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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 10 Season 4, Forced Perspective

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 28, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Occam’s Razor

Broyles:

“The Spanish Flu, isn’t that extinct?”

Olivia

“Well, the last reported epidemic was in 1919, which makes him a minimum of 91 years old.”

Setting aside Olivia’s deficiency in basic math skills (it is 2012, not 2010 right?), and the fact that the last reported epidemic doesn’t matter as much as the last reported case, what’s more likely, that there’s a man over 93 years old that appears to be about half that age, or that a man managed to expose himself to a virus that wasn’t been circulating in 93 years, but is not truly extinct.  Samples of the Spanish Flu have been recovered from the bodies of its victims and used in research in laboratories fairly recently.   It’s at least as likely, if not more so (to anyone unfamiliar with the nature of the observers, at least) that the man in question had been exposed to the Spanish Flu in one of these laboratories.

HIPPA HIPAA Violation?

So health services informs Broyles of Olivia’s visits without any concern for confidentiality or HIPAA violations?  Do Fringe agents have to sign a waiver/release to allow their supervisors to have access to confidential, personal medical information?

Observer Bias?

Do the Observers’ ability to see/experience all possible futures include those that may result from Peter’s tinkering with The Machine, or is The Machine a confounding variable even they have trouble accounting for?  They didn’t anticipate Peter continuing to exist/ returning after the last use of the machine.  Maybe Olivia doesn’t have to die, after all.

I Be Jammin, Man

It’s a good thing the Fringe team somehow knew that the bomb was triggered by a coded signal rather than just any signal on the frequency.  If the detonator was more primitive, like my old radio controlled car I had as a child, their attempt at jamming could have easily triggered the bomb.

Major Plot Problem

It seems the whole point of the bomb in the truck in the garage beneath the building was that it wouldn’t be possible to get a bomb past the building security check point.  How then did Albert get his vest bomb and detonator through the check point, and why did he bother with the truck bomb at all, since the vest bomb rendered it redundant, and it was less precise than the vest bomb?

By Definition, His Actions Demonstrate He is Ready to Die

Given Albert’s deliberate, premeditated, and well planned actions, and the fact that he had been foreseen to have actually carried out his plan, Olivia’s statement, “I’m not ready to die, and I don’t think that you are ready to die either.” don’t seem too well thought out, but given the situation and the need to think fast, I’ll give her a bit of a pass on not making too much sense there.

I Never Really Loved Mom or Danny

Father:

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Emily:

“I knew you’d be here.”

She supposedly also knew her mom and brother wouldn’t be there.  I guess she didn’t care about saying goodbye to them.

Stroke Me, Stroke Me…

Peter

“They said it was some kind of stroke.”

Olivia:

“Yeah, the overload of electrical activity in her brain was just too much.”

Excessive electrical activity in the brain is called a seizure.  A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to the brain.  Somewhere terminology is getting messed up by someone.  I suppose that the earlier mention of her brain “drawing” elevated levels of oxygen and blood could be interpreted to imply elevated blood pressure, which could lead to an aneurism, which could result in a hemorrhagic stoke if it ruptured, but it wouldn’t be due to any overload of electrical activity in the brain.

Plot Conveniently Unpreventable

How can Walter be so sure that Emily’s death was unpreventable?  Nobody ever mentioned any previous attempts to use drugs to suppress Emily’s ability.  It seems at least plausible that either drugs or surgery could be used in an attempt to suppress her precognition.  Both drugs and various forms of surgery have been used to treat epilepsy (which is what you call it when someone has a neurological condition that causes chronic seizures) with varying degrees of success.

Thick as a Plank, or Just Not Pushing It?

Is Peter really that dense that he accepts Olivia’s protestation that she hasn’t been contacted by an Observer, or is he just letting it slide?

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7 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 10 Season 4, Forced Perspective”

  1. JKL said

    What do you think about Peter’s comment to Walter about building the machine and tailoring it only to him “because you’ve done it before”? Didn’t Massive Dynamic put the pieces together in season 3, and it was a mystery to everyone why it was attuned to Peter? Now Peter’s making it sound like he knew Walter had made the first Machine and tuned it to him. That’s news to me. At the end of season 2, Nina said that Bell designed the Machine, too, and that’s probably a plot hole they couldn’t fix… or am I just missing something?

    P.S. It’s “HIPAA” :)

  2. bros said

    JKL, peter found out in The Day We Died that it was made tuned to him.

  3. I thought it was pretty obvious Peter was letting the Observer thing slide. Unless I’m giving him too much credit of course. But his face had that “You can’t fool me” look.

  4. On Scott’s site, some have suggested using the Squelch Capture effect on the bomb’s FM channel. Would that have stopped a more primitive detonator? Would the receiver still be waiting for a specific signal and not detect anything, or would even subtle jamming trigger a detonation?

  5. Karl Withakay said

    It might work if it left the frequency completely silent, but only if it did so instantly. If there was even a brief, momentary spike, it could trigger a primitive receiver. Of course such a primitive receiver would be fairly dangerous to use or even arm unless you could be absolutely sure the specified frequency was clear.

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

  7. Matt said

    This episode has similar plot to Season 1, Episode 3 the Ghost Network, where Roy and Emily sketch the deaths of people before they happen, they must be out of script ideas or just recycling them.

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