Television Tourniquet: We Get Freaky with 'Fringe' -- Episode 8


Fringe Episode 8 "The Equation"
Written by  J.R.  Orci & David H. Goodman
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Original Airdate: November 18, 2008

In This Episode…

A single dad is driving with his son, Ben, on a rainy night.  He pulls over to help a stranded woman – both her car and cell phone have died.  Dad pops the hood while waiting for AAA, and is confronted with flashing green and red LEDs.  He is entranced by the lights, and shaken from his reverie by the AAA guy.  The woman, her car, and Ben are gone.

This is not the first time this has happened (of course).  This is at least the third abduction in ten years.  All abductees were considered experts in their respective fields, and none have any recollection of what happened to them – they just can't account for the time they were missing.  The Fringe-y part is that all abductees describe the same woman on the scene.  That woman – Joanne Osler – was also reported to have been killed in an auto accident eight months prior to the first abduction.  But her body was never recovered (another "of course").

Walter remembers someone talking about the "Christmas lights", but can't quite remember… wait!  His old buddy, Daschle Kim told him.  But Kim was his buddy from the mental hospital.  Kim had been working on a complex mathematical formula that he could not complete.  Walter tried to help him – until Kim got frustrated and attacked Walter with a plastic spork. The head of the hospital won't let Olivia talk to Kim, but he will allow Walter to do so.  Unfortunately, while there, Walter ends up antagonizing Kim, gets sedated, and is re-committed as being a danger to the outside world.  This extended stay proves useful.  He gets no details from Kim other than "red castle and dungeon" – Olivia interprets that to mean an abandoned carousel housed in a red castle-like building.

She finds Ben within a secret basement.  Osler had him hooked up to all sorts of electrodes.  Several years ago, Ben and his mother were hit by a car while crossing the street.  Mom died instantly; Ben fell into a week-long coma.  When he awoke, he was a musical prodigy, despite having never taken a lesson.  He became obsessed with a particular tune, but could not finish it.  Osler was trying to get the last piece of this puzzle, and pumping his little brain with images of his dead mother begging for those last few bars. 

Anyway, Ben is fine, and Osler escapes with the completed musical composition (which is somehow or other the musical translation of Kim's formula).  She brings it to a guy, who punches it in to a computer, sticks an apple in a safe attached to the computer… runs the program… the safe throbs… dude pulls out… an apple.  He shoots Osler dead, says "It worked," and eats the apple.

Dig It or Bury It?

Pretty good episode – far more enjoyable than last week's.  All of that conspiracy nonsense was gone, and there was no mention of John.  So I can actually follow this better than many other episodes.  But at the same time, it seemed rather pedestrian.  Nothing too freaky-weird, though the image being pumped into Ben's head of his mom literally decaying in front of him was fairly bad-ass.  Walter and Peter were sorely underused this episode.  Pity, because Olivia annoys the hell out of me, and the Bishops always inject some delightful humor into the show.


None.  Nada.  Zip.  Walter was ridiculously lucid this episode.  The best we got was that he saw a doppelganger of himself while in the hospital.  But he didn't even talk to himself.


This whole episode was structured very much like a traditional X-File.  In the teaser, we get a set-up to weirdness.  Broyles presents the case, Olivia accepts and investigates.  Pretty cut-and-dry.


Walter worked on a project that theorized lights flashing in a specific order, for a specific amount of time, could induce a sort of mild hypnosis that would leave the test subject susceptible to suggestion.  It never worked, but apparently he takes it to account for the wavelengths of the colors red and green.  I gotta say, coming from a completely non-science background, this sounds almost-maybe-kinda-plausible.  More so than anything else I have seen in this show.


Next week appears to be a return to weirdness.  Olivia wants to get back into the tank – apparently John's memories have been "downloaded" into her brain, and she seems to think that by rooting around, she will be able to find a buried memory, and get some closure about the whole situation.  I could not be more bored at the thought.  Because it's not going to be some wicked-cool espionage stuff; it is going to be "why did you break my heart" crap.  But on the other hand, a hot young thing from Peter's past comes back into his life, with the warning "If I could find you, they could too."  So hopefully there will be more hints about Peter's background.  And I'm not  so worrired about this woman – likely an old flame – turning all mushy-gushy.  Peter's just not that kind of guy.  Plus, he gets into a scuffle with some guy and ends up shoving a gun into his mouth.  Peter's a fighter, not a lover.