Cordial Deconstruction

Observations from our shared single objective reality in a materialistic, naturalistic, & macro-deterministic universe.

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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 12 Season 5 Liberty

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 21, 2013

A Dreary Blue Episode

There won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week.

Underdogs or Top Cats?

The resistance has a comprehensive surveillance system that can track a convoy, and they even have satellites!

Prime Suspect

Broyles is known to have worked very closely with Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Nina in the past.  Shouldn’t he be at the top of the suspect list for the potential identity of “The Dove”?  Why would you even put any other names on the list until he was definitively ruled out?

Minor Trivia About Cortexiphan

Cortexiphan has a shelf life of 127 years, which is very long for a drug.  Maybe it’s like fine wine and it actually gets better with age.

The lot of Cortexiphan used by Walter was made on 3-06-11.

It’s too bad Scott’s not still watching; I’d love to heart what he says about the volume of fluid (cortexiphan) that was injected into Olivia’s brain stem.  I suspect that injecting that large a volume of fluid into the brain stem would be very problematic regardless of what kind of fluid it was.

Potential side Effects of cortexiphan withdrawal include hallucinations, disorientation, and lapses in time. (I am guessing “lapses in time” means actually jumping around through time rather than experiencing blackouts.

Cortexiphan is “burned up” by jumping between universes.

Quote of the Show

Walter:

“There is no greater danger than that which is unknown.”

Questions About the Alterverse

If they can travel to the Alterverse as easily as they can travel within our universe, why have The Observers generally left the Alterverse alone?  (We know that an Observer observing Walternate in the Alterverse made Walternate not notice discovering the cure for Peter’s malady.)

Does the Alterverse have Observers of its own, or are they observed by Observers from our universe?

Does the Alterverse have a different destiny in which The Observers never develop?

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 11 Season 5 The Boy Must Live

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 11, 2013

A Dreary Blue Episode

There won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week.  The odds of there ever being one for this episode are asymptotically approaching the odds of winning the lottery, getting hit by lightning, or being bitten by a shark.

Are Those Hebrew Instruments?

Did anybody else notice that the readouts on the heart rate and other vitals on the setup monitoring Walter were going from right to left instead of left to right?

Can you Hear Me Now?

Technically, talking to someone in a sensory deprivation tank kind of defeats the whole sensory deprivation thing since you’re not depriving them of the sensation of hearing.

Person of Interest

Seeing as September was known to have previously sympathized with Walter and the Fringe team and was banished for it, you would think they might keep an eye on him with Walter at learge.

Possible Justification For Lax Effort of Observers and Loyalists?

Windmark’s superior told him that the anomaly and the Fringe team were inconsequential and that The Observers chose this time (2036) because it presented a 99.9999% probability of success.  Perhaps this is the explanation for not monitoring wireless communications, having no satellite or airborne surveillance, and all the other things I have been complaining about regarding their inept handling of the Fringe team being at large.  Windmark’s superior considers the odds of failure so remote that he is not approving sufficient resources for Windmark to properly run the occupation.

For the Search Engines

Feb 20, 2167 in Oslo Norway is the day of a discovery that eventually leads to the creation of The Observers.  A researcher discovered how to improve cognitive function by rewiring the part of the brain responsible for jealousy, sacrificing emotion for improved intelligence.

Retcon Point One

It is implied in this episode that the reason the Observers were observing the various points in Earth’s history was to determine the point in time in which their plan was most likely to succeed.  I actually think this was nicely done.

The Vulcans Would Be Jealous If They Expressed Emotions

Donald/September tells the Fringe team that emotions like passion and love were considered messy distractions and were machined out of the human race.  Without romantic love, other technologies for reproduction had to be developed.  I’m guessing the Vulcans would prefer the Observers’ method of reproduction to the embarrassment of having to endure Pon Farr.

Excelsior !

Donald/September’s son isn’t really a hybrid.  Hybrids are the result of sexual reproduction between different species, subspecies, or populations/ breeds/ cultivars.  His son is either mutant, if the changes are genetic and can be passed on to his progeny, or he is the result of a congenital abnormality, if the change is developmental and not genetic.  Technically, The Observers might consider him a regressive mutant, having recovered or re-developed features they previously intentionally eliminated form their species.

Setting Up the Grandfather Paradox

If they send The Boy forward in time to Feb 20, 2167 to prevent the eventual creation of the Observers, thus eliminating the invasion of the present, then the future will change, The Boy won’t be sent back in time, and can’t be sent forward in time to prevent The Observers from developing, thus ensuring The Observers will develop.

Tag, You’re It

If The Observers have the ability to tag someone so that they can track them, shouldn’t the first thing they do when taking someone prisoner (like they did Walter in a previous episode) be to tag them?

Booby Traps by ACME

Always make sure to put blinking lights on your booby traps to be fair to your enemy and give them a chance to survive.

Brilliant!

Wait a minute, they have traffic cameras and only now have started checking them to see if they can find any sign of the resistance?

Retcon Point Two

Walter now realizes that September was speaking (totally out of context*) about his own son and not Peter when he told Walter, “The boy is important, he must live.”  Sorry, but I don’t buy it; this is clearly (in my opinion) a retcon.  There are at least one or two other times where Peter is specifically mentioned by Observers as being special.

* That could be forgiven as anyone who is in the habit of not experiencing time lineally could be forgiven for mentioning things out of context.

Quote of the Show

Peter:

“Is that it?”

September/Donald:

“You say that as if we’re not carrying technology that can bend space and time into a Möbius strip.”

Olivia Dunham: Super Genius

Olivia mentions that a woman and her son shouldn’t draw too much attention when trying to slip past the blockade and check points.  Sure Olivia, unless they’re looking for a young boy, in which case that’s exactly what would draw the most attention.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 16 Season 4 Nothing As it Seems

Posted by Karl Withakay on March 31, 2012

A Gold/Yellow Episode

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

Probably Not, But…

Would anybody else not be surprised if Olivia’s shrink turned out to be a doppelganger?

Note: Agent Must be Restricted Exclusively to Fringe Cases

Olivia’s eroding memories of her life from this timeline seriously compromise her value as an FBI agent.  It’s not particularly unlikely that a defense attorney would discover her memory issues during deposition, and use her unreliable memory to get any testimony given by Olivia thrown out of court.

Plot Convenience Theater #1

Was the whole point of the birthday presents was just to give Peter an excuse to hug Walter, thus symbolically and literally embracing this timeline and its inhabitants as his own?

Quote of the Show

Walter:

“I like porcupines.  It [sic] shows that God has a sense of humor.”

How Many Supervisors’ Dogs Did Astra Back Over Anyway?

I have previously speculated that Astrid must have done something really bad in the past to be relegated to her current assignment, and this episode just reinforces that opinion.  Astrid has several years of seniority in the Fringe division over newcomer NerdLee, but Nerdlee is given temporary lead of the team instead of Astrid while Olivia is away from the team.

Oh Yeah, by the Way, Maybe I Should Have Mentioned Before That There Might Be Another Monster Out There

Peter remembers the details of the case in his timeline down to the flight number, but doesn’t bother to mention that that Marshal had an also infected partner until they are at the TSA, wasting valuable time in tracking down the 2nd dangerous mutant-hybrid porcupine man.  Did it not seem important to mention that little detail back in the lab?

NerdLee, Prototypical Perfect Fit For Fringe Division

NerdLeee waits for about five seconds after knocking on the door before deciding to break in without a warrant.  How many people answer a knock on their door in less than 5 seconds?  Maybe the person was asleep or in the bathroom or basement.  My rec room is in the basement, and it takes me about 25 seconds to get upstairs and answer the door, and that is assuming that I instantly drop whatever I am doing to go answer the door.

Call Einstein, Somebody Broke the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy

The guy from the plane turned into a giant porcupine man in the TSA bathroom and apparently grew much physically larger in the process without consuming anything to account for the increased mass.

Onion Rings and Cheesecake?

Fat craving, infected NerdLee craves bacon, onion rings and cheesecake, but not peanut butter.  Peanut butter is pretty high in fat, why is he not interested in peanut butter?  If he only craved animal fat, why the desire for onion rings?  Did he only want onion rings if they were fried in animal fat?

Sure Looks Strange to Me

What’s better than a killer mutant-hybrid giant porcupine man?  A flying killer mutant-hybrid giant porcupine man.  However, for a creature of that size and weight it would probably need much larger wings to generate enough lift to fly.  It wasn’t likely built of the lightweight, hollow bone construction that birds have, so the wings would need to proportionally much larger than bird wings are.

Does Walter Still Own Massive Dynamic in this Timeline?

Because he could be rich if he isn’t already.  His ability to simulate the final product of the porcupine man infection from nothing but a blood sample from NerdLee is nothing shot of miraculous.

But It All Looks Cool

The team that went after the second porcupine man was equipped with HK MP5 submachine guns equipped with Trijicon ACOG 4X scopes (which they were not using), visible laser sights, and tactical lights (which they were also not using).  Although the four power magnification ACOG is an excellent combat scope and can be used in close quarters combat, it is not ideal for such short range situations, and a 1X/no magnification red dot sight is much better suited for such close ranges.  Also, if the team was going in dark like they were, it would make more sense to use invisible infra red laser sights and compatible infra red night vision systems.  I’ll give them a pass on the whole laser beams being visible (like a phaser beam) rather than just seeing the end point since that’s typical Hollywood.  I’ll also give them a pass on using laser sights, since this context, where the darkness and wearing of the bulky night vision systems makes sighting through the weapons’ sights problematic, is one of the few situations where laser sights are actually somewhat useful.

Exclusively for the Search Engines

My Google-fu returns no hits on “sleeping Indian defense”.  Admittedly, I did a simple search and didn’t spend any time on variations of the search terms.

Plot Convenience Theater #2

If you want to go in silently, then use earpieces/headsets for your radios; don’t cut yourself off from team communication.  Also, if you’re really concerned about going in silently, silence your cell phone, or there’s no point in going in silently.  Obviously the whole point in turning the radios off was to make it difficult for Olivia and Astrid to relay a critical piece of information to NerdLee.

Posted in Fringe, Gold/Yellow Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

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 5, Season 3, Amber 31422

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 4, 2010

(A Red Episode)

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

Alternate Universe Convenience Theater

Maybe you shock a flat line in the alternate universe, but you don’t do it here.

Starring Carry Grant as Sam Spade

In our universe, the line, “the stuff dreams are made of” was spoken by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon.  The line was likely derived from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, spoken by Prospero: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…”

An Earth Shattering Experience

In Our universe, October 17, 1989 (the date of the first use of Amber 31422 in the alternate universe) was the date of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

Miscellaneous Trivia

31422 is a zip code in Savannah Georgia.

Quote of the Show

Walternate to Broyles:

“Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil, Phillip.  Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance.  I intend to restore balance to our world, whatever it takes.”

Would You Like a Little Technobabble With That?

Ferrocene is a real compound, but I found no indications of any application for use in negative matter rings.

Fringeternate Team Standards Equally Low

It didn’t strike any of the Fringeternate team members as odd that the suspect’s brother Matthew reacted so nonchalantly to the possibility that his brother might not be trapped in amber, or that he didn’t ask how they could have been previously mistaken about him being encased in amber?  They appear to have FBI academy reject investigators assigned to the Fringe team in the alternate universe too.

Drug Trivia

According to PubMed, Neurontin (Gabapentin) is:

“used to help control certain types of seizures in patients who have epilepsy. Gabapentin is also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles). Gabapentin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabapentin relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain.”

Neurontin has numerous uses, some of which are disputed.

Elavil (AKA, Amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant with various off label uses, and is not a particularly noteable drug.

Those were, however, some very high doses for both drugs, on which I’m sure Scott will comment.

It Must Have Been Under Her Gown

How did Olivia maintain neutral buoyancy and avoid floating to the top of the tank without a weight belt?  People can’t normally hover in the water like that, which is why divers wear weight belts to reduce their buoyancy to keep from floating to the surface.  Also, you’d think they would have made sure to secure the regulator (air supply) to he mouth in some way.  I would think a semi-conscious person hopped up on drugs might accidentally spit it out and drown.

Too Brief a Scene

Unfortunately we were only treated to a few seconds of Olivia wearing those hotty glasses.  I hope we see them again; they go well with the darker hair.

Animated Suspension?

I don’t see how Matthew could have been conscious while suspended in the amber.  To have any sense of consciousness, you need brain activity.  You can’t have brain activity without oxygen, which means you need breathing and blood circulation, neither of which seem to be present for a person trapped in amber.  Without metabolic activity, there is no brain activity, which means no consciousness or perception of the passage of time.

Fringe Unit Really is for Fringe Agents in Both Universes/ Just Flip a Coin

Let me get this straight, Mentat Astrid put a 50% probability on the possibility that it was the other brother trapped in the amber, and she didn’t bother to run the equally likely scenario for potential outcomes?  She assumed a 50% probability as the most likely scenario!

Petergheist

Does anyone else think the Petergheist is a bit of a lame plot contrivance designed to provide us with overt, explicit narration of Olivia’s inner thoughts?  Couldn’t the writers give the audience a little credit and find a little more subtle way of hinting of what’s going on in her head?

Minor Note on These Posts

FYI:  I usually spend about 20 or 30 minutes after posting going over the post proofreading and making tweaks.  If you are one of the few people who read it immediately after posting, you might want to check back the next day for edits or changes.

Posted in Fringe, Medicine / Health, Red Episode, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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