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Fringe: Of Human Action

“Massive Dynamic. It was just a name, until now.”

Massive Dynamic and Fringe Division teamed up this week to solve a kidnapping: at first blush, it looks like two used car salesmen kidnapped an innocent teenager. But, surprisingly, there’s more to the story: the kid is the kidnapper, and he’s controlling the adults around him. Mostly, he just needs them to drive him places, but that leads to all sorts of wacky shenanigans.

Our Theme of the Week is the lies that parents tell their children: Tyler’s dad told him his mother was dead, but she was really just a deadbeat (according to what he tells Olivia) or a surrogate (according to the last few minutes). And once Tyler man-naps Peter, Walter is forced to relive the feelings of loss that led to him bringing alterna-Peter into this world to replace real-Peter. A lie that Peter still doesn’t know about.

There were other power struggles in play, too. Walter felt the weight of his own failure when he encountered Massive Dynamic’s 73 labs and super-high-tech hallways, and he needed their help to find his son. The US government threatened to take Fringe Division off the case, justifying their takeover by claiming terrorism, even though, as Olivia noted, all the evidence pointed to an angry kid.

And, boy howdy, was he angry. Fifteen-year-olds don’t have fully developed moral compasses yet—I think it has something to do with their myelin sheaths. But this kid really didn’t mind killing lots and lots and lots of people to find his mommy. He even resisted Peter’s attempts to bond over their daddy issues.

Tyler and Peter also could have bonded over their bizarre origins, if either of them had known about their origins. The big reveal at the end reminded me of the X-Files episode Eve. And as much as our heroes may have felt like they were getting the full Massive Dynamic red carpet treatment, they were still being lied to. Thank goodness they had those tinfoil hats to protect themselves!

Walter’s sadness throughout the episode was so poignant, so touching, so well done. I usually feel like John Noble is almost wasted in this role, especially when he’s just supposed to act like an oddball. But it’s the moments like these that really let him shine.

The Good:

• Michael Giacchino’s score. The Massive Dynamic music was gorgeous.

• Olivia: “Is that what killed her?”
Walter: “Oh, ho, ho, ho, no. The bullet took care of that.” What a masterful chuckle.

• Peter: “A teddy bear vs. mind control spies? Bad guys don’t stand a chance.”

• Walter: “Do not under any circumstances remove [the headphones]. If you do, you may die a gruesome and human death. Thank you for your attention, and have a very nice day.”

• Peter: “Yeah, you managed to kidnap yourself. You’re a criminal mastermind.”

• Broyles: “Best case scenario, we have a highly intelligent malcontent on a killing spree.”

• Astrid in the tinfoil hat. Walter, too, but mostly Astrid.

The Bad:

• The coffee pot thing. Back in my barista days, I spilled 1.5 liters of coffee on my leg, and I think I blacked out for a bit from shock. So, so painful! Even to watch it happen to someone else, years later.

• Fox is doing some sort of promotion for The Simpsons—it’s a scavenger hunt. I noticed the Homer Pez dispenser and Tyler’s mom living in Springfield (state unknown). It really took me out of the story.

That’s Ridiculous:

• Walter: “This is not hypnosis; ‘tis mind control.”

• Cars, even clunkers, really don’t catch fire that easily. Especially not from the chassis.

• Olivia to Nina Sharp: “The son of one of your top scientists can control people’s minds? Surely that’s not a coincidence.”

• In the final minutes, Nina Sharp communicated with William Bell via what looked like an Apple 2E (if I’m wrong, please let me know; it was certainly an old computer). I wonder if Massive Dynamics were the ones to supply the Dharma stations.

This was another good stand-alone: it was much, much better than the stand-alones of the first season, and just as good as last week’s. It was nice to get a smallish peak inside the world of Massive Dynamic, even if we’re constantly in the position of knowing way more than our heroes (which is an odd position to be in, frankly). It looks like next week we’ll get some awesome Observer answers, and that’s super-exciting.

Four out of four teddy bears.

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


  1. It is certainly interesting for me to read that post. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon.

  2. This was a good episode, but I have to remember not to watch Fringe at dinner.

  3. Well, that was a freaky twist at the end. Very 'Eve'-ish, for sure. (A good XF comparison this week! Yea!) And just when I was starting to believe Massive Dynamic (love that name) was an ally. Silly me.

    Also, just want to express my appreciation for the opening title sequence. I love how the music builds to a dramatic crescendo, and then suddenly drops out as we join the episode. Something about it makes me smile each time I hear it.

  4. I just love Walter and Astrid's relationship. The tin foil hats were too cute!

  5. Just a little nerd note about the computer Nina was typing on at the end. No, that wasn't an Apple IIe. Like the Apple II+ my family had when I was a kid, none of the Apple II series had integrated monitors like that unit nina was using. :)


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