'Marionette' - 'Fringe' Episode 3.9


Fringe Episode 3.9
Written By: Alison Schapker and Monica Owusu-Breen
Directed By: Joe Chappelle
Original Airdate: 9 December 2010

In This Episode...

A guy at a train station is poked "accidentally" by a guy with an umbrella. He makes it home, but barely - in his living room, he collapses. He wakes beneath a bright operating light, tied down to a table Dexter-style, in a kill room set up, well, like Dexter's kill rooms. Umbrella man (Roland) apologizes that it has to be like this, and injects his victim again. The guy on the table spasms and passes out. The EMTs arrive, responding to call for help. Behind the blood-spattered plastic sheeting, the EMTs find the man on the table, a square surgical hole cut into his chest, his heart missing. What is even creepier: the guy is still alive. He opens his eyes and begs the EMTs not to let him die.

When the Fringe team arrives on scene, the victim is fully dead. Walter notices healed scar tissue in the chest cavity, and Peter finds anti-rejection drugs in the medicine cabinet. Back at the lab, Walter is mystified that, hours and hours after death, the corpse's reflexes are still active and there is no signs or smells of decay. In the 1970s, he and Bell were working on a serum that would slow down decomposition enough so that people could be questioned after death. Walter was institutionalized shortly thereafter, but the research, apparently, lived on.

Broyles has stacks of photos of victims of organ theft, and the pieces start falling into place. All the organs stolen were different ones, and all from the same donor: 17-year-old Amanda Walsh, a clinically depressed ballerina who killed herself. The only solace her mother found in her death was the fact that other people could be saved by her organs. Peter and Liv sort through the files of the people who were in group therapy with Amanda: Roland Barrett, a biologist who was able to create synthetic life on the cellular level. When the FBI raid Roland's home, they find Amanda once again a corpse, and they take Roland into custody with a quiet confession. Roland was trying to give her a second chance, correct a wrong. When he finally got her assembled and got a jolt of electricity through her, she woke, with wild, empty eyes. Looking into Amanda's eyes, Roland knew it wasn't her.

This resonates deeply with Olivia. At the beginning of the episode, Peter admitted to her that he and Fauxlivia were dating. He saw changes in her personality (things that really didn't win her over, like her doppleganger was quicker to smile and less intense), which he explained away because their relationship had changed. Olivia insists she is fine, but their relationship becomes more and more strained throughout the episode, until the end, when Olivia reveals she is not fine. Roland was able to look into the eyes of a girl he hardly knew, and see that it wasn't her. Why couldn't Peter see that in her? She kept him with her, even on the other side; why wasn't he able to do the same? She feels violated by another woman living her life. Olivia tells Peter she doesn't want to wear her clothes, sleep in her apartment - or be with him. She leaves, and Peter whispers apologies into the night.

Dig It or Bury It?

Hands down, my favorite episode of Fringe ever. It had everything: Passion! Betrayal! Zombies! Urban legends come to life! It is kind of sweet - Roland is the creepy mad scientist with a heart. Okay, that heart doesn't belong to him, but still. The only thing that could have made him more creepy was if he left his victims packed in ice instead of a room that was stolen from Dexter. There is so much creepy imagery here. Roland hooks Amanda up to a complex system of wires and pulleys so he can dance her around like a life-sized marionette. There is the guy with his rib cage splayed open. My favorite is the guy who had his corneal implants revoked. Olivia found him wandering around blindly, with two large, dark, bloody eye holes gaping at her.

The new dynamic between Peter and Olivia is intense. I don't know who I feel worse for: Olivia, who has had her whole world turned around, or Peter, who hurt the woman he loves by thinking he loves a different - but the same - woman. Possibly the weirdest love triangle ever. I like it because, on the one hand, I really liked the way they handled hooking Peter and Olivia up. It didn't feel creepy like when Mulder and Scully hooked up. But I am the least romantic girl on the planet, so I can only handle the lovey-dovey stuff in very, very small doses. But now, there is still that intense dynamic, without the mushy stuff, without the whiney stuff. It could get old, quick, but for now, I'm in.

The more I think about it, the more I am annoyed that Liv is so angry that her friends didn't recognize the impostor. Fauxlivia's friends in the red universe didn't seem to catch on; why should Liv expect any different over here? I think that she is less angry at her friends, and more angry at the situation. Fauxlivia isn't there, so she must direct her anger onto people who are.

Walter Babble

Astrid asks Walter if he believes it is possible to raise the dead. "No, but not for a lack of trying. Peter had a cocker spaniel that he loved dearly..."

Walter, "after a day like today," really needs a strawberry milkshake. Peter promises him one. "With extra whip cream." "Don't push it."


Come on - reanimation of dead flesh? Makes for great movies, but it doesn't seem even remotely possible. Maybe it is because it makes for good movies - it seems to fake. But, as they say, this one is busted.


The final shot of this episode was one of the Observers, watching Walter and Peter order milkshakes. He makes a phone call: "He is still alive." So when Fringe comes back January 21st, the Observers will return with it.