"Unearthed" (1.21)

Fringepedia has this episode numbered as 2.11, but I refuse to do it that way, because this is not a season 2 episode. As I'm sure those of you reading this already know, this episode was filmed during and for the season one run but was later cut due to a time constraint. Thanks to American Idol, it was simply necessary to cut an episode, and I'd say that the right choice was made, since this episode is completely and entirely "stand-alone," having nothing whatsoever to do with the overall scheme of the series. It honestly annoys me that it appears to be being given a “2.11” production number, because the episode confused a great deal of people. A lot of people could not understand how and why Charlie was still alive, which is something that I expected to happen. FOX failed to advertise the episode as an episode “lost in the shuffle” of the first season and instead merely recognized it as being aired on a special night, so people who are notFringe fanatics and therefore don't bother to look into details were confused. However, this is all material that I will dig into throughout this entry. I give this episode five possessed Lacey Mosley lookalikes, and, as usual, please be advised that if you don't wish to be spoiled with details pertaining to this series (which, if you don't, I apologize for those that I have already given), then please do not read any further.

As I said, this episode has nothing to do with the mythology of the show and is probably the biggest prototype of the “stand-alone” format that the series has seen so far. That automatically lowers the score, but even then, the series has seen some decent “stand-alone” episodes, such as episode 2.05, “Dream Logic.” This one is decent, and the acting is exceptional (especially that of Alice Kremelberg, who plays the role of Lisa Donovan), but I am not happy with the fact that there is absolutely nothing to connect it to the overall scheme of the series, as I've already said. With the exception of the discovery that Olivia is apparently not a “religious woman,” we don't even a lot of character development. The primary purpose of this episode seems to be to bring religion into the ring, but as I said at the beginning of the second season, I really don't think that that is necessary. The X-Files is very heavily focused on the battle between fact and faith, and I really don't want to see Fringe venture in that direction, too, and I am not, by the way, attempting to draw comparisons between the two series. In fact, I am merely hoping that action is taken (or not taken, for that matter) to avoid having the comparisons be drawn any further. Fringe is an incredible show that is much better when it sticks to its own ideas.

There are a few observations that I've made about the episode in general, and for starters, I find it interesting how the episode's intro is the season 1 intro, yet it's still being given a season 2 production number. Also, during the season 1 run, episodes were of extended length due to shortened commercial breaks, but this episode was of normal length like episodes during the season 2 run. The only answer to the latter question that comes to my mind is that a few scenes were cut in order to fit the episode into the allotted time. I also really find it interesting how the theory that this episode isn't even an episode cut from season 1 but is instead an event from an alternate reality quite interesting but not because it has any validity to it; I, in fact, find it so interesting, because it does not. Quite a while ago, we were told that Fringe would only be dealing with two realities, so the theory that this episode takes place in the alternate reality is not possible, or else Peter would not exist. Additionally, there is proof that this episode is an episode which was cut from season 1, proof which I provided so long ago; I provided a link to a promo video for season 2, aired at the end of season 1, that shows clips from this episode (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ_WbL49OqE). The only way that clips would have been available that early is if the episode had already been filmed.

That promo was one clue that led me to believe that we were missing at least one episode from season 1, one of three clues. The second clue is that just before the series returned from its spring break last year, promos first advertised the return as an initiation of the final seven episodes of the series, and we ended up only seeing six (“Inner Child,” “Unleashed,” “Bad Dreams,” “Midnight,” “The Road Not Taken” and “There's More than One of Everything”). I'm not quite sure where “Unearthed” falls into the lineup. Initially, I figured that it takes place between episodes 1.18 (“Midnight”) and 1.19 (“The Road Not Taken”), but that's what brings me to the third clue. In “Midnight,” Rachel is on the phone with Olivia, crying because her ex-husband wants custody of Ella, and that is an issue that has yet to be resolved. I assumed that, since at the end of the season finale, we see Olivia sitting on a bed with what appears to be a packed suitcase, the missing episode dealt with what ended up happening to Rachel as far as that issue is concerned, but, as you know, Rachel is not even in this episode, so I guess that I was wrong about that. It's just frustrating, because I don't understand the purpose of that scene in “Midnight,” and I won't understand the purpose of it until some closure is provided.

All right, well, this episode centers itself on seventeen-year old Lisa Donovan, who after experiencing an aneurysm and going brain dead, suddenly wakes up and spews off a Russian code after being pronounced dead just after five in the morning. Lisa's mother is a close-minded Christian who simply wants to put all of this behind her and Lisa, but Lisa keeps seeing a man named Andrew Rusk, who is closely linked to the Russian code that she shouts out when she awakens. Olivia and the rest of the team want to help her, but Lisa's mother refuses, not wanting to subject her daughter to any scientific experiments. She feels that the explanations that the Fringe team are offering are ridiculous and are outside the realm of possibility. At one point, she asks Olivia if she is “a religious woman,” and when Olivia replies that she is not, Lisa's mother tells Olivia that she therefore probably casts judgment on those who use faith to help guide them through decisions that need to be made for their loved ones. It ends up being discovered that the moment at which Lisa was “resurrected” was the moment at which Rusk was murdered, and the diverted energy was moved to Lisa, causing her to share consciousnesses with him, which is why she is seeing him (a similar idea to one we see earlier in the season, when Olivia keeps seeing John Scott due to his consciousness sharing her mind with her own). Rusk's consciousness did not pass with his body, because right before he was murdered, his murderer told him that it was Rusk's wife that arranged his murder, so Rusk wants revenge.

In this episode, we once again see Olivia being very kind and very gentle to a young person; typically, we see her formulate good relationships with young children, but this time, the individual is seventeen, making her older than Ella or the Child from episode 1.15, “Inner Child.” I find the relationship between Olivia and Lisa to be a very odd one, however. As far-fetched as it may seem, to say the least, I can't help but wonder if Lisa is into Olivia romantically. First, there's that odd look that she gives her at the church, and then, there's her asking Peter if Olivia were his girlfriend. Finally, there's the incredibly odd and awkward line near the end of the episode, when Lisa hugs Olivia and then says, “I'll be eighteen in a year; don't wait too long to make your move.” I'm not really sure what the purpose of this line is, and I find it incredibly awkward and creepy, even. I am pretty sure that Olivia is thirty years old, which places quite an age difference between the two of them. It's possible that I am misinterpreting that line, but what else could it possibly mean? We also once again see the “red and green” motif in this episode, as the balloons in Lisa's hospital room are red and green.

Additionally, it was nice seeing Charlie in this episode after not having seen him in such a long time. It's funny, though, because during the episode, it feels really odd seeing him, because I keep unwillingly seeing the episode as a season 2 episode while I watch it, therefore automatically assuming that he's dead. It thus feels really odd seeing him in the episode. Peter's attitude toward Walter is a lot more like attitude toward him in season 1, which is also odd to see. Walter suggests that perhaps Lisa's spirit floated over Andrew's when she died, and Peter's typically dismissive sarcasm then comes into play, something that we haven't seen much this season. He says to Olivia, “You tell me the U.S. government is covering something up, I'll tell you it must be Tuesday,” which I find funny, because the series aired on Tuesdays last season. Then, of course, there is Astrid's hair, which is long like it was last season. Needless to say, the episode is most definitely an episode that was cut from season 1. Something that I do find worth mentioning, however, is that according to Fringepedia, “Lisa Donovan's FBI file states her birth as 19 November 1982, placing the majority of this episode in late 1999 or early 2000 – is this evidence of the alternate universe?” Needless to say, this really complicates matters a great deal, and it's frustrating.

There are a number of unanswered questions in this episode, but they are not questions pertaining to the overall mythology of the series. Instead, they were questions pertaining to this stand-alone story. For example, did Tusk's wife really have him killed, or was this a fabricated story, made up on the Navy's part to cover something up? Additionally, how is Rusk's consciousness jumping bodies? Does it select random people, or is there a specific reason as to why Lisa shared his consciousness? What about the man at the end of the episode? Is he important at all? If Tusk's wife did have him killed, then is he going to try to kill her again? Is that why, even at the end of the episode, his consciousness still has not crossed over with his body? Speaking of the end of the episode, I find that scene to be really creepy. The man appears to be dead as a result of the crash, bloodied up, and directly after the paramedics declare that he has no pulse, he awakens, much like Lisa does at the beginning of the episode, and he says something in Russian in a rather dark and sinister voice. I just find that ending to be really creepy and disturbing, even. Overall, I think that this episode is very disappointing, and season 1 does not need it at all. I would have rather it have been placed on the season 1 DVD set instead of awkwardly aired halfway through the season 2 run, confusing people.

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