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Fringe: In Which We Meet Mr. Jones

Mr-Jones.jpgWe are in Weymouth, MA with what appears to be the coast guard. It would appear that there is some kind of raid about to happen. There are teams in the water and on the land dressed in full swat team regalia. They are waiting for someone, or something to appear. Suddenly, we hear an engine roar to life. A large white truck rounds the corner and it stopped by the team. The driver is instructed to get out of the vehicle and get down on the floor. Their precious cargo is in the back of the truck. The truck door opens to reveal -- pandas. Not live ones, but a few large stuffed ones. The team and their leader, Loeb, are upset. (Maybe they were expecting grizzlies).

Agent Broyles is getting briefed on the failed mission. There wasn't even anything on or in the pandas. Someone must have tipped them off. Loeb is showing Broyles a dossier on Joseph Smith who had been working for the company a week before the container was packed. He also had a science background and had been back and forth from Budapest 8 times in the past year. The other agents on the deal are Coscarelli and Scrim. In the middle of the briefing, Loeb falls from his chair, obviously in pain. He is clutching his chest. Broyles calls for a medic and they take him to the hospital. It appears that he is having a heart attack of some kind. His wife shows up at the hospital and is comforted by Broyles.

The doctors have him in the trauma room and are trying to resuscitate him. The paddles are not helping him. They must open up his chest and try manual palpation. Upon opening his chest, they find something around his heart that does not belong there. It resembles a dark gray lobster tail with spikes and teeth all around it. It has wrapped itself around Loeb's heart and is constricting it to cause the pain and eventual death. It's time to bring in Walter.

Walter, Peter and Olivia show up to the hospital to see this creature. Walter is pre-occupied with his breath. He needs a mint or some gum, but no one has any to offer. Broyles tells Olivia that Loeb returned from an assignment last week in Frankfort, Germany. Walter is amazed at the creature in Loeb's chest. Walter hasn't seen anything like it before, but he is intrigued by the design. He also finds a series of tendrills or a root system if you will. He is willing to try and remove it. but not here; his breath is artrocious. They must go back to his lab at Harvard.

On the ride back, Walter was attempting to deconstruct and organism like this and came up with two things. First -- it could be something as simple as Giardia Duodenalis (according to Peter a single cell parasite that lives in the intestinal tract) and Second -- He would still really like some gum.(which Peter provides) Meawhile, Loeb's wife shows up at the laboratory. Olivia goes to comfort her, at least I think that is what she is doing. (Olivia not so good with the human relations thing) She tells the wife there is a doctor here that is uniquely qualified to save his life. Olivia gets a book and a page of writing that he had in his bag when he came back from Frankfort (convenient, huh?). Olivia promises to check it out, but denies her access to Loeb.

The organism does not react well to Walter trying to take a sample of it. It constricts and tries to kill Loeb. Luckily, Peter gives him some Cyclobenzaprene, which he theorizes should "loosen the creatures grip". It does and Walter tells Peter he may have found his calling after all -- "working with me". All I can say about that is poor Peter, although it is technically what he is doing anyway.

Walter is trying to isolate a "signature" from the creator of the creature. Some kind of sign that will lead it back to the originator. He has found a repeating sequence in the DNA of the creature that cannot be random. Astrid thinks it is a code (she studied cryptology in college -- lucky). It looks like a Caesar Shift, but she thinks that may be too simple. Astro (one of Walter's names for her later in the show) tells Olivia what initals she has come up with. The one that sticks with Olivia is Z.F.T.

Olivia remembers reading in John Scott's case files about an operation working in Budapest. The name on the file was Z.F.T. Broyles tells her that about a month ago a man Joseph Smith was arrested by Interpol in Germany for posessing state secrets. Joseph is heavily into Fringe science, partucularly genetic weaponry. Loeb was in Frankfort investigating Jones before this episode. Then again, Olivia gets the speech that makes me want to throw something at the t.v.. "There is much you have not been made aware of regarding the pattern" No, really?. She has time and wants to learn. He tells her that they know there are cells, privately funded and working in 83 recorded countries. They are causing things like Flight 627 and what happened to Loeb.

Olivia wonders if they can get Jones to cooperate and help them remove the parasite. Broyles tells her that they can't get to him. Germany is denying access to all Americans wanting to visit any prisoner. Olivia thinks she has a way in.

olivia traves tp Germany in the hopes that she can get Jones to talk with her. Peter finds something disturbing in Loeb's I.V. There are small tendrills coming through his vein and in to the I.V. (how funky is that?!?!?). Walter says this is not good. He might only have a day or so before the organism kills him.

Olivia lands in Frankfort and meets her friend at the airport, and guess who else is there? The Observer. Does anyone else think maybe there is more than one observer? That they all look the same and have the same function. but are all hiding out in different cities and places waiting for "The Pattern" to emerge? Just a thought. Lucas, Olivia's friend, picks her up and takes her to the jail holding Mr. Jones. Lucas is in the Bundestag (for those of you like me who don't know what that is, follow the link) and he has contacts everywhere that may be able to help them. The arrive at Wissenschaft Prison, where Lucas knows the warden. He has been told not to show up, but they go nonetheless. The warden is less than pleased to see them. Yet. somehow, Olivia persuades him to give a note to Mr. Jones. Surprising to the warden, (but not to us) Jones agrees to see her. You see he has until now refused to talk with anyone.

Jones sends her a note back. He agrees to speak with her, provided he can ask a question of one of his collegues, a Joseph Smith. The warden explains that she can come back tomorrow and have 14 minutes to speak with him. There was nothing else he could do, she would have to wait.

While Olivia is waiting for this piece of information, Broyles is checking up on his friend. He has a stunning conversation with Walter and Peter about fruit cocktails, but is interrupted by a call from Charlie who has some interesting information about the information they got from Loeb's wife. It seems they have cracked the code. They are a listing of FBI files. All of them indicating that there is someone, very high up in the FBI that is a spy. The information also leads them to Joseph Smith a local connection to the ZFT. Loeb was briefing Broyles on Smith when he collapsed in the office.

Broyles quickly organizes a no radio contact raid on Smith's house in order to capture and interrogate him, and he takes off. Olivia calls later to tell Peter that she needs him to find this associate, Joseph Smith, or Mr. Jones will not talk with her. Peter says that won't be a problem as Broyles is setting up a sting operation to get him as they were speaking. Olivia, knowing her co-workers, needs Peter to get over there to make sure that they keep him alive for the conversation. However, things do not go as planned. Smith is trying to escape out of a window and away from the house, when he pulls out a gun and gets shot by the FBI. *sigh*

Peter relates this bad news, but Walter seems nonplussed. Walter just wants to know if his head is still attached to his body. Peter responds that it is. Walter tells him that death is merely an inconvenience and asks him to bring the body to him. (remember Walter knows how to talk to dead people)

Back in Germany, Olivia is preparing to leave since she knows Smith is dead, but Lucas tries to persuade her to stay and have dinner. She is trying to politely refuse when she gets a call from Peter telling her that they might still be able to ask Smith a question. So, she agrees to stay. Back at Lucas' place we find out the two of them used to be an item and that he treated her rather badly. He is remorseful and wants to change that. Olivia is resistant at first, but is won over by his kisses, and groping and kissing and touching -- but then the phone rings again and she decides to go back to the hotel. Bummer!

Walter is trying to "jump start" Smith's brain with electrical current to see if they can get any information from him. We also learn the disturbing fact that when Peter was young, Walter conducted similar experiments on HIM using electricity. Peter apparently has a low tolerance for it. (what a great father!) Peter is a bit upset when he remembers all of this, but still agrees to be the one they hook Smith up to. Astrid asks the questions of Smith and Walter gives him a shock to see if Peter gets any response. Oh, did I mention that Peter feels the shock too? The experiment does not seem to be going well as all Peter is getting is hurt. Walter theorizes that Peter's own brain is getting in the way of the message, so he shoots him up with some happy juice in order to make things more productive.

Olivia gets her 14 minutes with Jones, but they have not quite perfected the questioning technique and she has to stall him for a while. Olivia tells Jones that he will not be able to talk directly with Smith, but they have him in custody and she will ask his question to the other agent who will in turn ask Smith and relay his answer. Once that exchange is done, he will then tell her what she needs to know. Olivia is wondering why with all of the information he has, he isn't seeking his own freedom. Jones replies that she makes two incorrect assumtions. The first being that there is nothing more valuable than his freedom and the second is that he is responsible for the infection of Agent Loeb. Olivia wants to know if he didn't infect Loeb, then who did. He theorizes that perhaps it is the same people that brought them together -- what if someone wanted information from the both of them and they orchestrated the whole thing? Olivia seems dubious, but he considers that naivety. He is also wondering why she is stalling. The phone rings and they are ready to try. Jones' question "Where does the gentleman live?" They don't get an answer. At the same time, Loeb goes into spasms of some sort. They have to hang up and deal with that issue. Olivia blames the connection loss on being in the basement of a prison. Walter stabilizes Loeb and gets back on task. They are able to get a response from Smith after all. Vertical lines on a paper is what Peter sees and writes. Walter, still mad that Smith was shot in the head, thinks the bullet must have damages the part of his brain that sees horizontal images. How he is able to come up with the words Little Hill is beyond me. After her 14 minutes are up and she is being forcefully escorted out of the room, the phone rings again with the answer. Jones accepts this answer and gives her the formula to save Loeb's life.

Walter is able to save Loeb and kill the parasite. Later at the hospital Loeb is getting a visit from Broyles who fills him in on the disturbing news that there is someone high up in the bureau that is a traitor. It could not have just been Agent Scott as his clearance was not high enough for most of the information. Loeb says he doesn't know who it could be. He gets a visit from his wife who was also there during the information gathering. She leans close and tells him that Peter and Olivia have left. He asks her if what they did worked. She said yes, it lead them back to Mr. Jones. Loeb wants to know if he asked the question, and did we get the answer. His wife whispers to him "Little Hill"

In the words of Sam Beckett, "Oh Boy"! What is going on?!?!?!?!? Are they ALL spies? Does anyone other than Olivia really work for the FBI? Why was Walter conducting experiments on a young Peter? Honestly, I have too many questions to even put them together in a coherent way right now. Yikes! What do the rest of you think? Are your brains mush too? I'll try to post more questions when my brain has returned to normal function. Maybe I need an electrical shock.


Posted by Wendy on November 11, 2008 10:45 PM
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Wow... I can't believe you covered the whole show - "no Fringey left behind". This was one of their best (read sweeps month), right up there with The Arrival. You could tell "Abrams & Pinkner" - wrote it. All of the other writers were "co-assistant-supervising-producers-in-charge-of-shutting-the-heck-up-getting-my-coffee-and-watching-how-the-masters-do-it".

I agree - who isn't a double agent? Who next? Broyles. I think the only naivete in the plotline is Dunham... she is the point of discovery (for us) so she must reveal things for the story to proceed. One bubba that needs a good backstory is Lucas. If (capital IF) everyone is playing Olivia - can't we assume Lucas is playing her too. HOW does a US national, former military (USMC?) land a swanky job in Germany's Congress (not Senate). HOW is a former jarhead SO WELL CONNECTED that he can pull strings like he did (or claimed to do) in this episode. Chauffered limo... warden-on-a-string... gourmet chef... NOW that's a recruiting poster... pick a service - pick a challenge - set yourself apart. Seriously, Scott played Dunham, Broyles plays Dunham, Dunham seems to have a history of getting played - I think Lucas is suddenly wooing her because... she is getting played again.

Fav quote was Broyles coaching Dunham on satisfaction. She never gets it... But that's what he likes about her. Go home, come back tomorrow, you'll answer a million questions - but you'll ask a million and one new questions.

My biggest question is - Why does David Jones - obviously not a German national - prefer to avoid "extradition"? Where is he from that he wants to avoid returning to? Flipside of that coin - what is so secure about the German prison system that he feels safe there - as I recall, he stated something to the effect that freedom might not be his highest priority in life.

And Joe Smith? Fleeing his house from a raiding team of law dogs... and not one of them has the sense to stand outside the second story window waiting for the bad guy to flee. And then he gets shot, takes one fatal round to the head. How convenient. Law-dogs always fire 2 or 3 rounds to the (unarmored) torso - not single rounds to the mono-brow. The best twist they could put on that scene was to have Smith get cornered, and then put the gun to his own head and squeeze - baddies committing suicide has been the recurring theme - No?

My only beef about this episode was that the parasites looked 'sci-fi' channel hokey... like something from a 1950's 'creature-feature' movie show on public access cable at 3AM. I can live with that I guess.

-- 1. Posted by: DocH at November 12, 2008 4:54 PM

And about the Observer guy - yes. Good chance he is a clone. Look at the first two episodes. Pilot had the Steigs, twins or clones? Storage garage guy and Airplane contagion guy - who's afraid to die when they've got two of you in the oven. Same Old Story - Penrose growing perfect soldiers in just three years. Will we see a test tube John Scott in a few months?

So maybe the Observer is a clone too - he was just any earlier model where they botched the taste buds and the social skills. In this ep his was first through "The Arrival" gate at Frankfurt IAP. He must fly first class - frequebt flyer miles thru the roof.

(and it is fun playing "Where's Baldo?" every episode)

-- 2. Posted by: DocH at November 12, 2008 7:33 PM

Doc --
Where's Baldo? LOVE IT! To be honest, I completely missed him the first time around.

I hadn't thought about the twins in the pilot, but that makes sooooo much sense. If Massive Dynamic can make body parts, why not whole bodies as well. If Penrose can do it, I'll bet they can too.

I'm betting that Mr Jones is thrilled to be locked up in the German prison where no one else can get at him. Obviously, there are many people that would love to get their hands on him. My question is, is this going to be like silence of the lambs where Olivia (Clairce) keeps going back to Jones (Hannibal) to get advice about "The Pattern". Jones is bordering on creepy enough to fill that role. It would also let her spend more time with Lucas and make for a nice little love triangle later. Hmmmm...

I really did love this episode. Smart and intriguing. I will also admit that I didn't see the twist at the end coming. I generally pride myself on being able to spot those things a mile away, but this one blind-sided me. I will have to be on the lookout even more, which isn't a bad thing. Maybe then I won't miss the Observer first time around.

Wendy :)

-- 3. Posted by: wendy at November 13, 2008 9:29 AM

Concur... I do okay with 'endings' normally too. Didn't see this one coming either. I guess the big "tell" is when they start showing things they don't normally show - during the hour. In this case it was - Spouse at the ER, Spouse at the Lab, Spouse in the room during the experiment. I started to get a little suspicious of her when I saw her perk-up when the science team started discussing 'confidential' stuff.
Always the mass conspiracy buff... I believe Broyles is a master player/planner. Like ADA Skinner in X-Files, Broyles feigns ignorance about things he is well aware of. He probably also bluffs that he knows more about certain things than he actually does. In fact, I'd bet he probably already knows the Loebs are evil agents (or suspects they are) - he is just letting them play their hand - hoping to get a real glimpse at the forces behind the Pattern.

(at least that's what I told Bad Robot to do when they called and asked me how I would write the storyline)
[;^)

-- 4. Posted by: DocH at November 13, 2008 4:54 PM

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