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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 1 Season 4, Neither Here Nor There

Posted by Karl Withakay on September 23, 2011

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Opening Theme Fringe Terms

The Fringe terms in the opening theme were:

Existence

Quantum Entanglement

Philosopher’s Stone

Psychometry

Viral Therapy

Ehthereal Plane

Gravitons

Time Paradox

Psychogenesis

Bilocation

Psychic Surgery

Transgenics

Existence, quantum entanglement, viral therapy, transgenics even gravitons aren’t really fringe science, though there could easily be fringe theories and applications of them and gravitons are purely hypothetical as of 2011.  Somehow I doubt this is what they meant by psychogenesis, and I’m wondering if they just thought it sounded fringey or they thought it meant psychic generation of abiogenic life.  I accept time paradoxes as fringe science.  The philosopher’s stone, psychometry, and bilocation are plain pseudoscience or prescience, and psychic surgery is outright fraud.

Continuity Questions

-Did Peter truly never exist at all, or did he die as a child in both universes?

-If Peter never existed at all, why did Walter start all of this if not to travel to the other universe to save Peter?

-What happened to Walter’s wife in this universe’s new continuity?

-How were the machines operated without a Peter or a Peter DNA source?

I’m sure there’s many more questions to be answered that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head.

Night of the Living Dead Pigeons

Is Walter trying to become Herbert West for birds?

Did Astrid back the Car Over Olivia’s Dog During Commercial?

It seems like Astrid is a field agent and Olivia’s partner at the start of the episode, but gets de facto replaced by NerdLee once he shows up at the lab.  My guess is that this will continue in future episodes with Astrid being demoted to Walter’s full time lab assistant from now on.

A Name Worthy of a Poorly Written Comic Book

What do the writers name a commuter that park and rides for her daily commute? Nadine Park, of course.  Why not just go with Carline Park-Ride?

Faith and Reason

NerdLee:

“He believed that everything happened for a reason.  I’m having a hard time believing that there’s a reason for this.”

Everything happens for a reason from the perspective of cause and effect.  The reason something happens is the deterministic cause of that thing.  I believe though, that NerdLee meant that everything happens for a purpose, as in an intentional, directed purpose.  Hey, nobody ever said anything about a good reason or that it has to be good for you.

Heavy Metal Poisoning

Hair loss can be caused by heavy metals like Thallium, Mercury poisoning can damage the kidneys,  and lead poisoning can cause gout.  I had my doubts about gout until I looked it up; you learn something new every day.  Zinc can be toxic in sufficient  amounts, but I don’t think it’s a particularly common problem, although someone apparently once ingested $4.25 in copper plated zinc pennies for some reason and died as a result.

You’re So Transparent

Being transparent sure makes it easier to hit a vein for an injection.  It probably makes a lot of medical diagnostic procedures easy as well as cutting down on radiation exposure  by eliminating a lot of X-rays.

Quote of the Show

Walter:

“People die.  It happens.  Sometimes they die twice.”

The Retcon Hasn’t Made Olivia a Better Agent.

How much closer was Olivia going to get to that suspect before she insisted he turn around, get on his knees, put his hands on his head and interlock his fingers, close enough for him to head butt her?  One episode into the retcon and she’s already been disarmed and nearly killed due to incompetence.

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10 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 1 Season 4, Neither Here Nor There”

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

  2. This episode entirely retconned the events depicted in the last season where NerdLee meets Olivia, or at least Olivia possessed by William Bell. Peter was never around the introduce Lee to Fringe division and the case that occurred during that episode happened differently.

    The writers made it very clear when Olivia and Lee bumped into each other that there wasn’t any confusion as to why neither one of them said “Hey! You again?!” because the Observers pointed out explicitly that something has changed.

    I believe Peter was meant to die in both universes as a child. I think a plot device for this season that’s going to be used extensively is that Peter’s existence or lack thereof, is, in itself, causing a new chain of events to occur.

    The new shape shifter variety makes me think there’s a third universe.

  3. Eric said

    -
    “Did Peter truly never exist at all, or did he die as a child in both universes?” You answered your own question with your quote of the week. That is Walter talking about Peter the child – he died once in the main universe, then again (probably when Walter was watching through his enchanted mirror) in the blimpiverse.

  4. tahtee said

    What a disappointment! Bad science, not so good acting (even John Noble is so-so), pretentious, no psychological tension, too comic-like. Hope it gets better in the season, was really waiting for this new episode.

  5. RicSantiago said

    Watch the other customer in the eletronic parts store the Observer was shopping at… Tell me if he doesn’t look like Stan Lee, whom we use to see doing small cameos on many pictures (specially of Marvel characters) and TV episodes (like Heroes and Nikita)…

  6. HomiSite said

    It was indeed a slow and a bit strange episode – I really felt the gap of missing Peter. It was good that the first Fringe case was not just a “Monster of the Week”, but I don’t know yet if I like the new shapeshifters; we have to see what’s up with them. I wasn’t that much disappointed as Tahtee was, but Fringe has to deliver a lot to compensate the horrible end of season 3. Only a bit bitching between Olivia and Fauxlivia (BTW: she did not make any comment about Nerdlee – who is IMO not a very interesting [main] character -?!). I hope we will learn more about the observers’ backgrounds, althought I didn’t like them much, especially because there were almost redundant in the last season. Interesting that they didn’t seem to want killing Peter’s “ghost” from the timeline but Walter…

  7. John said

    I think the older Observer made it clear that Peter just died in both universes, rather than never existing at all – “They must never come to learn that the boy grew to become a man”

  8. Karl Withakay said

    Yes, that’s my take. When they said at the end of last season that he never existed, they mean the adult Peter never existed, not that Peter never existed at all.

  9. HomiSite said

    It is better for the “inner logic” of the show if Peter now died as a child or so? I think than it’s even more confused because Peter now appear as a grown-up ghost. PS: Because English is – obviously – not my mother tongue, I maybe did not fully understand what “They must never come to learn that the boy grew to become a man” means in detail.

  10. [...] 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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