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Archive for the ‘Dreary Blue Episode’ Category

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 13 Season 5 An Enemy of Fate

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 21, 2013

A Dreary Blue Episode

There won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week.

Discredited Fringe Science


“Blast this thing.  What I wouldn’t give for a good, old fashioned, tumor inducing cell phone.”

Science is often subtle nuanced, and it’s always difficult to completely rule anything out, but the best scientific research shows that there are no detectable health risks from low energy, non-ionizing radiation emitted from cell phones, especially not cancer.

Even Broyles is Smarter Than That, Right?

The minute Broyles got the information on the location of the high value prisoner, he should have considered himself compromised, as it should have been obvious to him that it would be easily traced back to him once they took action based on that information.  After that meeting with Windmark, he should have been doubly concerned that he had been found out.  Boyles was relying too much on his ability to block being read.

It’s Always About Getting Your Superiors to Understand the Importance of Your Project

Maybe it really was a lack of allocation of resources due to not considering the threat to be all that serious.  Windmark now seems to have plenty of resources for observation and tracking of targets.

Use the Best Quality For the One Tape Not Vital to the Plan

The video tape that Walter left for Peter was in better condition than any of the other ambered tapes.  There were no skips, unreadable segments, tracking problems, or garbled audio like all the other tapes had.

Questioning Observer Observation Again

They mentioned monitoring all the remaining members of the 12 Observer scientific expedition team, but they didn’t bother to keep September under observation?

Windmark Explained!

Windmark’s emotional behavior is now explained by the influence of being in the past.

Some Nit-Picking About Lock Picking

What kind of electronic lock is vulnerable to hot wiring like the one Peter cracked in this episode?

Oh, We Got Weapons…

It was nice to see the Fringe team use four years of Fringe experience in their attack against The Observers and Loyalists.

Be Internally Consistent*

How was Walter able to escort the boy into the future if September took the inoculation that he needed to make the trip?

* See the comments section where I am corrected on this.

Continuity Questions

If The Observers have taken over 2136, presumably 2167 in that time line’s future will be a time already taken over by Observers with few, if any, remaining humans, and there will be no breakthrough leading to the creation of the Observers as a new continuity had already been established.  In order to prevent The Observers from being created, wouldn’t you have to go back to a point before The Observers’ takeover to send the boy forward into 2167?

How will the reset affect the alterverse?  Will Fauxlivia and NerdLee remember Olivia’s last visit?

It would seem that no doors have been completely closed to some day returning to the Fringe universe(s).  I doubt it will happen to a show that had a level of popularity appropriate to its title, but John Noble is only 64; he could still be around in 5 or 10 years.

My Alternate Ending

In my alternate ending, when September is shot, Windmark goes to grab the boy to capture him, and when he does, the boy touches Windmark’s face.  The boy reveals the full depth of what he is to Windmark, and allows Windmark to experience and understand the full range of the human experience beyond just the hate he has been feeling.  (This would be perhaps visualized with various video and audio clips: a white tulip, Niagara Falls, Peter and Olivia kissing while Etta plays, MLK’s I have a dream speech, the Ode to Joe, etc.)  Upon experiencing this revelation, (maybe a small tear forming at the corner of one of Windmark’s eyes would be too corny here…) Windmark picks up the boy and runs through the portal/ wormhole.  The show then proceeds as it did, except Walter is seen playing with Etta as Peter and Olivia tell them it’s time to go home.

Closing Comments

I’m not prepared to make a comprehensive, qualitative assessment of the show’s ending at this time.  I think it usually takes time to think about and reflect on the ending of a show you’ve been watching for five years.  I am prepared to say that this last season was a bit of a disappointment for several reasons.

Season five was really a different show; a spin off from Fringe with the same characters if you will.  The show used to be about Fringe events, dealing with them individually, and figuring out The Pattern underlying all of them.  Season five was a post apocalyptic resistance show with the Fringe characters, and at times it was clear the writers weren’t used to writing such a show.  They frequently had highly wanted criminals walking around in public with impunity, with those in power not using technology and techniques widely available in the 20th century to combat the resistance.

Furthermore, it seems fairly obvious that the nature and purpose of The Observers in season five was a retroactive continuity different from whatever they were originally intended to be.   * 2/1/13 See the the comments section where this is at least partially refuted.  The retcon of Anomaly XB-6783646 being the boy that was important rather than Peter is an even more very disappointing retcon that is easily contradicted from numerous other episodes of the show.

I’m glad we got a fifth season, but while I enjoyed pointing out the plot flaws, I much preferred separating the wheat from the chaff in regards to the science presented in the show, and there just wasn’t as much of that in season five due to the different format.

I’m not sure what will become of this blog going forward.  I hope I don’t loose interest in or devotion to continuing with it as many even longtime bloggers before me eventually have.  I don’t want to make any promises, and I’m going to be pretty busy with other things until at least mid March (2013), but I have a few ideas.  The show Revolution seems to provide enough material to fill out a blog post each week, and I may just start covering that show going forward.  I hope you will occasionally check in to see if I have anything new to say that you might find interesting.  Thanks for coming and thanks to all those who have commented.  Until next time…


Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 17 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 12 Season 5 Liberty

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 21, 2013

A Dreary Blue Episode

There won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week.

Underdogs or Top Cats?

The resistance has a comprehensive surveillance system that can track a convoy, and they even have satellites!

Prime Suspect

Broyles is known to have worked very closely with Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Nina in the past.  Shouldn’t he be at the top of the suspect list for the potential identity of “The Dove”?  Why would you even put any other names on the list until he was definitively ruled out?

Minor Trivia About Cortexiphan

Cortexiphan has a shelf life of 127 years, which is very long for a drug.  Maybe it’s like fine wine and it actually gets better with age.

The lot of Cortexiphan used by Walter was made on 3-06-11.

It’s too bad Scott’s not still watching; I’d love to heart what he says about the volume of fluid (cortexiphan) that was injected into Olivia’s brain stem.  I suspect that injecting that large a volume of fluid into the brain stem would be very problematic regardless of what kind of fluid it was.

Potential side Effects of cortexiphan withdrawal include hallucinations, disorientation, and lapses in time. (I am guessing “lapses in time” means actually jumping around through time rather than experiencing blackouts.

Cortexiphan is “burned up” by jumping between universes.

Quote of the Show


“There is no greater danger than that which is unknown.”

Questions About the Alterverse

If they can travel to the Alterverse as easily as they can travel within our universe, why have The Observers generally left the Alterverse alone?  (We know that an Observer observing Walternate in the Alterverse made Walternate not notice discovering the cure for Peter’s malady.)

Does the Alterverse have Observers of its own, or are they observed by Observers from our universe?

Does the Alterverse have a different destiny in which The Observers never develop?

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 11 Season 5 The Boy Must Live

Posted by Karl Withakay on January 11, 2013

A Dreary Blue Episode

There won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week.  The odds of there ever being one for this episode are asymptotically approaching the odds of winning the lottery, getting hit by lightning, or being bitten by a shark.

Are Those Hebrew Instruments?

Did anybody else notice that the readouts on the heart rate and other vitals on the setup monitoring Walter were going from right to left instead of left to right?

Can you Hear Me Now?

Technically, talking to someone in a sensory deprivation tank kind of defeats the whole sensory deprivation thing since you’re not depriving them of the sensation of hearing.

Person of Interest

Seeing as September was known to have previously sympathized with Walter and the Fringe team and was banished for it, you would think they might keep an eye on him with Walter at learge.

Possible Justification For Lax Effort of Observers and Loyalists?

Windmark’s superior told him that the anomaly and the Fringe team were inconsequential and that The Observers chose this time (2036) because it presented a 99.9999% probability of success.  Perhaps this is the explanation for not monitoring wireless communications, having no satellite or airborne surveillance, and all the other things I have been complaining about regarding their inept handling of the Fringe team being at large.  Windmark’s superior considers the odds of failure so remote that he is not approving sufficient resources for Windmark to properly run the occupation.

For the Search Engines

Feb 20, 2167 in Oslo Norway is the day of a discovery that eventually leads to the creation of The Observers.  A researcher discovered how to improve cognitive function by rewiring the part of the brain responsible for jealousy, sacrificing emotion for improved intelligence.

Retcon Point One

It is implied in this episode that the reason the Observers were observing the various points in Earth’s history was to determine the point in time in which their plan was most likely to succeed.  I actually think this was nicely done.

The Vulcans Would Be Jealous If They Expressed Emotions

Donald/September tells the Fringe team that emotions like passion and love were considered messy distractions and were machined out of the human race.  Without romantic love, other technologies for reproduction had to be developed.  I’m guessing the Vulcans would prefer the Observers’ method of reproduction to the embarrassment of having to endure Pon Farr.

Excelsior !

Donald/September’s son isn’t really a hybrid.  Hybrids are the result of sexual reproduction between different species, subspecies, or populations/ breeds/ cultivars.  His son is either mutant, if the changes are genetic and can be passed on to his progeny, or he is the result of a congenital abnormality, if the change is developmental and not genetic.  Technically, The Observers might consider him a regressive mutant, having recovered or re-developed features they previously intentionally eliminated form their species.

Setting Up the Grandfather Paradox

If they send The Boy forward in time to Feb 20, 2167 to prevent the eventual creation of the Observers, thus eliminating the invasion of the present, then the future will change, The Boy won’t be sent back in time, and can’t be sent forward in time to prevent The Observers from developing, thus ensuring The Observers will develop.

Tag, You’re It

If The Observers have the ability to tag someone so that they can track them, shouldn’t the first thing they do when taking someone prisoner (like they did Walter in a previous episode) be to tag them?

Booby Traps by ACME

Always make sure to put blinking lights on your booby traps to be fair to your enemy and give them a chance to survive.


Wait a minute, they have traffic cameras and only now have started checking them to see if they can find any sign of the resistance?

Retcon Point Two

Walter now realizes that September was speaking (totally out of context*) about his own son and not Peter when he told Walter, “The boy is important, he must live.”  Sorry, but I don’t buy it; this is clearly (in my opinion) a retcon.  There are at least one or two other times where Peter is specifically mentioned by Observers as being special.

* That could be forgiven as anyone who is in the habit of not experiencing time lineally could be forgiven for mentioning things out of context.

Quote of the Show


“Is that it?”


“You say that as if we’re not carrying technology that can bend space and time into a Möbius strip.”

Olivia Dunham: Super Genius

Olivia mentions that a woman and her son shouldn’t draw too much attention when trying to slip past the blockade and check points.  Sure Olivia, unless they’re looking for a young boy, in which case that’s exactly what would draw the most attention.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Quotes, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 10 Season 5 Anomaly XB-6783646

Posted by Karl Withakay on December 21, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

Though I can guarantee that there won’t be a plot synopsis of this episode over at Polite Dissent this week, there is still a remote chance of Scott eventually getting caught up on Fringe and posting.  The odds are definitely better than the odds of winning the lottery, getting hit by lightning, or being bitten by a shark.

Revisiting the Road Not Taken

The Observers’ LQ7 unit for extracting audio from the glass in Nina’s office was very reminiscent of Peter’s electron microscope/Geiger counter/mp3 player used to extract audio from a partially melted window in Episode 19 of Season 1, The Road Not Taken.  (You can read my notes on that in the comments section of Scott’s post on that episode)  It’s really no more plausible now than it was is season one.  At least in The Road Not Taken, the window was partially melted to provide a malleable medium to encode the audio waves on, while no such condition existed in Nina’s office.  On the other hand, the writers might claim some sort of temporal echoes were encoded in the glass .

Sit Ubu, Sit…

The Ministry of Science unofficially maintains a black lab for work against The Observers.  I hope it’s house trained.  Oh, wait, Nina meant a black projects laboratory.  Never Mind.  🙂

Com One, Com All…

Apparently, although the Observers do not actively monitor or log com activity, they can track down a specific com if they need to.

The Loyalist mentioned not being able to locate Nina’s com (due to the fact that she was deep underground in the black lab), which would imply that they have the ability to track a specific com even if it’s in stand-by/ not on a call, but for some reason they couldn’t determine her approximate location by determining where she was when her com last had signal.

Also, why don’t the Observers monitor and log all communications on the air waves to detect subversive activity?  (Similar to The Machine in the show Person of Interest) Surely they have the technical capability to do that in real time.

Additionally, either the Observers are just plain stupid, or they would seem to have no way of determining what com device called Nina’s com, otherwise, Olivia’s device would now be compromised.  Do they not have a Patriot Act in 2036?

What Happen to All the Wanted Notices?

Once again, our heroic trio walks around freely, in broad daylight, in public areas without detection.

Whimsical Windmark

How exactly does an Observer determine when to phase shift and when to use the elevator?  Last week, when the elevator was out, Windmark took the stairs.  This week, when the elevator was working, he phase shifts.

It’s a Good Thing The Observers Are More Incompetent than the Fringe Team Is.

Our heroic trio knows the lab has been compromised, but they return there anyway.  How did they know that there wasn’t still a team of Observers and Loyalists there investigating the lab or waiting in ambush for them?  How did they know the Observers didn’t leave a bomb behind as a trap?  How did they know the lab wasn’t being staked out?  How did they know the Observers didn’t tie into the security cameras to watch the lab?

And by the way, why didn’t The Observers do any of those things?  At the very least, they should have torn that lab apart, not only to look for the boy, but to learn as much about what The Resistance had been doing there.  It’s absurd to think they didn’t even do a halfway serious search for the boy.

A Bit More Satisfying of a Character End

At least we got to see Nina go out with her hero’s death, unlike the death of another great character, Sam Weiss.  We got to see her go, and we got to feel the loss.  I know Sam Weiss technically wasn’t a major character and was only in  a few episodes, but he was a really interesting character, and he deserved a more interesting end.

Turn Back Time

If you watched the preview for the final three episodes, you may be wondering the same thing I am:  Are they going to reset time and make the events of season five (or even the whole series) never have happened, or was that mention just put in there to make us think that’s what is going to happen?

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 9 Season 5 Black Blotter

Posted by Karl Withakay on December 14, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

I doubt that there will be ever an episode synopsis over at Polite Dissent.

Astrid Farnswoth: Not Exactly Ready for Action

Astrid does not keep her firearm loaded with a round in the chamber, at least not at night.

Magic Batteries

Assuming that the radio was on for a minimum of a few hours (say it was switched on right before everyone went to sleep), what kind of magic 9 volt battery did that radio have in it that it lasted for more than an hour or two, especially with that light up display?

No Action

Peter and Olivia sleep in separate beds while staying in the lab.  Yes, the beds appear to be individual cots, but they could probably push them together to form a makeshift double bed (that’s how the beds work in most rooms on an NCL cruise ship).  Astrid knocks before entering the room Peter and Olivia sleep in, but she does not wait for a response.  Maybe she knows that Peter and Olivia do not sleep together while staying in the lab.

The Long and the Short of It

Peter mentions that the signal could be coming from “Him [Donald] or anyone else with a shortwave radio.”  Unless the radio was disguised or modified, it was a conventional American AM radio that receives signals in the medium wave range of 540-1610kHz, and not a shortwave radio.

Broadcasting in the Clear

Just a few thoughts on the radio signal:

If it is in the American AM frequency range, then that might mean that AM broadcasting ends in the US before 2016 when the transmitter was set up, or it would probably either interfere with or be interfered with by commercial broadcast stations.  The tuning indicator was pointing just past 650 kHz on the display, which would likely subject it to interference (especially at night) from WFAN 660 out of New York, which is a Class A clear channel station.  Also, apparently the Observers do not monitor the radio waves at the frequency used by the transmitter, or they feel the strange, coded signal is not anything to be concerned about

It’s about 80 miles from Willington, Connecticut to Cambridge, Massachusetts, so that transmitter must have been putting out a pretty strong signal for a non-commercial AM transmitter.

Considering the power required for such a strong signal and the length of time the signal was being transmitted, either that vehicle had a nuclear battery in it, or there were some powerful solar cells located in the treetops, but remember, it was set up in 2016.

Fringe Continuity

Fringe has usually been pretty good about injury continuity from one episode to the next, and in this episode, both Peter and Olivia have scars left over from the last episode’s events.

Sam Weiss (Not Samwise), We Hardly Knew Ya

That was a very disappointing way to write out a very interesting character.  What a waste.

A Paper Engine?

Walter mentions his design for a “combustible engine that runs on potatoes”.  Unless the engine itself was burned to do work, I think Walter meant a combustion engine.  The writers have an easy out, and they can blame the mistake on Walter’s acid trip, but I think we know better.

The Observers, Worst Occupiers Ever?

Not only would you think that the Observers should have cameras on every street corner and eyes in the sky looking for known Resistance members, but I think that they should also put cameras in every taxi and public transport vehicle as well.

Additionally, it appears the Loyalist troops don’t bother to pay attention to the wanted postings to learn the faces of the top most wanted persons.

That Looks Safe

With Walter tripping on acid and sitting on the edge of that dinky little motor boat, I would make sure he was wearing a life Jacket.

More Evidence the Writers Are Getting a Little Lazy?


“He left a Radio for us, and this morning it started transmitting a signal that lead us here.”

No, Peter, it started receiving a signal, not transmitting one.


I loved the Terry Gilliam style animation in the scene when Walter was remembering that the code phrase was “Black Umbrella”.  That, unquestionably, was an homage, and it was brilliantly done (in my opinion).  If you don’t know what I mean by Terry Gilliam style animation, here’s some of his most well known work:


If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it was done by Gilliam himself.

It’s actually a nifty, if unintentional, play on words, since much of Gilliam’s directorial work has been on the fringe, rather than mainstream.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 8 Season 5 The Human Kind

Posted by Karl Withakay on December 7, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

It’s looking to be incredibly unlikely that there will be ever an episode synopsis over at Polite Dissent.  I think Scott’s fallen far enough behind now that he won’t bother to catch up and complete this final season of Fringe, much like I may never get around to going back to finish covering the first season. It’s a shame, really.  I don’t have anyone left to have conversations with about Fringe episodes now.  😦

You Say Dat-uh, I Say Day-tuh

It seems to me that the Observers’ & Observer-Peter’s mannerisms & characteristics are modeled after Mr. Data from Star Trek, The Next Generation.

-No contractions

-Quick, abrupt, jerky movements

-A sense of child-like puzzlement about fundamental human behavior, like emotions

-Observers have a pale skin tone that makes them appear not quite human

It’s Almost Like the Writers Have Been Reading My Blog

-The Etta “RESIST” posters are finally being torn down.

-There are now large dynamic billboards with wanted notices for Walter prominently displayed in various places.

-Although we did not see wanted notices for Peter & Olivia on the billboards, perhaps they cycle notices, and we just didn’t see the billboards for long enough, since Olivia does indeed have a wanted notice out for her as well.

Classic ‘70’s Automotive Design?

It seems to me that either there are a lot more cars from the ‘70s in the year 2036 than there are now in 2012, or at some point in the future, Detroit stars making new cars that look like cars from the ‘70s, much like Checker Motors was making cars using 1950’s styling well into the 21st century.  Of course for that to be  the case, somebody would also have to revive the Pontiac name.

Plan Ahead

How did Olivia plan to transport the magnet in that ’76 Grand Prix?  The tape mentioned nothing about getting a free truck to transport the giant electro-magnet with.  It’s a shame she had to leave that sweet ride behind.

Walter’s Plan

Why hide the components of the plan separately?   Why not just assemble them as he gathered them so he had a fully assembled and ready to use weapon hidden in one place?  For that matter, once assembled, there would be no need to hide it away, just use the dang thing and be done with the Observers.  But, as my high school literature teacher used to say, without the complications, we’d have no story.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong…

Given all the things the Fringe team has seen over the years, you’d think at least one of them might have asked if it was such a good idea to insert the Observer tech device in the porcupine man’s brain.

Caterpillars Don’t’ Evolve into Butterflies

I have to disagree with Walter’s use of the term “controlled evolution”.  Evolution is a process that occurs over successive generations.  It is not something that happens to an individual organism.  What Walter was describing was more of a metamorphosis or transmogrification where an individual organism undergoes a major change in form or nature.  “Controlled evolution” would be something more akin to selective breeding or eugenics.

Didn’t See That One Coming, Did Ya?

Why was the psychic/ oracle lady surprised when Olivia panicked and drew her gun?

Quote of the Show/ Olivia the Critical Thinker & Skeptic (James Randi Would Be Proud)


“People make up explanations, assign meaning to things without knowing, because it’s reassuring; it’s comforting, but I can’t do that, because I know too much.  It’s all about numbers.  And the Invaders, as you call them, they’re just better at math than we are.  Thank you for the magnet.”

 Where’s Admiral Akbar when Olivia Needs Him”

Two cars and a pair of bodies conveniently blocking the road with the appearance of an accident, and this is what I was thinking before the trap was even sprung:


Apparently a “Truth Church” is some sort of place where for some reason, Observers either cannot or will not read people.  Was this idea just thrown out for this episode or will it come into play later in the season?

Observers Would Suck At Portal

When the elevator is out, Observers, who can phase walk/ shift from one location to another, take the stairs.

First Time Kidnappers/Bounty Hunters

The genius hijackers only tied Olivia’s hands with rope, but not feet, and left here alone, free to roam around, unwatched, in a MacGyver dreamland.  Brilliant!

Posted in Critical Thinking, Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 6 Season 5 Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There

Posted by Karl Withakay on November 10, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

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


Apparently the method of entering the pocket universe was developed by the Ministry of Silly Walks

Pocket Physics Science

Either the pocket universe includes a fully functional and self sustaining & maintaining power grid or generator, or the physics of the pocket universe cause light bulbs to illuminate without power.

Also, although the universe was very Escher-like, at least it wasn’t intentionally designed to be a Castrovalva-type trap.

Prop Convenience Theater?

It seems like the Observers have functioning security cameras only in locations that are convenient to advancing or complicating the plot as the writers desire.  Most times, the Fringe team can wander around in broad daylight, at will, in populated areas without any concern for being spotted, but every once in  a while, they get unlucky and get spotted & identified by one of the apparently very rare functioning Observer security cameras.  Do the Observers have budget problems that are preventing them from fully deploying or maintaining their electronic observation net?

If We Were to Go By The Book…

Assuming the rate of time flow in the pocket universe is fairly constant relative to the passage of time in the corresponding local region of our universe, then if 5 days passing for Cecil in the pocketverse equated to 20 years passing in our universe, it follows that there is roughly a 1:1461 correlation in time flow, such that every hour spent in the pocketverse should translate to about 60 days passing in our universe.  For every minute spent in the pocketverse, about 1 day passes in our universe.

Astrid mentions working with Walter the previous night , and even though Walter’s bed has not been slept in, it’s clear he did not get to the building where the portal was before daylight, and it’s also pretty clear the team went looking for him that same day, also arriving in daylight.  Thus the team couldn’t have been much more than about 10 hours behind Walter, at most.  Doing the math tells us that Walter should have only experienced the passage of, at most, about 25 seconds in time in the pocketverse before Olivia and Peter arrived there.  Walter probably would still have been in the room when Olivia and Peter arrived.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Prop Convenience Theater, Science, Television, time | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 4 Season 5 The Bullet That Saved the World

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 26, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

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

Suck It

Peter probably wouldn’t have been able to siphon off gas form that car. Many, if not most cars today are designed to prevent siphoning

What’s Old is New Again.

Apparently, once the Observers took over, automobile design and style stagnated since all the vehicles look what you see driving around today in 2012. Clothing fashion hasn’t changed much either. Considering how far off the predictions of future-current style was in movies 20+ years ago, maybe it’s not worth nitpicking about. (ex: Back to the Future)

More Notes About the Future

There’s no more baseball

Twenty dollar bills from the current day seem to be valuable collector’s items with worth a significant premium over face value.

Why Aren’t We Smart Again, Walter?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to extract all the video tapes from amber right away rather than extracting one, completing the task from the tape, extract another tape, complete its task, lather, rinse, repeat, etc? If they extracted all the tapes at once, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about the lab being discovered because they wouldn’t have to abandon all the still ambered tapes. It would also allow them the possibility of completing the tapes’ tasks in a more optimized order.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Walter says:

“There was a time when we solved Fringe cases. It’s time we created a few of our own.”

WTF? That’s nothing especially new. Weren’t nearly all of the Fringe cases at least indirectly caused by Walter?

Constant as the Northern Star

It wasn’t a particularly good idea to hide the plans in the vent in the subway station. What if the station had been demolished, renovated, or had the air ducts replaced?

Quote of the Show

“Don’t you understand? This is Greek to me, except that I read Greek. This is all Aramaic to me. Not the northern dialect- I do speak a little.”

How Many Early ‘70s Vista Cruisers Are There in 2036?

If the Fringe team had any sense, it wouldn’t have mattered that the Loyalist placed a tracker on their car because they would have ditched it after fleeing the firefight. Really, there can’t be many 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers driving around in 2036. Once it was seen fleeing the scene, continuing to drive that car would be equivalent to towing a billboard that said, “We’re the Resistance” in flashing neon letters.

Broyles, Continuing the Fringe Tradition of Excellence

Broyles didn’t want Etta to tell Olivia, Peter, and Walter about him in case they were read by Observers so he wouldn’t be outed as Resistance. Why isn’t that a concern anymore? None of then has yet learned how to effectively block the Observers, and Walter’s already been captured and read once. Any one of them could still be caught and read. Good move, Colonel Broyles.

Return of Prop Convenience Theater

That 4th generation, delayed fuse anti-matter baton with a 100m blast radius that can’t be deactivated once armed sure came in handy, didn’t it? It likely wouldn’t have much antimatter in it since just ½ milligram of antimatter reacting with ½ milligram of matter would have an explosive yield of 21.5 tons of TNT.

Big Brother, They Are Not

I am constantly baffled by the Observers techniques for observing. They occasionally have holographic footage of suspects at large, and yet whatever captures this holographic footage appears to not be particularly ubiquitous as they really see very little of what’s going on. You’d think they would have cameras, spy drones, and satellites all over the place recording everything that goes on, at least in populated areas. You’d also think they would be constantly monitoring all communications in real time, but apparently you’d be wrong.

Why No Female Observers?

No further comment at this time.

I wonder What’s Going On In the Alterverse

Were they also taken over by Observers?

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Prop Convenience Theater, Quotes, Television | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 3 Season 5 The Recordist

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 12, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

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

Where’s the Black Guardian?

In this episode of (original) Doctor Who, The Ribos Operation, the Doctor and Romana seek out the first segment of the Key to Time (needed to set the universe right), which is disguised as a lump of jethrik, a rare and powerful mineral, from the rural planet of Ribos where it supposedly came from a local mine.

Scratch that, wrong show.  What I meant to say is:

In this episode of Fringe, The Recordist, the Fringe team seeks out the first component for Walter’s plan to defeat the Observers and set the world right, which is a rare and powerful mineral, from a mine in rural Pennsylvania.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I would think that the Observers are intercepting and monitoring all communications, including wireless communications, and that they have the processing power to analyze it all in real time, such that if someone were calling the Fringe team to warn them the observers were tracking them, the Observers would know about it.  If the Fringe team is using some sort of advanced encryption tech that even the Observers can’t decipher, the Observers should at least be able to detect that signal, and any such encrypted signal should be a massive red flag for resistance activity, right?  For plot convenience sake, we’ll have to assume some sort of special transmission technology/ technique that goes unnoticed by the Observers.

Old School/New School

What detected the Fringe team’s van on the roadside in rural Pennsylvania, and why couldn’t whatever it was be used to search for the van’s current location?  Why did the Loyalists need to conduct a search using ground vehicles?  Are there no air vehicles or spy satellites with infra-red imaging in the future?

In The Year 2036/ Oh My Aching Button Finger…

Apples are available in pill form, much like in The Jetsons.  It seems like either those pills must have some sort of apatite suppressant in them, or they somehow expand to fill the stomach a bit, otherwise although they might be able to provide nutrition, they couldn’t satisfy hunger very well.

Time to Bug Out

“You’ve got what you came here for.  Now leave before the Invaders find you here.”

The Recordists want the Fringe team to leave to prevent the Loyalists/Observers from finding their settlement, but regardless of whether or not the Fringe team leads the baddies away from the settlement, they already know that the team has been in the general area.  It seems likely the hostiles would want to search the area to find out what the Fringe team was doing there.  I think it’s not safe to stay in the settlement anymore; it’s going to be found.

In Two Weeks:

I can’t wait two weeks to cover the line spoken by Walter in the preview for the next episode.  Walter says:

“There was a time when we solved Fringe cases.  It’s time we created a few of our own.”

WTF?  That’s nothing especially new.  Weren’t nearly all of the Fringe cases at least indirectly caused by Walter?

Very Minor Trivia Note

The first three episodes of this season all feature words in the episode titles not found in my spell checker:  Transilience, Absentia, and Recordist.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , , , , , | 12 Comments »

Deconstruction Review of Fringe, Episode 2 Season 5 In Absentia

Posted by Karl Withakay on October 5, 2012

A Dreary Blue Episode

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

Angels and the Devil in the Details

Speaking about the angel device Etta says,

“It stirs up and destabilizes every atom in his body.  A full charge steals around 25, 30 years.”

She also says that it is based on Observer tech designed to prepare them for time travel, but that the loyalists adapted it to use against the resistance as an interrogation/torture device.

First, let’s be clear, the device can’t be actually aging people by making time pass faster for them than the rest of the world, because the victim would die of dehydration (or boredom) after only a few days passed for them, long before they visibly aged.

Second, 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 a corpse that’s been dead for decades, and the hair won’t have turned white or gray.

Third, we have a word to describe what happens to  atoms when they become unstable, it’s called radioactivity and it will do worse than visibly age you; if every atom in your body were destabilized, you’d die fairly quickly.*  You could make a semi-decent argument that Etta meant chemically unstable since she referred to atoms and not nuclei, even though simple searches for the term unstable atom yield results where all the top hits are referring to radioactivity and not chemical instability.  The word she probably should have used if that’s what she meant was molecules.

Also, I’m not sure why destabilizing atoms (chemically or otherwise) would give the victim the appearance of visibly aging and shorten their remaining lifespan to correspond with their aged appearance.  The effects of aging are the result of processes that occur over time and how the body and its systems function due to those effects.  You likely wouldn’t see effects like instant white hair (already covered) or wrinkled skin; it’s unlikely any fast chemical process or damage would so closely mimic the effects of aging in such short a short time span.

The Eyes Have It

In case you were thinking that maybe the writers got it wrong and were getting retina scanning wrong and mistakenly changing it into iris scanning, iris identification is another method of biometric identification.  Though Wikipedia notes that the the iris identification article does not supply sufficient sources for the shortcomings section, that section notes that many commercial iris scanners today are able to be fooled with a high quality image in lieu of an actual eye.  If this is true, then apparently the technology does not improve enough by the year 2036 to be truly secure, at least not when Walter’s around.

Music Note

The song that was playing on Walter’s record player before it was ambered (and after it was de-ambered) was Knights in White Satin by The Moody Blues.

Gun Note

The gun Peter was carrying was an FN P90.


*Unless Proton Decay turns out to be real, in which case every atom in the entire universe is already unstable, just with a very, very, very, very, very long half life, like 10^34+ years long.

Posted in Dreary Blue Episode, Fringe, Science, Television | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

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