"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.