Friday, April 30, 2010

Fringe “Brown Betty”: The Musical, Trippy Episode

All photos from Fox
“Brown Betty” was quite a different –yet highly enjoyable - episode for Fringe (Fox), I guess you could call it the “This is Walter’s brain on drugs” story. It seems Walter has taken several hits from his special blend of pot that he calls “Brown Betty” and he is higher than a kite. When Olivia needs Astrid help to babysit Ella for a while, Walter gets roped in to telling Ella a story, and this is where Walter’s mind flies. This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip into Walter’s imagination with a story that seems like a 1940s film noir, yet includes modern technology like cell phones and quantum lasers, and also features the characters breaking out into song every now and then. We all know that Walter loves music, and it is as if he’s made his own soundtrack his story. And while Ella may think this is just a fictional story from Walter, it is very real to Walter. It is complete with a symbolic glass heart – glass being something that can break easily – but in this story, the heart is “stolen” from Peter to keep Walter alive. They know they both need it to live. In Walter’s ending Peter coldly takes his heart back from Walter; in Ella’s ending, Peter breaks the heart in two so they can both share it.

Walter also seems very aware of what his experiments with children have done, and in his story, he has Peter telling Olivia that Walter hurt 147 children, saying he stole children’s' dreams and left them with nightmares, and he thinks Walter is responsible for too much evil. Clearly, Walter’s conscience is talking to him, and he knows that it is his own fault that Peter is estranged. Maybe Ella, in her childlike desire for a happy ending, gave Walter some hope. But, the Observe at the end gives a feeling of foreboding when he indicated that Walter is not paying attention to their warnings. Walter’s mind may have gone to fantasy land for a while, but I suspect that reality is closing in on him every day – and it may be a reality that means hard times for Walter, Peter, and Olivia.

Here’s what happened:

Walter (John Noble) gets high in his office on some hybrid pot, which he calls "Brown Betty." He goes on a frantic spree of labeling everything in the lab, and luckily Astrid (Jasika Nicole) arrives to interrupt him. She thinks he is labeling as a way of getting control of his life since Peter has left, and she tries to assure him that Peter will come back.

Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) enters the lab with no news, instead she has her niece Ella (Lily Pilblad), Rachel’s daughter, with her, and she needs Astrid to babysit. Walter tries to occupy Ella with a game of “Operation”, but he’s still high and Ella complains all Walter is doing is eating her snacks, and everything makes him laugh. She wants Walter to tell her a story, and this is where Water’s mind goes off into a film-noir world, filled with the same people he knows in real life, accompanied by some of the music he loves.

His mystery story appears set in the 1940s, but there are still modern touches like cell phones. Olivia is a private detective, and Rachel (Ari Graynor) is a client who wants her to find her boyfriend Peter Bishop. Olivia makes her way to Walter’s lab, where he tells her that Peter has gone into hiding because he has a very special heart in his possession – a glass heart. The symbolism here is obvious as we know that the real Walter’s heart is fragile and breaking over the loss of Peter, and Peter’s heart was likewise broken by Walter when Peter discovered that Walter stole him from the other universe.

Olivia meets up with Broyles (Lance Reddick), a cop who is singing in a jazzy club, who points her to Massive Dynamic. Broyles calls the company “"a vile firm that never missed an opportunity to exploit the little guy” and in Walter’s story the building is a much older looking facility on the outside, something you’d expect from a cartoon city like “Metropolis”. When Olivia meets with Nina, Nina calls Peter a con man and is dangerous. But Nina later calls someone and tells them there is a development.

When Olivia makes a phone call to Rachel, she hears Rachel screaming and later she finds her dead with a hole in her chest. (Back in reality, Ella is a little freaked that Walter killed her mother in the story.) Broyles has no leads on the killer and warns Olivia she could be in danger. She takes Rachel’s planner on the way out and, seeing Walter’s name it in, finds her way back to him. He tells Olivia he hired Rachel to hire Olivia to find Peter because he knew she only took cases involving a lost love. Walter explains that Peter was his lab assistant – and we can see Walter is in a motorized wheel chair, and his cow Gene is now sporting colorful has polka dots. He goes on about some of his own inventions: bubble gum, flannel pajamas, rainbows and singing corpses – and a group of corpses rise up from their table and "The Candyman". He also admits he invented the glass heart, and when he opens up his chest, we see a hole where the heart was located, with batteries keeping him alive for a short while.

Olivia re-hires her assistant – who we know as Astrid but for the story, Walter calls her
Esther Figglesworth. But while Olivia is getting back into her car, she is jumped and an Observer-like man uses a strange scalpel and cuts above Olivia’s heart and tells her not to stick her heart where it doesn't belong. Back in the office while Esther helps Olivia clean the wound, they see it is quickly healing. They think this was the weapon used to kill Rachel. She draws a sketch of the scalpel and takes it to the nerdy geek at Massive Dynamic, Brandon (Ryan McDonald), who tells her the item was patented by Massive Dynamic. Angry, Olivia confronts Nina about it, who tells her it is a quantum laser and it had been stolen. She also thinks Olivia was attacked by a “Watcher” – which we know as the Observers. (Ella, meanwhile, tells Walter she doesn’t trust Nina.)

Olivia later damages Nina’s car’s taillight so she can easily trail her. She sees Nina at home on a video conference with William Bell, telling him that Peter has the glass heart. They planned to use the heart to create a door between the universes, so they can finally be together again. But as Olivia continues to spy, someone comes up behind her and knocks her out. She wakes up on a boat, restrained, with a “Watcher” Mr. Gemini and Nina there, reminding her they warned her to stay away. They close her up in a wooden crate, Olivia frantically trying to call Ether with no luck. She finds herself dumped into the water and as it seems she will certainly sink and drown, someone opens the lid and it is Peter (Joshua Jackson), who saves her.

At Peter’s house, she sees a map with push pins all radiating from Boston. Peter makes her breakfast, and we find that Peter likes jazz, Olivia likes to dance, and the 147 push pins on the map represent a child hurt by Walter Bishop. He tells her that Walter’s ideas come from the dreams from children; he replaces them with nightmares and leaves damaged kids. It seems the glass heart is really Peter’s, and Peter gave it to Walter because of all the good he’s done. But he later found that Walter was responsible for too much evil. Peter opens a door in his chest and we see the glass heart beating inside. But when a loud noise interrupts them, Peter realizes they’ve been found and as Olivia fights off a hoard of Watchers, it seems that Peter’s heart is stolen again. Olivia has to buy Peter some time with some batteries, and she carefully inserts them into his chest. It seems it didn’t work as Peter looks dead, and she begins to sing “For Once in My Life” thinking it is all over for him. He jolts back to consciousness, and they know they have to get the heart back. Olivia knows who has it now.

They get to Walter’s lab and he has the heart, and Olivia knows he is the one who brought the Watchers over. Walter tells Peter he never meant to hurt anyone, and promises he can change. He sings "Candyman, " but Peter isn’t buying it, saying “It’s too late Walter, there’s some things you can’t undo” He leaves with his heart and Walter is left alone.

Back in reality, Ella isn’t thrilled with the ending, saying it supposed to be happy. She gives her version, with Peter giving Walter another chance as Peter still sees the good in Walter. Peter splits the heart in two and they share it, and both go on to live happily ever after, as Peter and Olivia dance to the music.

When the real Olivia returns with no news about Peter, she finds that Walter has been doing some storytelling but Ella came up with a better ending. Afterwards, as Astrid drives Walter home, an Observer watches from the street, and he makes a call on a special phone. He tells the person on the other end of the call that . "The boy has not returned and I do not believe Dr. Bishop remembers my warning. Yes, I am concerned, too." As he closes his phone, the episode ends.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

House “Open and Shut” Recap & Review: Everybody Lies, Everybody Cheats

Photo from Fox

According to House (Fox) (Hugh Laurie) everybody lies. You can also add “everybody cheats on their spouse” as well. House and his team deal with an ill woman, Julia (Sarah Wayne Callies) who claims to have an open marriage. Callies’ lifeless acting brings nothing to the role, making the patient portion of the episode seen more dull and boring than usual. The patient is just a backdrop for relationship problems between Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and his ex, Sam Carr (Cynthia Watros), and marital problems between Dr. Taub (Peter Jacobson) and his wife Rachel (Jennifer Crystal Foley). Of course, House has to mess and meddle in everyone’s lives, but Thirteen/Dr. Handley is also sticking her nose in where it does not belong – again.

It seems that Julia’s open marriage isn’t as open as she thought, as her husband starts to exhibit a little jealousy with the “other man” during her treatment. A secret also comes out in the process that Julia’s husband has also lost all their savings, and this gets Julia quite annoyed with him. The doctors go through the usual wrong diagnoses, check out the patient’s home (a process that I find sillier every week), Thirteen gives her “sage” advice” (sarcasm intended), and House saves the day with his epiphany which brings the diagnoses. It’s all from a bee sting, because everybody knows that if House can’t get it right off the bat it must be something odd, yet simple. It also means that House and his crack team really are not good diagnosticians after all, they are just a bunch of educated guessers who get lucky every now and then.

While all this is going on, Wilson and Sam are enjoying their relationship when House, who can’t leave well enough alone, brings to Wilson’s attention that Sam didn’t put the milk back into the refrigerator in the right place. This begins a while cascade of annoyances that the somewhat obsessive-compulsive Wilson can’t tolerate. It starts a fight between Wilson and Sam, and it’s the fight they should have had before their divorce. Since they didn’t seem to know how to talk to each other at that time, it seems they never knew what was annoying each other. They eventually mend their differences, House takes credit for all of it, and I find that I don’t care either way.

Taub, meanwhile, is doing his usual flirty thing with Maya (Danna Brady), a nurse with whom he regularly has coffee. The news of a patient with an open marriage gives him the desire for the same in his own (dull) marriage, and, like the idiot he is, he brings up the matter over dinner in a restaurant with Rachel. After dropping that bomb, he leaves dinner to take care of the patient, leaving Rachel in the restaurant alone. (Yes, he is an ass.) But later, Rachel has a change of heart and says he can have Thursday nights for his cheating ways but she never wants to hear about “her.” She changes her mind yet again and tells Taub she can’t go through with it. After he professes his one and true love for her, he later has an accidental meeting with Maya in the parking garage, which turns into a rendezvous. It seems Taub validates “everybody lies" AND “everybody cheats” in one episode.

It’s becoming clear that every character in the House universe has one or more major flaws. While I know no one is perfect, it is getting a little tiresome that every week House is compelled to bring out one or more of those flaws in the people he interacts with. Is it his way of drawing attention away from his own failings so they don’t focus on how screwed up he is, or, is House just mean and doesn’t want anyone to be happy if he isn’t? He was calculating and mean while he was on drugs, and he’s still calculating and mean while he is seemingly off the drugs, he’s just slightly more subtle about it. Regardless, we watch someone crash and burn every week at the expense of House, and it’s a theme that is getting a little too repetitive to be enjoyable. It does make me wonder – would I want to put my life in the hands of a doctor who spends most of his time playing head games with his colleagues and friends, and who has staff who doesn’t seem very good with coming up with the correct diagnosis? The answer has to be NO.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Fringe “The Man From The Other Side” Recap & Review: The Secret Is Out

Photo from Fox

The secret is finally revealed, but not in a way that Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) would have wanted. But before Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) finds out that he isn’t who he thought he was, the Fringe (Fox) team has to deal with those annoying shape shifters.

This was one of those episodes where viewers had a good idea of how it would end – that somehow Peter was going to find out that he was from the alternate universe – and likely it wasn’t Walter or Olivia who would break the news to him. It seemed, however, that once the moment was here where Peter would confront Walter, it all happened within the blink of an eye without much discussion. Somehow lost in Peter’s confrontation with Walter is what Peter thought of Olivia’s role in keeping the secret. He has to now know that since she can spot the glimmer of things from the alternate universe, that she HAD to know he was also from that world. Peter must feel incredibly betrayed. But now Olivia must feel that not only has Peter turned his back on Walter, he has now turned his back on her as well.

Who is the mysterious “Mr. Secretary” that came over from the other side? I always thought it would be Walter’s alternate (AKA “Walternate”) that would come to get his son back…but we will just have to wait to find out the identity of the mystery man.

In case you missed the episode, here’s what happened:

The shape shifters arrive – there are supposed to be three of them but one, for some reason, is unable to form properly – and the remaining two quickly take over the body of a man and a woman, killing them in the process, Walter is just getting ready to tell Peter that Peter is from the alternate universe when Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) interrupts with news of a suspicious death. When they arrive on the scene and see evidence that the shape shifters have taken over the body of a woman, they quickly find a second body in the nearby warehouse. They also find what seems to be a blob-like “embryo,” that Walter cuts into on the spot, finding telltale shape shifter traits of mercury and electronics.

Elsewhere, the newly arrived shape shifters connect with Newton (Sebastian Roché) and set their plan in motion, Newton planning to take care of what the shape shifter who didn’t make it was supposed to do.

Back at Walter’s lab, he is continuing to examine what they realize is a shape shifter “embryo” and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) works on a broadcast signal that Broyles (Lance Reddick) indicated had disrupted televisions in the area at the same time as the deaths of the couple at the warehouse. Olivia takes the signal to Massive Dynamic where they find it is a likely s signal from the alternate universe. While the signal isn’t quite in sync with their own universe, there are periods where the signal will line up, and the next time is the next day at 3:31 PM.

Meanwhile, the two shape shifters take over the bodies of two other people, and Newton fakes his death in order to get into a morgue. At each location, they have some sort of device set up, something we later find will help open the door to the alternate universe.

Back at the lab, Peter talks to Olivia and tells her he knows what’s been bothering Walter. Peter thinks Walter wants to talk to him out his mother’s death, which Walter told Peter was from a car accident, and Peter knows it was really suicide. Peter received the news while Walter was in the institution, and it was the only time they had spoke in 17 years, Olivia reminds Peter that Walter loves him.

Meanwhile, Walter has a plan to bring the embryo to life so they can get information from it, and, in a Frankenstein-like move, he nonchalantly tells Olivia he needs a corpse (not dead more than two days) in order to do it. When Walter gets things set up, the current that they put through the embryo blows a fuse, but it also begins to bring the embryo to life. As the body partially forms and contorts, and Walter thinks he may have damaged it when he first cut into it at the warehouse. But it forms enough in order for it to plead for help, and then to tell them about contacting Newton through Daniel Verona. When Olivia asks what's going to happen tomorrow, it grabs Walter's hand, says it's sorry, and dies.

The FBI picks up Daniel Verona, who is a medical examiner at Boston General, and tests him and determines he is no shape shifter. They don’t know that Newton is faking his death to get into that morgue.

Back at home, while Walter seems rattled about causing the death of the shape shifter, Peter tries to calm him and in the process, calls him Dad. But Walter also thinks he knows what Newton is up to. Later, Walter demonstrates to Olivia how he and William Bell sent his car to the other side using geometry and harmonic vibrations, using three harmonic rods in a triangle. When they activated the rods the car vibrated and went to the other side. He believes that if the rods are set up in the same place on both sides, whatever is in the middle of the triangle will move over to the other side when the universes are in sync.

They work to find the center of Newton’s triangle. They map the locations based on the professions of the people who are the latest bodies whose identities were taken by shape shifters. They realize that one of the possible locations of the center of the trianle is the middle of the Charles River, on a condemned railway bridge, with the surrounding water absorbing the excess energy. Walter races to work on a mechanism to cancel the harmonics from Newton’s device.

Meanwhile, Newton sets up shop near that bridge, and two of the shape shifters take over the bodies of two police officers who arrive on the scene. When the Fringe team arrives, they meet up with these two officers, but when one of them uses a cell phone and not a police radio to communicate. Olivia quickly pulls her gun and shoots one of them, realizing they are shape shifters. As Peter and Olivia dodge bullets and with Olivia returning fire, Walter talks the car and drives onto the bridge with his cancelling device. Peter makes it there too and helps Walter to set up, but the shock waves are already beginning. Peter knows he can get it to work and gets Olivia to take Walter off the bridge. As the concussions from the vibrations continue to get greater, Peter sees another man on the “alternate” bridge walking towards him. Both Peter and an FBI agent on the bridge hear an ear piercing sound, and the agent is soon vaporized. As the man from the other side continues to walk toward him, Peter seems to get the device to work, and the alternate bridge disappears and Peter is thrown against the car.

Peter later wakes up in a hospital bed with Olivia telling him he has been unconscious
for a day and a half. He looks at her somewhat coldly at first, but then softens a bit. He wants to talk with Walter alone. Peter tells Walter about the man he saw walking toward him, and the fact that the other agent was vaporized yet he was not. He noticed that the vibrations didn't kill the man coming over from the other side nor himself. He asks Walter the loaded question, "I'm not from here, am I?...You didn't just open up a hole to the other side, you went through and you brought me back." Peter knows this is why he can’t remember his childhood and why his mom killed herself – from the guilt. Peter is upset when Walter refers to him as son – as he is not Walter’s son. He tells Walter he wants to be alone, and Walter leaves, crushed.

Elsewhere, Newton is speaking with a man whose face we can’t see, calling him "Mr. Secretary" and tells him that despite all the preparations, crossing over is an ordeal. He injects the Secretary with some sort of drug.

Back at home, Walter finishes up baking a pie and Olivia arrives to tell him that Peter left the hospital and is gone. It seems Walter has lost Peter again.

Fringe: The Beginning of the End

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

House “Knight Fall” Recap & Review

Photo from Fox

Viewers tuning in to House(Fox)“Knight Fall” may have wondered if they had on the correct television show, as the show opened at a renaissance fair (or “faire” if you wish). Not only was the fair a backdrop for the introduction of the patient of the week, but it also served as an excuse to get House (Hugh Laurie) and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) in typical renaissance fair garb. It was an average episode that had some laughable moments, but the patient of the week was beyond dull.

With that in mind, let’s get the patient out the way. When he seizes after a sword fight at the fair, House decides to take the case, likely so he can get his hands on the guy’s sword. (I can read all kinds of Freudian things into that but I am not going to waste my time.) Long story short, they do the usual things – search the fair where he became ill and search his house, they make their usual mistakes in diagnoses. And, also as usual, House gets an epiphany at the end and realizes that the patient is on steroids and his liver now has lesions which are causing his illness. Usually I can see the trail of events or thoughts that bring House to his conclusion, but in this case, I just didn’t see how he actually came to his epiphany.

While treating the patient, Thirteen AKA Dr. Hadley also realizes that the patient is in love with the fiancée of the “king” of the fair. She gets a little too preachy for my tastes on how the patient should deal with the issue - as if Thirteen has her own love life in order enough that she can be giving advice.

While all this playing out, House finds out that Wilson’s ex-wife Sam/Samantha (Cynthia Watros) is back with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). In fact, he finds out when Sam walks into the kitchen after spending the night with Wilson, and she sees House standing in the kitchen completely naked. Special note: Hugh Laurie is not a person that comes to mind when I think of actors that I would like to see naked. It didn’t send me screaming from the room, but, like Sam, I wanted him to cover up. Thankfully for the carefully placed camera shots, nothing "important" was showing.

House isn’t happy that Wilson is back with his ex, and House decides to do his usual thing in order to break up the relationship - he meddles. He fears that she will mess with Wilson’s head again and Wilson will be just a damaged as he was the first time they broke up. House is also having more pain in his leg and appears to be popping lots of Ibuprofen. At least that’s how the bottle is marked, but who really knows what House has in that bottle?

In order to create a wedge between Wilson and Sam, House goes so far as to bring a transvestite prostitute to a dinner with Wilson and Sam, only to have his plan backfire when Sam and the transvestite – and Wilson – seem to hit it off. Cuddy remains uninterested in the whole thing, which suits me just fine, seeing that I find her annoying lately anyway. When House decides to make a special dinner (“I cook in peace”) for the three of them at home – ruining Wilson and Sam’s plans for the evening – he seems to be making nice. It’s only a front. When Wilson steps away for minute leaving House and Sam alone, House tells her “You’re a cold hearted bitch who ripped his heart out.” He’s concerned about how long it took Wilson to overcome the damage the last time and he doesn’t want her to reel Wilson back in. The dinner was to get to know his enemy. Sam seems happy that now when they are alone, she doesn’t have to pretend to like House. They agree they dislike each other, but House says he will outlast her.

Later, Lucas (Michael Weston) comes in with a fat envelope for House, it seems House had him check up on Sam. Thankfully we haven’t seen the smarmy Lucas in a while, and I find myself wishing that Cuddy has dumped him. We get no hint of any trouble in that paradise. But when Sam shows up and tells House that they both care about Wilson and asks that he give them a chance to see if her relationship with Wilson can work this time, House seems to soften. This is when he has his epiphany about the patient, and I still don’t know what helped him make the connection. After House bestows his diagnosis, he takes the file on Sam that Lucas compiled and throws it in the trash.

It’s nice to see Wilson trying to move forward with his life by essentially moving backwards with his ex, but sometimes House seems a little too protective of Wilson. Maybe House is becoming overly protective with the happy life he and Wilson have right now. Bringing a woman into the mix – any woman – would likely mean House would be the odd man out. He’d also likely be out of that nice home, too. And while I’d like to think that House only has Ibuprofen in that bottle, I worry that he’s back on the harder drugs. He says he is worried about what Sam will do to Wilson if she messes with his head again, but maybe House needs to be more worried about House falling off the wagon. Who knows, maybe Wilson actually being happy is more than House can take?

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Fringe “White Tulip” Recap & Review: Paradox and Playing God

Photo from Fox

Yet again, Fringe (Fox) proves it is one of the best shows on television these days with the amazing episode "White Tulip.” Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) gets forgiveness in the form of a sign – a specific sign from "God" that he had long hoped for. If you are not already watching Fringe, you should be, if not for the compelling stories, for the outstanding acting from John Noble. If you don’t get choked up at the end, you may not be human.

This is an episode that deals with time travel, and while every television show or movie can fall into predictable patterns when dealing with this topic, “White Tulip” still delivers the suspense. In this case, astrophysicist Alistair Peck (Peter Weller) is moving through time, seemingly to save his fiancée who was killed in a car crash. The Fringe team gets sucked in to the case when Peck’s time travel methods causes the death of innocent bystanders – and they get sucked in more than once - after all, we’re talking time travel here. The episode did leave me with a question, though. In moving back through time, even though, at the end, Peck dies with his fiancée – is it the Peck of the past or the Peck of 10 months later? As with any story about time travel, the concept of who you are can get confused with “when’ you are. If Peck came there from 10 months in the future to be in the car with his fiancée when she was killed, where was the original Peck from the time in which he arrived? If he killed himself in the past AND also in the future, how could the drawing of the white tulip come to be if he never lived to draw it? (Paradoxes, they can make your head hurt and spin you around until you don’t know which end is up.)

It also seems that Walter now is back to thinking that he can’t tell Peter who he really is. My guess is that this will eventually come out – but at a later date in a later story and likely not the way Walter OR Olivia will want it to come out.

Here’s what happened in this episode:
Oddly, this was a Fringe case that never really was a case at all, as with any story about time travel, sometimes changing the past means changing the present. It seems that astrophysicist Alistair Peck (Peter Weller) has mastered time travel, but at some expense. It seems that when he moves through time, he literally drains all the energy from everything – killing everything nearby - when he arrives back in time. This means cell phones, lights, and even energy form people. When he appears on a train and kills all the passengers in the train car when he arrives, the Fringe team is called in. When Peter (Joshua Jackson) makes the call to Walter telling him about the deaths, telling Walter he will be picking him up, Walter is writing a letter to Peter telling him everything about who Peter really is.

With some help from security cameras, they quickly identify Peck and find the location where he is working and, as they confront him, Walter notices Peck has what Walter calls a Farraday Mesh on his arms, which is a shield to create a temporal pocket around his body. While Walter comments in amazement, Peck’s image seems to jump and blur, and he suddenly jumps out of that time and back on the train in the "past." The young panhandler who Peck ran into as he exited the train the first time is there again, and Peck apologizes for the kind having to go through this – again.

The Fringe team is called back, of course to them, this is the first time they got the call. But things are slightly different this time, and they find that Peck apologized for the panhandler having to go through it “again.” This time, they identify Peck through a fingerprint. Walter also realizes Peck is time travelling, and that they may have already apprehended Peck many times before.

Their investigation leads them to MIT, when Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter meet with Carol Bryce, who explains Peck was obsessed with time travel and gives them some of Peck’s manuscripts which she admits are over her head and “gobbledygook.” Olivia isn’t concerned as they have someone fluent in gobbledygook (Walter, of course!). They also find that Peck had a fiancée, Arlette.

Back at the lab, after Walter reads all the manuscripts, he knows that Peck is time travelling and they realize he is trying to go back in time to save his fiancée Arlette who was killed in a car accident. Walter comments that "Grief can drive people to extraordinary lengths." (He should know.) Walter is very worried became for Peck to travel 10 months back in time to save Arlette, it will consume a great amount of energy and many people could be killed in the process.

Again they track down Peck, but this time, Walter convinces Broyles (Lance Reddick) to let him talk to Peck alone (Walter wearing a wire of course) because Walter thinks he can talk Peck out of it. Walter knows all too well what the grief over the loss of someone you love can do. He makes every attempt to get through to Peck, and finally unplugs the wire so the team can’t hear him tell Peck that Peck made an error in his calculations and then tells him how to fix it. He also explains about what happened with Peter and the consequences of taking a son from another universe that does not belong to him. But Peck has it all planned so that no one will die – he will go back in time to an open field where he was watching a hot air balloon, where no one else was present so no one will be killed. Walter tries to explain the other unintended consequences of Peck’s actions, but Peck seems unmoved. When Walter tells Peck that when he took Peter he realized he betrayed God and everything that has happened to him since is his punishment. Walter goes on to say he asked God for a sign that God forgives him forgiven – in the form of a white tulip. When Peck comments they don't grow this time of year, Walter responds that God can make it happen, and if God can forgive him, maybe Peter can, too. But Peck retorts that “ God is science."

Meanwhile, as the team hasn’t been able to hear what Walter is telling Peck, Broyles orders the SWAT team in. Walter tries to convince Peck that there will be consequences and he won't be able to look at Arlette the same way, adding he is a cautionary tale. But as SWAT comes in and pulls Walter away, Peck shakes and shimmers and makes his jump out of that time.

The next time we see Peck, he is back in his lab, rushing to finish his calculations while several dead bodies lay outside the lab, with police calling for backup. Walter and the team are back in the lab, with Astrid (Jasika Nicole) finding that Arlette’s cell phone is still active, and they get a call from Broyles telling them that Peck is back and that they must take him down this time. When they arrive, Peck is still in his lab, writing something, and then addresses an envelope to Carol Bryce at MIT. Peck suddenly sees the red dot of the gun’s laser sight on his face in a reflection, and ducks just in time to avoid a sniper. He makes a time jump to the open field he told Walter about, a circle of dead grass all around him and the hot air balloon hovering above. He frantically races to catch up with Arlette, who is now getting into her car. He sits in the passenger seat and takes her hand, saying he loves her. A truck which is coming directly at the driver’s side of the car crashes into them at a high rate of speed, and both are certainly killed.

At the “present” at MIT, Carol Bryce opens a file cabinet and pulls out the envelope and memo Peck wrote when we last saw him. It includes an envelope addressed to Walter, with a note that it should be delivered on a specific date – that day. It seems Peck wrote it the day he died – a year ago – and with instructions to deliver it on that specific date.

Back at home, Walter is (again) finishing his letter to Peter, and after sealing it, he throws it in the fire and watches it burn. Peter doesn’t call with any information about deaths at the train station; this time he walks in and tells Walter he brought him a gift to cheer him up – a turntable for his records. Walter admits he had a decision weighing on him, but now he's fine. As Peter heads off to apparently take a snooze, Walter hears the mail drop through the mail slot, and is intrigued when he finds an envelope addressed to him with no return address. He opens it to find a drawing of a while tulip – Walter’s sign of forgiveness from “God.” Walter stands in thought as we fade to black.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

CSI:NY “Redemptio” Recap & Review

Photo from CBS
Last night’s episode of CSI:NY (CBS) was fittingly titled “Redemptio” which is Latin for “redemption through suffering” and can also mean a request for forgiveness. Both translations can apply to Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper), who has kept a secret for many years: he had a sister who had a drug problem and she was murdered, Hawkes being ashamed of her drug addiction. But Hawkes gets his forgiveness and redemption in a strange way – via a death row prisoner and a prison break.

The CSI franchise knows how to use music to complement the story, and in this case, the music of Ozzie Osbourne was featured. I have never been much of an Ozzie fan, but the music certainly fit the theme of the show.

Hawkes finds himself called to witness the execution of a man that he does not know, Reggie Tifford (Harold Perrineau), who, as he is being led away to his execution, admits to Hawkes that he killed Hawkes' sister Maya. Things take a major turn when a prison guard at the execution suddenly drops dead, giving Reggie a temporary stay. Hawkes calls Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) as he believes this was a murder. Meanwhile, one of the other guards attacks one of the security people, kills him, and in the process, opens all the prison cell doors. A riot ensures, and Hawkes is trapped.

Lucky for Hawkes, Reggie helps him find cover, and also arranges for Hawkes to disguise himself as an inmate so the others don’t find out Hawkes is with the police. Hawkes also spots incarcerated killer Shane Casey (Edward Furlong) and sees Casey walking away with a guard. Hawkes wonders if it wasn’t Reggie that killed the guard in order to delay his execution, but instead thinks Casey did it in order to stage a prison break. As Hawkes and Reggie hide in a storeroom to plan their next step, Reggie tells Hawkes that his sister was clean of the drugs, something that Hawkes did not know.

While the CSI NY team tries to figure out how to break Hawkes out of there, Hawkes and Reggie work to figure out who was behind the murders and the prison break. When Hawkes realizes that Casey is behind the killing of the guard by poisoning him with arsenic derived from peach pits, Casey manages to get Hawkes and Reggie locked inside his cell. Hawkes has to be creative, using sulfuric acid from a cell phone battery, in order to eat through one of the cell bars so they can squeeze out.

A dangling storyline from a previous episode gets brought to the forefront when Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) is forced to admit that his ID and shield were stolen weeks ago. He admits that when he recovered his grandfather’s dog tag that was stolen at the same time, it had Casey’s fingerprint on it, and it is likely that his shield is now being used to impersonate a prison guard in order to get Casey out. We also find that Casey has an accomplice outside the prison that is holding the guard’s family hostage unless the guard did what Casey wanted in order to get him out. After the guard gives Casey a police uniform and a gun, Casey rewards him by shooting and killing him. But as Casey tries to make his exit, Reggie catches up with him and Reggie gets shot and killed by police waiting outside, as they assume that Reggie is fighting with a cop, not another inmate. When Hawkes tries to tell the waiting police that Casey is not a cop, Casey identifies himself as Danny Messer and makes an easy exit, while Hawkes is cuffed. Later, presumably after Hawkes identity is made clear, Hawkes is welcomed back by his team, and then visits the grave of his sister.

Despite the improbabilities in this episode – the ease that the prison was overtaken, the ease in which Hawkes was able to break out of the cell, the coincidence that Hawkes was even called there by Reggie at the same time Casey was planning his break – the episode was fast paced and provided an interesting look into the background of Hawkes. It also was a great feature for Hill Harper, who doesn’t seem to get a big share of the limelight as often as he should. It was also a rare episode in the CSI franchise which wasn’t overwhelmed by the glitz and flash of special effects, instead using music to enhance the frenzy of the situation in the prison. Now that Shane Casey is out, I am sure that we will be seeing him again in another case somewhere down the road. I am sure Sheldon Hawkes will be waiting.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

24 “Day 8: 8AM – 9AM” Silent Clock for Renee Walker

All photos from Fox

Two silent clocks two weeks in a row means they are dropping like flies in this final season of ”24” (Fox). Like Star Trek, sometimes people are as disposable as the infamous "red shirts” of the Star Trek Enterprise away team. As I said back in February, people who get too close to Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland) usually wind up dead or in serious trouble, and Renee winds up dead in this episode – not a moment too soon in my opinion. She was getting a little too scary looking for me.

Luckily this episode spends a lot of time focused on President Allison Taylor, a character who comes to life as played by Cherry Jones. Not only must Taylor deal with the death of President Hassan which puts the peace agreement in jeopardy, those nasty Russians want to make sure that the agreement gets torpedoed altogether. With CTU security again being inept - likely because Cole (Freddie Prinze Jr.) is there - a man manages to infiltrate the EMTs sent to the scene of Hassan’s murder. He gets close enough to Samir and is left alone with him so he can inject him with a drug which will later cause Samir’s death while he is in CTU medical. Fake EMT man makes an easy exit but Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) gives him a quick once over as she passes by him, as if she recognized him. This worries phony EMT guy, who decides he must take out Renee. He follows Jack and Renee to Jack’s place, and we see a man in an apartment across the street from Jack being killed so phony EMT get guy can watch Jack’s place and maybe shot him and Renee from there.

While Taylor is trying to put the peace deal back together, Jamot (Navid Negahban) convinces Dalia (Necar Zadegan) to take over for her dead husband in the peace negotiations, a move which makes the Russians – specifically Novakovich (Graham McTavish ) very unhappy. He doesn’t want any stable leadership in Kamistan, so he tells Taylor that he Russia will not sign the accord. While Novakovich already told fake EMT guy that he has concerns if Jack and Renee were killed outright, fFake EMT guy still has his sights set on Jack and Renee as they move to the bedroom. Odd, I find myself thinking that the first thing Jack should have done when he got home was go to the bathroom, since he hadn't been in one since this day started.

Meanwhile, back to CTU, Hasting (Mykelti Williamson) gets his walking papers for his bungling of the case, and Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is installed as interim head at CTU. While she thinks Hastings got a raw deal, he still stays professional and helps her make the transition, a process which seems to take 5 minutes. No wonder CTU is such a mess, if they can just transfer all the important details of the job in just minutes. Chloe’s first problem arrives when=Samir dies in CTU medical, and she orders an immediate tox screen, where they find he was drugged.

Meanwhile, in Jack’s bedroom, in a scene which looks cold and robotic, probably because Sutherland and Wersching have zero chemistry, Jack and Renee make love and afterwards, while Jack is out of the room, his phone rings and Renee answers. It is Chloe; she tells Renee that Samir is dead and Renee begins to wonder about the EMT that reminded her of one of the Russian guys she knew from her undercover work. While Jack is in the kitchen, breaking glass is heard and then bullets fly past Jack. He runs to see Renee lay bleeding and dying, and while more bullets fly - this sniper is a lousy aim - Jack picks her up and races her down the stairs and jumps in a taxi – lucky for him the taxi is right there – and races her to the hospital.

Meanwhile, Taylor meets with a recovering Ethan Kanin (Bob Gunton) who tells her that the only thing that may save the peace talks now is disgraced ex-President Logan (Gregory Itzin) so she reluctantly brings him in and makes a deal with the devil, so to speak. Logan will meet with Novakovich.

Back at CTU, Chloe works to see if the sniper can be identified and located, and she must later call Jack at the hospital to inform him that CTU lost the shooter. She also tells him that in her conversation with Renee before Renee was shot that Renee may have seen one of the Russian guys posing as an EMT. Doctors come out of Renee’s room and tell Jack that Renee did not make it. As Jack cries and kisses her forehead, the episode ends and the clock ticks silently.

So Jack, who thought his job with this day at CTU was done, finds himself pulled back in. With CTU in Chloe’s hands, it will be interesting to see if all the ineptitudes of that division will be erased in the next hour. Considering the cranky Chloe, like Jack Bauer, is portrayed as never being wrong, I suspect that CTU will have their act together for the remaining episodes of the series. You can also bet that Jack Bauer will be out for some serious revenge. The close of this day – and the series – should be good.

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House “Lockdown“ Recap & Review, House Enters The Twilight Zone

Photo from Fox

Last night’s episode of House(Fox) “Lockdown” was one of those episodes that left me wondering what show I just watched. I felt like I had stepped into an episode of "The Twilight Zone." It didn’t feel like an episode of House, and worse yet, it didn’t LOOK like an episode of House, with weird and dark colored lighting throughout. This was Hugh Laurie’s’ attempt at directing the show, and while Hugh is one of the finest actors on television these days, it may be best he stick to that day job. It felt as if this episode went on forever, and when my clock hit 8:30 PM I felt like I had already been watching it for an hour.

Main characters pair up in odd combinations and scenarios as the hospital goes on lockdown to find an infant that appeared to have been kidnapped from the hospital room where its mother, father, and brother lay dozing. While the hospital has an alarm on babies that will sound if the baby is take out of the hospital, this seems to be no help in actually locating the baby (it’s not like a little baby GPS finder). When the hospital goes on lockdown, everybody is order to stay in place until things check out and/or the baby is found.

It seems odd that during this whole time the only person who seems to be searching for this baby is Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein), and while we see police cars in overhead shots of the hospital, we don’t really see the police being involved in the investigation or search. The people who are ordered to stay in place are also not being checked out by police. What is the purpose of the lockdown if no one is going room by room, person by person, to check for the whereabouts of the baby?

Trapped in the hospital in one room is Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who has come to the hospital to have Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer) sign divorce papers. He pressures her to tell him if she even loved him, and she finally admits that she does not know. They wind up having sex, which seems like an illogical conclusion to the whole scenario.

Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and Dr. “Thirteen” Hadley (Olivia Wilde) as stuck in the cafeteria playing “Truth or Dare” which turns out to be less truth and more dare, with Thirteen getting Wilson to steal a dollar out of the cash register, which sets off an alarm. (Thirteen makes good on her dare later on in the episode.)

Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) and Dr. Taub (Peter Jacobson) are in the file room, where they both decide to look into confidential files starting with House’s file –which he had conveniently already tampered with – and then move on to comparing their own files. Foreman suggests they should both try the meds that House used to take, and they both get very drugged and stoned. They end up chasing each other through the file area (trying to get their hands on each other's file) and end up punching each other while giddy with laughter. I was somewhat amusing to see these two stoic people lose their control, but all we got out of their time together is that Foreman has a sketchy record and he envies Taub’s spotless one. Taub, on the other hand, envies Foreman as Foreman’s career is heading upwards and Taub's is heading downwards. Upon leaving the room at the end, and without Foreman's knowledge, Taub shreds part of Foreman’s file that is the not so good part of Foreman's record. Taub is later rewarded in an odd way when Thirteen flashes her breasts to Taub upon leaving the hospital, part of her “dare” with Wilson.

House (Hugh Laurie), meanwhile, is stuck in a room with a dying patient, Nash (David Strathairn), a man whose case House had previously declined to take. Even the acting skills of Laurie and Strathairn couldn’t save this dull and boring scenario, which seemed to have no purpose but for House to make a confession that he connected with a woman while in the mental hospital, and for Nash to finally admit that he wants the drugs that will help him to slip away into death in a painless haze. Was he supposed to be the image of what House would have been had House continued his drug addiction – a life ending with no family at his side and in a drugged out haze? I have no idea.

Cuddy, meanwhile, is lucky when she goes into the bathroom of the patient’s room and notices there are 8 towels there instead of four, realizes that the nurse who delivered them had been having seizures which allowed her to still work while in her seizure state, and the nurse took the baby and put it in the laundry cart. I find myself wondering had there been actual police and security searching each room if someone would have heard a baby cry at some point. But no, that would be too logical. More strange was that Cuddy didn’t do anything to keep the baby warm after taking it out of the laundry cart and seemed to pause a little too long for an emotional bonding moment with this poor newborn, who was likely very hungry and cold.

While I will admit that there were some enjoyable moments in this episode, I will likely remember it for seeming more like a trip to The Twilight Zone than a real episode of House. Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital is weird enough as it is.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

FlashForward: FailingFast

All photos from ABC

FlashForward is a major disappointment. If I were giving the series a grade, it would get an F. The core story – where all the people in world black out, and during that time many have visions of their future – had great promise. I read the book on which the story was based, and I agreed that a TV series based on that story could be interesting. My disappointment started with the first two episodes, where things happened almost too quickly, and the characters seemed one-dimensional and sometimes laughable. Joseph Fiennes, playing the lead character Mark Benford, is about as exciting as watching paint dry, and Dominic Monaghan as scientist Simon Campos is completely unbelievable in his role. In fact, I think that almost every character has been completely miscast.

After the show took an extended break to regroup, it returned in March, no better than where it left off. Last night’s episode, “Queen Sacrifice” has stooped to a new low – the old “we have a traitor/mole in our midst” storyline. A dull and boring search of the mole ensues, where Benford and Vogel question the small group of people working at the FBI office with Benford. When they find a bug in Benford’s computer keyboard, and when Agent Janis Hawk (Christine Woods) gives them information on one of her co-workers, Marcie (Amy Rosoff) that implicates Marcie, they check her out and realize Marcie is the mole. The way they confirm this is just plain silly – they see security footage of her standing outside, adding sugar to her coffee, and those dates coincide with the dates information was leaked, and they realize this is a signal because (GASP!) SHE DOESN’T PUT SUGAR IN HER COFFEE IN THE OFFICE! (At this point in the episode, I am actually laughing out loud.) As Benford and Agent Noh realize Marcie is the mole, they lock eyes on her from across the office and she knows they have her. But, as the FBI confiscates their phones but isn’t smart enough to have all these detained agents turn over their weapons while they are waiting for questioning, she easily shoots her way out of the building. (I came to the conclusion that this FBI is just as incompetent as the people at CTU on “24.”)

Marcie escapes on the back of a motorcycle, the driver seemingly waiting for her escape. How long that motorcycle was waiting there for her is anybody’s guess, seeing that they were being held at the FBI for several hours. How did the motorcycle driver know that, just at that moment, he had to be there to help her escape, with engine running? It’s not like she had time - or her cell phone - to call the driver as she made her escape. Janis, however, already cleared in the investigation, just so happens to catch up with her and shoot the driver of the motorcycle who falls into a fountain, and Janis apprehends Marcie the Mole.

The big reveal at the end of the episode – there is (GASP!) A SECOND MOLE! AND IT IS JANIS! And – it seems Simon is part of this plot as well. I groan as the episode closes.

Other things happening in this episode aren’t compelling enough to keep me interested. The story with scientist Lloyd Simcoe (Jack Davenport) and Benford’s wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) seems devoid of drama and tension. Likewise the story of Bryce (Zachary Knighton) trying to find his love he saw in his flash forward while he battles cancer. Both storylines are coma-inducing.

Although I will likely continue to watch FlashForward only to see how they can wrap up this train wreck, I have to believe that this show will not be coming back next season. There is no way they can possibly retool this show - again - to entice viewers to come back for another season. Maybe I should just say FarewellFlashForward for now.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

24 “6AM to 8AM” Silent Clock for Hassan

The two hour episode of ”24” (Fox) spanning the 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM hours was validation that this deserves be the show’s final season.

The real enemy and villain of the show is CTU, which can’t seem to counter any terrorism. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has been relegated to running around and delivering terse orders and out-of-breath lines, and frequently missing the obvious. Jack himself causes part of the crisis in this episode when, President Omar Hassan (Anil Kapoor) easily disables Jack, and, after locking up Jack, Renee, and Hassan’s wife and daughter, Hassan manages to flee in order to trade himself for the terrorists to stop the explosion of the dirty bomb. Jack easily escapes and gets really lucky when someone just happens to park a car and leave in the keys so Jack can simply steal it; the man must have known Jack would have a hard time getting a cab. CTU is its own worst enemy when the car Jack and CTU are tailing that is believed to contain Hassan is given the run of the city while CTU makes no attempt to stop it or block it, worried more about putting agents on the rooftop. Bauer chases the car into the garage rather than securing or blocking the all exit to the garage. It’s so nice to know that they can get agents all over rooftops very quickly but are unable to secure the exits to a simple parking garage.

This lapse lets a car exit the garage without being stopped, and this car happens to contain Hassan in the trunk, where it seems getting Hassan in that trunk was done at the speed of light. This brings me to another laughable moment: the mole of the season, Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff) finds an excuse to get into the room that houses the CTU trunk lines and manages to find an “exit” for Faroush (T.J. Ramini) who is holding Hassan captive in the vehicle. The exit wasn’t an actual road out of the city, but apparently a way to get Hassan away from Bauer’s tail by getting him to the parking garage to that waiting car where the switch could be made. It amazes me how quickly the terrorists were able to set up that whole switch while the vehicle drove through the city unimpeded, even by a simple traffic light.

But this convinces Jack that someone – GASP! – from CTU must have been helping the terrorists. As Jack managed to get his hands on Faroush’s cell phone – after Faroush drove his car off the roof of the parking garage to his apparent death – it was easy for Chloe to track down that Faroush had been speaking to someone on a cell phone issued to CTU after the EMP (electro magnetic pulse) disabled the facility, and the phone belonged to Dana. Dana, meanwhile, is busy trying to get out of CTU and the guards don’t let her because she didn’t have clearance to leave from CTU head Brian Hastings (Mykelti Williamson). She finds an excuse to get access to Hastings computer so she can enter the clearance she needs, and I find myself wondering why they didn’t think it odd that this woman was doing all kinds of weird tasks while a crisis was going on. Well, at least co-worker Arlo Glass (John Boyd) seemed to be the only one who was really suspicious. Sure, Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) seemed to have issues with Dana, but as Chloe has issues with everybody, nothing seemed unusual.

When Dana gets to the exit and the orders to detain Dana come through on the screen, the CTU security guard pulls a gun on her and she shoots him. In fact, she shoots at everyone, and no one at CTU seems prepared to handle this security breach. (I was muttering the word “idiots!” as I watched.) What I don’t get is why, earlier this season, Dana seemed so conflicted about killing Wade, when she clearly had no problem killing the bounty hunter guy and stuffing him into an air duct at CTU, and also shooting at that CTU security guy point blank. I sense that the writers were trying to make Dana Walsh more interesting after all the fan complaints about her lame story line when the season started. Sadly, her whole story line remains an epic fail.

Meanwhile, President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones) is dealing with this crisis and things get worse when Jack Bauer tells her that she has a traitor working for her too! It turns out to be two traitors: her chief of staff Rob Weiss (Chris Diamantopoulos) and one of her generals has orchestrated Hassan turning himself over to the terrorists, against the orders of President Taylor. Adding insult to injury, she finds that Kanin (Bob Gunton) was being held in his own office by Weiss and the general, and Kanin has suffered a heart attack. After she has them both arrested and bitch slaps Weiss because he won’t help them, things get worse when the Russians tell her that the peace treaty is off if Hassan dies. Lucky for Jack, Dana, now in the special whie holding room at CTU, wants to talk only to him because she wants immunity in exchange for helping them. Oh yeah, she also says that it’s "Because you're the only one that doesn't have his head up his ass!" (I beg to differ on that point.) It seems that the president must have access to a “one size fits all” immunity form because one is prepared at the blink of an eye. (I suspect the form goes something like this: "I, President (fill in the blank), grant immunity to (fill in the blank) for whatever the hell they did.")

Dana's information is only of some help. They get to the building where she told them that Hassan was being held, and, using special listening equipment to hear which room Hassan would be in, they find the specific room. In a scenario I saw coming a mile away, the voice they heard of Samir doing his rant on the internet is only a recording, and Hassan is already dead, his throat slit. This earns the episode the rare “silent clock” when the time ticks off to close the hour.

A bit in the sidelines in this episode are two of the scariest looking people this season, Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) and Cole Ortiz (Freddie Prinze Jr.). Renee is looking gaunter and all eyeballs as the season goes on. Cole has as face that looks too smooth and featureless and virtually blank, even when he is trying to act in his most dramatic scene when he finds out his fiancée is a traitor AND he helped her when Wade and his buddy were killed.

While the killing of Hassan was certainly dramatic, it didn’t come close to making up for the cheesy and clichéd plot and for the incompetence at CTU. Moles, traitors, CTU security lapses, presidential immunity, etc. – it’s all been done before. The only person who continues to perform exceptionally well each week is Cherry Jones as President Taylor and she is the only character that is believable any more. Sadly, it’s not enough to save the show.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Fringe “Peter” and the “Walternate” Universe

Photos from Fox

Let’s be honest here. Fringe (Fox) is really John Noble’s show, and that became very evident in the episode “Peter” that explored the mystery of how the Peter we know came over from the alternate (or “Walternate”) universe. Since day one of this series I’ve said that John Noble deserves an Emmy for his portrayal of Dr. Walter Bishop, and this episode is validation that he may be the best actor in any TV series this season. Unlike other shows like “Lost” that leave viewers with too many questions, Fringe answered quite a few in this episode. While we know that Walter loves his son, this episode shows how far Walter is willing to go in order for his son to live. This episode was probably the most interesting and revealing of Fringe so far, but is was also the most heart-wrenching and thought provoking as we see what the love a parent can have for their child can make them do to protect or save them, even causing a rift in the fabric of the universe.

Most of the episode takes place in the mid-1980s, under the premise that Walter Bishop is explaining to Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) why the Peter she knows is really Peter from the alternate universe. It seems that in both universes, Peter has a genetic disease and is dying. Walter also has created a literal window into the other universe, and is watching alt-Walter work on a cure for alt-Peter, as that universe is more technologically advanced. But, sadly for Walter, his Peter dies right after Peter gives Walter a coin he has been playing with. Walter and his wife Elizabeth (Orla Brady) are grief stricken, but Walter still has hope that alt-Walter will be able to save alt-Peter.

Walter later shares his magic window with his wife, who sees that her son still lives in another universe, and this seems to crank up Walter’s resolve to save alt-Peter. Things get complicated when alt-Walter finds the cure but doesn’t see it because one of the Observers distracts him with a video call. Walter, worried that this will mean alt-Peter will not be cured, he decides that, based on what he’s seen, he can create the cure himself and will cross over to administer it. To the objections of his lab partner Dr. Carla Warren (Jenni Blong) who says Walter will shatter the universe in the process, Walter creates a mechanism to allow him to cross over. At Reiden Lake, near the place alt-Peter and alt-Elizabeth were staying at the time, he sets up shop. When Warren and Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) try to stop him, Nina’s hand crosses into the portal of the cross over and seems to glimmer like everything else from the other side. (This explains Nina’s special hand and arm contraption.)

But when Walter gets to the other side, he finds the vial with the cure has shattered, and his only option is to bring alt-Peter back to Walter’s universe. We see that Walter’s wife is consoling a sickly Peter while Peter is playing with his coin – in a same scene as we saw with Walter in his time but the scene is being played out with his wife alt- Elizabeth. There is one big difference in that this scenario: Peter does not die. Walter enters and tells her he found a cure and has to take Peter to the lab. Walter also finds an excuse so alt-Elizabeth can’t tag along. He walks with Peter to the portal and they step through, arriving at the other side on the frozen lake. One thing Walter did not plan for: the ice snaps, possibly from the heat from his device or maybe even from it possibly partially being in two universes for a short time. Walter and Peter are plunged into the icy water. It looks like they will both drown, but we later see the Observer has saved them and is driving them away in a car. It seems that the Observer has screwed up royally when he interrupted alt-Walter with his video call, and the other Observers told him to fix the problem caused by his inadvertent interference in the timeline. Since they claim Peter is important, they must make sure that he lives, and the Observer tells Walter that "The boy is important, he has to live," before he gets out of the car and disappears.

Walter races back to the lab with Peter, and Warren tells Walter that William Bell has ideas on how to fix Nina’s hand. Walter says he will return Peter, and after Warren leaves, Elizabeth enters the lab and sees her son alive. When Walter tells her that alt-Peter must go back, she hugs him as if she has no plans to let him go.

In the “present” time with Olivia, Walter tells her that "I couldn't lose him again.” Though viewers knew that Peter was from the alternate universe for quite some time before Olivia found out, this look into how this all came to be may have been the most interesting – and most moving - hour of television I’ve seen in a long time. While Olivia may now understand and maybe even forgive Walter, whether she will tell Peter - or WHAT she will tell Peter – remains to be seen. The big question now is - what is alt-Walter doing to get his son back and is this why there seems to be a war brewing between both sides?

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