This week, our assignment was to watch the two episodes “Momentum Deferred” and “Dream Logic” from Season Two 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 Season Two season premiere episode is here and the subsequent bookclub post 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 finale, see you after the cut!
The various thoughts and highlights:
Do people still do cryogenics? Is that still a thing? (It is. I googled and found that “Your cost to fund through life insurance can be as modest as $1 to $5 per day depending on your age, health, and the type of policy you choose.” That’s actually not bad, assuming the possibility that full body regeneration is, in fact, possible. Less than 200 large for 100 years. Those odds aren’t that bad, really, assuming that by the time you have liquid $200,000, you’re probably going to enjoy the upside of 100 years hence more than the use of that $200,000 here and now. Then again, here and now is a sure thing, as sure things go.)
The fact that one of the guards at the snatch and grab was also a shapeshifter was *REALLY* sinister. They established quite easily that you can’t trust anybody. The shapeshifters are seriously awesome plot devices. Who bleed mercury. Of course they do. That can’t be good for the environment. (Spoiler through the end of 3rd Season: Guveq frnfba unf na rcvfbqr jurer gur obql bs n qrnq funcrfuvsgre vf sbhaq va n cbaq… naq nyy bs gur svfu va gur cbaq ner qrnq. V gubhtug gung guvf jnf n avpr gbhpu.)
In the lab where Walter is talking about the flatworms and how their memories were transferred from trained flatworms to untrained flatworms when some of the untrained ones ate the diced and dismembered trained ones, I found myself wondering “why did Olivia drink the flatworms? They weren’t likely to know or remember the stuff she’d want to.” Eh, this was probably an attempt to get me to say “EW, I WISH I HADN’T FORGOTTEN MY RULE ABOUT NOT EATING DURING FRINGE!” rather than “hey, that wouldn’t work” and, as such, I think I should just let it slide on principle. I am glad that I remembered to not eat during Fringe, however.
In the forensics scene we watch Walter figure out that the shapeshifters have mercury flowing through them. Without tasting it. I half expected him to put his finger in his mouth and say “It’s Mercury! How exciting! I’ll need some D-penicillamine and some dimercaprol!” (Well, not *VERBATIM*. I had to look those up. But I was expecting him to say SOMETHING like that.)
The Flashback to the meeting with Bell had William Bell ringing the bell on his desk. There were a lot of flashes of images in Bell’s office that, I’m sure, benefitted the people with DVRs more than the people watching without benefit of one. We’ll come back to that.
Walter suggests to Fake Charlie that he smoke a doob before bed. That’s awesome. I don’t know whether it’d be good for a shapeshifter, though. I mean, we know that it’s bad for humans.
We switch over to the guy who robbed the cryo place and see that he’s shaving the heads and then throwing them away, one by one. Five bucks a day. Anyway, Fake Charlie shows up and they establish that Fake Charlie can’t just use any old shapeshifter mouth device *AND* Fake Charlie can’t go back home until he finishes his mission *AND* that they have no idea where the heads are *AND* that Olivia does. Well, probably. She’s in the process of remembering. Probably. The *INTERESTING* part is when they speculate whether Bell knows about the head thing which is why he had to talk to Olivia in the first place. Probably.
“Why are shapeshifting soldiers from another universe stealing frozen heads?”, Broyles asks.
Just end the episode there. That is the *PERFECT* moment.
They, of course, ruin it by theorizing about the answer. Given that the companies won’t give out client lists, the shapeshifters are stuck stealing heads and shaving them. Which should not make sense to me. Anyway, they establish that Peter can do some hacking on the shapeshifter mouth thingy.
Peter talking about The Pod People was a nice little touch… being freaked out about being replaced makes a lot of sense if you’re him, I guess. Dude. *YOU* are the Pod Person! Wait, that’s not what they were going for. (But *STILL*.)
Walter has figured out that the shapeshifter’s blood is 47% mercury and, the other shapeshifter’s blood was 0% mercury. Which means that the other shapeshifter wasn’t one… he’s still out there. Which gives us an opportunity for Walter to bring out a videotape from his days of experimenting on humans. We see a young woman tripping balls and ranting about glowing people from the other universe. This is a nice device… I mean, you can imagine any hundred tapes in Walter’s archives where people on acid are talking about crazy stuff that only makes sense now that shapeshifters from another universe are stealing cryogenically frozen heads.
Charlie is in a 7-11 buying a Slurpee and a dozen mercury thermometers… and, in an awesome scene, breaks the thermometers into the Slurpee and drinks down the metal. Get that man some dimercaprol!
At Massive Dynamic, we establish that the Fringe team also knows that the shapeshifter mouth thingies are tuned to one shapeshifter only, so they know that whomever is the shapeshifter is stuck in whatever body he (or she) has now. They talk to a tech who says that he’ll give Olivia real time rendering updates!
Walter goes to visit the girl from the videotape and it’s Theresa Russell! Golly! In no time flat, Walter has her strapped to a table and he’s giving her some LSD. (This scene establishes that Walter still has it.) As part of Walter’s co-piloting, he instructs Peter to ring a bell… which has an effect on Olivia that was really kinda cool. She collapses like she had been shot.
And we *FINALLY* see the scene we thought we’d be getting at the end of Season One. William Bell is giving Olivia a speech. A flashbacky speech. Zoop. Zoop. Zoop. There’s talking between Zoops, but the high notes are that Olivia calls Bell out for experimenting on kids and he expresses regret in the way that you’d expect the guy who runs Massive Dynamic to express regret… he, essentially, says something sad about unintended consequences and then changes the subject and points out how awesome Olivia’s new powers are. Zoop. We establish that there is a war coming, shapeshifters have been over on our side for a while, and that they are looking for a guy with a particular mark on his head (of course), that Nina Sharp can help, and that Olivia was the strongest of all of the experimented upon children. Zoop. Bell tells Olivia to tell Peter “Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toi”.
Back in the lab, we see Walter and Peter getting ready to give Olivia a shot of adrenaline and we see Bell explain to Olivia that he pulled her out of a moving car… “Physics is a bitch.” *BAM* the shot and Olivia sits straight up and takes a huge gasping breath. (Wait, I thought that Olivia was in an elevator when she crossed over…) Olivia shouts that she needs to see Nina. The next scene establishes two things: Nina has a jet that is capable of taking her to Hong Kong. Nina is happy to cancel flights to Hong Kong for such things as messages from Bell.
Back to Peter and Walter and they’re dropping Theresa Russell off… wait, Walter asks if he can go home with her. Oh, that Walter! He asks Peter for some money and gets permission (and, excitedly, announces that he can… which communicates that they talked about this already… oh, that Walter!). The takeaway from the scene, however, is Theresa Russell looking at Peter and seeing the aura/glowy thing. Yep. Peter’s got that trait that folks from the other universe have.
Evil Charlie shows up at the lab to ask about Olivia and finds out about the facial reconstruction going on… which tells him (and, by extension, us) that the clock is now *SERIOUSLY* ticking… which brings us to Olivia talking to Nina about the meeting with Bell. Nina doesn’t recognize the mark Bell mentioned (or, I suppose, lies about recognizing it) but she does recognize Olivia’s use of the term “a storm is coming” because, apparently, that was Bell’s catchphrase before he left (or, I suppose, is willing to tell the truth about that). This allows Nina to give a speech involving the collision of two universes and she uses two snowglobes colliding as her example… and then Evil Charlie sends Olivia a text saying NINA IS THE SHAPESHIFTER GET OUT.
Which, seriously, is an awesome gambit on the part of Evil Charlie. Olivia gets out to find Charlie waiting for her and they duck into an alley where Olivia says “I almost told her that I remembered that the guy’s head is at such-and-such place!” and she gets the text saying “We’ve rendered the face” and it shows her Charlie’s face and they lock eyes and… aren’t you glad we’re not cutting to a commercial? Because they did which this originally aired.
We come back to Evil Charlie beating the ever living crap out of Olivia. In between ever living crap kickings, Evil Charlie makes the call and gives the name of the place… allowing Olivia to shoot Evil Charlie in the head. Whew. Kinda.
Cut to Walter walking with Theresa Russell up to the house… but we find out that Walter wanted to go back with her so that he could apologize rather than… um… he’d been in the asylum for a long time. You know what? It’s good that he apologized and left. Good for all of us.
Cut to Broyles telling Olivia that she couldn’t have known, it wasn’t Charlie but a shapeshifter, blah blah blah… we establish that the head was removed from the cryogenic place and is now in the hands of the shapeshifters… which brings us to the head itself. OH MY GOSH IT’S LONGINUS FROM ROAR. They place the head on a (headless) body with plenty of mercury around and we see Longinus open his eyes.
And we’re out.
Holy cow, that might have been the best episode we’ve seen yet. We finally see the meeting between Olivia and William Bell, we finally learn the stakes (the two universes are going to collide and one will shatter), AND WE WATCH THE GOOD GUYS FAIL.
This is awesome.
It’s a pity that the followup show is “Dream Logic”, a run of the mill, “let’s let the real writers/directors take a break this week” episode straight from “if only X-Files had a 10th Season.”
The important points hit were that Olivia went to talk to Sam Weiss and thanked him for his help and his response was “Who Died?” (Which, if you ask me, gives Sam oodles of character depth with one freakin’ line. Good job writers, I suppose you do deserve a week off from time to time.)
The main plot of the main show itself involves a sleep doctor who steals dreams from his patients resulting in our cold open where a guy goes to the office but sees everybody there as having demon faces and that living nightmare culminates in him beating his boss to death in the middle of a conference room. During the post-hallucination/murder interview, we watch him convulse, we watch his hair turn white, and we watch him die. (We later find another person who kills a “monster” and, by the time our team finds this person, they are dead with white hair.) Through the course of the show, we find that all of people had the same doctor who, of course, has a second personality addicted to stealing the dreams of the people in his sleep studies. Yeah.
Anyway, the big two things that happen this episode involve Olivia working out with Sam Weiss that she should get a business card from everybody who is wearing red and, after she gets eight of them, Sam has her circle two letters at random on each card… and then play the jumble with them. Solution: YOURE GONNA BE FINE. (Other possible solutions: A NEON EBONY FIGURE, YOUNG BEFORE INANE, and, my favorite, BEEF AGONY REUNION.) The other big thing is that we see Peter have a nightmare about being a child and being yanked away from his room… to wake to watch Walter looking over him.
Those two events were really cool but, sadly, the only reason to watch the show (as far as I’m concerned).
Hey, at least Momentum Deferred was awesome, right?
What thinks did you thunk?