Archive for the ‘fringe’ Category

The 2012-2013 Network Schedules!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

This week is the upfronts, where the major networks announce next year’s tv schedules for ad buyers. Shows in bold are genre/sci-fi/fantasy. Here’s what we have so far:

NBC Fall 2012

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN Sunday Night Football
MON The Voice Revolution
TUE The Voice Go On The New Normal Parenthood
WED Animal Practice Guys with Kids Law & Order: SVU Chicago Fire
THU 30 Rock Up All Night The Office Parks and Recreation Rock Center with Brian Williams
FRI Whitney Community Grimm Dateline
SAT Reruns


NBC Midseason 2013

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN Fashion Star Celebrity Apprentice Do No Harm


ABC Fall 2012

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN Once Upon a Time Revenge 666 Park Avenue
MON Dancing with the Stars Castle
TUE Dancing with the Stars results Happy Endings Don’t Trust the B Private Practice
WED The Middle Suburgatory Modern Family The Neighbors Nashville
THU Last Resort Grey’s Anatomy Scandal
FRI Last Man Standing Malibu Country Shark Tank 20/20
SAT Saturday Night College Football


CBS Fall 2012

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN The Amazing Race The Good Wife The Mentalist
MON How I Met Your Mother Partners 2 Broke Girls Mike & Molly Hawaii Five-O
TUE NCIS NCIS: Los Angeles Vegas
WED Survivor Criminal Minds CSI
THU Big Bang Theory Two and a Half Men Person of Interest Elementary
FRI CSI: NY Made in Jersey Blue Bloods
SAT Crimetime Saturday 48 Hours: Mystery


Fox Fall 2012

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
SUN The Simpsons Bob’s Burgers Family Guy American Dad
MON Bones The Mob Doctor
TUE Raising Hope Ben and Kate New Girl The Mindy Project
WED The X Factor
THU The X Factor results Glee
FRI Touch Fringe
SAT Fox Sports Saturday


Fox Midseason 2013

  8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30
SUN The Simpsons Bob’s Burgers Family Guy American Dad
WED American Idol
THU American Idol results Glee
FRI Touch Hell’s Kitchen
SAT Fox Sports Saturday


CW Fall 2012

  8:00 9:00
MON 90210 Gossip Girl (The Carrie Diaries at midseason)
TUE Hart of Dixie Emily Owens, MD
WED Arrow Supernatural
THU The Vampire Diaries Beauty and the Beast
FRI America’s Next Top Model Nikita


Fringe Refresher Brings You Up to Speed

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The producers of Fringe have created two short videos to bring new viewers up to speed and refresh the memories of long-time viewers. Both are narrated by actor John Noble, who plays main character Dr. Walter Bishop. Below the videos are 10 episodes I recommend to get caught up!

The first video is an overview of Fringe as a whole and the second drills down a bit to share more details. Enjoy!

Fringe began as more of a procedural but quickly took on its own fascinating mythology. If you want to fast-track Fringe, here are ten episodes from seasons one and two that catch you up on the overall story. Season three is pretty much all mythology.

    1.11, “Bound”
    1.14, “Ability”
    1.17, “Bad Dreams”
    1.19, “The Road Not Taken”
    1.20, “There’s More Than One of Everything”
    2.15, “Jacksonville”
    2.16, “Peter”
    2.19, “The Man from the Other Side”
    2.20, “Brown Betty”
    2.22 and 2.23, “Over There (Parts I and II)”

What to Watch? The Fall TV Lineup

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Here’s a list of all the shows we could potentially discuss on TVZ:


Alphas (10 p.m., SyFy) ongoing
Bored To Death (9 p.m., HBO) returns Oct. 10
Terra Nova (8 p.m., Fox) debuts Sept. 26


Ringer (9 p.m., CW) debuts Sept. 13
Sons of Anarchy (10 p.m., FX) ongoing


American Horror Story (10 p.m., FX) debuts Oct. 5
Luther (10 p.m., BBC America) returns Sept. 28


Archer (10:30 p.m., FX) returns Sept. 15
Beavis & Butthead (10 p.m., MTV) debuts Oct. 27
Community (8 p.m., NBC) returns Sept. 22
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (10 p.m., FX) returns Sept. 15
Person Of Interest (9 p.m., CBS) debuts Sept. 22
The Secret Circle (9 p.m., CW) debuts Sept. 15
Vampire Diaries (8 p.m., CW) returns Sept. 15


Chuck (8 p.m., NBC) returns Oct. 21
Fringe (9 p.m., Fox) returns Sept. 23
Grimm (9 p.m., NBC) debuts Oct. 21
Supernatural (9 p.m., CW) returns Sept. 23

Doctor Who (9 p.m., BBC America) ongoing


Boardwalk Empire (9 p.m., HBO) returns Sept. 25
Breaking Bad (10 p.m., AMC) ongoing
Once Upon A Time (8 p.m., ABC) debuts Oct. 23
The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) returns Oct. 16

Fringe Auditions for Peter Bishop

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The Fringe team put together this video of all the different people that gave it their all and auditioned to be Peter Bishop. Or something. Shown at Comic Con, and now to you. Once again, I give you what you want.

FOX has a Sense of Humor about Moving Fringe to Fridays

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Fringe moves to Friday when it returns on January 21st. Friday night is sometimes where shows go to wither and die. But Fox seems to be aware of that conception with their latest Fringe promo:

Fall Premier Dates for TV Shows!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Here’s a list of the genre, serialized, and cult shows we’ve been known to discuss on TVZ along with their scheduled premier date:

Sons of Anarchy (FX) Sept. 7
Nikita (CW) Sept. 9
Vampire Diaries (CW) Sept. 9
Venture Bros. (AS) Sept. 12
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX) Sept. 16
The League (FX) Sept. 16
Boardwalk Empire (HBO) Sept. 19
Chuck (NBC) Sept. 20
Event (NBC) Sept. 20
Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) Sept. 20
Undercovers (NBC) Sept. 22
Community (NBC) Sept. 23
Fringe (Fox) Sept. 23
Office (NBC) Sept. 23
Shit My Dad Says (CBS) Sept. 23
30 Rock (NBC) Sept. 23
Smallville (CW) Sept. 24
Supernatural (CW) Sept. 24
Saturday Night Live (NBC) Sept. 25
Bored to Death (HBO) Sept. 26
Dexter (Showtime) Sept. 26
Eastbound & Down (HBO) Sept. 26
Family Guy (Fox) Sept. 26
Simpsons (Fox) Sept. 26
No Ordinary Family (ABC) Sept. 28
Sanctuary (Syfy) Sept. 28
Stargate Universe (Syfy) Sept. 28
Human Target (Fox) Oct. 1
Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC) Oct. 1
Walking Dead (AMC) Oct. 31

Television Zombies Video

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Review: Fringe 2.15 – “Jacksonville”

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Manhatan.  (Yes, it was misspelled, read on.)  In an architecture firm, a man carrying coffee (that’s real and from a secret stash in Hawaii) talks to a woman as the building shakes from tiny unexplained quakes.  The man looks at a design as the woman leaves, the design is of the Pentagon.  The tremors get worse and the building shakes itself apart, pipes burst and lights smash.  When the dust settles, we see the man has been pierced by a beam, but he also has four arms and four legs.

Opening credits.

Agent Olivia Dunham calls Peter Bishop at 2am and plays at being a telemarketer telling him he won a trip to NYC.  Walter is excited.  Witnesses outside felt the ground shake but didn’t see what happened.  Broyles and team arrive at the building as he tells there there were no survivors.  Olivia and Walter both say the building looks rearranged.  Inside is a macabre scene with bodies of people merged into one another.  Walter posits that it’s a quantum tectonic event, a subatomic catastrophe that rips atoms apart, tearing space/time.  When the atoms reassemble, they come together wrong.  Occurring naturally it’s highly unlikely, but possible.

They find a survivor, it’s the man with the coffee.  Broyles reassures the man who wants to call his wife and hear her voice.  As the EMTs attend to the man, Walter notices wallpaper behind other wallpaper.  The man says before it happened dogs howled, then tremors.  Walter sees the Pentagon drawings as Broyles says the man doesn’t have a wife.  Walter asks the man the year, the president, which he gets right.  When he asks which buildings were attacked on 9/11, the man says the Pentagon and the White House, then dies.  But they open his shirt to find the second head in his torso.  It briefly awakens but then dies as well.  Walter changes his theory that another building has come from the other universe.

Olivia says this is what William Bell warned about, that Newton would try to open a doorway.  Back at the lab Astrid is freaked out about the combined bodies and can’t do the autopsy so goes through the evidence box instead: Nixon on a silver dollar, a double decker toy car.  Walter has an insight and suddenly remembers what happens next.  Olivia finds a security photo of Newton, disguised as a construction worker two hours before the event, Walter interrupts with a call to meet him so he can tell them about an MIT prank against Harvard in which a car was fused around the statue of John Harvard.  It wasn’t a prank, it was Walter and William.  They sent a car through the door and 11 minutes later a car from there appeared here.  The idea now is if a building from there was sent here, a building from here will be sent there.  It’s a balance of the universe thing.  It’ll happen in 35 hours, but they can’t stop it, they can only see which one it will be by seeing a “glimmer” or visible energy.  Visible only to Olivia, she saw it once before.

The cortexifan trials allowed Olivia to see things from the other side.  She can’t anymore, Walter says it’s because she doesn’t want to, but he might be able to get her to do it again.  The only way to do it is go to Jacksonville where the experiment worked.  William Bell bought the land and facility, when they left they shut the whole thing off so it should all be there.  Olivia tells Broyles about the precursor events and he says he’ll get Nina Sharpe and Massive Dynamic to help.

Peter, Walter and Olivia arrive at the daycare center in Jacksonville, FL.  The combination on the lock is 5-20-10 – Walter always uses that but doesn’t know why.  (Stay tuned for that.)  Walter finds the power inside and everyone quietly looks around.  He takes them to a room and tells Olivia there are 16 items that are from the other side and asks she can see which ones.  She can’t so Walter says they should get started.  Olivia sees her name on a size giraffe.  Peter takes the sheet off a dentist chair, Walter rummages through some boxes for files and finds his old glasses.  He looks in a reflection and seems kind of proud but then sad.  Peter finds Olivia outside who says she has a freakishly good memory but she can’t remember any of this.

They’re ready, Olivia is hooked up to monitoring and an IV for cortexifan.  Walter says when she’s under, she’ll have an obstacle to overcome.  When her emotions are elevated, they’ll pull her out.  Once she’s under, Walter starts talking to her, she opens her eyes and she’s in a forest.  She follows a shape she sees and hears approaching horse hooves.  It turns night time and windy and she finds a little girll.  Shadows and noises are all around.  She catches the little girl who is running away and comforts her, finds out her name is Olive.  The girl disappears, but then reappears behind Olivia with really messed up looking button or doll eyes.  Olivia comes out of her state and snaps at Walter, asking what’s wrong with him, doing this to little children.  He responds saying they should get to work.

Olivia looks through all the stuff again, but can’t see any “glimmer.”  She asks if they should find more kids to scare, Walter is at a loss.  Back in NY, Nina hears dogs barking and calls Broyles who calls Olivia.  She finds Walter watching the video of little Olive.  She was so frightened she started a fire with her mind.  They fight but Walter figures out it’s fear that allows her to see things, but she’s not afraid any more.

Obligatory second image capture showing some wonderful framing.

Olivia finds the room from the video, still blackened from the incident.  She sits in the white area as Peter comes into to check on her.  She says she’s not alright, she’s not afraid of anything any more.

The tremors are getting worse.  The Fringe crew arrives at Massive Dynamic figuring out plan B, which is basically sifting through data, trying to predict the next event.  Walter says they tried 25 years ago but it was random.  Peter figures the cars had the same mass, so they could find out which buildings have the same mass.  Walter asks for a lot of data and begins writing equations.  Olivia asks what she can do to help when’s Walter’s watch goes off; it’s time.  The buildings left on the list include hospitals and retirement homes.  Broyles says at most they’d lose 500 people, sometimes the only choices left are bad ones.

Olivia finds Peter in a server room and she tells him she’s scared and she failed.  Peter comforts her and almost kisses her but she stops him realizing she’s scared.  She rushes to the top of the building and looks around the skyline.  In the middle distances is a flickering building.

Olivia drives off to find it while on the phone with the rest.  She sees it on Washington and they are able to figure out which one it is.  Broyles calls in the evacuation.  Olivia arrives to see the building flickering all over the place as the tremors get worse.  Olivia takes the hotel manager and jumps to the curb to hang on.  The noise picks up and there’s a rush of wind as the building is torn completely out of our reality leaving a hole in the ground.

TV news reports it as a federally approved unscheduled demolition.  Broyles is proud of her, but she deflects saying it was a team effort.  Peter has Astrid come over to play games with Walter because he and Olivia are going out for drinks.  She arrives at the Bishop’s home and when she comes in she stops and stares at Peter.  We get her point of view and she sees Peter with the same shimmer as the building.  Walter immediately recognizes what happens and as Peter gets his coat he says to Olivia, “Please don’t tell him.”


**Warning:  Science Content**

First, there was no actual prank by MIT that fused a car to the statue of John Harvard.  While MIT and Harvard have been known for their practical jokes against each other, the earliest records I could find were from 1989 putting Walter’s report of the 25 year old stunt a few years before.  There were undoubtedly gags before then but not that were recorded.  Also, there was a car rebuilt on the top of a building, but nothing fused to anything.  It was made up to further the story, but just real enough to where a casual viewer might think they were adapting it from real events.

Quantum Tectonic Events are so theoretical I could find no information about them.  The gruesome people combinations they showed at the beginning reminded me of scenes from Star Trek: The Motion Picture with its transporter malfunction.  It reminded me more of another scene from a movie but I don’t recall which.  In it, sailors or crew members reappeared merged to the decks and bulkheads of a ship.  It was either The Philadelphia Experiment or The Final Countdown.  Both involved boats and time travel, but the tubes are keeping the gory scene a secret from me.

Regardless, I believe Quantum Tectonic Event was likely made up by the writers this time.  The idea makes some sense, given the assumption that there are actually many universes or at least two.  What I didn’t like about Walter’s guessing was how they could formulate a way to open this door, but then not understand how it worked when sending something through.  I liked the idea of universal balance and that the mass of one thing needed to be equaled by a transfer of mass from the other location.  Maybe he could have revised it by calling it Quantum Equilibrium, but even that is technically incorrect as the quantum state does not rely on a balance.

There were a few other bits that annoyed me.  The car they transfered returned another car in 11 minutes, but a building takes 35+ hours.  Was that because of the mass?  No one ever says.  I’m also not really buying into the car for a car, building for a building idea.  The universe is picky enough to make sure if you send over a freight train, it’s going to get another freight train back.  If you send over an orange, you’re getting back an orange.  Mass is the common aspect, but does it have to be mass from the exact same thing?  Why wouldn’t it just swap for the thing that’s in the place its going?  You can’t just make something trade spots?  Why can’t that mass come from anywhere in our universe?  We send a car over, somewhere in our universe an equivalent mass of gaseous hydrogen appears.  The rules to this universe seem rather childlike.

Also, in their universe they don’t have coffee, but they were the exact same clothes?  The White house was hit instead of the towers and people can not be married, but they work in the exact same place?  What if this dude got his job because he knew his wife or soon to be wife?  What if they moved here because of her job?  Guy on the other side doesn’t have to move, he stays in LA.  The similarities are too many and the differences are too random and inconsistent.  I don’t like the idea if this is out they’re going to carry it out.

Which sadly colors an otherwise amazing episode.  What I really appreciated about “Jacksonville” was how much Olivia truly is starting to hate Walter and how much Walter realizes this but can’t do a thing about it.  He’s a dog that has been abused and he cowers but he still tries to be loyal and helpful.  Olivia’s frustration was well played by Anna.  I completely saw ahead of time that she’d be able to see the glimmer on Peter but I like the idea of what she’ll have to do now that she knows.

By the way, the lock combination of 5-20-10, the date of the season finale?

Anote on numbering.  Because “Unearthed” was supposed to air last episode but didn’t and was placed in season two, it has screwed up the numbering for the episodes.  Offically, Fox says that this was episode 14 of season two and “Unearthed” was episode 21 of season 1.  BUT, since I get my information on guest stars and actors from IMDB, which has “Jacksonville” listed as 2×15 and “Unearthed” as 2×11, not 1×21, I’m going with what I have now.  I mean, since season two premier, there have been 15 shows.  It’s not my fault FOX couldn’t do them in order.

Three out of five glyphs. The effect of the building disappearing saved an otherwise frustrating episode for me.

Review: Fringe 2.14 – “The Bishop Revival”

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Brookline, MA.  A wedding is taking place at what appears to be an old tudor mansion.  The Jewish groom is nervous and breathing hard, the Gentile bride is beautiful.  The matriarch of the groom’s side notices a man in the back she doesn’t recognize.  The groom takes his inhaler to the bathroom.  The grandma repeats, “It can’t be,” and then walks toward the man saying, “It’s you!” as she starts turning blue and suffocating.  Those around her begin turning blue as well as the man in the back walks away.

Opening credits.

Olivia arrives to hear there were 14 victims.  Peter let Walter drive the station wagon while he talks about Mrs. Bishop and weddings.  Walter runs into some trash cans, he then alludes to the fact that Agent Dunham and Peter are well matched.  They investigate and find it’s asphyxiation but no obstruction.  All the victims were on the groom’s side.  Olivia notices a tattoo on the grandma’s arm; a holocaust survivor.  They investigate the idea they all ate or drank something and Peter and Olivia find the groom in another room in the midst of asphyxiation.

At the lab Astrid tells Walter all the victims were blood relatives.  Walter cuts open the groom and sees the blood is blue, something is robbing the body of oxygen, bonding with the blood.  Olivia is questioning the grandma’s daughter in law who said the woman was upset about a man.  Peter is investigating the candles.  She says they’re jasmine, save for one that’s cinnamon.  They check it in the spectrometer and find the toxin contains hydrogen cyanide.  Walter is reminded of something the Nazis did, a weapon capable of selective killing.  He thinks it’s an experiment, a wedding is a good lab.  He also thinks it’ll happen again.

The blond German is at a coffee shop asking for tea with very hot water.  He sits and overhears a conversation between a mom and daughter about school.  He pours a vial into his tea that smells like cinnamon.

Broyles and crew investigate the coffee shop.  None of the victims were related, shooting down Walter’s theory.  No candles, but the toxin just needs a heat source and Olivia finds a cup of tea.  Walter sticks to the targeted toxin idea, as all the victims have brown eyes.  As they leave, the German man asks a police man who Walter is.  The cop says it’s Dr. Bishop and the German says he looks just like his father.

At the lab, Olivia brings the cup back with no good fingerprints.  Walter is showing a CG video of the toxin molecule.  It has a basic shape with small addition that does the genetic targeting.  Other than that it’s simple but Peter realizes one of the compounds is highly regulated so they do a search for buyers.  Walter shows them an inert carbon shape that is the creator’s signature.  This one is in the shape of a seahorse, which sparks Walter’s memory about who created the toxin – his father.  Dr. Robert Bishop worked in the Univ. of Berlin and worked for Nazis, as a US double agent, smuggling info to the Americans.  As Walter rummages through his father’s books that would have the notes, Peter tells him he sold them ten years ago.  Walter is furious that his father’s work, that he tried to protect, is killing people.

The German man is lurking around the Bishop’s home.

Peter and Olivia catch Broyles up as they visit the book store Peter visits.  It’s the same book store with the same charming and diminutive Markham that helped them get a copy of the ZFT.  Peter confides in Olivia that he didn’t need money, he sold them to spite his father.  Markham gets them an address.  In a throwback lab, the German is prepping a solution into server candles (the type you see under chafers at buffets, almost sterno can like.)  Olivia and Peter break into the house of the person who bought the books.  There’s a giant swaztika flag and similar symbols all over.  Just then the occupant comes home; it’s an artist who works with evil symbols.  He’s turned the pages of one book into a collage of Hitler.

Walter is not happy but the perp didn’t get the toxin from the books.  They got DNA from the skin cells in the fingerprints but Walter says it’s probably incorrect, showing the person to be over 100 years old.  Peter sorts out that the toxin could target multiple groups, like what the Master Race would have wanted.  The German man goes into an abandoned area and lights one of his burners as a homeless man looks on.  The canister erupts and gas goes everywhere.  The dark skinned, dark haired man falls over dead, the German walks away.

Walter is killing rats to replicate the compound and Olivia brings in addresses of buyers of the regulated material.  In his lab, the German is making a fake ID.  An FBI team wearing gas masks arrives at the German’s house.  They report all clear and remove their masks.  The German pacts a box and turns on a burner with a beaker of purple liquid.  Olivia finds the secret entrance.  The three investigate the German’s lab.  He’s got a lot of genetic toxins and they find Walter’s sweater and Walter starts breathing ragged.  Olivia smashes the beaker on the burner, they get him some oxygen and he recovers.  The German is in line for security at a large conference.

Olivia finds a slide with a logo that Peter recognizes.  Security checks the German and his box of candles.  He’s waved through to the World Tolerance Initiative conference.

Olivia calls Broyles and tells him they have to evacuate but it’ll take time due to all the dignitaries.  Walter mulls about the German’s lab grabbing a large object that looks like a caulking gun.  The German, dressed as a caterer, is replacing all the chafer candles.  Walter is creating something as Astrid arrives.  The FBI starts looking for the German, slowly putting out small cocktail candles.  Peter has a thought and checks the burners and smells cinnamon.  They hear coughing and hear hissing and they find the German choking and turning blue, shouting out Bishof and pointing up at Walter saying, “Traitor.”  Walter is holding a misting tool.

Broyles isn’t going to press charges.  Walter explains to Olivia that family is very important to him and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do.

Peter brings back all the work that wasn’t destroyed.  Walter is happy, shows Peter a photo of his grandfather.  They reminisce and Peter asks if the work wasn’t leaked, how did the German get it?  Walter says some mysteries are destined to remained unsolved.  He puts down a photo of his father with the German in the background.


As in this sins of the father or Fatherland, “The Bishop Revival” was all about paternal ties.

Scientifically there wasn’t much to this episode.  The compounds mentioned were all recognized, nothing weird or fake or misspoken.  Chromium trioxide and Hydrogen cyanide are used in chrome plating and mining applications respectively.  Neither are very acid and only HCN is poisonous.  Thus the two combined are likely nothing more than a delivery mechanism for the toxin’s DNA specific compound.  (We never really found out what that was.)

Other than that, the only other bit of fancy wizardry was pulling DNA from fingerprints.  This is actually being done already by UK law enforcement agencies but has yet to catch on in the US.

So we’re left with Nazis!  As soon as a Jewish family died at a wedding while a blond blue eyed man looked on, I knew we were going to hear about Nazis.  And as soon as I thought that, I thought it was likely going to be Walter’s dad.  Turns out, we were all right.  (And by we I mean me, and by right I mean sadly correct.)  Sadly?  Yes, I wasn’t really thrilled about “The Bishop Revival.”  Even as a stand alone episode it wasn’t very exciting.  It was another nick of time save for the Fringe Division and another link to Walter Bishop’s past lays extinguished, even remarked on at the end in tribute; some mysteries are destined to remained unsolved.

What mysteries you may ask?  For starters, how did the German man stay so young?  Surely he must have had a chemical compound that extended his life, but after Walter’s throw away line about the man’s age, we never hear about it again.  The screaming and dying old Jewish grandmother must have known him from the concentration camps, which means all the gassing was not only to eliminate the Jews they had in prison, but to test toxins that would get the ones they didn’t.  Honestly, I’m more interested in 100 year old scientists than I am about double agent scientists perfecting a DNA weapon, or their offspring’s attempts to prevent this weapon from killing people.  But we’re left unsatisfied, knowing only that the man was with Grandpa Bishof during the heady days of Nazi scientific development.

Amidst all this, Walter is not-so-subtly encouraging a relationship between his son and Agent Dunham.  Peter is likely from another dimension and Olivia is the product of chemically engineered tests to create rift hoping soldiers.  Walter’s studies and experiments have spent 30 years catching up to him and he’s half mad.  They’re already working together, I think Walter encouraging this is highly offensive to Olivia.  Almost as if he has no idea what being a part of his family means.  But I don’t think the writers see it that way.  Male and female co-leads?  They have to hook up.

Without a major arc tie in and with a yawnable plot and resolution, I can’t give this one more than two and a half random glyphs. Maybe the only thing that made it worth watching was the fact that Bishop the elder was called the Seahorse.

Review: Fringe 2.13 – “What Lies Below”

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Boston, MA.  Bike messenger stops at Vitas Petrol and catches an elevator with an older gentleman who starts sweating and bleeding from his nose.  They both get off the elevator and the receptionist tells him he has to sign in, then he passes out and the bike runner tries to give him CPR but he dies.  His body then begins shaking and the veins in his face flare up, his mouth opens and sprays what looks like blood into the air and all over the people in the office.

Opening credits.

Boston Children’s Science Center.  Astrid is looking for Walter.  He’s telling a story to some kids about a ship that went around the world and a life lesson about being the first to be eaten by the monster under their beds.  They revoke his membership.  They get a call and go to meet Olivia and Peter at Vitas Petrol.  Detective Castle is investigating it locally and the man, Radjan Vanderkemp.  Olivia talks to the witnesses and the receptionist says the man didn’t even look like he knew where he was.  A man, Vincent Ames, VP of geo engineering asks if he can leave soon.  The receptionist said Mike the courier rode up with him, Mike is in the bathroom with a bloody nose.  Broyles catches Walter and Astrid up on the case.  They get to the front door as Mike tries to leave, but Walter keeps the door closed, just as Mike’s veins well up and he breathes blood all over the door.  Walter says the building must be quarantined just as Peter and Olivia come down to see what happened.

Walter talks to Peter on the phone about who Radjan was or who he was going to see.  The sound of CDC vans and trucks arriving drowns out the conversation.  Inside, Peter and Olivia tell the crowd they’re under quarantine and they start pointing finger and getting agitated.  The airflow is shut down and Olivia splits people into groups of who was closest.  Arnold McFadden with the CDC talks to Broyles, orders blood work on the guy in the lobby and blocks off the area.  Walter goes into the CDC’s staging area to get samples and is arrested.  When Broyles and McFadden arrive, Walter makes a comment about small minded bureaucrats but Broyles secures his release and the CDC field agent allows him to take some samples.

Inside, Olivia and Peter are trying to find information on Vandenkemp.  Peter notices everyone’s calling their families and asks if Olivia wants to call her sister.  She deflects and moves on to Ames and his cancelled appointments.  They’re interrupted by Det. Castle, the receptionist has a bloody nose.  Peter has her lay down in a break room to rest.  A group approaches begins the panicked mob mentality and Peter calms them down.  Olivia pulls Ames aside and says she knows he was going to meet Vandekemp, he confirms saying he had information on a competitor and their oil reserve.  Problem is, Vandekemp had no information on him.

A CDC tent city has arisen around the building.

Broyles gives Olivia some info on Vandenkemp:  Oil refinery consultant, came through Dubai, stayed at a hotel, no symptoms, no likely information to sell, and no word from Walter.

At the lab, Walter and Astrid discuss the personalities of viruses, trying to find this one.  The example is rabies and how it’s “afraid” of water and thus makes its host unable to drink water and also sheds liquid from the body.  (Rabies used to be called hydrophobia.)  The sample they have is too fragile and wasn’t able to isolate the strain.  Walter says at least it’s good news that the virus isn’t airborne.

Olivia says Broyles can’t find what info Vandekemp had.  She also tells Peter she wasn’t going to call her sister, she doesn’t want to scare her again.  Peter scolds her but stops when the receptionist is walking around in a daze.  They lose her in the office until she runs up behind Peter screaming.  Peter ducks into a puddle of Vandekemp’s blood.  The receptionist runs out through a window and crashes on top of a CDC van.  Peter quickly scrubs down but decides to search Vandekemp’s body regardless.  He finds car keys to a rental car and gets them to the CDC who finds the car and briefcase in the trunk.

Walter tells Broyles he believes the virus is driving its hosts to be near large amounts of people in open space.  It caused the woman to jump outside, the courier to try to leave.  CDC agents open the case and find a drill core sample which they take a sample and add it to blood.  It looks like a black cloud devouring the blood cells.

The sample was stolen from an oil company.  The core sample came from 10 miles down.  Walter says it’s likely 75,000 years old and likely what killed the ice age mammals, but he can make a tox-screen, the split the people into groups and begin the procedure.  Outside, McFadden says to contact headquarters and request an Level 6 Eradication in case they can’t contain it.  The second in command looks frightened as thought Level 6 is the worst there is.  Peter is helping distribute the screens and he notices his nose is bleeding.  Walter begins on Ames, who is clear but Olivia says they’ll be in touch.  Next is Peter and Olivia but he says, “Ladies first.”  Olivia isn’t infected.  Peter swabs his mouth but turns the swab over before handing it to Walter, which shows him not infected.  He escorts the first group downstairs.

In the lobby, suited guards are verifying names and letting people out.  They get to Peter who is bleeding from the nose again and they stop him.  As he lunges to get outside the veins in his face flare up but he’s pushed back into the building before he can explode.  Upstairs, a Vitas employee’s sample turns black and Det. Castle takes him away.  Peter desperately wants Olivia to let him out but she doesn’t so he leaves to presumably find another way out.

Det. Castle is cleared as Olivia calls to warn Astrid and Walter that Peter is infected.  McFadden tells Broyles that an outbreak in Cambodia killed 7,300 people and that was level 4.  This is level six.  Olivia says all the screens are done; 11 people infected.  McFadden explains to her that the Army will come in and “contain” those testing positive.  She says there has to be another way.  He shows her a computer model of what happens if just one person gets out.  In the model, within two weeks, the world is over run and Madagascar closes its borders.

Walter takes off his gear, says the virus isn’t airborne.  She talks to Olivia who tells her the Army going to kill everyone else.  Astrid says Walter will figure it out and hangs up on Olivia.  They get Vanderkemp on a table in the kitchen and Astrid asks how she can help.  Walter says Peter will probably die, again.  Astrid reminds him of the story he told the kids at the museum, about Magellan’s trip around the world and how only 18 of 237 people came back, the rest dying of scurvy.  Walter tries to sort out what killed the virus 75,000 years ago.  He figures it was ash, sulphuric ash from the eruption of Mt. Toba.  In other words, sulfur.  They raid the fridge and find horseradish.  They make a quick test of some diluted liquid and it turns the sample amber.  Walter relays the information to Olivia.

She gives the antidote info to McFadden who says the nearest lab and its ability to create a serum is hours away and the glass won’t hold.  Peter and the rest are beating against the doors and windows.  Broyles suggest pumping a knockout gas in but McFadden says it won’t work with the building’s ventilation system down and he won’t send more of his people in.  Olivia volunteers, Broyles says okay and she has 15 minutes.

Olivia races through the building to an elevator to the garage.  Peter sees her on the security video feed.  Somehow he gets to where she’s going before she does and tackles her.  They fight over her gun and he wins, taking her gun and running off.  Broyles can’t raise Olivia and Astrid says the air flow isn’t on yet.  McFadden won’t give them more time.  Olivia makes it to the subsystem room and switches the HVAC power on as the CDC team gases the intake vents.  A team of Army rangers comes into the building but everyone is passed out.  Walter and the rest administer the anti-toxin.  Peter apologizes to Olivia.

Walter goes outside and Astrid follows him and asks what he meant by Peter dying again.  He says some things are left alone.


She blinded me, with science!

Walter’s assertion that viruses have a personality is not altogether a wild Fringe Science claim.  As previously noted, his example of rabies is on target and that the host’s symptoms can give us the impression the virus is controlling the host.  That idea was pushed to the limit in “What Lies Below” as the infected manically strove to be freed of the building in order to infect others.  But it’s not the same to want to infect as it is to avoid what can kill you.  All viruses want to infect, that’s why they’re called viruses.  It’s not called the Influenza Latent Do-Nothing; viruses live to infect.  It’s not like the Flu virus makes us avoid Walgreens and doctors offices and mobile vaccination sites.

But the claim that it drives its host to acts of mindless obedience is the Fringe aspect.  Sufferers of rabies don’t avoid water, they just can’t swallow.  People giving aid to a feverish patient will try to give them water.  They sweat.  Their jaws lock up.  It looks like the virus is avoiding water, but water doesn’t kill it.  In this case, it was sulfur that killed it, but it did not try to avoid sulfur.  There was a mixed message in the personality trait Walter was giving the viruses that was lost in the last 1/3 of the show.

I’m also not exactly sure how they so quickly extracted a biological compound from a core sample of 10 miles into the Earth’s crust.  I also don’t know how 10 miles down equals 75,000 years ago.  The Earth’s crust is only 25 miles thick (less than 10 miles in the ocean) so glaciers would have had to cut pretty deep during the ice age to deposit material that far down.  But I’m not a geologist.

Walter also invoked the Mt. Toba theory to come to the sulphuric conclusion.  Mt. Toba was an Indonesian volcano.  Actually, it was a volcanic area under Lake Toba 70-75,000 years ago.  Walter’s description of events was pretty accurate though.  The world was already in an ice age and the volcanic event was the biggest in the last 25 million years.  It plunged the already cold Earth into an even deeper ice age and all but wiped out the mammal population, including humans.  But like most things dating very far in our geologic, astronomic or biologic past, it’s debatable as to its authenticity and thus only a theory.

Aside from that, the only other thing of note is the Level 6 Eradication the CDC agent called up.  Considering a Level 4 would have been needed to stop 7,300 people from dying, I would have assumed a Level 6 was a nuke from orbit approach and not a send in a couple army soldiers with masks and guns approach.  I’m sure it’s not common and not public, but I couldn’t find any information about a level anything eradication.  I’m guessing the CDC doesn’t like talking about it.

Astrid loves Walter!  She has to.  She has a great level of admiration for the man, but there’s a mix of pedagogue and needy patient that she finds attractive.  She wants to be the successful student but also the shield and nurse to his recovering mind.  It’s cute and sad because of who he is and because she now knows there’s a secret involving Peter.  It’s unconventional but sweet.  I don’t know if anything will ever happen, but it’s nice to watch.

Finally, can we stop talking about Rachel?  She hasn’t been in an episode in a long time and I don’t want to hear about her any more.  Charlie dies and we spend maybe 2 seconds remembering him.  Rachel leaves Boston and suddenly she’s on everyone’s mind.  I realize she’s the only family Olivia has, so why is she being so stingy about the interaction with Rachel?  I think something is going on with the two of them, something sinister.

No mention of Massive Dynamic, no mention of the ZFT or the Observers or even Thomas Newton.  It’s funny how the TV world forgets things like a dimensional rift that can end life as we know it.  If I were Broyles, I’d have stopped this small change virus work, checking on mutants in upstate New York, and build a task force to bring William Bell in and find out what the hell Newton is going to do.  It’s time to wrap this charade up, no more monsters of the week.

Three out of five randomly chosen glyphs.  Good show overall, but I’m getting annoyed with the procedurals.