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Fringe: The Equation

Equation.jpgThis week's episode starts in Middletown, Connecticut. We see a mini-van riding along a dark street in the rain. A young boy is seated in the back seat writing out some music. His father is trying to convince him to take a break from the music and try something new. The boy asks the father to change the speed of the windshield wipers because the tempo is interfering with his composition. There is a car on the side of the road in trouble. A woman is outside under an umbrella looking for assistance. They stop and try to help. He calls a tow truck and offers to look at the car, even though he is not Handy Manny.

With the hood propped open, he proceeds to look at the engine. He sees nothing out of the ordinary, except for some red and green flashing lights. He looks at them for a brief period of time and the next thing he knows, the tow truck driver has arrived. The car has gone, though. Not only is the car gone, but so is Mozart (OK, his name is really Ben). Frantic, Jeremy (the dad) calls for his son.

Then, almost as good as the episode I got to see the new trailer for the upcoming Star Trek movie -- WOO HOO! But I digress...

Back in MA, Bryoles is bringing Olivia, Walter and Peter up to speed about the incident. Then he tells them that is not the first time it had happened. There have been other vicitms of the same kind of kidnapping. The bad news is that when all of them were found, they had been driven insane. One even tried to lobotomize herself with a butter knife. Walter takes all of this in and starts says "peculiar flashing lights: green green green red, like Christmas lights". Broyles wants to know how Walter knew that, seeing as he hadn't told them that part yet. Of course, Walter cannot remember. We also find out that the other people that were abducted were all academics; probability theorist, structural engineer. They can't see how Ben fits in with that (of course they don't know about his music)

Olivia goes to visit Ben's family. Jeremy insists he is not crazy. He has been through some thorough police questioning and they believe him. Olivia tells them about the other abductees, and how they are not sure how Ben fits the profile. Jeremy lets her in on Ben's extraordinary abilities. He and his mother had been in a very bad car accident 9 months before. Abby, his mother was killed. Ben was in a coma for days. When he came home, he was intent on playing a song on the piano. The funny thing is that he never played the piano before, now he is bordering on child prodigy. The doctors told him that there are rare cases in which something like this has been known to happen, but they don't know WHY. Ben becomes obsessed with one composition, working and re-working it. This is the composition we saw at the beginning.

Locked in a dark room with a Superman cartoon on a small tv is Ben. He is nervously tapping out a rhythm when his abductor enters the room. Ben demands to see his father, she says she has someone else that wants to see him. Ben doesn't care -- he wants to see his Dad. She replies "Your mother will be very disappointed to hear that". Ben tells her that his Mom is dead, she questions if he is sure about that.

Back at the laboratory, Walter is singing Christmas carols in an attempt to bring the memory of the lights to the forefront. He is setting up a set of Christmas lights for an experiment. He was hired a long time ago by an advertising agency in the hopes that he would be able to come up with a pattern of lights that would make people highly subjectable. They wanted to use that pattern in their commercials in an effort to boost sales. Fortunately, all it did was cause nausea.

Peter once again gets to be Walter's guniea pig. He stares at the lights for a few moments and then he tells Walter that it didn't work. Only, it is now lunch time and Walter made Peter cut off the sleeves of his shirt while he was "suggestable".

Olivia is driving in her car and gets a call from Charlie. He has an ID for the kidnapper. Diana Ostler, she was a neurologist studying at MIT. However, she died in an accident 10 years ago. Her car went off the road, the body was never found. (So why is she now abducting people? -- sometimes this just makes my brain ache!)

Walter's singing of Christmas carols eventually leads him to Jingle Bells, which leads him to Dashiel Kim (don't ask), the person that told him about the flashing lights. The problem is that Dashiel is an inmate at the asylum Walter was at and Walter is not sure whether or not he has succeeded in killing himself. (Walter gets the BEST lines)

Olivia tells Broyles about Dashiel. He fits the profile of the other abductees. He went missing for a few days and when he came back, went psychotic and killed his wife. This is the incident that landed him in the asylum. Crime scene photos reveal that he was obsessed with writing an equation out (similar to Ben's song). Dashiel told Walter that the whole thing started when a woman used a Christmas tree to knock him out. [OK -- here is my question, so if the light COLOR is the deciding factor (as Walter concluded) would this effect people that are color-blind and cannot distinguish between red and green? Sorry, but I have had that question since I started watching the episode.]

Olivia needs Broyles to use some pull and get her a meeting with Dashiel. Unfortunately, that is going to be a problem. Dash is classified as a 1027 -- Criminally Insane with knowledge of state secrets (is there really a classification like that?!?!?!?). She needs official clearance to be able to talk with him which will take 4-6 weeks. Broyles is going to see if he can speed that up a bit.

Ben and Diane are walking down the hall to another room. She has taken his musical excerpts and placed them in a different order. He starts to stare at them afresh, then his mother walks in "Hi Bean!" He is overjoyed to see her.

Walter tells Olivia and Peter about Dash's equation and how when he tried to help him solve it, Dash came after him with a spork. (nice, but I prefer foon). Peter studies the equation and asks Walter if he can translate it into music. Walter is very enthusiastic about trying. -- Ok, another aside here. I am a musican, have a degree in music and everything. Yes, there IS a ton of math in music, but I am completely vexed as to how they are ascertaining the music pattern from this equation, I know, suspend my disbelief -- So, Walter translates it and Peter starts playing it. Low and behold it is the same tune that Ben is working on.

At St. Claire's Olivia is meeting with Dr. Sumner (evil incarnate). She is looking for an interview with Dashiel. Sumner recognizes her as the agent that took Walter out of his nice asylum. In his opinion, Walter has no business being outside of his asylum. He will not let Dashiel be interviewed by Olivia because he is convinced it will be bad for the patient. Sumner says that Dashiel cannot be exposed to new people right now, but if Walter is doing well, Sumner would allow him to come in and talk with Dashiel for a short time. -- right here this sets off red flags for me, and just what I thought would happen, happened

Peter is adamant that Walter not even be asked to do something this horrific. Walter is a bit upset that Peter perpetually talks about him like he is not in the room. Walter does not want to go back to the asylum, but agrees in the hopes of saving Ben.

From the moment Walter gets near the asylum, he is terrified. We see a noticable change in him. He gets well wishes and luck from Oliva and Peter. Walter is no longer the person we have known him to be. He is scared, nervous and shaky. He quietly tells some of his former inmates that he is not back to stay, but he doesn't sound convinced. He finds Dashiel and tries to ask him about the woman that took him away. Dashiel says he cannot help him, he must have the wrong person. Dashiel wants to finish his butterscotch pudding.

Walter resorts to writing out the formula for him to see if it jogs any memories. This leads to Dashiel being upset and things getting out of hand. Badly. In the ensuing melee, they try to physically take Walter away and they sedate him and lock him back up in the asylum. (knew it!) Back in Sumner's office Peter and Olivia are understandably upset. Olivia threatens to get a court order, but Sumner calls her bluff. They leave and we see Walter on a bed in a cell waking up from the effects of the sedative. He looks up and sees a completely composed version of himself sitting at the end of the bed, and he smiles at himself. Not Good.

Olivia is desperately trying to get the courts to work in her favor so they could get an order to have im released. Peter comes up with a pseudonym for Diane's name and is able to find out some information about her. Not much, but every little bit helps. he has tracked her to Clarksburg, MA, so they expand their search there too.

Ben is desperately trying to figure out his melody under the watchful eyes and kind love of his mother. He says he doesn't know how it is finished, suddenly, his mother starts bleeding. All of her wounds from her accident are opening up and killing her all over again in front of his eyes. Diane tells Ben that all of this is his fault, because he can't finish the song. Wow -- that is insanely cruel.

In the asylum, Walter manages to see Dashiel again. He also sees the put together version of himself watching from across the way. Walter is only able to extract from Dashiel that he was in a dungeon in a red castle. Walter is unbelievably frustrated because he cannot get a strait answer out of Dashiel.

Peter comes to get Walter and has quite a discussion with Dr. Sumner. Sumner is going to petition the court to get Peter's guardianship removed. Peter tells him that he doesn't know who he is dealing with. Peter finds a dejected Walter sitting and ruminating about his enounter with Dashiel. He asks Peter "Son, is that what it is like to talk to me?" Peter subtly avoids answering by saying "Let's go home"

The FBI is going door to door in Clarksburg looking for Ben. We get a very far away glimpse of The Observer in this scene, had to look three times to make sure. Peter calls Olivia to tell her Walter is out, but disappointed about the information he got. Red castles and dungeons. Olivia at first shruggs it off, then she looks across the street at the red castle. Olivia and Charlie go into the abandoned amusement park in search of Ben. Olivia finds him, but she also finds Diane. A cat fight ensues and Diane manages to run away. Olivia runs after her, but is stopped by flashing red and green lights. The next thing she knows, Charlie is tapping her on the shoulder. The good news is that she left Ben, and they can take him home. The bad news is, Ben finished the formula.

Diane takes the formula to a cohort (AGENT MITCHELL from last week). She doesn't quite understand how the formula is going to help them with anything. He takes a safe and places an apple inside of it. He attaches a device to one side of the safe. Diane puts the equation into the device and stands back to wait, because she doesn't know what will happen. Mitchell, however, does. He puts on some gloves and inserts his hand into the device, which allows him to put his hand through the safe and get the apple without opening it. Oooooh. As Diane marvels, he shoots her dead.

At Peter's apartment, Walter is not doing well. He is adamant about his need to move out of this apartment. Peter is cramping his style. Walter is still very upset about being re-admitted to the asylum. Peter tries to reassure him and tell him that he will talk with Olivia about getting him on campus housing. Peter also tells Walter that he was very brave for doing what he did.

WOW! What an episode! Just how deeply is Mitchell involved in all this? Who does he really work for? What do they want to steal? How could Broyles be so stupid, or does he know that Mitchell is a spy already? Arrrghhhh!!!!!!! Help me out here, any ideas?

At least we get to learn some more info about Peter next week.

Posted by Wendy on November 19, 2008 10:24 PM
Permalink |

Sweet review. I'm stealing "foon" and using it. Superman looked like it was on like a 30 inch TV - that's not small, its huge... at least here in my cell. Ostler's name was Joanne (Di)... captioning had it several times - and I replayed it to relisten to Charlie.
- From what I know about math and music (alot) I think the biggest similarity is the "fractal" nature of both (thank you NOVA).
- I think the 1027 (not guilty by reason of insanity) is the label. I think the 'state secrets' clause buys you the best guarded care the gov't can buy. (GitMo without five prayers a day)
- Best OMG moment was Mitchel Loeb waiting for Ostler. Second best was him poping a cap in her @$$.
- Biggest yeccch flashback for me was Loeb reaching into the safe with the big rubber glove on... it reminded me of helping birth calves. (the glove makes no difference - you're up to your elbow in cow!)
- Good for you, you were playing "Where's Baldo?", and found him by the distant tree as Dunham came down the steps, on the phone, getting her red castle clue.

Did you ever stop to think about William Bell - Mass Dynamic? W.B... Walter is a W.B. too, and he saw himself at St Claire's. Maybe John Noble winds-up playing both characters, Bell and Bishop - there are lots of twins (clones) running thru the first half dozen episodes, maybe Bishop is the looney clone that needed to be locked-up and watched, and Bell is the "Montgomery Burns" of clones... out to control all of the money in the world (eggs-sell-lint). I think Bishops birth data from the mid-40's means something... they showed some of it early on... if his dad died he 1944 (assuming that was his grave in The Arrival) and Walter was born in 1946 (The Pilot). I'm guessing the DNA and Clone folks were already hard at work.

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