'Fringe': Olivia solves an anagram, Peter recites a mantra, and Walter feeds his head

Fringe-hospital-Joshua_dl

In some ways, this was one of the less-distinctive, more X-Files-ish episodes of Fringe on Thursday night. The core case investigated by Olivia, Peter, and Walter involved people committing violent acts — they saw everyone around them as demons, and lashed out at the creatures (who were just innocent bystanders).

But as usual, there was another narrative layer at work here, a couple of them, in fact. One involved Olivia: She was still mourning the death of Charlie — or rather, her killing of “Charlie,” the shape-shifted version of her friend and colleague. She received more helpful, if obtuse, advice from the poker-faced bowling-alley savant Sam Weiss.

The other involved Walter’s past experiments mingled with his early parenting of Peter. (Peter told us that when he was a kid plagued by nightmares, Walter taught him an effective mantra: “Please don’t dream tonight.”)

The essence of the episode circled back to Walter’s past. SPOILER ALERT. The violent delusionals in this episode (which was entitled “Dream Logic”) were the patients of a scientist-doctor working on sleep disorders. Turns out  he was experimenting with “stealing dreams,” and as Walter put it, “siphoning them off before consciousness.” The doctor became addicted to filling his own head with these visions — in a sense, downloading them into his own brain. Walter proved it by reproducing some of these effects by dumping similar data into his own brain, back in his lab.

Why’d the scientist force his patients to do these things? For a reason Walter knows all too well from his 1960s work: “For the rush,” said Walter — the rush of an addict. Comparisons were made to taking LSD or mescaline. Once again, Walter’s counterculture-era experiments ended up influencing his present-day life. I can’t help but believe that this repeated Fringe theme is going to pay off big-time down the line.

Did you watch Fringe this week? What did you think?


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  • Sean

    Come on Ken, of course we knew she was a military prosecuter. That is why Broyles hated her at first, because she got his friend in trouble, who later was set on fire by a girl’s special powers. Also, we knew her stepdad was an alcoholic because she had an entire episode talking about him and how she shot him but couldn’t kill him and every year he sends her a birthday card. You gotta do your homework when reviewing a show like this. Call Doc Jensen. he will write you a prescription.

    • Ken Tucker

      You’re right, Sean. My faulty memory tonight; thanks.

  • swthompson

    Interesting that you mention The X Files. I recall they had an episode where a man becomes an effective killing machine by not sleeping at all. Here was the opposite. A scientist addicted to his own experiments. The stuff of countless science fiction and horror movies– but as always, done with a panache that makes the story seem fresh. I realize next week’s show is scheduled to be a repeat (probably because of baseball possibilities,) but I can’t wait until the next episode.

  • N.Sharp

    Once again, a solid episode. My only complaint was that it didn’t touch on the pattern, but perhaps it did, we won’t know it until the end of the season. And I have to say Fringe is much more intelligent and dynamic than XFiles. I enjoyed Xfiles, but Fringe is far superior. Did anyone catch the preview – ‘all new episodes of Fringe in November’? What the what???? Nooooooo. I need my Walter! I’ll just have to take LSD and slip on the head gear the next 2 Thursdays and tell myself YOU’RE GOING TO BE FINE.

    • MD

      Baseball is interrupting our excellent Thursday line up!

      • annie

        I agree – put the baseball on cable!

    • Lady K

      But you did see a hint of the Pattern in last night’s episode! Am I the only one who noticed the creepy bald guy who talks to Walter and is always around in the Pattern episodes? When Olivia was talking on her cell phone to Sam Weiss, you see a guy in a hat and coat carrying a briefcase walking to and then down the stairs. He looked up at Olivia at least once. I am telling you, it is the Pattern guy. Wonder if he is like the glyphs? A clue that must be sought out in the episode.

    • Jen

      I have to disagree that Fringe is “far superior” to The X-Files. Don’t get me wrong I love Fringe but it probably wouldn’t exist without The X-Files. It is better than few seasons of X-files but in its prime it was an amazing show. Fringe is just a little more current. And yes, baseball is boring. We rather have our shows.

  • fairweatherfrnd

    SPOILER: I think the last nightmare scene of Peter’s confirmed the theory that “Our” Walter kidnapped “Their” Peter to replace his dead son.

  • kim

    Did you see Peter’s dream come back where his “dad” was in his room but scaring him for some reason? I would say that’s when “other dimension Walter” snatched him after his own Peter died. I wonder if they’ll ever have Peter actually realize that on the show.

    • Jean

      And Walter probably didn’t want AltU Peter dreaming about his former life – so he stopped it – for 11 years!

    • Kaite

      *Did you see Peter’s dream come back where his “dad” was in his room but scaring him for some reason? I would say that’s when “other dimension Walter” snatched him after his own Peter died. I wonder if they’ll ever have Peter actually realize that on the show.*

      I liked how this is finally really starting to play into the show. This is something I want to know more about. I hope he realizes it at some point, maybe after he and Walter become closer.

  • CerberusVenting

    I can’t believe there was no mention of the fact we finally saw Walter take Peter from the ‘over there’. It was sad and creepy,”Hey Dad,what’s wrong?” Then he screams as Walter grabs him,awful.

  • Eric

    @ CerberusVenting –
    I agree wholeheartedly. Such a powerful scene – and the writers really know how to parcel out the backstory with just the right pace. The directing on Fringe is particularly impressive. I can’t think of another genre show (until Lost comes back of course) that’s as simple and classical in its direction, while being so inventive and effective at the same time. And the eye spinning…

  • Mells

    Did anyone else catch the bald man in this eppy or was it just me? I could swear the bald man as walking down a flight of stairs in the background wearing a hat and carrying a briefcase while Olivia was in the foreground talking to someone….did anyone else think it was him??

    • LostMom

      My daughter pointed that out too — we rewound it to take another look, and agreed it was probably “The Observer” guy. I thought I saw him steal a glance at Olivia as he went down the stairs.

  • Gillian Rosheuvel

    I loved this episode. There was so much good character-driven stuff, as well as a pretty interesting monster of the week mystery.

    Seeing Olivia grieve for Charlie was poignant (kudos to Anna T.). Walter and Peter continue to be my favorite pair on the show. Walter’s look of fear when Peter awoke from his dream was incredibly sad. My heart’s going to break for those two, isn’t it?

  • Brian C.

    Did anyone notice the Challenger 11 poster in the background during Peter’s flashback? I don’t think there was a Challenger 11 mission, though the poster said June 1984 and the failed Challenger 10 mission was 1986.

    • Lizzy

      Nice catch! I didn’t notice that, but it must have been a underhanded sneaky way of acknowledging that it was in the alternate dimension….where apparently there was a Challenger 11 mission. A tidbit for those that do their research

  • Jean

    I was bothered that Walter still doesn’t have professional ethics – not getting permission from the Agent to use him in an experiment. Surprised that Astrid wouldn’t report him for that. No wonder he lost his Uni privileges back in the day. But you would hope he’d either grown/learned or would be kept on a shorter leash by the Agency.

  • Chloe

    Oh man…this is making me regret doing my homework instead of watching Fringe.

  • thetvobsessed

    I think this episode was a decent standalone. The dream story was straightforward, but showcased the Fringe science we love to see. More interesting was Olivia’s new guru. He seems benign now, but in the Abrams world, that means trouble. My theory is that he’s working for Massive Dynamic to control Olivia. Full review of the episode.

    http://th3tvobsessed.blogspot.com/2009/10/review-fringe-season-2-episode-5-dream.html

  • Kathie

    I must have completely missed an episode of the discussion the alternate universe in regards to Peter being there. What episode featured that? I want to watch it on Hulu. Thankyou!

  • Kathie

    Or watch it on Fox if it’s there!!!

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