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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 8, Season 2, August

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 19, 2009

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

I Tend To Notice Gun Play

The campus security guard fired 6 shots, and then his gun would not fire anymore.  He was shooting a medium frame Glock, likely either a model 19 in 9x19mm or a 23 in .40 S&W.  The smallest magazine capacity in the medium Glocks (which they term compact) is the model 38 in .45 ACP, which has a standard mag capacity of 8, and the other models mentioned have mag capacities of 15 & 13 respectively.  Either the mag was not fully loaded, or the 7th round was a dud.  Considering the slide did not lock back after the last round fired, I must conclude it was a dud.

High Speed Camera or Underpowered Bullet?  (Or Physics is Fun!)

As the Fringe team is watching the video of the guard shooting at the Watcher, they play it back one frame at a time.  We see the bullet travel about one hand length from one frame to the next.  If we assume the video was an ATSC HD recording at 60 frames/second, and assume the distance traveled in one frame was appx 7.5 inches (the average length of a male human hand, according to Wikipedia), we can calculate the speed of the bullet to be roughly 450 feet/second (225feet/second if the video was NTSC 30 frames/second).  This is entirely too slow for any bullet fired from a Glock semi auto pistol (even if the target was 100 yards away).  The slowest bullet you would likely fire from any model Glock would be a .45 cal 230 grain bullet (7000 grains to a pound) traveling at appx 850 f/s from the muzzle (788f/s @ 100yds).  If we assume the last round fired was a dud, we can speculate that it was a bad lot of ammo, and the round seen in the video was underpowered.

If we assume the round was not underpowered, we can calculate an estimated frame rate required to produce the video seen.  Depending on the caliber and load used in the Glock, the velocity of the bullet would have been between about 850 and 1350 f/s.  That works out to between 130 & 180 frames per second.  It seems unlikely the campus uses high speed video, so we’re back to a defective lot of ammo.

Bad Gag Idea

It’s my understanding that cleave gags like that aren’t very good for keeping a person quite.  They can’t vocalize well, but can still make considerable noise.  Try keeping your mouth completely closed and see how much noise you can make through your nose alone; you can make even more noise with just a cleave style gag in your mouth.  Additionally, it’s actually fairly dangerous to use a gag like that.  If the person developed sinus congestion and couldn’t breath through their nostrils, they may not be able to take enough air in through their obstructed mouth.  Chocking is a major danger if the person were to vomit, say due to a gag reflex.

Is this the FBI or the Blood Hound Gang?

Broyles:

Her name is Christine Hollis; 27 years old, in a masters program for fine arts at B.U..  As far as we can tell, she’s no one special.  Parents deceased, no siblings, no arrest record, twenty-seven of her dollars in a bank account.  Nothing unusual about her.

Olivia:

Do we have an address?

Broyles:

We’re working on it.

OK, so the FBI was able to determine the victim’s name, age, education, family history, lack of arrest record, and bank account balance, but not her fracking address.  WTF???

But it Looks and Sounds Cool.

When Astrid is running the text from the Watcher’s Observer’s  journal through the computer, not only does the display rapidly cycle through various symbols (which I’ve mentioned before that computers don’t usually do when searching through or processing data), but the computer was also making computery sounds like you’d hear on a 1960’s or 1970’s sci-fi show/movie.

What Constitution?

Peter says he’s going to get Broyles to get a list of all the local hemophiliacs form hospital records.  Even if he got a warrant, that is privileged information, and he might have a hard time forcing the hospitals to release that information.  It would also be a HIPPA violation.

Occam’s Razor

So because there are various photos and paintings of bald guys in the background of historical events, the most likely conclusion is that there are time travelers showing up at important historical moments rather than that male pattern baldness begins affecting 1 in 4 men after age 30?  I’d be surprised if there weren’t bald men present in the crowds at historical events.

Did I Mention that I Know a Little Something About Guns?

That gun the assassin was using was a Desert Eagle.  The lightest caliber for which the Desert Eagle is .357 magnum, and .44 magnum is more common.  To be most effective, a suppressed (silenced) weapon needs to fire a subsonic bullet, otherwise you will still hear the crack of the bullet breaking the sound barrier even if you do not hear the report of the gun itself.  It’s very questionable whether any subsonic load for the .357 could cycle the action of the Desert Eagle.  A different gun in .45ACP would have been a better choice, as most .45 loads are already subsonic.  Also, the suppressor on that gun was a little too short to be very effective.

When Do Product Placements Become Sellouts?

The scene when Olivia tried to call her niece seemed contrived and not particularly relevant to the flow of the story.  It seemed to exist solely for the purpose of product placement for Ford and their Sync technology, powered by Microsoft, as was prominently displayed on the screen for our benefit.

Peter With a Death Wish?

Making a move on a man with a loaded and cocked gun pressed against the back of your head is absolute stupidity unless you believe he’s going to pull the trigger immediately anyway.  The fact that the assassin hadn’t already pulled the trigger would tend to indicate there was at least a slim chance he might not shoot at all.

More Gun Stuff

Olivia fired only 4 rounds from her medium frame Glock before she ran out of ammo and the slide locked back.  Considering she likely had a 13 or 15 round mag, does she intentionally only load 4 rounds to keep the weight down, or did she forget to reload after the last time she fired her gun?

Third Rank Amateur or Cocky top Professional?

Broyles mentions to Olivia near the end of the episode that the ballistics tied the assassin’s gun to six unsolved homicides up and down the east coast.  Why would a pro use the same gun for six different murders?  If he gets caught with the gun, that’s six murder counts he could face charges for.  You could say he was so good at what he did that he’d never get caught so it didn’t matter, but he could got stopped for a routine traffic stop and searched for probable cause, or he could be in a an accident and knocked unconscious while in possession of a gun tied to six murders. I think a pro would always ditch the gun after the target was eliminated.

Yea Continuity Again!

The writers do seem to making a conscious effort to maintain continuity of details.  Broyles’ arm was in a sling in this week’s episode after having been shot by Peter in last week’s episode.  Good job writers!  You’d never have gotten a job on Star Trek The Next Generation.

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6 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 8, Season 2, August”

  1. […] This week’s Fringe cipher was: BLIGHT. A list of all previous Fringe reviews is available here. Karl has much more to say. […]

  2. Bob said

    Yeah, that product placement was so very much a sore thumb. Oh well, if it helps keep the show on the air.

    Regarding Liv’s gun — that seems to happen all the time on TV shows (and movies, to a lesser extent). My guess is that the armorers only load a few rounds, based on how many the actor’s supposed to fire, probably for safety reasons. Then the camera catches the gun with the slide locked back, and it gets left in because of time and money constraints, or the editor & director don’t notice in time to fix it, or just don’t care.

  3. Alexis said

    The observer’s gun exist? (Of course it will not shoot blue lasers or whatever)

  4. cordialdeconstruction said

    It was definitely a real gun with some sort of prosthetic on the slide to alter its appearance. It looked kind of like a Walther PP series, but it was hard to get a really good view of it.

  5. […] Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 8, Season 2, August […]

  6. Rory Algarin said

    Hey. I couldn’t get through to this page the other day. Anyone else had the problem?

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