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Fringe: Dream Logic

“You’re gonna be fine.”

If I’ve learned nothing else from this show, I’ve learned one thing: never trust a research scientist. Walter, William Bell, a few of the baddies from last season, and now our Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde of sleep studies—all evil. In this case, it turns out that mind control isn’t just about getting the controlled to do what you want. It provides a huge rush for the controller, something like LSD or mescaline or…well, you name it.

That’s an interesting commentary on mind-control attempts from the past, such as MK-Ultra, which Walter mentioned. It’s not about the victim, but about the person in charge and the satisfaction they derive from abusing others. Then again, the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde aspect of the control-addiction meant that the good doctor was, in a way, out of control of his own actions even as he controlled the actions of others. Much like Agent Francis, he was no longer the person that he used to be; he was taken over not by a skinchanger but by his own need.

Olivia continued her mission to repair her broken psyche with Sam Weiss’s less-than-traditional methods. She, too, feels like she’s not quite right: she wants to return to the person she was, if that’s possible, or at least to change the grief and confusion that she now feels. She’s living a nightmare of her own: her lover lost (last season) and her partner lost (last episode).

What she does have, though, is Peter. Olivia and Peter were all about the emotions this week. They swapped stories and connected over the loss of Agent Francis. Across the country, Agent Keshner provided a nice window into just how weird this weird science is—especially as forensic science. Peter’s telephonic interdiction against student volunteers, and the happy coincidence of Keshner’s appearance, made me laugh out loud. Almost all of the Cambridge scenes were funny: Astrid and Walter have a great rapport, especially when there’s a rube in the room for them to play with.

Peter’s nightmare in the last few minutes really creeped me out. He dreamed about the time when he didn’t have dreams, and he saw Walter in the mirror: another hint for Peter to eventually figure out about his own provenance.

The Theme of the Week is dreams: both our subconscious working out its demons (or not, as the case may be) and the aspirations that we have to be well, be happy, be connected to others. Or, sometimes, just to repair what’s broken. It was also about all those things that don't make logical sense: an anagram-message that actually means something, the coincidence of wearing the same t-shirt as someone you spend a lot of time with, the short anecdotes that somehow bring us closer to one another.

The Good:

• Peter’s rundown for the FBI Walter-sitter. Sudoku and psychotropic drugs: and what are you doing this weekend?

• The dueling college t-shirts.

• Olivia collecting business cards from everyone wearing red.

• Walter was involved with MK-Ultra. Isn’t he a bit young for that?

• Astrid: “Walter? What’s wrong with Agent Keshner?” In her best mom voice.

Science Should Be Fun:

• Walter: “It seems that this man died of acute exhaustion.” All of us overworked schmoes now have something else to worry about.

• Spike really could have used Walter and Peter helping him with the Initiative chip.

• Peter doesn’t remember a single dream from ages 8 to 19. Is this significant for his substitution from one dimension to another? Or just an interesting factoid?

• Did you know that anagram is an anagram for ars magna?

I liked this one, more for the great Peter/Olivia and Walter/Astrid stuff than the plot of the week. It looks like we’ll be Fringe-less until the World Series gets won.

Three out of four Dodgers.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. "anagram is an anagram for ars magna".
    "anagrams" would be the correct anagram for "ars magna".

    And I must say, I did find the whole business cards spelling out "you're gonna be fine" (as an anagram) rather forced.

    Not a very good episode, in my view. I did like some bits (like the ones you mention), but the whole thing seemed even more far-fetched than usual.

  2. The poster on the wall in young Peter's room jumped out at me. It says, "Challenger Mission 11. June 28, 1984." I did a search, and Challenger exploded on its tenth mission, January 28, 1986.

    I thought about Spike and his chip, too. :)

  3. I've always been really intrigued by the business card idea. After viewing this episode back in the day, I collected a business card from everyone wearing red one day at a conference. I got six cards and the anagram? Despite my best efforts (and the best efforts of several of my friends), it came to nothing.

    Oh well, I simply love it as a story point.

  4. I know this comment is years too late, but the fake Greek guys pronunciation of moussaka is this series biggest fail.

    1. Anonymous, it's never too late here. Our classic show reviews are our biggest hitters.


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