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Minor Review of Fringe Episode 6, Season 2: Earthling

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 5, 2009

A plot synopsis can be found at Polite Dissent, as usual.

Ashes to Ashes

Interesting that the outside surface of the body retains all pigment and appearances, but internally the body is just ash.

Self Storage

Broyles keeping evidence in self storage implies one of the following: he doesn’t trust the FBI with some Fringe evidence, the FBI wasn’t going to keep the evidence, or the FBI is outsourcing their long term evidence storage needs to Dino’s storage.


Not only are the ash remains depleted of radioactive isotopes, but they apparently shield Geiger counters from background radiation as well.

Prop Convenience Theater #1

It was nice to see the computer screen during the FBI’s search of the hospital’s servers display a series of progress bars rather than the usual flashing or scrolling series of data you normally see for such searches on TV & in the movies.  (Computers generally don’t display every piece of data on screen during a search, as anyone who’s used the search for files/ folders function in Windows knows)

Hello, Am I Deaf or Just Dumb?

Why do people on TV & in the movies always repeatedly say “Hello…Hello!” when the voice of person talking on the other end is replaced with a dial tone?  Are they expecting the dial tone to reply?

Prop Convenience Theater #2

Just in case you couldn’t figure out that it was a lead acid battery the man was retrieving from his van, the prop master was kind enough put a giant label on the face of that battery that said “LEAD ACID BATTERY” in huge letters that were visible from the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.  I always buy LEAD ACID BATTERY brand batteries for my cars and boats, and so apparently did the man in the show because every single one of the numerous batteries he had was an identical LEAD ACID BATTERY brand battery.

Bad Radiation Science #1

Radioactivity is more of a phenomenon that it is a “thing”.  Nuclear radioactivity is the result of the decay of radioactive isotopes.  You can’t drain the radiation from something or collect it.  You would have to remove/ collect all radioactive materials from it to do so.

Bad Radiation Science #2

If a life form somehow needed to feed off of ionizing radiation, it could find far better sources to feed off of than human bodies.  Depending on what form of radiation it needed, (Alpha, Beta, Gamma/ X-Ray, or neutron, etc), there’s plenty of better sources likely located right in the hospitals themselves.  Heck, your average home basement is probably a better source of radioactivity than the human body.

Bad Radiation Science #3

Direct ionizing radiation (ionizing radiation other than neutron radiation) does not induce radioactivity or cause things to become radioactive*.  Things become radioactive when they are contaminated with radioactive materials.  Getting an X-ray does not make you radioactive or increase your radioactivity and would not make you more attractive to a radiation eating monster.

*  Extremely high energy particles, the kind produced in supernovas and particle accelerators, can be absorbed by an atom’s nucleus and render it unstable or break it apart into unstable daughter particles, but these particles are far more energetic than anything you normally find on Earth.

Couldn’t they have just traced the call when he checked his voice mail?

I mean, they suspected he was going to check it; why not just trace that call, especially considering he wouldn’t know they were trying to trace him.

Just For Fashion Fun

Why did Walter need to wear a bullet proof vest when Peter didn’t and they were right next to each other?  I’ll just chalk that up to Walter’s eccentricity and assume he just wanted to wear a vest for fun.

From Russia With Love?

Why did the casket/box they hauled the body away in have Russian writing on it?    Does the FBI, the NRC or the NEST contract out production of radiation caskets to Russia as some part of a non-proliferation agreement?  The Russians weren’t collecting the body, so the box shouldn’t have had Russian Writing; we have our own radiation caskets in the good old U.S.A.

Separated at Birth?

I wonder if that creature was related to the Smoke Monster from Lost.

Chemical Trivia

The chemical Walter mentions early in the show when attempting to analyze the formula is Titanium Tetrachloride.


3 Responses to “Minor Review of Fringe Episode 6, Season 2: Earthling”

  1. I was thinking Walter’s vest was more a lead vest like the radiology techs wear, than a bullet proof one.

  2. cordialdeconstruction said

    I’ll grant you that, but it still doesn’t explain why Walter needed a vest and Peter didn’t given their relative proximity.

  3. Von Krieger said

    >>>Why do people on TV & in the movies always repeatedly say “Hello…Hello!” when the voice of person talking on the other end is replaced with a dial tone? Are they expecting the dial tone to reply?

    A bit of truth in television, I suppose. My mother and grandmother do this. 😛

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