After recovering from last week's pilot, which laid out a government and corporate conspiracy relating to a series of events called "The Pattern," we're introduced to a much more procedural episode of
Fringe. Walter (who now lives with Peter), and Olivia investigate the strange death of a woman who gave birth to an unusual baby. How did this child come to be? And, how are Walter's former experiments involved in the equation... and in a new revelation about Peter?
Most of the comments last week suggested viewers liked the pilot, or at least were willing to give it another shot. Well, this is your other shot,
Fringe! I actually saw a screening of this episode at the New York Television Festival (moderated by our own Mickey O'Connor), and I liked it better than the pilot. It had really cool special effects, awesome Walter-isms, and actual chemistry forming between Olivia and Peter. We also got to delve more into the connections between Walter, Nina Sharp, Massive Dynamic and the government and the experiments they conducted before Walter was institutionalized. To me, the pattern seems more and more like karmic payback of sorts as if the events occurring in nature are direct results of the experiments and are now coming back to haunt those who created them.
As the show begins, we get some ominous music as we meet a hooker and her client post-coitus (what is it with this show and all the coitus?). The hooker yammers on while the client goes to the bathroom with a scary looking tool set. I do not like where this is going. He's preparing some sort of shot for his victim, but she interrupts him by screaming and convulsing. She grabs her stomach, and holy crap, there's something moving around in there. He drives her to the hospital and ditches her to pick up another girl. Back at the hospital, the baffled staff cuts open her hugely pregnant stomach. But it's too late for the hooker. A disgusting and disturbing ripping noise is heard... then the staff screams and vomits at the sight of the "baby."
Broyles has assembled what looks like a task force on "The Pattern," which includes Nina. He introduces the group to his new team: Walter, Olivia and Peter. Of course Nina can't resist a few jabs at Broyles' team selection. No one likes a Monday-morning quarterback, Nina. As Nina is asking why the hell Broyles would choose Olivia, we cut to her pouring over the case files she worked on with John while flashing back to his betrayals. She is gonna be messed up about this for quite some time. Broyles calls her and tells her to bring the gang to the hospital to investigate the death of the pregnant woman. And
hoo-boy do they get a surprise! The "baby" looks like an 80-year-old man, on the floor, covered in afterbirth with his umbilical cord still attached. It's the most preposterous thing I've ever seen, but let's just go with it, shall we? Broyles says he was born, matured completely and then died within a half an hour. Walter has them bring the bodies to the lab, while Broyles tries to explain that this incident is most likely a part of "the pattern". Peter doesn't see a connection... he's a smart kid, but a little slow on the global scientific anomaly front.
Olivia and Peter check out the motel where the hooker was staying and find some orange goo. Olivia has that look on her face - like she knows something she's not saying. She knows this killer's M.O. because she worked the case before and never caught him. Her frantic attitude is less about the disturbing nature of the crime and more about feeling like every case she worked with John is in question. Peter tells her to explain the case to him. He wants to reach out to her, not know the gory details. And they are gory. This dude kills several women every couple of years by drugging them and sucking out a part of their brain through an incision in their gums. Good times.
Meanwhile, Creepy Hooker Client (CHC) goes to pick up his new victim, takes her back to his abandoned warehouse of a living area and drugs her. We then see her in a chair with dental equipment forcing her mouth open, and while she's completely awake, the CHC takes a scalpel to her gum line. At this point, I need a margarita. If you haven't already guessed, this is a very graphic episode... you've been warned.
Back at the lab Walter tells Peter he thinks the hooker was impregnated by a man who was a result of Walter's experiments 30 years ago. Yikes! That's a pretty big admission. Walter has no idea what the experiment was, but he remembers where he hid his car (and the many case files of research within it). After they retrieve his research, Walter says to look for any cases that deal with the pituitary gland. Olivia's head shoots up from her files - that matches her killer's M.O.! Astrid asks what the heck this has to do with the 80-year-old man-baby, and Walter tells us that the pituitary gland is responsible for regulating growth in essence, aging. A Dr. Claus Penrose comes up in the files. Walter worked with him on rapid aging project and luckily, Penrose is now back in the area and teaching at Boston College. Guess where they're headed next! Of course, Penrose denies doing any rapid aging work in years, and Olivia and Peter can tell that this guy isn't giving them the whole story.
At the lab, Walter tells Olivia and Peter about experiments they did that would "cultivate" or grow soldiers by manipulating growth hormones. Gotta love our government. The only problem is, once the growing began, there was no way to stop it. He believes the killer must extract the hormones from the pituitary gland in order to stop his aging and stay young. Peter realizes that the CHC impregnated the hooker by accident, thus passing on his condition of rapid aging on to his baby.
CHC is back at the warehouse and suddenly we see Penrose! He's CHC's father! Duh-duh-duh! He tells CHC that he just needs one more pituitary to be OK again.
Now things get crazy: Walter has the newest victim in the lab and proposes that they try something ridiculously out there in order to discover the last image she saw before she died. He wants to capture the images from the electrical impulses to the eyes with a camera. Of course the camera that could make this happen is made by Massive Dynamic!
Finally! We get a Taster's Choice-moment scene that lets Olivia and Peter act like normal people instead of procedural caricatures. This is the first time I've believed that these two actually like each other and that the actors may have some chemistry. Poor Peter, he's really bugged by the fact that his father's work could be responsible for so many deaths. Something tells me, my friend, that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I'm sorry sidebar - How freakin' awesome is Blair Brown as Nina Sharp? She just commands the role with such confidence and ease. She is the epitome of the strong corporate woman or a scary power-hungry sociopath. Either way, bravo!
If you get squeamish at anatomy, specifically eyeballs, please turn from you TV! Too late? Me too! Oh jeez, that was too much. Walter lifted the eyeball of the last hooker victim out of the socket. It's hanging on by it's optic nerve, and then the fancy eyeball camera starts flashing. The image they find is of a bridge, and Astrid knows where it is! After some insanely quick triangulation work and satellite photos, they isolate CHC's location.
Peter and Olivia bust in on Penrose and the latest hooker victim who is all tied up to be butchered. Of course, he escapes just after trying to OD the hooker. Peter saves her with an improvised defibrillator (whatever!), while Olivia catches up with the killer. He's aged rapidly as he tells Olivia that the government paid his "father" to create him... then he dies before her eyes, an old man.
Before returning to Harvard, Olivia chats with Nina, who offers her a job. Of course, Olivia can't pass up rubbing that in Broyles face.
Once back with Walter, he and Olivia have a little heart to heart - in which Walter lets us in on the fact that Peter may be part of one of his experiments and that he hopes she'll keep Peter's medical history between the two of them. Olivia and us viewers all simultaneously shout, "What condition!?" But wait, there's more... after Peter sings Walter to sleep (awww), the last image we see is of three exact clones of CHC in some sort of incubaters. The soldier growth work has continued! Good cliffhangers,
Fringe. Well played.
Best Walter-isms: Referring to seat-warmer: "I've never seen such a device... it warms your ass!"
After Peter says a hooker's heart has stopped: "Do you have any cocaine? Oh, well too bad, you'll have to shock her heart."
So, did you like the second episode better than the pilot? What do you think Peter's medical condition is?
After recovering from last weeks pilot which laid out a government and corporate conspiracy relating to a series of events called The Pattern were introduced to a much more procedural episode of Fringe Walter who now lives with Peter and Olivia investigate the strange death of a woman who gave birth to an unusual baby How did this child come to be And how are Walters former experiments involved in the equation and in a new revelation about Peter Most of the comments last week suggested viewers liked the pilot or at least were willing to give it another shot Well this is your other shot Fringe I actually saw a screening of this episode at the New York Television Festival moderated by our own Mickey OConnor and I liked it better than the pilot It had really cool special effects awesome Walter-isms and actual chemistry forming between Olivia and Peter We also got to delve more into the connections between Walter Nina Sharp Massive Dynamic and the govern