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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 22 Season 3, The Day We Died

Posted by Karl Withakay on May 7, 2011

A Gray Episode

As always, an episode synopsis will be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent

Neither Red Nor Blue

This episode’s credits were in all gray, with a unique set of words during the credits:

Cellular Rejuvenation

Thought Extraction

Cryptozoology

Neural Partitioning

Temporal Plasticity

Brain Porting

Dual Maternity

Chaos Structure

Clonal Transplantation

Water

Biosuspension

Hope

Hotty McHotterson

OK, red-headed Fauxlivia is hotter than regular Olivia, but Astrid with straight hair now takes the crown for me as the hottest woman on the show.  Wow, just wow.

Once And Future Product Placement

Apparently the Sprint Kyocera Echo is such an awesome cell phone so far ahead of its time that they’re still making it 15 years in the future.  Also, it doesn’t look like the launcher for the Android OS will be changing much in the next 15 years either.

Pop a Kappa

Apparently in the next 15 years (perhaps only if we use the machine to destroy the other universe), we discover at least five more types of radiation, asuuming we don’t skip any letters in the Greek alphabet.  Currently, epsilon rays are the last form of radiation named from the Greek alphabet.  There’s currently no such thing as Kappa radiation.

The Eyes Have it.

It looks like in the future it is possible to replace eyes, but it isn’t possible to make the replacement’s color match the other eye, unless Senator Broyles kept the color of the replacement different on purpose as some sort of personal reminder of whatever event caused the need for the replacement eye.

Yin and Yang

As I suspected, the two universes are tied together, and their fates are linked.  Destruction of one leads to the destruction of the other.

It’s in the Can

While we have wine in boxes now, it seems that may be the only way to get wine in the future, but vodka still comes in a bottle, while steak comes in a can.

Radioactive Signature

Strontium 90 is indeed a daughter product of nuclear fission, more from Uranium fission than from Plutonium fission.  It decays via beta decay with a fairly short half life of 28.8 years.  In order to track the “radioactive signature” of a radioactive element, you’d have to consider several aspects.  First would be the type of decay.  Strontium is essentially a pure beta emitter, and so is its daughter product, Yttrium 90.

However, there are numerous pure beta emitters, so we need something else to distinguish Strontium 90 radiation from any other pure beta emitters.  It helps a little that Strontium 90’s decay product is also a pure beta emitter, and Yttrium 90’s decay product is stable, because it means any other types of radiation detected, such as alpha particles or gamma rays, must be the result of some other radioisotope and not Strontium 90 or any of its decay products.  Eliminating readings inconsistent with Strontium 90 would likely mean excluding any readings including alpha or gamma radiation.

But we probably need more than that for a signature.  The half life isn’t quite as useful as you might think.  Unless you know the mass of the sample, the number of decay events can’t be used to estimate the half life because you can’t tell whether you have a small number of particles undergoing frequent decay, a large number of particles undergoing infrequent decay, or something in between.

I would think that this is where Sr-90’s decay product also being a pure beta emitter actually presents a problem.  If the daughter product was an alpha or gamma emitter, you could at least figure out the ratio of beta activity to other activity which would help identify the parent isotope and present a signature to track (assuming there weren’t any other radioisotopes or background radiation creating noise in the data, which wouldn’t be the case).

The energy of the beta particles would be useful as part of a signature, but you’d have to have some idea how much shielding (including air) there was between you and the radio-source to know how attenuated the strength of the radiation was.  The half lives of Sr-90 and Y-90, and the differences in the energy of their beta emissions would be useful, though.  You could measure the change in activity and energy of the decay particles over time.  All this could just maybe provide a trackable radioactive signature for Sr-90.

Some Things Never Change/ Non-Product Placement

So even in the future, some carriers will still have cell coverage issues in semi-remote locations like Reiden Lake.  Walternate must have been using a different carrier or technology to project his hologram to the cabin.  I’m not surprised that the Sprint logo wasn’t featured on a cell phone getting no signal.  Sprint should have paid to have AT&T’s logo on that phone.

Time Standing Still

Cars don’t change much in the next 15 years.

Adults seem to stop aging noticeably (other than the occasional touch of gray hair) after the activation of the machine.  Even Nina Sharp, who is likely around 65 in 2011 and would be about 90 80 in 2026, didn’t look a day older after 15 years of aging.

Misc Notes Partly For the Search Engines

Electrilight weapons

Fringe HQ is in Boston in the future.  (May 20, 2026)

Paleozoic era was 540-250 million years ago.

Theropods were members of the suborder of dinosaurs that included the famous T-Rex.

Olivia has controllable telekinetic powers in the future.

Was the name Moreau a reference to Dr. Moreau?

The title for this episode makes me think of Don McLean’s song, American Pie.  I wonder if that was partly the intention with the title choice.

Does The Retcon Make Any Unanswered Questions Moot (or Moo)?

If Peter never existed now, does that retcon give the writers an out from having to answer why Peter and Olivia had no memories of each other and the experiences they had together as children?

Will Peter be featured in Season 4, and if so, how?

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9 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 22 Season 3, The Day We Died”

  1. Mark said

    Joshua Jackson is apparently still signed on for Season for, so he definitely will be appearing.

  2. Tuomas T said

    I decided that I won’t even try to think about the Peter not existing -retcon until I see what the writers do with it during season 4. I mean, they have to play around it somehow as Peter is essential to pretty much everything that has happened.

    Btw., I thought the product placement during last week’s episode was as bad as it could get. After watching this clip from Fox-show Bones, I am actually grateful on the level in Fringe.

    Agreeing on Astrid’s new hairstyle but personally finding the future happy-in-her-personal-life Olivia the best.

  3. HomiSite said

    Timetravel, a cheap way for explaining things. I don’t like it, although it hat its twists here (like its only a foreshadowing for Peter). I had hoped for an epic and emotional clash of Walter, Walternate, Olivia and Fauxlivia – it was a bit boring. Like Tuomas T, I won’t think too much about the non-existing Peter. And: I now more or less hate the observers! They didn’t serve any purpose in the latest happenings and now are the more or less last truly supernatural elemets in the show.

    PS: Of course, Walter is after years in prison still the only person on earth who can understand advanced tech. And nevertheless the “crimes” he commited, I would have researching him 24/7…

  4. Arco said

    Math skilz? Nina would be 80, not 90, in 15 years if 65 now.

  5. Karl Withakay said

    Doh! Thanks for the correction. (Dang typos.)

  6. […] This week’s Fringe cipher was: NOMORE. A list of all previous Fringe reviews is available here. As always, Karl has more to say over at his blog. […]

  7. klaus said

    I don’t get. Why Peter never existed? Did the other Peter ever exist? Did everything in the series somehow happen the same without Peter? And… why Peter never existed?

  8. Zed said

    And of course, does Fauxlivia still have a child? (And if so, who is the father?)

    Much as I like Peter, I’m actually hoping his erasure “sticks”, so that we get more Lincoln, Charlie, Fauxlivia and Walternate. To me, those are fresher, more interesting characters.

    Love this: “Sprint should have paid to have AT&T’s logo on that phone.”

  9. […] episode is debunked at Polite Dissent and Cordial Deconstruction, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. […]

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