Okay! This week, our assignment was to watch the episode “Os” 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, here, 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!
One of the things I most like about Fringe is how it is more than happy to talk about the importance of Science and Scientific Knowledge in the one hand and then turn (on a dime!) and talk about God, Morality, Love (both parental and romantic), and such things as Justice, Revenge, and all sorts of touchy-feely crap… and then spin again and bring everything together and make a story that both involves a father’s love for his son at the same time that it discusses Osmium being the densest of the naturally occurring elements.
I mean, sure, it’s a silly trick. It *SHOULD* be so silly that it results in us yelling about it. And yet… well, they had Cameron in this episode and he was playing a bad guy. Now, I don’t know that I’ve seen him play a bad guy since Ferris Bueller but he’s only mastered his craft. You know that he loves his son. You know that he’s willing to kill people to save his son. You know that he’s willing to crack universes to save his son… and yet… Well, they probably don’t want to come out and say “there are a lot of Walters out there” but, dang, there are a lot of Walters out there.
And, somehow, not enough. We open the show with Walter getting stoned in the monitor room with a security guard. “You’re the best boss I’ve ever had, man.” I’m going back through my various bosses and the bosses with whom I achieved altered states of consciousness are not, in fact, up there. Though, I feel I should point out, we were drinking and arguing rather than smoking something and watching television. Anyway, on one of the televisions, we see a door and the door is, of course, to William Bell Himself’s office and Walter realizes “HEY! I OWN THE COMPANY!!!” and ditches his Quantum Leap buddy in the control booth for some hare-brained scheme.
Cut to some burglars who are using some sort of magnetic boots… wait, no. There is some deliberately obfuscatory camerawork being done here. It turns out that the burglars are weightless (lighter than air, actually) and were using boots that would make them very, very heavy. This is confirmed when one is shot and his blood floats up, up and away.
You’re watching Fringe. Blue Credits.
Anyway, this is a show about what evil fathers are capable of committing in the names of making sure that their sons are happy.
Cameron has been working with a number of young men who are paralyzed from the waist down. He’s been doing research on a treatment that can make folks weightless… but, so far, there are side effects. Stuff like headaches, nausea, bleeding, and other symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. We find out that his own son has paralysis from the waist down (and, indeed, that he dotes on his boy) and that is why he’s been investigating ways to… well, not *HEAL*, exactly, the whole paralysis thing. He’s been thinking outside of the box and has discovered *NOT* a way to heal the body that has had its legs paralyzed… but he has discovered a way to make the body weightless!
At the exact same time? Olivia and Peter are doing their best to bring us from the absolute heights of watching Walter-wanna-bes destroy young lives to the absolute depths of Friends-level information withholding within a relationship to make us all realize that yes, “You’re Watching FOX.”
You’re watching Fox.
Anyway, the part of the show that involves Cameron lying to young, paralyzed men, and (somehow!) making them able to walk again is simultaneously horrifying and… well… I found myself hoping that Cameron would find a permanent cure. I reckon I’m a bad person.
Anyway, the rest of the show has three major events:
One of the weightless burglars involved in stealing more Osmium almost ends up flying out of a skylight and up, up, away forever… but is caught (tackled) by Peter. (Aside: This scene had me yelling at the television. Apparently, I have some deep-seated issues that involve floating up and away forever. When they teased that that was the fate of the young burglar, I was leaning forward, making fists with my feet, and shouting. This was Fringe at its best.)
We see Cameron and his son both be there when everything comes to light about how he experimented on other paralyzed people. “You think I’m broken? You think I need to be fixed?” And there is this absolutely amazing tension between what we understand the father was feeling about his son and what the son felt about himself and what the son realized his father thought about him… instead of what he *THOUGHT* his father thought about him. Apart from all of the killing, I had a lot of sympathy for Cameron, here. He wanted to save his son and it didn’t matter how many people he killed in order to do it… and, sure, he’d be helping out people in addition to his son… but, seriously, it wasn’t about them. Though, I imagine, it was some kind of wonderful to see these young men walk for the first time.
Pity that his discoveries were manifestations of Walter’s messing around with the whole “universe” thing.
Where was I? Oh, yes. The third thing that we see from this episode is that Olivia and Peter are, finally, so happy together like in the Turtles song until… Ana Torv *FINALLY* gets to show the world her Leonard Nimoy. (Granted, her Nimoy is better than my own.)
All in all, this was one of those episodes that reminded me that I was watching a television show rather than finding out what happens next in the story that I am following as it meanders towards its final chapter… but, seriously, any show that has me yell at the television is a good show.
So… what thinks did you thunk?