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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!


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.


4 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 5, Season 3, Amber 31422”

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

  2. Max Kerpelman said

    My first thought about Petergheist was that he was a device for having Joshua Jackson present in the Alternaverse. I agree with you that, whatever the reason, it feels strained.

  3. FC said

    Hi Karl. It’s quite obvious Peter is there to justify Joshua Jackson’s salary in Red Episodes. ^_^

    What else would you have Peter do?

    In this day and age of wikipedia and internet I thought ferrocene and negative matter rings was ok as far as technobabble goes. Lord knows, Star Trek was much worse in this regard.

  4. Karl Withakay said

    I agree. It wasn’t bad technobabble.

    You’re probably right about JJ’s paycheck as well.

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