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Fringe -- Bad Dreams Review

Bad-Dreams.jpgA mother is pushing her toddler through the train station singing a song about the circus. The stroller has balloons tied to it. There aren't any other people in the train station. They miss the first train. As the second train approaches, Olivia comes out of the shadows and pushes the mother in front of the train. Then Olivia wakes up in her bed.

Olivia is understandably upset -- she just dreamed that she killed someone, so what is the best way to combat that? Sit-ups and lots of coffee. Rachel wakes up an joins her in the kitchen, envious of the fact that Olivia is an early-riser. As she watches the morning news, she sees the person she killed in her dream. Apparently, she killed herself by jumping in front of a train while her daughter stood by. Risa Pears, 28, jumps to her death. Olivia is very upset over all of this. She asks Broyles if she can go to New York so that she can assist with this investigation, but she asks him not to ask her any questions about it just yet.

She heads out to consult with Peter and Walter over the incident. Walter first asks her questions about her general health, while he goes over her with a geiger counter. He doesn't find anything. So, in Walter's mind, she couldn't have teleported to New York in her sleep -- teleportation apparently always leaves behind background radiation. Peter accompanies her to New York -- Walter is sad that he won't get to go to New York. He really wants to see Pippin (a great musical by the way) and even starts singing one of its most famous song Corner of the Sky. Here is a short sample of the lyrics he was singing plus a few others -- cats fit on the windowsill/ children fit in the snow/ why do I feel I don't fit in/ anywhere I go/ Rivers belong where they can ramble/ eagles belong where they can fly/ I've got to be where my spirit can run free/ Gotta find my corner/ Of the sky. Great song! Walter's next theory is Astral (Astrid) projection, an then maybe Opium. Peter insists it was a bad dream.

At Grand Central Station, Olivia and Peter meet the detective working on the case. They travel the same path that Olivia did in her dream. She wants to look at the security tape -- before they go down there, Olivia tells Peter that there will be a red balloon on the ceiling, and sure enough, there is one.

They question the husband -- he is overcome. He doesn't understand any of this. He tells Olivia that Risa was so excited to take her daughter to the circus. She used to sing her a song about an elephant (the song she was singing in Olivia's nightmare). He cannot believe that she would kill herself.

Peter and Olivia look at the security tapes and it does indeed appear that she jumped off the platform. There is no one else in the shot with her.

Olivia can remember details, smells and feelings from the killing. Walter thinks maybe she did kill her -- was the motive revenge? jealousy? hate? Olivia didn't even know the woman. Peter keeps trying to tell everyone that Olivia had a bad dream and didn't kill anyone. Walter gets angry with Peter, because he is not really listening to Olivia. Walter theorizes that perhaps Olivia DID kill this person with simply the power of her mind. (remember the lights she had to turn off to kill the bomb?) Not intentionally, but killed nonetheless. Maybe wishing someone dead -- to kill with the mind -- can actually happen. Peter thinks it is ridiculous -- to which Walter agrees "unless it happens again"

Olivia now apparently is going to take steps (e.g. No Doze) so that she will not sleep, and therefore not kill anyone again. She heads to a restaurant to get some coffee. There is a couple enjoying an evening out together. As she watches them, their waitress brings them a dish. The wife then has a fit and starts to yell at the husband. She is furious that the husband was flirting with the waitress -- is it because she is younger? Only the husband wasn't flirting and it flummoxed. The wife picks up a knife and Olivia walks over to her, grabs her knife arm and helps her stab her husband repeatedly in the belly. Guess the No Doze didn't work. She wakes up suddenly and calls Charlie to tell him there has been a murder.

Olivia and Peter walk out of an elevator at St. Vincent's Hospital 300 miles away. Olivia is convinced that she was there. The husband's innards are shredded, so the wife was allowed to visit him -- he will not survive. Olivia questions her. Mouse, the wife's nickname, tells her that she doesn't know what happened. She had a sudden feeling that he was going to leave her. She was totally convinced even though she knows he is totally devoted to her. She can't believe that she got so angry she stabbed him. Olivia asks if she felt that she was being compelled to do this -- that maybe someone else was controlling her. Mouse doesn't think so, but Olivia is insisting that it wasn't her fault. Olivia is two steps away from taking the blame when Peter ushers her out of the room. He recognized the lack of sleep and caffeine pills and tells Olivia she isn't thinking correctly. She falls to pieces on his shoulder.

They head to the restaurant to check out the crime scene. She recognized the table that she was sitting at in her dream and asks the Maitre'd who was sitting there. He says that he doesn't know. Olivia grabs his collar and threatens him, asking him "Was I there? Was it me?" His answer is it was just some guy, blond hair comes in every once in a while, has a scar on his face (sound like anyone we know?) Olivia thinks she remembers him. They go over the subway surveilance tape and find a blond man with a scar. She has to tear Walter away from his coffee fantasy (apparently he likes cinnamon in his coffee) to get some answers. She never actually saw this man in her dreams, but she did see other details from the scene. Walter posits that she was him -- dreams not being always literal, perhaps she was not dreaming about herself but about the mystery man. What they don't know is if he is causing these problems, and WHY she is dreaming about him at all.

At FBI HQ, they are running facial recognition software to see if they can get a match, and they do. The suspect is Nick Lane last known address St Jude's mental hospital. Broyles is coming down on Olivia because he needs to know what is going on, so she fesses up to him. She asks for a short leave so that she can figure out what is going on, but in the end, he believes in her and gives her the case.

At St. Jude's, Olivia and Peter meet Dr. Miller. She tells them that Nick had been there long before she arrived, and he had a very inclusive and interesing military insurance policy. He got a visit from a lawyer at one point that told him he had inherited a large sum of money. The second time the lawyer came back, Nick left the hospital. She says Nick was interesting. He had an emotional brightness -- hyper emotive. He wasn't dangerous to others but he did suffer from delusions. Nick was convinced he was being recruited as a child to become a soldier in a futuristic war against beings from a parallel universe. (hmmm...sound like Olivia).

Astrid reads from the ZFT handbook to Peter (paraphrase) -- many of the soldiers are currently among us, but before they can become solders, they must be thought of as recruits. Nick was born in 1979, Jacksonville Florida -- same place that Olivia comes from.

Olivia demands to see Walter and interrogates him about Cortexiphan. It was a highly experimental drug that might enhance abilities in certain children. William Bell conducted the experiments on certain children -- apparently Walter DOES have some limits. Perception was the key. If you can dream about a better world, you can make a better world. (Or perhaps travel between them.) So Nick thinking these things can effect the people around him. Walter says it is more the feeling (which is what we heard at St. Jude's) Perhaps he was on the platform because he wanted to kill himself, but that emotion is picked up by Risa. He sees the couple arguing in the restaurant, and it brings up his own abandonment issues. But that still doesn't explain how Olivia can see it all -- Until Walter pops in by telling us that if William followed procedure, the children were paired up. This kept the kids from getting frightened, or feeling isolated, Sometimes a bond would form that was greatly enhanced by the drug. Peter is getting creeped out.

Olivia confesses that she might have been treated with the drug as a child. Walter thinks this is good news. He may be able to find Nick now.

Olivia heads to a strip club (ok, so it is probably Nick -- get your minds out of the gutter), He is fixated on a dancer that is kissing him/her. They leave the club together. -- Ok, so you see Walter has Olivia on a table hooked up to some devices and she is feeling what Nick feels and seeing what Nick sees. -- Apparently, Nick is having a VERY good time with the stripper. Wink wink nudge nudge know what I mean. But now he feels guilty about the whole thing and is wishing he is dead. The dancer feels these things too and she breaks a glass and slits her own throat.

Olivia is very upset, so Peter tries to help her calm down by holding her hand. She is able to see where he lives. Nick is at home the next morning taking a pharmacopia of drugs and loading a weapon to kill himself, presumably. Olivia and Charlie arrive at his door to find/stop him. One of his walls is covered with information on the testing he underwent as a child. They were too late. Walter has always wanted a two headed goat! It seems like he was fine until the lawyer came to see him.

Nick is walking purposefully down the street and it looks like he is gathering an entourage. People on the street just start following him. The more intense his emotions, the more dangerous and the more people will be affected. It is possible that Olivia will not be affected, but Walter is not sure. They arrive at the building and Nick along with his entourage are all standing on the roof of the building waiting to jump. (the observer is also in the crowd here). Olivia goes up to talk him down.

Nick recognizes her he calls her Olive -- she heard him and she came. He is so happy to see her. He has been waiting to be called up, but was never called to battle and is confused and out of sorts. The man who came to see him (lawyer) told him that he could wake him up -- he listened and now is horrified that he can't stop hurting people. He gives Olivia his gun and asks her to shoot him. If she can't he will jump and they will all jump with him, one has already jumped as they were talking. She does shoot him, but not fatally. They all fall down and then start coming to.

Massive Dynamic is not owning up to the Cortexiphan treatments. Nick is being kept in a drug induced coma indefinitely to keep his ability from harming others.

Back at Olivia's house, her niece is having a restless night of bad dreams. She takes her back to bed. Charlie breaks a thousand regulations and brings Olivia Nick's file. She begins to look through it. Walter looks through his video tapes and sees one of a young blond girl sitting in the corner of a lab. We hear Leonard Nimoy's voice (William Bell) asking if the incident is contained. Bad casualties, they don't know what happened. (we hear Walter's voice) Obviously she was upset with him -- don't worry Olive no one is mad at you. You didn't do anything bad -- it's going to be OK.

WOW!!!! What the heck?!?!?!? So, Walter WAS part of the experiments on children along with William Bell. He was there when Olivia apparently had an episode. What else does he know, or did he forget that is crucial to what is going on?

What is the next step in Olivia's training going to be, and who is it coming from? Was Peter treated with the drug too? WOW again. Great episode. Can't quite comprehend it all right now either. What did you think?

On a separate note, there was a commerical for FOX Go Green as part of the breaks for the show and I had no idea that John Noble is an Aussie actor -- it seems quite unnatural to hear him with that accent.

Posted by Wendy on April 21, 2009 10:11 PM
Permalink |

Reviewer. Encore!

You nailed all of the big points, SMACK on the head. I counted references to at least 9 other episodes.

Your summary questions are all at the center of the big theories to date - ergo, no answers soon. Good to hear Nimoy as Bell... I think he is the guy that narrated "In Search Of..." the 'strange science' series from about twenty-five years ago. I can't say that I know him from anywhere else. [;^)

Ironic humor note for this episode... the jealous wife named MOUSE - stabbed her husband with the CHEESE knife.

John Noble is a senior instructor at NIDA. Australia's National Institute for the Dramatic Arts. Same place Anna Torv learned to act. hmmm.

-- 1. Posted by: DocH at April 22, 2009 5:38 AM

I wonder if the bad thing Olive did resulted in Nick's scar, hmmm.

-- 2. Posted by: John at April 22, 2009 10:02 AM

Doc -- I can't believe that I missed he was stabbed with the cheese knife! Great catch, and thanks for the kind words.

I am completely intrigued by Walter's involvement with the testing he claims he had no part in.

Of course, we know that there is much more hiding inside Walter that we do not yet know, but I am beginning to think that he knows (and remembers) MUCH more than he is willing to share with anyone....hmmm

And I love the thought that Olive's incident is what caused Nick's scar. Why didn't I think of that? Good one John.


-- 3. Posted by: Wendy at April 22, 2009 5:45 PM

Yep, good catch on the scar and the possible cause (Olive). So good I added it to the FringePedia list of UAQuestions. (uncredited)

Here is another thought. At the end we hear a female lab-bie on the tape with Bell and Walter - Who was the female? We know Walter went to the looney-bin after a female assistant died in a fire at the lab. We met her mom (Jessica Warren) in No-Brainer. Was the voice on this tape the same assistant - Carla Warren?

I am not suggesting that Olivia was responisble. Maybe another child, or a follow-up Project/Exploration. Olivia, born in '79 would be 6-ish in the video ('85-ish). Walter was locked up about 5 years later. Olivia and Nick would be about 11 or 12 at that time.

-- 4. Posted by: DocH at April 23, 2009 6:45 PM

added trivia... LOST legend Bea Klugh (actress April Grace) was the detective that took them into the subway at Grand Central Station and to Headquarters to review the security tapes. Bad Robot likes its' stars.

-- 5. Posted by: DocH at April 23, 2009 6:50 PM

OMG! How could I not have recognized Ms. Klugh! I will have to re-watch that now. Darn! Great catch Doc!


-- 6. Posted by: Wendy at April 28, 2009 11:08 AM

who played the waitress? I would flirt with her all day

-- 7. Posted by: the observer at June 6, 2010 7:55 PM

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