This week, our assignment was to watch the two episodes “The Cure” and “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones” 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 and the subsequent episode posts are here and 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!
Okay, The Cure has a great opening that reminds me that I should eat before or after watching Fringe, *NOT* *DURING*.
Bellini’s lymphocemia is not a real disease. I googled. The writers just made it up because they didn’t want to hurt the feelings of anyone with a real disease. I suppose I can appreciate that. If I was a writer, the last thing I’d want is phone calls from the ribose-5-phosphate isomerase deficiency people.
Olivia is, seriously, in a bad mood. Charlie says “Happy Birthday”. Oh. Of course.
Using food to demonstrate what happened to people is comic relief in its own right. Walter should use food as his examples every week to lighten the mood. “Say this grapefruit is the fat man and these grapes are the babies in the maternity ward.”
You know what? I already regret writing that sentence.
Out doing detective work, we find that everybody in this episode is lying. While that does a good job of creating a sense of paranoia on the part of our detectives (and us), I can’t help but feel like maybe this episode could be over in 27 minutes if people were telling the truth. That’s the difference between life and television, I guess.
The whole “I’ll kill myself to avoid having to deal with the repercussions of my telling the truth” thing is always always creepy to watch.
Aaaaand the bad guy for this episode is a major honcho from a corporation that is even eviler than Massive Dynamic. I don’t know if that’s supposed to make me feel good about Massive Dynamic or what.
I don’t like the whole “person tied to a table being injected with stuff against their will” thing. Yeah, I know. I’m watching the wrong show. That, for some reason, induces a feeling of horror that lots of the other stuff on the show doesn’t really do. So… I guess the writers know what they’re doing. I disapprove anyway.
I really liked the Nina Sharp/Peter interaction. While it did push things back pretty firmly into “Corporations are Evil” territory, it established some backstory for Peter (specifically that he didn’t remember that he spent a lot of time with her as a kid) as well as backstory for Nina. She’s not evil, per se… she just has interests. It’s Massive Dynamic that’s evil. But not as evil as their competitor.
I also liked that I wrinkled my brow when Peter talked about heat signatures from radioactive isotopes (“phased cationic pulse”) but Walter pointed out that, no, they don’t have that (well, he would have if Peter didn’t shut him up).
So this week’s “phased cationic pulse” is that hyacinths contain a chemical that interact with certain radioactive isotopes that make people’s heads blow up while I’m trying to eat.
They save the poor woman whose head is going to blow up at the agency of the even eviler company… which is good… and we see that Nina Sharp is pleased that her stock price is up 12%. You sell when it’s like that. It’ll trend back down after everything gets hammered out and then you can buy back the shares at the equilibrium price and have 12% more shares. Buy the rumor, sell the news, Nina.
And, finally, the thing that I didn’t talk about was Olivia’s story about shooting, but not killing, her father and about how her father sends her a birthday card every year… and there’s a card waiting for Olivia. Not a mailed one… one hand delivered. This does a great job of getting me to see that Olivia is haunted by her childhood and remains haunted by it, it establishes a great villian for the writers to keep in their back pocket (spoilers through the first disk of third season: Guvf cnegvphyne fho-cybg vfa’g cvpxrq onpx hc guebhtu gur erfg bs svefg frnfba be va nal bs frpbaq frnfba… ohg jr qba’g xabj vs Snhkyvivn fubg ure sngure (jr xabj gung Snhkyvivn’f zbgure vf fgvyy nyvir juvyr bhe Byvivn’f vfa’g)… naljnl, V’z guvaxvat gung gur sngure fgbelyvar jbhyq or na *NJRFBZR* bar gb cvpx onpx hc jura Snhkyvivn vf bire urer va bhe havirefr. Abj, bs pbhefr, V unir ab vqrn vs gung vf tbvat gb unccra. V’yy or inthryl qvfnccbvagrq vs vg qbrfa’g, gubhtu). However: She’s got all of the FBI at her fingertips and that letter was hand delivered. She can’t find him? Ah, Jay. Stop worrying and pay attention to what this establishes for Olivia.
All in all: a really good episode for establishing stuff for the future. As a “weird stuff of the week” episode? It involved scared women strapped to medical equipment. So meh.
The second episode is “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”.
And, once again, we establish that if you want bad, go with a German accent, but if you want sinister, go with a British accent.
Getting ahead of myself. This week’s “oh, I forgot that I shouldn’t eat during this show” is a parasite. Wrapped around a guy’s heart. Ew.
Talking about parasites is right up there with deep sea fish and the four humors when it comes to making me yell ew gross and leaning in closer to get a better view. P.J. O’Rourke has an essay in which he talks about how, sure, the sunset is pretty and all but that’s only good for a couple of minutes, what’s on CNN? but ugly? He then talks about holding a priapic bat who is wrigging and biting at him and how he would be able to start at that sort of thing for hours. This is like that. Where was I?
We hear, for the first time, the initials “ZFT”. No spoilers but I think we’ll hear those initials again.
Olivia asks “what is ZFT?” and Broyles freezes… Jeez, guys. Do you *REALLY* think that withholding information from the agents you put in charge of this stuff is helpful?
We jump to Germany and HOLY CRAP THERE’S THE OBSERVER.
Walter talking about fruit cocktail. Yeah, I had a good one in Vegas once. It had a lot of pineapple, strawberries, and raspberries. It was served with a custard, though. Sort of like a tart without a crust. We drank sangria and smoked cigarettes.
ZFT, of course, has moles in the Agency. This is one of those things that does a great job of creating paranoia on a mass scale. The only people we can trust are Olivia, Peter (but he’s flaky), Walter (but he’s Walter), Broyles (BUT HE KEEPS WITHHOLDING INFORMATION), and Charlie. Oh, and probably Nina. Everybody else is suspect. Which does a good job of making me dread any interaction that doesn’t involve those guys. And Nina’s iffy.
The guy that the Brit in the German prison wants to talk to is the same guy that the Agency is going to investigate right now. And he’s shot in the head. I note that in most television shows, the drama would inolve what they have to do now that the guy is dead and it goes without saying that they can’t talk to him.
Which means that we’re back to interrogating dead people. This strikes me as something that they’d be able to use a lot more often. Oh, maybe not if they’re shot in the head. (Not that that will be a problem this time, of course. I mean, just guessing.)
Anyway, Olivia is making out with her friend in Germany. Good for her. And Peter’s blocking. Good for him.
The scene with Mr. Jones was nice and creepy. I like my women hot, my beer cold, and my villains urbane. “My friends are loyal to the end.” That’s one of those things that does a good job of creating doubt… even if you’re just pointing out the doubt that most people have about most things, the fact that you’re stuck knowing that you’d probably just die for your friends/family and here’s this guy who talks about dying for some abstract idea thing (or, at least, his friends would). That’s just creepy.
The verticle lines that Peter drew? That scene was *AWESOME*.
And Parasite guy is the mole. That seems pretty g-darn risky, if you ask me.
This show just keeps getting better and better.
So… what thinks did you thunk?
I was warned early on not to eat and watch simultaneously (probably by you, JBor Pat, I can’t remember). I ate and watched, it’s fine. If I can do it, you can do it. Man up! Seriously, I’m really girly so don’t let me show you up.
I continue to enjoy your colorful recaps, thank you.
I am still irritated by the typical Hollywood plot points. Being sad on your birthday is no new story and only serves to bring in another branch of backstory. Whatever, I guess that’s all they could come up with. As for In Which We Meet Mr. Jones, again with the “only so many hours to save this guys life bit”, really? Well, okay.
I did like these episodes and when I have more time I will yell you why (instead of just complaining 😉 ).
Heh. I have also eaten during many episodes. Though Jaybird traditionally blames that on my biology degree.
NO MORE EXCUSES, HONEYBEAR.
You know, if you eat while you watch television, you’re either not going to fully enjoy your meal or you’re not going to fully enjoy your show.
I just adore you Maribou
I liked both episodes but the Mr Jones one was better. I like how at the end we realise the new mole is the guy you saved…. again! I see a theme growing here, but what I want to know was did the bad guys have a fall back if Team Mad Scientists did not come through? Also, if Walter could Phase Cationic Pulse and talk to dead people, why have they not been doing that in every episode?? In defense of the show, Walter is scatterbrained enough that I could understand that he just remembered it, but want about the next show and the next. I suspect they will have more dead bodies.
The main thing I liked about the cure was seeing a little more depth brought to Massive Dynamics and Nina. Of course they have their own objectives, but it is nice to see just a little “normal” greedy corporation and not just the Pattern.
Also, if Walter could Phase Cationic Pulse and talk to dead people, why have they not been doing that in every episode?
It’s easier to shoot them in the eye with a high powered camera.
I loved the Mr. Jones episode for the interplay between Olivia and Mr. Jones (agreed, re: urbane villains). Some part of my brain is still hooked on Silence of the Lambs, methinks. It’s a good (creepy) vibe.
Yes, there was a definite Silence of the Lambs feel to that. I wonder if they are going to do more with that.
These episodes are where I start liking Olivia, mainly for sticking it to her boss. My favorite part of The Cure is when Olivia said, “I understand you think I acted to emotionally. Putting aside the fact that men always say that about women they work with, I am emotional, I bring it into my work. It’s what motivates me.” During In Which We Meet Mr. Jones Olivia tells Broyles to shove it again when she says, “we don’t know each other well enough for you to say something like that to me, and I don’t see any other option here. Do you, sir?”
I find it interesting that both of these scenes take place in Broyles’s office. Broyles is clearly attempting to assert his power and Olivia is taking it where she can get it (since Broyles continues to withhold information), and in *his office* where he sits behind his desk and pretends like she is not handing him his own ass. I like Olivia 🙂
I can’t believe I missed the Observer, again. I went back and watched it just so I could see him; he is so obvious when I know to look for him. I was never really good at Where’s Waldo.
Up until this point, I saw Olivia as our “everyman”. She was the normal person who found herself dragged into insanity and she was supposed to be the person who we could relate to.
Walter is, of course, Walter. Peter is the smoove conman. Olivia is the normal person (albeit a cop).
These are the episodes where they start pointing out to us that she is a fully developed character in her own right.
Can I up you in my pocket and throughout the day, when I am having trouble articulating something, I can pull you out and you can tell everyone what I’m thinking?
These two were pretty good, the show is either finding it’s way or the JJ-ness of the show is annoying me less and less.
The consistent theme for me was the villains this week – first the dude in “The Cure” drove me *crazy* trying to remember who he was the whole time. While I don’t think I remember Kicking and Screaming that well, I am loathe to admit the extent of my Gilmore Girls geekery, so it must have been from Kicking and Screaming.
Then “Mr. Jones”, him I remembered a lot faster until from Mad Men. I’m guessing when this one first ran he actually would have been more prominent for people watching.
And Parasite guy is the mole. That seems pretty g-darn risky, if you ask me.
Yeah, it does.
Me, too. And darn it I want it to be next week already because we’re starting to get ahead. . . grumble . . . grumble. .
We’ll assign the homework tomorrow. You’ll like these. We’re just getting warmed up.
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