"Best-Laid Plans/Space Cowboy" (FRINGE #4)

To those who have not read the Fringe comic series but would like to read it, please, don't read any further, as this does contain spoilers. The first half of this comic (titled "Best-Laid Plans") is the fourth part of the Walter and Bell series. At the end of the third part in the series, the two of them escaped from the "soap company," and I am assuming that some time has passed since then. Bell is out on a date with a woman named Jill, and he is interrupted by Walter telling him that he needs to get back to the lab as soon as possible, and by the way, I would like to make an observation about the phone with the video feed. In "Peter" (2.15), Walter shows a cell phone to the government in 1985, saying that the technology is from the Other Side, and this comic takes place in the 70s, so is the phone with the video feed from the Other Side? Anyway, much to Bell's dismay, he returns to the lab, only to discover that the U.S. Air Force is there to blackmail the two of them into assisting them with a project; they want them to figure out what this strange machine is, a machine that was located in Argentina six months prior, and finish constructing it. We see that Walter has a cow (which I find hilarious), and we also see Rufus, seemingly a very happy dog who enjoys spending time at the lab. Unfortunately for Walter and Bell, however, Rufus sees donuts, and while they are inside of the machine, Rufus accidentally turns the machine on, leading them to discover that the machine is a time machine and that they have been sent to Germany in the 1940s.

This is the comic in which it is discovered that Walter's father was a Nazi, but it is not discovered until the fifth comic that he wasn't a Nazi in the traditional sense but was instead a spy. This is touched upon in "The Bishop Revival" (2.13), which is kind of neat, because the glyph on the cover of this comic is the seahorse, Robert Bishop's nickname. I remember being really excited at the end of "What Lies Below" (2.12) seeing the promo for "The Bishop Revival" because I knew that the main purpose of the episode was to reward those who had read the comics. I don't care much for the episode, but I do really appreciate the tie-in to the comics. "Fracture" (2.03) ties into the comics, as well, tying into the second half of comic 1.2, "Strangers on a Train." Anyway, Walter is being his usual self and is introducing himself to people that he doesn't know, saying, "Hello, I am Dr. Walter Bishop." I do find it odd, however, because in this comic, Walter seems to be a little bit more like the Walter that we know and love now, but about ten years after this comic, when we see him in "Peter" (2.15) in 1985, he is almost nothing like the Walter that we now know. The final observation that I would like to make, though, is that there is a gold bird on Hans Froelich (Walter's father)'s desk, which ties into the first half of the first comic, "Like Minds." I can't believe that I didn't notice that bird the first time that I read the comic, but I've noticed it now, so obviously, it is Walter's father that Bell sees in the first comic.

The second half of this comic is titled "Space Cowboy" and is about the death of an astronaut named Raymond Chester. I personally think that he is stupid to agree to anything and sign paperwork before knowing what he is getting himself into; I wouldnever do such a thing, but I am assuming that he trusted his government, which I suppose is honorable, honorable but stupid. In this story, Chester is basically asked to take a drug which he is told will make him more durable in space, doubling his ability to retain oxygen. What happens, however, is that the drugs cause him to be completely out of control. His heart rate and his testosterone level spike, which ultimately cause him to have a heart attack. A couple of months later, a trial is held, but the court can't seem to get any answers out of anyone, and it's not too long before it becomes obvious to us that a cover-up is at work, a conspiracy, especially when, at the end of the story, we see another man signing on to do the same thing. Now, why is the U.S. government giving drugs to astronauts that they know will kill them? That is beyond me, but at any rate, I really don't like this story; it has no connection to the Fringe mythology at all and is not very interesting as far as I'm concerned. I like the Walter and Bell story a lot better (as I usually do), but overall, I give this comic six phones with video feed.

"Midnight" (1.18)

Before I begin, I would like to warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, because this blog entry does contain spoilers. This is one of the most difficult episodes for me to rate. Sometimes, I'll watch it and really like it, but other times, I'll watch it and won't be so fond of it. Ultimately, I have to give it seven spinal fluid vampires. During my first viewing of this episode, I think that I was wondering if perhaps Valerie Boone was a Cortexiphan subject, but, of course, she is not. Once again, the Observer is very easy to spot. During the club scene near the beginning of the episode, the Observer can be seen at the club. Sometimes, he is really easy to spot, and other times, he is next to impossible to spot. I am unsure, however, as to what the purpose of the Singles Together scene is. It takes up quite a bit of screen-time, yet it doesn't seem to have much of a purpose to move the story along, and it kind of annoys me. I do like the fact that the episode ties into the mythology, since this case is clearly a ZFT case and the ending reveals that Bell has been funding ZFT, but I am not too fond of the whole "spinal fluid vampire" story. This episode is really like a "mythalone," in that a "stand-alone" story ends up tying into the mythology, sort of like "Of Human Action" (2.07) and "White Tulip" (2.17), except "Of Human Action" is an episode that I really like.

I have such a love/hate relationship with this episode. As usual, Walter has a food obsession, and this time, it's shrimp cocktail. Walter relates the image of the exposed spine to shrimp cocktail, and Peter, disgusted, says that shrimp cocktail is one more food that he can add to his list of foods that he will never eat again. Also, Peter notices that something is up with Olivia, and he says that she isn't behaving in her normal chipper self. I posit that this is not the case at all, that Olivia is behaving no differently than she normally does, since she is rarely ever "chipper." I think that Olivia and Peter share some sort of connection that allows for a heightened ability to read each other's emotions. Granted, it could be that Peter is just being sarcastic, but then, how does he determine that something is wrong? Anyway, there is an incredibly memorable quote that comes from Broyles, which is that he can "just about remember when a suspect's being human was a given, not an option," which he says in reference to "Unleashed" (1.16). I also love the scene during which Olivia asks Broyles about his divorce attorney, and just to be a wiseguy, he tells her that he hopes everything works out for Rachel, and when she looks at him as if to ask how he knows, he says, "I pay attention, too, Agent Dunham," which he says in reference to Olivia having noticed that Broyles talks on the phone to his kids but never to his wife.

Astrid also says something pretty memorable in this episode. She tells Peter, "When you finally meet a nice girl, I would avoid bringing her home for as long as possible," which is obviously in reference to the fact that he lives with Walter. Speaking of Walter, though, his conversation with Boone is rather memorable, as well, and sort of reminds me of the conversation that he has with Peck in "White Tulip" (2.17), because both scenes involve conversations between two very intelligent scientists. Boone really confuses me to a great extent, though. What is he doing to that poor dog when he is apprehended, and why? Is it something that ZFT instructed him to do? I also suspect that ZFT told him nothing, because first of all, he apparently had never even heard of Jones, and second of all, he obviously didn't know what ZFT's mission was/is. He says that it just tries to show off to other scientists with its scientific knowledge, to create a human nightmare, and based on what we have seen at this point in this series (after the end of the second season), I would say that it's more like ZFT is using this world as a testing ground, seeing those killed as unfortunate but necessary casualties. I think that what we have seen are experiments, ways to ensure the effectiveness of efforts to seriously destabilize the Other Side.

Something that I wonder about Valerie, though, is if she is into English men, because she really seems to be. First, there is the man that picks her up at the bar who clearly has an English accent, and then, there is Nick Boone, her husband, who also has an English accent. I'm just making that probably pointless observation. Anyway, I love how Olivia tells Rachel on the phone that she's going to have to talk to her about Greg a little later since she has to go to a meeting, at which point the camera shows us that she is in an FBI van, a scenario in which she is the only woman; that's quite a meeting. Walter, as usual, is excited to be exposed to such gruesome material. When Olivia and Peter return to the lab with the body that they had just found, Walter says, "Marvelous! You can bring the bodies right this way, gentlemen! We've been expecting you; right over here is fine." He then offers one of the coroners a cookie, which he silently accepts. Then, a bit later, we see Walter very excited about clapping his hands which results in the lights going out, something that he says he ordered from the television (which I find odd, because although he seems able to afford this, he never has money to take a bus). However, something that bothers me about this episode is the dog and the rat, since I strongly believe in animal rights, and I can't stand watching that poor dog, obviously dead, enduring scientific experiments and that poor rat being injected with the substance and then later dying.

The club scene involving Olivia and Peter is great. Peter sort of flirts with a girl that he meets there but then tells her that he is looking for someone with Syphilis, which he is, but obviously, in the context of the scene, his statement is hilarious. This scene is also dominated by "Discipline" by Nine Inch Nails, and I find it funny how whenever I hear Nine Inch Nails, I always know that it's Nine Inch Nails even if I don't know the song. Before I even hear Trent's voice, I identify the beat as Nine Inch Nails; they definitely have a unique sound. Anyway, Peter is totally flirting with Olivia when he is showing off in the car by flashing its lights, and he would look like a complete idiot if we didn't know better. He says to Olivia that it stands to reason that "beneath every cynic, there is a frustrated romantic," which is also a very memorable quote, and, of course, at this point in the series, Olivia has finally confessed her feelings for Peter to Peter. Yet another is Boone's rhetorical question directed toward Walter, "How far would you go for someone you love?" This is obviously foreshadowing Walter having taken Peter from the Other Side, and that is made rather obvious by the look on Walter's face, even though we were not aware of it at the time. Peck, also a very intelligent scientist, goes above and beyond to do something for someone that he loves, and in Boone's case, I can only imagine how badly having spinal fluid removed has to hurt; I am hoping that I will never have to find out.

I remember being shocked by Valerie's ear-piercing scream and thinking, "Was that really necessary?" That has to be the loudest, most intense scream on television ever. Anyway, Boone stays true to his word and tells Olivia everything that he knows (we assume) about ZFT by recording a video, and it is frustrating but not the least bit surprising that we don't see everything that he says in the recording, but it couldn't have been too much more besides what we learn, which is that Bell funds ZFT, because, otherwise, Olivia would have mentioned it to Broyles. I am very surprised, though, that Nina is not directly implicated, since it's looking a lot like Massive Dynamic is involved. As it was just stated, though, Bell isimplicated, yet at this point in the series, Bell doesn't come off as the type to cause such terror. I think that ZFT was Walter and Bell's idea, and I think that Walter is the one who wrote the ZFT, a prediction that I make based on the fact that Walternate wrote the ZFT Manuscript on the Other Side, a much more successful, publicized publication. However, I think that ZFT was intended to be used for good, but people like Jones have abused it by ignoring the chapter on Ethics. Anyway, as I said, I'm still not sure what to make of this episode. Overall, I don't care much for it, but I have to give it an eight for its references to the Fringe mythology.

"Bad Dreams" (1.17)

Before discussion of this episode begins, I will do the usual and warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. This episode certainly leaves viewers with a lot to think about. Why do Cortexiphan subjects wear blacks and grays in order to blend in? What was the extent of Walter's involvement in the Cortexiphan trials? Did he simply forget that Olivia was a subject, with the video reminding him? Who is activating the Cortexiphan subjects? Is it ZFT, and why? What exactly is Olivia's ability, and how has she been activated? I remember this episode being very highly anticipated. It was for me, anyway. I remember reading the very brief synopsis a few weeks before the episode aired, and when I read that people would be committing suicide against their will, I instantly thought of The Happening, and although the scene near the end of the episode involving the people on top of the roof is very reminiscent of The Happening, this episode is fortunately nothing like The Happening. My initial prediction regarding this episode, even before seeing the promo, was that it was going to be one of the very best episodes of the season, and then, after seeing the promo, I upgraded my estimation, saying that it would most likely be the best of the season at that point in the season. Unfortunately, it doesn't outdo "Ability," in my opinion, which I think is revolutionary. This one is really good, too, though, and it really impressed me, ultimately leading me to give it nine red balloons.

The first thought that goes through my mind when I watch this episode is why the bus station seems to be so empty. Perhaps, we are only seeing what is important since we are technically seeing Olivia's dream, and perhaps, in her dream, she only sees what is important. After Olivia has her "nightmare," Ella says that she is going to the doctor's office that day in order to receive a vaccination, which she mispronounces. I don't think that she is getting a vaccination in the traditional sense; I think that she is being given Cortexiphan, and the fact that, at the end of the episode, Ella says that the "stuff that they put in me isn't dead anymore," that "it came back alive" and the fact that Olivia replies by telling her that it's just "bad dreams" seriously helps support this theory. Anyway, I love how Walter is about to suggest astral projection as a possibility, and Astrid interrupts him, because she thinks that he is mispronouncing her name. I probably would have done the same, since he obviously has a tendency to mispronounce her name. It's also pretty funny when Walter bluntly asks Olivia, "Well, then, why did you kill her?" as if he knows as a fact that she did and that she did so willingly. Sometimes, I do have to wonder if he's just busting hump.

I immediately had a feeling that the restaurant scene was one of Olivia's "nightmares." It would be completely out of character for her to go eat at a restaurant all alone, especially with Rachel and Ella at home. Even if she is having a difficult time and therefore doesn't want to be around Rachel and Ella, I don't see her as the type to go eat at a restaurant all alone. In this episode, Peter suggests that Olivia is on Caffeine pills, something that she neither confirms nor denies, which leads me to believe that she does indeed take them, which would make sense. Something that we see repeatedly throughout this series is an apparent insomniac condition from which Olivia suffers, and despite her serious lack of sleep, she seems to function just fine, which could very well be because she takes Caffeine pills, which I suppose would help to a certain extent. There is a great deal of character development out of Olivia throughout this episode, as we see her in a serious state of emotional turmoil that we don't really see too much prior to this episode. I love the scene during which Olivia says to Peter, "Peter, what's happening to me?" and they hug. I also love the scene during which she totally and completely loses her cool with the man at the restaurant and grabs him, demanding to know if it was her that was sitting at the table at which she remembers sitting in her "nightmare."

It does annoy me, however, how the team comes across Nick Lane's identity. It just seems too convenient to me that the man at the restaurant would remember what some guy looked like sitting at any particular table at a particular point in time. I mean, surely, he sees hundreds of customers daily. Granted, Olivia was in his face demanding information, which has to be pretty scary, but it still seems like a pure example of Deus ex Machina to me, of which I am not always a very big fan. At any rate, as was previously stated, Olivia is breaking down in this episode, showing a very vulnerable side that we don't see before this episode, not since John Scott's death. Even so, though, I am very surprised that Broyles tells Olivia that she can take a break, because it's more important than ever that she be involved so that the team can figure out why she's having these "nightmares." I also really like how, in this episode, Peter is beginning to realize that what happened to Walter's mind is not necessarily his fault. However, it's odd how Walter insists that he didn't approve of the Cortexiphan trials, saying, "No, not me. William. We had quite a disagreement about it." However, at the end of "The Road Not Taken" (1.19) and in "Jacksonville" (2.14), Walter insists that they were trying to help Olivia, which strongly suggests that at the time, he was most likely completely on board. Either he didn't remember or he was trying to protect himself.

Walter also insists that the Cortexiphan trials involved keeping the children from feeling frightened or isolated, and I find this interesting, because that is the exact opposite of what we see in "Jacksonville" (2.14). In that episode, Olivia sees herself as a very young child, running through the forest all alone and scared to death. Anyway, the scene during which Olivia goes to a strip club did fool me the first time that I saw it, and then when she starts eyeballing the stripper and makes out with her, I was thinking, "What the hell is going on?" I love that scene, though, because Lady Gaga's "Starstruck" is playing at the club, and I love Lady Gaga; it was and still is very exciting to see Fringe and Lady Gaga combined. Something that makes me wonder, though, is whether not Nick was dating Sally yet, the Pyro from "Over There, Part 1" (2.21), since he goes to a strip club and then takes a girl home with him. Also, the machine to which Olivia is hooked up is flashing red and green lights, which obviously ties into the "red and green" motif that repeats throughout this entire series. This is also a memorable scene due to Olivia seeming to feel Nick's orgasm, which quite possibly could have been intended to boost ratings. Why, though, does Walter instruct Peter to hold Olivia's hand in order to calm her down? Is it just because Walter is such an Oliver, or is there more to it than that? Why does it seem to work? It really reminds me of Nina calming Walter down in "Of Human Action" (2.07).

There is a lot of red in this episode. As previously mentioned, there are the red lights on the machine to which Olivia is hooked up. There is also the red balloon which Olivia remembers being near the ceiling of the bus station. There is a bright red door in the episode and also a vividly red chess board. As I know that I have said before, the Cortexiphan trials remind me so much ofAlias's Project: Christmas, and the number "forty-seven" is inexplicably located on Nick's board, the one with all of the strange photographs, information, newspaper clippings and so forth. The board also features a very familiar message, "what was written will come to pass," which is what Loeb tells Olivia in "Ability" (1.14). What I find really odd about the rooftop scene, though, is why, after so many years, Nick would immediately recognize Olivia. Clearly, she looks nothing like she did when she was a child, but maybe, it has something to do with the mental connection that they share. He tells Olivia that "they're coming," which I'm guessing is in reference to the shapeshifters, and Olivia also sees a newspaper clipping in the portfolio that Charlie gives to her, a clipping with the headline, DOPPELGANGERS AMONG US, which must be a way to clue the viewers in to the shape shifters.

The Observer is very easy to spot in this episode, seeing as how he can be seen walking right in front of the building from which Nick Lane almost jumps. That makes a lot of sense, since this is obviously a significant event. I feel so sorry for Nick. Out of all of the confirmed Cortexiphan subjects that we have seen so far (other than Olivia), Nick Lane, Susan Pratt, Nancy Lewis, James Heath and Sally Clark (even though I think that Christopher Penrose, Joseph Meegar, Emily Kramer, Claire Williams and Tyler Carson are all Cortexiphan subjects, as well, possibly even Ben Stockton), I feel the sorriest for Nick. The trials, for one reason or another, have obviously depressed him to the point where he wants to kill himself, and then, when those feelings cause other people to kill themselves, it only worsens. What doesn't make any sense, though, is that if his emotions are suicidally powerful enough to kill other people, then why doesn't he kill himself? At any rate, his situation is incredibly dire, and I can't believe that he is killed off in "Over There, Part 1" (2.21). That really seems like a waste to me, as if the writers just senselessly threw him out, which kind of reminds me of a certain someone in the season one finale, "There's More than One of Everything" (1.20). Anyway, this is a really satisfying episode, as it definitely delivers.

"Unleashed" (1.16)

Before I begin discussing this episode of Fringe, I will warn those who have not seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, as this blog entry does contain spoilers. I think that this episode is one of the better "stand-alone" episodes. It deals with Walter's past, setting the stage for the final part of the season during which time two major secrets are revealed, secrets that Walter has kept, the first being the fact that Walter was involved in administering Cortexiphan to Olivia and the second being that Peter is from the alternate reality. Although this episode has nothing to do with either, it does have to do with Walter being tormented by his past and the decisions that he made in the past, which I think is important. Also, we get a great deal of character development from Charlie's character in this episode. In fact, in those regards, I don't really see the episode as being a true "stand-alone" episode, not in the sense that, say, "Night of Desirable Objects" (2.02) is, in which the case has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the mythology or with the characters. There is really only one episode during season one that I consider "stand-alone," and that would be "The No-Brainer" (1.12) an episode that received a rating of four, the lowest rating that I have ever given a Fringe episode so far. I am ultimately pretty happy with this episode and give it eight pregnant Charlies.

Something that is immediately clear in this episode is that Olivia is jealous that Peter calls to talk to Rachel, and this made especially obvious when Peter tells Olivia why he called to talk to her. He tells her that he discovered the title of the song that goes, "if you like Pina Coladas," and Olivia says, "So, you two are friends now?" Peter smiles and says, "Does that bother you?" It is easy to see that he is pleased that it bothers her, that he wants it to bother her, but, hey, that's just the Oliver inside of me talking, most likely. Anyway, moving on, the beginning of the episode, when the kids' car flips over only for them to be torn apart by the creature, reminds me so much of the film Cursed, and considering the fact that that film stars Josh Jackson, it may not be coincidental. I wonder why it is that Walter and Peter are suddenly fighting like brothers in this episode, although I do have to admit that I would be pretty angry about the ear omelet, too, speaking from Peter's perspective, that is; that is pretty disgusting, and he almost eats it. I love how Peter sarcastically suggests that the team is looking for Big Bird, and Walter says, "Don't be ridiculous; perhaps, a pterodactyl." It's as if that is any less ridiculous, and Peter consequently rolls his eyes.

"Oh, forgive my son," Walter says after Peter lashes out at him for eating the food found in the crashed vehicle. "He's been in a mood all day." Then, not too long after that, Broyles brings up Peter having falsified his degree from M.I.T., and Walter says, "Yeah, Peter, why commit to anything when you can just fake it?" Like I said, they are really at each other's throats throughout this episode, and I don't know why. Are they seriously in such battle just because of Walter's ear omelet? Walter also gives us quite a bit to laugh at during this episode, as he almost always does. Peter talking about the creature on the loose, asks if "this thing has the claws of a lion and the fangs of a snake," and Walter says, "Reminds me of a woman I once knew in Cleveland." Then, a little later in the episode, we see one of my all-time favorite Walter moments to date. Flustered, Walter wanders back and forth talking to himself, and he says, "Damn it, how can I concentrate with you running around?" Seemingly concerned, Astrid asks, "Walter, are you talking to me?" to which Walter replies, "No, just thinking out loud." Lastly, there is Walter's usual having topics come to mind, with at least one of them having nothing to do with the case. This time, he tells Olivia and Peter that he needs to "tinkle" and asks to be directed to the facilities." However, based on the look on his face after he asks this and Peter tells him that he's in the facilities, I have to wonder if he is just busting hump.

Despite Peter and Walter's bickering in this episode, though, this episode is yet another episode that makes it clear that Peter cares a lot about Walter. When Walter tries to get rid of the creature himself by consuming poison in case the creature eats him, Peter vehemently says to him, "I don't want you to do this!" and at the end of the episode, he makes it clear that he is proud of Walter, something that he does quite often. I love how every time Olivia needs Astrid for something, Astrid almost always knows what Olivia is going to ask her for and therefore finishes Olivia's sentences before she finishes them herself. Olivia is her usual self in this episode; for example, when she returns to Swift Research to confront Robert Swift (played by David Pittu, who I personally feel does a terrible acting job in this episode), she is told that she can't simply walk back there to confront him, but, of course, she does, anyway. However, Olivia is also compassionate and caring and has a huge heart, and that is made obvious in this episode, too. Charlie tells her, "Don't get hurt for me," and Olivia says in response, "Well, that's not really fair, considering you would do the same for me." Speaking of Charlie, why, I wonder, doesn't the creature kill him? Walter says that he was spared in order to give birth to the creature's offspring (and I love how Charlie says, "Are you trying to tell me that I'm pregnant?"), but I really feel like I'm missing something, because larvae are found bursting out of the chest of one of the victims, so even though the creature kills this man, he still seems to be impregnated.

As previously stated, we see a lot of character development out of Charlie's character in this episode. Although he probably is not intending to be funny, he does convey humor in this episode, something that, although we have seen before ("I wasn't going to tell you this, but he said he loved me, too," referring to episode 1.03, "The Ghost Network"), we don't see all that often. Walter asks Charlie if the creature felt rough, like a rhinoceros, and Charlie says, very sarcastically, as it should be added, "I haven't felt any rhinos lately." Then, when Walter presses further, Charlie says, "I didn't get a good look at it; it kept on knocking me on my ass." We see a great deal of Kirk Acevedo's acting ability in this episode, as well, which is closely linked to the character development that we get. The scene involving Charlie talking to his wife on the phone, for example, is really sad (he most likely assumes that that is the last time that he will have the opportunity to talk to her) and is amazing acting on Acevedo's part. I can't believe, though, that his wife can't tell, from his tone of voice and such, that something is wrong; I certainly would have been able to tell, and it's so sad when Charlie tells Olivia that he and his wife have recently been talking a lot about having a baby.

Of course, we now know, from "A New Day in the Old Town" (2.01) that the Charlie from this reality is dead, and what makes it even harder to think about is the possibility that his wife did in fact end up getting pregnant with a child that will now never know his or her father. As previously stated, Kirk Acevedo does an excellent job acting in this episode. Still, the best that we've seen him is the scene in "Momentum Deferred" (2.04), during which he plays the Shapeshifter that took Charlie's form and buys thermometers so that he can consume the mercury, most definitely the absolute best acting that we have seen from Acevedo on this show. I had a feeling that since Charlie comes so close to death in this episode that he actually would die in the future, since that is exactly what happens to another character named Charlie on another show created by J.J. Abrams, and, of course, I was right. I also think that the creature is very cool-looking. I was on the edge of my seat during the scene involving the young boy at the playground, since I thought for sure that that kid was going to end up dead. I love how the episode ends, since it ties into the following episode, "Bad Dreams" (1.17), with Olivia turning her bedside lamp on before she goes to sleep. Overall, this is a very decent episode, in my opinion.

"Inner Child" (1.15)

Before I begin discussion of this episode, I want to warn those who have never seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, since this does contain spoilers. I remember when this first aired on April 7th last year, and it garnered a lot of hype, because it was the first episode that aired after a two-month hiatus (which is the case of episode 2.15, "Peter," the hype of which I think was even more intense). I remember how the possibility that the Child is an Observer didn't even cross my mind until someone else mentioned the possibility, pointing out his utter lack of hair, including a lack of eyebrows, and I was amazed, kicking myself for never putting that together myself. Now, however, I am convinced that the Child is an Observer, probably either January or February, and besides the lack of hair, I feel that there is quite a lot to back that theory up, if "theory" is what you want to call it. First, there is Eliot Michaels, the CIA agent who tries to take the Child into his custody, saying on his cell phone that he thinks "we have found another one." Then, there is the fact that the Child seems able to mentally interpret emotions, which is somewhat similar to what we have seen the Observers do when they say, in synchrony, what other people say. In episode 1.04, "The Arrival," for example, September says what Peter is about to say before he even says it. Lastly, there is the final scene of the episode, in which the Child sees September on a sidewalk and seems incredibly interested in him, and likewise, September seems interested, as well.

When we first see the Child in this episode, he is found underground by construction workers, and I wonder what is up with his eyes. He almost looks like a vampire, with his incredibly pale skin and glowing eyes, and I wonder why. As he spends more time in the "real world," if you will, his eyes become "normal," and his skin begins to have more color to it. He also has red around his eyes, which fade as the episode progresses until they finally disappear completely. After the intro, we see nothing but one of Olivia's eyes open, which is definitely a direct shout-out to LOST. Yellow seems to play a role in this episode. First, it is the color of the shirt that Olivia seems to prefer over the blue. Then, when Olivia tries to get the Child to eat M&Ms, she sets all of the yellow ones aside, saying that, for some reason, they remind her of medicine (which points to the possibility that Cortexiphan is yellow, which unfortunately conflicts with episode 2.14, "Jacksonville," which points to the possibility that it is red). Lastly, the Child puts the yellow M&Ms into the shape of a tree, which is meant to tip Olivia off when she sees the yellow tree-shaped air freshener in the Artist's car. I feel rather stupid, though, because Rachel tells Olivia in this episode that she and Ella will be moving into Boston, which is why they're not living with her anymore in season two, something that I have been questioning for a while now. I guess that since it was never made explicitly official, I never made the connection. Either way, this episode is meant to tell us that by season two, Rachel and Ella have moved out of Olivia's apartment.

It is mentioned that the place in which the Child was found was sealed off for decades, which makes one of two things possible. Either, like the Observers, the Child either doesn't age or ages very slowly (which Walter suggests but does not make a connection to the Observers), or, like the Shapeshifters (although I am not suggesting that the Child is a Shapeshifter), he just suddenly arrived there one day, sent over from the Other Side. Olivia is so amazing with him, as she always is with children, and he develops a connection with her that isn't fully explained. She looks like she is going to cry when she finds out that he was right about the address, 547 Marlborough (yet another "forty-seven" mention), but that they didn't fully "listen" to him, because the victim was not found there. There are so many questions surrounding this Child, the first of which being the most obvious one. Is he indeed an Observer? My answer is that he most definitely is, but how long are they going to wait to reveal this to us? The actor who plays the Child (Spencer List) is going to mature very quickly just like Walt did on LOST, and that's no good if he ages incredibly slowly. Secondly, what is the language that the team hears when it tries to interpret his thoughts? Is it the same language that we see September writing in "The Arrival" (1.04)? Why is it that while the team is trying to interpret his thoughts, the Child suddenly begins to freeze?

I like the Artist, because even though his part of the episode is completely "stand-alone" and has nothing to do with the Fringemythology, I'm not knocking that, because it's nice to see something from Olivia's career prior to the Flight 627 disaster resurface, something that she and Charlie worked on together. What I don't understand about the Artist, though, is how he goes about kidnapping women. The first woman that we see him kidnap is Kate Harper, the tattooed woman that he meets at the laundromat, and he kidnaps her by suddenly standing up in his wheelchair and injecting her with something, in broad daylight while people are clearly in the area, so how does he get away with this? The second woman, the teacher, is seemingly shoved into the trunk of her car, once again in broad daylight with people around the scene, so the same question comes into play. How does he get away with it? Anyway, near the end of the episode, Olivia takes him out with almost no struggle, as she almost always does when engaged in physical fights, especially those with men, and this scene is epic. I wonder, though, how the Child seemed to have a connection to the Artist, how he knew what was going to happen. Like the Observers, is he seemingly aware of one's fate before he or she meets it, and if so, did he, like August and September, change the course of history, therefore causing a need to "fix" it?

During the scene in which Walter dances with the neural stimulator used on Roy McComb in "The Ghost Network" (1.03), the Child can't help but smiling, therefore allowing Walter to put the stimulator on his head. If the Child is an Observer, which, again, I am convinced that he is, we typically see them as very emotionless and stoic, but even the Child cannot help but smile at Walter. I don't think that the Child can't talk, but it's very possible that he doesn't understand English. He instead interprets emotions, and I find it very interesting when Walter says to Peter, "You won't remember this, Peter, but you didn't talk much either as a child." It is now very clear (having just seen episode 2.20, "Northwest Passage") what Walter means when he says that Peter will not remember, since, needless to say, this Peter is actually alter-Peter, and Walter somehow erased a lot of Peter's childhood memories. This is referred to once again in the episode when Peter shows a childhood toy, a G.I. Joe, to the Child, and says, "Funny, I always remember the scar being on the other side." I love the words that he uses here, the "other side," which serve as a major tip, one that we didn't even realize was being provided at the time, but that's partly what is so much fun about re-watching old episodes; just about every single time that I do, I catch something that I never caught before. For example, now that we have seen "Earthling" (2.06) we know that this episode is the first of two times (so far) that Broyles has had a conflict with the CIA, and I can't help but wonder why that is. What does the CIA want?

As usual, this episode has plenty of Walterisms to offer. During the scene in which Olivia shows up at Walter and Peter's residence, Walter is not dressed, so he throws on a bathrobe. The conversation that Walter has with the two of them brings "sexual drive" up, and Peter looks at Walter's robe, which is revealing a bit too much skin for anyone's liking, and says, "Speaking of sexual drive." Walter, although definitely embarrassed, says, "Don't be such a prude. I'm sure Agent Dunham knows what a penis looks like, don't you, Agent Dunham?" This is definitely a laugh-out-loud moment, both because of Walter's sheer bluntness and because Olivia has no idea what to say. How is that for awkward? Then, there is the line that Astrid delivers, which is just great; she says, "Walter, slow down; you're not making any sense." What I find so funny about that is because that's like saying that on a sunny day, the sky is blue, because typically, Walter doesn't make any sense. "You hanging in there, kiddo?" Olivia asks the Child while Walter is having one of his mental storms. "Yeah, me, too." Overall, this is a pretty decent episode of Fringe, very LOST-like, with the mystery left almost entirely unsolved by the end of the episode to be (hopefully) solved at a later date, and I give it eight medieval torture devices.