"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.

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