"What Lies Below" (2.12)

I will kick this blog entry off with a spoiler alert; if you haven't seen this episode but would like to see it, then please, don't read any further, as this entry does contain spoilers. “What Lies Below” is a decent episode, and I think that I would give it eight little glass vials (kudos to those of who you immediately understood the Repo!reference). The plot line isn't really anything spectacular; basically, an age-old deadly virus is somehow unleashed from deep inside the earth, and as Walter points out, it is ultimately the top of the food chain. It is smart, forcing people to go outside, because that is where it can spread. Walter gives an example of a virus that cannot survive in water, so it gives its hosts a fear of water. The virus ultimately takes total control of its host. It's definitely really interesting stuff, but although I skipped over the “Science of Tomorrow” part of that particular podcast (for the particular reason that I don't want the magic to be debunked), Clint of the Fringe Podcast claims that apparently, very little of this episode's science is accurate. Part of this show's magic, however, is that it allows you to imagine and to ask yourself the age-old “what if” question. He also claims that the ending of the episode is not a big deal at all, with which I wholeheartedly disagree, but I'll elaborate on that a bit later.

The scene in which Peter finds himself convinced that Olivia has betrayed him was a really interesting scene (one reason of which I will not discuss until the “Jacksonville” entry). It was exciting and got my heart pounding. If this episode has anything to offer, it's the action; my heart was racing throughout almost this entire episode. My major fault with this episode, however, as it seems to be with a lot of Cortexi-Fans, is that at first glance, it does not appear to be tied to the major mythology of the series. There are ways, however, in which it could be, and although all of these ways are ways that I thought of myself shortly after the episode aired,
Fringepedia presents a lot of possibilities. For example, we don't know whether or not Vandenkemp was aware that he was infected before entering the building. If we bring ourselves back to the pilot episode of the series, for example, I think that it is more than acceptable to assume that Morgan Steig knew what he was doing when he injected that pen into his arm.

The site also questions whether or not the attack was deliberate, and I think that it definitely was, regardless of who initiated the attack. It is very possible that it was ZFT. As I have said before, it is likely that ZFT's efforts are to wipe out the Observers, as is suggested at the end of episode 2.03, “Fracture.” If this is the case, then it is likely that the Observers just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, since the attacks are targeted toward them. However, the problem is that the possibility offered at the end of “Fracture” sort of conflicts with what we learn in “August,” which suggests the possibility that Gordon was lying. Anyway, is it possible that Solum Oil Corporation intentionally unleashed a deadly virus, and if so, why? Was it working for ZFT? If that is indeed the case, then why would ZFT unleash this virus? What would it have to gain? Does this return to the possibility that its primary goal is to take out the Observers, and again, if so, why?

Like I said, although, at first glance, the episode seems to be entirely “stand-alone,” we don't know for sure that it is. For example, episode 1.05, “Power Hungry,” seems to be “stand-alone,” but I don't think that it is, because the advertisements trying to gain the attention of Joseph Meegar promise to help him “unlock [his] hidden potential,” and does this or does this not resonate with what Cortexiphan is supposed to do for those on which it is treated? Is it possible that Meegar was being dosed with Cortexiphan, that like Tyler Carson (2.07, “Of Human Action”), a soldier was being formed? Is it possible that Fischer was working working for Massive Dynamic and/or ZFT? Anyway, I know that I am talking a great deal about other episodes, but I think that sometimes, a lot of the time, in fact, episodes can be tied into other episodes, especially to help demonstrate that not all of the “stand-alone” episodes are truly “stand-alone” episodes, that they can probably be somehow tied into the mythology. I do, however, agree with the complaints that nothing is offered, but you never know; perhaps, something will eventually be offered that will help us understand these little occurrences. What I would really like to know is what happened to ZFT, why we have so far heard absolutely nothing about it this entire season.

Going a bit off topic yet again, I would like to briefly discuss a couple of videos that I recently watched, courtesy of
Fringe Insider's Tumblr profile. In both of the videos, executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner discuss secrets of Fringe, and in the first video, they discuss the Observers. I wouldn't say that a whole lot is offered, which is good, because I wouldn't want what they have planned for the storyline to be spoiled, but anyway, they talked about how they'd like to think that the Observers are not from either reality but are from a reality of their own. Granted, I think that that is a pretty major point to unleash, but I think that that is something that, for some reason, they want us to know, because Pinkner said this after the season one finale, too. They also touched upon the green, green, green, red color sequence, saying that it definitely means something but that they haven't yet decided when they're going to reveal what it means, just that it definitely seems to have something to do with the Observers. It's all very interesting information, I think. In the second video, the two of them discuss the episode “Jacksonville,” but I won't talk about that until I get to that entry. More news relating to Fringe is that my friend David recently mixed the theme, which is called Omen's Epic Dreamscape Mix, and it is indeed epic; if interested in hearing it, let me know.

I don't always touch upon the title of the episode. In fact, I rarely do, but I do find it helpful to discuss this one, because I definitely think that there are a number of ways to interpret it. There is the obvious meaning, relating to the virus which “lies” below. However, this episode also touches upon something else which “lies below.” This episode really displays the love that lies below the surface, and I don't mean romantic love; I mean family-like love. The Fringe Team really has become a family, which is funny, because if you once again bring yourself back to the pilot episode of the series, you'll recall the reception that Olivia receives from Broyles, Olivia, the “liaison.” Now, she's like his daughter, and the same is true of Walter and Peter. The pilot episode (and most of season one, for that matter) displays a very scorned Peter, angry with his father for so many reasons. Now, the two are very close, which, as I say all of the time, is sad, only because we know what's coming. Broyles even says that he can't allow the team to die inside of the quarantined building, since they are like family to him. There's also Walter's secret, which has lied below and continues to lie below, until, of course, the ending of the episode.

All right, well, about the ending of this episode, into which I promised to dive, as I said, I think that it is ridiculously epic, and when I first saw it on TV, my jaw dropped, and I'm not kidding. As I said previously, I don't care what Clint says (although he is entitled to his opinion), this is not the tenth time to which we've heard Peter's death alluded. I mean, it is the tenth time, but this time is different, because now, Astrid is aware of the possibility that Walter either cloned Peter or brought alter-Peter over from the Other Side. Of course, we don't know as a fact that she is thinking one or the other, but the point is that she is now suspicious of something not being right. Walter accidentally let it slip, which I think is a very interesting route for the show to be taking. I am certain that Peter will find out what happened to him by the end of the season, and my guess is that we won't find out what he will do as a result until season three. Overall, it's not a terrible episode; it loses points for not having any obvious connections to the mythology but then gains points back for being action-packed and, most notably, for that epic ending, earning it the aforementioned score of eight out of ten.

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