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October 13, 2015

Review: Fringe - Of Human Action

by Jane Boursaw, posted Nov 13th 2009 3:23PM
Fringe: Of Human Action
(S02E07) "Truthfully, I really don't spend a lot of time thinking about what human brains would taste like." Astrid to Walter, while he's dissecting a brain

As with last week, this episode of Fringe wasn't completely centered on the alternate universe and its goings-on, but that's ok. We still got plenty of good stuff to tie us over to next week, when it's all about The Observers.

What struck me most about this episode in terms of relationships is how broken up Walter was over the loss of his son. As mentioned in my other reviews this season, Walter is like the kid and Peter is the parent. John Noble does a fantastic job of portraying a scared kid who's lost his dad in a department store. I've said it before, and will again: He deserves an Emmy and whatever other awards are out there.

The whole idea of mind control is creepy enough, but the idea of a kid doing it is even creepier. It occurred to me at the beginning that it was the kid who was controlling things and not the two guys, but he seemed to have no conscience whatsoever when it came to killing cops and others who got in his way. We learned why at the end -- he's "one of the Tylers." Do you think the surrogate mom was somehow in on it?

Hmmm ... we've returned to the storyline about the clones. Is this the "army" that's being built? Based on the whole mind control idea (and harking back to the season one episode with the people jumping off the roof), I'm guessing yes.

And I knew that Massive Dynamic and Nina Sharp weren't all nicey-nice, as they've seemed earlier in this season (cooperating with the FBI and offering their full services). It's just a matter of time before the Fringe Division figures out what's really going on. You'd think that Nina's comment about Dr. Carson performing "sensitive and highly classified work" would be at least a tiny tip-off, but I guess that description covers a lot of ground these days.

And speaking of covering a lot of ground, a bit more on Walter. The scene where he was pondering how much William Bell had achieved during his absence while he was in the mental hospital ... you have to think Walter is piecing a few things together. He noted again that he and William once shared a lab and thought of building a company together. Also, that William had introduced Walter to Peter's mother after a conference in Berlin.

Other Observations:

  • Walter being bummed out that there's no food at the crime scene.
  • The interior of the Massive Dynamic building is like a giant alien spaceship.
  • "Think the FBI will give me a gun?" - Walter to Peter
  • "Thank you for your attention, and have a nice day." - Walter to the FBI team, after testing the microphone with the sound-muffling headphones (and teddy bear!)
  • "You know, you're a real son of a bitch." - Peter to Tyler in the car, after Tyler used mind control / pain on him
  • "Don't be ridiculous. You were abducted. Of course you need crepes." - Walter to Peter, trying to comfort him after it was all over

And of course, the end scene with "the Tyler" being wheeled down the hallway as Nina writes a note to William Bell telling him what happened. A partial transcription: "In light of this, I am suspending the experiments indefinitely. Mind control is possible, given the right conditions. So despite the unfortunate circumstances, we can consider the project a success. As always, I hope this finds you in good health. Warmest regards ... Nina

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Kelly J. Compeau

Maybe it's because I'm a screenwriter but I knew less than five minutes in to this episode that the kid was doing all of the psychic manipulating. Every act in this episode unfolded exactly as I would have expected a not terribly creative or experienced screenwriter to write it. I was hoping for something just a little more twisty and original.

November 17 2009 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

...interesting thing out of the blue...
the number on the police car license plate at the beginning of the episode: 6489
It is actually the number of the asteroid 6489 Golevka, which shape looks different from almost any recorded angle.


November 14 2009 at 6:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this episode was riveting. Usually i don't care much for the "freak-of-the-week" episodes, but this one was different. the way they played the chase, that the kid was the one doing it, was amazing. after a few minutes of the episode, i thought it was the kid doing it. but then the writers were able to twist it so well to make it seem like the car salesmen were doing it. for example, the camera focusing on the guy as he kills the two in the convenience store, and then how scared the kid was. and then after all of that, this kid turns out to be one of the creepiest kids ever. no moral barriers whatsoever.

the pacing of the episode was intense, and it had me on the edge of my seat.

other things i noticed:

-A quote from walter: "I can't lose him again." Notice the dual-meaning? As soon as i heard it, i thought about how peter died before, and how this is alter-peter. but then i also realized everyone else on the show will think of how he ruined his career and ended up in an institution, thus losing peter. great writing.

-Im begininning to think either william bell is behind the attack of the alter-universe on the normal one, or trying to build an army to battle them. They played it very creepily and suggestive, but you never know...

November 14 2009 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to st3v3n's comment

I also noticed Walter's phrase! :)

Another thought -- Walter made it quite clear that fighting the kid's suggestion caused brain damage. Peter did quite a bit of fighting throughout the episode, including when he saved Broyle's life. Will this come back to haunt him?

November 16 2009 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know, I wonder if there was any actual dialogue spoken between the "kidnapper" and the "dad" there at the ransom exchange, or if it was just wild gesticulations on the parts of the actors.

November 13 2009 at 6:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was pretty disappointed about this episode. It just didn't catch me. I thought it was dull.

Is it me or is Fringe becoming somewhat forumulat-ic? That is, all you need to do is catch the last 10 minutes for the eerie revelations??

November 13 2009 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I LOVE Astrid and I'm glad they are expanding her role this season.

I never trusted Nina ...

November 13 2009 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Hewitt

One other nice moment was when Walter had on the aluminum foil cap, and you see that Astrid has put one on too. She is definitely on board at this point.

November 13 2009 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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