"Fracture" (2.03)

"Fracture" is definitely a step-up from the last episode, "Night of Desirable Objects."As I said in my entry regarding that episode, I'm not really sure why it was decided to jump into such a "stand-alone," "monster of the week"-like story so early into the season, the second episode, in fact, but I could go on for quite a while about that, and I won't. This episode, though, took not only listening to the latest episode of the Fringe Podcast but also a re-watch of the episode itself in order for me to fully understand it. I usually do watch each episode at least a couple of times before writing an entry, anyway, but this time, I was incredibly confused by this episode, but now, not only do I fully understand the episode but I also very much appreciate it a lot more. It's definitely not on my Top 5, but it's a decent episode, and I give it seven and a half crystallized ears. I warn you before I begin my analysis of this episode, however, that it will contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen the episode yet but would like to, then please don't read any further.

This episode, unlike "Night of Desirable Objects," sticks to the mythology of
Fringe, which I am very happy about. I recall last fall when I saw episode 1.04, "The Arrival," that I initially thought that the Observer is a "bad guy," because it seems as if he orchestrates the crane collision at the beginning of the episode; however, throughout the season, we are led to believe differently, such as when we find out that he saved Walter and Peter's lives and also at the finale when he and Walter have that conversation on the beach. Now, it's once again being called into question that he is indeed a villain, that he, as well as all of the other Observers, are here to collect data in regards to our technology and then use it against us, which is interesting to think about. Why? For what purpose would they want to harm us with our own technology?

There are a couple of things that I find really interesting about this episode. Once again, Broyles is not handed a case to give to Fringe Division. It finds a case on its own and then handles it seemingly without having to go through any channels; if I recall correctly, we don't even see Olivia or Peter discussing anything with Broyles before they initiate their investigation. Perhaps, we are just supposed to infer that they have already been granted permission, but anyway, my point is that it's really interesting how Astrid randomly pulls up this case out of thin air, and then, it ends up having such a close tie to Fringe Division; it is directly related to the Observers. Is this a coincidence, or can this be taken as a sign that Astrid is possibly a mole? Was she aware of the case already and for some reason, wanted Fringe Division involved, so she pretended like she just happened to stumble across it? I'm just throwing ideas out there.

Up until the final scene of this episode, I thought that we were getting yet another standalone episode, and that was a major part of the reason why. Since Astrid just randomly pulls up the case file on the computer, I didn't think that it was related to the mythology, which is also due to there seemingly being nothing to give you the impression that it's headed in a mythological direction throughout the episode up until the ending. Of course, I never put two and two together, because right in the first scene of the episode, Gillespie is told on the phone by the colonel that he is to apprehend a man with a trenchcoat and a briefcase, and I never thought of the Observer. So, I'm guessing that the Observers have people that are working for them and helping them collect this data? That is, of course, if Gordon is to be believed, which, of course, is unclear at this point. We don't even know yet whether or not Boone was lying when he implicated William Bell funds ZFT at the end of episode 1.18, "Midnight."

The ending of this episode is fantastic; it is, by far, one of the absolute best cliffhangers we have gotten so far. As soon as I saw all of the pepper that was being poured onto the food, I knew who Gordon was talking about, and I knew that we were about to see the Observer, which we did, and that itself was a pretty killer ending, but then, it gets even better when we see that this "data," this data that is apparently a danger to us all, is, in this case (no pun intended), Walter. Is this why the Observer saved Walter and Peter when they drove into the ice? Obviously, he is incredibly crucial to a larger picture, and the Observers know this, or at least, our Observer does, who is apparently called September. If I recall correctly, J.J. did say something about the second season answering some questions about the Observer, so I guess that this episode was used as a method to help kick this part of the mythology back into effect.

The scene prior to the very final scene is amazing, as well, and, of course, I am referring to Olivia's scene with Sam Weiss at the bowling alley. She begins to feel incredibly frustrated with him, because he isn't giving her any answers, or at least, he is giving them to her very slowly and in "Yoda crap," so she pulls her gun on him and demands that since she was told he could help her, she wants him to stop playing games and to do just that, to help her. However, what she doesn't realize at first is that she walks over to him with her gun pulled out with no hesitation, and she leaves her walker (which she has been using since her "accident" to help her get around) behind; I just love that scene so much, because obviously, he did help her, and she just needed to be in a heightened state of emotion (anger, in this case) to realize.

One very small aspect of the episode that I didn't like was Peter calling Olivia by her last name not once but twice. My guess is that it's just an effect of having more than one writer on the show, but I found it to be incredibly out of character for him to call her Dunham. I can perhaps understand if he was talking to Broyles or someone like that, but then again, in the premiere episode, he even called her Olivia when he was talking to Broyles ("We were too late for Olivia."), but he was first talking to Walter and Astrid, and then the second time, he was talking to Olivia herself. First, there was the scene near the beginning of the episode when Astrid, Peter and Walter take interest in the case, and Peter says, "I'll call Dunham," and then, there is the scene in which Olivia feels sick at the Gillespie home, so she goes to the bathroom, and Peter follows after her to see if she is okay, calling her Dunham. I could also understand it if we were talking about an episode early in the first season, but at this point, it is very out of character for him to be calling her by her last name.

I am disappointed that there is no "Charlie" in this episode, but at the same time, it makes me happy, because the shapeshifter snatching Charlie's body in the premiere episode adds a lot to the mythology, and maybe, their plan is to prolong it for a little while, and the reason why I am hoping that this is what is planned is because I can't believe that Charlie is dead, and it's really sad how he is killed off, as I have mentioned before. He is basically dismissed, thrown into a furnace; we don't even see the scene in which he is actually killed, so I would hope that they at least prolong his story a little bit instead of immediately exposing it. It will make the scene that much more epic, as well. Like I have said already, I am bracing my heart, because the scene in which Olivia finds out is going to be very difficult to watch. Charlie is her best friend, and inside of the FBI, before she met Peter or Broyles or anyone else, he was really the only person she trusted besides John Scott. I would imagine that finding out is really going to damage her, and I'm going to be vehemently enraged if it doesn't, if the writers more or less decide to brush it off. I am, on the other hand, not the least bit disappointed that Jessup is not in the episode, because as I have said before, I am not a Jessup fan, really. We need to get to know more about her before I feel anything for her, because at this point, I'm not following her purpose.

Then, of course, there is J.J.'s usual shout-out to
Alias when Walter says that he stops counting the needlemarks in Gillespie toes after forty-seven. There is also a possible Wizard of Oz reference between the last two episodes that I didn't catch at first; the credit actually goes to the Fringe Podcast. Last week, we had the scarecrow motif, and this week, we have Project: Tinman. This could be a bit of a stretch, but is it possible that Olivia is supposed to represent Dorothy in the premiere episode, since she visited an alternate world and then came back? I don't know, but I'm definitely going to be looking for a possible Cowardly Lion homage this week. Hopefully, these references are not just random and actually have an agenda, but I would probably need to talk to someone who is better at deciphering those kinds of clues than I am. I do the best that I can, but I'm not always really good at really deep analysis, so if anyone wants to offer a possible reason for including these Wizard of Oz references, that would be appreciated. Perhaps, they're just reflecting the tastes of the writers, but I feel like there is probably more to it than that.

The final aspect of this episode that I want to discuss is Olivia and Peter's trip to Iraq. I thought that it was really cool how this called for something that we saw in the pilot episode, which was Peter being in Iraq, which is where Olivia finds him and "asks" him to go back to America with her. Peter's shaky past is brought into a very dim light once again, as Ahmed is surprised that Peter would want to save these peoples' lives, because there was apparently once a time when Peter didn't have any regard for lives. Ahmed seems very bitter toward Peter to me, which makes me wonder if maybe the deformity on his face was a result of something that Peter did, maybe not something that he did directly but instead a result of a decision that he made. I found it funny when Peter clearly sees that Olivia is hiding something when he asks her about the headaches, and she says that the doctors said that she might get them but that they are normal. The look on his face displays extreme and utter frustration, but then, when she asks him about his past while they're in Iraq, he tells her that he doesn't want to talk about it. I was wondering how it was that Olivia knew even a little Arabic, of course. Maybe learning it was part of her training? Then again, if she was required to learn it as part of her training, it would seem as if she'd know more than just a little bit of it; Peter even seems really surprised that she knows any of it.

Anyway, this is a pretty good episode, and I give it eight crystallized ears. Next week's episode is called "Momentum Deferred," which was originally titled "This Is the Night Mail." I'm not sure why the title was changed, but perhaps "Momentum Deferred" will prove to be a better title; I shall find out soon enough. I honestly didn't really understand why 2.03 was called "Fracture," but maybe I should just think longer and harder on it, or maybe there is more than one meaning of the word. Additionally, for those of you who are interested, as I have said before, I think that the show's second season will focus a lot more on who the Observer(s) is/are and what his/their role(s) is/are, and I actually found out a while ago that episode 2.08, which, assuming that there are no breaks, will air on November 5th, is titled "August," and as we know, the Observer that we know (played by Michael Cerveris) is called September, so it's very likely that this episode will be dealing very heavily with the Observers, and it's possible that we will meet a new one. Until then, though, stay on the fringe.

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