Television Tourniquet: We Get Freaky with 'Fringe' -- Episode 18!


Fringe Episode 1.18
Written by: J.H. Wyman & Andrew Kreisberg
Directed by: Bobby Roth
Original Airdate: 28 April 2009

In This Episode…

There's a maneater on the loose.  Her hunting ground is a night club; her victims are eligible bachelors.  Her M.O. is to rip out their spines with her sharp teeth and inhuman strength.  When the second such victim turns up, they call in the Freak Squad.

Walter's autopsy turns up traces of syphilis, but a rare strain that has been extinct for decades.  The CDC keeps records on those who order such samples.  This sample, and a few other very rare, very powerful bacteria have been ordered to a pharmaceuticals company operating out of a split level in suburbia.  The FBI raids the house and takes in one Nicholas Boone, a wheelchair-bound mad scientist.  Boone was a member of ZFT until he discovered what they were up to.  He wanted no part in their worldwide experiments, and tried to leave the group.  In order to keep him under their thumb, ZFT kidnapped his wife, Valerie – and infected her with this crazed syphilis-based drug.  Boone makes Olivia an offer: if she brings him the vials of the drug and find his wife so that he may make an anecdote for her, he will tell Olivia everything he knows about ZFT.

Boone works with Walter in his lab to create the antidote.  Their initial reaction is to treat a super-infection with a super dose of penicillin.  It doesn't work on their test rat, and Boone realizes he needs to donate his spinal fluid to the cure.  He's wheelchair bound because when Valerie was infected, she fed on spinal fluid.  Boone fed her his own, but her thirst for it couldn't be slaked.

Now they just have to find Valerie.  One of the corpses the team brought in reeks of alcohol.  Astrid checks the corpses and sees they all have the same club stamp.  Brilliant.  Olivia, Peter, Charlie, and backup head to the industrial club.  They find Valerie, and tranquilize her as she leaves the club with Bachelor Number Three.  Back at the lab, she's strapped down and given the antidote.  It works, but at a cost.  Boone has given too much spinal fluid and he strokes out.  Being a man of his word, Boone has a gift for Olivia: a video tape (I didn't even know these still existed) with him spelling out every detail he knows of ZFT.  The most important piece of info should come as a shock to no one who has seen even a handful of episodes.  ZFT is entirely funded by Walter's former lab partner, William Bell.

Dig It or Bury It?

I have to say, this episode was just kind of average.  I found it very predictable.  Every new revelation – that the attacker was Boone's wife, that they needed spinal fluid for the antidote, even that Bell-funded ZFT – I feel like I saw it coming before it was even set up.  There was not a lot of action, not a lot of gore, and no crazy-awesome monsters (a hot chick with unearthly blue eyes and really pointy teeth do not a monster make).  In general, it was just kind of bland, especially compared to the last few stellar episodes.  Though this episode did have a kick-ass soundtrack, with songs from Bauhaus, Nine Inch Nails and She Wants Revenge.


Walter was a delight this episode.  While performing an autopsy, he starts to sing his own version of "The head bone's connected to the neck bone," counting down the different vertebrae.  Later, when Astrid requests the lights off in the lab so that she can examine the corpses for club entry stamps, Walter claps his hands with tremendous flourish, activating The Clapper.  "I ordered it on TV!" he exclaims with glee.


Olivia talks about the piles of bodies she has seen since joining the Fringe Division.  I swear, if you were drunk you would think this was The X-Files.


Seems pretty feasible to me: a virus that turns someone into in aggressive spine-sucker.  Certainly syphilis on its own can cause madness.  This is kind of a super-madness.


Next week we have "the biggest secrets yet," which is a marketing tactic I am sick of.  Every week has the "biggest secrets yet."  But Clint Howard has a guest role, so it can't be all bad.