Friday, February 5, 2010

Fringe “Jacksonville”: When Worlds Collide , Trouble Follows

All Photos from Fox
The winter finale of Fringe (Fox) “Jacksonville” certainly delivered the excitement as promised. It also seems that Dr. Walter Bishop’s (John Noble) secret about his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) is out, and this can only spell trouble. Too bad it ruined Olivia’s potential hot date with Peter. Anna Torv was fantastic in this episode, conveying a whole range of emotions – contempt and anger toward Walter, fear, anticipation at having a “date” with Peter, and then finally, shock at seeing Peter with the telltale glow. Of course, John Noble did his usual excellent job of being Walter Bishop the scientist, and then Walter Bishop, the loving father who would do anything for his son.

As the episode opened, my husband commented immediately that “Manhattan” was spelled wrong – it was spelled as Manhatan. A clue right out of the chute that we were likely opening in the “alternate” universe. Things get weird quickly when an architect’s office - working on plans for the “New Pentagon” with people who are surprised to have “real coffee” - is destroyed by an earthquake and we see bodies morphing together in strange ways. The Fringe team is called in to investigate and when Agent Broyles (Lance Reddick) shows them into the building, we see many bodies that appear to be fused with other bodies. They find one survivor who appears impaled - or morphed - on a large steel beam. The man tells them that there were many tremors before the earthquake and dogs were howling. As there had been no reports of tremors in New York, the team is perplexed. As Walter questions the dying man, he asks him what seem like odd questions considering the man’s condition. But one question tells them something is not right – Walter asks what building were attacked on 9/11 and the man says the Pentagon and the White House, which brings quizzical looks from the Fringe team. As the man dies, Walter opens the mans shirt and finds another head protruding out of the man’s body – his own head – and it also howls and dies.

OK, that was weird.

Walter realizes that they are really inside two buildings – one from the current universe and another from the alternate. Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) says this is what William Bell warned her about, and what the mysterious man Newton was trying to affect.

As Astrid (Jasika Nicole) blanches at having to help Walter autopsy the man’s weird looking body, Walter tells her instead to examine some of the contents of the man’s office. She finds a coin with Richard Nixon commemorated and a model of a double-decker car. Walter suddently realizes what will happen next. Olivia also finds a surveillance photo showing of Newton outside the building two hours earlier disguised as a construction worker. Meanwhile, Walter is frantic and calls Peter and demands he and Olivia return to the lab, where he tells them of a similar experiment he did in MIT years ago. It ended with a car being impaled or fused on a statue, no one else at MIT being able to quite figure out how it was done. Walter tells Olivia and Peter that the car came from the alternate universe to replace the mass they sent over, and, using the data from that first experiment, calculates that within 35 hours, a building will be pulled from their universe into the alternate within 35 hours to balance things out. They have to identify the building and get it evacuated before that happens. Walter tells Olivia that she has the power to identify the building as, from his previous experiments on her as a child in Jacksonville, she could detect a glimmer or glow before the object is pulled over. But he has to take her back to Jacksonville where they did those experiments when they used the drug Cortexaphan. Olivia gets permission from Broyles, who decides to get Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) from Massive Dynamic involved in helping to identify the building.

When they get to the boarded up center – William Bell bought the facility and then closed it up – Walter takes her into a room with objects from the alternate universe, hoping Olivia will see the shimmer and be able to pick them out. No luck. He has no choice but to administer the Cortexaphan. As he and Peter set things up for Olivia, Walter warns her that she will face an obstacle while she is under stress. As the drugs begin to work, Olivia’s mind is taken to a wooded area which suddenly turns dark and foreboding, and she sees a young girl cowered at the base of the tree. As she moves to protect her, the girl tells her that her name is Olive, and Olivia knows she is seeing herself as a young child. Olivia tells her she doesn't have to do anything she doesn't want to, but soon the girl is gone, then reappears with terrifying eyes, shocking Olivia and scaring her back to reality. Walter thinks that now she will be able to see the shimmer, but, to his dismay, no luck. She’s livid at Walter for the experiments he did on the children, including herself, and calls it abuse. But he realizes that she’s missing the fear and terror she had as a child during the original experiments, and, upon reflection, Olivia realizes she is not afraid of anything any more.

Back in New York at Massive Dynamic, everyone is working to identify which building will be taken, looking also at seismic activity. Peter suggests they try to identify building with the same mass as the original building that was affected. They get down to 147 possible buildings but Walter says it’s time, Broyles realizes there is nothing they could do because it would set off a panic.

In another area of Massive Dynamic, Olivia tells Peter she is upset that she failed. He tries to reassure her and looks at her somewhat tenderly, then appears to be moving in for the BIG KISS. But she pulls away, and says she’s scared – scared enough that she thinks now she can see the building. She races to the window and looks at the skyline and sees a glimmer.

As she races in her car to identify the specific building, she helps Broyles and the Massive Dynamic team narrow down the location and begin to evacuate the building. She gets to the exact location just in time to catch the building beginning to be pulled out, the suction almost taking her and another man with it. They hold on and find that after it’s all done, nothing is left but an empty hole.

Afterwards, back at the office, Broyles tells Olivia they are explaining the event as a scheduled demolition, knowing the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with that. He also asks her what triggered the ability and she said it was just time.

Later, Peter tells Walter that Astrid is coming over to keep him occupied while Peter takes Olivia out for drinks. Walter is thrilled that Peter is going out with Olivia. As Olivia gets ready for her date, she lets down her hair and seems very happy. But it’s short lived, as, when she arrives at the Bishop residence and first sees Peter, he has that telltale glow and glimmer, and she knows very well now just who Peter really is and where he comes from. As Peter steps away momentarily, Walter, who has correctly read Olivia’s expression, begs her, "Please don't tell him."

Oh yeah, there is going to be trouble.

While viewers may wonder why Olivia didn’t see Peter’s glimmer when he first moved in to kiss her and she suddenly realized she felt fear, maybe it wasn’t quite enough fear at that moment for her to see it. Maybe she was more distracted at worrying about the people in the building to turn her fears toward Peter. But what triggered her to see it when she arrived at the Bishop household? I suppose that her anticipation and fear over the “first date” situation may have turned her ability up a bit. The question now is – what will she do with this information and will she stay silent as Walter begged? Now that Newton seems to have pulled off his experiment and managed the two universes to “connect”, it makes one wonder why he chose this building in particular for his experiment. Was there something in it that he wanted or was it just a random choice? And now that Olivia has her power to see things from the other side, and she knows Peter is from there, will her power stay turned on all the time and will she always see Peter with that glimmer? If it stays on all the time, what else – or maybe even who else - will she see that has crossed over? How will this change her relationship with Peter? Will she ever be able to forgive Walter as to why he brought Peter over regardless of the implications of Peter’s absence from the alternate universe, and for the tests he conducted on her? Astrid made an astute comment early on in the episode how hard it was for those people on the other side to suddenly have people “disappear” on them – was that also a clue that she knows what Walter did and this was her editorial comment on the issue? As Walter brought Peter over from the alternate universe, and as Walter knows that that transaction meant something had to go back to replace that “mass”, did he trade off the original Peter to die over there as a child? If not, what, or who, went over to replace Peter? There are lots of questions to be answered and we will all have to wait until April 1, 2010 when Fringe returns to continue with the mystery.

Promo for April 1 Fringe Return

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, at I Like To Watch TV, here.

No comments: