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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 21 Season 4 Brave New World, Part 1 of 2

Posted by Karl Withakay on May 4, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Hash Tag Note

For some reason, this is the first I have noticed that the hash tag displayed on the lower right part of the screen during the episode doesn’t correspond to the episode title.  Tonight’s hash tag was #DarkestBeforeDawn

Product Placement, A Necessary Evil?

If product placements like the one for Sprint in this episode are what it takes to keep the show on the air, so be it, but can’t they find slightly more subtle ways to do it?

Throw Out Your Credit Cards

Is near field payment common in the altered timeline?  It’s certainly not common yet in my timeline, and yet Astrid tells Walter, “This is just how people pay for things now.” as if near field payment was not only common, but typical.

Is There a Negative Biosafety Level?

Just because no airborne toxins were detected doesn’t mean that the hazmat suits and safety protocols aren’t needed.  First of all, it’s possible that there is an airborne toxin, toxicant, or pathogen that the detectors are not designed to detect, unless the Fringe team has tricorders.  Second, there could be a contact poison or fomite transmitted pathogen (or nanite infestation) which would still require hazmat suits.  Additionally, even if the environment is currently clear, there’s no way of knowing what might be released by examining the bodies.  Walter was pretty lax in  inspecting the scene and handling the bodies even though he has no idea whatsoever what caused the deaths.

Green Light….Red Light!

Once Walter determined that expending energy leads to overloading the nanites, resulting in the death of the infected, wouldn’t it have made more sense to lay the people down and sedate them rather than force them to hold their poses in a  deadly game of freeze tag?  Surely the stress of maintaining their position coupled with the anxiety of their situation would cause elevated pulse, blood pressure, etc, increasing their energy levels.

Olivia Isn’t the Sharpest Tack in the Junk Drawer

Maybe Jessica might not have nearly combusted so quickly if Olivia hadn’t been engaging her in conversation, causing her to consume more energy than if she had just laid there at rest.

It’s Not Just a Suggestion, It’s the Law.

If Olivia can slow down molecules, the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy says that the energy has to go somewhere, so where did it go?  Maybe Olivia redirected into the power grid, and that is why the power overloaded in the lab.

Sherlock Holmes, They Are Not.

Did it really not occur to anyone on the Fringe team  that Jones might have been responsible until they saw the security footage?

Shock it to Me

Hallucinations are not a side effect of ECT, but memory loss and confusion are.  I suppose that Walter may have been confused into thinking he was visited by William Bell due to ECT (perhaps he was visited by someone else he mistook for Bell), but it would not cause him to hallucinate seeing Bell.  I guess it’s also possible some medication Walter was on could have caused such a  hallucination, but generally they medicate people with drugs intended to stop or prevent hallucinations, not cause them.

Wait, Did They Just Create a Plot Point and Corresponding Plot Hole in the Same Scene?

When Walter asks if he can borrow the log book, Dr Benlo (closed captioning’s spelling) says it’s OK since they’ve already digitized those records, but previously she had apologized for not having an up to date record keeping system, implying that the records only existed in the physical log books.  If the records had been digitized, why weren’t they doing an electronic search instead of looking at the physical log books?

Trivia For The Search Engines

Agent Astrid Farnsworth’s Agent ID Number is JH112402

Geography 101

When Olivia mentions that it seems like Jones if trying to burn a hole to China, Walter corrects Olivia by saying,

“It’s a myth.  Technically it would be India, but I doubt it.”

Seeing as the beam is clearly shown to be relatively perpendicular to the surface of the Earth, and India is in the Northern Hemisphere, just like Boston, Walter also seems to be mistaken.  From my semi-rough estimation, it looks like the opposite side of the Earth from Boston would be an area of the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.

Radio Ga-Ga

2202.518 and 2202.520 kHz are in the S band, and that band is used for satellite communications.  Specifically, those frequencies are just barely 2 kHz above frequencies assigned for space to Earth communication.

Darwinian Fail

It apparently never occurred to Olivia or Peter that the satellite dishes might be guarded and it might be a good idea to have some backup covering them while the disabled the dishes.  It really is a wonder they both weren’t offed a long time ago.

Cortexiphan, it Repels Rain, Repairs Scratches, and Adds years to the Life of Your Car’s Paint Job.

Apparently cortexiphan now also regenerates tissue and lemon cakes, plus it allows you to remote control other people.  Nifty.

Jones Wasn’t the Sharpest Tack in the Junk Drawer, Either

Jones apparently interpreted Bell’s bishop comment a little too literally, and failed to consider that he might be the chess piece Bell was sacrificing.  I thought it right away.

What Does Nimoy Think Retiring Means?

Not that I’m complaining, but Nimoy seems to have had nearly as much work since he retired than he did between Star Trek VI and retiring.

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15 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 21 Season 4 Brave New World, Part 1 of 2”

  1. Mark said

    Benlo actually said that they were -in the process- of transitioning to a digitized record system, so it’s not a plot hole.

  2. Robert said

    Boston’s antipodes is on the other side of Australia, here: http://www.antipodr.com/?addr=boston

  3. Tarhonya said

    Can anybody tell me what’s Dr. Benlo’s real name?

  4. Karl Withakay said

    But Benlo also said it was OK to take the log book because the records in question had already been digitized, meaning they did not need the log book any longer (implying that the system was operational, but not all records had been digitized yet). The only way they would not need the log book is if the partially implemented system was operational and searchable. If the new system wasn’t useable, then they would still need to retain the log book in case they have another need to search the records.

  5. The phone used at the beginning of the episode was the Sprint version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The phone has NFC capabilities but only came out two weeks ago for that carrier. Also, there’s no Sprint logo in the top bezel of the device and the carrier branding is on the back battery panel.

    PayPal and Google Wallet both use NFC on Android. Still, they are very obscure and limited.

  6. Cll71 said

    Tarhonya: Samantha Noble

  7. Yerkiet said

    In fact: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cf/Antipodes_equirectangular.svg/560px-Antipodes_equirectangular.svg.png

    It would be in the Indic Ocean, nowhere close New Zealand :)

    Update: I just saw Robert’s post on antipodes… a tad too late, I guess.

  8. Max said

    Maybe they’ve confused India and Indian ocean :)

  9. Karl Withakay said

    Cool. Though my rough estimation was off, the basic point is still valid.

  10. Harxor said

    @ Tarhonya:

    Benlo = Noble

    Samantha Noble, John Noble’s daughter, at that. Pretty witty name there. :)

  11. Reyes said

    I liked the Ghostbusters’ “don’t cross the beams”, ok, “actually, cross the beams”. We must have some nifty satellites, to actually be able to focus the sun’s rays into such a tight coherent beam (like a mega laser?). Also, Peter mentions not moving the antennas so as not to cut a wide swath of beam through Boston. But the satellites were actually the ones physically pointing the beam towards the target. So what difference would it be to disrupt the signal to the satellites by knocking down the antennas from far away than “nicely” turning them off (unless you know for sure you can send an off signal).

  12. Jrat said

    I wondered when Belly would turn up in this alternate Timeline and here he is – what an entrance!

    Better Cortexiphan than Midi-chlorians anyday!

  13. DANG! said

    And that ‘James Bond’-style mega-laser gun was sent to outer-space and planted in orbit around the earth, all without anybody, I don’t know, maybe noticing anything?? Oh, and all that just so Bell could finally ‘sacrifice’ Jones to an unbelievably unlikely scenario of demise?? Guys … WTF ?? I know this is a SCI-FI show and all, but please show some respect to people’s intellect!!

  14. VMR said

    re: #DarkestBeforeDawn – the weekly hashtags (since jan) are made up by a group of fans (fringenuity) to increase the show’s exposure through social media, specifically twitter. due to its fairly historic success (the tags trend on twitter for almost an hour prior to the show every friday), a few episodes back the network decided to work with the fans and began to incorporate the tags into the show…

  15. bros said

    I don’t think her ability allowed her to control Peter, but she simply used her telekinesis to treat Peter like a blunt object.

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