Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fringe “Midnight” Late Night Mystery Murders

Photo from Fox

This episode of Fringe (Fox) “Midnight” reminded me a little of an old X-Files episode where a guy picks up overweight women and then feeds on their body fat. In this case, we got a woman who picked up men to feed on their spinal fluid. Unlike the old X-Files episode, this one seemed to tie the story in very nicely with the current theme of someone trying to terrorize through the use of bioweapons or toxins, or just experimenting on people.

I became a little worried when we got a little too much personal drama from Olivia’s sister Rachel, and I think even Olivia was getting a little tired of it too. It was a good thing that they didn’t dwell too long on the matter, although I don’t think we’ve heard the last of it. There is nothing like a drama queen to suck the interest out of a show.

This episode began with a news report of a gruesome murder. Viewers may have been lead to believe that a man, who has a hunting knife on him and also seems to be lying to his girlfriend about where he’s going that evening, is the killer. But he’s not the killer, he’s the victim, being killed by a woman with bright blue eyes who looks like she’s only out for a night of fun, yet she seems to have torn his neck open. Ick.

Meanwhile, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is at home with her sister Rachel, and they seem to be entertaining a couple who are telling them that they met through an on line service called TwoSinglesTogether. (Drama queen warning!) Rachel goes to answer the door, and finds that her husband is serving her with divorce papers. She seems devastated. Olivia is temporarily spared from the personal drama when she gets a call to check out the crime scene. When Olivia and the rest of the Fringe unit, including Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) check out the scene, it appears the victim was torn apart, and he also shows signs of human bite marks. Walter seems intrigued at this, thinking it was done by something exciting. It matches some of the same traits of the previous murder victim mentioned on the news the night before.

When Olivia brings Broyles (Lance Reddick ) up to speed, she tells him the victim’s car is also missing. She also asks him if he was satisfied with his divorce attorney. Clearly Boyles never told her about his divorce, but she said she just was able to pick it up. When he gives her his lawyer’s information, he comments about her sister, and indicated she not the only one who picks up information.

At the lab, Walter is autopsying both bodies, and says their spinal columns were drained of spinal fluid, and they also have the syphilis bacteria – but an ancient strain. Peter, who was handling Walters tools that were in the body without wearing gloves, blanches at this information and states, "Great, so the killer has syphilis…should have worn gloves."

Olivia is able to track down who ordered this strain of bacteria from the CDC, and she is also told that the same person who ordered the syphilis bacteria also ordered other samples used in bioweapons, one of them used to kill people from an earlier case where their mouths, eyes, and every other body orifice closed shut with skin. She guesses this could be the work of “ZFT.” She arranges a team to enter the home of the man who bought these items, and they find an angry, caged dog with bright blue eyes, and a man in a wheelchair working on an animal whose body has been opened up. The man is Dr. Nicholas Boone (Jefferson Mays), a scientist, and they bring him down to the FBI for questioning. Hey question him about ZFT and he doesn’t seem to be denying anything. He tells him someone did get dosed with the bacteria, but adds he can’t tell them anything else unless they save his wife – ZFT has her. He says they are punishing him because he tried to get out of the organization when he realized how they were using his work.

Olivia believes his story, and is growing tired of all the deaths being racked up since she’s become involved in the Fringe division. Broyles goes along with her assessment of Boone, and Boone gives them an address in Chinatown where his wife is being held. It seems the power company says this location is drawing five times the power than normal. While Olivia and the assault team are on their way, and Olivia gets a call from her panicked sister (drama queen alert!), who is frantic that her husband is now filing for sole custody of their daughter Ella. Olivia remains calm and tries to calm the apoplectic Rachel , saying they will talk about it when she gets home – she has to go into a “meeting”. (I cringed during this scene, not all interested in Rachel or her issues, and hoping she doesn’t drag down the episode or the show.)

When the team gets to the Chinatown location, they find a lab, but Boone’s wife is not there. When an annoyed Broyles gives Boone this information, Boone asks to speak to Olivia. Olivia is also not happy with him, but he points her to a location where a few vials of the contagion are housed. He also admits they did not take his wife Valerie, they dosed her, and he needs the contagion to make an antidote. She’s the person who is out there killing people.

Meanwhile, Valerie Boone is stalking another victim, and gets one. She develops razor sharp teeth and gets ready to dig into him.

They also had found a video camera in Boone’s home, with a recording on it only three weeks ago showing Boone with his wife, Boone walking around quite normally. He admits that Valerie feeds on spinal fluid and he was giving her some of his own in controlled doses, but it was not enough for her. She is burning through spinal fluid faster than he could give it to her, so she is killing so she can feed. He also admits he created the other skin growth contagion and ZFT used it to show off, which was not his intention. He wants to work on the antidote, and they set him up to work with Walter in Walter’s lab. They seem to hit it off very well, having a period of mutual scientific respect, intermixed with scientific geekiness. They conclude they can cure the super syphilis with super penicillin and they get to work on it. The topic also touches on Walter’s former partner William Bell, the head of Massive Dynamic.

The first victim’s car, which has been stripped, including the car’s GPS. But Peter has a connection that may know about the car, and he takes Olivia to a chop shop. Much to Peter’s dismay, she pushes the owner hard about his illegal activities but manages to get the information on where they originally found the car before it was stripped and dumped. When they arrive at that scene, Peter and Olivia find yet another body.

While Peter wheels more bodies into the lab, Boone tests the antidote on a rat, and it dies. Once they realize all the bodies had a stamp from the same club on them, they head there, Peter armed with a heat sensor, since Valerie is literally running hot. They track her down, and Agent Francis (Kirk Acevedo) is staked out outside the club, catching Valerie as she exited with another person. They shoot her up with tranquillizers.

As Olivia and Peter head off to the lab with Valerie, Peter enjoys driving with the siren blaring. What they don’t know is Valerie is coming out of it and she attacks Olivia. As Olivia screams for Peter to get the tranquilizer, he does so, and Valerie gets dosed again, putting her out.

Back at the lab, Walter thinks there is still something missing in the antidote, and Boone says that it needs some cerebral spinal fluid. He knows that his spinal fluid is compatible and says he has enough left. Walter goes for it, despite Astrid’s (Jasika Nicole) warning not to. While Walter removes the fluid, Boone spies the video camera. Later, they realize Boone lied about how much fluid he really had left, as his health fails and it appears he has had a stroke.

When Valerie is taken into the lab, they strap her down. She comes out of it a bit and begins to flail and scream. Walter injects Valerie and he watches her eyes as they return to normal color. But Boone has died. Walter gives Olivia the video camera, saying Boone wanted him to do so. On it is a video with Boone telling her about ZFT. The next we see Olivia, she has tracked down Broyles in a restaurant sating that Boone told her the man funding ZFT is none other than William Bell.

I know that William Bell is supposed to surface before the end of the season. I personally cannot wait to see how or if he and Walter will have interaction, and how it will play out. Walter seems to know much more than he lets on, then again, how much is buried in his memories that he just cannot access at this time? While the weird cases and the deaths pile up, Olivia, Peter, and Walter will certainly be in the thick of things.

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