Friday, October 1, 2010

Fringe: Season 3 Episode 2 - The Box

Hello Fringe fanatics and welcome back for another dose of crazy science!  Ahh but this time we back in OUR world (notice we're back to our normal opening credits!).  There is one little twist this time around, though.  Olivia is not who she claims to be.  That's right, Peter and Walter were too wrapped up in their own drama to notice the little differences between FAUX-Livia and Olivia and realize they brought back the wrong one!  I was worried that this gimmick might get old after an episode or 2, and am still worried that it might.  But for now, it's bringing a fresh twist on the show and allowing us to delve deeper into both universes and their motives.  Seeing Alt-Livia's assignment unfold in this episode also provides a promising amount of story for the episodes to come.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that it the episode was Fringe at its best?  Well, consider it done!  I still am not sure how well a recap works for this show, but I will continue to try until I decide on another way to write about this show.  Who knows it may evolve as I'm writing this one!  Only one way to find out.  The recap/write-up commences NOW!

So this episode was divided into several intersecting stories.  There was Faux-livia adjusting to life in a new dimension and her connection with Newton whom we have seen several times before.  There was some good Peter/Walter stuff including one of their few encounters since Peter finding out he is not Walter's son, and a visit to Massive Dynamic for a reading of William Bell's will.  And of course, there was the Monster of the Week, a Fringe speciality.  But this guy turns out to not be so much of a monster and the device he carried turned out to be part of the Fringe Mythology that continues to unfold at a nice pace.  Shall we get into it?

Fringe Case of the Week
We open up in a house with a bunch of people tied up and some shady guy staring at them.  His 2 co-horts are in the basement digging up some mystery box.  Looks very familiar to some pieces of the ULTIMATE "OVER THERE" WEAPON that Walternate is constructing for Peter.  The men open the box and their eyes go into the back of their heads.  Everyone in the house seems to freeze in time and be pronounced dead, all except the shady guy who grabs the box and runs away with it.  

Faux-livia Carries out Mission

The first glimpse of Faux-livia in this episode is meeting with HEAD Shape-Shifter, Newton whom we have seen on several occasions before.   He is helping her get adjusted to the differences of the world.  
  • We find out Newton has been "over here" since Alt-Livia was in high school.  He gives her a POP CULTURE book to get acquainted with some of the differences in their world.
  • She stumbles upon Bono, who she takes a liking to (even if she calls him BOE NO!) but Newton warns her not to get tempted into feeling things for this world.  Perhaps a little bit of foreshadowing for future episodes? 

  • Newton uses some of that OTHER WORLD technology and "erases" Faux-livia's tattoo.
  • We find out that the men that were going for the case were hired by Newton on Liv's orders.  The men are not some of Newton's men because he didn't want to risk them getting killed.  We see how that turned out.  Now they have to track down the man that ran away with the case! 
    Learning About the Weapon

    Back at Walter's lab, Peter debriefed Broyles on the WEAPON that Walternate is constructing. He explains that the weapon responds to a human interface, aka him.  But he suspects that Walternate is not after him and has other plans since no agents have come for him.  Walter wants no part in talks of understanding the weapon and he brings up how America developed and used an Atomic Bomb based on intelligence stating that the Nazi's were working on such technology.  Broyles tries to convince Peter that they need Walter focused on learning about this weapon.  But at this point Peter is kind of seeing Walter's point.  Enter Faux-livia:

    • Liv and Peter hit up the bar and she starts working on Peter telling him that Broyles is right.  They need to learn more about that weapon.  Before they can get too far into the discussion, Patsy Cline's "Crazy" comes on the jukebox.  Hmmm, and I thought LOST held the market on using Patsy Cline songs! 
    • Faux-livia almost slips by mentioning she likes the song, let alone ANY kind of music.  But she recovered by saying she is appreciating things more now that she is back over here.   They have a few shots, they do some dancing.  Nothing more romantic than dancing with a girl with a gun in her pants. 

    • Peter starts confiding in who he thinks is Olivia and how he really feels about her.  "You still feel real.  I have a thing for Blondes.  etc...."  Of course, he did make FAUX-livia happy by saying she made a "sexy red-head".   Something just feels so wrong about all of this!   But it's supposed to and she is doing her job well. 
    The Investigation
    The Fringe Trio are finally called into the crime scene.  Of course, Alt-livia is used to the Fringe Division studying tears in their universe, not strange murder scenes.  So instead of providing her analysis she is just "taking it all in".  But, it could also have something to do with the fact that she had something to do with this crime scene! 

    • They did not determine the cause of death on the scene but do determine that there was a 3rd thief who took the treasure.   No leads. 
    • Enter Fauxlivia who goes to talk to Newton the next day, she is kind of angry that things did not go as planned.   Newton only hired 2 men and confirms the deceased as those 2.  I guess he didn't factor in the crazy cousin of one of those men!   All of them should have died so they are surprised that this man survived.  
    • As Peter was accompanying Walter to the WILL reading, Faux-livia got a call from Broyles with a print of one of the thieves.  No one ever called Peter.  While investigating the thief's home Liv comes up with another great excuse for not calling.  Walter had a big day and if she called Peter would have come.  Peter bought it.  But why wouldn't he? 
    • Liv distracts Peter with telling him to give the place a once-over.  She goes to call Netwon.  While calling, the 3rd guy sees her and writes down her name after hearing her talking. 

    • Meanwhile back at the lab, Walter has a "eureeka" moment as he always does.  He figures out that the weapon was using some kind of ultra-sonic sound that affects the brain and caused a vegetative state before death.    
    • Back at Olivia's apartment (umm where's the sister and the niece???), Faux-livia is studying up on the woman she is pretending to be.  She sees that Olivia has a photographic memory and wonders how she'll pull that one off. 
    • Before she can think too long on it, the 3rd thief shows up WITH the box.  Doesn't look like he wants any trouble.  He saw the badge before that she was wearing and probably just wanted to turn in the device.  We find out that the man is deaf which is why the ultra-sonic sounds did not affect him. 

    • Newton shows up to take the box.  He offers his assistance to "Take care of the deaf guy" but faux-livia is the one giving orders and tells him to do his job and not screw it up.

    • Then she totally shoots the guy in the back of the head, right as Peter is showing up on the door to complain about Walter and stuff!   In her defense, she DID apologize before she did it. 
    • She distracts Peter from the hidden body with some kissing and stuff.  But then they get calls to another crime scene that Newton set up with one of the little people! 
    The Subway Station
    Newton had paid the guy 5 bucks to sit and watch "the box" while he used the bathroom.  Of course this was all a setup to kill some people from our world and LURE the Fringe team there to find the box.  And that they did! 
    • Long story short - Walter is able to figure out how to get Peter close to the box without killing him.  They have Faux-Livia shoot a bullet by both of Peter's ears to make him go temporarily deaf.  Peter runs down the tunnel and finds the bomb by the little guy whose head explodes due to having fillings in his teeth.  OUCH!  

    • Peter is able to dismantle the bomb but not in time to escape as a train is heading right for him.  No fear Faux-livia runs down the tunnel and pushes him away. 

    • The day is saved!  Peter recognizes the box as similar to the pieces of the ULTIMATE WEAPON he has seen before.  He is very interested in examining it which Broyles allows.  Faux-livia pretends to be upset that her night with him is ruined.

    Other Storylines

    William Bell's Last Will and Testament
    I skipped over some other scenes that had more to do with advancing some other plot lines rather than this week's mystery.  One was William Bell's Will.  Peter accompanied Walter to Massive Dynamic where they went in for the reading with Nina Sharp. 
    • Nina and Walter where Spock errr Bellie's 2 closest friends and he left an envelope to each.  We found out that Nina and William may have had a bit of a fling at one point.  When Walter reads his letter he looks up at Nina and she seems to know what his says.  
    • Walter does not tell Peter what is in the envelope but talks to Astrid about it later.  The letter had a key and a message "Do not be afraid to cross the line."  
    • By the end of the episode Walter had the courage to go to the safe deposit box and find what was in it.  He brings it to Astrid and we learn that Walter Bishop has become the sole shareholder of Massive Dynamic!!!  WHAAAAT!?!?!?   That sure changes things a bit doesn't it?   I'm definitely interested to see how this plays into future episodes.  But it makes sense that he would get the company.   I wonder what Nina's letter said though.  "Sorry tootse, this place is gonna be run by the Mad Scientist, not you!  Thanks for the weekend in Cabo though!"   Maybe we'll find out. 

    Peter and Walter Talk
    Per Astrid's advice, Walter needs to talk to Peter about WHY he brought him over to this world.  He does try.  He tells him how sick he was and how he had no intention of keeping him.  But he just can't explain it all.  Now, I just figured that by Peter saying in the finale of last season "you saved my life twice.  That has to count for something, right?" that he knew why Walter did it.   I think he needs to tell Peter that it was his Alterna-MOM that wanted to keep Peter.  Or am I remembering that wrong?   Eh, I forget.  But in any case, Peter is just not ready to discuss it. 

    Fun Stuff

    Good to see OUR Walter Again
    I love the nuances of OVER THERE and I will continue to enjoy visiting it, but they're missing one key element and that is Walter!  I miss the Astrid nicknames, the food cravings, the singing!  Here are some of my favorite quips from this episode:
    • You gotta love that he was trying to make Gene (the cow) produce Chocolate milk.  That is just fantastic! 
    • Something that would surprise Walter: Bacon Flavored Pudding   Gotta leave it to Walter!
    • Astrid nickname of the week: Aspirin
    • Walter singing to the classical music: "Look at my brainwaves on the monitorrrrrroooooo"   When he changed to the Rock music which he explained as dissonance he kept saying "look at my neurons look at my neurons!"    I mean, how are they going to do half of the episodes this season without him!!??? 

    • Classic walter having some jam on his tie and us all thinking he was eating brain for a second too! 
    • When talking about the ultra-sonic sounds killing people even though you can't hear them.....Walter responds "Silent but deadly.....speaking of which, I need to step away"   CLASSIC!  
    • The innuendo about the massage parlor and the subway station was a good time too.  But this is a family blog so I'll leave it at that!

    Easter Eggs
    Okay, so we're in season 3 and I've been a fan, but you have to excuse me for being a newbie to the Easter Egg Business with Fringe.  I'm so embarrassed!  But Fringe fanatics must excuse my "newbieness," I had been kinda busy for the past 6 years obsessing about another show
    • Now, I know that an "Observer" appears in every episode, but I have never gone out of my way to look for him.  Sometimes I catch him by accident.  I guess with this blog I'm going to have to do a better job with that!   An Observer was spotted in the subway station just as Newton was walking out.  NICE. 

    • Oh and how many people know about the Glyph codes during the commercial breaks?  You know those crazy pictures of Frogs and Hands and whatnot that are shown right before a commercial?  Yikes, how am I just learning that these spell out Codes?   Are they significant to uncovering the secrets of Fringe?  Doubtful, but it's fun to see what they spell!  Anyway, apparently last week's code spelled AMBER and this week's code spelled ALERT.  Get it?  AMBER ALERT!?  Ahhh those crazy Fringe writers!   Of course we know AMBER plays a big role OVER THERE too.  And well, ALERT!  Walternate has Faux-livia messing with our peeps in the COOLER World.  You know, the one that has Bono!   In case you wanted to catch up on all the past Glyph Codes for all episodes, go to town

    The Cliffhanger

    Faux-livia enters the "Typewriter Room" and delivers another message to OVER THERE.  The message?  "Peter Has First Piece.  He is Actively Engaged"   The response?  "Understood.  Begin Work on Dr. Bishop."

    And that's I got for this week folks!  Awesome 2 episodes to kick off the 3rd season.  Is everyone liking the premise and where they are going with this?  I am totally on board for the ride.  Sounds like Faux-livia is going to get Peter and Walter working on this weapon from our universe and they're going to utilize OLIVIA over there to learn the ability to move through universes.  Or something like that.  I like how they are tying the weekly case into the storyline.  I'm sure we will get some cases that aren't tied to the story at all but they will make up for it with other character dynamics and progression with the mythology.  They have struck a very nice balance and the formula is working.  They shouldn't mess with it!  

    As for this recap, it may need some more MESSING around before I perfect it.  I feel I may have still rambled on too much and did not organize my thoughts as best as I could.  But I'll keep working on it folks if you'll keep reading it!  As always, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week!

    End Credits
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    Bryan said...

    Faux brain jam is the best! Folivia didn't seem as cold-hearted this episode... ya know, other than shooting a deaf man in the back of the head. Might be fun if she changes sides and Peter eventually finds out and has to choose between the two of her :).

    Mike V. said...

    Yeah Bryan I see something like that happening too. I can see Peter falling for this "new" Olivia that he is getting to know (whilst thinking it IS Olivia). Then, when the actual Olvia comes back and he realizes he has been duped...I'm thinking he'll be conflicted about easing right back into a relationship with REAL Olvia. Of course...with REAL Olivia being brainwashed who knows how that is going to affect her in the long run? I'm loving the possibilities!

    AUStarwars said...

    Ok i was actually at busy at work yesterday (those that know me know how tragic that can be lol) and I was unable to comment:

    First of all, you should have called out Eric the Midget (of Stern fame) and his actually excellent performance as the homeless guy

    Right now here is my issue with the show and where I think the writers have gone wrong. Walters actions are literally destroying an alternate world. Now, we are being led down a path that says that the other world is "evil" and must be stopped, but what would you do in their situation? Here you have another world essentially invading your world 24/7 and causing things to be so out of control that you basically have to make a faux totalitarian state and vastly increase your scientific advances, just to stay you create a device that will literally destroy your enemies world, but in essence save your own

    but instead of asking the moral questions and leaving it ambiguous to the viewer as to whether or not the actions of the altverse are justified, we have their agents perform clearly evil acts at all times: killing a poor homeless guy, shooting a deaf guy in the back of the head, etc.

    the problem i have is that these moral questions to me should be at the core of the show, since they seem to be for Walter. We take Walter's "side" in saving his son, but not in the Alterverse's side in saving their ENTIRE EXISTENCE?

    To me its just shoddy writing, and hopefully it will be fixed (I still love the show!)..but I feel they are leaving out this big interpretation for the viewer..and appealing to a popcorn crowd by spoon feeding us good/evil...

    Mike V. said...

    AUStarwars -Yes, maybe I should have called out Eric the Midget, but why do that when I have you to correct me?!

    I actually disagree with you on them depicting good vs. evil here. I actually mentioned in last week's blog I think they're going to spend a majority of the season HUMANIZING the OVER THERE folks and having us getting to know where they're coming from, why they are so motivated to destroy OUR world. We already have had a glimpse at what they have been dealing with since Walter came over to save Peter. I don't think they have dumbed down that Walter has caused a lot of bad things in this world. I think Walter has shown his remorse for this as well.

    You have to think that we'll be spending half a season covering CASES in the Over There universe. Surely it won't be 40 minutes a week of how EVIL these people are.

    So, I disagree with the shoddy writing thing. I think we're on the brink of some BRILLIANT writing!

    And I still do not agree with your depiction of a "popcorn crowd" as a BAD THING. Take your name for example. STAR WARS was the ultimate battle of good and evil (set in space) The ultimate popcorn flick. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make a crowd pleaser. But with Fringe's relatively small ratings...I think they know who their audience is. So give them some respect and time to hatch their season plan!

    MJ said...

    Really liking this season so far - one of their best really.

    I never bothered searching for the Watcher or playing with the glyphs - just enjoy the show.

    Last week I was missing OUR universe, but now I can't wait to get over there again and see how our Olivia is doing. I think this is a great way to tell this story ! Wish more people were watching. But - their ratings are on par with last years.

    Mike V. said...

    @MJ - I never looked for that stuff either but if I'm gonna blog about it...i may as well, right!? lol

    Totally hear you...i'm enjoying both worlds so far so I'm okay with the concept of every other episode for now. Can't wait for tonight!