This past Friday’s episode of ‘Fringe’ mixes a standalone case-of-the-week plot with some threads from the alternate universe storyline. It’s a pretty strong episode overall, but I still feel like the season’s overarching story arc is haphazardly thrown together.
In ‘Concentrate and Ask Again’, someone has developed a biological weapon that causes people’s bones to disintegrate, and has used it to murder scientists and executives at a military contractor firm. One of the culprits is a former Marine who’s hit by a car while attempting to escape the FBI and is left in a coma. Evidence shows that there are more canisters of the toxic gas missing.
Walter determines that the only way to track down the other assailants is to seek help from one of his old Cortexiphan test subjects, a man named Simon who can read minds. This ability is more curse than blessing for Simon. He lives alone as far from other people as he can get. Whenever he comes within fifty feet of other human beings, he becomes overwhelmed with their thoughts flooding his head. This makes him physically ill. Strangely, he can’t hear anything in Olivia’s mind. Walter reasons that some Cortexiphan kids are immune to the others’ abilities.
They convince Simon to come to Boston to read the Marine’s mind, despite his anxiety about traveling to a city. This leads to the discovery that three former soldiers who went to work for the military contractor were experimented on as part of a weapons program called “Project Jellyfish.” They were inoculated from the weapon, but it affected their DNA and caused them to pass down a “no bones” gene to their unborn children. Now they want revenge.
Their next target is a Senator’s fundraiser event at a museum. Olivia makes Simon go with her to identify the perpetrators. The scene is pretty suspenseful. They take out one of the men quietly, but Olivia has to shoot the other one in the neck in the middle of a crowd of people.
During all of this, Olivia has also been obsessing over whether or not Peter still has feelings for Fauxlivia, who seemed to embody all of Olivia’s good traits while also being cooler, funnier, and well-adjusted psychologically. “She’s like me, but better,” Olivia worries. Why wouldn’t he like her? Peter has admitted that he still thinks about Fauxlivia, but claims that his only feelings are of anger and betrayal.
Olivia asks Simon to read Peter’s mind for her. He refuses at first, saying: “We’re not supposed to know what people think.” Eventually, he slips her a note that confirms her fears. Peter indeed still has feelings for Fauxlivia.
A side story has Nina Sharp opening William Bell’s secret safe to find one of his copies of the First People book. She has now accumulated several copies which, despite being written in different languages and being attributed to different authors, all say exactly the same thing as one another. After puzzling over this for a while, she finds a pattern in the authors’ names. She confronts Sam Weiss, the mysterious bowling alley guy (Kevin Corrigan), and gets him to admit that he was the original author.
This makes no sense to me. Aren’t these books centuries old? That means that Sam must be either immortal or a time traveler. I suppose possibly he’s related to (or use to be one of) the Observers, but he looks and acts nothing like them. This better be explained before the end of the season. I feel like this twist comes from out of nowhere and isn’t particularly well thought-out by the writers.
The episode ends with Sam explaining to Nina that the doomsday machine is tuned to Peter’s frequency, and that the ultimate fate of both universes will come down to which girl he chooses. The one he picks is the one whose universe will survive. I’m thinking that Olivia had better start putting out pretty soon. Am I right or what?
It looks like the next episode brings us back to the alternate universe. This has me contemplating how ballsy it would be if the show ended the season with Peter picking Fauxlivia and destroying our universe. If the series does get renewed, it could take place entirely on the other side. That probably won’t happen, but it would be one hell of a mind-blowing season finale.