Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fringe: "What Lies Below"

I really enjoyed this week's episode -- even though I assumed Peter wouldn't be killed off and Walter would find a way to save the day. But there were some new intrigues that add to ongoing mysteries, and I always like when they go back to the arc stuff and away from the mystery-of-the-week material.

Things I Noticed:
• The glyphs at the end of each act spell out WINDOW.
• The company where everyone was trapped was called Vitas Petrol. Vitas is the singular version of vitae, which is the list of everything a person has done in their life.
• Maybe it's because I'm reading the book right now, but this episode REALLY made me think of Stephen King's "The Stand." The difference is, the virus in the book moved about the same way the agent said it would if it weren't contained.
• That dude from Dexter seems to be typecast as an older agent/detective/cop type. He's actually the brother-in-law of a friend of mine... which is odd.
• "I have no patience for small-minded bureaucrats!!"
• I'm not sure if the name "Vandekamp" is supposed to have some sort of meaning. I did a quick anagram search on it and it came up "Naked Vamp." So... maybe this is an episode for Twilight fans?
• Why is Astrid so loyal? I've been wondering for some time if she could actually be a secret agent, trying to glean info from Walter to eventually use against him or something. And yet here she risks her life to stay with him to the end. And when he refuses to answer her question at the end, is that the first time he's shut her out? Is he detecting something from her?
• Olivia tells Peter, "You weren't yourself." Is Peter ever, technically, himself, since he was switched at a young age?

Did anyone else hear this week that JJ Abrams has gone to FOX and asked for an end date? He's realized it worked so well for Lost that he'd wondering if they might offer the same guarantee for Fringe, since he has a complete mythology for the show worked out in his head and needs to know exactly how to unfold it. That would be interesting!


Fred said...

Since I'm first here, let me begin by saying Fringe seems to catch most current news/cultural references and make stories of them. So this one melds the H1N1 virus with some of the news about Mount Toba and the near extinction of humans some 73,000 ya. As an aside, the Mt. Toba explosion was huge, causing Southeast Asia to be buried in 1 to 1.5 metres of ash, and there have been found sites with 1 metre of ash in India. It also caused a mini-Ice Age. But back to Fringe.

When Peter and the other office workers were infected, it seemed like they were zombies, intent on spreading the virus. The association of the virus with a petrol company may be a veiled eco-message. If we all lived with solar powwer, would any of this have happened? The episode also makes you think about mouth-to-mouth. I did like Walter's description of the haz-mat suit as "pyjamas." This didn't feel like a significant episode, except for Walter spilling that Peter had died before to Astrid. In some ways this was a bit of a let-down as an episode. Walter's solution of using sulphur seems to come too easily, and aside form the nature of the virus, the episode didn't have any of the complexity some of the previous episodes did have. (Oh, by the by, there are viruses which cause behavioural changes in infected hosts as a means of spreading).

A.G.Wooding said...

So is J. J. Abrams just the saviour of TV, shows are circling the drain and JJ and Darlton realised all u need is an end? U have to love this.

Just been watching the pilot again after a full year (because season 2 hasnt commenced in the UK yet, very sad about this) and I actually can't believe how much has changed. Has anyone else noticed how much Lance Reddick's character has advanced, I hadn't even noticed.

I hope this deal of JJ's does come through, it would be excellent to know how long the show has got. A 4 season run seems ideal to me.

Batcabbage said...

Let me just say that Fringe has become my favourite show, after Lost, of course. Because Australian TV sucks major balls, I've only just caught up. I watched 22 episodes (half of season 1 and all of season 2) in two days (hooray for DVD!), and it's just blown me away. It's made me excited to see what JJ will come up with next.

This weeks ep reminded me of two things, one of which was the X Files, specifically the black oil. Which is a good thing, I should point out. I loved the X Files, and love the direction that Fringe seems to be going. I also loved that even though this week seemed to be a MOTW ep, it still brought it back to the overall storyline with Walter's 'I can't let Peter die again' line. I thought they would make more of it with Astro (I love calling her that) asking Walter about it at the end, but they handled it perfectly.

The other thing it reminded me of was, of course, the Stand! So glad you're reading it, Nik (are you re-reading, or is this your first time?). It's my favourite Stephen King book, and one of my favourite books of all time. Matter of fact, I'm due to read it again soon (I read it at least once a year, along with Clavell's Asian Saga and Ellroy's Underworld Trilogy - which is finally a trilogy, after nine years).

I'm so glad you're finally caught up and blogging on Fringe once more, Nik! I'll look forward to a post every week now (at least until Feb 2, anyway! :),

Casey S. Pitman said...

Episode highlight - Walter lecturing a group of children about the perils of exploration at the local museum...and terrifying them.

I would love to sit in a class taught by Dr. Bishop.

I'm wondering if Astrid has a misconception about what Walter said about Peter dying before. Remember, we in the audience know Peter was snagged from another dimension, but in-show, only Walter and Observer know this. Walter's statement, and his later discussion with Astrid ("Some things are better left undisturbed") would have seemed vague from her perspective. She's seen some of the things Walter can do, she's been in the lab with him. I can imagine her taking those two statements of his and extrapolating a conclusion other than what we know: Namely, that Doc Bishop pulled a Frankenstein. If I heard those statements, I'd be more likely to believe they meant that Peter died, and Walter literally revived him from the dead, rather than assuming there was some inter-dimensional kidnapping going on.

It's not a huge point, I just think Astrid's confusion could make for some interesting conversations down the road.

Robert said...

I think an end date would be ideal, especially since Fringe's mythology interests me as much as Lost.

This episode's scientific explanation didn't please me as much as usual, but all the Olivia and Peter moments were...delicious.

Jazzygirl said...

Yes I've come to enjoy this show a lot. It's come a long way in every aspect. I also enjoy that I live near Boston and while it's cool to see all the towns they mention in big letters, it's rare that the scenes are accurate to the towns. LOL! Gotta love Hollywood! Not that I know every corner of every town, but you know what I mean. :) Although it was fun when they had a few scenes in a town next to mine. It was fun to pretend.
Anyway, I LOVE The Stand! Great book! :)
Side note: Does anyone else see a face in that large smoke blob picture Nikki posted in this blog? I see it everytime I watch the show. I see two actually...a profile that looks like a woman screaming, and then a little further back, a nasty skeleton one screaming. LOL

S Donk said...

I'm confused about those glyphs? How did you figure out that they spell something each episode?

Unknown said...

@Shari It was something that i believe scifiwire first figured out during first season...Here is a link to the most up to date glyph alphabet code sheet that I know of...