Froborr Watches Fringe, S1E1-4

So, over on Mark Spoils, which is a sort of shadow-site to the Mark Does Stuff empire, I’ve started blogging my way through Fringe, a show I have never seen and did not know about. So here’s the collection of entries on last week’s viewing.

So first off, here’s what I knew before I started:

  • It’s by Abrams, Kurzman, and Orci, aka The Team That Ruined Star Trek.
  • No one except Mark Oshiro has ever said anything about it, ever.
  • Mark really, really likes it.
  • Parallel universes?

Spoilers below the cut!

S1E1: Pilot

A plane full of people just melted. (a) That’s really gross, and (b) you have my attention.

Okay, right off the bat, I like that we have a woman leading this team. Olivia is immediately likable and interesting, though of course we’re introduced to her having sex and she’s stripping to her underwear by the end of the episode, because TV pilot. Was this aired on Fox? I’m guessing this aired on Fox.

Also, we open with two people in a happy and healthy-seeming relationship. One of them’s gonna die, and it probably ain’t the one who gets to have a personality. Whatsisface is a dead man walking.

I’m getting increasingly sick of how the only government agents who are ever depicted positively in media come from the agencies I refuse to work for on moral ground–law enforcement, spies, military. Where’s the show about heroic DOA, DOE, or DOL agents?

But anyway, Olivia is cool, I guess. For a cop, anyway. I also really like Astrid, though I spent the first half of the episode wondering who she was, why she was there, and if she would ever actually get a name or a line. Happily, she did! I hope we get more of her, because I like that the mousy assistant role is being given to a black woman with cool hair, because that is not the typical casting choice.

Oh boy, a “mad” scientist, that’s not a horrible cliche a century out of date that simultaneously stigmatizes and minimalizes mental illness. Still, at least he’s of the “has trouble explaining himself” variety instead of the “cackles to himself while building death rays” variety.

This cast includes a statistically improbable number of green-eyed people.

Around the same time I realized this episode was unusually long, I also started to think that Scott wasn’t going to die, just turn out to be evil. But nope, it’s both!

A nice clean gender-swapped fridging. I approve. If you’re going to kill off a character solely to provide your main character with motivation to advance the plot, it’s only fair that you kill a white guy, there’s quite a deficit to make up.

Oh good, EvilCorp is behind it all. And yes, they did make rather a point of drawing attention to Bishop and Bell having worked on reviving the dead earlier, so of course EvilCorp will use that to question him and learn all about whatever it is they learn about.

I note that the episode never actually says that Olivia accepted whatsisface, the DHS guy’s offer and asked for the Bishops as her team, but I presume that’s what she did.

Final thoughts: Yeah, okay. That was a decent start, and the main character is likable enough. I’ve stuck with things that had much shakier starts (*cough* Agents of SHIELD), so I’ll give this a try.

S1E2: The Same Old Story

This time I actually took notes while watching instead of just recording my thoughts at the end! <- indicates extra explanation I added after the episode.

Okay, episode 2 time!

BOSTON, MASS. Have I mentioned I really like the creative location titles on this show?

“Loraine Daisy” is a great name.

Oh, “Daisy” is her middle name, I liked it better as a last name.

Everyone whose name my dad had a say in (my uncles, myself and my siblings) have J names.

Ew, ew, ew, this is setting off my parasite/pregnancy squick something awful.

This is like, the nightmare scenario. The only thing I can imagine that could possibly be worse than this is having this happen while driving a schoolbus.

Oh, what the fuck, asshole? You just abandon her?

I’m betting he did this to her.

And now the horrifying demon-baby kills them all, I’m guessing.

Oh god, she’s so swollen.

Oh, the horrifying demon-baby is just horrifyingly grotesque, I guess? I’m glad they didn’t really show it. Ew.

Have a feeling this ep is going to FUCK ME UP.

Is that the woman from EvilCorp?

Huh, she’s working with them? The mole, then, but for who?

Blah blah clumsy exposition for people who didn’t watch the pilot. This is really obnoxious in the Netflix era.

I used to hide in closets a lot, like when I was a kid/teen. I’m whatever the opposite of a claustrophobe is—I find dark, enclosed spaces safe and comforting. Anyway, I can understand how Walter feels. Also, yes, car seatwarmers are magical.

I was not expecting the show to actually reference the statistically improbable number of green-eyed characters.

Which reminds me, where’s Astrid?

Oh, there she is.

So I’m guessing this one is going to focus more on Walter’s mental illness and his struggles to adapt to life outside the hospital. I actually like that? The “mad scientist” is a deeply problematic character type, but if they’re deconstructing it…

Oh! The guy replaced the sheets because DNA evidence!

Seconds later: Olivia says he did it to hide the blood. I was prepared for a thing!

Okay, wasn’t prepared for him to be a serial killer.

Oh, he wasn’t shooting up, he was preparing to drug her! So he’s not related to the demon-baby?

I like that there’s a woman at this strip club who seems interested in the goings-on on stage.

Great, 10 seconds we have a bi woman and then the killer targets her.

Oh, she was an employee at the strip club.

Okay, how is such an awkward, ordinary-looking guy seducing women so easily?

Please tell me his car time-travels or flies or something.

Oh, it’s full of research. And he has the Doctor’s hand, must’ve borrowed it from Jack Harkness or something.

I’m headcanoning that Astrid is a distant ancestor of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama, btw.

Oh, of course, and the pituitary gland controls puberty/growth/aging! It almost works, in a comic book-y, conservation of mass-violating sort of way.

The stripper has green eyes too! I am increasingly convinced this is significant.

Also, wtf, this is horrifying. Please do not kill her, show, I do not need another show with an absurdly high bodycount almost entirely consisting of young women, that’s a big part of what turned me off to Supernatural.

Speculation: the killer is the result of experiments they did back when, keeping himself young by eating pituitary glands

Oh ffs, another victim.

Yep, called it, he’s the product of a soldier-growing program.

I like Peter’s response to Walter’s comment about “you two should be aware of this”—he’s aware his dad is shipping them.
None of this explains why he targets young women exclusively, though.

Ah, of course, the vaguely German-accented scientist is evil and Christopher is his “son.”

Of course it’s EvilCorp, they’re the only company on Earth.

Okay, if you have reservations about working with EvilCorp, why is one of their employees on your little council?

WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK<-this was me reaction to Olivia suddenly going all demon-baby. I was ready to throw my laptop out the window.

Dream sequence. FUCK YOU show.

Goddammit he’s gonna kill again. And I have zero confidence they’ll save this one.

Aw, poor Walter, he just wants his son to acknowledge how cool he is.

Hey, they made it in time!

You did NOT just give Peter a gun, that is a TERRIBLE idea.

Fuck, or possibly not. <-Not making it in time, I meant.

So presumably Christopher is speed-aging—yep, that he is.

Okay, Peter’s jury-rigging a defibrillator, that’s kind of awesome.

Yeah, I am basically okay with the serial killer dying of rapid aging.

Ah yes, tell her how your corporation has usurped the role of government in countless ways and manipulates the world, that’ll convince her that you’re the right way to make a better world. *eyeroll*

Ha! Well-played, Olivia. Broyland better give you that raise, you just earned it.

Pfft, I’ve never bought the “don’t play god” thing. Play god all you want, just don’t be an EVIL god.

Okay, something mysterious about Peter? Of course. Probably grown in a lab as well, or a clone or something.

There’s something sweet but INTENSELY sad about a son singing his father to sleep.

Oh, and OF COURSE there’s a lab somewhere with multiple Christophers, because we couldn’t just end on sad-but-sweet.

Final thoughts: That was… okay I guess. Not as good as the pilot. I liked the Walter feels it gave me, but I can’t stand the treatment of women (and especially sex workers and related fields) as disposable that happens across so much media.

 

S1E3: Ghost Network

Heheh, I enjoyed this one. There’s an old joke in SF circles that too often, psychic powers work like a telephone. Here we have a telephone that works like psychic powers. Cute! Not much character work being done, but we got a lot of Astrid, which is always great. She knows Latin! And I’m increasingly suspicious that Walter is just using the team to gather his old notes and equipment for Something Nefarious, but that’s mostly to distract myself from the boring obviousness that is the ongoing conspiracy plot.

Olivia: If I’m going to do this, you need to tell me what’s going on.
Broylan: And I will, when you’re ready the writers figure out what that is.

But yeah, Massive Dynamics is trying to extract encrypted data from John’s brain, and they need whatever that little plastic thingy was to do it. Major questions that I suspect will never be answered: how did that DEA agent on the bus get it, how did the evil DEA agent know exactly where on her body she hid it, and why did they use such a flashy, attention-grabbing method to get it?

 

S1E4: The Arrival

Well okay. I like bald guy, though his habit of eating super-spicy raw meat reminds me rather a lot of iZombie.

There was a weird blue light that kept showing up early in the episode, like a lens flare, but not corresponding to any actual light source. I thought it might be significant, but I guess it’s just Abrams being Abrams.

John’s back from the dead faster than I expected.

That’s about all I’ve got; it feels like the show’s already basically settling into a formula, and this didn’t deviate much from it.

One thought on “Froborr Watches Fringe, S1E1-4

  1. Fringe is kind of a show that speaks for itself, which might be why there’s not as much discussion around it. Anna Torv and John Noble are FANTASTIC actors, going head to head many times, Jasika Nicole (Astrid) is criminally underused, and Joshua Jackson eventually gets better. He’ll hold his weight in later seasons. Plus, the writers loooooove giving their heavyweight guest stars giant monologues to flex their acting muscles.

    It is a show that heavily plays towards body horror, and more viscerally than, say, Doctor Who. (Haven’t watched X-files) They are pretty even on who gets gruesomely offed from a gender standpoint, but it is a weekly question of “who’s gonna have a worm-tentacle thing wriggle out of a body part this time?”
    Notably, I have never seen another show use more Asian extras, both with speaking lines or just hanging around in the background. At some point, production moved to Canada, so it’s not just the Boston setting providing a larger acting pool, this show seemed to go out of its way to include them.

    But I just love Olivia Dunham. Anna Torv needs to be in more things, she does brilliant things with this character. Olivia is reserved on the surface, yet because of the acting, the audience always has great insight to the heartbreaking happenings underneath, compared to how everyone else has to play some degrees of cipher for the sake of the show’s conspiracies and enigmas.

    I hope you enjoy your watch.

    Like

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