1.28.2009

Fringe S1E12: The No-Brainer



Grams and Pacey, reunited! The woman who played Mrs. Warren is Mary Beth Peil, who played Grams on Dawson’s Creek. Though she looks younger in this than she did on that show. Funny how makeup works.

In this episode, a gaggle of seemingly unrelated folk are exposed to a computer virus that liquefies their brains, causing the matter to dribble out of their ears. Disgusting, but the juxtaposition of old and new technology was interesting, going from Olivia playing Operation with Ella, to Walter asking about floppy disks, and finally to the super-intelligent bad guy of the week, Brian Dempsey. Dempsey is a tech genius who has fallen on hard times, and is understandably bitter. Less understandable is his decision to murder those he feels have wronged him via a complicated computer virus. How the virus kills is never really explained, nor is what relationship the car salesman and Olivia’s niece Ella had to Dempsey. I think the writers hoped we might not notice.

In other news, Peter snags an envelope addressed to Walter and reads a letter, then crumples it up and tosses it out. Sneaky little Astrid retrieves the letter, and gives it to Olivia. Turns out its from Mrs. Warren, mother of Carla Warren, Walter’s assistant who died in a laboratory fire and whose death sent Walter to the institution. Peter is worried that his father’s fragile mental state can’t handle meeting Mrs. Warren, whom he is sure will blame Walter for the death. Instead, she just wants to share her pain and learn more about her daughter’s life. And, for the first time, we see Walter’s empathy toward an outsider. It’s nice.

Olivia’s character has really comes leaps and bounds, especially due to the introduction of her sister and her niece. She is fun and silly around Ella, whom she obviously adores. I also loved the moment when the car salesman admitted that he went to strip clubs, and asked her not to judge him. She’s much more likable now. Not so good, however, is the flirtation between Peter and Rachel, largely because Rachel is so obviously not above board. We’ll see. The only good this about it is seeing Joshua Jackson’s roguish charm on full display. Yum.

I recently read the Five Reasons Why The Fringe Team Is The Worst Department In The FBI, and the hilarious #2 was “They Refuse To Check Out Massive Dynamic Despite The Fact Massive Dynamic Is Obviously Involved In All This Shit.” Amen! WTF ever happened to Massive Dynamic? The pilot episode of Fringe introduced the original team who worked on fringe government projects: Walter Bishop and William Bell. Why, then, has there been no mention of William Bell since? It makes no sense.

I continue to enjoy Fringe. However, when it comes to building a larger framework within which all of the episodes to date fit, I’d say the show is failing miserably.