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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 11 Season 4, Making Angels

Posted by Karl Withakay on February 3, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Peter Being Selfish Again

I suppose it’s never occurred to Peter how it might affect Walter if and when Peter manages to get back to his time line.  I’m not even saying that it should be motivation for not trying to get back, just that at lest Peter might try to empathize a little and try to understand why Walter is being so short with him.

Mentat Astrid is Now Rain Man Astrid

I agree with Polite Scott that the other Astrid has gone changed from a mentat into basically someone with a form of autism spectrum disorder.  As much as I want to find her new found sensitivity and vulnerability endearing, I prefer Mantat Mentat Astrid.

Never Send the Fringe Team to the Congo

Once again, we have a mysterious, unexplained death due to an unknown cause where the body manifests strange signs such as bleeding from the eyes (a common symptom of hemorrhagic fevers, like Ebola), and there is no biological containment set up, no safety procedures, and no protective gear of any kind beyond gloves used.  Sooner or later, these guys are going to get themselves and a lot of other people killed.

Tears of Ra?

My research on Google and Wikipedia revealed nothing about any poison/ potion called the Tears of Ra used to euthanize pets.  All references to the Tears of Ra I found were in regards to bees being born from the tears of Ra or some variation of that.  (I did find one reference stating that humans were supposed to evolved from the tears or Ra, but no references to any potion or poison.)

Quote of the Show

Olivia:

“So you’re saying it’s magic?”

Walter:

“It’s science, just unusual science.”

Mentat/Rain Man Astrid Makes a Mistake

Walter:

“He’s not my son.”

Mentat/ Rain Man Astrid:

“As I understand it, in another timeline, he is.”

Actually, in another time line, he is Walternate’s son, not Walter’s.  In that time line, Walter did raise him though.

Choose to Believe?

Mentat/Rain Man Astrid:

“In that case, wouldn’t it be preferable if you chose to believe he was your son, and then you could love him and be happy?”

You may think I am being pedantic, but I would have phrased it “…if you tried to think of him as your son” and not used the word chose.  I don’t how easy it is for someone to actually choose to believe something rather than choose to act as if they believe something or come to believe something.  I can act as if I believe 2+2=5, I can come to a conclusion that 2+2=5 if I find compelling evidence that it is so, but I can’t just choose to believe 2+2 is 5 no matter how much I might want to.

Fringe Team, Trusted with the Safety of Two Universes #1

That attempt to arrest Neil on the job was one of the worst thought out operations the Fringe team has carried out so far.  I guess it never occurred to the Fringe team to arrange ahead of time for TSA clearance to get access to the security area or alert the TSA that Neil was a terror suspect suspected of using chemical weapons and have them detain him.  Even so, it also apparently never occurred to Olivia to shout out “Neil’s a terror suspect, arrest him!” when TSA wouldn’t let her through.

Slightly Absurd Product Placement

The Nissan Leaf is all electric, with no gasoline motor like hybrid vehicles.  It seems unlikely that the FBI would issue vehicles with a range of about 73 miles between charges for regular use.  It sure was convenient that the place where Neil used to work (MIT) happens to have a rapid recharge station, and they appear to let you use it for free.

No Search Warrant, No Problem

No further comment.

Fringe Team, Trusted with the Safety of Two Universes #2

Did it never occur to anyone to search Neil’s house for the Tears of Ra (or more of it if he had his atomizer on him) or the thing he said he had found that let him see the future?  Eh, there’s probably nothing interesting in that safe, just head back to the office.  They must have studied the Storm Trooper method of searching:  “Door’s locked, move on to the next one.”

Did Neil See All Possible Futures?

OK, the cancer thing I can sort of get; it was fatal, and there was nothing anybody could do about it.  (If only there was some way to get a cure for cancer from the future like you can get the formula for a poison).  But the guy’s car accident was preventable.  Why not prevent his suffering by preventing the accident rather than killing him before it happens?  Frankly, just the delay due to the conversation in the garage might have thrown of the timing enough to prevent the accident.

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Product Placement, Quotes, Television | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 8 Season 4, Back to Where You’ve Never Been

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 13, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

No Fringe Event Science to Deconstruct

This post is going to be somewhat short as I didn’t find very much worthy of Deconstruction.  It was a good episode, but there really wasn’t much fringe science to deconstruct and the episode focused mainly on laying the groundwork for the rest of the season.

Is There a Picture of Peter in the Dictionary Next to the Word Selfish?

Wow, not only does Peter not care whatsoever about the cold war between the two universe’s in this timeline (“not my fight”), but he’s willing to use the machine and risk destroying both universes, and killing about 12 billion people on the two Earth’s combined (depending on how many in the alterverse have lost their lives in Fringe events) in addition to whatever civilizations on other worlds might be wiped out, just to get back to his native timeline, assuming it still exists (which he can’t be sure of).

Here it is, Item 317, Destroyer of Worlds: Aisle 5, Top Shelf, Next to the Printer Paper

If the use of Walter’s portal device was the cause of all the Fringe events in the first place, why would Olivia ever consider using it to recon the other side (or help Peter), especially now that both sides have been stabilized?  Wouldn’t it be kept under very tight security, and not just kept “in storage”?

We Have a New Automotive Sponsor

Remember the days when product placement was just a product being used in a show, but not necessarily in an obviously, in you face kind of way?  Neither does Nissan.

Quote of the Show/ But was it Just to Watch Him Die?

NerdLee:

“Just out of curiousity, if this thing closes while I’m still crossing through, what happens?”

Peter:

“It’ll cut you in half.  I killed a guy like that once.  Eh, Don’t worry, he was a bad guy.”

This Was Not Among the Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.

Apparently  the Fringe team needs to employ an eight year old child to let them know when they’ve come up with an incredibly bad plan.  Their plan to have NerdLee pass for Lincoln Lee and escort Peter to Walternate had more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

-What if Lincoln Lee had been at Liberty Island at the time?

-What if they needed a password or code (Shapeshifters are in play after all.)

-What if handprints were not identical across universes, just like they are not identical between identical twins? (Maybe that was previous established, and I’m forgetting.  Even still, Lincoln could still have a scar on his palm that NerdLee dosen’t)

-What if they required the Show Me? (Shapeshifters are in play after all.)  Not having a plan for dealing with the universally required  Show Me was a total non-starter, end of story; go back and start over and tell me when you have a real plan.

I could go on, but you seem my point

It Wasn’t a Problem This Time, but…

Neither Olivia nor Fauxlivia have yet figured out not to separate from their partner.  In addition to all the things that tend to go wrong when that happens, WE’RE DEALING WITH SHAPESHIFTERS THESE DAYS!  There should be protocols in place for what to do if you ever lose sight of your partner.  Admittedly, the Alterverse Fringe team members are just starting to realize the shapeshifter threat to their universe, but it’s still a bad idea to abandon your wingman and be without backup.

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

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?

Posted in Fringe, Gray Episode, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 21 Season 3, The Last Sam Weiss

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 29, 2011

A Blue Episode

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

Blatant Product Placement

Gee, the backup camera on the cars sure was cool.  If only I had a way of knowing what model car that was so I  could get one…

You know, there’s a distinction between product placement and writing elements into a show just to feature products and their features.  Showing that a person is driving a Ford Focus by the camera pausing on the car’s name plate is a product placement.  Intentionally inserting a scene where a car backs up just so you can show the backup camera of a Ford Focus is artistic compromise.

Today’s Winner of the Darwin Award Is…

What kind of idiot gets out of his car during a freak electrical storm like the one in this episode in order to see what’s going on, even if he thinks the storm is over?

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Lightning does strike cars, and being insulated from the ground by the tires does not make much difference.  Just as lightning is powerful enough to travel through the air to the car, it can also arc from the car to the ground.  What keeps you safe in a car that is struck by lightning is the metal skin of the car conducting the electricity around you.  (Sorry fiberglass bodied Corvette owners.)  If you are in a car and lightning is striking around you, the advice is to pull over, shut the engine down, and keep your hands in you lap and wait for the storm to pass.

Wait, What Did He Just Say?

Sam Weiss (not to be confused with Samwise Gamgee):

“It’s not a doomsday device, but it’s acting like one.”

Uhh, isn’t that exactly what everybody so far has been thinking it is, a doomsday device?  It does present the intriguing possibility that the devices were not designed to be doomsday devices but were intended for some other purpose.  Perhaps they are really anti-doomsday devices indeed to fix problems like the ones caused by Walter, and Walternate is using his device incorrectly.

 Are You Sure You Have a PhD in Physics?

Astrid:

“Walter this can’t possibly be safe.”

Walter:

“Nonsense, I’m fully insulated.”

So were the cars, Walter.  The lightning has enough current to overcome the resistance of the air, I don’t think Walter’s rubber boots and gloves are going keep him safe.  Rubber tires don’t keep cars from being struck by lightning, and Walter has no metal skin to harmlessly conduct the electricity around him, though that didn’t seem to help the people at the beginning of the episode very much.

Top Notch Care

How come no alarms went off when Peter ripped off his monitors?  The display went flat line, and not one alarm went off?  I know the hospital was overwhelmed by the large number of lightning victims, but it sure took a long time to notice the monitors had flat lined and their patient was missing.  Apparently Peter could have actually arrested and died, and nobody would have noticed for quite a while.

Are You REALLY Sure You have a PhD in Physics?

Walter:

“These two magnets create a magnetic field between them.  As a result, these iron filings line up in a pattern consistent with that field.”

Walter is explaining his demonstration wrongly.  In Walter’s demonstration, each magnet had its own magnetic field, and the iron filings lined up with the magnetic field lines of each field.    The filings would be lining up even with only one magnet.  The intersection of those patterns indicates the overlap of the two magnetic fields.  Also, if Walter had re-agitated the table after bringing the two magnets together, he would seen that the magnetic fields combined rather than disappeared, and the pattern would have look something, like this.

Security By Acme Solutions

Why would the alarm system be controlled by breakers in the regular breaker box?  How secure would that be?  I would think they would be on their own, secured bus with a battery backup system so the system could still be active in a power outage.

Secrets Of the Ancients

That paper was remarkably flexible and robust for something that was presumably thousands of years old.

What If You Believe Really Hard?

Olivia:

“But believing doesn’t make it true.”

Please tell that to the Birthers.

Quantum Entypement or Just Telekinetic Typing?

Just curious, how would they be able to tell the difference between Olivia controlling the typewriter in the other universe, causing the typewriter in our universe to work, and her just controlling the typewriter in our universe?

Oh, God!

The quote in the magazine Sam was reading,

I love to sing.  And I love to drink Scotch.  Most people would rather hear me drink Scotch.”

is from George Burns.

Official Personnel Only, No Exceptions

I know you’re in the loop on everything that’s going on right now, and you might prove invaluable, but I’m sorry, you aren’t an official member of the Fringe team.  You aren’t allowed to come along and try to help save the universe.  There’s liability concerns, after all.

Product Placement Question

Does Fox give the writers a list of things (like a Sprint tablet or Ford backup camera) that they have to figure out a way to work into the episode each week?

Are You Sure You Know What Exponential Means?

Walter:

“Exponential microquakes building towards a massive event.”

If they were building exponentially, they wouldn’t remain micro for very long.

Did they Use Giant Rubber Gloves?

How did they move the device when it was protected by a force field that wouldn’t allow even a pen to touch it?

Unanswered Questions

What did Peter want to show Walternate when he went to Liberty Island?  Was it important or significant to the future resolution of the plot?

Why do Peter and Olivia have no memories of each other as children?

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 20 Season 3, 6:01 AM EST

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 23, 2011

A Purple (Both Red and Blue) Episode

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

Genetic Noise

The need to strip out Fauxlivia’s chromosomes from her child’s genetic material was an important technical point.  If it would have worked to still have her chromosomes in the mix of the genetic sample form her son, then Walternate’s DNA would have worked just as well, since he has 23 chromosomes in common with Peter just like Peter’s son has, though likely not the exact same 23 chromosomes.  Apparently the presence of non-Peter Chromosomes is a bigger problem than having only half of Peter’s chromosomes.

It’s Electric!

The phenomenon whereby charge accumulates in certain solid materials as a result of applied mechanical strain is called piezoelectricity.   The most familiar use of piezoelectricity is in flintless cigarette lighters and gas barbecue igniters.  Quartz is a material that exhibits piezoelectricity.  Peizoelectricity does not, however, create something analogous to a battery that holds a change after the strain is relieved.  Those rocks should not have been holding a charge as they no longer had a force applied to them.  For plot convenience sake, I will have to assume that the effects of the device partially dematerialized the rocks and reassembled them such that the quartz crystals were held in strain in the matrix of the rocks.

It’s Epic!

Nina’s Sprint phone in the hit you over the head obvious product placement was the Sprint  Epic version of the Samsung Galaxy S.  It’s a pretty sweet phone, and basically the top phone out there with a physical keyboard (as of April 2011).  It is a 4G phone with slide out keyboard, front and rear facing cameras, and an LED flash, and it runs the Android OS.

The All American Sport

Ebbets Field was the home to the Brooklyn Dodgers, and apparently still is their home in the alterverse.  Also, the Montreal Expos either never moved to Washington D.C. in the alterverse, or they never changed their name to the Nationals if they did move.

Am I Missing Something Here?

I watched the episode online, and it was extremely inconvenient  to backup and replay a scene.  Fauxlivia has previously traveled to our universe and back.  While she may not have technically understood how it worked, she should remember the basics of how it was done.  I’m not sure why Fauxlivia seemd to have no inkling how inter-universe travel is done, or why her universe’s Brandon Fayett (the Chief Fringe scientist in the alterverse) would bother to pretend trans-universe travel can’t be done.  Perhaps Fauxlivia wanted to know how to bring someone back and not just how to travel between universes, but the she has accompanied someone a return trip across universes herself.

Fauxlivia:

 “Ten months ago, the secretary brough Peter Bishop back from the other side, How?”

Presumably it was similar to the way you traveled between universes, Fauxlivia.

Fauxlivia:

“I read the mission logs.  I know the secretary developed technology to cross between universes and bring back Peter Bishop.”

Uhh, she didn’t just read the logs, she met Peter Bishop when he was here, and she accompanied him back to our universe.

Better In the Dark?

So does Fauxlivia prefer to sit in the cell in the dark, or is she being punished and have no ability to turn the lights on?

Note For Saint Louis Viewers

If you missed this episode last night due to local Fox coverage of the storm that hit Saint Louis and attacked Lambert Airport, this episode will air again on Fox tonight (4-23-11) at 10:35PM .

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Purple Episode, Red Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 19 Season 3, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

Posted by Karl Withakay on April 15, 2011

A Blue Episode

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

Yeah. 220… 221, Whatever it Takes -or- Do Not Reset or Power Off Your Olivia

I know the effect of dimming lights and blown breakers added drama, but wouldn’t you make sure you had enough current capacity to properly power your mind transfer device?  You always get a warning not to shut down or reset when saving a game on the Xbox360 or flashing the ROM on your computer or electronic devices.  Who knows what could happen if you lose power when in the middle of a consciousness transfer?

Did You Make Sure To Select the Right Volume?

How do you make sure your soul transfer machine transfers the right soul anyway?  What if Olivia had ended up in the body of the bearded guy on ice?

Does This Rat Seem Like that Other Rat to You?

Who knew rats had souls?  How exactly would you tell that a rat had the soul of another rat inside it?  I guess you would use the magic soul reading EEG for the rats just like you do for people.

First In, First Out?

Why is it that the natural host soul (which is presumably better anchored to the host brain) is the one to be lost rather than the invasive guest soul?

Chi, Why Did it Have to Be Chi?

Bellivia:

“OK, what if we try and activate her Chi”

Walter:

“Acupuncture?”

Bellivia:

“Yes, we try and stimulate her seventh chakra.  Pure consciousness.”

First of all, Chi and Chakras are related but different forms of vitalistic woo.  As for acupuncture and Chi points, studies have shown that the location of needling in acupuncture is irrelevant.  (They have also shown that it doesn’t matter whether you penetrate with needles or just poke with toothpicks.)  Chi points have never been demonstrated to exist, and their origin lies more with astrology than with anatomy.  Chi is a prescientific, concept based on vitalism, devised before the modern understanding of the circulatory, respiratory, and nervous systems.

The Emulator is Legal, But are the ROMs Copywrited?

Walter:

“Whole brain emulation.  It’s another one of Belly’s old projects.  It describes how an inorganic host can house organic material.”

I think the writers are getting confused and mixing up concepts here.  If William Bell has an incorporeal soul that is independent of his old brain, as it must be since his body is now dead and his soul has moved into Olivia’s body, then that soul cannot be considered organic.  If the mind is exclusively the result of the organic brain, then there is no way to transfer the mind or soul.  Though it could be possible to copy the mind, the original would be left behind in that case.

More Mental Confusion

Mind, soul, brain, consciousness, the writers seem to randomly interchange these terms so much that it becomes difficult to tell what they’re actually talking about at times.  Are they going into Olivia’s mind to look for her consciousness or going into her brain to find her mind/soul.  The language seems clear that they are going into her mind to find her consciousness, but that means her mind is there and reachable.  Is there a danger that her consciousness will disappear while her mind is still in her body?  Is the danger that her mind will follow her consciousness if it disappears from her body?  Is this all just an elaborate excuse to do an Inception episode?

Astrid Farnsworth, M.D.?

Should Astrid really be supervising the whole LSD trip into Olivia’s mind all by herself?  What if one of them seizes, arrests, or experiences some other form of serious complication?

She’s Got a Lot On Her Mind

That’s a very large, complicated, and involved world that Olivia’s mind was generating.  No wonder her consciousness was suppressed, it was too busy generating a dream consisting of a large portion of the United States with a cast of at least thousands of people in it.

Peter, I Made a Skid!

Normally, that would have a different meaning coming out of Walter’s mouth.  Enough said.

A Mind Scanner Darkly

It seems like they did the animation just for scenes involving Leonard Nimoy as Bell.  Nimoy had retired from acting, but he returned for Fringe and to voice Sentinel Prime in the next Transformers movie.  It’s almost like Nimoy will only do voice acting work now, so they animated his scenes.  The other option presumably would have been to make Bell a large transforming robot from another planet.

Explosive Decompression?

Hydrogen filled rigid airships typically cruised at about 3,000 ft, with the highest altitude achieved by a hydrogen filled rigid passenger airship being 5,500 ft on the Graf Zeppelin’s maiden voyage.  As far as I can find from very limited research, explosive decompression does not even begin to be a concern until sometime around or after 15,000 ft.  That guy should not have been sucked out of the zeppelin like that.

Mostly For the Search Engines

The ECL82 is an actual vacuum tube used in record players with crystal pickups.  I’m not sure why Walter’s digital soul computer would need one, or where he would plug it in.  Perhaps Walter was looking to mellow out Bell’s soul a little bit.

Fear Is The Mind Killer

The resolution seemed a little anticlimactic/ Deus Ex Humana to me.  All it took to resolve the situation was for Olivia to become a Bene Gesserit.

Product Placement

It’s strange.  The SPRINT tablets I see online and in the stores don’t seem to have SPRINT in GAINT LETTERS across the top to let you know they are SPRINT tablets like the one in the show did.  I wonder if it was supposed to be a product placement, kind of like an in-show ad or something?  :)

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 16 Season 3, Os

Posted by Karl Withakay on March 11, 2011

A Blue Episode

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

Network 101

Those shapeshifter memory discs didn’t look like they were arranged in a daisy chain wiring pattern.  In a daisy chain, each device is hooked to the next device in series, like links in a chain.  Those discs looked more like they were wired in a centralized topology.

Product Placement

Well Thanks to Fringe, we now know that Olivia’s Ford can read text messages aloud to you.  At this point, if they have any chance of helping get Fringe renewed for another season, I’ll put up with the blatant product placements.

Counterbalance

Well, I think I know how they achieved counterbalance.  The boots are weighted.

I think Peter means something more like counter-buoyancy or counter-weight.  The thieves weren’t balancing against an opposing weight on a pivot or working with a center of gravity, they were countering the mystery buoyancy.

Let My Cameron Go

The bad guy in this episode was played by Alan Ruck, probably best known for his portrayal of Cameron Frye in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.  He also played the captain of the Enterprise B in the horrible movie Star Trek: Generations, but I won’t hold that against him.

Dead Weight

What was the point of testing the body for lighter than air gases like helium?  In a non Fringified universe, for buoyancy, the buoyant force on an object is going to be equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object, meaning that you would have to displace enough volume of air with helium, such that the mass of the air displaced has to be greater than the mass of the body to be lifted + the mass of the lifting gas.  There’s not nearly enough volume in a human body to achieve buoyancy by traditional lifting gas no matter how much (or how little) helium or hydrogen it contains.

The World’s Heaviest Element

Osmium is the world’s densest element, but it is not really correct to refer to it as the heaviest element.  When you refer to the weight of an element, you are usually referring to it’s atomic mass, as in the combined number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus or it’s atomic weight, which is basically the average atomic mass of a sample of the element.   At this time, the world’s heaviest element would be Ununoctium.  The world’s heaviest stable element is Lead, although Bismuth-209 has a half life so long (nine orders of magnitude greater than the current age of the universe) that it can be considered stable for all practical purposes.

Sure, Shoot Me Up!

Would you let some stranger you met in a gymnasium shoot you up with some mystery juice that he told you could cure your incurable condition?  I’d be a little worried that I’d wake up in an alley several hours later with my pants around my ankles and my wallet missing.

Ice Hot, Doctor, Ice Hot!

If extremely cold temperatures melt the Osmium, is the boiling point below absolute zero, and therefore unachievable?  Is there a limit to how cold you can get it by applying unlimited heat, or is it possible to get it colder than absolute zero by supplying enough heat?

Elemental Mistake

I think the writers got their elements mixed up. Lutetium (9.84 g/cm^3) is rare, but is not even as dense as lead (11.34 g/cm^3), let alone Osmium (22.59 g/cm^3), and it does not come from meteorites.  It think the writers were thinking of Iridium (22.56 g/cm^3), which is very nearly as dense as Osmium, is also rare, and is found in meteorites.  In fact, it is the relative abundance of iridium in the K-T boundary of 65 million years ago that provide support for the theory that an impact  of a comet or asteroid lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

I Am Your Density

Density does not equal strength.  Gold is very dense (19.3 g/cm^3) and also very soft.  It would make horrible armor protection.  Why would you work with “two of the densest elements on earth” when trying to make a material to protect aircraft from ground fire?  Strength to weight ratio is the key for aircraft, not density.  Titanium (4.51 g/cm^3) is used in the A-10 to protect the pilot from enemy fire .

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 9, Season 3, Marionette

Posted by Karl Withakay on December 9, 2010

A Blue Episode

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

Will There Be Any More Red Episodes?

Now that Olivia is back in our universe, I’m guessing the regular alternating pattern of blue and red episodes may be over.

Not so Fringe

The use of an umbrella to deliver the drug to knock out the first victim in the show is probably based on the murder of Georgi Markov with a pellet containing ricin toxin believed to be delivered by just such an umbrella.  I really like it when Fringe uses real world concepts like this or the number stations in episode 6 of this season, 6955kHz.

I am Not A Surgeon…

So I’d have to ask someone more qualified to comment on whether or not there really would have been that much blood splattered all along the walls/ plastic drapes like that, but I do question it just a little.

I’m A Little Disappointed

It didn’t turn out to be a zombie episode; the potential certainly was there.

Just a Comment

I really like the relationship and interaction between Walter and Peter in Fringe.  It’s consistently the best written and acted part of the show, in my opinion.  The scene between Walter and Peter in the car in this episode was just such a gem.

Lady Fortuna Has Smiled Upon Us

I assume Walter is speaking of this Lady Fortuna, Roman goddess of fortune and not any relation of Bib Fortuna of Star Wars fame, but with Walter, you never know.

Is Hanging Around the Fringe Team Making Walter Dumber?

Scar tissue on the arteries indicative of heart surgery, steroids, immunosuppressants, antifungals, and antibiotics in the medicine cabinet, and nobody, not even Walter is screaming “TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT!”?  Peter was smart enough to look in the medicine cabinet, but not smart enough to put two and two together with what he found?  What  was he looking for, statins?

Paging Dr. Ross, Dr Alex Ross

I wonder if the name Alexandra Ross is supposed to be a wink of the eye to famed comic book talent, Alex Ross.  I’m sure Scott will have something to say about that.

A Bag Full of Hammers Might Make a Keener Investigative Team

Even after learning the Doctor Ross was a surgeon, the team was still surprised to learn the victim was a transplant recipient.  I think the chances of the other universe winning are better than even odds.

The Eyes Have It

As Far as I can find, eye banks do harvest whole eyes, but for cornea transplants, not whole eye transplants.  Roland would be not be putting the original eyes back in Amanda’s body, just the original corneas with somebody else’s eyes.  I’ll have to ask Scott is tissue compatibility is a two way street.  That is, would the victim’s tissues (eyes) necessarily have been a match for Amanda if Amanda’s tissues were a match for him?

Paging Dr. West, Dr. Herbert West or Again I Am Disappointed

Walter:  “…but imagine the possibilities, if this can permanently erase cell decay”

Astrid:  “Milk that doesn’t go bad.”

Walter:  “and cheese.”

…and the dead walking the Earth, killing the living, wreaking havoc, etc.  Don’t these people read H. P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelly, or watch Jeffery Combs or Boris Karloff movies?

I thought for sure Amada was going to come to life and try to kill Roland at the end.  The writers dropped the ball a second time in this episode.  Zombie fail.

Also, would that rot-proof milk and cheese still be digestible, even if it weren’t zombified?

There’s Product Placement, and There’s In-Show Advertising

Guess which I consider the Sprint video chat scene to be.

Marionette Voodoo

Creepy Roland’s marionette rig wasn’t complex enough to produce the amount of articulation that Amanda’s  inert body demonstrated, such as the pointing of the toes during the ballet.  And why make the rig at all if he’s going to bring her back to life, and she’ll be able to dance on her own?  Really creepy.

ALWAYS Look In the Basement For the Mad Scientist’s Lab!

Come on people, it’s so simple.  Perhaps you need a refresher course!

Did I Miss Something?

Or did the show not really clarify how Amanda re-died?  Was Roland’s experiment a failure?  Did he choose not to finish it when he decided it wasn’t really Amanda?  Did she kill herself again?  Is she really still reanimated but just non-responsive?

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | 13 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 4, Season 3, Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 14, 2010

(A Blue Episode)

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

Sometimes It’s OK To Be a Dick

The title of this episode is a reference to the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick upon which the movie Blade Runner was based, which is arguably the greatest science fiction movie of all time.

The Writers Seem to Be Telegraphing It In For Us Lately

Peter to Fauxlivia:

“We draw our moral lines in the sand, and unless you can put yourself in another man’s shoes, I don’t think you can really judge their actions.”

Ignoring the fact that Peter is mixing genders between masculine and plural/gender neutral indefinite singular here (“another man’s shoes…judge his actions” or “another person’s shoes…judge their actions”), the entire scene seemed poorly contrived to supply us with the dialog to strongly hint that Peter will eventually come to some sort of acceptance of what Walter did.  Either that or they just want us to think Peter is an oblivious hypocrite.

Quote of the Show

“Don’t you see that the brain is consciousness?  The mind is God.”

Mad As a Hatter

Walter’s explanation for the origins of the term “mad hatter” is one of the theories behind the origins of the term, but the actual etymology is undetermined.

Did He At Least Have To Sign For Them?

Apparently Homeland Security briefings are not “Classified” or “Eyes Only” but are instead for “Official Use Only”.

Don’t Tell Lies That Can Easily Be Uncovered

When Newton calls Fauxlivia on her cell phone, she tells Peter that it is her sister Rachel calling.  Rachel visits semi-regularly, and she and Peter occasionally speak together without Olivia present.  It seems that lie could easily be accidentally exposed several different ways.  A Better lie would have been for her to say it was her cell phone company trying to sell her extra services.  I would have bought it as my cell phone company does that almost every month.

Clsd Craptioning for the hrg !pred

I’d just like to point out for everyone that doesn’t use closed captioning (I use it for Fringe to make it easier to write down quotes), that tonight’s captions appear to have been prepared by a partially deaf, arthritic person with two fingers missing on each hand on a computer with several keys missing.  Thanks, Captionmax!

Unanswered Question:

Did Newton kill the shapeshifter cop’s family after killing him?

Do They Have to Make the Product Placement So Obvious?

It sure seemed natural for the camera to pan down to and center on the Taurus badge on the trunk of Fauxlivia’s car (or is it more proper to call it Olivia’s car that Fauxlivia was driving?) before it took off in pursuit of Newton, didn’t it?  It looked like a shot right out a Ford brochure.

Protected Storage

I suppose locating the data storage unit at the base of the spine could offer it better protection from damage than locating it in the brain would.  By the way, it’s only a theory (really just a speculation) that the stegosaurus had a second brain in the hip region of its spinal cord.

Who’s In Charge of Designing the Security Protocols, anyway?

So, you have a high value, dangerous shape shifter that can somehow move between parallel universes in your custody, and you don’t have him under constant, 24 hour video and audio surveillance?  WTF?

Something Just Occurred to Me…

While watching the previews  for next week’s episode, the following thought occurred to me:  In the other universe, are they going to secretly dye Olivia’s hair in her sleep every once in a while?  Sooner or later, her blond roots are going to show, and that would likely trigger a breakdown of the imprinting of the Fauxlivia personality.  (I suppose one could also ask if the carpet matches the drapes, but that would be a little crude.)  Perhaps they have a method of permanently altering hair color in the other universe.

Posted in Blue Episode, Fringe, Product Placement, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 20, Season 2, Northwest Passage

Posted by Karl Withakay on May 6, 2010

As usual, an episode synopsis can be found over at Scott’s Polite Dissent.

With Street Smarts Like That, No Wonder She’s Dead

Did the waitress just hook up at the local motel with every charming stranger that bought pie and coffee in the diner?

Gratuitous Product Placement Du Jour

Another gratuitous Ford product placement, this time for the Ford Taurus and its Sync based navigation system.

Ford’s Navigation Must Have a Very Good Location Database

It couldn’t find any city in the entire United States called Mars.  Wikipedia found two US cities currently named Mars, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Texas.

Quote of the Show #1

Peter talking to the Sheriff:

“I know how it sounds, but believe me, if you can imagine it, it’s possible.”

At least in Fringe land that’s true.

A Pen for Many Different Customers

“Find the Crack”  Do they also have those pens at the DEA?  Maybe they have them in the current season of Doctor Who as well.

WTF Was Peter Doing to Those Bullets?

Are hollow point bullets restricted in the state of Washington?  Why was Peter filing on the handgun bullets?  Soft point bullets don’t expand very well at handgun velocities, especially ones made in a hotel room with a file.  Was Peter perhaps carving crosses on them in case he had to shoot a vampire?

Do You Have Any Delicious Strawberry Flavored Death?  Yes, Aisle Five.

Apparently Potassium Bromate (KBrO3) may not be the best thing to improve flour with, though it’s still legal to use in the US.

Maybe She Had a Clue When They Posted Mid Term Grades

Walter speaking to Astrid:

“You’re a federal agent.  I doubt during your years of training that you had dreams of baby sitting a helpless old man.”

I’m No Doctor, But My BS Meter Was Registering Off The Scale

I’m not even going to bother Deconstructing that BS with the adrenaline & the time of death.

Are You Allowed to Work in the Fringe Unit if You Know Proper Firearms Safety?

Firing a handguns indoors without hearing protection is a good way to suffer some permanent hearing damage.  Based on the location of the windows in the room, it looked like they were in the basement or lower level, which brings up two other safety issues.  If the building had concrete floors, the bullet could had ricocheted, or if the floors weren’t concrete, the bullet could have penetrated to the upper floor and injured someone.  Hey Peter, why not just try shouting “BOO!’ when the sheriff’s back is turned if you want to scare her?

Quote of the Show #2

Sheriff to Peter:

“I think you’re looking for meaning in things that have no meaning.”

That’s what we humans tend to do; we are pattern seeking creatures.  Even when none exist, we tend to find them if we look hard enough.

Confirmed Sooner Than I Expected

Ladies and Gentlemen: Secretary Walternate Bishop.  Anybody want to guess what he’s secretary of?  My vote is for Homeland Security.

Posted in Fringe, Product Placement, Quotes, Science, Television | 4 Comments »

 
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