Television Tourniquet: We Get Freaky with 'Fringe' -- Episode 7





Fringe Episode 7
"In Which We Meet Mr. Jones"
Written By: J.J. Abrams and Jeff Pinkner
Directed By: Brad Anderson
Original Airdate: November 11, 2008

In This Episode…

Broyles is visited by a friend and agent, Mitchell Loeb.  Mitchell goes into cardiac arrest, and when the docs crack his chest open, they discover a crazy giant parasite wrapped around his heart.  Any attempts to remove the parasite freak the thing out and it starts clamping down on Mitchell’s heart.  There is only one guy who might be able to help, named David Jones.  But of course, he is locked down in some dank, medieval-looking prison in Frankfurt, Germany.


Olivia has a friend in Germany who might be able to help them out.  He pulls some strings, and she is granted 14 minutes (not 13 minutes, not 15 minutes) to speak with him.  Jones has one stipulation: he must ask a single question of this dude in the states, Joseph Smith.  (How many more generic names can we jam into this episode? Or is there some Mormon subtext I’m missing?)

Broyles and a squad of agents that would put the Waco crew to shame storm Smith’s house and shoot him dead, a clean shot through the head.  Luckily, Walter is crazy and insists that as long as Smith’s head is attached to his body, he might be able to ask Smith a question – and get an answer.  Basically, Walter is going to “jump start” Smith’s brain with electrical impulses, and connect him in to Peter, who will act as a conduit for Smith.  And it will be brutally painful, of course.



Up against that damned 14-minute deadline, the jumpstart works, but all Peter gets are two sets of vertical lines.  Walter’s insanity comes in handy: he decides that the bullet to Smith’s head took out the part of his brain which recognizes horizontal lines.  By golly, that is just crazy enough to work!  In the nick of time, Peter figures out the answer.  Answer: Little Hill.  Question: Where does the Gentleman live?  Sorry, you will have to wait for Final Jeopardy to find out who the Gentleman is.


So Jones has his answer, Olivia has hers, and Mitchell lives (a simple formula, injected directly into the parasite was all it took). But it can never be that simple.  While Mitchell is recovering in the hospital, he says to his wife, “Did it work?  What we did?”  She confirms, and whispers in his ear, “Little Hill.”


Dig It or Bury It?


Gotta say, this episode bored me.  No crazy chases, no exploding body parts or dissolving body parts… the parasites didn’t even eat any part of Mitchell.  It was just a whole lot of back-and-forth.  On top of that, they threw in some half-assed romance between Olivia and her Germany contact, Lucas.  Apparently they dated or almost dated and it didn’t work out… frankly I don’t care.  If I want to know who’s mooning over who, I’ll tune in to Grey’s Anatomy


Plus they are throwing in all this conspiracy shit that I fear is going to destroy the show.  There is some vague mention of ZFT, a terrorist cell that traffics in scientific progress.  This is made to sound like an important part of the show, but it gets a 45 second mention, and is never brought back.  I am sure it will tie in with this whole Bad-Guy-Mitchell thing (which, by the way, was ridiculously predictable).




Walter spends the first 10 minutes of the show searching for a mint or gum – even asking Broyles after he tells Walter how important it is that Walter save Mitchell’s life.  He can’t examine the parasite there and then, because his “breath is too atrocious.”  Later on, out of nowhere, he tells Broyles, “I had fruit cocktail once in Atlantic City.  I’m not a fruit cocktail sort of guy.”  According to Peter, he had been talking about that damned fruit cocktail all day.  Also, this weeks names for Astrid included “Astro” and “Astroid.”  At least he’s getting close.



Up to this point in the series, Fringe felt very much like The X-Files.  Olivia was Mulder, Peter was Scully, and they chased down “monstrous experiments of the week.”  But this week it just didn’t have that pizzazz.  Maybe the link between this week’s episode and The X-Files is that the conspiracy-theory aspect is creeping in, and the show is going to shit.  I certainly hope not.  Fingers crossed that this was just one lame episode and it’s not going to turn into Lost.




Walter takes dead guy.  Runs electrical currents through his brain.  Sends these currents into a band around his son’s head.  Theory being that these electrical currents will pass from dead guy to live guy and live guy will be able to “see” dead guy’s thoughts and interpret them to the living guys all around him.  I can buy a lot of Hollywood “science” (like the episode a few weeks ago where a guy unleashed a gas on a bus and turned the atmosphere within the bus into a suffocating gel).  But really, this is just stupid.  Only slightly more ridiculous than damaging the part of the brain that recognizes horizontal lines.  Can I get an eye-rolly emoticon?




While the next episode looks to be even way more “out there” then dead guys talking, it still looks more fun.  Something about time jumps.  And Walter has to go “undercover” at his former mental institution.  I guess the time jumper is crazy too?  I dunno.  But it looks way more action-packed than this week’s episode.


As far as these conspiracies go, I think we’re going to get more questions before answers.  That is J.J.’s M.O.  We will not find out what ZFT is until long after it is out of our memory.  I think we will get a teeny, tiny bit more insight into the Mitchell Conspiracy.  No answers, of course.  But I think it will at least be mentioned, maybe in passing or something.  This show is so all-over-the-place that my crystal ball, Ouija board, tarot cards, and Magic 8 Ball are all giving me different answers.