Fringe Episode 3.17
Teleplay By: Danielle Dispaltro
Story By: Akiva Goldsman & Joel Wyman & Jeff Pinkner
Directed By: Charles Beeson
Original Airdate: 18 March 2011
In This Episode....
With William Bell's consciousness now residing in Olivia, Walter is ecstatic. Peter is horrified. As Willivia explains, when Olivia met with Bell on the other side, he gave her tea that was laced with soul magnets, allowing him to draw his consciousness into her body. He promises that he will only be around for a short time - he just needs to find a new, suitable host.
In the meantime, the Fringe team has a new case. Onlookers caught, on video, a couple plummet off a 10-story building. He died; she walked away. Agent Lincoln Lee (yes, that Lincoln - from the other side) from Connecticut comes in to help. The woman, Dana Gray, died 18 months ago, along with her husband and kids, in a home invasion. Shortly after their murder, Dana disappeared from the morgue, but since then she has been seen at the site of a half-dozen other suicides. Each time, witnesses say they would see two people jump, but only find the body of one.
Dana had been hit by lightning twice (a fact that was only mentioned near the end of the episode, and almost as an afterthought - like it had been thrown in last minute). Walter and Willivia theorize that this changed Dana's electromagnetic structure, bonding her molecules super-tight and essentially making her indestructible. She is stuck here on earth, unable to pass over to the other side, and she is trying to hitch a ride with suicides she meets through her work as a crisis counselor.
It hasn't worked thus far, but she gets an idea when one guy, Brian, spouts off some religious ramblings and the location of a bomb he planted on a train before he shoots himself. With some research, Dana discovers the man was talking about Azrael, who was condemned to purgatory for his sins. Some angels asked their god to rescue him, as he had suffered enough. God refused, so the angels banded together and brought Azrael up to heaven. The angels' combined innocence made up for Azrael's sins, and he was allowed to remain in heaven. Dana thought that the bomb on the train was her ticket of earth - on the backs of a bunch of "innocents."
Investigating Brian's suicide in their quest to find Dana, Peter finds her number and calls, trying to trace the line. It doesn't work, but when they analyze the recording, Walter and Willivia do some freaky advanced mathematics on either side of a clear board, and figure out which train Dana was on. The authorities stop the train and evacuate while they look for Dana and the bomb. She has escaped the train, bomb in hand, and rushed out into a clearing. Peter doesn't find her until the explosion alerts him to her location. When they get there, Peter and Lincoln discover Dana, dead for real. Willivia assumes that the electromagnetic forces created from the explosion was enough to "reset" Dana and send her into death. Or something like that.
Dig It or Bury It?
I like that the Fringe team goes down many incorrect theories before finally finding the right one. First they thought Dana survived due to spacial decay. Then they thought Dana was some kind of energy vampire. Then a soul who had lost her way. The Dana story was interesting enough to have been its own episode. I felt like the William Bell aspect of the story was complex, and while not meaty enough for its own episode, could have benefitted from a slightly less involved B-plot. Willivia was way creepy. You look at her, and you see Olivia. But then she speaks, and it is actually disconcerting how well Anna Torv can impersonate Leonard Nimoy.
I do feel that there was untapped man-trapped-in-a-woman's-body humor. In the field, Peter introduces Willivia as Agent Olivia Dunham, then later mixes up his pronouns. But this was minor and glossed-over. This identity crisis will hopefully be mined further. And boy, do I feel bad for Peter. He just got his relationship with Olivia back on track, and her consciousness has been taken over by an old mad scientist. How the hell does he sleep with Liv after that?
Walter's insanity in this episode was taken to a new level with Belly there. First off, he was giddy, like a pre-teen girl having her first slumber party. But instead of playing Truth or Dare and giving each other manicures, Walter and Willivia smoked pot and tried to figure out if they could transfer William's consciousness into Jean, the cow.
And it turns out Bell is a bit of a lech. Willivia flirts with Astrid, placing a bracelet of magnets around her wrist. Astrid quickly takes off the bracelet and buttons the top buttons of her blouse. Later, when discussing the possibilities of using Jean as the host, Walter giggles madly. "But Belly, then I would have to milk you!" "We could assign that job to Astrid," Willivia suggests, sending the two into a fresh round of giggles.
I have to focus on the broad strokes now, because the details get a bit murky. I'm a writer, not a scientist dammit! From a logical, layman's brain, none of this "host for consciousness," "woman who can't die" stuff makes a bit of sense. But Dana did remind me of that episode of South Park where Kenny reveals he is actually a superhero whose "superpower" is the inability to die.
We are back in the red universe next week. Olivia has been kidnapped (by "the other side" Walternate theorizes) in order to harvest her unborn fetus - who is now wiggling around like a chest burster