Sunday, August 04, 2013

Fringe 1x04 "The Arrival"

Peter Bishop is sick and tired of babysitting his eccentric and mentally unstable father. Feeling that Olivia, Astrid and Broyles now have a good enough rapport with Walter, he tells Olivia that this will be his last case.

This time, the Fringe Buddies are investigating the appearance of a strange, vibrating cylinder that tunnelled its way out of the earth and caused a gas line explosion at a construction site. Looking at photographs of a similar event that took place in 1987, Olivia spots a strange bald man in the background - the same bald man who was caught on camera at the hospital a few days after the recent explosion.

Broyles reveals that this follicle-challenged figure has been spotted at hundreds of Mad Science Shenanigans over the decades. Their department calls him the Observer, and they have no idea what his purpose is.

Unfortunately, a creep named John Moseley (no apparent relation to the loser valet from Downton Abbey) is after the cylinder, too, and storms the construction site with an honest-to-God ray gun. The good news? The cylinder's no longer there because it was moved to Walter's lab. The bad news? Peter discovers it's no longer at the lab either - because Walter drugged Astrid and stole the cylinder for his own unfathomable purposes.

Walter is quickly found, but he's already hidden the cylinder and refuses to tell anyone where it is. He explains he was doing a favour for the Observer, whom he's met and spoken to. Our Fringe Buddies are not very happy with their dear Doctor Crazypants, least of all Peter - who winds up kidnapped by Moseley. He's subjected to an extremely painful Mind-Reading machine that combines a Neti Pot with an iPod and leaves its victims tortured, mentally drained, and likely nursing a wicked sinus infection.

Amazingly, Moseley deduces where Walter's hidden the cylinder from Peter's thoughts, and he drags Peter to the family cemetery to dig it up. Olivia storms in like a bad-ass and shoots Moselely, while Peter runs into the Observer, who reads Peter's thoughts and then shoots him with some sort of futuristic air rifle. Peter's not afforded a whole lot of mental privacy in this episode, poor guy.

So where does that leave us? Moseley's dead - but his rap sheet doesn't tell the Fringe Buddies much. The cylinder's gone - it vanished into the earth when Moseley dropped it. Peter's physically okay - but now he thinks that Walter might be right, and all these Mad Science Shenanigans might be the result of a sinister master plan.

Later that night, in their hotel room, Walter reveals why he hid the cylinder - one Thanksgiving night when Peter was a child, Walter lost control of the car and they fell into the ice and (according to Walter) died. Except a mysterious bald man dragged them from the water and saved them - the Observer. Somehow, Walter sensed that hiding the cylinder would finally repay the Observer for his actions that night.

Olivia, meanwhile, runs into another dead man while eating cereal in her apartment - none other than her dearly departed ex, John.

Mad Science!
  • Telepathy
  • Mind-Reading Torture Machines
  • Ray Guns
  • Subterranean missles
  • Beacons
Best Death Scene: No real special deaths in this episode - but only crap, did Peter take a beating. He was hit, kidnapped, electrocuted, had electrodes shoved up his nose and into his brain, and got zapped by the Observer.

Mad Science Questions:
  • Who was Moseley? And how did a petty criminal with homicide and drug-related crimes in his background get a ray gun and a Psychic Neti Torture Pot Machine?
  • How was Moseley able to grab Walter's thoughts from Peter's mind?

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