This week, our assignment was to watch the two episodes “The No-Brainer” and “The Transformation” 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, here, here, 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!

I’ve noticed that my attempts to quickly summarize the shows have turned into full-on recaps again. I’ll recalibrate and attempt to just do a paragraph summary and let us all hammer out stuff in the comments.

The No-Brainer was an X-Files episode, more or less. (Wasn’t this a plot of the X-Files?) I very much enjoy Ella as a supporting character. A Robin to Olivia’s Batman, if you will. Walter asking about the seats that “warm your ass” got a laugh from me that was much larger than the line deserves when you see it written down. The computer stuff bugged me. I know it shouldn’t bug me. I should just run with it. The computer stuff bugged me. Jessica Warren was an interesting problem for Peter to dodge. The payoff of Walter obviously not knowing what to say but saying stuff anyway was a lovely balance against all of the “I love bodies showing up!” goofy stuff he says. Sanford Harris continues to suck. He’s a lazy character who has “DISLIKE ME” written on him in red paint. He’d have been considered a little heavy-handed in the 70’s. A decent, if light, episode that wouldn’t have been out of place on Millennium (wait, wasn’t this also a Millennium plot?).

Now The Transformation is a return to the Fringe show we all know and love. The opener of the show with the guy on the plane reminded me, kinda, of the Pilot. We’re on a plane, we’ve got a crazy passenger, except this successfully makes it to the bathroom. This was an *AWESOME* opener. The plane flying low in the next scene? That really creeped me out for vague 9/11-related reasons. I know they weren’t going for that (or, maybe, they were). If they were trying to create dread? It worked. It was *AWESOME* to see the little glass discs again. The interrogation of the other guy who was going to turn into a werewolf thingy that got paused by sedatives? That was awesome. The fact that Broyles has been withholding information (like about the little glass discs? Like about John Scott’s whereabouts???) from Olivia? Seriously, this stuff makes me yell at the television. The conversation between John Scott and Liv in the tank was really, really good. The exchange in the hotel? Well, *I* thought it was a little contrived but I don’t see Joshua Jackson as “The Heavy”. They did do a nice job with the tension, though… and we finally say goodbye to John Scott. Here’s the big question: Will Olivia still keep her Kung-Fu? All in all, a great episode that brought a lot of little storylines home and *REALLY* make me excited to watch next week’s episodes.

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. So, did the Watcher show up in the first one? I missed it if it did, but that is the normal tie in to these freak of the week shows. Not much to say about this one. It was not that interesting, though I like finding out more tidbits about Peter. The main thing I have to wonder is what did this have to do with the Pattern…

    The Transformation was exellent. I loved the openning and it made me remember the line in the Incredible Hulk about being stuck in a hollow tube with streaming kids. In this episode, we see what would have happenned. Awesome. We also seem to have some closure on John Scott and I liked that too. I do have to wonder about Broyle, in one breath he goes to the mat for Olivia, but in the next breath we find out he is still not trusting her with stuff. Sigh, what is the deal?

    • I am told that the Observer shows up in *EVERY* episode. At the very least, we can see a guy, from a distance, wearing a grey suit and hat.

      I don’t count it if we see him from across the street, myself. I think it only counts as a HOLY CRAP IT’S THE OBSERVER if I can see his facial expression.

  2. I just watched the first one. Second one to come.

    I liked the episode. It felt like one of those episodes that you suspect they made and then said “Okay, we’ll use this one when we have some space to fill,” except that they put Harris (ugh) in there and the sister and niece (she’s cute, I guess, but still… ugh, but not as ugh as Harris).

    The virus reminds me a little bit of the Intersect from Chuck, which I guess started airing about the same time. And it was good to see Frank Sobotka again! That guy doesn’t get enough work.

    • I agree that there was a Chuck flavor to the first episode, but I knew something would go horrible. I had not guessed brain meltage though. I was thinking more like going nuts or something.

    • Chuck! I knew I recognized it from somewhere. I like the creepy hand coming out of the screen. That was kind of cool.

      I only said “ugh” to the sister and neice when they put Peter in the mix.

    • It felt like one of those episodes that you suspect they made and then said “Okay, we’ll use this one when we have some space to fill,”

      I don’t mind those as bookends to mini-story arcs. You don’t want your actors getting hypertension after all… but one of the reasons I switched back to summaries this week (apart from not having *ANY* freakin’ time) was because I really wanted to talk about the second one oh-so-much more than the first one.

  3. One other thing I should say, it is nice to have Walter back. I am not sure it was intentional or it was just me, but I found Walter did not make me laugh for a couple of episodes after he was thrown back in the insane asylum. It took until Bound for me to have an LOL moment from Walter again and then I have a couple in these two episodes.

    • This is a good point. Walter did seem restrained for a couple of episodes after visiting the asylum again. Let’s run with “the writers did this deliberately”.

  4. I miss your recaps, JB. They were sooo funny. It is probably a lot of work for you though. Just call me selfish.

  5. I was a big fan of The Transformation too, and found it a very satisfying conclusion (?) to the John Scott plot. I still don’t understand why the John in Olivia’s memories can talk with her, but that’s okay – it’s far from the weirdest thing on this show. I liked that you could tell from the start that the guy on the plane was a good guy from him doing everything possible to protect the rest of the passengers from himself (even if he failed), when pretty much anyone would be primarily focused on the fact that they were about to turn into a grotesque monster and die. It really set things up for the later revelation that they were all undercover agents.

    Naq onfrq ba univat jngpurq gur arkg rcvfbqr nf jryy nf gur yngre frnfbaf…glvat hc gur Wbua Fpbgg fgbel yrgf hf trg vagb gur ERNY cybg.

    • “Naq onfrq ba univat jngpurq gur arkg rcvfbqr nf jryy nf gur yngre frnfbaf…glvat hc gur Wbua Fpbgg fgbel yrgf hf trg vagb gur ERNY cybg.”

      Well said. I was surprised by how this show kept making me say “this show just keeps getting better!”

      I seriously hadn’t said that since Maribou and I watched the first couple of seasons of Chuck. (In an alternate universe, we’re not doing Fringe as our Bookclub, but Chuck.)

    • Nf zragvbarq, Fpbgg’f rkbqhf jnf zl bja. Gurer vf na bcravat sbe Fpbgg gb pbzr onpx gb gur fubj, ohg hasbeghangryl gurl unira’g gnxra nqinagntr bs vg. Univat Nygreangr Fpbgg cbc hc naq guebjvat n jerapu va guvatf pbhyq znxr sbe fbzr tbbq fgbel. Gur ybir-yvsr natyr xvaq bs arrqf fbzr funxvat hc, va zl bcvavba. Naq abj gung Inyyrl’f fubj unf orra pnapryrq, gurl pbhyq qb vg. Inyyrl naq Gbei’f qvibepr zvtug pbzcyvpngr guvatf ba gur frg, gubhtu.

      • Znex Inyyrl unf erpragyl fvtarq ba nf n erthyne sbe gur gryrivfvba fubj Uneel’f Ynj.


        • Qnt anoovg. Abg bayl vf ur gvrq hc jvgu n fubj, ohg ur’f gvrq hc jvgu n fubj gung V qba’g jnag gb jngpu naq ur’f abg cynlvat gur pbc/ntrag/fbyqvre onqnff ur jnf obea gb cynl.

  6. Transformation is actually the point at which I stopped watching. I really liked the episode, but it was a rather good jumping-off point. I left with the sense that it was getting better, but not enough. Fortunately, I am a reader of Jon Last and he made a couple of comments about it that lead me to give it another shot.

    I do wish what Scott had been doing had been explained better, or explained subsequently. (Possible spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen Season 2.) Bs pbhefr, tvira gung MSQ jnf abg ragveryl va gur jebat, univat uvf ebyr nf n qvffvqrag fbyqvre jub jnf gelvat gb grzcre jung Wbarf jnf qbvat, juvpu fbzr ryrzragf bs gur tbireazrag npghnyyl xarj naq fhccbegrq, ohg jrer pbaprearq nobhg Wbarf uvzfrys orvat hauvatrq. Va rffrapr, uvf nffvtazrag jnf gb xrrc Wbarf va yvar sbe gur Tbbq bs Uhznavgl Va Gur Snpr Bs Gur Pbzvat Jne. Gurer jrer n ybg zber ynlref bs zbenyvgl gb guvf jubyr fgbel guna jr jrer vavgvnyyl yrnq gb oryvrir, nsgre nyy.

    • Part of me thinks that there was *MORE* John Scott stuff to be told but the guy got hired on for the lead guy in The Human Target… and so he was written off gracefully rather than allowing them to tell the John Scott stuff they wanted to tell in Season 2.

      Or maybe I’m crazy.

      • I like to think that there was more to the story (if not, they didn’t think it through). I think Katherine’s comment touches on why it didn’t happen. Human Target being a part of it, but I don’t think they would have kept him in her head indefinitely because they likely did want to move on at some point shy of fixating on the past.

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