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October 6, 2015

'Fringe' - 'Brown Betty' Recap

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 30th 2010 9:20AM
Fringe, Brown Betty, Musical Episode
(S02E20) "And together they made goodness and lived happily ever after. The end." - Ella's happier ending to the story

Let's just get this out of the way right now. Lily Pilblad (Ella) and John Noble (Walter) need a LOT more scenes together. In fact, if the unthinkable happens and 'Fringe' is yanked off the air, these two should have their own show together. She's so darn cute, and they act like they've been doing scenes together for years. My favorite was when she was holding the bucket for Jean the Cow, who was happily chomping away while Walter and Ella talked storylines. Way too sweet.

This really wasn't a musical episode per se; there were only a few snippets of songs here and there, and I was hoping for more. Especially after hearing the awesome voices of Lance Reddick and Jasika Nicole (the others were swell, too). That said, it was a very fun episode that managed to tie in nicely with the current storylines.

In fact, it was downright brilliant to create a story within a story -- Walter's fairy tale about Noir Ville to Ella -- about a glass heart that's being torn between Walter and Peter. Ella's upbeat ending -- Peter ripped the heart in two and gave half to Walter and everyone lived happily ever after -- was truly inspired.

The story also featured a missing Peter, private eye O. Dunham (oh, that red lipstick!), the "Watchers," Massive Dynamic, a mini-love story for Nina Sharp and William Bell, and even a few "Fringe'-like tense moments. One was when Olivia got nailed into the box and tossed overboard into the water, only to be rescued by Peter with the suave line, "I heard you were lookin' for me."

Even though it was a '30s-inspired noir detective story complete with fedoras, gumshoes, netted hats and vintage cars, it was its own breed of fairy tale. There were also cell phones, a quantum laser, old-school computers, singing corpses, and a polka-dotted Jean the Cow. It came from the mind of Walter Bishop, after all, in a haze of Brown Betty and who knows what else.

And when Walter slyly looks at Astrid and tells Ella that before Dunham can move forward on the case of the broken heart, she'll have to re-hire her assistant -- Esther Figglesworth -- I could hear 'Fringe' fans everywhere chuckling gleefully.

Three.Episodes.Left! I'm already having serious withdrawal issues. I'll need some of Walter's Brown Betty to cope. Based on the previews and the ending scene with the Observer, there's still plenty in store. After watching Astrid and Walter from across the street, the Observer made an alternate universe call and said into his device, "The boy has not returned, and I do not believe Dr. Bishop remembers my warning. Yes, I am concerned, too."

More Quotes:

"I would hardly classify what I just smoked as marijuana ... I call it Brown Betty." - Walter

"All you've done is eat all my snacks and talk about weird stuff. And everything makes you laugh!" - Ella to Walter, as they're playing 'Operation'

"Maybe you should teach me algebra." - Ella to Walter, after hearing him sing

"There's one thing we both know, Dunham. Death seems to follow you around." - Broyles to Olivia

"Why not bring a little life to the dead, I say." - Walter to Olivia, on the corpses singing 'The Candy Man.'

"Bring me the file on the quantum laser!" - Nina Sharp

"This man who attacked you ... was he bald with an odd cadence to his voice?" - Nina
"Who is he?" - Olivia
"Not he. They. We call them 'watchers.' These people are dangerous, and they don't make idle threats. You should know what you're getting into, Miss Dunham." - Nina

"I don't know. I just don't trust her." - Ella, on Nina
"Smart girl." - Walter

"It seems he's a sort of scientific Christopher Columbus. He's always searching for what's right on the edge of our imagination. But here's the interesting part. In the past few years, no one has seen him. No press conferences, no public appearances. It's like he just disappeared off the face of the earth." - Esther to Olivia, on William Bell

"By utilizing the heart's power, you'll be able to create a stable door between universes." - William Bell
"And after all this time, we can finally be together again." - Nina
"I know, my love." - William

"One hundred and forty-seven pins. Each one represents a child injured by Walter Bishop ... elephants, rainbows, licorice sticks ... they come from the dreams of children. He steals children's dreams, and he replaces them with nightmares." - Peter to Olivia

(Follow @jboursaw on Twitter.)

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I've been wondering what is that warning the Observer told Walter. Anyone can tell me? At least in what episode he says it...

May 10 2010 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it sucked. It was boring and unimaginative. And the noir-look was crap.

May 02 2010 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, I've been a real fan of Fringe lately, but this episode was horrible in every way. The only good part was when the watchers were in it. They did the old style so badly, it almost seemed like they did it halfheartedly (excuse the pun) at times. I really wish I had not spend the 42 minutes watching this episode.

May 01 2010 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A another really solid episode of Fringe.
Anybody know where I can get some of that Brown Betty from?

April 30 2010 at 7:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Loved this episode! It worked on so many levels. And steampunk noir--genius!

April 30 2010 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think this episode is pretty boring. Because all that took place was imaginary there was never any kind of emotional involvement on my part.
Was I just seeing things or is ep full of geek references?
I noticed a scene from Iron Man (the one between Peter and Olivia as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts), the device that Olivia remembers from Walter's scetchbook looked like the sankara stone from Indiana Jones 2. And then there is the nurse called A. Mikita who is a Sci Fi producer (that might be a stretch though).

April 30 2010 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to andyW's comment
Brett Alan

Well, the overall setup reminded me of the Star Trek TNG episode The Big Goodbye, while the interplay between Walter and Ella was very reminiscent of Peter Falk and Fred Savage in The Princess Bride.

I loved it. Sure, it didn't advance the storyline, but there have been lots of MOTW episodes that didn't, either. I thought it was very entertaining and had a lot of laughs. And how can you not like Broyles crooning "The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys"?

May 01 2010 at 2:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Deej

Actually Fringe has been renewed for a 3rd season. Filming starts in Vancouver in July.

April 30 2010 at 4:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked how it showed Walter and Astrid's relationship as coworkers and caretaker on her part. In the begining is shows how she is honestly concerned about him. and in the story she is aplying for a job at at a mental hospital and says she thinks mental patients need lots of love and patience. I think this is how Walter feels she treats him. He may say her name wrong sometimes but he still appreciates her.

April 30 2010 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I HATED this episode!! Who cares about some 'story'? I want the meat and potatoes, not some scraps!!

"I could hear 'Fringe' fans everywhere chuckling gleefully."
I was crying due to the episode being so bad!!

The start of the show with Walter hitting the bong was VERY funny but then to put a drug head into a room with a little girl and let them interact was strange. Were they saying it's ok to do drugs and interact with children?

April 30 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It was amazing. It did forward the story, and filled in some back information as well...besides showing the rest of TV-land that Fringe can kick some serious butt in storywriting. It had it all--humor, tension, fear & sorrow, crazy science fiction stuff, tenderness, great cops and robbers stuff.
Seeing what Newton wants with Peter will tie back to this episode, and there were things in it that make me want to go back and re-watch the pilot.

One of the great fun things about Fringe is the literary and cultural references they use--Ray Bradbury could have written this, with help from Chandler. Fringe and BR don't take themselves too seriously to have the imagination to do a story like this, and I WANT MORE!

April 30 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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