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Friday, June 24, 2011

Recap - Fringe Pilot Episode (101) - Part 2

Continued from part 1 so if you are reading this one first you're out of order.

~~~~~ SPOILERS AHEAD ~~~~~

Fringe ... Season 1, Episode 1 (1x01)

The next scene shows a plane flying through the air and then we see Olivia on the phone.  From her end of the conversation we find out that she is talking to Charlie, it sounds like she is getting an update on John.  As she ends the conversation Peter sits down in the seat across from her.  They begin to talk about Peter's father, Walter.  Peter says he knows his father was a chemist who did research for a toothpaste company and at some point there was an accident in the lab, after which Walter was arrested. Peter tells Olivia that he thinks there has to be more to it than Walter working with toothpaste.

Olivia gathers her thoughts for a moment and lets Peter know that his father worked as part of a classified experimental army program under the name of Kelvin Genetics.  He worked on things like mind control, teleportation, astral projection and reanimation.  He was provided an unlimited budget to pursue his research.

Later they arrive at St Claire's Hospital in Essex County, Massachusetts.  Olivia meets with Walter (John Noble) in what looks like an empty cafeteria while Peter waits in the hallway.  They begin talking about John Scott's condition as Walter asks specific questions to Olivia.  He is quite fidgety and lapses off into a conversation about the horrible butterscotch pudding that they have there on Mondays.  When Olivia informs him it is Thursday he brightens and rejoices with "Oh?  That's fantastic news."  We didn't know it at the time, but this was the first of many, many, many, food observations from Walter.  Olivia looks like she is beginning to lose hope when Dr. Bishop starts to tell her that the condition can be reversed.  As she tries to get more information out of him he tells her he knows that his son has to be there if she is there and he would like to see him.

After a bit of back and forth in the hallway, Peter grudgingly trudges into the lunchroom to meet with his father.  He stops several feet away and addresses him with "Hello Walter."  Walter fans the already tense fires by telling Peter he thought he would be fatter and then hopping up to check Peter's pupils.

Olivia comes back into the room and Walter gets back on his scientific track again and through a rather funny exchange in which Olivia says all she has to do is make a phone call, that her phone "is in my pocket, now it's out of my pocket" Peter is basically coerced into signing Walter out of St. Claire's and becoming his guardian.

Peter signs Walter out, all the while looking incredibly pissed.  Walter appears at the door clean shaven and looking almost like a different person.

Then on the car trip back to Boston we find out that Walter used to share a lab at Harvard with a man named William Bell (who Walter affectionately refers to as Belly).  William Bell is now the head of a multi-million dollar company called Massive Dynamic.  Unfortunately since Walter has been in the booby hatch for 17 years he was not aware of this.  Then in an Uh-Oh type moment, Walter informs Peter and Olivia that he just pissed himself, but it was only a squirt.

In the next scene Olivia talks to Charlie in the hallway of the hospital, telling him that Bishop is a pain in the ass but her only hope.  She also requests that Charlie get her in to talk to William Bell.

A little later, Olivia, Walter, Peter, and Olivia's assistant, Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), gather around the prone body of John Scott.  He looks as bad as before, perhaps worse, but it does look like some of the blackness on his skin has gone away or it could just be the skin itself has gone away.

As Walter looks John over he requests some ginger ale, because it's been a long time since he's had some.  When Walter grabs a scalpel to get a sample of John's tissue Peter stops him, but Olivia tells Walter to continue.

Walter throws a huge hissy fit complete with flying medical equipment after he is told that his Harvard basement lab has been shut down for years.  This causes Olivia to go to Broyles and demand that Broyles give them access to Walter's old lab, as it is now being used for storage.  When Broyles suggests that Olivia's concern for John perhaps holds more meaning than just a partner, Olivia does not answer and insists that he get the lab before stalking out of his office.

Walter, Peter, Olivia, and Astrid arrive at the lab and Walter joyously walks around greeting lab instruments like old friends and rustling up dust.  He rattles off a list of items he will need to do his research, ending with a cow (a very specific cow).  We learn through Peter that only a couple lines of DNA separate cows and humans.  I think this conversation might be the first somewhat lighthearted banter between Olivia and Peter.

The lab bustles with activity as Walter checks microscope slides, someone brings Gene (the cow) down the hallway and sets her up in a makeshift stall and Olivia looks at gruesome photos of the victims of the plane disaster.

During a moment of downtime, Peter brings Olivia coffee and sits with her.  They discuss the file that Olivia used as blackmail to get Peter to come back to Boston and it comes out that Olivia was actually bluffing.  Peter feels that he should've known that because reading people is "sort of what I do."  Peter tells Olivia that he owes money to a guy named Big Eddie, and now that they've both shared a little privledged information there's a hint of a few real smiles between them.

Back in the lab, Walter advises Olivia that in 24 hours John's brain will no longer be able to oxygenate itself and since they don't know what chemicals were in the compound he can't synthesize a cure.  Oh but wait ... there is another way ... Walter starts to talk about something called synaptic transfer system, and luckily Olivia must have been just as confused as I was because she asked Walter to explain.  That is a good thing about this show, there is always a character piping up and asking for clarification on the more scientific terms.

Basically Walter says he can sync up Olivia and John's brain waves so she can talk to him while he is in a coma.  Walter says once he extracted memories from a corpse this way, and it was possible because the person had not been dead longer than 6 hours.  Peter is skeptical about this entire idea and vocalizes it strongly.  Now, there are a few catches to Walter's plan ... Olivia will have to be submerged in a tank filled with water, naked, and have an electromagnetic probe stuck in the base of her skull, um, and also be shot full of psychotropic drugs (one of which being LSD).

Olivia agrees to Walter's plan and says she will have John's body transferred to the lab.  Walter is quite happy with this and sets about making LSD.

At some point later John arrives by ambulance and is brought into the lab.  He is in some kind of plastic protective chamber and his skin is practically see through at this point.  Astrid shovels scoopfuls of salt into a large metal tank that has water in it.  The salt is to help Olivia float while she is in the tank.

Charlie Francis shows up as Olivia is about to get ready for her little swim in John's subconcious.  She asks him for an update on her earlier request to talk to William Bell.  Charlie has not been able to make contact with him and it doesn't look very promising that he will be available in the next two weeks.  This pisses Olivia off and it doesn't help her mood when Charlie says that they can't even get a court order to assist them with getting information from William Bell and Massive Dynamic for 48 hours.

Meanwhile Walter walks by and nonchalantly tells Olivia she should probably strip to her underwear which makes Charlie question her as to what was happening.  She doesn't go into many details only saying that she needs to talk to William Bell ASAP and they do not have 48 hours.  Around this time Gene huffs and gives a moo and Charlie turns to look at her.  As though to double check that he's not seeing things Charlie says to Olivia, "Is that a cow?"  Olivia just matter of factly replies, "Yeah that's Gene" and without any further explanation launches into asking Charlie to do whatever he can to help her with this.  In a show of friendship and support Charlie says that he will do that.  Before taking his leave he tells Olivia to be careful.

Olivia walks down to stand in front of the tank with Peter and Walter.  She disrobes to reveal she is wearing a plain black bra and matching panties.  As Peter begins putting electrodes on Olivia's exposed abdomen he tells her he still does not think this is a good idea.  As he works (and tries to talk her out of it) I would like to point out he is very professional, with no wandering eyes or comments about Olivia's state of undress.  (Granted, he's in scientific Peter mode at the moment and not Casanova Peter mode, but still kudos for being gentlemanly.) 

Walter injects Olivia in the back of the neck with an anesthetic, then holds up a scary looking contraption near the base of Olivia's neck that looks vaguely like a video game controller with prongs sticking out of the front and wires coming off the back.  A clicking sound is heard and then Olivia gasps and leans forward into Peter's shoulder as the device is attached to her neck.  During this scene the camera moves in a continuous circle around them which helps build up the tension as we wonder just what in the hell is about to happen.  Peter puts the finishing touches on the electrodes on her stomach and looks at Olivia for a moment before saying "I hope your guy is worth it."  Then he stands up and moves away.  Walter injects Olivia with his special blend of goodies that is going to help her connect with John.

Olivia climbs into the tank and as Walter bends over her in a moment that deserves a how-nice-but-maybe-this-might-not-be-the-best-time award, he thanks Olivia for her part in getting him out of St Claire's and trusting him enough to let him help her, you know, just in case she doesn't come back from her trip to higher than a kite land.  The tanks doors are closed and blackness engulfs the screen.

With Olivia being monitored inside the tank on a computer screen Walter calls Astrid over and when she introduces herself and  explains that she is Agent Dunham's assistant Walter is a bit confused until Astrid points to Olivia's image on the monitor.  Knowing now who Astrid was talking about Walter starts to introduce himself as well, but hesitates when he comes to his last name.  After Peter supplies his last name for him Walter thanks him.

Walter shows Astrid some equipment that is showing Olivia and John's brainwaves and uses some big words and explains the brain is like an electrical router.  I rewatched that part several times because it looks like on his way over to the machine he practically steps into Peter in the process.  He explains that the electrode that he inserted in Olivia's neck will help sync up her and John's brain waves and at that point they should be in the same place.

Time passes and the picture dissolves back and forth between Olivia in the tank, Walter annotating on the brain wave graphs, John's gruesome body lying on the table, Peter walking around the lab, and back to Olivia in the tank again.

The scene begins to alternate between Olivia in the tank and Olivia walking around in a place that to me kind of looks like a very dark, creepy metal scrap yard.  Olivia begins to talk in the tank and the Olivia that is in the dream state parrots what she says. 

While Olivia's back is turned a dark figure dashes across the screen, Olivia turns just a little too late to catch a glimpse of it.  She calls out John's name and there is a sound akin to a radio trying to be tuned.  An object appears above Olivia and we hear Olivia's voice say "That's my Uncle's kayak."  This (as far as I know) is the first appearance of the green, green, green, red circle pattern that is frequently seen on the show.  It is on the side of the kayak. The backdrop changes for a moment to a bedroom of some kind.  Then the screen goes black again. 

Next Olivia is in a graveyard and the same creepy thing dashes across the screen.  She calls out for John again.  There is some great haunted house/creaky door type special effects and then we hear a voice urgently say "Olivia!"  The scene switches back to the lab to reveal that John and Olivia's brain wave patterns have synced up.

Back in la la land Olivia turns to find that John is now with her.  The backdrop now looks sort of like a sandy, desert type landscape.  They walk towards each other and the floor is shown to be a black and white marbled checkered pattern.  They come to a stop together and they are standing on the FBI seal.  They share a sweet and tender kiss.  (Thankfully John is back to looking like his normal self and not the bloody mess that is laid out in the lab, 'cause not to be superficial, but that would be kind of gross.)

The camera work during the above scene is similar to the movement of when they were prepping Olivia to go in the tank.  This time though I don't feel like it stirs up tension, it moreso helps to make the moment sureal.  The behind the scenes on the DVDs showed how this was accomplished.  Mark Valley and Anna Torv were actually on a platform that rotated in a circle as they walked towards one another.

During the kiss something happens on the monitors showing a change in their brain waves.  Peter questions Walter as to what it was, but between chews of his sandwich Walter just informs him it was nothing.

Olivia explains to John that he was hurt and she needs him to remember about the explosion at the storage unit.  John concentrates and we (and Olivia) see a reenactment of the last part of John's pursuit of the man who ran at the storage area.  John reaches the door of the unit and throws it up, then there is a burst of flame and there is a short shot of Van/Dead Man (remember him?).  Olivia begins to seize within the tank and Walter and Peter yank the doors open and pull her out.  Walter injects her with something and Olivia sits up and pants out that she saw John get hurt and she saw the man who was there.


All righty ... part 3 coming soon.

Part 3 is now available.

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