, and he just seems so random. Is it just to do exactly what I just mentioned, to show a lighter side of Olivia? Also, when Olivia and Lucas are kissing and Olivia's phone rings, Lucas says, “I hate whoever that is,” and of course, it's none other than Peter on the line, which I think is foreshadowing at its best.

Peter is so funny when Walter drugs him, and it's all a reflection of Josh Jackson's fantastic acting ability (I just love what Broyles says when he sees this, too; he says, “This can't possibly be scientific”). He learns in this episode that Walter conducted dangerous experiments on him when he was a child, and Peter seems to remember this. I am writing this blog entry during the season two run (less than a week before the airing of episode 2.15, “Peter,” in fact, so this subject matter is appropriate), so we now know that the Peter that we know is not the Peter from this reality. When he was seven years old, he somehow died, and Walter consequently stole the Peter from the reality and brought him here, and since Peter, as I said, does seem to suddenly remember these dangerous experiments, I think that they were experiments conducted on this Peter. Looking ahead to episode 2.05, “Dream Logic,” Peter tells Olivia that between the ages of eight and nineteen, Peter never remembered a single nightmare, because Walter conditioned him to forget his nightmares. This is merely an example of how Walter conditioned Peter to function in society with the hope that Peter would never learn the truth, so I think that these dangerous experiments with car batteries are yet another example. Who knows what it was, exactly, that he was doing if this is the case? Perhaps, it was all an effort to get him to forget about the night that he was taken. As I said, this is such timely subject matter since “Peter” airs in less than a week at this point in time, an episode that is going to be, in a word, epic.

Speaking of Peter, though, when he finally does see the answer to the question “Where does the gentleman live?” he only sees vertical lines, as I'm sure that you know, and I'm more than okay with Walter's conclusion that the brain damage done to Joseph Smith's brain when he was shot is what caused the lack of horizontal lines, but what I don't like is the Deus ex Machina when Peter conveniently and very quickly, I might add, puts all of the horizontal lines where they belong on the vertical lines in order to write “Little Hill." Even for a man with an IQ of 190, this seems a little far-fetched to me. Speaking of Little Hill, though, what does Jones mean when he says to Olivia that it is possible that the both of them are just pawns on a chessboard and are being manipulated as they speak? That is never explained. Does he mean anything by it, or are his Hannibal-like tendencies merely trying to manipulate Olivia and the situation? The latter would not surprise me, because he really does remind me so much of Hannibal. His first line in the episode and therefore the series is, “What a pleasure this is,” and he sounds, both vocally and tonally, like Hannibal. The whole situation kind of reminds me of theSilence of the Lambs, really, because the FBI needs assistance with a case and therefore turns to an imprisoned convict, who later escapes (although not until “Safe”). I wonder if inspiration was intentionally drawn or if I'm just seeing comparisons that weren't actually intended. The situation is somewhat similar, though, and Jones really does remind me so much of Hannibal, something that I will talk more about in my blog entry for episode “Ability” (1.14) probably my favorite episode to date.

Jones tells Olivia that the people that he works with are loyal to no end, which is something that is evident throughout the entire season. Time and time again, we see criminals who are possibly tied to ZFT kill themselves when they are in a situation where they might have to reveal ZFT's agenda to the FBI. The only exception of which I can think is Nicholas Boone, who in episode 1.18, “Midnight,” rebels in order to save the life of his wife. Jumping topics a bit, though, I love the speech that Broyles gives to Olivia near the end of the episode. He tells her that she is never satisfied with what she does accomplish but instead focuses on what shedoesn't accomplish, but then he tells her that “your dissatisfaction is what makes you so damn good, someone I'm proud to say I work with. This is probably the turning point of the relationship between Olivia and Broyles, the point at which it starts to become what it is now, which, to me, is very paternal. As far as Loeb's deception and betrayal, of which his wife Samantha was a part, as well, I don't really have anything to say without spilling into later episodes, which I don't want to do. All I will say is that I remember first seeing this episode back in 2008 and loving it, and this closing scene shocked me. Even knowing that there was a mole inside the FBI, I never expected that it would be Loeb, even though I'm sure that there are people who did. It probably wasn't too hard to surmise, but I'm not always good at piecing puzzle pieces together so quickly like that. I mean, in the same episode that he is introduced, it is also revealed that he is a mole. Perhaps, if we didn't learn that he was a mole until later, I would have figured it out. Anyway, stay on the fringe. Thanks to Fringepedia for the photos, by the way.

"The Cure" (1.06)

I would like to start by saying that this entry does contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen Fringe but would like to see it, then please don't read any further. “The Cure” is a pretty decent episode, and the primary reason why I really like it is because it relates directly to something that Broyles says in the pilot episode of the series. He says that it is like someone out there is experimenting; only, the whole world is a lab, and that is something that we see time and time again on Fringe. This episode is no exception, and one reason that I am, so far, thinking that I like season one better than the season two is because season one makes a better effort to connect these “experiments” together, since we eventually learn that someone is indeed behind them, that there is a very strong possibility that they are attacks carried out by ZFT. Why? Well, we don't have much of an idea yet. The closest that we have to an idea is what Gordon says at the end of episode 2.03, “Fracture.” He tells Broyles that there is an enemy and that their goal is to use our science and technology against us. We then learn that he is talking about the Observers, that he was trying to wipe them out because they are anything but our friends. Could that be what ZFT's goal has been from the start, to take out the Observers? Perhaps, if that is the case, then a lot of the deaths that we have seen throughout the series, such as the people encased in a translucent substance in episode 1.03, “The Ghost Network,” are regarded as casualties in a war and that that is why September is frequently seen at the crime scenes.

Anyway, the opening scene is probably the grossest opening scene that I have seen yet (even though the opening of “Snakehead" comes close). In fact, if there are any Fringe fans who remember Adele, who used to host the Fringe Dwellers podcast, then you may know that she once said that this scene was edited for television in Australia. I love how Walter is humming near the beginning of the episode for no apparent reason, something that is clearly annoying Olivia. When asked to stop, he goes on to say that he didn't realize that he was doing it out loud, that he thought that it was in his head. He once again has thoughts or questions unrelated to the case (something that we see again and again throughout season one and also something that clearly annoys Olivia). This time, after saying that he has three questions and voicing only two, he says, “Oh, the third question. Could I get some of this onion soup? It looks delicious.” I love how the team is at such a horrifically gruesome scene, and he has food on his mind, and of all things, a liquid-like food. You have to love Walter and his Walterisms. Fringe simply wouldn't be Fringe without him or them, and then, you also have to love Olivia and her Oliviaisms. Walter, Peter and Astrid are examining a dead, headless body, and seemingly unaffected completely by the scene, Olivia walks into the lab and asks, “How's it coming?” As usual, she is focused on the task at hand and nothing else.

When I first watched this episode, I could immediately tell that Claire's husband is lying when shown a photograph of Emily and asked if he knew her. It's evidently clear in the way that he responds that he is hiding something, but obviously, we don't know what right away. Later, of course, we learn that his deception is because they were making their own cure, and he didn't want to tell a federal agent, because he didn't want their research to be shut down. I am really happy that Olivia is at least somewhat conscious of animal cruelty, since after Walter kills Mr. Papaya using the same method that he thinks was used to kill the people in the diner (which is that Emily was basically programmed to cook the people in the diner alive), he suggests using “some expendable gerbils in the back,” to which Olivia vehemently exclaims, “No!” Of course, later in the episode, we see what appears to be a rat being placed inside Claire's confinement, where the same thing happens to it as what happened to the people in the diner and to Mr. Papaya. That is so cruel. Whatever the reason behind these attacks may be, do these people have any regard for innocent life whatsoever? Obviously, they don't. Their goal is to accomplish their missions and nothing else; lives lost in the process, even if it is just the life of a defenseless animal, mean nothing.

Returning to what I was saying about the world being a lab for a series of experiments, however, Peter nails that with more precision than a dart hitting the direct center of the board. He says to Olivia, “If this is part of the Pattern, what if these people aren't just experiments? What if somebody is preparing for something?” This is exactly what I am saying; season one makes these conscious efforts to tie the stories together, whereas season two does not. No one questions the significance of the mole-baby (“Night of Desirable Objects”), the doctor addicted to dreams (“Dream Logic”), the cosmonaut whose body is bound with that of an unidentified foreign creature (“Earthling”), the Chinese Snakehead infecting people with worms (“Snakehead”) or the disfigured community of Edina, New York (“Johari Window”). In this episode, however, as well as many episodes of season one, ties are made, and in addition to what Peter says to Olivia, I definitely think that ZFT is behind this attack. Why? Again, we don't really know, but when confronted by Olivia about the case, Dr. Patel reveals to her that David Esterbrook is responsible and then kills himself, something that we have seen ZFT members do again and again throughout season one, and speaking of David Esterbrook, when Olivia confronts him and pretends to be a woman named Amanda Bennett who is an admirer and follower of his work, it is clear how ambitious of an agent she is, pretending (which is extravagantly convincing, I might add) to be this woman until she gets Esterbrook to say what she needs him to say, and when Broyles reprimands her for doing this, it is easy to see that there is still a great deal of tension between her and Broyles, something that is so wildly different at this point in the series.

I love the story that Olivia tells Peter about her birthday. There is something about it that is really poetic, and throughout season one and even in some episodes of season two, Olivia keeps mentioning her stepfather, which suggests, to me, that he will eventually be a key figure in the series. She says that the situation involving the shooting of her stepfather happened when she was nine years old, and in an earlier episode (I believe that it was “The Ghost Network”), she says that she pretty much had always known that she wanted to go into Law Enforcement ever since she was nine years old, which suggests a connection between the age and the situation. Another highlight of this episode is the meeting between Peter and Nina. She says to him, “I doubt you'll remember, but you and I spent a good deal of time together.” At the time, we obviously didn't realize it, but this is a hint toward Peter being from the other side, because that is precisely why Nina “doubts” that he will remember it. The scene originally caused me to speculate that Nina is Peter's mother, and I'm sure that I am not the only one. However, if you've seen the first Sneak Peek of the upcoming episode “Peter” (2.15) that was released, then you know exactly why she said that, but for those who prefer to stay completely spoiler-free, I won't say anything more than that. She makes an exchange with Peter, and although I do have an idea as to what that might be, sharing it would share those aforementioned spoilers, so I will save everything until after “Peter” is aired next week. All that I will say, however, is that despite what you tell Olivia at the end of this episode, Peter, don't be so sure that you're a big boy and that you can take care of yourself.

This episode features Walter getting Astrid's name wrong once again, calling her “Asterix,” to which Peter says, “Astrid. Her name is Astrid,” and although this isn't very important, I wonder if Olivia wears contact lenses. My brother Cody has pointed this out before, but I kind of just noticed it in this episode (near the end of the episode when Olivia tells Broyles that she is indeed emotional but that emotion is what drives her); Olivia's eyes do seem to change color every now and then. They seem to alternate between a hazel-like color and bluish-green. It is very likely, though, that she wears contact lenses, since she is sometimes seen wearing glasses when she reads. Now, about the ending of the episode, I already briefly referred to Olivia's stepfather and how that might come into play later in the series (I almost want to say that I have heard word of the producers say that, indeed, it will), but Olivia does end up receiving the birthday card, unsigned, simply saying, “thinking of you.” Obviously, I am aware that this is consistent with the story that Olivia tells Peter of her stepfather sending her a birthday card every year on her birthday, but I am wondering if it relates to this particular episode at all. Olivia says that she knows that her stepfather isn't responsible for everything bad in the world but that he is responsible for some of it, something that drives her to catch “bad guys.” Between that line and the card at the end of the episode, I can't help but think that maybe he was involved in this particular event. Anyway, I am sure that in the future, we will learn more regarding Olivia's stepfather, something to which I am looking forward. As I said, this is a pretty good episode, and I think that I'd give it seven expendable gerbils.

"Power Hungry" (1.05)

I would actually like to kick this entry off by mentioning the Observer. Obviously, this episode is by no means an Observer-centric episode, but September does make a rather obvious appearance when he walks out of the elevator at Joseph Meegar's worksite. I also initially said that it was probably my favorite episode out of the series so far, and I'm not sure why I said that. At that point, the pilot episode had definitely been the best one. “Power Hungry” is a decent episode, but it's not so phenomenal as to be called the best episode out of the first five. Indirectly, it is related to the show's mythology, which definitely causes it to earn some points in my book (seven epic pacemaker fails). How the episode plays into the show's mythology is something that will be discussed in this entry, but please be aware that this entry will contain spoilers that pertain to Fringe, so if you've never seen the show but would like to, then please, don't read any further.

This episode begins with a man named Joseph Meegar who is involved in an elevator drop that kills everyone in the elevator besides him, and this leads us to a fringe science that involves a human with a much higher than normal level of electromagnetism surrounding his body, something that was caused by a group of people who promised Joseph that they would help him “unlock his hidden potential.” It's definitely an interesting fringe science, and it's one that doesn't seem all that far-fetched to me. What if a human could possibly have elevated levels of electromagnetism and could therefore cause electric equipment to malfunction? Something that I really like about this episode is that it doesn't just entirely abandon last week's premise, as Olivia and Charlie discuss Olivia having seen John the night before, and Peter and Walter discuss his torture, and speaking of Peter, the look on his face when he comes to the door after Olivia knocks on it is simply priceless. He is completely annoyed that he has been awakened at such an early hour, which he doesn't hide.

I suppose that in opposition to what was just said about the episode basically picking up where the last episode left off, I do recall Courtney from the Fringe Podcast saying that she was annoyed by the fact that Astrid suddenly seems not to have any ill feelings toward Walter, despite the fact that he injects her with a syringe in the previous episode. However, this is not the impression that I have during this episode. For example, when Walter confesses his regrets for having to let the pigeons go due to his belief that they are “such majestic creatures,” she says to him, “They're rats with wings. You'll get over it.” For Astrid, the look on her face and her tone of voice were very sarcastic, even directed toward Walter, so I think that she is, in fact, still harboring ill feelings toward Walter, and Walter looks so defeated when she says this. Then, there's the scene in which Walter says to her, “That one can go out the back. Thank you, my dear.” Astrid replies, “What's my name?” Walter has trouble remembering but does recall that it “starts with A.” When Astrid asks him what her name is, I sensed some tension in that scene, too. However, they do not mention what Walter did at all, and that is most likely what Courtney was talking about. We do see near the end of “The Arrival” that Astrid is angry with Walter, and he does apologize to her, so perhaps she simply thought about it and decided to, more or less, accept his apology.

Something that I wonder about Joseph Meegar is whether or not he is a Cortexiphan subject. We do know from the episode that he was having illegal experiments performed on him and that the experiments were what caused his ability, but we also know that he was being injected with something, and we don't know with what he was being injected. Additionally, we know that Cortexiphan initiates very dramatic abilities, and is Cortexiphan what caused Meegar's ability? Is Jacob Fischer possibly a member of ZFT or even an employee of Massive Dynamic, and if either is true, then, as I'm sure has been discussed before in the Fringecommunity, what's the difference between the two? Are ZFT and Massive Dynamic possibly partners in “crime?” Perhaps ZFT is actually committing the “crimes,” and Massive Dynamic is supplying it with the means to do so?

The main reason why I say that Meegar could be a Cortexiphan subject is because we don't know anything whatsoever about his childhood, so the possibility that he could have been given the drug when he was a child can therefore not be ruled out. Also, we can assume that the reason why children are being given Cortexiphan is to create soldiers in the upcoming war, and as we know based on what Jones says to Olivia in episode 1.14, “Ability,” soldiers are expected to be unwilling, which Meegar most definitely is. Additionally, Fischer says to him, “Look what science has made you, Joseph. You are special.” I am therefore left to wonder how he is special. Obviously, he can harness electricity, which is undoubtedly “special,” but for what purpose can he harness electricity?

After all, it doesn't seem realistic to me that the experiment would have been conducted merely for the fun of it, especially since Fischer tells the man with whom he is working that “he's [Meegar] the priority.” That strongly suggests to me that even Fischer is taking orders from someone, someone who has expressed that Meegar is so important that if Fischer needs to surrender his life in order to preserve Meegar and his ability, then so be it, and I can't decide if that sounds more like ZFT or Massive Dynamic. In other episodes, we have seen ZFT members surrender their lives for a higher cause (i.e., 1.07, “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”), but we have also seen Massive Dynamic perform experiments on humans (i.e., 2.07, “Of Human Action”), which serves as good support for the theory that ZFT and Massive Dynamic could be working together. After all, in episode 1.18, “Midnight,” we find out that William Bell could possibly be funding ZFT, something that he does not deny during his meeting with Olivia in the alternate reality.

I feel really terrible for Joseph Meegar whenever I watch this episode, because obviously, none of what happens is his fault. He doesn't understand his ability, and he is confused. I mean, near the end of the episode, Olivia makes the mistake of shouting “Freeze!” when she apprehends Meegar, and I call it a mistake, because how can you expect someone to comply when you shout at them like that, especially when it's someone who you should be trying to get to see you as a friend. When she shouts like that, he automatically sees her as an enemy. She should have said something like, “Joseph, listen to me. I know that you probably see me as your enemy right now, but I assure you that I am not. I'm FBI, and I'm here to help you.” Of course, there are two issues at hand as far as that is concerned. Firstly, she most likely didn't know at that point whether or not he was in control of his “ability.” Secondly, he most likely still would have ran, because he didn't trust anyone, but she still could have tried. What she does do just about guarantees that he is going to run.

Additionally, I don't really think that it was necessary for Peter to hit him so hard, especially not with whatever it was that he struck him with (it looked like a crowbar). He could have jumped on him or put his arm out to stop him or something like that. This poor guy is running because he is scared to death, so you hit him over the head with a crowbar? Then, when he begs to go home, Olivia treats him like he's a bad guy and behaves so coldly to him. It really makes me feel so sorry for him. This episode as a whole, anyway, is decent and, to me, earns those seven malfunctioned pacemakers. It has one of the top Fringe quotes to date, which is the scene in which Charlie says to Olivia, “Saying someone's doing all this, you know that's crazy right?” Her response is, “If it weren't, we wouldn't be looking for him.” Of course, we also discover in this episode why Olivia is seeing John Scott despite the fact that he is supposed to be dead, which is because when she was in the tank from the pilot episode, part of Scott's consciousness crossed over into hers, and since it's not supposed to be there, seeing him in front of her is her mind's way of coping with the issue of there being an extra voice in her head. “There's only room for one voice in your head, not two,” as Walter says. Anyway, until next time, stay on the fringe.