Friday, October 8, 2010

Fringe 3.02: "The Box"

“Walter? Your tie. I, uh, think you have a little bit of brain on it.”

So, I’m kind of spending my “Fringe” viewing time marking time until the real Olivia finds her way back to our universe and the real team is back together again. Again, I can appreciate from an intellectual standpoint that it’s great the “Fringe” writers have given Anna Torv more to play, and switching up the dynamic is necessary now and then, but I’m restless. It was definitely interesting to see Alt-livia working against the rest of the Fringe team in the shadows, but I only want to see that for so long. What I really want to see is the reunion between Olivia and her boys. That will be sweet. I just wish I didn’t have to wait until likely the fall finale to see it. Anyway, this particular episode was set entirely in our universe. We were back to the familiar blue hue, as opposed to the red used on the Other Side. We followed our usual Fringe team (with the wrong Olivia, of course) on a seemingly normal (form them) mission that actually has greater implications for the mythology.

Despite the every other episode is a different universe major format shift, some things about Fringe don’t change. That would be the creepy and gross opening. A group of people are being held captive in a gloomy house. A kind-of-creepy man walks into the room where the captives are held and turns on a “Roadrunner and Coyote” cartoon. Way to ruin one of my favorite memories of childhood, “Fringe!” Outside, two thieves have been hired to dig down to a basement. They find what they were looking for- a very strange box- but the success is short-lived. A light starts to flicker, and soon the thieves and the captives are all standing perfectly still. It’s quickly apparent who is behind this. Alt-livia pays a visit to Newton. It turned out she asked him to hire the thieves. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fringe team is spending some time looking into the doomsday device Walternate wanted Peter to create.

Alt-livia interrupts the research and discussion and successfully draws Peter away with the promise of a date night. Alt-livia hasn’t quite slipped into her role as Olivia yet, although she’s certainly trying. So the date night is a bit off. Olivia manages to play off any oddities, though, and Peter’s convinced he’s dating the real Olivia. They even dance together. I don’t think the real Olivia would ever actually dance. Thankfully, before I got too angry, the dance was interrupted by a phone call. Peter and Olivia are told about their new case. It’s the house where we saw the captives and the thieves at the beginning of the episode. It turns out there was a third thief who got away with something valuable. As soon as she can make her excuses, Olivia visits Newton to confront him about the botched job. Newton tells her he only hired two thieves.

Walter and Peter have other things on their mind besides the investigation. They have to go to Massive Dynamic. It’s the reading of William Bell’s will. It’s sort of treated like Bell’s funeral, which I found a bit odd. I’ve never really heard of a formal will reading actually happening like you see regularly on TV, so it seemed a strange choice to only have the will reading. An emotional Walter hugs Nina, and it’s super awkward, mostly because Walter is just awkward in general, and at this particular event, he’s extra on-edge. The lawyer starts reading the will and handing out envelopes to the various devisees. Walter seems very surprised and kind of upset by what was in his envelope, but we’re left to wonder what it was for a while. It turns out to be an envelope with a key and a note that says, “Don’t be afraid to cross the line.” The note upsets Walter so much that he shows up at the door to Astrid’s apartment to talk about it. Astrid tells Walter he needs to tell Peter his side of the story.

When the gang is mostly all reassembled back in Boston, Broyles wants to know if Peter got the message about a lead on the case. The FBI knows where the thief who survived lives. “Olivia” didn’t pass the message along to Peter, which should have been a huge red flag, but of course Peter is still clueless. He continues to be clueless when he shows up at the thief’s apartment and discovers that “Olivia” is already there. Alt-livia makes a quick save by saying that she knew Walter was having a rough time with the will reading, so she didn’t want to pull Peter away from them. Peter accepts the excuse and does some sleuthing while Alt-livia surreptitiously makes a phone call outside.

Later back at the lab, Walter makes breakthrough. Whatever killed the thieves caused major ear damage. Walter thinks that the weapon must have been “ultrasonic.” As Walter’s making this reveal to the rest of the team (minus “Olivia”…it’s becoming a recurring theme), we cut to Alt-livia in Olivia’s apartment watching film of Olivia as study material. There’s a knock on the door, and when Alt-livia opens it, it’s the third thief. It turns out that he’s deaf, which explains how he survived the ultrasonic device. Alt-livia ties him up while she tries to think of what to do with him. She settles on killing him, which I think is interesting given out Other Siders have this absolute view that they’re good and we’re evil. Here Alt-livia is being the one to do the killing. Who is good, really?

Peter, it turns out, has the worst timing ever. He’s pissed off from Walter’s attempt to talk to him about his kidnapping (it didn’t go well), so he shows up at Olivia’s apartment just after Alt-livia shoots the thief. Peter wants to have a serious talk about the doomsday machine and the two Walters, but Alt-livia can see that blood is starting to seep under the gap in the bathroom door. She needs a distraction, and fast. She starts talking about how she’s had a hard week too, and then she basically jumps Peter. Since he’s a guy, he goes with it. Thankfully, for the sake of my sanity (and my voice, because if they had gone too far, I would have been screaming with rage at Peter being with Alt-livia instead of Olivia), they both receive phone calls at the same time, from Astrid and Broyles.

The reason Peter and Olivia were called was because people were fried by the ultrasonic device in a subway station. Newton had asked a little person to watch the box for him, and the security cameras show that man walking into the subway tunnel. The box must be retrieved before it kills more people. Peter, of course, wants to go after it, and Walter, of course, has a rather uncomfortable-seeming method of trying to keep Peter safe through the ordeal. He wants “Olivia” to shoot her gun off by Peter’s ears. She does so, and this makes Peter temporarily deaf. When Peter gets to the box, he recognizes it as part of the doomsday machine, and he tries to disable it.

That’s not enough drama, though. There’s a train coming, even though trains were supposedly rerouted around this section of tunnel. Alt-livia rushes into the tunnel and pushes Peter to the side just after he disables the device and just before the train would have made him a pancake. Amusingly, Peter chooses to spend the rest of the evening studying the device instead of going for another date night with “Olivia.” Meanwhile, in the big cliffhanger of the episode, Walter uses his key to open a safe deposit box. He shows up on Astrid’s doorstep once again to tell her what Bell left him. Walter is now sole shareholder of Massive Dynamic. That will certainly be interesting.

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