Television Tourniquet: We Get Freaky with 'Fringe': Episode 10!


Fringe: Episode 10
Written By: Jason Cahill and David H. Goodman
Directed By: Michael Zinberg
Original airdate: December 2, 2008

In This Episode…


A crew of thieves is breaking into a bank vault, but they have a method that would make Ocean’s 11 jealous:  they can walk through the steel doors.  By shooting some kind of extra-special rope through the vault door (which Walter later explains creates a vibration, causing particles to rearrange themselves, and make it permeable).  But there is a time limit on this magic.  When the “safety line” gets caught, last-man-out Raul doesn’t make it – he gets caught halfway.  Think Han Solo in carbonite, with his head, one arm, and one leg hanging out.


Olivia recognizes Raul as someone she was in the Marines with.  But when she pays a visit to Raul’s ex-wife, Susan, she’s never met Olivia.  Olivia is remembering John’s memories as her own.  That can’t be good.




Meanwhile, remember creepy Mr. Jones, imprisoned in Germany?  Yup, he is orchestrating these deposit box robberies.  Oh, and Massive Dynamic has John in a hyperbaric chamber, trying to recover his memories (later in the episode they figure out that Olivia now shares his memories, and the ones they need may very well be in her head).


Olivia is listing off the number of the deposit boxes that were stolen, and it strikes Peter that this is the same sequence of numbers that Walter uses to put himself to sleep.  Walter explains it is a Fibonacci sequence, and he realizes that these deposit boxes are his own.  In true Walter fashion, he cannot remember what he stored in them or where the next one is.  Olivia does get a lead on who Raul used to chum around with, and they track the remaining gang members to Providence.  A car chase ensues, with three guys escaping via van and one being shot and captured.

When he is brought in to be interrogated, he gives up the location of his accomplices when Peter tells him his little stunts have given him radiation poisoning.  Walter has figured out what was in those deposit boxes: the pieces to a time machine.  Yup. a time machine.

Olivia and backup race out to the field where the bad guys are testing the time machine.  But Olivia doesn’t make it – some Men in Black abduct her at the behest of Mr. Jones, just as the bad guys are using the time machine to bring Mr. Jones out of prison, and into this field.

Dig It or Bury It?

A really engaging episode, though flawed.  The whole “walking through steel” thing was pretty awesome.  But then they threw in the whole time machine story, which is such a load of crap and turns this from a sci-fi show rooted in reality, into a hardcore, geeked-out sci-fi/fantasy show.  Plus I hate those tremendous cliff-hangers.  Olivia is kidnapped, probably by Mr. Jones’s people, but possibly by Massive Dynamic’s people.  If Massive Dynamic has her, they are obviously going to dig around in her brain for John’s memories.  But what could Mr. Jones possibly want from her?


He was on tonight.  No food obsession, but he was utterly fascinated by the big box hardware store Peter took him to.  When Broyles is going over previous robberies with the same MO, Walter perks up at the mention of Baltimore, and reminisces about a woman he knew there, “with very large breasts.”  And he’s completely given up on trying to remember Astrid’s name.  He just calls her “Miss” now.


When Mr. Jones is time-machined/teleported from his German prison, he is literally beamed down in a stream of blue light, into the middle of the field.  I think it was a rule on The X-Files that they had to have that scene at least twice per season.


Vibrations = passing through solid mass: sounds completely implausible, but for this show, and in this manner, I can totally dig it.  Plus, I like that Walter demonstrates the effect by sinking a Star Wars action figure into a cup of dry rice when it’s vibrated by a vintage tabletop football game (Walter’s toys, not Peter’s).

Time machine/teleport: Not even remotely plausible.  I never liked it much as a ploy in any sort of crazy sci-fi films.  I like it even less in Fringe.  I once had dinner with a Nobel prize winner in physics.  He said that time travel is impossible unless someone discovers a completely new basis for the building blocks of physics as we know it.  Sorry to burst your bubble fanboys, but this is bull and shit.


That Fringe will lose a good percentage of its audience before it comes back in January.  Oh wait, not that kind of prophecy…  It’s just too long to wait for such a huge cliffhanger.  You know that it won’t come back first week of January; more like the third or fourth.

Anyway, they obviously want you to think that Mr. Jones is the one who captured Olivia, but I am not one-hundred percent convinced it wasn’t Massive Dynamic (I’m very suspicious of TV writers).  Either way, I suspect the opposing team will be fighting to get her in their clutches at least as hard as the FBI will.  Andie MacDowell pops up wielding a gun and looking like a scared housewife.  What is that about?  Let’s say she is… John’s secret wife?