Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fringe 2.15: "Jacksonville"

“An earthquake in Manhattan? It’s possible but highly unlikely. Perhaps a small comet?”


Although “Jacksonville” didn’t vault “Fringe” into favorite TV show territory for me, and it wouldn’t make my “top ten TV episodes” list, it was an effective winter finale. We learned some more about Olivia’s abilities and how she acquired them, and we got a heck of a cliffhanger that has serious ramifications for all three main characters personally. There was also a sort of blink and you miss it reunion from one of the all-time greatest TV shows, “The Wire.” Yeah, I lived in Baltimore for three years. No way I can’t not be a fan of “The Wire.” It would be sacrilege!

So yeah, the “Wire” fan in me was very happy right from the very beginning of the episode, where we see an office building in “Manhatan.” The person inside the building is none other than Jim True-Frost, aka Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski, math teacher and former Baltimore City police officer on “The Wire.” I’m going to call Jim’s character in this episode “Prez” even though that’s most definitely not his name. So sue me, I like nostalgia. Anyway, spoiler alert, Prez isn’t around for long. He has a quick conversation with a coworker about some seismic tremors that have been happening in the area recently. As they’re talking, the biggest tremor yet hits. The building seems to start falling down around Prez.

The Fringe team is called to check out a damaged building in Manhattan. I liked how the team was brought together for this one, even if it was a little random. Olivia calls Peter and sweetly tells him that he’s won an all-expense paid trip to New York. Inside is a quite gruesome sight (no surprise, considering it’s Fringe). People appear to be stuck together in identical pairs. It doesn’t appear that there are any survivors, but the team is soon proven wrong. There is one survivor- Prez! There’s a lovely moment for fans of “The Wire” when Broyles (Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on that show) introduces himself to Prez. There are two of him though, fused together, which is quite disturbing. Walter quickly figures out what is going on. The “Other Side” version of this building has come over to our universe, and it’s all mushed together. Olivia thinks that Newton, the Other Side soldier, is responsible.

Back in the lab, Walter has even worse news. He has remembered an experiment he and William Bell did many years ago where they sent a car to the Other Side. The result of the experiment was that an almost identical car from the Other Side entered our universe and fused with a statute at Harvard. The incident was blamed on MIT pranksters at the time, but Walter knew better. The upshot of this is that since a building from the Other Side came into our universe, one of our buildings is going to disappear to the Other Side soon. According to Walter, the universes must always be in balance.

Olivia is the only one of the Cortexiphan kids who ever successfully saw the Other Side, so Walter tells Olivia that she is the only one who might possibly be able to figure out ahead of time which building is about to disappear so that building can be evacuated. Walter suspects that the building will have a glimmer only Olivia can see shortly before disappearing. In order to kick start Olivia’s ability, Walter wants to take her to Jacksonville, where the original Cortexiphan experiments took place. At a day care. Because that isn’t creepy.

Peter is skeptical, but Olivia, being the selfless person she is, agrees. This is where the episode starts to get a little trippy, but a little less interesting. Walter administers the Cortexiphan and warns Olivia that in her mind, the Cortexiphan will present an obstacle she must overcome. I think the overall idea is to make the user agitated and induce fear. Olivia sees herself in a creepy forest. She’s wandering around when she comes across a young girl. The young girl is upset, and Olivia tries to comfort her. Then the girl introduces her as Olive, and Olivia realizes she’s comforting herself as a child. This agitates her enough that Walter wakes her up.

Walter then takes Olivia to an old, abandoned classroom at the daycare and tells her that sixteen things in the room are from the Other Side. Olivia doesn’t see any of them glimmer, and she gets extremely disheartened. Walter posits that Olivia is having trouble seeing the glimmer because she is not a frightened child anymore. Olivia is still disgusted that Walter put kids through this type of thing, but she files the information away. Walter had been watching a videotape of young Olive where she was so agitated that she started a fire with her mind. This immediately made me think of my favorite quote from “Firefly”… “Also, I can kill you with my brain.”

A call from Nina Sharp worries the team enough that they decide to return to New York. The tremors have started, and they are getting worse. Everybody tries to tell Olivia that the bad things happening aren’t her fault, but she’s not buying it. She’s hung up on the fact that she was trained to stop things like this. Peter has a theory that may at least help to narrow down the possible buildings somewhat. He thinks that whatever building is going to disappear will be almost identical in mass to the building that appeared in our universe. Unfortunately, this doesn’t narrow things down much. Time is running out, and finally, Olivia is scared. She realizes this during a very close moment with Peter- they almost kiss in fact. It’s interesting that Peter has been the catalyst for Olivia’s abilities twice now. They do really share a special connection. I wanted to love this scene because I’m a bit of a Peter/Olivia shipper, but all it really proved was that Joshua Jackson could have chemistry with a wall, and Anna Torv can’t.

Anyway, after realizing that she’s scared, Olivia runs to a balcony and most definitely sees a building shimmer. She starts driving towards it, also letting Broyles know what she saw. Broyles is able to pinpoint the building and get the building evacuated before it disappears. Olivia is on the scene when it disappears, and she manages to just avoid being disappeared herself. Later, the news says that the incident was caused by “unscheduled controlled demolition,” which made me laugh. People really will believe anything.

The end of the episode was both heart wrenching and a fabulous cliffhanger. Peter, Olivia, and Walter are all incredibly happy. Mostly because Peter and Olivia are going out for drinks (not a “date,” Peter insists. Peter and Olivia are each giddy like high schoolers getting ready, and Olivia literally lets her hair down, a rare thing for her. After last week’s insistence that Olivia is going to be his daughter-in-law, it’s not surprising that Walter was also thrilled about Peter’s plans. All the happiness didn’t last long, though. When Peter greets Olivia at the door, Olivia sees that Peter is glimmering. The look on her face shows she is completely crushed by this. As Peter leaves the room to get his coat, Walter begs Olivia not to tell Peter what she saw.

No comments:

Post a Comment