Television Tourniquet -- We Get Freaky with 'Fringe': Episode 9!




Fringe: Epsiode 9
Written by: Julia Cho & Zack Whedon
Directed by: Frederick E.O. Toye
Original Airdate: November 25, 2008






In This Episode…

Mark Young is a scientist making a presentation at Massive Dynamic.  Show is over, Young is packing up, when he is attacked by a swarm of butterflies with razor-sharp wings.  He freaks out, jumps through a plate glass window, and plummets to a messy death.

Walter says Young’s razor wounds almost look like they came from the inside out.  It is decided that Young’s death wasn’t a suicide, as originally thought.  Someone had dosed him with huge amounts of hallucinogenic toad scrapings, and then somehow implanted notions in his head that caused psychosomatic cuts and imaginary evil butterflies.  Here is the delightfully “Fringy” way the team made the connection: Olivia’s computer boots up on its own (damned PC) and receives an email from John Scott, giving her an address.  When she investigates, she finds a box full of toads.

While investigating the scene of Young’s death, Olivia “sees” John – again.  Walter tells her that she still has John’s memories in her head.  Olivia insists on going back in the spooky tank to sift through his memories again.  While in there, she sees herself and John on their first date – and even though Walter promises that no one can see or interact with her, John looks in real-but-not-there-Olivia and seems to acknowledge her presence.  See, I told you it was a spooky tank.

But Olivia also gets more info while there.  John meets in secret with three other men: Young, a black dude, and a Latino dude.  The Latino dude is the only one still alive, for at this meeting John stabs black dude viciously (causing Olivia to lose her shit and Peter to jump to her rescue).  Olivia is certain that finding Latino dude will be the key to solving Young’s murder.

The team finds the Latino dude – Jorge Morales – and chase him through the streets of New York.  He is hit by a taxi cab – but he's alive.   In the hospital, he begs Olivia for a deal: every scrap of info he has, for protection and immunity.  He swears he did not kill Young, Massive Dynamic did – maybe as a warning?  Jorge claims The Pattern is all a smokescreen so that Massive Dynamic can do what it wants to who it wants.  Apparently Dante was wrong – Massive Dynamic is hell, and its founder is Satan.  But I bet they throw kick-ass Christmas parties.

While Olivia goes to confront Sharp at Massive Dynamic (like that's going to accomplish anything), Jorge is killed in his hospital bed – by a glowy, ethereal version of John Scott.  But he’s not really there.  When the nurse interrupts, we see from her POV that no one's there – but Jorge’s throat is in the process of being split wide open.  Apparently Jorge was dosed with the same stuff that gave Young the deadly hallucinations… but how?

Dig It Or Bury It?

Despite its convoluted zig-zagging, this episode was quite engrossing.  Halfway through, I was annoyed that they had seemingly given up on investigating Young’s death so they could do more Olivia naked stuff (not that I am opposed to that).  But then they brought it round full circle, rather than leaving something random dangling for a few seasons until backlash forces a half-assed explanation (I will never forgive you for that damned polar bear, J.J.  Never!)  Peter’s mysterious past is again brought up – in the form of an old girlfriend who appears for about 46 seconds, and a guy whom Peter beats up because apparently he is “hurting” the ex.  I know it will come back up in later episodes, but it was such minutia that it just acted as an interruption to the rest of the episode.  Peter didn’t have anything else to do in this episode, so maybe these scenes were just out of contractual obligation.


Bastard is getting ridiculously lucid.  He even refused to put Olivia in the tank again at the end of the episode because it was too dangerous.  When has Walter ever had any concern for the wellbeing of others?  He did have a new food obsession o’ the week: coffee yogurt.  Ick.  Not really babble, but while Olivia is getting in the spooky tank, Walter pops wood (he assures her it is at the thought of the experiment, not at the stage of her undress).


The address to which John’s email sends Olivia is a basement.  I have lost count of how many times Mulder and/or Scully have crept through dank basements, gun in one hand, flashlight crossed over it.  On top of that, the sexual tension between Olivia and Peter is definitely getting stronger.  It’s like Mulder & Scully: The Middle Years (after they know each other, but before they have a kid together). When Olivia goes to track down Jorge, Peter offers to go with.  He is quite intense when he tells her that if she ever needs him, he will be there for her.  Ok, I have to say it – Peter is dreamy.


This whole "dump you in  a sensory deprivation tank that doesn’t actually deprive any senses, then let you take a tour through the memories of your dead boyfriend” routine is really absurd.  I have accepted it – albeit begrudgingly.  The hallucinogens-causing-death is not pseudo-science, if education films of the 1960s have taught me anything.  But the idea of getting psychosomatic injuries severe enough to break the skin seems farfetched.


I would not be surprised to see butterflies making more appearances later on.  Besides the evil imaginary butterflies, Young had a butterfly collection, and Jorge’s phone number spells out MONARCH.

It also appears that Olivia is getting her own memories mixed up with John’s.  That can’t be good.  Especially when Ms. Sharp says that the memories of John’s that Massive Dynamic needs just happen to be stored in Olivia’s head.  I smell an attempted lobotomy…