This week, our assignment was to watch the episode “Marionette” from Season Three of Fringe. (You can read the Television Without Pity Recap here, while the AV Club has their recap of the episode here. The post dedicated to the Season Three season premiere episode is here and the posts dedicated to the following episodes are here, here, 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 episode, see you after the cut!
Remember my talking about Millennium a few weeks ago? Well, this is the most Millennial episode we’ve had yet. The bad guy has *JUST* enough of the urbane and gentle killer thing going on that we’re willing to go along for the ride and then as it slowly dawns on us all what he’s trying to do, WHAM, we are treated to the creepiest scene in Fringe thus far.
But I get ahead of myself.
We open with a James Bond-esque pin prick from an umbrella that results in heart removal surgery… like, before we even get to the opening credits, a guy has his heart, like, just up and taken out. And packed in ice in an “organ transport” cooler. Oh, and he was apparently left in a state where he would take minutes to die rather than the seconds that he’d take in a normal television show.
Anyway, we can get rid of that whole “Fauxlivia” nickname for this universe because the real deal is back, baby! And, oh yeah, she’s a bit of a drag. Anyhoo, the conversation that she had with Broyles about his double was a really good scene. I mean, that’s got to be a weird conversation. What would Alternate Jaybird be like? Oh, he’s a lawyer? Oh, he’s a dentist? Oh, he’s a lab guy at a police station? Oh, he’s a pothead living in subsidized housing and has four children by five mothers?
Oh, he’s dead? Because he helped you out?
In any case, the information that Olivia is able to provide about Walternate is that Walternate is intelligent, driven, powerful, and not stoned. Not even a little.
Which I suppose would be worse news if we didn’t already know that our Walter breaks universes just using the stuff he has in his kitchen while Walternate requires the backing of the federal government to even break stuff as little as he has (I mean, don’t get me wrong, he can break different stuff every week but, compared to breaking universes). Look on the upside, is what I’m saying.
No time for that, now that I think about it because we have yet another wonderful medical examiner moment with Walter and Peter checking out the poor dead guy. “This is beautiful work”, Walter says as he looks at the guy’s open chest. To set up a scene that would make most of us run out and lose our breakfast on the driveway and have Walter talking about the level of skill of the guy who did it? It’s perfect and creepy. Also: Points to the writers who have started showing us that Peter is useful rather than telling us by having Peter notice scar tissue and start investigating and he comes in with tons of drugs and points out that if you were inclined to steal a heart, you’d probably rather steal one from a guy who wasn’t taking all of these drugs.
Which is probably a clue.
Which brings us to the first really big moment of the show: Peter and Olivia hammering out that Fauxlivia opened Olivia’s mail. If you know what I mean. Olivia gets really sad, here… and there’s an interesting dynamic because, barring a smallpox outbreak in Alternate Texas, Olivia could have easily run with her implanted memories and consumated a relationship with Fauxlivia’s Perfect Boyfriend *AND* nobody would have held that against her, or the boyfriend, or against anybody but Walternate (and maybe alternate Broyles for being an accessory, but he was already put through the cuisinart so let’s just leave it at Walternate). In any case, Anna Torv does a great job of showing Olivia’s heart being ripped out by Peter… and surviving it (for the next few minutes, anyway)… to be interrupted by a conversation with the doctor who explains that the poor heartless victim was, in fact, the recipient of a heart transplant.
Cut to our evil urbane bad guy who is finishing stitching up a beautiful young, apparently dead, woman.
For the next little bit, we have the joys of going by the numbers. We know that the bad guy is collecting the organs that the beautiful young, apparently dead, woman donated and we know that he’s putting her back together, piece by piece. The police portion of the show is screaming at the television as they are taking *FOREVER* to find a suspect and always *JUST* missing the next one.. but the part of the show dealing with Olivia finding Fauxlivia’s stuff all over the house, sheets all over the bed, tattoos all over the back of the neck, and Peter’s clothing mixed in with the laundry? Dang. She’s wrecked because, let’s face it, she did all of the right things and Peter didn’t. The… I suppose it’s “girl talk” that Olivia and Astrid had… didn’t help much either. Why? Well, because Astrid said the same stuff Peter said. He felt stuff, it was about *YOU* not about the impostor, so on and so forth. Don’t girls normally take the side of girls in these situations? Like even a mini-rant about Fauxlivia being a jerkface? She needs fewer “you need to get over it” speeches and more “YES. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO WANT TO KICK HIM IN THE NUTS” speeches.
Oh, I forgot that I meant to talk about the eye scene but golly, that was a creepy scene. I wanted to work in Beckett’s “you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on” except instead of “go on”, I’d talk about talking about the eye scene but I couldn’t make it work. Dang. That was a creepy, creepy scene. It gets worse, even, as we’re at the hospital and the guy is all bandaged and talking about what happened. “He apologized but he said that they didn’t belong to me.” And, to turn the creepy up to 11, Olivia immediately intuits it.
Which brings us to the creepiest scene we’ve seen thus far: our bad guy hooking the beautiful young, apparently dead, woman to a bunch of ropes and pulleys and making her dance as he pulls levers and weeps. Whoa. That was horror television at its best. Beautiful and terrible and horrifying and almost lovely, almost. Good stuff, guys.
We hammer out that Amanda Walsh (the dancer’s) body was *NOT*, in fact, cremated but stolen/covered up and have Walter and Astrid discuss Frankenstein for a few seconds, we have a nice little not-an-argument between Olivia and Peter as they are figuring out who is likely to be reharvesting Amanda’s organs (and Olivia blurts out that whoever is doing this is doing this because he *LOVES* Amanda)… and we cutscene over to see him hook up the electrodes to Amanda and turn on the power and see her GASP and fight for breath and her eyes are wide open and we see our bad guy…
Well, in the interview that he has with the FBI, he comes out and says it to Olivia. “I looked in her eyes and I knew it wasn’t her.”
The one guy on the show that totally gets where Olivia is coming from with her being ticked at Peter and it’s Doctor Frankenstein himself.
And then Olivia gives the speech that she’s been working on all day (and one that, frankly, could have been avoided if someone gave it to her instead of the whole “Peter just totally loves you so much!” trying to help crappy speeches). Dude: EVEN FREAKING FRANKENSTEIN KNEW. YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN.
And she stomps off.
And all Peter can do is say, to the empty air, like he was Frankenstein talking to Amanda in there, that he was sorry.
What a *GOOD EPISODE*.
So… what thinks did you thunk?