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Fringe Fodder

Fringe 201 - A New Day in the Old Town

Fringe 201 - A New Day in the Old Town
Airdate: 09/17/2009

I guess we Lost fans should have known that a JJ Abrams production would never let us have answers too fast. Instead tonight's ep leaves us with a lot more questions. Let's summarize.


Manhattan: Unknown guy wakes up in his car. He's bleeding. There's been a wreck. He stumbles from his car and way from the scene. He stumbles from the scene to an apartment building. He presses all the buttons and someone buzzes him in. Inside the building, Mr. Nice-Guy apartment dweller sees the blood on his head and asks if he's OK. Unknown guy responds by slugging him and dragging his (unconscious?, dead?) body back into his apartment.

There he leaves the body on the floor and take a long look at himself in the mirror, then squeezes his hands to his face. His face STAYS SQUOZE! Like an old Science Fiction Theater I remember. He whips a strange device out of his pocket. It's a small black box with two leads on wires. The wires have three sharp prongs. He fits one in Mr. Nice-Guy's mouth and one in his own, and turns the device on. The process seems to be painful, and his face writhes. In a nice touch we see Mulder and Scully on the TV as all this proceeds. Finally the process ends, and we see that Unknown guy is now a duplicate of Nice Guy. Interestingly, his clothing still fits, even though original Unknown was rather shorter than Nice-Guy mark 1.

In the street, an FBI agent (Amy) has been called to the scene of the traffic accident. Wonder why? She asks the NYPD who the other driver was, and they hand her a packet that presumably explains things.

Peter and Walter Bishop wander the aisles of a supermarket. Peter is bored out of his mind, but Walter explains he wants to make something special for Peter's upcoming birthday (idle thought - wonder if his birthday was the same in both worlds?) Walter says in between his stints at MIT, Oxford and Harvard, he was "sous-chef at the Bakersfield Food Labs", second only to Seymour Grodium, inventor of the Ho-Ho. Peter says he doesn't want a cake, but Walter says it's not a cake, it's a custard. Peter complains he's never liked custards, but Walter says he did when he was a boy. This domestic squabble is broken up by a phone call for Peter.

The Bishops rush to the scene of the wreck where they're met by agent Amy Jessup. The other car in the wreck (and the reason the FBI is involved) is Olivia's. The doors are locked, the air bags deployed, but, like Oakland and 'there', there's no Olivia there. While Peter and Amy talk, Walter breaks off a windshield wiper and uses it as a jimmy to open the SUV (while assorted NYPD and FBI personnel stand around and do nothing). He examines the interior, holds the wheel, fiddles with the instruments.

Amy want to know why she can't find out anything about Fringe division (she at least knows Olivia's assigned there). Peter's not telling. In the car, the radio begins playing gibberish with no input from Walter. He uneasily backs out of the car, and the alarm begins sounding. Amy and Peter turn at the noise as WHAM! Olivia's body is catapulted through the windshield and onto the pavement, exactly as if she'd been in a wreck, not wearing her seat belt, air bags not functioning, and the car in motion instead of standing stock still and already wrecked.


An unconscious Olivia is wheeled into an emergency room as Peter and Walter stand by.

Night. Agent Amy is dashing up the steps of the hospital as agent Broyles comes out and meets her, handing her a report of the incident - a 'random traffic accident involving a federal agent, nothing more'- and orders her to sign it. Case closed. Inside, a young doctor tells Peter and Walter that Olivia's head wounds are too severe - patients with that kind of head trauma never regain consciousness. Walter insists on seeing her and examining her himself. He does so but doesn't hold out much hope either.

Peter drinks alone in a bar. Broyles joins him. Broyles tells Peter that he's been summoned to Washington, and expects Fringe division to be shut down for 'failure to produce any useful results. Peter complains they've been too passive, reactive rather than proactive. They have a drink to Olivia.

Agent Amy is at her computer looking for information, but being blocked by security restrictions at every turn. She pulls out a paper with a series of numbers written on it (no not 4-8-15-16-23-42) and types them in - she's through the blocks. She's looking a pictures of all the weird stuff Fringe div has turned up.

Peter paces outside the hospital, then goes in, where he meets Rachel, Olivia's sister, who’s just been visiting the comatose Olivia. Peter sits at Olivia's bedside, for a while, then bends to kiss her, saying "Goodbye, Olivia". But before they connect, Olivia's eyes open and she begins speaking softly in another language, then sits up and screams.


Olivia is talking to the doctor who said there was no hope for her. She's oriented to person, time and to the best of her knowledge, place. She asks what's happened to her legs. Rachel steps forward and tells her she was in an accident. Olivia asks for Peter, and he's there, too, smiling. She tells him she went somewhere to see someone, but she's not sure who. Someone was trying to stop her, she says but she went anyway. Her heart monitor records a racing heartbeat and the doctor tries to shoo Peter from the room. Olivia tells him there was something she was supposed to do, and their lives may depend on it. Whose lives? "Everyone's." She says she's not safe there and asks Peter to bring her her gun.

Federal Building, Boston: Peer strolls in and asks to speak to Agent Broyles. The receptionist says Broyles is in Washington. Agent Charlie Francis, then, he says, handing her his consultant credentials and saying he needs information about the car accident in New York. The receptionist tells him the credentials have been revoked and promptly shreds them "please feel free to file a request for information on our website." Peter gets intense and tells her that Olivia's life and possibly her own may hang on his getting some help, fast. Security moves in to escort him out, but Peter puts a fast move on, spinning the agent away. The agent looks like his day has been made - a challenge - but before the two can reengage, Agent Amy pops up and says she'll take charge of the malefactor and escorts Peter out of the building.

Amy has the file with her. She drives as Peter dives into the file. She says the skid marks from unknown guy's car were deepest at the beginning - i.e. he was accelerating into Olivia's car, not braking. They're going to unknown guy's house, except unknown guy has a name now, it's George Reed. They break into Reed's house, Amy's gun drawn. Reed seems to collect antique telephones. They find his body on the living room floor. He's been dead, Amy says, longer than yesterday when he was supposedly driving a car in New York.

The room is full of agents, but it's Walter examining the body and asking for it to be brought back to his lab. J. Random Agent says the body's going to the morgue and is he crazy? Agent Amy says the body can go to the lab on her authority, and sotto voce to Peter "Is he crazy?" "Oh, yeah, " Peter chimes in.


Mr. Nice Guy mark 2 strolls into a typewriter repair shop (do these still exist?) and asks for a Selectric 251. They doesn't exist, the shop guy says, IBM went straight from the 245 to the 255. "I'm still gonna need the 251." NG2, says. "Oh, you're one of them." Shop Guy responds, "Well it's been six years, tell them I'm not gonna wait forever." He hands NG2 a key to the back room.

NG2 sits at a Selectric 251 and types in a mission accomplished report. 'Not so fast', the 251 types back, 'the subject is still alive and the meeting has taken place, go interrogate the target, then kill her.'


Peter leads Amy into Walter's lab. Walter is just asking Agent Astrid Farnsworth for a strange assortment of equipment, half for the autopsy and half for the custard he's making for Peter's Birthday. The cow in the corner moos. Agent Amy rethinks her career.

Agent Charlie Francis visits Olivia. Olivia tells him she's fine. Charlie tells her a story from his NYPD days, how he was shot by an abused girlfriend in a call on a domestic dispute and almost died, yet kept telling his wife "I'm fine." "You can fool the doctors, he says, but you can't fool me." Olivia breaks down and tell him how scared she is.

Back at the autopsy, Walter hasn't yet determined what killed Reed, but does show them his discovery of three puncture wounds in the soft palate. He says it made him remember something and he shows them a tape off an old experiment where they were 'augmenting' the mind of a female subject. She told of seeing shape shifters who could appear to be anybody and spoke of a machine with three nails they put in their mouths. Dum, de dum dumm. Peter tells Agent Astrid they need a report of any body's with soft palate wounds similar to Reed's.

In her room, Olivia loads her revolver with shaky hands.


Washington: Agent Broyles is being told by senators that Fringe's budget is kaput. He objects to being called 'Mr.' "Colonel, or Special Agent, if you prefer." He tells them he's certain the country, maybe even the world, is in danger. A friendlier Senator says they just need evidence to support the human and fiscal cost of his division. Otherwise…

Outside, on the capitol steps, Nina Sharp offers him condolences but says there's nothing her company can do. They part with a kiss. Interesting.

Amy and Peter walk into a morgue in New York and ask to see "the body that triggered the alert." It's Mr. Nice Guy. Now they know what the shape shifter currently looks like - at least as of yesterday. They head for the hospital to protect Olivia.

NG2 walks into the hospital. He finds a nurse alone on a break out back.

Amy broadcasts a now out of date description to the hospital as she and Peter speed toward it.

The nurse (Mark 2) enters Olivia's room and asks her if her memory has improved. Olivia can remember being on her way somewhere to see someone. But she also thinks she went somewhere and talked to someone, then 'came back' to the accident. N2 asks her if she remembers who she talked to. "Almost." The man told her something, about something being hidden - she can't remember where. The nurse smiles sympathetically, then jumps on the bed attempting to strangle Olivia.

Agents Charlie, Agent Amy, and Peter rush into the hospital.

Olivia fights back while reaching for the gun under her pillow. She reaches it just as Agent Amy bursts into the room, gun drawn. A shot sounds, but I can't tell whose. N2 jumps to the window, then down two stories to a ledge, then down two more to the ground. Amy calls the alert as Peter asks Olivia if she's OK. Olivia's recovered enough to say "Go get that bitch!"

Peter (unarmed) and Amy are searching the basement. As is Charlie in another area. Charlie is in the boiler room. N2 drops from some pipes behind him. Charlie wheels and pumps off two shots. Amy and Peter race to the scene. Charlie stands in front of the open boiler doors with a dead nurse at his feet. Peter kneels by the body, then picks up the 'ultimate identity theft' machine.

Peter enters Olivia's room with flowers and explains that the nurse was a 'shape changing soldier from another universe', at least in Walter's opinion. Peter says Walter will figure out where she went and why.

He asks her if she remembers the foreign phrase she uttered as she 'woke up' and repeats it to her. She says 'no', and asks if it's Latin. Greek, he tells her, and something his mother used to tell him every night as she put him to bed. It means "Be a better man than your father." They both laugh at the too-strange-to-be-believedness of it all. Olivia asks If they're shutting Fringe down. "No," he tells her as he leaves.

Washington: Peter meets Agent Broyles on the Capitol steps. A little confusing. Is this the same time as Broyles' meeting with Nina Sharp? Was there another day of testimony? Peter shows Broyles the machine, and tells him it’s the concrete proof he needs. It's tech from another world, broken currently but if they can fix it they can have an army of agents that look like anyone they want. And they are not shutting Fringe down. "From now on, we’re calling the shots, we're done reacting, we're not going to be too late anymore." Peter's acting stronger and more forceful than we've ever seen him before.

"You surprise me, Mr. Bishop," Broyles says, taking the machine.

Agent Amy works away at her computer, viewing Fringy stuff, but apparently also correlating the information with bible verses. Luke 21:10, John 4:1, Revelation 4:1, Revelation 19:18; Revelation 19:20 if you want to check them out.

Peter enters a darkened laboratory. The light spring up and Walter, Agent Astrid, and the cow are all decked out in party hats "Happy Birthday, Peter!" Peter grins at the candle in the bowl of custard.

In her hospital bed, Olivia reloads her clip, inserts it, cocks her gun, and smiles.

In the hospital basement, Agent Charlie trolls to a refuse bin and extracts a body. He pushes it to the boiler and tosses the body into the flames. As he does, we see the body is Agent Charlie!


Next week: "Night of Desirable Objects" Something's underground in Pennsylvania, and it's not the Steelers' record.(Pace, Clementine) The team investigates.


Analysis: Anyone notice the glaring logical error? We saw the whole shape changing process take place. The shape changer takes on the shape of his victim, right? So how did Amy and Peter come upon the scene seconds later to find (apparently) Agent Charlie mark 2 and a dead nurse. The nurse was the shape change and should have taken Charlie's shape, so there should have been a dead Charlie and a live Charlie. And where did Charlie's body come from in the whole scenario? The only way I can make it fit is the shape changer pre-stashed the nurse's body in the basement, shape changed with Charlie, brought out the nurse's body, stashed Charlie's, and all in just seconds. Anybody got a better scenario? But how could the shape changer know the body would be needed and in that place?


Personal note: This review is way late because this time last week I was just being released from the hospital from having my innards rearranged. That "next week" above is tonight, y'all. Get to yore set, ep 2 is almost on!

Posted by Cecil on September 24, 2009 1:31 PM
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