thoughts on pop culture

Fringe Season 1 Episode 20: There’s More Than One of Everything

I am thrilled that Fox has picked up Fringe for another season. If last night’s season finale had instead been the end of the series, it would have been cruel. We obviously have a long journey ahead of us, and I can’t wait.

The episode started with Massive Dynamic’s Nina Sharp being worked on at the hospital due to a gunshot wound. We find out that it’s David Robert Jones who’s responsible, and after some prodding, Nina reveals to Olivia and Phillip that Jones removed an extremely powerful power cell from her artificial arm. She also explains that it was William Bell who hid the power cell in her arm to begin with. Apparently Jones was once an up-and-coming employee at Massive Dynamic, but had a falling out with Bell.

Jones doesn’t waste any time putting the power cell to work. He finds a quiet street and uses the cell to power a device that opens up some kind of gateway to an alternate universe. The gateway is unstable though, and a most of a semi truck makes it through before the back end is sliced off, leaving a rather unique piece of wreckage. Once the FBI team arrives, we discover just how unique, when it is confirmed there is no record of any part of the truck being manufactured in our universe. 

While Olivia and her team are busy chasing down Jones, Walter and the Observer go off on a search of their own. The Observer escorts Walter to the shore, and to a beach house Walter spent a lot of time in many years ago. The Observer then explains he has already overstepped his bounds and can go no further. He hands Walter a silver dollar and asks if he remembers what he has to find. Walter does not remember, but goes toward the house alone anyway.

Back in the city, we see that Peter has truly come a long way from the first time we saw him–it is obvious that he truly cares for Walter, and we see Peter’s concern about the whereabouts and well-being of his father. Once Peter tracks him down to the beach house, a childhood memory of Peter’s helps Walter remember what he was supposed to look for. Some kind of strange telescope-like device that he and Bell used to use to connect to the other universe while tripping on LSD.

Ultimately we have a final showdown between Jones’s crew and Olivia’s. There is some serious ass-kicking, the opening of a pretty stable gateway between the two universes, and finally Peter uses the funny-looking telescope thing to close the portal just as Jones is passing through.  We end up with an awesome sliced in half version of Jones with a kind of “Are you kidding me?” look on his face.

I thought that was the big climax of the episode, but then Peter comes to the lab to find a note from Walter.

“Stepping out for a bit. Don’t worry about me son, I know where I’m going.”

Peter doesn’t seem worried, and we cut to Walter returning to the cemetery we’ve seen him at before. This time we get to see the tombstone he’s been crying over.  It’s Peter’s, and it says he was seven years old when he died. I actually had to pause the show for this complete “Holy fucking shit!” moment. So Walter’s Peter did drown, and somehow Walter brought the Peter from the other universe (with The Observer’s help?) back to raise as his own. This opens up a whole array of possibilities for the show that I hadn’t even considered.

Olivia then gets a call from Nina to schedule a meeting with Bell. Olivia goes to the destination and thinks she’s been stood up. As she gets on the elevator to leave the building, we see her skip between universes briefly, then the elevator door opens and she is greeted by name by a woman who leads her to an office. There’s a newspaper with the headline “Obamas set to move into new White House” lying on the desk. William Bell then enters. Olivia asks where they are and who he is. He introduces himself, but says the answer to her other question is more complicated. The camera backs out over Olivia’s shoulder and out of the office window–then backs out further to reveal that the meeting is taking place in one of the World Trade Center towers–END.

This took some massive balls, and quite frankly I’m thrilled someone has finally decided to slaughter the sacred cow of 9/11 on mainstream television. I can’t think of a more potent way to show the difference between two alternate versions of New York City than to use 9/11. I hope this is exactly the kind of bold storytelling we can expect when season two starts in the fall.


May 13, 2009 Posted by | Drama, Renewed, Science, Scifi, Season Finale, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fringe Season 1 Episode 20: There’s More Than One of Everything

Fringe Episode 17: Bad Dreams

After an ill-timed hiatus and a so-so return episode last week, Fringe is back on the tracks with this week’s Bad Dreams.

No need for a full recap here, though if you’re looking for that I would recommend a trip to for everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about the show.  Plus cool posts like this clip of The Observer at a Yankees game.

Overall, I think this was a return to the kind of episode that got me hooked on Fringe to begin with.  We had a real life-and-death mystery that was directly related to Olivia, and while we got some answers by the end of the episode, we were ultimately left wanting to know more.  The same thing happened with Walter this week–We got to see Walter get way too excited about the prospect of seeing Pippin on Broadway, and we also learned that he was directly involved with the experiments that were done on Olivia (Olive) as a child.

I understand that FOX decided to bench their best new show for two months so they could give us two hours of American Idol on Tuesdays, but I think it was a mistake.  I mean, at what point do you start to reduce the amount of time devoted to your flagging juggernaut in favor of an up and coming show with more promise than anything you’ve premiered since House in 2004?  At this point, I hope FOX doesn’t make a big mistake and cancel the show.  We’ll find out for sure when they host their upfronts on May 18, and I’m optimistic considering the list of shows with worse ratings that have already been renewed at FOX (Hell’s Kitchen, Family Guy, The Simpsons) and other networks (Heroes, Private Practice, The Office).  

Either way, I’m not too worried. If the show is cancelled, I think J.J. Abrams will find another way to reveal the truth of The Pattern to the fans.

April 25, 2009 Posted by | Science, Scifi, Technology, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments