Friday, January 13, 2012

Fringe 4.07: "Wallflower"

“No, it’s okay. The Olivia you’re talking about? That’s not my Olivia.”

So I’m coming to you all the way from North Africa! I’m in Morocco on a short-term winter study abroad course with my graduate school program. I have a little down time here and there, so I figured I’d get a write-up done when I could. So let’s get on with it! “Wallflower,” while a kind of forgettable episode of “Fringe” overall, did some good work in deepening the Amber universe characters (not that I could really care less about them, though). We got the most character development for Amber Olivia, although I’m pretty sure I don’t like the direction that character is going. I did appreciate Peter’s commitment to Blue Olivia, though. After all the Olivia/Alt-livia craziness last season, I’m glad to see that Peter seems to have learned some lessons about people not being the same in multiple universes. This seems to be paving the way for an Amber Olivia and Amber Lincoln relationship, although I’m not really sure how I feel about that, either. They don’t really have very good chemistry. I found Alt-livia and Alt-Lincoln to be a more satisfactory pairing. But you probably don’t want to hear me drone on and on about my shipping preferences for a thousand words.

The episode opens with Olivia awake in the middle of the night. She doesn’t look good, and she heads to her dresser to get some pills, only to find out that she is out of them. So it looks like Amber Olivia is a bit of a junkie. Her lack of pills leads to a late night trek to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist tells her she is on her last refill. As Olivia seems to down a handful of the pills. Typical TV pill junkie behavior, really, and I honestly expect more from “Fringe.” On her way home (at about 3 AM), she passes by a diner and sees Lincoln through the window sitting at a table. She goes inside to talk. It turns out that all the Fringe stuff has actually freaked him out, and he hasn’t slept in days. Olivia starts wondering if it’s weird that Fringe stuff doesn’t freak her out. Memo to Olivia: if you’ve become a pill junkie, it’s probably because you’ve freaked out.

Elsewhere in the city, a man is also walking home at night. Using his cell phone, he tells his wife that he thinks he’s being followed. He thinks he’s safe when he gets home, but some unseen force pulls him inside the house. Police later find him dead and drained of all color. It appears he has been killed by some sort of invisible person. We next get a bit of an update on what’s going on with Peter. An FBI handler is taking him shopping, and it’s extremely obvious that Peter is not at all happy with his lack of freedom. He wants to get back to the Blue Universe as soon as possible, and that’s pretty difficult when a handler is following his every step.

At Fringe headquarters, Broyles briefs Olivia and Lincoln on the invisible man case. They then interview the cop who responded to the scene. He is very reluctant to say anything because the situation was so weird. I guess he doesn’t want to be branded as crazy in his department. After he is assured multiple times that the Fringe team doesn’t find much of anything to be completely crazy, the police officer kind of implies that he felt more than saw an intruder in the victim’s house. Sort of like a ghost. Walter takes a look at the victim’s body, and he thinks that the victim might have been scared to death. To make things even more complicated, Lincoln finds blood at the scene. So definitely not a ghost. Meanwhile, a strange guy wakes up in what looks like a bathtub of cloudy water. We next see this mystery man wearing a suit in an elevator. Curiously, the other elevator passengers don’t seem to notice him. We’ve found our invisible man.

The Fringe team learns that there were three other deaths similar to the one they’ve been investigating, but those deaths hadn’t been reported to Fringe because the police just thought the victims were all albinos and nothing was strange about their deaths. Walter finds strange residue on the victim’s body. The residue turns out to be cells that can move pigment around to change color- the type of cells a chameleon has. Astrid analyzes a blood sample from the scene, and somehow she is able to determine that the DNA matches a baby who supposedly died four days after birth.

With Astrid’s information, Olivia and Lincoln review the medical history of the person to whom the blood belongs, and they also talk to a nurse who attended his birth. She says that when the body was taken away after the baby “died,” she could have sworn she still heard the baby cry. It turns out that the organization which took the baby to “do an autopsy” was a Massive Dynamic subsidiary. This, naturally, leads to a patented “Fringe” insta-trip to New York so Lincoln and Olivia can talk to Nina about this development. Nina says that yes, Massive Dynamic did give this person the chameleon-like cells, which offset a life-threatening condition he was born with. There was a big fire at the lab where he was kept, and everyone at Massive Dynamic assumed the boy, who was called Eugene, died. Obviously, he didn’t.

Back at the apartment building with the elevator we visited earlier, a woman enters her apartment and begins her routine for winding down after a long day. Eugene is in the apartment, which is more than a little creepy. The woman goes into her bedroom and sees leaves all over the bed. She is shocked, and Eugene leaves the apartment without being seen. In other sort-of romantic tension news, Lincoln stops by Peter’s house to drop off the plans for the universe bridge machine. Peter is still hoping to figure out a way to get back to the Blue Universe. Of course, the guys have to talk about Olivia. Lincoln makes it clear that he’s figured out Peter and Olivia are an item in the Blue Universe, and Peter makes it clear that Lincoln is free and clear to pursue Olivia in the Amber Universe (here’s hoping he has better luck than Red Universe Lincoln). Amber Olivia is not “Peter’s” Olivia, and he wants to get back home to her, not start something with another Olivia. He learned his lesson from the Alt-livia debacle for sure.

Back at the lab, Walter shows Lincoln and Olivia his new pet octopus. Apparently it uses the chameleon-like cells too. While they’re looking at the creature, Olivia has a bit of an epiphany and asks Walter if Eugene might be stealing pigment from his victims. Walter thinks that’s probably the case. We then quick cut to Eugene killing his next victim in a parking garage. This makes things a bit more urgent. At the lab, we see Walter running a mouse through a maze, and he talks about how Eugene is committing suicide. The scene, thanks to the mouse, maze, and dire predictions, kind of reminds me of my favorite episode of television, “Lost’s” “The Constant.” Both “Lost” and “Fringe” are produced by Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams’ production company), so the similarity is probably not consequential. Anyway, Walter reveals that there’s a second mouse in the maze that can be seen by UV light. This gives the team a way to find Eugene. They head to the parking garage, and Eugene is potentially still there.

The team (with lots of backup) searches the parking structure with dogs and UV lights. While searching, Olivia falls through the floor, and Eugene helps her get out of her predicament. Olivia offers to take Eugene to Walter to see if Walter can help him, but Eugene is not interested. He’s done with labs, even if it means he’s going to die. He gets away from Olivia, and the team can’t find him. The team, does, however, find Eugene’s lab in the basement. It becomes apparent that he really, really wanted to be seen. Mostly because he wanted to experience romantic love and human contact. When we next see Eugene, he gets in the elevator and talks to the girl from earlier in the episode. Her name is Julie. They introduce themselves to each other, and then Eugene dies.

At the end of the episode, Nina and Olivia have yet another chat. I’m not sure what I this newfound closeness between Amber Universe Olivia and Nina. It provides almost too convenient a platform for exposition. Olivia tells Nina that she’s worried the Cortexiphan has stunted her emotions, but Nina assures her she’s just fine. Lincoln and Peter are also having a little heart-to-heart. Peter got Lincoln a pair of glasses he thinks will make Lincoln more attractive to Olivia. Olivia and Lincoln make plans to meet at the diner at 3 AM again, and Olivia is getting ready for the “date” when all of a sudden, gas comes flooding into her apartment. Then a menacing-looking guy gives her some sort of injections as Nina watches. I guess Nina didn’t think Olivia was so okay after all.

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