Another series returning to the network schedule after a couple weeks off is ‘Fringe’. This past Friday’s new episode features (in a manner of speaking) returning guest star Leonard Nimoy and a storyline that, honest-to-god, may be one of the most bizarre in the show’s entire run.
The episode title ‘Lysergic Acid Diethylamide’ might begin to hint at the weirdness in store. (That’s LSD to you rubes.) Events pick up with William Bell’s consciousness still in charge of Olivia’s body. Peter is losing patience and, worse than that, Olivia’s seizures indicate that they may only have one day to get Bell out of there before Olivia’s consciousness is lost forever. When attempts to move Bell into a brain-dead candidate fail, he and Walter start working on a fallback plan to transfer him into a computer. In the meantime, however, Olivia has retreated and is hiding in her own mind. Peter and Walter will have to dive into her dreaming consciousness to find her and bring her back.
So, yes, the writers of ‘Fringe’ obviously saw ‘Inception’ last summer and decided to do the same thing. The rip-off is pretty shameless. Even the “rules” of the dream state are pretty much the same. If Walter and Peter call too much attention to themselves, characters in the dream will turn on them and begin chasing them. Also, if either of them dies in the dream, he will immediately wake up in the real world.
What gets freaky is the part where they meet up with Bell in the dream. Because Leonard Nimoy no longer acts on camera (but will do voiceover work), he appears as a cartoon and the whole episode switches over to being animated. Oh, and then zombies show up to chase everyone around too, because why the hell not?
In the dream, a strange man neither of them recognizes also attacks them and throws Walter out of a zeppelin to his dreaming death, which wakes him up. Peter figures out that Olivia would hide in her old childhood home in Jacksonville. He makes his way there, and switches back to live action. He finds Olivia, but quickly realizes that it’s not really her. Young Olivia then comes forward and explains that she needed a decoy, but knew that Peter would be able to tell it wasn’t her. (I guess she’s forgotten all about how he didn’t pick up on Fauxlivia pretending to be her.)
Peter has to sacrifice himself in the dream to save young Olivia, leaving her alone with Bell (and back to being a cartoon). Soon, Bell helps Olivia realize that the only way she can take control of her mind again is to face up to and conquer her fears. Before she goes, he asks her to deliver a message to Walter that, “I knew that dog wouldn’t hunt.” This is his way of saying that he knew the transferal to a computer wouldn’t work. When Olivia wakes up, Bell disappears forever. He’s dead, Jim.
Peter is overjoyed to have Olivia back. It doesn’t hurt that she doesn’t appear to remember any of that killing-the-shapeshifters stuff she was confronting him about before Bell took over. Peter asks her who the mystery man in her dream was, and Olivia very nonchalantly explains, “I think that he’s the man who’s going to kill me.” Say what?!
As this is all going on, by far the most entertaining part of the episode is what happens to Broyles when he accidentally comes in contact with some of the LSD that Walter and Peter needed to help inject themselves into Olivia’s mind. Broyles spends the whole episode sitting in the lab, tripping. His expressions of amazement and his interactions with Astrid are priceless.