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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fringe Recap - Brave New World Part 1 - 4x21

Fringe Season 4 Episode 21 - Brave New World Part 1 ... original airdate Friday May 4, 2012
I'm trying to stop watching the preview for next week's Fringe long enough to do this recap. I think I've watched it five times already hoping to glean a clue of some sort between all the snippets.
Tonight's episode ... wait for it ... was mind-blowing. I don't know how often I say that about this show, but each and every time I do I mean it. I'm still reeling a little from the events of tonight.
It starts in a building in Boston. People are gliding down the escalator, no one really stands out. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is something about the background music of this scene ... it's calm but it gave me a weird feeling. But of course that weird feeling could just be attributed that I'm settling in to watch Fringe, or the pizza I ate earlier. But whatev.
A man walks up to get some coffee from the booth in the middle of the place. Behind him is a sign that says Clane Center. The barista recognizes him on sight and already knows what he wants. While it is being made he pays with a nifty little app from his **Sprint** phone. (Ahem, product placement, in the first two minutes no less. That's okay though because I think it would've been subliminal except that I happened to pause the picture right when he was looking at it and I can clearly read Sprint. Very Clever.)
He gets his coffee and takes the escalator down, walking down the last few steps as people are prone to do. Go figure, someone creates a machine so you don't have to use the stairs and people still step down them. I wonder why they don't just use the regular stairs. Do they really save that much extra time, like those people who inch forward at a red traffic light, do you really arrive earlier at your destination because of that. (Hmm, apparently I feel strongly about this subject.)
He leaves the building, sipping his coffee as he walks out. He takes a couple strides before he gets a confused look on his face. He drops his coffee cup and falls to his knees. Right before he faceplants into the concrete the two women near him see that smoke is coming out of his mouth and nose. Damn, that must've been some hot coffee. McDonald's has got nothin' on this place.
Several other people around them start collapsing and spewing puffs of smoke also. One woman's lips char to a crusty black right before she succumbs.
One of the two unaffected (so far) women says to the other, "Don't move, I think when they move, they die. Nobody move."
I know I didn't move all through the credit sequence. I wasn't taking any chances.
Next, one of my favorite types of scenes. Olivia and Peter in bed together. No artsy blue stuff though, they appear to be looking for a place to move into. Olivia exercises her veto rights a couple times before Peter finds one that sounds a little more acceptable.
This one has a dog run and a fireplace in the bedroom. Peter reveals that since he was allergic to dogs when he was a kid Walter made their Lab non-allergenic. Olivia asks if it has a nursery. Peter says, "Nursery?" while he searches her face. She only locks eyes with him and repeats herself. He starts smiling while she leans toward him. Then of course the inevitable happens, as it always does when our leads are about to either confess something important or get it on or as in this case probably a combination of the two, the phone rings. So they both turn away from each other to grab their phones (I think they accidentally loaded a cock block app on their phones. Think about through the history of the show how many times this has happened.) The question of the moment was never answered either. Soooo ... is she or isn't she? Was that a major hint? Or just some just-in-case future thinking?

Astrid and Walter are at the scene of the event, even though they are standing behind the crime scene tape Walter is barking instructions to the hazmat suited men on the inside perimeter. Trying to direct him to the right victim he yells out, "No, you Ninny! The next one over!" Astrid distracts him a little by buttoning up his coat and brushes off his remarks to her about being a mother hen, saying "Just humor me, maybe I like doing it."
Hazmat Dude 1 comes over and tells Walter that the air is clear. He enters and maneuvers around the still unmoving standing people as well as the dead people, some of which still have wafts of smoke trickling from their mouths.
Walter find the original victim and picks up his [Sprint] cell phone which is still on the payment confirmed screen from earlier. When Walter mentions it Astrid assures him it's just a way people pay their bills now and didn't have anything to do with what happened to the man.
Peter and Olivia are now walking with Broyles through the building. He is giving them the details, the major one being that over two dozen people were affected by some type of Spontaneous Human Combustion. Peter points out, "You know that's a myth, right?" Sure, Peter just like Alternate Universes, doomsday machines, shape shifters and unexitable towns are a myth too, right? Broyles just keeps talking expressing that he hopes Walter can get some answers for them. (I'm always ribbing whoever in the Fringe team expresses disbelief, but I know that someone has to be the voice of reason.)
The setting inside the building mimics the outside one, people upright and still while several bodies are prone on the ground emitting dark puffs. Walter crouches down next to one of them and starts up a one-sided conversation about how he had a similar watch once.
He is about to launch into his Uncle's fondness for Rhubarb pie when a pretty, red haired lady close by interrupts him, wanting to know if she is going to die. He gives her an honest answer telling her he doesn't know. She says to him, "What are you?" He replies, "I'm human, what are you? Is this some sort of alien invasion, are you part of --" She corrects herself and says she wanted to know why he was there, if perhaps he is a doctor. He lets her know he's a scientist.
Well, now that that's out of the way and Walter knows she's not an alien he wants to take a blood sample which she readily agrees to. He assures her "the discomfort will only be momentary," to which she quips back "That's what all you men say," getting a little smile from Walter.
While he's drawing her blood he notices that she has smudge marks on her fingertips that she assumes is from the escalator. Astrid checks the blood and confirms that there is something amiss there, but until they get back to the lab she won't know too much more. As Walter questions the vial of blood trying to discover it's secrets, someone calls out that they've found something under the escalator.
What they find is a machine that is producing nanites. For the non-techie types (moi) Astrid explains that they are "microscopic, self-replicating robotics." People were picking them up as they rode the escalator.
The nanites are being overloaded by the bio-chemical energy of the people that they are inhabiting. This is what's causing the spontaneous combustion. While the people are remaining still the nanites are not absorbing as much of their energy, but Walter warns that they will continue to become more sensitive until the smallest strain will cause them to go kablooey.
Walter needs a guinea pig and the red haired woman offers herself, but only if her family will be compensated if she doesn't survive. Astrid says that it is Bureau Regulations that her family will be provided for. Upon hearing that Jessica Holt becomes Walter's newest victim, um I mean case study.
Olivia makes sure that she is in sound mind and understands what's about to happen to her.
Back at the lab they've got Jessica laying down on a gurney. She tells Olivia that she's an ER nurse, so she's used to seeing weird things. She makes a phone call to either her husband or her ex, asking him to pick up their daughter.
While she talks to him, I'll take this opportunity to say that Peter's wearing plaid again this week. Awwww, yeeeaaaahhhh, [deep Barry White voice] I meant to comment last week that he was looking mighty fine and between his sexy bed hair at the beginning and the plaid now - whew! Peter might cause the Universe to collapse on it's own just from his sheer sexiness. Although it should definitely be the other way around, he should be able to save the universe that way.
Okay, she's off the phone now and when she hands it to Olivia to put it back in her purse Olivia sees the wallpaper of a young smiling girl on it. While Peter and Walter are working on an antidote Jessica's temperature starts spiking. They start trying to speed up the process for the cure and Olivia goes to Jessica's side to try to help keep her calm.
Jessica is shaking and sweating, her skin turning from cream colored to a very rosy red. Olivia grips her hand and they spend a few moments just breathing together. Then Olivia's face starts to dampen with sweat and beads roll and drip off her chin, but Jessica starts to calm down. Astrid calls out "Her temperature's dropping." Then the power blinks off in the lab. During this whole scene the camera goes from close ups of their clasped hands to Olivia's face to Jessica's face so it's understood that Olivia is drawing the heat out of her and into herself. That's a pretty neat party trick Olivia, or after party trick. I wonder if it works for hangovers?
Very soon the power comes on again and Jessica's vitals are back to non-life threatening ranges. Both Olivia and Walter are at a loss as to how Olivia did what she did. He thinks that the Cortexiphan allowed Olivia to slow down the molecules in Jessica's body which helped her temperature come back down. Peter administers the antidote to render the nanites useless.
Olivia's a little shaken up, understandably so considering what just happened. She walks Jessica out to her police escort. Along the way Jessica tells Olivia a little bit about her daughter. After they part ways Broyles calls Olivia to say he knows where the nanites came from.
Peter, Olivia and Broyles check out the surveillance camera footage at the building. There in the cavity between the escalators (where the nanite producing device was found) David Robert Jones can be seen crouching down, naturally up to no good. About ten minutes after this was recorded was when the incident occurred.
The only thing this really helps them to know is that Jones is in their universe. They still don't know what he wants or why he's doing what he's doing. They don't know if this nanite thing had something to do with his whole MUWHAHAHA evil plan to destroy the universes and make his own.
At the lab Walter is taking a closer look at the nanites. He realizes that he recognizes their structure. Walter is adamant that Jones did not make these nanites on his own. He says, "There's only one person who would construct this particular pattern." "Who?" Astrid asks.
Well, as the saying goes, "Ask and you shall receive." We see David Robert Jones walking down a hallway adjusting his tie. He enters a dimly lit room. There is someone else in the room, but they have their back to Jones. Jones basically says that they've been outsmarted by Olivia again. The thus-far unidentified person issues a deep, throaty chuckle and slowly turns. "Don't be so sure," says William Bell.
So that's what Belly's been doing in this timeline. Standing in that room with his back to the door, waiting for DRJ to come so he could say that and blow all the Fringe fans minds who thought that he wasn't going to be on the show again. Well played, sir. Not to mention that Bell's real life alter-ego Leonard Nimoy had said that he had retired from acting. See the lengths that people go to for this show? (I'd make a Star Trek reference here but I was never into Star Trek. I guess I can throw in a Live Long and Prosper. Isn't that good for all situations? I got it! How about it looks like Bell Lived Long and Prospered? I tried.)
Jones is feeling a little down in the dumps because he just can't seem to pull one over on Olivia Dunham. So then DRJ and Bell use a chess metaphor to "hint hint" of some impending doom. So, long quote time: Bell says, "In this game, the skill one must have above all else is patience. The board changes, but very slowly. The art of chess, the art is knowing when a piece is most valuable and then in that very moment being willing to sacrifice it. For in the vacuum created by the loss of what is most precious, opportunity abounds. Influence is maximized and desire becomes destiny. For example, on this board the most valuable piece is the Bishop. Therefore for the game to be won ..."
"The Bishop must be sacrificed." Jones finishes.
Hold up. What's this talk about sacrificing a Bishop? There is to be no Bishop sacrificing on this show. There I have spoken. It is so.
So, Jones ignores my above statement and says he'll tend to it. Pffftt. See if I get him anything for Christmas this year.
Walter and Olivia meet with Nina and Walter spins his idea that this nanotech was made by Belly. Nina is sure that Jones must've just gotten access to Bell's records and replicated his work. Walter frustratedly says, "Nina -- it was the work of a master, not an imposter. I know the difference."
There's a bit of a discrepancy as to when Bell died in his car accident. Nina says it was Christmas Day of 2005. Walter says it was New Year's Day because Bell had come to St. Claire's to visit him on New Year's Eve to say goodbye. He says, "They gave me additional shocks that day just to celebrate so I can't remember what he said." He emphasizes "shocks" and throws his hands out.
Nina finally cracks and yells at Walter, telling him that Bell's "accident" was actually a suicide. He had Lymphoma and decided he wanted to end things his own way. Heatedly Walter says, "But, it's still possible." Nina snaps back, "Oh Walter, anything is possible." However, she stands firmly by her claim that Bell would not be behind the destruction of the Universe.
Walter has Peter meet him and Olivia at St. Claire's because he has set out to prove that he is right about Bell coming to visit him. At St. Claire's Walter spends some time in his old cell room hoping to jog his memory. As he sits at the table he runs his fingers over the equations that he must've etched into it while he was there.
When he leaves and shuts the door behind him he gazes from the outside in for a moment, then one of the orderlies sees him in the hallway and says, "Well, well Wally Bishop. Hey Doc, you just visiting or you coming back to stay for a while?" Walter grabs his left wrist and his fingers are already doing that nervous twitch that was so prominent when he first got out or when he gets exceptionally freaked out.
Then Peter comes down the hall to save the day and takes Walter to see the Administrator. Walter is full of snark in the office talking to the Administrator. He refers to his stay as an incarceration which is not how she would prefer he reference it and when she says she thinks "treatment" sounds better and "I would think is more reflective of what we do here," Walter darkly states, "Would you now?"
Of course the logs don't show that William Bell ever visited on that night and Olivia gently suggests maybe it was a hallucination. Walter informs her, "My hallucinations were rarely biped and never men." Then he starts to loudly sniff his fingertips then the log book. While Olivia and Peter watch silently Walter takes a little lick of one of the pages. The administrator is puzzled by his behavior probably wondering exactly how he got released from St. Claire's in the first place.
She gives Walter permission to take the log book with him and as he leaves her office he calls out, "I must say, you're much prettier than your predecessor."
That night, back at Olivia's apartment Olivia and Peter are preparing to have a nice dinner. Things are going swimmingly until Olivia minces her finger instead of the garlic. Peter, chivalrous man that he is wraps her finger up quickly and tries to make her feel better with a joke saying, "That's what happens when you drink and mince."
So -- Olivia's drinking? Let's just say that we never saw the glass raised to her lips.
She's obviously perplexed about something. Many somethings I'm sure. She's got plenty to choose from. Turns out though, this time she's thinking about mortality and how chances are slim to none that their life and future together could be deemed normal. She tells Peter she's tired of having Superpowers and she wants them gone. He calmly agrees to help her do just that. He says, "We'll figure it out. Together." Olivia asks, "Is that a personal guarantee?" He foregoes a worded response and kisses her tenderly. Then he looks her in the eye and says, "After all we've been through, I will not lose you again Olivia." (Such a sweet scene.) Then they start to discuss dinner again.
Suddenly, the darkness of night outside the window is replaced by a light so bright the entire kitchen is illuminated. Peter and Olivia pull the curtain back, squinting as they look out the window.
The next scene is of Broyles walking to his car. There are a few people in the parking lot just standing there, looking at something. Broyles follows their gaze and stops short when he sees a huge beam of light engulf a building in the distance. I think this is the most shocked I have ever seen Broyles look. The beam narrows itself down into a concentrated ray that pierces the roof and projects vertically through the building. The windows begin to blow out floor by floor from the top down. It was kind of awesome. In the way that fake movie/TV disasters are. It reminded me of Independence Day. Maybe Walter was right earlier and the aliens really are arriving.
Olivia and Peter are in the SUV driving and talking to Walter on the phone. Walter says that his theory is that Jones is somehow focusing the suns rays in a magnified form to the location of his choosing. Astrid is doing some research for Walter in relation to this and they find out that below Beacon Hill is an oil reservoir. If the sun beam gets close enough to the oil then it is going to be like Hell literally broke loose under Boston. Walter tells Peter that Broyles needs to evacuate all of Boston.
Astrid's findings also show two non-government radio frequencies that seem suspicious. They are 2202.518 and 2202.520. Walter grumbles, "You brilliant bastard, Belly."
Walter calls Olivia and Peter explaining that he thinks that Jones is using satellites to direct the beams from the sun to wherever he wants to send them. He used the radio signals to find the place that Jones is probably using as a command center. He tells them to go to 1600 Beech Street.
After he gets off the phone with them a ding is heard and Walter pulls a small lemon cake out of his little oven. Is it an Easy Bake oven?
Olivia and Peter get to the location and play "I Spy" and find two buildings across from each other with antennas on top. They have to turn them off so they split up and each take one. While they climb up to the roofs of the buildings David Robert Jones watches Peter from a car nearby. After Peter goes inside Jones gets out of the car. At this point all I hear in my head is Jones' lispy voice saying, "The Bishop must be sacrificed."
At the lab Walter is tending to his lemon cake again and for once he didn't make it for a snack. He has laced the lemon cake with pig brain and laced the pig brain with Cortexiphan. When Cortexiphan is heated between 90 and 100 degrees it causes temporary partial tissue regeneration. I admit, I was confused by this. I don't know if he rubbed the pig brain on the paper or what he did but the bottom line is somehow he got smudges from where people had touched the log sheet at St. Claire's to reappear on the paper. So many smudges appear on the paper Walter is not sure that he'll be able to isolate Bell's. There is a weird brown stain which Walter decides to taste. He's really gotta stop doing that. As a side note, the lemon cake that Walter cut in half a few minutes ago now seals itself back together as though it had never been apart. He tells Astrid, "As I said, Cortexiphan is regenerative. Shouldn't eat it though."
I'm not really sure why he didn't just try fingerprinting it in the beginning. I know he said he tried to take a DNA sample but there was none.
Walter proclaims the brown taste-tested smudge to be residue of Chilean Almonds which Belly was so enamored with he would buy them wholesale from the importers. Walter is now in Go mode and is walking around stripping off his lab coat and putting his sweater and jacket on. He tells Astrid he's heading off to A-1 Imports down by the sea port because he is convinced he will find William Bell there. Who woulda thunk it? Walter has come so far from the beginning of the season. It warms my little Fringe obsessed heart.
Walter is so driven on his quest he gives Astrid this little speech before he walks out the door, "I know this is a wild goose chase. A fool's errand and I am a fool. But, no one is asking you to join me Alex. It's my hunch and I am quite capable of pursuing it on my own so Peace Out," complete with a peace sign.
He clomps off down the hall and Astrid sighs as she pulls her jacket off the coat rack as Walter abruptly comes back in saying, "I don't --" "Drive." Astrid finishes. Then she looks at him and says, "Alex?" Walter murmurs, "I was on a roll."
Olivia and Peter are now playing "Sink Jones' Satellite" and Peter is coaching her from the opposite roof. He tells her what to do and says they have to do it together. Wait, so are we gonna see some Polivia action after all? But they are on opposite roofs, how's that going to work? Oh, never mind, when he said "do it together" he meant they had to turn their buttons down together. My bad. Still many euphemisms could still be read in there if you choose to do so.
Peter makes a Ghostbusters joke about not crossing the streams that Olivia doesn't get and Peter finds that endearing. But back to business ... they do what they gotta do and the beam of light slowly shrinks and fades away into nothing.
No sooner have they averted that crises than DRJ appears behind Peter and whacks him across the back. Jones continues to beat the crap out of Peter with a pipe or some kind of metal object. (Update:  I now know that it was crowbar that Jones was whumping Peter with.)  Olivia sees what's going on and tries to draw a bead but there's too much movement going on. Jones smashes Peter in the shoulder and he yells and grabs it.
At about this time two security guards run up on the roof and pull guns on Olivia. They won't listen to her claim that she's an FBI agent. She uses her mind-bending power to make them drop their guns to the ground. She didn't even have to concentrate hard. Of course she's was probably already on adrenaline overload.
This gives her an idea and she turns towards Peter and Jones again. Jones is behind Peter choking him with ...  maybe a gun, I don't know - if he had a gun why wouldn't he just shoot him? -- Olivia watches for a moment, then suddenly she wrenches her right shoulder forward. On the opposite roof Peter mimics her action and breaks away from Jones. Peter's holding his shoulder in pain and his arm is just hanging down by his side. Olivia grabs her shoulder and makes a move like she's putting it back into socket. At this point Peter's not touching his own shoulder anymore but his shoulder rotates itself around and crunches as it slides back into place.
Then Olivia takes a few swings like she's shadowboxing and Peter does what she does, but makes contact with Jones. Then while Jones is bent over Peter body slams him and he flies back into a piece of the satellite. A loud buzzing sound is heard and sparks shoot up.
Peter is holding his shoulder and looking over at Olivia like, "What the fuck woman?" I'm sure it was in a grateful way though. Peter turns his attention back to Jones who is looking even worse than usual. He says, "I got it wrong. I was the sacrifice. I was the Bishop." Then half his face turns to ash and crumbles off. Buh-Bye DRJ. May you not RIP.
Walter and Astrid arrive at Boston Harbor and find a door marked A1 Imports Distribution Co. It's unlocked and they head in. They are greeted by a man who has no idea who the lady is that Walter is asking for. Then realization dawns and he says, "I think I get it. You're talking about that import/export company. Well they went out of business. Three years ago." He gets called on his walkie and leaves. During the time they were talking Astrid had noticed that he had a gun under his coat.
Before she can convince Walter to leave some strange noises start coming from another area of the enclosure. Walter goes to check it out and Astrid follows. The find a room with large cargo bays and more odd noises. They come up on the security guy who isn't very happy that they are there. He has two other men with him, one with a very big automatic gun. Security guy says to non-gun toting guy, "Go and tell him we have visitors."
Astrid acts like she's being compliant and docile and then she kicks the crap out of gun-toting man and she and Walter take off running. Astrid's shooting behind her as they sprint down the hallway. Have we seen Astrid shoot her gun before? I am so glad we get to see Astrid being a badass.
They are running through the maze of cargo containers and dodging bullets. Suddenly security man pops around the corner and I don't even want to write it. I was so horrified when this happened. He fucking shoots Astrid in the back. Astrid, sweet Astrid. In the back. Oh My God. I think I inhaled all the air out of the room in one big gulp when that happened. I was yelling at the TV, my voice cracking from the emotion. I did not see that coming. I think I had the brief thought at one point during the chase, I hope Astrid doesn't get hurt. But this. No.
She jerks to a stop, gasping for air and Walter cradles her head as she sinks to the floor. A red spot is soaking through her white shirt front and slowly getting bigger.
Then William Bell saunters up to them saying, "I'm not sure I ever thought I would see you again. Hello, old friend." Walter just stares up at him.
Bad Wo-bot --- you were an Evil Wo-bot tonight.
I don't think there are enough OMG and WTF's to accurately express how utterly taken by surprise I was by this. I know they are all living on borrowed time, some more than others but that was insane. Thank God there is another episode and that wasn't the season finale. But if that was the almost season finale what the hell kind of cliffhanger are they going to leave us with this time? Which brings me back to the reason I was watching and rewatching next week's preview.
Random Notes / Observations / What-have-yous:
I think that maybe that is why they had the Mother Hen scene at the beginning, to show Astrid's affection for Walter. We already knew it was there but there's nothing like an extra dose of it right before the rug gets pulled out from under you.
So is Olivia pregnant or isn't she? I don't really see her as the type to not tell Peter right away. I know going by the future episode Henrietta's age means that she would be pregnant around this time. I thought when I calculated it out she would've been pregnant before now, like way before now. But my calculations are never very accurate and I don't have enough brain power to think about it right now.
I don't think I'm down with her being pregnant. I just don't see how it would fit into the show, but look at all the other things that have managed to fit into the show.
There was a live tweet with Joel Wyman tonight on Twitter. He's so cool about that.
At first I was pretty sure that Astrid was a goner, but then I saw someone on Twitter brought up that she was alive in the future. (See and who says Social Media can't be used for good.) So hopefully she will be saved. I thought I saw something mentioned about the regenerating powers of Cortexiphan too.
What did you guys think? What were your favorite parts of this episode? What was your favorite quote? What do you think is going to happen next week?
Thanks for reading!

Next Fringe Recap:  Episode 4x22 - "Brave New World Part 2"


Anonymous said...

I lived in Boston for a while. The average speed of walkers there is one of the highest in U.S. cities, and everyone continues to walk on escalators.

Anonymous said...

any idea what music is playing in the background in the scene where peter and olivia are chatting in the kitchen before dinner?

Thought Provoking Shirts said...

Interesting factoid.

Thought Provoking Shirts said...

Unfortunately I was not able to find out what that song was. I can't hear enough of the lyrics to try to look it up.

If it was the intrumental song you were referring to, I'm not sure what that one was either.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it weas an instrumental, sounds like a woman singing. thanks anyway for checknig, appreciate it!