FRINGE EPISODE 1.03 "THE GHOST NETWORK"
As the episode opens, we see a man attack a bus full of people by unleashing an aerosol spray into the air. While leaving the bus we see him grab a backpack from one of the women on the bus. After he is gone, we see that the aerosol has hardened and solidified everyone in a sort of gel like material, leaving them in almost a suspended animation type state.
Meanwhile, we're shown a young man who had a vision of the attack before it occurs, and as we later learn, he has been having these visions for almost 9 months. The Fringe team gets a hold of him to try and find out how he's seeing these things, and whether or not he can lead them to the terrorist who attacked the bus... wacky science ensues.
The Fringey Science
There's all kinds of wacky science in this episode. First off, let's talk about the aerosol we see in the beginning. After "recreating" the agent, Dr. Bishop explains that it's a "silicone based aerosol that reacts with Nitrogen in the atmosphere when it is released", therefore solidifying it into the gel we saw earlier.
That's the simple part. Once the Fringe team gets a hold of the guy with the visions, Bishop realizes that he was part of an experiment he had conducted 20 years earlier (natch), and that he has metal compounds in his blood which are enabling him to pick up on some type of super advanced, telepathic communication system. It was a system he had been trying to develop in his previous life as a researcher, and one that he now claims someone has perfected. The metal compound seems to have multiplied in the man's bloodstream and bunched up in his visual centers, hence the reason why he ends up drawing his visions to get rid of them.
So bring on the surgery! Bishop decides that the only way to fix this problem and try to interpret the signals he's getting is to drill holes into his brain and (presumably) through magnets, try to manipulate the concentrations of metal into the centers of his brain that deal with hearing. It works (of course), and the guy starts speaking what he's hearing on the psychic comm line, allowing the team to pinpoint where the next attack will happen. Whew, get all that?
A few key additions to the mythos this week, in bullet form as always.
- Dr. Bishop's son, Peter, is in some kind of trouble. A photographer is following him early in the episode, and after a confrontation he warns the guy not to tell anyone that he's back in town. This thread is then dropped for the rest of the episode, presumably to be picked up at a later date.
- The woman on the bus, whom the shadowy group wanted something from, was a DEA agent who wanted to be pulled out of her undercover work because she had discovered something called "The Pattern" (which we already know about). She was on her way back to her home base with some evidence when the bus was attacked.
- Both Bishop men can play the Piano. Aww, how cute.
- In the beginning, an awkward convo with the evil lady who's the head of Massive Dynamics leads Olivia to realize she's not being told everything. Her boss assures her it's only because of the highly sensitive info that she's dealing with.
- At the end we see a sinister meeting between the head of the Fringe group and said Massive Dynamics lady. The conversation is vague, but the implication seems to be a larger conspiracy that we're not fully aware of yet.
- Then as the episode closes, we see Agent Scott's body (which was buried in the beginning of the episode), in a lab at MD. The doctor tells evil lady that they're "pulling info from the link". Oooh, sinister!
I have to say, I wasn't quite as entertained by this episode as I was last week. If my writeups are any indication, this is one of the most convoluted and overly confusing shows I've ever watched. Granted, I've never seen "Lost", so perhaps this is just well worn territory for Abrams. For my part, I recall having the distinct thought last night that I would not be watching this show anymore if I weren't reviewing it for the site, which obviously is not a good sign.
Perhaps part of it is just my lack of attention span. We're now three episodes in, and we keep seeing the same ominous things happening. I need more development of the mythos people! It took three cases, all tied to Massive Dynamics before Agent Dunham decided there might be a connection here. Really? All I'm saying is, if this show is going to be based around this sinister, complicated mythos, we need more than bread crumbs here. Yes we're only three weeks in, but next week I need something special or else we may be saying good bye to these reviews.
On the positive side, I still highly enjoy watching Dr. Bishop conducting his wacky experiments every week. John Noble continues to act circles around his younger counterparts, and his ticks and momentary lapses of lucidity continue to bemuse me on a weekly basis. The main question is, how long before that runs thin?
And lastly, I spent a good amount of time bitching last week about the chemistry between our two leads. It's obvious at some point that a full on "Mulder and Scully" type arch will appear in the show. And while I'm against it, I do have to admit that there is a tiny scene at the end of this episode that, even if only for a fleeting moment, showed some chemistry between our two leads. I still think it would be a mistake to get them together, but the show at least showed signs this week that they might be able to change my mind on that front.
Thoughts, feelings, opinions on Fringe 1.03? Leave 'em in the comments!