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.