Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fringe: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

WOW... just when I thought Fringe had hit a new high, it goes higher. This week's episode was tense, hilarious, poignant... and totally turned into a comic book partway through. Amazing. This ep (which, for the sake of my fingers, I'll just call "LSD") upheld the notion that Fringe is still the most innovative show on TV. We discovered "where" Olivia has been all this time, trapped so deep in her sub-conscious that she'd hidden herself as far into it as she could... in a place where only Peter would find her. And finally -- finally -- Peter approached the wrong Olivia... and knew it was the wrong Olivia. Glorious. Another look into what the cortexiphan trials did to this poor girl, and one where Bell finally got to see firsthand what he did to these children. And then... he disappeared. I think the death of Bell's soul hit Walter even harder than losing the body the first time around.

-Walter calling Astrid "Astro," and her countering by calling him "Wall-E." Ha!!
-That eyebrow thing that Anna Torv is doing, channelling Leonard Nimoy in such a wonderful way. She must have practised just moving that one eyebrow for hours. ;)
-Peter when the acid first kicks in, because we're always used to him being So. Serious. "You're bald. [whisper screams] I think he's an Observer!"
-Walter on the bus, whooping as it pulls away.
-Peter questioning Walter outside the cab: "Wait, you're driving??" Walter: "OK!"
-Peter, Walter, and Bell turning into cartoons, followed by Walter's immediate thought bubble, "How wonderful!!" LOL!!! My favourite moment of the episode.
-Broyles getting high, staring straight ahead with his mouth gaping open
-Peter knowing exactly where to find Olivia, without hesitation, and knowing the stories of her childhood. Beautiful.
-the little girl coming over and telling Peter that she knew the real him would recognize her
-Peter jolting awake into Walter's arms. Peter rarely shows that much emotion, and that scene was more amazing because of it
-Astrid (who plays the mom to everyone in this episode... she is so caring, I'm assuming now I was wrong in my first season assumption that she was somehow a double agent) coming in to see Walter and downloading that kids' show, Zoom, for him to watch. Of COURSE Walter would love Zoom.
-seeing our Olivia smile with her whole face, something I'm not sure we've ever really seen. She looked really different in that final scene.

Did You Notice?
-the commercial break glyphs spelled FEARS
-I couldn't find the Observer, but I really hope he's a cartoon. Did anyone else see him? He could have been in the hospital, or in the street when Walter and Peter first entered Olivia's subconscious, or one of the cartoons chasing them into the building...
-Did anyone else worry that rather than Bell's consciousness jumping into the body of the big guy in the ice tank, Olivia's consciousness would jump? I thought, "Oh man... this could get really disturbing."
-when Walter took the LSD, his personality didn't change at all. Haha!
-I wonder if Nina is particularly evil and untrustworthy because Olivia simply doesn't trust her? Within Olivia's subconsciousness, Nina is the sort of person who could push you down an elevator shaft.
-I'd have to read more on how they made this episode, but it reminded me a lot of "Waking Life," that Linklater movie that came out probably 10 years ago now (or more...) where they filmed the actors in every scene, and then the artists created their artwork on top of the actual scene. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the three actors actually filmed the scene and then the artist painted over their features to create the lifelike movements in their faces. Watch how Peter's facial reactions are bang-on, exactly the way Joshua Jackson would have reacted.
-interesting that Olivia's subconscious is the other reality, which is perhaps Bell's consciousness laid over hers
-Bell saying that he'd love to ride on a motorcycle before asking Peter if he's ever ridden one is a subtle nod to the Joshua Jackson film, "One Week," where he rides across Canada on a motorcycle over a week

Next week's episode is the first of the final four for the season, and word has it the final four will be one complete arc that will shock and awe all viewers. I can't wait!!!


Marebabe said...

I loved this episode! I just have one more thing to add to your “Did you notice” list. Early in the episode, Bellivia responded to Walter with a jaunty “Aye-aye, Captain!”, a very strong nod (and a wink) to Kirk and Spock. It ALMOST broke down the fourth wall!

Page48 said...

@Marebabe, absolutely caught the "Aye-Aye Captain". It had me harkening back to Clint Howard's "live long and prosper" from S1's "The Road Not Taken". Can't have too much "Star Trek" love, especially with ST now in Bad Robot's capable hands.

Teency Olivia was soooo cute.

Loved Broyles asking Astro to hold his hand.

Well, Anna Torv says the season finale left her speechless, so I'm strapped in and ready to see if it does the same to me.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I loved the cartoon world too, but I was a bit sad to not see Peter in those awesome jeans, coat and sunglasses. He looked palatable ;). Anna Torv is genius, and I am so glad to have the real Olivia back...with a little more fauxlivia mixed in. Brilliant show, brilliant episode. I am overjoyed at it's renewal.

Linda345 said...

The observer was in the hospital, walking past the nursing station, when Olivia was brought in for seizures.

This was my favorite episode to date. I found it so entertaining I gave up looking for clues and just sat and enjoyed. I liked how the animation approximated an LSD trip for viewers.

Lance Reddick was hilarious!

Nikki Stafford said...

Marebabe: LOL! I can't believe I forgot to mention the Aye-aye, Cap'n bit... probably because my husband and I were laughing so hard I completely forgot to write it down. ;) Thanks for catching it!

JS said...

When they find Bell and he invites them to his office, he pours McCutcheon!! Nice shout out to LOST. (The McCutcheon entry in Lostpedia was updated with this allusion that night. Losties, they are the the most obsessed fans.)

Of course this episode also alluded to (is this the right term?) to A Scanner Darkly (I am pretty sure they drew over the live action) and The Matrix (I loved it when the little girl said "Stop. I'm not afraid of you anymore.”). And the Brendon zombies could be an allusion to any number of shows/movies!! And many think Inception as well, though there was no planting of any ideas.

I agree it was funny that Walter had NO personality change on the LSD. It was very touching to see him calm Peter, almost cradling him in his arms. And Broyles – well, he was just hilarious.

I think it was genius to use the cartoons as Olivia's subconscious, but the real world reason behind it may be that Leonard Nimoy did not want to appear live on camera anymore, since he has retired. That's one way to get around it!

At the end, Olivia was the most relaxed we have ever seen her. She is no longer plagued by her fears. But the way she so nonchalantly said that she thought that was the man who was going to kill her? She just kept eating her toast!

They are so innovative, and really willing to take risks. I lurve this show.

Nikki Stafford said...

@JS: When they find Bell and he invites them to his office, he pours McCutcheon!!

Gasp! NO WAY. I didn't see that. Argh... they walked into the office, I was making dinner and the pot boiled over right then, so I was over stirring pasta and listening to the conversation and I missed him picking up the bottle of scotch... ARGH.

BTW, I said exactly the same thing to my husband: I bet that he simply offered to give his voice to the show, not his body, and so they did that. It could be why the cartoon Bell doesn't look as much like Nimoy as the cartoon Walter and Peter look like those actors -- I bet they had a stand-in playing them if they did, in fact, have them act out parts so they could paint it after.

Marebabe said...

Hee-hee. I was just reading Ken Tucker's review of this "Fringe" episode, and he coined a wonderful new name for all of us fans: Cortexifans! I can see T-shirt marketing potential there, as in, "I'm a Cortexifan!"

EsDee said...

For some reason, my husband (who is not a Fringe fan, not a Lost fan...) sat down and watched this episode with me. When Walter's "How Wonderful" bubble popped up, I laughed out loud. My husband thought I was nuts. That was just one of many laughs-out-loud. Thanks for the review!
And - so glad you are reviewing Game of Thrones. The premier last night was terrific. I made my husband watch it with me...we'll see if he sticks with it :-)
And yes, there are plenty of gals who do love fantasy. Come on. What was that NYT chick thinking?

The Question Mark said...

Oh my god, I NEEEEEED to catch up with this show! Why is the Season 2 DVD still so friggin expensive??!!

Lisa(until further notice) said...

The Question Mark: do you subscribe to Netflix? It's available for disc rental through them.

Fred said...

I must admit I was hoping for more than just a cartoon version of Peter and Walter in Olivia's subconscious. I guess that's still the difference between TV and the movies. I agree it had its lighter moments, like when Walter's thought bubble appeared. But as far as graphic story telling goes, it could have been better done.

But I do like the turn Fringe has taken with more experimentation in its medium. There was a few weeks ago the 1970's Fringe, with its graphics and stylings from the 70s. I also enjoyed the film noir version which stemmed from Walter's story to Olivia's niece. I guess we can expect more of these meta-textual experiments, and I look forward to them.

Personally, I wished Olivia's mind had been a little more dark and sinsiter, and more complex than it was. It's Matrix or Inception kind of feel just didn't carry it too far, and I had been expecting more of that quality when it began. The appearance of the zombies was neat (everyone now seems to have given up on vampires and focused on zombies). I especially liked the casual way Olivia told Peter the man in her drawing would kill her. Perhaps there is something to Broyles' comments that death is surrounding him.

Cindy/SenexMacDonald said...

@Fred said..."Perhaps there is something to Broyles' comments that death is surrounding him."

I wondered at that comment and could only think that Broyles had somehow channeled the death of his alternate and that is why he saw himself (meaning his other self) surrounded by death.

@JS said..."I think it was genius to use the cartoons as Olivia's subconscious, but the real world reason behind it may be that Leonard Nimoy did not want to appear live on camera anymore, since he has retired. That's one way to get around it!"

I believe that even though Leonard is officially retired (and he has done a national US commercial recently) - the creators of Fringe mentioned after the end of last season that they felt if they had something creative in mind for Leonard that he might just agree to do it.

This could have been that episode to 'officially' end Leonard's affiliation with the show. Whether or not he physically did the show versus just giving them his voice, only the producers and Leonard can truly tell us.

I agree the graphic representation of Bell was not as good as the others but in Olivia's mind, she knows Walter and Peter best. It is possible that Bell looks like he does because she does not know him well or because his image is driven by his own interpretation of what he believes he looks like since he is inside Olivia's mind just as much as the other three. None of us sees ourselves as others see us - and so would William Bell.