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Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 2 Season 1, The Same Old Story

Posted by Karl Withakay on June 16, 2011

They were all Blue Episodes back then.

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

The Same Old, Flawed Cliché

Where did the mass and nutrients come from for the pregnancy and baby?  The mother did not  consume 20+ pounds of food to provide the needed mass and nutrition for the baby, and the newborn did not consume 100+ pounds of food to provide the mass and nutrition required to grow it’s body to the mass it had when it died.  Plants get the bulk of their mass from carbon extracted from carbon dioxide in the air, but that it a slow process, and it requires energy in the form of sunlight.

First Time In the ER/ Delivery Room?

How hideous was the baby that the ER Delivery Nurse screamed in horror, and the surgeon gagged?

What happened to the Previous Fringe Team?

In the meeting of the Pattern Committee, Nina mentions that she hopes this Fringe/Pattern team will have more successes than the last one.  What happened to the last team?

How Previous Was that Previous Broyles Report?

Nina mentions that in a one of his previous reports, Broyles theorized that Walter’s previous work was the basis for the pattern phenomena.  Is that a previous report as in from last week’s episode when Olivia brought Walter into the Fringe team, or a previous report from before Olivia’s assignment to the Fringe unit?

Keen Eye or Dumb Luck?

Peter discovers “some kind of orange gel” in the hotel and decides he has found something worth sampling, and it does turn out that he’s right, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t just dumb luck.  I mean, orange gel in a bathroom, wow, that must be important.  It couldn’t be liquid hand soap or shampoo, could it?  There’s numerous spots of orange gel in all my bathrooms, and I’m not drugging strippers to steal their pituitary glands, I swear.  Of course, it must be that Peter is so well trained in proper forensic evidence gathering techniques and practices that he knows it’s better to collect a probably useless sample than to ignore a potentially useful one.

This Week’s Darwin Award Goes to….

Victim #2, a stripper who lets a strange, somewhat shifty and agitated man take her to a secluded and fairly abandoned warehouse district for what she believes to be a sexual encounter.  Once in this isolated location, far from the ears of anyone who could hear her scream, she is not the least bit concerned when the stranger tells her to go to the window and look at a bridge, with her back to him.

That Car Was Either Very Well Preserved, or Peter Restored it in Record Time

After 17 years in a dusty garage, that car should have been a bit of a basket case.  The tires should have been flat, and might not have been able to hold air any more.  The battery would have been dead, and probably wouldn’t have held a charge.  The oil and transmission fluid probably would have been partially sludge, and the radiator hose might have crumbled to dust.

Is Astrid an FBI Special Agent or Is she an FBI Special Agent?

Astrid identifies herself as “Junior Agent Astrid Farnsworth”.  I did some searching, and this is the only reference I can find for any use of the term junior agent in the FBI.  It’s a title the FBI gives to kids in a community outreach program.  Entry level agents are just referred to as Special Agents.  Perhaps the junior part is a quasi official term used internally, or perhaps Astrid is just being humored by the real agents.

Living in the Wild, Wild West

The whole part about retrieving the last image seen by the victim was utter nonsense, perhaps worse than the rapid pregnancy mass from nothingness.  Even if we accept the nonsense that the muscle paralyzer somehow froze the neural pathways of the optic nerve, it wouldn’t freeze the electrical impulses that are the image information traveling along that optic nerve.  I was going to speculate on way to make this plot device slightly less execrable, involving “freezing” the sate or the rods and cones of the victim’s eyes, but it’s really not worth it; it’s just a stupid idea in the first place.  How stupid of a plot device is it?  Well, they used in the horrible, awful 1999 movie, Wild Wild West.

I rest my case.

And Then They screw Up the Lame Plot Device

Olivia asks Walter:

“This would be one of the last images she saw?”

Walter responds:

“In theory, yes.”

No, according to Walter’s theory, the neural pathways on the optic nerve are frozen in place by the muscle paralyzer, preserving the absolute last image seen by the victim.  But that’s a problem, because she was looking at her attacker when the paralyzer was administered, so her attacker’s face was the last thing she saw, not the bridge.

Homeland Security or Big Brother?


“I want satellite images of that area for the last 24 hours.”

Does the government really have continuous high resolution satellite imagery being taken of every square foot of every major city in the U.S.?  It’s a good thing it wasn’t a cloudy day.

Safety Is No Accident

Olivia hands her spare Glock pistol to Peter and tells him,

“Safety’s on the right.”

Um, Gock’s do not have a manual safety; the safeties are all passive.  When you pull the trigger, the gun goes bang (if the gun is loaded), just like a typical revolver.

Partially Empty Magazine or Typical Hollywood Shooting Sequence?

After three shots, the slide on Peter’s gun locks back, indicating the gun is out of ammo.  This is fairly typical of shooting sequences in TV and the Movies.  The stunt prop-master typically only loads enough blanks for the number of shots in the scene, and so the last shot in the scene expends the last round in the gun, and the slide locks back because the magazine is empty.  It’s only a mild annoyance, but I wish they would load the magazine with an inert dummy round after the blanks to correct this.

Peter’s First Discharge, No Play On words Intended.

It’s only episode two, and already Peter, a civilian and not even an official FBI consultant yet, has fired Olivia’s weapon in an attempted exercise of leathal force.  The FBI must just hand out guns as party favors, or at least Olivia does.

I’m Not a Doctor, but…

I know from very good authority that you DON’T SHOCK A FLATLINE.

Just Five Minutes

For the sake of science fiction, I will accept the super rapid aging, but why would the existing hair turn gray?  New growth hair might be gray, but the existing hair is not alive and doesn’t turn gray.  Hair on corpses stays the same color, many years after death.  Old wigs made from human hair don’t go gray after many decades of aging.

Does Massive Dynamic Have a Seat On the UN?

Nina states:

“Massive Dynamic is one of the ten largest economic entities in the world.”

I can buy that Massive Dynamic is one of the ten largest corporations in the world, but countries and trading zones count as economic entities, and I think the G8, the G20, and the EU might keep Massive Dynamic out of the top ten.

Fibonacci Foul-up

The first sequence Walter is counting out while trying to fall asleep, 0,1,1,2,3,8,13,21,34,55, is a Fibonacci sequence where each number in the series is the sum of the previous two numbers (after 0 & 1), but he left out the 5 for some reason.  I wonder if that was a Walter error, a John Noble error, or a writers error.

The second sequence Walter counts out is 1,2,33,3,77,2,21,6,110.  Does anybody know what that is supposed to be?


What happens to the secret Pattern Committee, other than Nina and Broyles?  They’re long gone by seasons 2 and 3.

Why does Nina acts as if she doesn’t personally know Walter when discussing him with the committee?  Is she trying to hide the fact she knows Walter, or had the writers not yet decided that she knew Walter?

As early as episode two, the ground work for Peter’s past and the aleterverse are being established, showing that the show was not being entirely made up as the writers went along.


3 Responses to “Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 2 Season 1, The Same Old Story”

  1. […] On one hand, it seems like the idea behind the message lens was that being overlaid over his eye, it would present the address as a subliminal message.  His conscious mind would not notice the address, but his subconscious mind would see it.  This idea is fairly implausible as the address would be way too close to his eye to be in resolvable focus, but this is science fiction after all, and though it’s pretty outlandish, it’s not that bad of a science fiction element.  But from what Walter says, it sounds like he is saying that the process of the message lens dissolving is what would cause it to be absorbed into Peter’s “mind’s eye”, which might be worse than the time Walter captured the last image seen by a murder victim. […]

  2. Ac said

    Walter’s second sequence of numbers when he’s trying to put himself to sleep is a mash up of the Fibonacci sequnence 1 2 33 3 77 2 21 6 110 could be read as 1, 233, 377, 2, 21, 610 which are all numbers in the Fibonacci sequnce–he’s just doing them out of order. Keep in mind that he’s been locked up for 17 years and hasn’t had a root beer float yet–so he might still be acting a little oddly. 🙂

  3. […] and I’ve dealt with this before, more than once or twice, existing hair does not turn white from age, fright, stress, etc.  Dig up […]

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