This week, our assignment was to watch the two episodes “The Same Old Story” and “The Ghost Network” from Season One of Fringe.  (You can read the Television Without Pity Recaps here and here, while the AV Club has their recaps of the episodes here and here. The post dedicated to the Pilot episode is here.)

As always, here are the ground rules: nothing that we have seen so far is considered a spoiler, anything that we have not yet seen should be considered a spoiler. Crazy nutbar speculation is *NOT* a spoiler, but confirming or denying said confirmation would be.

Here’s my idea for spoilers: please rot13 them. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them. We good? We good! Everybody who has seen the two episodes, see you after the cut!

First off, The Same Old Story. I’ll use minimal recapping and give mostly free associations for this one.

We begin with a post flagrante delicto couple and he’s getting ready to get all serial killer and she starts screaming before he can get his Ed Gein on. Screaming screaming screaming. I turned down the television but was still surprised at the amount of screaming.

Seriously, I understand that this show is about “The Pattern” but, so far, it seems that “The Pattern” involves a lot more “people deliberately being mean to each other and using science to do it” than “people doing science and incidentally being mean”. The latter is something that I can watch and enjoy myself. The former? It’s just people being mean. I don’t need that crap in my life. If I wanted to watch people being mean to each other, I’d go outside.

Maribou watched this episode while putting laundry away. I heard all of the screams and I went upstairs to tell her that “the show gets better, seriously” and she said “good, because all that screaming turned me off”.

Anyway, back to the free associations.

Broyles talks about his “new team” to a group of folks, including Nina Sharp. New Team? That implies an old team. It *MIGHT* imply *MORE* than one old team. What happened to them?

The whole thread-count conversation between Olivia and Peter was a good conversation. It did a good job of establishing Olivia’s character somewhat without coming out and saying “HERE IS SOME CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT”. You know, like they do in the car.

Speaking of cars, I was disappointed that the combination number was Pi. It would have been cooler to have the number be e or Avagadro’s number or something actually old-schooly sciency rather than a Frasier-level “here’s something you remember from high school” kinda thing. Not that e or Avagadro’s number wouldn’t also qualify, of course, but it’d have everyone knitting their brows saying “wait, I think I remember that” instead of yelling “Pi” at the television. Dan Brown has ruined our culture.

If I were to make a youtube video of me reviewing this episode, it would have seven or eight takes of me saying “highly theoretical” the way Walter does.

The weird science for this episode is the whole “last image the person saw is burned on their retina” thing. For some reason, I find this less plausible than two people hooking up their brainwaves to each other.

The scene where Peter calls his dad and says “I have someone go into cardiac arrest due to too much anaestesia, what do I do?” and Walter responds as if he gets asked this twice a day. “Do you have any cocaine?” I laughed out loud. Thank you, Fringe. All is forgiven. Putting together a defibrillator on the fly is pretty cool too.

Walter expresses surprise at Peter’s medical history being expurgated from his file. Huh.

And they do a good job of Peter singing his dad to sleep at the end of the episode. I kinda liked that.

All in all, a meh-to-bad episode. If the next couple of episodes were as meh-to-bad as this one, I probably would have trailed off watching the episodes and would not have made it to the third disk.


The Second Episode we were suppose to watch was “The Ghost Network”.

This is the episode where the season made enough of a demonstration of Good Will that I was willing to forgive several bad episodes. I was hooked after this one.

The opening science where the people were frozen in jello in the bus? Gross. And compelling. That opening setup reminded me of something that the X-Files would do… both with the aeresol amber stuff and the guy who knew that it was going to happen.

Walter drugging himself in the diner was awesome. It’s somehow soothing to know that no matter what’s going to be happening for the next 20ish episodes, Walter will be tripping balls.

The room where the guy made art of the pattern was an awesome room.

Broyles said that the earliest happened around the time the FBI became aware of the pattern. That was 9 months… huh. I would have thought that there would have been weird things happening for longer. (I would have thought that even without watching up through Season 2.)

The whole “this was used in Prague” thing is irritating me almost as much as Olivia. If they don’t want people to know this stuff because it’s too classified, why are they talking about it so casually? If it’s no big deal if it’s talked about casually, why aren’t they telling Olivia this stuff?

These people are willing to jump in front of buses. That’s… weird.

The disks in the hands are weird too. Apparently, they’re not rare as much as uncommon and John Scott had one as well. Does Olivia have one, I wonder…


Anyway, it’s at this point that I said “yep, I’m going to start watching this series regular.” I hope all of you are equally hooked.

So… what thinks did you thunk?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to


  1. I gotta say, I almost stopped watching during ALL THAT SCREAMING. But Episode 3 brought me around, too.

  2. Crap, I watched episode 2 and forgot to catch 3.

    Thoughts on just Ep 2:

    Is every episode going to start with folks in bed?

    You know what I miss about the X-Files? Doubt and failure. So far the show is just pedal to the metal on whatever crazy crap any character throws out and then it always works, no bad ideas, no rabbit holes, no crazy theories that just *don’t work*.

    Banking on episode 3 providing some of that goodwill. The occasional hilarious stuff Walter throws off is all it’s got so far.

  3. I almost stopped watching after 2 and 3, neither of which did anything for me.

    Episode 4 is what hooked me. I am anxiously awaiting next week.

  4. I thought episode #2 did a great job of making Loraine extremely likeable in a really short period of time. The mystery of what happened to her was top-notch. I liked #2 more than #1 and #3.

    Question in rot13:
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  5. I liked both shows. The thing that bugs me right now is the formula. X happens for what looks like no parent reason and something weird happens in the process. The Team is told to look into it, reason is found, the phased cationic pulse (Star Trek fans will understand this one) is used, problem is solved.

    I realise the mystery is “the pattern” and not the mystery of the week, but I would like to see a little more fumbling around in the episodes.

    Still, Walter is great and he has had an LOL moment for me in each episode. I also like the short fuse for Walter, it feels omminus. In the last one, he was about to kill the guy because results were not coming quickly. I would say this is an about face for his character since in the last two episodes he was preaching patience to everyone, but Walter has shown that irractic behavior often in just three shows. I wonder when it will really become a problem.

  6. Urer’f n dhrfgvba V sbhaq zlfrys jbaqrevat, sbe gubfr gung unir orra jngpuvat ba QIQ bire n fubeg crevbq bs gvzr naq abg bire sbhe lrnef:

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    • Spoilers for Season 3.

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  7. Episode 2 started a trend that I remember being somewhat prevalent from season one, that thankfully got dialed down later: Walter discovering/inventing something that helps them solve a crime, but which afterwards is never used or ever referred to again.

    With all the dead bodies the uncover in later episodes that make them search for killers, why do they never make the Dead-Person-Eye Camera again? (An even bigger one comes up in Ep 4, but I’ll hold of mentioning that till next week.)

  8. OK, I caught Ghost Network tonight.

    Huge improvement over the second one, I hope that Tod is right and the next one is even better.

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