"Concentrate and Ask Again" (3.12)


There are basically three key elements that save this episode, strong enough to give it 7.5 Pleasantly Surprising Sam Weiss Appearances. The first is the very beginning of the episode, during which time we see Nina looking into Bell's belongings, the second is the fact that we meet another Cortexiphan subject, Simon, and the third is the very ending of the episode, when, as my Bunsen Burner rating points out, we finally see Sam Weiss again (the last time we saw him was episode 2.16, "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver."). Other than that, it is an average episode, but I do feel as if, according to the feedback that was sent in to the Fringe Podcast, it is wildly under-appreciated. A lot of fans seem to consider this episode a "stand-alone" episode, and I do not, only because of the Cortexiphan subject and because of Nina's phishing for information regarding the First People. Really, there are no "stand-alone" episodes of Fringe. Even "The No-Brainer" (1.12) involves Walter making peace with Jessica Warren, and "Night of Desirable Objects" (2.02) involves Olivia dealing with consequences of her universe hopping-related injury. The only episode that I could really argue is truly "stand-alone" is "Unearthed" (1.21), which makes sense considering the fact that Season 1 works just fine without it.

I immediately caught "Dr. Spock" on one of Bell's books at the beginning of the episode, and I can't believe that Bell has degrees from both Princeton
and Yale; he must be a true genius. I had to laugh at the piece of tape on the safe that says, "Stay out - this means you!" Had he been addressing Nina when he wrote that? I think so, because of Nina's line, "You and your secrets." I absolutely love the conversation between Olivia and Nina; that scene gives us such a good opportunity for Nina's character to develop even further, but once again, I have to bring us back to "The Dreamscape" (1.09), because Nina was clearly portrayed as "evil" in that episode, and is the story from that episode ever going to be resolved? That's an episode that is not self-contained and does not wrap up nicely at the end with a bow, and we still don't know what Nina's intentions are. She tells Olivia not to make the same mistake that she did, to ask Peter how he feels, and that really makes me wonder what Bell did to her, besides what we know he did based on what we read in Nina's comic book from the Tales from the Fringe series. I don't think that anyone can deny that Nina is an incredibly interesting character.

Olivia ends up following Nina's advice and tries talking with Peter, since he brought her coffee with milk when, by now, he should know that she doesn't drink it with milk, and it's plainly obvious that it's not easy for her to do this, that she struggles with it, and that's consistent with what we have seen since the pilot episode, which is that Olivia isn't very good at opening up. I love this scene, because she, more or less, freaks out, not sure whether or not she should open up. She does, though, and Peter tells her that he does think about the other Olivia all the time, but only as far as to think about how she betrayed him, all of them, and he promises her that there is nothing there, which we end up finding out is yet another lie. In the episode before this one, "Reciprocity" (3.11), he lies about his having taken out the Shapeshifters, and now, he is apparently lying to her about whether or not he still has feelings for Bolivia, which he does. I
would say that maybe he and Bolivia belong together, since the both of them seem so good at lying, but that would mean Olivia's heart being broken, and possibly the destruction of her world, based on what Sam says to Nina at the end of this episode, and that's if we are to believe him. My stance is that Sam told the truth, but he didn't tell the whole truth.

It annoys me so much how Sam only answers one of Nina's questions instead of both, and that's for three reasons. First of all, I am annoyed by Sam, because he
would do that. Secondly, I am annoyed by Nina, because she should know better than to ask more than one question at a time, because he's going to pick and choose which he wants to answer, and even then, he doesn't answer the question fully. Why does the machine respond to Peter? Are we ever going to be told why? I thought that we were finally getting that answer in "Reciprocity" (3,11), and we didn't; now, we still haven't. Thirdly, I am annoyed by the writers, because they are dragging this out for so long. The secret being kept from Peter last season didn't bother me, because I wanted that to be an "end of the season" deal (which it was), and the drama was very intense, but this is annoying me, because I want to know. Sam's telling Nina that she shouldn't be so sure that Peter is going to pick this Olivia plays into what we learn in the following episode, "Immortality" (3.13), but I will wait until discussion of that episode to talk about that in detail. I am really happy that we got to see him again, but we had better see him quite a few more times before the season is over, because I want answers. Who are (were?) the First People, and what does he know about them? Is he one of them?

I'm pretty sure that I have said this before, but I don't always believe Walter. He claims to have worked with Nixon and that Nixon's wife came on to him, but I think Walter just has a case of a superiority complex. The rooftop chase, in this episode, really reminds me of Smith from "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" (1.07), who ran across a rooftop and jumped off, only to be shot dead when he pulled his weapon out (which was most likely done intentionally; he knew better than that). In this episode, we also really get a good glimpse of the new Fringe Headquarters, which more closely resembles what it looks like on the Other Side, which is why I don't think that what we see in "The Road Not Taken" (1.19) is a continuity error; I think that Fringe Division "over there" simply didn't have the funding that it does now (even though that doesn't explain the Cortexiphan continuity error). Also, if we are to believe Walter when he says that the reason that Simon can't hear Olivia is that she is a Cortexiphan subject like he is, then we now know that Peter definitely wasn't given Cortexiphan, since Simon
can anddoes hear him. "He still has feelings for her." I wonder if Simon knew who "her" was, because if so, then surely, he knows about the other universe. That's definitely worth thinking about.

I can't remember who pointed this out; I think that it was probably someone on Tumblr, but someone pointed out that every twelfth episode so far has dealt with some sort of virus, and that's true. Additionally (this I actually noticed myself), both episode 2.12 and episode 3.12 involve characters wearing their orange hazmat suits because of the virus. Episode 1.12 ("The No-Brainer") involves the computer virus, episode 2.12 ("What Lies Below") involves the previously dormant virus unleashed inside an office building, and this episode involves one that causes bones to deconstruct. We haven't really seen a whole lot of Broyles recently, and that is incredibly disappointing, because after he lies his alter-self to rest in "Entrada" (3.08), I was expecting a great deal of development from him, which hasn't been provided, but he does, once again, come in contact with Agent Edwards, who, at the end of "Earthling" (2.06), tells him to stay away. INtREPUS is also in this episode, which is where the first victim, Warren Blake, worked, something that I didn't catch until the
Fringe Podcast pointed it out. (It should also be pointed out that he was using an 8-ball, which Ella gives to Olivia in episode 1.11, "Bound.") This episode really comes off as a hybrid between True Blood (with Simon seeming to have the exact same ability as Sookie) and Alias(with Olivia going undercover at a fancy party), and I really appreciate the episode, even though I seem to be a minority in that opinion.

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