Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fringe: Season 4 Episode 7 - Wallflower

Hello Fringe fandom!  Welcome to our Fall Finale recap.  I have to tell you, I'm still a little peeved about how the World Series impacted this great show.  Tonight's episode was good, but it was not designed to be any type of cliffhanger "fall finale" finale episode (though there was a tiny cliffhanger).  If you watched the previews for the next episode (not to air until January) then you would see what their plans might have been for episode 8.  Even Joshua Jackson expressed his excitement over that episode.  For any fans that have been frustrated with this season (not me), this week's episode is not going to do anything to change their minds.  Now, we enter a hiatus and have to be worried about if fans will return to see what all the build-up was for.  I'll still stay optimistic, but this is probably the worst situation the show has been in yet.

But enough being Debbie Downer (I realize I just called myself a female name), let's recap this episode!

Fringe Case of the Week
This week's case was definitely an interesting one with Mr. Chameleon Man.  He blended into his surroundings making him practically invisible to the naked eye.  Throughout the episode we saw him murdering people and trying to steal their pigments to become visible.  It turned out that he was in love with a girl that he'd meet daily in an elevator and she seemed to look forward to their meetings every day too.  Of course, I don't know what he expected to do that night when he laid flower petals (or leaves?) all over her bed!  That was pretty creepy!

Anyway, throughout the episode we learned of a baby Eugene (actually U-Gene short for Unknown Genetic Disorder) who had some genetic issue and supposedly was declared dead, but was REALLY taken by a private insurance company to handle the autopsy.  The doctor who signed the death certificate claims to remember hearing the baby cry but then figured she imagined it.  This private insurance company was Syprox Incorporated, which Olivia remembers handling her mother's cancer treatments.  Syprox was a subsidiary of Kelvin Genetics which eventually went on to become Massive Dynamic!  Dum dum dummmmm

So, naturally Nina Sharp remembers this abnormal baby and recalls the experimentations done to it.  Eugene's abnormal genetic imprint allowed them to experiment on him.  Apparently, Kelvin Genetics implanted animal DNA into Eugene's body called chromataphores allowing Eugene to blend into his surroundings.  This is something that would have been invaluable to the military.  Nina claims that neither she nor Bell had any knowledge of this satellite site experimentation as it was going on, but she continued to justify that the child would have died had they not intervened.  This causes some friction with her daughter figure Olivia who thinks he might have been better off dying. 

Walter does some exciting experimentations during the episode, including recreating the pigmentation scenario of their subject with mice.  He concludes that Eugene is effectively committing suicide by murdering these victims and stealing their pigment.  Returning to normal returns Eugene to his abnormal genetic condition that would have killed him as a child.  Walter also discovers that Ultraviolet light will reveal their chameleon man.

So our usual "Fringe Flashlight Manhunt" takes an exciting twist as they now get to carry a flashlight AND a UV Flashlight to find Eugene.  They have tracked down his next victim to an apartment building and determine that he is still somewhere in the building.   The team splits up and Olivia, naturally, ends up in the location where Eugene is.  Olivia falls through an unsturdy floor and is hanging for dear life.  Eugene arrives and goes into his speech about how important it is to be seen.  Olivia's life depends on it right now.   He does save her but pulls her gun on her too.  Olivia explains to him that he's dying from what he's doing.  Eugene thinks that the military is still looking for him and he thinks they want to turn him into a lab rat again.  Olivia only wants to stop the killing. 

Then Eugene goes into what I can only imagine is some kind of parallel to Peter's storyline of "not existing".   He talks about how his entire life he has been watching these people fall in love and live their lives.   To see in their eyes kindness, happiness and recognition that is when someone exists.  Olivia warns Eugene that if he treats himself even one more time that could kill him.  The rest of the FBI team shows up and Eugene runs away. 

The FBI find his lab and see that he was keeping a token from each person in the apartment.  Olivia resolves that Eugene didn't necessarily want to be cured, just wanted to be seen. 

He does end up treating himself and has one more elevator encounter with the girl of his dreams.  This time, she looked at him and for the first time he felt like he was seen by her even though she says that she has seen him every day.  She was kind to him and said she hoped he didn't catch the cold going around.  They exchange names and then Eugene takes a seat and dies.  Tragic.  

Interesting way to solve a case either way!  If they didn't get involved at all, it would seem that Eugene would have killed the same amount of people and died the same way.  But, it is an interesting parallel to the current Fringe mythology going on, even if I don't quite see the exact parallel.  Afterall, Peter is "VISIBLE" now.  But maybe the fact that they don't "remember" him existing means that they're not truly seeing him yet.  I know Peter keeps saying that he's in the wrong place, but the Observers didn't seem to think that at the end of season 3, did they?  They said that they don't remember because Peter never existed.  I still have my suspicions that we're in the same universe as seasons 1-3 but it's still just slightly altered.  

Peter was not involved in this week's case at all.  Instead, we had him running around getting supplies, joking with his "bodyguard" and investigating how to "return" to his universe.  
  • Broyles has given Peter a $200 a week allowance while he stays there.  Peter is using this money to buy some supplies but doesn't quite understand the need for the bodyguard.  

  • We quickly find out when Peter tries to help a kid reach a toy, that the guard is there to limit Peter's interactions with civilians.   Which, in turn, makes Peter realize that he IS a Fringe Case right now and not investigating them. 

  • Later on we see Peter examining the MACHINE to try and figure out how to get back to where he was.  He figures that it was the machine that caused this so maybe he can somehow reverse it. 

  • Lincoln continues to be the most kind to Peter.  He thanks Lincoln for treating him like a human being. 

  • Lincoln and Peter discuss Olivia for a bit too and Peter's relationship with an Olivia.  Peter gives Lincoln his blessing with "this" version of Olivia because he says it's not HIS version of Olivia.  I'm still not so sure that's true! 
  • At the end of the episode, Broyles allowed Peter to use the lab so he stopped by Fringe Division.  But he also dropped off a gift for Lincoln.  And it just appears to be a different set of glasses.  I guess maybe he was tired of looking at the thick plastic frames so he got him some thinner ones?  That was pretty random!   But in an episode all about "seeing" things I guess it was somewhat fitting. 

Olivia and Lincoln
Their bond continued to get stronger in this episode.  Olivia happened to pass by a diner and saw Lincoln in there and joined him for a coffee. 
  • Apparently, Lincoln has had insomnia since he got to town and admitted that maybe he is "freaking out" a little. 

  • Olivia tries to comfort Lincoln and say that eventually this will just become his life.  Olivia says that this is sort of what happened to her.  
  • Olivia was having migraines the entire episode and even has had medication to treat it.  Lincoln shows the gentlemen he is by opening the meds when she was struggling.  

  • At the end of the episode, Olivia sets a "date" at the insomniac diner at 3 am with Lincoln and seems pretty excited about it. 

Olivia and Nina
  • Olivia heads back to Massive Dynamic to discuss with Nina the case and comparing it to how she was experimented on as a child too.  She wonders if it is what made her devoid of emotion. 

  • Nina tells Olivia that she is perfectly normal and that what happened to her as a child shouldn't define her.  She needs to find her place in this world.  Nina said she couldn't imagine bringing 2 girls into her busy life but now can't imagine her life without Olivia and her sister.  Perhaps this speech is what gives her the courage to ask Lincoln out on a date. 
  • But Olivia would not be keeping that date at 3am.  Lincoln would wait there alone.  Olivia was home getting her hair just right for the meet-up when her apartment got gassed knocking her unconscious.  And then some visitors came in to inject her with something.  There also seems to be some camera in her apartment too which the guests dismantled and possibly bugged? 

  • After they injected her one man said she's not going to remember the last 2 hours and is going to wake up with one hell of a headache (a migraine perhaps??).  
  • The men leave and the last shot we see is that the whole thing was being supervised by Nina Sharp!  WHAAAT!?!?!?! 

What is going on here?  What are they injecting into Olivia?  Have they been injecting her with it for some time giving her these recurring headaches?  Is Nina truly the mother figure we thought she was to Olivia in this "altered timeline"or has Nina just wanted to keep tabs on Olivia all of this time?   Was Nina concerned about Olivia's search for emotion where she saw this as a necessary response?  Does Olivia's "2 hour memory loss" have anything to do with a longer memory loss in regards to a certain character on this show called Peter Bishop?  

Hey I'm trying here folks.  This wasn't meant to be our Fall Finale cliffhanger, so I thought I'd just throw out some crazy questions to keep us guessing!  Anyway, let's get onto the fun stuff before we close up Fringe's doors for 2011. 

  • Glyph Code: DAVID - Okay folks.  I'm about to lift the veil on something I know because now the Fringe producers are even teasing it with this episode's glyph code!  There's only one David that I'm aware of in the Fringe-verse.  Mr. David Robert Jones himself!  The man who was sliced in half by a dimensional portal in the season 1 finale.  The man that was chased down by Peter who caused him to get sliced in half in that episode.  Well, what if Peter didn't exist in this timeline?  Could Mr. Jones still be alive?  Joshua Jackson teases his return and says if we've been following the show since the beginning, the way he returns will be quite satisfiying.  Consider my interest peaked!   But what will his involvement in this year's story be?   My initial guess has been these 2.0 shapeshifters.  But could it be bigger?  Maybe he's behind this Olivia drugging, in cahoots with Nina Sharp?   Who knows?   All I know is that I can't wait for January!   Thanks to Fringepedia for the screenshot as always! 

  • Observer Spotted! - It was a blink-and-you'll-miss appearance.  When they let the apartment residents back into the building, he was in the crowd for a brief shot. 

  • Walterisms
    • "Leprechauns are possible"

    • "Is that a word? Repigmentize?"
    • Walter's mice were named John and Yoko.  When Olivia asked when they could expect their subject to die, Walter said "Don't worry, John here will be fine!" in reference to the mouse instead of U-Gene. 
    • I'm sure we've seen it before, but Walter has "clap-on" lights installed in the lab.  Fantastic! 
  • Food of the Week - Onion Rings from Sully's double dipped in beer batter!  And being loudly crunched in Astrid's ear at the scene of the investigation. 

  • Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" was playing in the diner scene.  Seems like another song that could be thematically applied to the show.  Maybe?? 
  • Differences in a Peter-less Universe
    • I didn't really notice anything new in this episode outside of Nina's mysterious mission and actions against Olivia.  
  • Pseudo LOST References / Fun Trivia 
    • Kelvin Genetics -  The company has previously been mentioned in Fringe, but it also has been apparent in many of Bad Robot's productions (JJ Abrams' production company).  
      • Kelvin Hall in Felicity
      • Kelvin Innman in LOST
      • U.S.S. Kelvin in Star Trek
      • Alan Dale's (formerly Charles Widmore in LOST) character in Undercovers was named James Kelvin
      • Super 8 - Name of Gas Company is Kelvin
    • And of course, Eugene was found on Floor #23, an infamous number from LOST 

So that's it folks!  No more Fringe until January.  As I have mentioned several times now, come January there will be a new tiny resident in my home that will be taking most of my attention!  So, I'm not sure how this is going to affect my blogging.  In a worst case scenario, I imagine that the blog postings might start to look like what I did last week.  Briefer discussions on a few shows at once, less pictures, maybe later posting dates.  But I'll try my best to keep up with the recapping!  One thing is for sure, I'll still be watching Fringe so you can count on some kind of commentary!  

So that's it for now.  Hit the comments with your thoughts!  Hope you enjoyed my ramblings and I'll see you next week! 

End Credits

  • This season I will be recapping FringeTerra NovaThe Walking Dead and Alcatraz (anyone catch preview during Fringe?)
  • Other shows that are being discussed in comments recently:  Sons of Anarchy, How I Met Your Mother, Once Upon a Time, American Horror Story, Dexter, Chuck, among others.  Feel free to join in!
  • The Walking Dead season 1 is a quick 6 episode watch. It is now available on Netflix streaming, at Redbox. I highly recommend the view!
  • See trailers for the Mid-Season shows I'm looking forward to: AlcatrazAwake and Touch.   I doubt I'll have time to recap them all but they will most likely be discussed on this blog!  
  • As always, there are other shows that I watch as well and would be happy to discuss with all of you. For a complete list by day, you can check out my "FALL TV" post.


ronn said...

I've always loved it when all these Fringe weekly cases symbolizes the show's mythology, in this case, referring to Peter's existence. I am a 23 year old creative artist and i must say FRINGE will be a great influence for me in case i pursue videography/filmmaking.

Okay, so i said before that i always believe we're going to go back to the same scene in the end of season 3 wherein Peter vanished, and it seems we're going there right? OR after seeing our fall finale, it's now looking that you're assumption of we're in the same universe is right.

Why would Nina Sharp do something to Olivia, i can't think of any other reason but to link it to Peter's situation.

I saw the ratings again and it's steady from 1.1 last week, and can't help to think if this is our last season. Have you ever posted something like your Fringe finale prediction, Mike?

Curt Sminkey said...

Butzo!! Hey congrats buddy on the little one on the way, my wife's due in February. You don't really think the show is in jeopardy of being cancelled, do you? I love this show and would hate to see if go prematurely. On another note, Alcatraz looks pretty sweet too.

Mike V. said...

@Ronn - Nice to hear that Fringe will be influencing the future generation of storytellers!

If we are indeed in a different universe, then bringing Peter back to the moment when he left the original timeline does make sense. But, I still have my suspicious that they're still in that same "universe" you mentioned as well.

I can't really think of why Nina would do something to Olivia either. And maybe the injection is meant to look like something with evil intent, but could be just Nina looking out for Olivia. But it certainly would be interesting if it involved Peter somehow.

Yeah, I noticed the ratings were steady too (steady at its all time low of course). I don't have any Fringe finale predictions...this is one show that I have no idea where it's heading and what its ultimate goal is. I know the producers have said they have enough ideas to get them through 7 seasons...but I think each season is designed where they could bring some type of closure early. I don't think they'll leave us hanging if they know that the end is imminent. (at least that's my hope)

I do wonder what this Man with the X on his shirt (from the animated episode) is and why Olivia confidently and calmly knows that he is going to kill her. I wonder what the long-term implications of that scene will be. I wonder how integral the Observer's story is to the end of the show. I'd like to know more about them...where they come from, what their full story is. But, I'm not sure if FRINGE ever intends to really go there. I'd like to see them repair the damage between the 2 universes for good...and as Fringe always does...provide some sense of hope for the future. I guess we'll see what happens!

@Sminkey - Thanks buddy on the congrats! But, I do not know this "butzo" you refer to! I think the show is very much in jeopardy of being cancelled. It was in jeopardy last season as well, but FOX decided to keep it on the Friday slate for at least one more season (because the powers that be are fans of the show as well). But the ratings keep going down and down. And Grimm succeeding in the same timeslot certainly isn't going to help things. But, Fringe fans are resilient and something tells me that they'll start getting some campaigns together again like they did last year. But, the problem is...some of those fans are frustrated with the direction this season has taken so far. Add on to that the interruptions by baseball and the producers didn't even get to tell the full story they intended to this it will leave those frustrated fans...frustrated for weeks to come into this hiatus instead of picking up a scent of where this season is headed. Maybe I'm overreacting and things are just fine. But the ratings I read each week and the critics and fan reactions to those ratings are enough to cause me concern. We'll see!

Agreed on Alcatraz. I am still planning on covering that show for the time being. But we'll see what happens with the newborn around!

Anonymous said...

My first thought was that Nina and her operatives were shooting Olivia up with Cortexiphan (however it's spelled) but why I couldn't guess. From the way Nina acted it seemed it wasn't for Olivia's benefit.

I didn't realize the show would be on hold until after the new year... that sucks.

As always, the ratings battle may be this show's undoing. I can understand why a lot of fans aren't happy, this season has been too much like starting over. It was a huge gamble by the show's writers and I am not sure it's going to pay off.

I will point out that we are several episodes into the new season and there has been little or no progress or even mention of anything being done to fix the damage between the two universes. Don't get me wrong the show is still entertaining as hell, it's just went off on a tangent.

If the show is to be cancelled I hope they give them enough warning to create a suitable ending.

Hope everything goes well with your new addition Mike.

Bill B

Mike V. said...

@Bill - You spelled Cortexiphan right. It certainly could be what they're injecting into her. I would agree that it's most likely not for Olivia's benefit. I was just throwing out an alternate way to look at it.

Yeah, it makes sense that it's on hiatus. Most shows do take a hiatus after November sweeps because of the holiday season. People are out shopping, gathering with family for various events...not a big time to be watching TV. But it is earlier than last year. (Fringe aired eps up to December 9th. I remember because I was on vacation when it aired!) What sucks is that they didn't air all the episodes they wanted to air this year because of the world series. But it will make for one helluva return! Hopefully the ratings will be there to support it.

As far as the writers taking a gamble...that's what I love about FRINGE. They knew going into season 3 that they lost the MASS Audience appeal, and they knew that the fans they had with them were in it for the long haul and would look forward to all of the weird twists they would throw our way. That's why it confuses me to what these fans were looking for. It may seem like starting over, but it's all part of the longer story that Fringe is trying to tell. I have no doubt that the time we're spending in this altered state (maybe permanent, maybe just this season) will contribute to the entire story of Fringe. For people to be abandoning it and not trusting the producers after they have gotten us this far, it just doesn't make sense to me. But, I guess we all look for different things in a show.

I don't think the show went off tangent...I think they had several plot threads that all demand attention. The 2 Universes has still been in the backdrop of these early episodes....just this past episode had Walter using the other side's technology to determine if there were tears over here. The thing is..the NEXT episode was/is going to deal with the 2 universes in a major way. That's why it's upsetting that we're not seeing it until next year now. The exact impression that you have with the show right the impression that is going to simmer on for weeks now instead of giving fans like you hope for things to come. I blame Mother Nature and the St. Louis Cardinals. I partially blame the Phillies for not taking care of business with the Cards in their series! :-)

Since the FOX powers that be are fans of Fringe, I would think they'd work something out with the writers to give Fringe a suitable ending. We'll see! And thanks for the luck with the new addition! We'll need it!

FYI to all - Working on The Walking Dead recap now.

Mike V. said...

TV Guide's Matt Roush had similar things to say about FOX giving Fringe producers enough time to satisfyingly end the show.

"Question from Alex:
While we're on the subject of all things low-rated, I gave into the pressure of friends and watched all three seasons of Fringe over the summer, and found it one of the most enjoyable and engaging dramas I'd ever watched. I can't help but notice how low the ratings are, even for Friday, and especially for Fox. At this point, it would be a miracle if it made it to another season. What do you think its chances of getting picked up by a cable network are, and how invested is Fox in it? Should fans hope for a Chuck-like situation of it getting picked up for an abbreviated final season? It's a show so deeply rooted in mythology that seeing it end without a proper resolution would be tragic. — Alex

Answer From Matt: As for Fringe, do you really have to ask how invested Fox is in the show? The network has kept it alive for a fourth season, despite dismally low ratings, allowing the show the sort of creative freedom you usually find only on cable these days. Fox believes in Fringe from a creative standpoint, which is why I believe they will do the right thing and either give the producers enough notice this season to end the show on a proper note or extend its life long enough next season to give us a satisfying conclusion. In either regard, once its run is over on Fox, I wouldn't expect to see it turn up anyplace else. Although as we're learning with Arrested Development, never say never"

Mike V. said...

Article on the possible end of Fringe and all going into the decision:

Anonymous said...

Well there you have it Fringe fans....
Better start telling anyone you know that cares about the show to start sitting their ass down in front of the tv on Friday nights instead of relying on the DVR. It sounds like ratings would be fine if half the fans of the show actually watched it on the network.

Bill B

Mike V. said...

Bill, the problem is that the only people that can bring up the ratings are Nielsen families. And to be honest, I have never met one person that has a nielsen box in their home. It's a dated system and it's ridiculous that we're still measuring a show's success based on it. But it's the only way to tell that people are sitting there watching commercials. TV Studios/Advertisers I'm sure realize that times have changed and they need to come up with a new way of doing things. It's probably why the DVR+7 statistics exist now, but it does no good to advertisers. I've read conflicting arguments that DVR stats only count if you watch commercials on the DVR too, but based on that article I referenced, it doesn't sound like that's true. No idea.

In any case, I think what Fringe DOES have going for it is its cult following and people that DO download episodes off iTunes, Amazon, whatever or that still watch on DVR. I know I own Seasons 1-3 on Blu-Ray so there are fans that will purchase the show even if they've already seen it. There are different financial aspects that come into play that might keep Fringe on the air rather than it's LIVE TV ratings. FOX was aware of all of this when they put it on Friday. (and let's not forget that the international audiences are probably higher for Fringe as well)

Now, I said all of that Positive stuff, the ratings are still piss poor and when it comes to renewal time, they're going to look at all of their high concept dramas, and the timeslots that they have to fill. Unfortunately, Fox only airs 2 hours of Primetime programming a night instead of the 3 that the other networks do. And X-Factor/American Idol take up like 3-4 hours of their week for the season now.

So you have Terra Nova, Alcatraz, Touch (Fox Favorite Keifer Sutherland returning to the network) and Fringe. They're not likely to keep all 4 of those. The Fox execs love the Fringe story, but will it be enough to keep it on the air? I'm guessing it's going to be a tough decision...and we'd be LUCKY if we get a 13 episode send-off next season. I'll stay positive, and with a baby in the house, I'll most likely be home on Friday nights so I'll watch live (making me feel better even though it doesn't mean anything).

And maybe the upcoming plot excitement in January will bolster the Fringe Fandom. But outside of that, things just aren't looking good for the show. The best we can do now is just hope that the producers/writers will be given ample time to provide the show with a satisfying conclusion, and based on things that I've read (referenced articles), it's highly likely that will happen.