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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.


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 .


7 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 16 Season 3, Os”

  1. jedivulcan said

    Overall… a lame episode.

    All I’m going to say about the end of this episode is that dating an attractive woman possessed by Leonard Nimoy is a dream for some.

  2. jedivulcan said

    I’d love to work in Massive Dynamic.

    For a company that lays out a pretty rigid lie detector test on its employees, they seem pretty lax about smoke detectors and drug screenings.

  3. […] with the subterranean torpedo). That projective was eventually identified as iridium, which gives Karl’s theory a nice “completing the circle” […]

  4. […] episode is debunked at Polite Dissent and Cordial Deconstruction, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. […]

  5. Nytmare said

    My assumption as to why they went with Lutetium was because LuOs is “soul” spelled backwards.

    Even if that’s the case, it still doesn’t forgive the bad science fiction they used to patch the holes.

  6. rich said

    uranium is actually the heaviest element

  7. Karl Withakay said

    No, not by any measure, unless you’re going by the highest atomic mass of any naturally occurring element in the Earth’s crust, and even then, Plutonium 244 exists in trace amounts.

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