"Gene's Dream/the Perfect Woman" (TALES FROM THE FRINGE #5)

If you have not yet read this comic but would like to read it, then please don't read any further, as this does contain spoilers, even though not having read this really doesn't put you behind at all as a Fringe fan, as this comic holds almost nothing that is valuable. This is, by far, the worst comic book so far out of either Fringe series. I feel like this comic was created entirely as a filler. "Let's see, we are saving Olivia for last, and other than Olivia, we are covering Peter, Broyles, Astrid, and Nina. Who else to cover besides Gene?" It would have been utterly awesome, however, if we had been given a comic about the Observers, or about Sam Weiss, or even about someone from the Other Side. Lincoln Lee would have been really neat. Don't get me wrong; I love Gene. I mean, how could you not? However, this comic is pretty much a complete waste of time, and the only reason why I am even reviewing it is because I am a man of consistency; it wouldn't feel right to skip over it. Before I start talking about this ridiculously useless comic, I will give my Bunsen Burner rating, which is the lowest rating that I have ever given anything Fringe related - two mercows. Needless to say, I was not happy with this comic.

The first half of the comic is titled "Gene's Dream" and obviously gives us a story involving Gene, Walter's cow (only Walter could get away with having a pet cow in Boston, Massachusetts), but Walter and Peter are in this story, as well. Walter says goodnight to Gene and tells her not to get into any food, so, of course, that is exactly what she does. She gets into the fridge and pilfers some Chinese food, and she consequently has a dream that involves the corpse of Dan Gillespie (a reference, obviously, to "Fracture") attacking her, and chaos ensues. The following day, Peter finds Gillespie's crystallized ear in Gene's droppings, which suggests to us that it is possible that it was not a dream at all, which is utterly ridiculous, even in the world of Fringe. I think that it is much more likely that Gene got hungry and wasn't satisfied by the Chinese food, so she went for seconds, her seconds involving Gillespie's corpse. I do appreciate the reference to "Fracture" (2.03), but that is really the only value that this story has. All we learned is this random little mishap that occurred one night in the lab, but we don't get anything meaningful or anything that gives us any insight whatsoever into the story of Fringe. It is quite frustrating, and while I wasn't expecting much from a comic about Gene's dreams as it was, this was even worse than I was expecting.

The second story is titled "The Perfect Woman,"and I actually disliked this story even more than I did the first. A man is conducting some sort of science experiment, and someone is willing to kill for it (someone that I, at first, thought was Mosley from "The Arrival" (1.04), but his hat doesn't have the green-green-green-red sequence). That person does, in fact, kill for it, killing the man's daughter but failing to kill the man, who survives. The surviving man conducts the experiment on his deceased daughter, apologizing to her for her need to be his first subject. Ultimately, we see that the experiment involved turning her into some sort of sea creature, so she looks like some sort of hybrid between Ursula the Sea Witch and a mossy mermaid, and she gets her revenge by killing the man who killed her, saying that she bets that he didn't think that he would ever be seeing her again, yet here she is. The ultimate fate of her father is not revealed, but his experiment was apparently successful, and she becomes, as the title suggests, "the perfect woman." Yes, we see the traditional Fringe concept of human experimentation, but I still was not happy with this.

First of all, why? Why is this important? Why did we need to see this? I want to feel rewarded for spending the extra money as an exceptional Fringe fan, and usually, I do. For example, prior to "The Bishop Revival" (2.13), I already knew that Walter's father had been a Nazi spy. I also have a lot of insight regarding the days that Walter and Bell were lab partners that someone who merely watches the TV series does not have, and I also know how Astrid was hired as an FBI agent - a very cool story, indeed. This entire comic, however, was pretty much useless; I don't feel enlightened at all, and that is why my Bunsen Burner rating is so low. Even when it has come to episodes that have not been all that great, I was given something. For "The No-Brainer" (1.12), I met the mother of Carla Warren, the lab assistant who was killed in the lab fire, and that story involved Walter and Peter growing closer. For "Night of Desirable Objects" (2.02), I met Sam Weiss. This was just utterly useless, and plus, would someone please explain to me how a cow got into a fridge? The art was great, especially when it comes to the first story (Walter looked exactly like Walter, even though Peter wasn't quite as great), and Gene's art was fantastic, as well. Needless to say, though, out of the twelve total Fringe comics, this is, by far, my least favorite.

"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" (3.04)

Before I discuss this episode, I would like to warn those who have not yet seen it that if you read any further, you will come across a great deal of spoilers. Don't read this if you haven't yet seen the episode. Okay, well, now commencing, this was, by far the best episode of the season so far, in my opinion. There is so much action in this episode, so much that goes on in a single episode, so much revealed, and I am very pleased with it, ultimately giving it 9.5 Dinosaur Cookies. At the very beginning of the episode, Bolivia and Peter are trying to guess as to the attributes of the couples surrounding them, and in regards to one particular couple, Peter says, "They haven't slept together yet. You can always tell when a relationship is about to take that next step," and the two of them exchange awkward smiles. At that point, I knew that the two of them would be sleeping together very soon; I totally saw that coming. I was still taken aback by the ending of the episode, though, because I wasn't expecting it so soon. I am also taken aback by the number of Fringe fans who are horrified by what happened at the end of the episode. Peter thinks (we can assume, anyway) that Bolivia is Olivia, and Bolivia, especially now that Newton has challenged her, is going to do whatever she can to ensure Peter's trust. The question is (which is the Poll for this week; please do vote), is Bolivia truly falling in love with Peter, or is it all a show?

During this conversation, Peter also says, "Unless you put yourselves in another person's shoes, I don't think you can really judge their situations." This mirrors what he says to Walter in the second season finale, "Over There," which is that he is trying hard to see Walter's side of the story. So, when he says this to Bolivia, is he consciously talking about Walter, or should he be practicing what he is preaching? Walter is especially hilarious in this episode. As Massive Dynamic, after losing his cool with his class, he decides that it is hot in the room and that it would therefore be appropriate to take his pants off, and Nina's reaction ("Uh, sorry to interrupt.") is priceless, as is Peter's explanation that Walter is "trippin' his brains out." I would like to add, by the way, that like the crane in episode 1.04, "The Arrival," the computers in the room in which Walter is teaching say Massive Dynamics, with an "s." If you don't know that story, that was what it was to be called originally until the "s" was dropped, so I don't know why it's there now. Walter apparently notified a Desk Attendant at Massive Dynamic that an "Astro" Farnsworth would be arriving, and despite what some fans seem to think, the scene that follows is not the first time that Walter has gotten Astrid's name right. Although she doesn't hear him because it's actually September to whom he is speaking, I believe that the first time is at the end of "The Road Not Taken" (1.19).

Then, there is the scene in which Walter gets something to eat after Bolivia convincing him to do so even though he was not hungry, and Astrid points out that he said he didn't have an appetite. Walter tells her that he is "eating for comfort." This then results in a conversation between Walter and Astrid in which Astrid points out that Walter loves animal cookies, and Walter grumpily says that no, he doesn't like them, Belly did, and that he only eats them in his honor. He then says that Belly believed that dinosaur cookies (which I would have thoughtdo exist) were a better idea, which also was pretty funny, especially when he uses his "Waltery" tone of voice, amused and entertained. We also get quite a bit of character development from Walter in this episode. I was, at first, very surprised that Walter is not only comfortable working at Massive Dynamic but wants to work there. However, I got thinking about it, and this would, of course, be the case. We first see in "Of Human Action" (2.07) that Walter is jealous of what he sees at Massive Dynamic, jealous of Belly. Now that Massive Dynamic is Walter's, it would only make sense that he would want to embrace it. Additionally, he showed a great deal of courage (as it was clear that he was reluctant) when he attempted to take out the Shapeshifter, Ray Duffy, and I couldn't believe that Walter was assaulted so badly; that was a first. I wonder if Ray recognized Walter. Had he ever met Walternate?

We learn in this episode, although I guess it's not all that important, that Shapeshifters apparently do not have a pulse, and I can't believe that all this time, Van Horn has been a Shapeshifter. It certainly shocked Broyles, and when Newton shoots Va Horn in the left eye, we see what is probably the most emotion that we have yet seen from Broyles when his eyes widen and he shouts, "No!" At first, I thought that it was really Van Horn who had been hit, that it was a Shapeshifter who had hit him and then replaced him, so I was confused, but no, Van Horn, even when we first meet him in episode 2.06, "Earthling," has been a Shapeshifter all this time. Additionally, I would like to express my opinion that the actress who played the part of Patricia Van Horn (Shannon Cochran) is not a very good actress, unless, of course, Patricia Van Horn is a Shapeshifter, as well and was putting on a show. The promo for this episode was definitely cleverly edited to make us think that Peter was going to find out who Bolivia is this week, something that I didn't fall for. In the promo, Bolivia approaches Peter and asks him what he found, and he shows her a photograph of Olivia. Looking suspicious, he says, "It's you." Obviously, it was very misleading, and I knew that it was when I first saw it. During this scene, though, when Bolivia is on the phone with Newton outside of Van Horn's office, telling Peter that it's Rachel, I can't help but wonder how it is that Peter doesn't hear her.

So, obviously, Redverse Olivia's operation here is still in effect, and the team does not know the truth. However, Peter finally questions changes in her personality, and it's about time. For example, in this episode, Bolivia tries to convince Broyles not to bring Patricia in to help them, and she says, "I don't think it's a good idea. Imagine the panic if she talks to the press." That is not Olivia, and Broyles should be wondering why she is different, too. In episode 1.06, "The Cure," Olivia interrupts Emily Kramer's wake, despite Peter's objections, because saving Claire Williams is more important to her than maintaining peace in the Kramer household, and that wasn't just because of her birthday. That's how Olivia is; she will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and Broyles has both scolded and praised her for this. Olivia most likely would have been the one to suggestbringing Patricia in, not to say that it's not a good idea because of the press that they might have to deal with as a result. Surely, Broyles thinks that something is up with her. Peter, much like Darrell of the Fringe Podcast sore of argued, tells Redverse Olivia that he has been trying to come up with ways to explain the sudden differences in her personality, and she doesn't follow up on this. Does he now suspect that she is Redverse Olivia? Well, unless he is falling in love with Bolivia and doesn't care where Olivia is, I doubt it, because he hasn't brought it up with Broyles or anyone, and he sleeps with Bolivia at the end of the episode.

If you haven't seen the film Along Came a Spider (based on a novel by James Patterson that is a million times better than the film), then I apologize, but I really do want to make this connection. I will do my best not to spoil too much by avoiding the character's name. When we learn in that film who the "baddie" is, Alex Cross (played by Morgan Freeman) points out a time at which that character had a clear shot at the then perceived "baddie"'s car but hesitated. I wonder if that kind of situation will play out when Bolivia is compromised. Will Peter return to the time at which Redverse Olivia had a clear shot at Newton and his car but hesitated? Redverse Olivia, though, with her command ("Keep your hands where I can see them!"), certainly is a good actress. The scene that directly follows says something to the viewer that I didn't hear the first time that I watched the episode. When Redverse Olivia calls back to Peter, lying, saying that she can't find the disk, she and Newton exchange facial expressions that say, "You know what we have to do now." First of all, Newton can't survive without Mercury fixes, and second of all, he can't afford to be compromised, so he has to "self-destruct," which really disappoints me, because now the showdown between Olivia and Newton that is foreshadowed in episode 2.10, "Grey Matters" ("Now I know how weak you are.") isn't ever going to happen. In a word, it is disappointing. I feel like he has just been effortlessly dismissed now, the same as Jones was.

Unfortunately, though, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. You have two allies, and one of them has to pretend that the other is her enemy; she has to stay on task, and her task is infiltration, so their paths were destined to cross this way eventually. I just wasn't expecting it to be so soon, and I wasn't expecting Newton to die as a result. How does he die, exactly? What exactly does Bolivia give him? It looks like a computer chip, and I am guessing that it is some sort of self-destruction device designed in case it is ever necessary to exterminate a Shapeshifter. Unfortunately, I doubt that we're going to get too much more insight into what that mysterious "suicide pill" is. Sort of like he did our Olivia, Newton tells Bolivia that she is weak and that her weakness, her emotion, will be her undoing. What are we to make of this? Does this mean that she will turn? I'm not so sure anymore, because without Newton, would there then be a "bad guy" here? Anyway, we learn from this episode that Shapeshifters are clearly capable of emotion, as Ray shows us, and I love the monster analogy that he makes when he speaks to "his" son. He tells him that sometimes, monsters can be your best friends, and the child says, "But you're my best friend." As sad as it is, especially since Newton kills Ray for his unwillingness to let them go (which I totally saw coming), it is also kind of funny, because it's like, "So, do the math, kid."

The title is derived from the Phillip K. Dick novel
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (adapted into the film Blade Runner), and if you read about the novel, you will definitely see the parallels.There was an Easter Egg in this episode that I caught; Walter is working on the twenty-third floor of Massive Dynamic, and twenty-three is a LOST number. I also find it interesting how during Nina's conversation with Peter near the beginning of the episode, she refers to Walter as Peter's father twice, and neither time does he correct her and say, "He is not my father." I guess that this is evidence that he has grown since he discovered the truth, that he has, to an extent, forgiven him. Ultimately, I find this to be an incredibly powerful episode, especially the ending. Within the last minute or so, there is absolutely no dialogue, just music, and it is powerful. Sure, there were a couple of aspects that I found to be a bit predictable, and I don't like the fact that, like Jones, Newton is dismissed, but something that I was just recently saying to my boyfriend (who happens to be named Ray) is that the writers of this show make a lot of decisions that I wouldn't make, but it's going to be an incredible show no matter what. We now have a little bit of a hiatus for the next couple of weeks, but be sure to tune back in on November 4th (according to FOX) for episode 3.05, "Amber 31422," which will return us "over there," at 9/8c on FOX.

"The Plateau" (3.03)

If you have not yet seen this episode of Fringe, then, please, do not read any further, as this does contain spoilers. I didn't think that this episode is as good as the last one, but it was still great, following a great pace this season with which I am very happy. Over the summer, as I seem to say a lot, Lance Reddick said that this season would be a lot more mythology-oriented than last season, and so far, I can definitely agree with that. Sure, it may be that the "science" involving Milo Stanfield is seemingly "stand-alone," but I don't see Milo's story as being the primary story here; the primary story is Olivia's brainwashing procedure, and just as I thought, she is definitely not faking; she really does think that she is Bolivia. First of all, Bolivia's personality is definitely there (she is all smiles and bubbly, for example, and is wearing light colors such as white and lilac purple), and Olivia would have no way of knowing how to play Bolivia's part. This is why I can't understand how Peter doesn't realize that who he thinks is Olivia is actually Bolivia; Bolivia doesn't play the part of Olivia very well at all. When Olivia first walks into Fringe Division, I wondered if maybe, after all, she is faking, because a look on her face kind of says, "I can do this," but then she recognizes Charlie (I think it is appropriate to call him Charlie at this point and not Scarlie, because for all intents and purposes, he is Charlie) as being someone who owes her $70.00; she knows details that she shouldn't know but that Bolivia would know.

In this episode, Walternate, as promised, tells Colonel Broyles why he is keeping Olivia here. He says, "If we can learn what she already knows," and Broyles finishes his statement by saying, "We can begin to defend ourselves." The key word here is begin. Walternate, as we saw in the Season 2 Finale, is a liar, since he obviously has not told Broyles about the Shapeshifters. I find that interesting, because he seems willing to tell Broyles everything else. What assurance does he have that Broyles won't tell the rest of the team the truth? Is he even telling the truth as to why he is keeping Olivia here? Why doesn't Walternate just telleveryone what he is up to? What does he fear? Is it because he knows that what he is doing is immoral? Is it because he figures that they will react the same way Broyles has, that they won't be on board with the idea? It's obvious to me that the writers want us to like Lincoln Lee and Charlie (who, by the way, is still injecting himself with something; this must be why he was bald in the second season finale, after all). They don't want us to see them as "bad guys." Walternate is another story, but the team is made up of good people (not Bolivia so much, though). Charlie, for example, is suspicious, and I think that it may be him (and possibly Broyles, too) who will help Olivia. At the end of the episode, Olivia is on the ground, gasping for air, and Charlie comes to her rescue. Foreshadowing, perhaps? That really would be beautiful. Charlie helped her once by telling her that "you're going to be fine," and now, he helps her again, in a matter of speaking.

So, it is confirmed in this episode that on the Other Side, technology is so advanced that pens have become obsolete. This is why Milo uses the pen to cause the murders; he knows that the pen will grab attention. I noticed, by the way, from spending some time in the Fringe Podcast chat room Thursday night that I was not the only one who was reminded of the Observers, and my boyfriend said that he reminded him of the Observers, too. During the scene in which Milo's sister tries to get him to come to his senses, he finishes her sentences, knowing what she was going to say, and, obviously, this is something that we have seen the Observers do. Is this what the Observers do, analyze every piece of data and then map out probabilities in their head? After Fringe Division arrives to the "scene of the crime," if you will, Lincoln Lee says, "No sign of environmental degradation." So, I guess that that gives us a little more insight into what caused the Blight and why coffee is so rare. Additionally, as we learn in this episode, avocados are rare, too. I find it interesting that in certain areas, the quality of the air needs to be checked before it is decided whether or not additional oxygen is needed. Is this due to the "environmental degradation"?

The Ivan Medical Group brought two thoughts to my mind - Massive Dynamic and INtREPUS Pharmaceuticals. As far as INtREPUS is concerned, as I have said before, it's very possible that INtREPUS is linked to Massive Dynamic somehow, as it has been featured in two episodes, episode 1.06, "The Cure," and episode 2.16, "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver." In this episode, Ivan's goal was to increase intelligence, and what I couldn't help but think is that isn't this, more or less, the goal of Cortexiphan? Is the Other Side building their own soldiers? My understanding is that the Other Side's version of soldiers was the Shapeshifters, but perhaps there is more to their agenda than just the Shapeshifters. At the beginning of the episode, Blair Brown's name is listed, so I was expecting to see her, and I was so excited. I thought, finally, alter-Nina! However, no, we did not see alter-Nina in this episode. I was expecting to see her when Olivia and Charlie go to Ivan, thinking that maybe she owned that place, but nope, no Nina, needless to say. It's more likely that Blair's name is listed just because she is considered to be part of the "main cast." I wonder how long alter-Nina is going to be held off, because unless she is dead (which would be disappointing), we're going to have to meet her, eventually. On this side, Brandon works for Nina, so since he works for Walternate on the Other Side, does Nina work for Walternate, too? Is she who was communicating with Gnarlie via the typewriter at the beginning of Season 2, who is communicating with Bolivia via the typewriter now?

In this episode, despite the fact that Walternate insists that the "treatment" being given to Olivia will work, that she will eventually reach a "plateau" and will, at that point, for all intents and purposes, be Bolivia, Olivia seems to be coming around a little bit. She sees Peter and Walter, which, I think, is her unconscious trying to tell her who she really is. Then, when she is talking to Milo's sister at Milo's sister's house on Long Island, she talks about her relationship with her sister, even though in the second season finale, we learn that Rachel was never born on that side. Her memories are merging, and that brings me to my prediction, my theory, if you will. I think that eventually, Olivia will come completely around and know who she really is, but she will remember having been Bolivia, so she will use what she learned during that time to pretend to be Bolivia until she can make it back here, which Charlie may help her do. Based on the ending of this episode, it would seem that she is now confused, unsure of who she is, but I do think that her identity as Bolivia will hold a little while longer. I love Peter's line at the end of the episode when Olivia tells him that he isn't real; he says that "real is only a matter of perception." That is definitely a memorable quote. Overall, it was a pretty good episode. We definitely got an intense and creepy soundtrack this week, if nothing else, and I give it 7.5 Hallucinations.