"August" (2.08)

Admittedly, I am a bit disappointed in this episode, because it doesn't provide the answers for which I was hoping. Don't get me wrong; this is an excellent episode, and I give it eight French Vanilla and cough syrup concoctions, but I just feel a bit cheated. I seem to recall a write-up that I read earlier this week in which the writer said that this was quite possibly the best episode of Fringe yet. I don't know if perhaps it was a professional writer who has access to media before it is available to the public or if he or she was more or less speculating as to the possibility that it would be the best episode yet, but either way, I was expecting a lot more answers, and I was also expecting Peter to finally find out what Walter did, but now, I'm starting to get the impression that he's not going to find out until the season finale, if at all this season. I'm not necessarily complaining about that, because if it is being drawn out, then it will make it that much more epic when Peter finally does find out. I suppose that being under the impression that he was going to learn the truth this episode built up anticipation, anticipation that didn't meet a satisfying result. This entry does contain spoilers that pertain to Fringe, so if you don't want to be spoiled, then, please don't read any further.

I would like to start by saying that August is one awesome Observer (I'm not sure if it's just me, but he reminded me a bit of Voldemort). So far, he is definitely my favorite, which is obviously a tragedy since he is now dead. I didn't really know what to think of him at first, because I wasn't sure what his intentions were, and I didn't think, not even for a second, that he was acting alone. I still don't really understand his intentions. I understand that he kidnaps Christine Hollis in order to prevent her from dying on the plane that crashed, but why does he do this? He tells September at the end of the episode that he loves her, but why, out of all of the women in the world, does he love her? Why was he, as he says, “observing her for most of her life,” and why is she so important to him that he gives his life for her? I did not see that coming at all. When August and Walter are discussing what to do to protect Christine, I thought for sure that they were going to somehow relocate her to the other dimension, but, of course, that is not what happens. August gives his life so that Christine will be responsible for his death, thereby making her “important” and keeping her safe.

I am very happy that we see Ella again. I don't care how many people say that Rachel and Ella don't have a purpose, because they do. First of all, they provide Olivia with another dimension to her character, and we see more of her personal life. In this episode, for example, she behaves very much like Ella's mother (which leads me to wonder if, possibly, this is being used as a foreshadowing technique to hint that Olivia will eventually be a mother herself). Secondly, I think that Ella is being given Cortexiphan and that Rachel is not only aware of it but is also advocating it. It's possible that Rachel will eventually betray Olivia and be revealed as a traitor, and if she does, then it really does make it possible that December (the older Observer) is referring to Ella, not Olivia, when he says at the end of the episode that “it's a shame that things are about to get so hard for her.” Anyway, I do think that they are important, and as I said, I am very happy to have seen Ella again. Prior to this episode, we haven't seen her since episode 1.18, “Midnight,” which was ten episodes ago.

Ella is such a well-behaved girl, too. When Olivia tells her that she's going to have to take a rain check on their day at the amusement park, Ella, with very little, if any, disappointment in her eyes, says, “That's okay, Aunt Liv. I know your job is important.” Something that I did wonder about in this scene is whether or not the Jacobsons (Ella's babysitters) are related to Henry Jacobson, the man who assists Olivia with her investigation of the Beacon and is then interrogated by Mosley in episode 1.04, “The Arrival.” Additionally, this episode yet again displays Olivia's uncanny ability to notice clues that most other people would simply set aside, and in this episode, it is the video footage of August kidnapping Christine. She, with no hesitation or delay, notices that he doesn't look like September and therefore tells Peter to freeze the frame and zoom in on it, and speaking of this particular scene, the Observers can catch bullets? Like Peter says, “Who are these people?” They have the superhuman ability to catch a bullet without it hurting them, but three shots to the chest kill them?

As I was just saying, I am pretty sure that Olivia is going to end up being a mother in the series, and, again, I say that because of the scenes that we see between Olivia and Ella. She seems to mother Ella much more effectively than Rachel, and, of course, I'm not saying that if I am right that it will end up being Ella that she mothers or that I am even right at all, but if I am, maybe she will end up pregnant. I definitely, however, think that the heartwarming scenes between Olivia and Ella are intentional. Again, we see Olivia's excellent mothering skills, and when Olivia was talking to Peter about Ella in the car (which, by the way, I am pretty sure was Blair Brown's voice on Olivia's phone saying, “Please say a command” and then “Calling the Jacobsons”), she mentions her mother, and I thought that we were finally going to learn what happened to Olivia's parents, but all we get is a story itself and then that the story is “one of my favorite memories of my mother.” Is her father dead? Olivia never speaks of her father (only her stepfather), so even though I know that this is a very “out there” theory, what if Walter is her father and Olivia and Peter are therefore siblings? We know that, presumably, both Olivia's mother and Peter's mother are deceased, so what if they were the same woman?

The only problem with this theory, of course, is that Olivia recalls memories of her mother and so does Peter, but one fact that we have to keep in mind is that Peter is not from this reality, which means that in the other reality, perhaps events played out a bit differently. I am not sure how, and if this does end up being the case (which I quite honestly question), then it would have to be pretty elaborate and very thoroughly played out, because it would be exceedingly complicated. I don't even understand my own theory or if it's even possible, but I am not taking the fall if I end up being wrong, because I am not claiming that the theory is correct; it is merely a thought. Speaking of Walter and Peter's mother, by the way, what deal did he make with September? He tells August, “Please don't take my son. Your friend and I had a deal. We had an arrangement. I know what I did was wrong, but,” at which point August cuts him off to tell him that that is not why he contacted him but that it was to ask him for help. I am wondering if perhaps this is why Peter's mother is dead. Perhaps September told Walter that in order for him to abduct Peter from the alternate reality without having to face consequences, he would have to sacrifice the life of Peter's mother. As David Wu said when I shared this theory with him, it is relatively twisted, but it's plausible. Whenever Walter starts talking about Peter's mother (which isn't often), he only says a little bit and then changes the subject, and the expression on his face is very pained.

Speaking of Walter keeping secrets, when Peter asks him if September ever told Walter why he saved him, Walter hesitates and then says “no,” but the truth of the matter is that Walter is not a very good liar, and it surprises me that Peter seems to so readily believe him. It is quite clear, not only from his hesitation to answer but also from the expression on his face when he does answer, that he is lying, and I am thinking that perhaps it has something to do with Peter being taken from the other side. David Wu shared an interesting theory with me last night, one that I am inclined to believe myself, that the “ice” accident didn't even happen at all, and that is why Peter doesn't remember it. In episode 1.04, “The Arrival,” Peter tells Walter that Walter has told him that story so many times, and what if that was to brainwash him into believing that it was true? After all, as I just said, Peter doesn't seem to remember this happening but believes that it did, which is odd. What if it is just a cover-up story to mask what Walter really did? Again, if you like this theory, then please don't applaud me. This is David Wu's speculation, not mine.

During the scene in which we first see Christine in the motel room with August, she pleads the usual pleas that you see abduction victims plea, such as “Why are you doing this?” and so forth, and much like we see September do to Peter in “The Arrival,” he says everything that she says simultaneously, presumably because he can read her thoughts and therefore predict what she is going to say before she even says it, but what I am wondering is what the purpose of this is, and I don't mean what the purpose is of having this ability but instead what the purpose is of demonstrating this ability. Why does he say everything that Christine is saying? Is it of free will? I am more inclined to say that it is, because later in the episode, she repeats much of the same questions, and this time, he doesn't do that. She asks him, “Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” He tells her that it would be easier if he showed her, therefore turning the television on and showing her what happened to Flight 821, a flight on which she was supposed to be. Speaking of Flight 821, I noticed a good example of what “Earthling” (2.06) director Jon Cassar was talking about when he said that sometimes with television, there is an excess amount of exposition and that characters therefore say things that they seemingly don't need to say. During the car scene between Olivia and Peter, they hear news pertaining to 821 on the radio, and Peter therefore looks at Christine's itinerary. Even though the camera shows that she was scheduled to be on that flight and Peter even verbally confirms it, he still finds it necessary to say that “she was supposed to be on that flight,” something that, at that point, is obvious to both Olivia and the audience.

We do, as should be expected, have an encounter with Massive Dynamic this week, but it's interesting that Nina does not seem to be involved at all. You would think that she would insist on being involved in such a case, especially since at the end of “The Road Not Taken” (1.19), Nina pays Broyles a visit, showing him a good amount of photos of September and telling him that he is well-aware of what happened the last time he showed up in such great frequencies. Of course, that scene now points me toward two possible scenarios. The first is that Broyles knows a lot more than he is pretending to, and second of all, the man that Olivia and Peter talk to at Massive Dynamic wasn't fully telling the truth (perhaps he is another one of Nina's lackeys, lying just the same as Dr. Carson does in the last episode, “Of Human Action”). He tells them that this is the first time in history that the Observers have made appearances so frequently, but, again, this is not what Nina tells Broyles. She clarifies that it has happened before and that it apparently had devastating results. Additionally, although not directly related to that scene, I wonder why it always seems to be September that we see at Pattern-related events. Perhaps the Observers each have different functions or jobs, if you will, and his is to observe the Pattern. Also, why do they seem to consistently appear in photographs? They don't seem to worry too much about staying in the dark, and I am wondering if their consistent appearances in photographs are intentional. Perhaps they want people to know that they are here.

Additionally, as we know already, they don't seem to age. They are seen in different photographs that have differences of hundreds of years, and yet, they don't look any different. Their apparent lack of aging would suggest that perhaps they are not human, but if this is true, then why is it apparently so easy to kill them? Even the supersoldiers seem to be stronger than the Observers. Granted, the Observers are presumably not soldiers, but still, if they are not human, you would think that they would have superhuman strengths. Perhaps the reason that they all have months for names is because their month corresponds to how old they appear. As I mentioned before, the oldest-looking one is December, but as I have not mentioned yet, the other new Observer that we meet in this episode, the one that kind of looks like September, is named July. The episode does not make these clarifications, but Fringepedia does, and I find that to be interesting information. Perhaps the Child from “Inner Child” (1.15) is January or February.

During the scene in which August tries to explain himself to the other Observers, August argues that Christine is unique, and September replies that “they are all unique. That is not reason to interfere with the course her life was meant to take” (and, of course, I absolutely love what he does with his head, the tilting for which he is so eminent). A question that immediately came to me when I was first watching that scene is what he means by “they all.” Is he perhaps talking about Cortexiphan subjects or just humans in general? Additionally, August argues that “we have interfered before,” and September explains that it was “only to correct a mistake of our own making.” What makes that line so interesting is that it makes you wonder that if indeed September did save Walter and Peter (which may not be true, as previously argued), then why did he save them? If he didn't save them, then what involvement did he have, and what does August mean by what he said about them having interfered before? When they tell him that he will be forgiven for this but that Christine needs to be eliminated, that made me wonder what would have happened if they didn't forgive him, if they didn't overlook what he did. What would have been his punishment? They seem to be very loyal to each other. As soon as August is hurt, it isn't five minutes, and September arrives at the scene to pick him up.

One last observation (no pun intended) that I would like to make is that when September contacts Donald, the assassin, four lights, or dots, appear on Donald's device, whatever that device may have been, and in classic
Fringe tradition, they are green and red, three of them green and one of them red. We have seen this colors repeatedly on the show, and the most closely tied examples that I can think of are the identical dots that are on Mosley's hat in “The Arrival” and the hypnotizing lights in episode 1.08, “The Equation.” Anyway, returning to what I was previously saying about this episode not answering a great deal of questions, the only thing that was really answered for me is what the Observers are doing, and what we know is that time is not linear for them and that they can observe time at any aspect that they want. They can apparently see the future, they can see the past and they can see the present, and there is no beginning or end for them, which would, in some ways, explain why they don't age. However, why can't they taste much of anything and therefore eat incredibly spicy foods (August is seen in this episode drinking from a cup that apparently contains nothing but chili pepper juice, a chili pepper that Walter explains is one of the hottest in the entire world)? August tells the man at the beginning of the episode who gives him an American Flag pin that his binoculars “are from somewhere far away,” but what does he mean by that? Where do the Observers come from? Where do they live? They seem to understand humanity to some extent, considering the fact that September can drive a car.

Something that I do want to point out that I discovered recently is that it has been confirmed that Olivia's “superhearing” in episode 2.02, “Night of Desirable Objects” will not return or be further explained. The reason that I bring this is up is because in just about every one of my entries, I bring that up, expressing my annoyance with the fact that it has not been further explained since. One idea that I recall being tossed around is that it has something to do with Olivia's Cortexiphan trials, but apparently, that isn't true. I can't remember who made the report, but I do know that it is someone who has close ties with the production process of
Fringe, and what he said is that Olivia's “superhearing” is merely a result of her crossing dimensions and that there is nothing more to it than that. I personally find that to be somewhat anticlimactic. I want to know why "superhearing" is a result of crossing dimensions. What is the fringe science behind it? Anyway, as you all most likely know, Fringe will not be on next week due to Thanksgiving, but it will be back the week after, December 3rd, with episode 2.09, “Snakehead.” The promo doesn't give me the impression that it's going to be anything special, but rumor has it that in the episode after that, “Grey Matters,” Leonard Nimoy is going to return to the show, which is very exciting, but in the meantime, stay on the fringe.

"Of Human Action" (2.07)

Now, this is what Jasika was talking about. This episode was so much better than last week's episode, most notably because it is a very mythological episode, which makes me happy, because I didn't think that it was going to be, based on the promo that we saw at the end of “Earthling” last week. Not only did it look like it was going to be a “stand-alone” episode, but it looked an idea that has been toyed with repeatedly in sci-fi, and even though the latter remains true, as Fringe does sometimes, it took an idea that has already been used before and made it its own. Mind control is definitely not a new concept that Fringe invented, but I'm pretty sure that its explanation is, and even though I am not sure if it has any validity to it (I'm sure that I will find out during the Fringe Podcast, most specifically during its Science of Tomorrow section), it is still pretty cool. This entry will contain spoilers that pertain to this specific episode of the series as well as the series in general, so please don't read any further if you don't want to be spoiled.
The first observation that I would like to make is that earlier this week, I saw a promo photo in which Peter and Walter are standing at a Massive Dynamic window, and this, of course, ended up being the scene in which Walter has a discussion with Peter in which he voices his obvious jealousy regarding William Bell. He reminds Peter that he and Bell used to be lab partners and then says to pay mind to how much Bell has accomplished, obviously in comparison to how much Walter has accomplished. This is one of many scenes that have taken place during the course of this series thus far in which I have felt sorry for Walter. I think that it's quite obvious that he was thinking about his seventeen years having been institutionalized while William Bell has been chairman of Massive Dynamic (which obviously vehemently fascinates him, such as his exclamation which questioned the validity of them having seventy-three labs, a confirmation that astonishes him). He feels as if a good portion of his life has been taken away from him.
My point, however, is that I recall some people speculating as to whether or not that was actually the interior of the Twin Towers, since, admittedly, it does look quite similar, especially since the photo was a bit orange-tinted, as you can see from the photo in question that is pictured below. We know from our time spent on the other side, both at the very end of the first season when we first meet William Bell and also in episode 2.04, “Momentum Deferred,” that the color scheme seems to be a bit different. I'm not sure why or if perhaps that is just because the scene takes place when the sun appears to be rising, but, anyway, I had a pretty good feeling that it was not the Twin Towers but instead Massive Dynamic, and I was right. I could have sworn that Walter has seen Massive Dynamic before, but then, when I got thinking about it, I couldn't think of an example, so I quickly came to the conclusion that he had, in fact, not and that that is why it fascinates him so much.

This episode successfully makes it quite clear that Walter cares deeply for Peter and that he loves him very much. There are a few scenes that clearly exemplify this, starting with the scene in which Walter first realizes that Peter is missing, and he looks like he is going to cry while he pleads with Olivia to help him look for him. Then, there is the scene in which he and Olivia are talking while Olivia urges him to try to think of a way to reverse Tyler's ability. Walter says to her, again appearing to be on the verge of tears, “I can't lose him again. Peter always helps me. I don't know what to do. How do I do this without Peter? He always helps me.” Of course, pertaining to something that I will discuss later, Nina, oddly enough, seems genuinely concerned for Walter here, and even though I have no idea what to make of it, I find it odd how Walter suddenly has an epiphany regarding the EMF scrambler when she comforts him.
There is also the scene during which Walter experiences a breakdown in front of Dr. Carson. In fact, it is because of Dr. Carson. He explains to Dr. Carson what most likely caused Tyler's “ability,” and Walter lectures him, saying that “because of this man's inability to be a proper parent, his son has kidnapped mine.” In a way, this scene was a bit funny, because Walter really isn't one to talk about being a proper parent, but at the same time, it wasn't funny at all, because it is yet another example of how much Walter cares for and loves Peter. Additionally, Walter is right, because leaving pharmaceuticals like that lying around the house for a teenage boy to find is not an action that a “proper parent” would take, and, of course, as we now know, that is because it was no accident. Anyway, as I have already said, Jasika was definitely right about this episode in saying that it was an excellent episode, but she also said that between “Earthling,” “Of Human Action” and “August,” we would see more of a connection between Walter and Astrid, and so far, I don't really think that we have. Perhaps next week, we will. She even said that Astrid's character would have some time outside of the lab and out in the field, even, but, once again, that is not something that we have seen yet. I am really looking forward to next week's episode, though, for multiple reasons, and these “promises” are amongst them.

Something that I do not understand about this episode is the teddybear. A very poor job of explaining
why the teddybear simulated an “in-utero” sound was done and also how exactly this prevented Tyler from being able to control minds. Of course, as Tyler tells Peter, it doesn't work, but Walter thought that it did. The scene in which Walter presents the teddybear to Peter and Astrid did contain a really good line, however, with which this episode is littered. Peter says to Walter, “A teddybear verses mind control spies. Bad guys don't stand a chance.” The look on Walter's face after Peter says this is really quite funny, because, first of all, it has that air of discontent to it that reminds me of that scene during a first season episode in which Walter says to Peter, “Must you be so simple-minded?” Also, I think that, to some extent, Walter is a bit hurt, because here he is showing Peter and Astrid something that he finds to be very exciting, something that he probably hopes Peter will, too, and then, Peter shoots it down.

Yet another great line that this episode has to offer is when Walter asks Peter, “Do you think the FBI will ever give me a gun?” I think that it's pretty safe to assume that the answer to that would be a “no,” but who knows? Maybe that line was used as a foreshadowing mechanism.
Yet another Walterism that left me scratching my head in this episode is the scene in which Walter and Astrid are wearing aluminum caps on their heads, and when Olivia asks them why, Walter says, “I don't trust them here. I think they're trying to read my thoughts,” and then, Astrid says, “Massive Dynamic gives me the creeps, too,” but what doesn't make any sense is the lack of an answer to how it is exactly that aluminum caps are going to prevent that from happening. It is, of course, not important at all, really, but it is just something that made me wonder. I thought that it was funny how, in this scene, Walter explains to Olivia how he will go about interrupting Tyler's ability to control Peter's mind, and he says that Tyler “won't be able to think. He will become severely disoriented. He may even vomit.” He says that as if Tyler vomiting is an essential part of the equation, an important one, in fact, that will be vital to retrieving Peter. That's the type of thing that you would expect Walter to say, though.

The scene in which Peter is driving Walter's car at night with Tyler controlling him had a couple of aspects to it that I'd like to discuss. For starters, a motif that we have repeatedly seen on
Fringe is the colors red and green. A good example of this would be the lights that make people temporarily black-out in episode 1.08, “The Equation.” In this scene, we repeatedly see flashes of red and green on Peter's face, obviously from lights outside, and that's really all there is to that. At this point, it doesn't really have much of a significance except for the fact that it serves as a motif. Also, I thought that Peter's line (“Do you really think that you're the first kid whose father didn't think he was good enough or smart enough? Take a number.”) was very appropriate and perfectly matched, because it was quite obvious what he had on his mind while he was saying it, in that he wasn't talking about Tyler. Josh Jackson's acting, I would like to point out, is superb in this episode, especially at the scene when Tyler first takes control of him; the look on Peter's face is priceless, something that I don't think any other actor could have done better, and the dirt being splattered onto the camera as the car drives off is a nice touch, as well.

Peter's line near the end of the episode when Tyler is forcing him to shoot his mother's new interest is a bit cheesy and unnecessary, and I'm not quite sure why he says it. He says, “Tyler, what are you doing?” My issue with that line is that it is quite obvious what he is doing, and also, what I don't understand is that if Tyler wanted that man dead, then why doesn't Peter shoot him? Why is there seemingly such a gap in time between that scene and the scene in which Olivia and Broyles arrive? I mean, after all, he shot Broyles without much hesitation (which makes me wonder if Broyles meant what he said when he told Peter that he's sure he will make it up to him one day), and it would seem to me that Broyles' offense would be much less whelming to Tyler than that of his mother's new interest (it is unclear as to whether they are married or just living together). When everything was all said and done, however, Walter seems so happy to finally have Peter back, and he tells him, “You always prove to be more resourceful than I give you credit for,” which is a dramatically ironic response to what Peter says to Tyler in the car, and despite Peter's sarcastic reply (“Was that supposed to be some sort of compliment?”), I really do think that it felt good for Peter to hear Walter say that.

During the second to final scene of the episode, Walter mentions Peter's mother for the second time during the episode (the first time being when he mentions her at Massive Dynamic), and that leads me to seriously wonder about Peter's mother. My theory is that Walter has done the same to Peter as Carson did to Tyler, in that he told him that Peter's mother is dead even though she really isn't. Walter tells Peter that when his mother used to make crêpes, Peter called them “creeps” and that this drove her “batty,” and I wonder if, although probably not due to Peter's mispronunciation of crêpes, she did in fact go “batty.” Perhaps she found out what Walter did (stealing alter-Peter from the other side), and this drove her crazy. I definitely think that she either is dead or that Walter has led Peter to believe that she is, because Walter tells Peter that “she was a strong woman.” I do think that Peter is going to find out about what Walter did very soon, possibly even in the next episode, and I am very much dreading this, because Walter and Peter are really starting to establish a strong relationship, and Peter is going to be beyond angry when he discovers the truth. I'm just wondering
how he's going to find out.

Just about the
only fault that I have with this episode is that I think it is a bit predictable in that I think it's easy to tell early on that Tyler is the one orchestrating everything and not the two men. Thursday night, I missed the first fifteen minutes or so of the episode, and so, when I started watching, they were just discovering that Tyler was responsible (By the way, he's not going to jail? That's ridiculous.), so maybe I'm biased here since when I went back to watch the first fifteen minutes, I obviously already knew that it was Tyler who was responsible, but I think that I still would have known. The look on Tyler's face when he is sitting in the back of the car during the very first scene is very sinister and screams that he is exactly where he wants to be. I think that they simply made the clues a bit too obvious. As yet another example, Tyler can be visibly seen at every site, again with a sinister look on his face although not as sinister as the aforementioned one at the beginning of the episode. Other than its predictability, in my opinion, this episode is incredible.

During the final scene, my jaw literally dropped, and I was at a loss for words, which is kind of funny, because I have never really trusted Nina, but I guess that maybe I was just starting to a little bit, especially in this episode when, as I mentioned before, she really seems to be genuinely concerned for and worried about Peter (which could just be because he still owes her a favor). Nina has certainly been a fantastic actress thus far, and I don't mean Blair Brown; I mean Nina. Olivia has never really trusted her, either, but, like me, I think that she was starting to a little bit (of course, if so, then she still is, because the revelation that was made at the end was only made available to us, the viewers, not anyone else), and Nina has been effectively deceiving everyone from the start. It really makes me want to rewatch the first season to see if I can pinpoint any examples in which Nina has been lying. Has she been lying about virtually everything, or does she pick between what she wants to tell Fringe Division and what she doesn't?

Nina does, however, say some very interesting things that leave us guessing. She refers to the “Penrose-Carson” experiments, and from that, can we conclude that Christopher Penrose from 1.02 (“The Same Old Story”) was manufactured by Massive Dynamic, that he was indeed a clone and that Claude Penrose wasn't actually his father but instead his “guardian,” as the files call it? How many clones did they make and why? Are they making supersoldiers to combat the supersoldiers from the other side? Nina tells Bell that “one of the Tylers did, in fact, display a rather dramatic ability for mind control.” What does Nina mean by “ability,” and if we can answer that question, are the clones being given Cortexiphan? Perhaps the pills that Tyler were taking are Cortexiphan? Nina also tells Bell that ultimately, the trails were a success and that “mind control is possible, given the right conditions.” What are these conditions? Are they, in fact, the conditions that make up the “mind control cocktail” that Walter describes, or is it something different altogether? Again, is Cortexiphan involved, and if so, how does Cortexiphan determine who gets what ability?
Lastly, Nina also tells Bell that Tyler “made a misguided attempt to reunite with his surrogate mother.” What does she mean by this? Is his “mother” some type of robot that Massive Dynamic created, or is she an employee of Massive Dynamic who was posing as his mother? How did his attempts to locate his mother interfere with the experiment? Even with that turn of events, it is quite clear that he could control minds. Anyway, that ending was probably the best episode closing we have gotten this scene, even though it comes really close to the ending of “Fracture” (2.03). Next week, expect what is probably going to be the most epic episode of Fringe yet. We're going to get a lot of answers regarding the Observers, something for which I am incredibly excited. Is it just me, or does the promo give a little too much information? It says that they have been observing us for thousands of years, and I feel as if that's a major spoiler, because that, alone, answers some questions. It confirms the theory that they do not age and also probably confirms that they are not from the alternate reality but instead from another dimension of time. Anyway, from the looks of it, we are going to meet a new Observer, August, in this episode, and I'm not just saying that based on the title of the episode. The Observer that we see ask Walter for help in the promo is not Michael Cerveris. Anyway, I would ultimately have to give “Of Human Action” eight and a half steaming pots of coffee, and until next week, stay on the fringe.

"Earthling" (2.06)

"Earthling" is very complex and, in my opinion, at least, very difficult to follow. In classic J.J. style, this episode doesn't put anything right in front of you for you to see; instead, everything is miles away, and to get close enough to see, you have to walk. I still don't have a very clear understanding of what actually happened in this episode, but at this point, it's much clearer than it was when I first saw it. Including the time that I originally saw it aired on television, I have seen the episode twice at this point, and in addition, I listened to the latest episode of the Fringe Podcast, which, in a lot of ways, really helped. It was very cool to have the opportunity to hear them interview Jon Cassar, who directed this episode of Fringe and who also has directed episodes of 24 for six years, and some of what he said was really interesting, a lot of it, in fact. Please be aware that this entry will contain spoilers regarding this episode as well as Fringe in general.

Firstly, I would like to make a correction in regards to an error that I previously made in my entry for episode 2.05, “Dream Logic.” I speculated as to why Olivia's residence would appear to look so much different from her residence in the first season. I said that it looked like an apartment and that it looked like it may have been highly elevated based on the window view we see. However, what I was failing to realize, for one reason or another, is that the team was in Seattle and that her residence was therefore not a residence at all but instead a hotel room. I am only human, I suppose, and am therefore likely to make mistakes every now and then, even ones as seemingly careless as this one. Also, I wanted to point out that our “47” shout-out during that episode is during a lab scene, but I can't recall the precise moment at which it happened, just that we see a small yellow sign on a counter that randomly says “47” on it.

Also, something else that I wanted to point out that I failed to is that not too long before “Dream Logic” aired, I learned something really interesting in my Intro to Psychology class, and that is that science on the brink of one day very soon being able to project peoples' dreams onto a screen so that we could actually see and even potentially record dreams, since all dreams really are ultimately are images in our heads that are created using electricity, essentially the same way we see an image on a television screen. What's primarily interesting about that, however, is that I remember sitting in class at the time and thinking that that would be a really cool idea for
Fringe, and although that's not really quite what “Dream Logic” deals with, it's somewhat close to it, and I suppose that I therefore found it worth mentioning. We may one day soon see something on Fringe that is closer to that concept, because as has been said before by the producers of the show, the basis of the show is typically science that some people see as potential reality, science that could one day soon be nothing but reality, and expanding on it and taking it to the extreme, so you never know.

Anyway, allow me to get back to
this episode, episode 2.06, “Earthling.” I have to say that, unfortunately, this episode really disappointed me, and there are quite a few reasons for that, all of which I will get into. Firstly, I am getting really tired of the stand-alone format. I really fear that Fringe is heading in the direction that theX-Files did, having week after week of “monster-of-the-week” episodes with the occasional mythological episode that will blow you away. Of course, there are some people who consider certain episodes to be “stand-alone” episodes that I don't. For example, I recently read one blog in which someone was commenting on exactly what I am commenting on now (how there have so far been too many “stand-alone” episodes in the new season), and they listed 2.03, “Fracture,” as an example, and I apologize, but “Fracture” is not a stand-alone episode. The entire case (no pun intended) was heavily involved with the Observer(s), so I'm not quite sure why that person considers “Fracture” to be a “stand-alone” episode, but it most definitely is not.

Another reason why I do not like this episode is because we received a promise from the producers back in the first season that
Fringe would not be dealing with aliens, and isn't that more or less what this episode deals with? The cosmonaut brings back a foreign organism from space which has the capability of living inside of him, bonding to him molecularly, and then projecting itself without actually leaving the host's body. Not only does this annoy me since it is seemingly a broken promise, but additionally, I don't like seeing Fringe head in this direction. First of all, we need to get back to the mythology, and second of all, I do not want to be seeing aliens inFringe. I don't want to see the paranormal that cannot be explained; I want to see science fiction, and yes, there is a difference. Lastly, the Fringe Podcast recently interviewed Jasika Nicole, who, if you don't know, plays Astrid on the show, and she said that when she read the script for this episode, she thought that it was incredible, so I guess that built my expectations up a little to high, causing me to expect something that I didn't get.

There are a couple of aspects to this episode that I do like. Firstly, it was genuinely creepy; in fact, this was definitely one of the creepiest episodes of the entire series so far if not
the creepiest. Also, I love how we got more of a back story to Broyles. I don't remember what episode it was precisely, but I know that it was either “Midnight” (1.18) or “The Road Not Taken” (1.19). Anyway, we find out late in the first season that Broyles is divorced from his wife by his recommendation to Olivia of an attorney to help Rachel get through her divorce; now, we finally see that explored a bit further. We find out why Broyles and his wife split, so in some ways, I suppose that that does make this episode a little bit important. Anyway, this episode portrayed Broyles in a much different light, in opposition to the light we have been primarily seeing him in prior to this episode. We see Broyles as being somewhat robotic and very stoic. However, we see a much more humane side of him in this episode, such as the scene at the beginning of the episode when we see him playing a mimicking game with a small child, a game that results in the biggest and happiest smile that we've seen on his face during the entirety of the series thus far.

I think that this may be the very first Broyles-centric episode we have gotten so far. In fact, now that I think about it, Olivia, in this episode, seems like a supporting character, which is very odd. I am still incredibly frustrated, because I'd really like to see the “super-hearing” that we see in “Night of Desirable Objects” (2.02) explained. I am really hoping that that isn't going to be abandoned. The scene between she and Broyles was really heartbreaking, especially the quote that we get from him when he explains why the case is so important to him. He says that his wife left him because he became so obsessed with it, and he says, “I took this job to make this world a safer place for my family. Instead, I lost them.” One thing that I am wondering is who Patricia is. During the scene in which Broyles and Senator Van Horn are discussing Broyles' involvement in the case and how Van Horn thinks that he should hand it over to the CIA (which is somehow odd and therefore worth mentioning, since we also see this happen in episode 1.15, “Inner Child”), Broyles leaves but before he does so, he says to Van Horn, “Please give my regards to Patricia.” The only thought that comes to my mind is that Patricia is Van Horn's wife who he is still married to, and so, that was Broyles' way of saying, “Don't you forget that I sacrificed my marriage for this.”

Speaking of his marriage, I suppose that it was nice to have seen his wife, but honestly, not that it really matters or has any powerful bearing on the series, but even though she said that she was genuinely happy for him, I still detected a very strong scent of sarcasm, as if she was saying, “How wonderful of you to come all the way here to tell me that you solved the case that ended our marriage. Would you like a medal?” Of course, that is most likely extreme, but you surely get my point. She definitely came off as sarcastic to me, especially considering that look that she gave him before she closed the door. Of course, I guess that I shouldn't really say that she “gave” him the look, since his back was turned and he therefore didn't see it, but, again, you get my point. What was that look for, and what did it mean, I wonder? Again, I know that it doesn't really matter, but I am curious, and I'm just speculating about everything that this episode has to offer, since there isn't all that much, really. In addition, I really don't have any idea who the mysterious man at the end of the episode was, and that's not due to confusion; even Cassar said in the podcast that he is credited as “Mystery Man,” so none of us know, but what I am wondering is what he meant when he looked up at the sky. He was so mysteriously vague, and I suppose that they sent the cosmonaut back into space?

There were some really funny scenes during this episode, as there always are. For example, I really like the scene in which Walter is trying to solve the equation, and he therefore has an opera playing rather loudly, and there were two reasons why I really laughed at this scene. Firstly, it was great seeing Olivia and Broyles arrive only to see what they are most likely used to by know, especially Olivia, which is, as Peter articulated in an episode during the first season, “Bishop's House of Horrors.” Secondly, Walter's fit that he threw when the music was turned down was hilarious. John Noble is simply brilliant, and it was funny, because it's as if he was saying, “You can't expect me to work without the music!” I also find that to be really odd, because as I have said before, in the first comic book, when Walter first meets Bell, Walter is working quietly in his lab while Bell is working with very loud music playing, and Walter storms down the hallway demanding that it be turned down since he can't think with the music playing so loudly, and now, we see just the opposite. Have Walter and Bell's consciences possibly been intertwined somehow, in that there is a little bit of William Bell in Walter and vice versa?

Speaking of William Bell, I have recently discovered that Leonard Nimoy may not be returning to the show, and although I somewhat agree with his reasoning, I don't at all agree with his solution. He says that he can't see where Bell's character is going anywhere, and I agree that his character is being delivered very slowly and in very small bits. In fact, more or less, he has been used as nothing more than a mechanism to provide answers, and that is probably frustrating Nimoy. However, if your problem is that you don't think that your character is being developed in an efficient fashion, then how is leaving the show a good solution? The best solution, to me, seems to be to stay on the show to give the producers the opportunity to develop your character, because after all, how can they do that if you're not on the show anymore? I really hope that this is just politics or that he is going to change his mind, because we need Bell on the show, and we need answers not
from him but about him.

Another concept that this episode plays around with is obviously the possibility of foreign Fringe Science, specifically, in this episode, Russian Fringe Science. In this way, even though Cassar says that it was purely coincidental, this episode does have some similarities to
24, such as the foreign threat (and I mean the Russian, not the alien) and Broyles' meeting with the senator, just to name a few examples. It also simply has a very 24-feel to it, and I think that I would have felt that even if I didn't know beforehand that Cassar was directing it. It wasn't a terrible episode, but it wasn't by any means one of my absolute favorites either. I think that another reason that it may have disappointed me is because it is the first episode returning from the hiatus, and I don't feel fully satisfied. Anyway, I would like to talk more about some of the aforementioned topics that Cassar discusses in the podcast that I found interesting, but most of what he talks about is in regards to directing television shows and films, which obviously doesn't really pertain to this. Ultimately, I am going to give “Earthling” five and a half Dirt Devil vacuums, and be sure to tune in for the new episode this week called “Of Human Action,” an episode that I'm not feeling too great about since based on what I saw from the promo, it doesn't look very original, but then again, that's what I initially said about “Dream Logic” as well, and that ended up being a decent episode, so we'll see soon enough, I suppose. Until then, stay on the fringe.