When our founding fathers got together in 1776 to brainstorm a radically new kind of country (truly an exercise in Fringe thinking), they dared to imagine a place where the independent man could freely indulge at least three unalienable rights: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But last night’s Fringe presented a compelling argument that there should be strict rules governing that pursuit. For example: Let’s pretend you are a profoundly miserable individual with a 212 I.Q. who can only experience happiness by data-mining happy thoughts out of people's brains using a drill, liquid nitrogen and inexplicable sci-fi hoo-ha. Can’t do that. Because it kills them. "Cerebral hypothermia" or something. Even if you have no mirthful memories of your own, even if you lack the ability to manufacture some good cheer to brighten your gloomy mindscape, you can’t go around swiping people’s glee by throwing blueberry slushy on their brains. That’s how Fringe sees it; perhaps you disagree.
Sadsack psycho pirate John Lewis McClennan wasn’t the only madman on Fringe who pursued extreme measures to bring some sunshine to his terribly spotty mind. Stalked by mirror images of a young man he no longer recognized as his son in this rebooted version of time, Walter Bishop tried to blind himself to Peter’s poltergeist by blanketing every reflective surface in his lab. Then, slouched before a bank of stereo speakers like the Maxell armchair man, Walter bombarded himself with Mozart, as if trying to subvert the supernatural signal hacking his brain by flooding his input with blasts of classical gas. But Peter would not be ignored. If Walter refused to see him, Peter would make his father listen to him. No more silent running. Time to pump up the volume. (Did Fringe foreshadow Peter’s audible to audio in the premiere with Walter’s crack about growing an ear "under the dome" in his lab?) (And was "under the dome" a nod to the Stephen King novel? Is the rebooted universe merely some bubble reality destined to burst?) Regardless: Like last week, the episode ended with another nighttime visitation – but instead of popping up on Walter’s TV, Peter spoke directly into his father’s head. “Walter! Can you hear me? Walter! I’m right here! I’m here, Walter! Help me, Walter!” Walter covered his ears. Quiet, you unreal riot! But Peter kept bleating. Come on, Walter! Feel my noise! Poor, schizoid Walter. If he wasn’t hearing voices before, he sure is now.
SUFFER THE CHEERLEACHER!
Matrix Skull Jack – “Kennedy! Help me!” -- The Dexter Morgan School of Redirecting Deviant Desires – Three Ravens on John McClennan's Wall: So Where's The Dead Knight? -- The Way of Nature, The Way of Grace – Peter Bishop covers The Who’s “Go To The Mirror!” from Tommy: “See me, feel me/Touch me, heal me!” – "That woman processes more information in an hour than what you and I will in a lifetime." (So does The Drummer in Planetary. Peter = Ambrose?) -- Cerebral Hypothermia + The Fallacy of Forking Fate = Robert Frost’s ironic “The Road Not Taken” = Missing Peter Makes No Difference In The Grand Scheme of Things.
Last week’s premiere suggested a season with stories in which dueling Fringe Divisions would have to Sherlock some cases together. “One Night in October” proved there’s potential for much entertainment in that conceit, especially if the focus is on the doppelganger Dunhams. Together, trust-challenged Olivia and bread-making temptress Bolivia make for crackling-cool crime-fighting partners; in a parallel TV world, they’d have their own Rizzoli and Isles-like show.
NEXT: Praise for Anna Torv; seeing The Tree of Life in Margery.