Fringe

2008, TV Show

Fringe Episode: "Momentum Deferred"

Season 2, Episode 4
Episode Synopsis: While the Fringe division is alerted to a crime spree that's connected to the shape-shifters, Walter cooks up a prescription to help Olivia recall the details of her meeting with William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), and another subject of Walter's past experiments emerges.
Original Air Date: Oct 8, 2009
Guest Cast Leonard Nimoy: William Bell Theresa Russell: Rebecca Sebastian Roché: Thomas Jerome Newton Roger Cross: Smith
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Season 2, Episode 4
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Length: 43:45
Aired: 10/8/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and VUDU
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Fringe Episode Recap: “Momentum Deferred” Season 2, Episode 4

After the lackluster previous episode, "Momentum Deferred" got Fringe right back on track with an exciting plot-packed episode. Shape-shifters are stealing heads from cryonics labs across the East Coast as Olivia's memory begins to return, and because this is Fringe we're talking about, the two events seem to be related. Plus: Walter seeks the aid of a former test subject and Evil Charlie's plans come to a head.

Wow, this episode got a lot out of the way. I expected there to be plenty of revelations — after all this was the episode where William Bell returned — but there was more than even I expected. If all the plot machinations meant there was little room for character and emotional beats in the story, so be it: The creators pretty much set up the entire rest of the season (or series) with this episode. The opening appeared to be setting up another "freak-of-the-week" storyline but it soon turned out to be so much more. The shape-shifters (under the eye of Evil Charlie) are stealing heads from cryonics labs and looking for something... or rather someone.

The most important occurrence of this episode was Walter whipping up a flatworm shake for Olivia. I'll admit the explanation for the flatworms helping Olivia remember what happened on the other side was a little suspect, even for Fringe, but I was more than happy to gloss over it. This, of course, led to a few momentary flashbacks while Olivia was on the job; and just when I started to worry we would only get quick, cryptic flashes, we got the whole dang flashback!

I loved the way Bell treats Olivia in this scene. He tries to be warm and welcoming ("Call me Willem") and acts as if this is some great reunion. But Olivia isn't having any of it, and she shouldn't! This man inexorably changed the direction of Olivia's life and she's more than a little pissed about it. Anna Torv and the writers really deserve kudos for making Olivia forceful and strong without making her come off as a complainer who curses her lot in life. After all, we wouldn't have a show if Bell-y hadn't done what he did. Bell explained to her that a war was coming and the shape-shifters, also known as "The First Wave," were looking for someone who could open a door between their two universes. He has confidence Olivia can be the one to stop the nefarious plot because she was always the strongest and she's "just coming into [her] abilities." I personally cannot wait to see what the extent of those abilities might be.

Back in our universe, the team investigates the body of the shape-shifter killed in the opener; surprisingly, this plotline provided a good deal of information as well. From the body of the shape-shifter we learned that the shifters are "Mechano-organic hybrids" that feed off mercury. This seems to explain not only why they can shape-shift but also why they can move through dimensions so easily. This discovery also causes the team to realize that the nurse killed in episode 1 of this season was not the shape-shifter, and that it was still out there.

This storyline really provided the episode with the emotional meat it needed. Walter enlists the help of Rebecca, the girl we saw in the video in the season opener. She can see the people from the other side. It's clear from the moment she sees him that the two had a complex relationship. It was really nice to see someone from Walter's past overjoyed to see him; it shows that even though the man has always been about science, he meant something to someone. (Though that may be a slap in Peter's face: Daddy wasn't home much, after all.) Rebecca comes back in for the experiment to help spot the people from the other side, and while it's not totally successful, she does see a glow around Peter, indicating he is from the other side. This is pretty much as definitive as the show has been that Peter is from the other dimension, but I still hope they don't tease this story out for too long. Peter needs to find out sooner rather than later.

Walter's apology to Rebecca was also a mini-breakthrough of sorts for Walter. It shows that while he may be consumed by his experiments and the science he pursues, he's beginning to recognize that he has gone too far in the past. It's nice to see that Walter isn't a single-minded man who's only the mad scientist he so often appears to be. He has a heart somewhere in there too.

By episode's end, Olivia discovers the true identity of Evil Charlie (with a little help from Massive Dynamic and Nina Sharp) and puts a bullet in his head. I was shocked that this storyline was resolved so quickly, if only because it means no more Kirk Acevedo as Charlie. I really grew to like Charlie. He seemed to be the only person on the show who really knew Olivia. But I also can't blame the writers for not wanting to drag that storyline out too long, the whole "double-agent" thing can only last so long.

In the end, however, Olivia couldn't stop the theft of another cryonics lab and we were treated to the spectacularly creepy image of the head of the "First Wave" leader being reattached and his eyes springing open. What did you think? Was it as satisfying as you hoped it would be? Do you think this "war" will be solved by seasons end, or is this a series-long thing? Post your thoughts below.

Random Thoughts:

  • - William Bell: "The truth will come out. It always does". No "The Truth Is Out There" but it'll do.
  • - Bell seems to be falling apart; I wonder how much longer he will last and what it will mean if he dies.
  • - Anyone else think it's kind of hot that Olivia knows her Invasion of the Bodysnatchers?
  • - Nina illustrating her point about the two universes with the snow globes was a little silly, but this definitely raises the stakes for the so-called storm that's brewing.
  • - Anyone notice Charlie's Slusho cup? This is a weird JJ Abrams thing that started with Cloverfield and keeps popping up in his work and I can't figure out why. It's a slushy-type drink, who cares?
  • - I spotted The Observer, did you? (Hint: When Charlie and Olivia meet outside of Massive Dynamic)
  • - Bell said he took Olivia from a car, but wasn't she in an elevator in the finale when she was taken?
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After the lackluster previous episode, "Momentum Deferred" got Fringe right back on track with an exciting plot-packed episode. Shape-shifters are stealing heads from cryonics labs across the East Coast as Olivia's memory begins to return, and because this is Fringe we're talking about, the two events seem to be related. Plus: Walter seeks the aid of a former test subject and Evil Charlie's plans come to a head. read more

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Premiered: September 09, 2008, on FOX
Rating: TV-14
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Premise: A drama with sci-fi elements following the FBI probe of mysterious deaths aboard an airplane that landed at Boston's Logan Airport. But the deaths aboard Flight 627 are only the beginning of the story. Executive producers include J.J. Abrams ('Lost') and his 'Mission: Impossible III' co-screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

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