Television Tourniquet: We Get Freaky with 'Fringe' -- Episode 16!


Fringe Episode 1.16
Written By: J.R. Orci and Zack Whedon
Directed By: Brad Anderson
Original Airdate: 14 April 2009

In This Episode…

A PETA-esque group of college students bust into a lab to "liberate" the test animals.  But they let out the wrong beast when something huge and ferocious gets loose and slaughters them all – including the scientist who was alerted to the creature's escape.

The Scooby Gang heads out to investigate.  Walter, as usual, is totally fascinated by the corpses – he can't figure out what attacked.  The claw marks could have come from a pterodactyl; the huge fang bites suggest a giant snake.  Upon closer examination of one of the bodies, Walter finds something that alarms him deeply.

Animal control gets a call from a housewife about a monster on the road.  Of course, it's the creature, and they are quickly torn apart.  Charlie is first on the scene, and the creature is none to happy about that.  Charlie is still alive when Olivia gets there, but badly injured.  Walter asks frantic questions of Charlie about the creature's appearance that annoys the hell out of Peter, so Walter finally spills.  He thinks the creature is a transgenetic species, a project he had been working on for years.  The goal was to combine the genetics from multiple species to create a super-animal.  "Accelerated Darwinism," he called it.  Needless to say, Peter is furious and Walter, for the first time, is overwhelmed with remorse for his creepy experiments.

But the bad news doesn't stop there.  One of the cadavers has practically exploded with squirmy wormies.  The creature, using its tremendous stinger-tail, implanted hundreds of larvae into its victims, using them as an incubator to breed its young.  An ultrasound reveals Charlie is closing in on the same fate – he has about 16 hours left, and the parasitic bugs are too widespread to remove.  Poisoning them doesn't work; it just makes Charlie sick.  Walter has one final trick up his sleeve.  If he can get a sample of the creature's blood and mix it with Charlie's, the theory is that the larvae would recognize Charlie as "one of them," stop feeding off him, and die from starvation. 

With the help of Broyles and one of the scientists who runs the lab that the creature escaped from, Olivia pins down a few bits of information.  The creature has no set pattern, and because there are not many eye witnesses, they determine that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Creature has been traveling via sewer.  She also gets a breakdown of what the creature is: part parasitic moth, part bat, part Gila monster.  Sweet.

Walter, Olivia, and Peter head into the sewer, using the larvae collected from one of the corpses as bait.  Walter slips away to "use the facilities" (aka pee where no one will look) and instead locks a sewer gate that would protect Peter and Olivia, turning him into a human sacrifice.  His guilt is just that strong.  Peter, for his part, seems genuinely panicked that Walter might die.  He and Olivia bust out of their smelly prison just in time to see the monster racing towards Walter… who takes him down with three gunshots.


Walter's blood experiment worked.  The larvae in Charlie died. He simply has to shit them out.  And his wife was none the wiser (until she finds her toilet is backed up by creepy-crawlies).  It turns out that the creature was not at all related to any research or experiments that Walter did, which relieved him immensely.  And Olivia decided she has to sleep with the lights on.

Dig It or Bury It?

Dig: the bad-ass creature. 

Bury: we see the creature only once, towards the end, for about 18 seconds. 

Bury: the creature looked an awful lot like a baby Cloverfield monster. 

Dig: the Cloverfield monster was bad-ass. 

Dig: this episode probably had more humor than all the series episodes combined. Thank you, Zack Whedon! (Joss's brother and co-writer of Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog).  Dig: Jean the Cow had a cameo. 

Four digs, two buries.  Looks like we have a winner!


Oh, where to begin?  A couple favorites: Peter starts cutting into an omelet, and Walter freaks out.  "Walter, we talked about sharing."  Walter can't find the words to explain, so he unfolds the omelet to reveal a human ear.  The unmarked experiment leads to nearly five minutes of arguing.  Later on, at the first crime scene, Walter finds an abandoned but uneaten sandwich and helps himself to it – much to Peter's chagrin.

At that same crime scene while examining the wounds on the bodies, Walter finds them to be like those of an eagle… but huge.  "Great, put out an APB on Big Bird," Peter says.  "Don't be silly," Walter corrects.  "More like a pterodactyl."


The show opens with Peter calling Olivia at home.  Olivia immediately thinks something is wrong, but Peter is just calling to talk to her sister, Rachael.  A hint of jealousy flashes over Olivia, a look that says she knows she has no reason to be jealous, but can't help it (a look that Scully gave Mulder countless times).


With some of the crazy things scientists are doing with genetics these days, I would be surprised if we didn't see cross-species breeding in the future.  In the words of MythBusters, I'm marking this one "Plausible."


Next week, Olivia goes Medium on us, and dreams that she is killing people – and those people are showing up dead.  And, of course, she goes back into that damned sensory deprivation tank.