We had a short break from Fringe and thankfully it is back. This week’s episode “Os” was a strong episode with a few surprise guest appearances. “Os” told the story of a father, played by Alan Ruck, who was willing to risk the lives of others so that his son may walk again.
Also, the relationship between Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) continues to blossom into something hopeful. Last but not least, the not so traditional return of William Bell (Leonard Nimoy).
I want to touch on the science in this episode first. When I read the title “Os” I thought what is this? Os is the chemical symbol for osmium. Osmium is the densest element in the universe. It is a rare element and surprisingly not very valuable. In its natural form it is an alloy and belongs in the platinum family. As Peter points out in this episode, uses for osmium include fountain pen tips and electrical contacts. There are several characteristics of osmium that make it a remarkable element. Other than being the densest element in the universe, it has the highest melting point of any element and it has the lowest vapor pressure.
Osmium has a toxic oxidation state called osmium tetroxide. This occurs when powdered osmium is exposed to air. It has a very strong smell. When I read about this toxic oxidation that is airborne I thought what a cool idea this is! However, in this episode we just have solid osmium. This is such a unique element and I hope the writers give it another sinister episode.
I hope all Fringe fans were as elated as I was to see Jorge Garcia of Lost as Kevin the security guy at Massive Dynamic. He is a very talented actor and I had hoped we would see him in something real soon. Kevin was a cameo appearance for Mr. Garcia as he has been cast in J.J. Abrams Alcatraz. It is sure to be a hit!
Our second star cameo appearance comes from Alan Ruck as Dr. Crick. This character was a very interesting one that I felt sympathy for. Sure, he was the mad scientist sacrificing the lives of handicap young men, but he did it all for the love of his son. He gave a great performance and made Dr. Crick one of those characters you love and hate.
There are two separate stories going on within this story. They deal with the new romance between Olivia and Peter and Walter Bishop’s (John Noble) continued search for the knowledge he lost when Bell removed part of his brain. These are very important and I will get to them in a few pages.
At the start of this episode we have two men scaling a building upside down. As usual, I start to think what are they doing and how are they doing it. It is a game I play to see if I can figure it out before we are shown what is happening. Sometimes I can win this game but I will admit I did not win this time.
A security guard interrupted this burglary, and he unfortunately shot an unarmed man. This was when it got really good because the man that was shot floated up as did his blood. At that point I gave up my guessing game and let the story unfold. I was outside of my understanding of physics or was I?
The next scene was the most important one in relation to this story. The Fringe team arrived at the scene to investigate the dead man who was floating tethered by a rope. As Walter approached the floating dead man, he quoted the Tragedy of Icarus. “God stopped saw Icarus float through the sky, and taking him from God they stood still in wonder.” Icarus is from Greek mythology. His father, Daedalus, crafted him wings that were made of feathers and wax so that he may fly.
He was warned not to fly to close to the sun. Icarus tried to escape Crete and in that attempt he got too close to the sun. His wings melted because they were made of wax, and Icarus fell to Earth and perished. I love Greek mythology and enjoyed the writers taking a Greek myth and injecting it into our modern day story.
Walter examined the dead man and noticed his atrophied calf muscles. He makes the assumption that the man must be exposed to some sort of weightless environment. Because, he was found floating with withered calf muscles. Peter was quick to point out that the man’s upper body was normal. If the man had been exposed to a weightless environment for a long period of time, all his muscles would be atrophied. I am hooked at this point. I have to know what caused this man to float and have withered calf muscles.
We finally got to meet the evil Dr. Crick. He does not look so evil. He was the one who was experimenting on these men that tried to break into the building. The second thief got away and went to Dr. Crick for help. He was sick and anxious. He told the doctor that he was nauseous and had a headache. Dr. Crick took him back to his lab.
The young man was bleeding from his eyes. I am diagnosing this man quicker than Dr. Gregory House could I promise you! Just as Dr. Crick was about to inject this young man with a syringe full of mystery medicine he died. Peter and Olivia soon find him and add him to Walter’s collection of dead floating bodies.
Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) and Walter examined the bodies back at his lab. One of the bodies was floating above the floor as Walter was reading one of Belly’s books. It is not until the body suddenly dropped to the floor that Walter realized there was something else in the blood. He tested the dead man’s blood, and discovered it contained osmium or Os.
Walter was confused and went on one of his ramblings, and in this explained some of the basic characteristics of osmium. How had the perpetrator altered the basic properties of osmium, and made the heaviest element lighter than air? As Walter said, he was “defying physics”.
Peter and agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) told Walter that the bodies they found had been in wheelchairs. They had muscular dystrophy. That would explain why only the calf muscles were atrophied and not the upper body. Dr. Crick was injecting these young men with osmium but how was he recruiting them?
We found out next when Dr. Crick was in the gym watching a basketball game between men in wheelchairs. He spotted a young man by the name of Vince sitting alone watching the game. Vince explained that he was not healthy enough to play basketball. Dr. Crick now had his third victim. He took Vince back to his lab, and injected him with the solution.
When he did Vince started to float upwards. He was very happy. At that point Dr. Crick became someone I do not like very much. He explained to Vince that he did not have anymore of the element he needed to make the injection. He had Vince hooked, and he was willing to do anything to regain some use of his legs.
Finally we got to see who Dr. Crick was doing all of this for when he was at home helping his son to bed. His son, Michael, was in a wheelchair and unable to walk. You could see the love in Dr. Crick’s eyes that almost made you feel sympathy for him. The writers gave us this one glimpse of Dr. Crick’s humanity. It helped us relate to him as parents.
Dr. Crick and Vince went to the Museum of Science to get the element lutetium. It is just as dense as osmium and very rare. It is found in meteorites. He wanted Vince to float down and disarm the security system, and let him in to steal the meteorite containing lutetium. Walter was one step ahead of Dr. Crick and he knew what his next move was. They rushed to the museum to catch Dr. Crick and Vince in the act. Dr. Crick ran when they are caught, and Vince was left behind to float away. Peter jumped on Vince, and they came crashing to the ground. Dr. Crick was apprehended at the door.
The end of Dr. Crick’s story is he went jail. His son Michael came to visit him along with the Fringe team. Dr. Crick told Michael “I did it for you Michael”. Unlike the story of Icarus, Michael’s father did not give him wings that killed him. He did however kill two other young men. Walter asked Dr. Crick “How did you defy the laws of physics?” Dr. Crick explained that it happened by accident. He was attempting to make a new alloy by combining two very heavy rare elements, and the final result was a molecule that was lighter than air.
This brought us to my next topic, and that is Walter’s ongoing attempt at recovering his lost memories. This is so he can save Peter and set the universe right. At the beginning of this episode, when Walter and Kevin are smoking a bong, Kevin pointed out William Bell’s office. Walter was very excited and spent two hours in Belly’s office. He then burst through Nina Sharp’s (Blair Brown) door, and started ranting about the books. He found one of Belly’s books that might hold the key to what is happening and how to stop it.
He told Nina he had to “protect our world”. Walter has this overwhelming sense of responsibility to fix what he messed up when he took Peter from the other universe. Walter talked about one of Bell’s books on “soul magnets”. He believed that the soul or consciousness continues to live after death. Walter quoted the first law of thermodynamics that states energy cannot be either created or destroyed.
There was a tender moment in the lab with Walter when Nina placed her hand on his face. Walter has struggled with the fact he has missing memories. He does not feel whole. Nina reminded Walter that what makes him special is his “imagination and boundless creativity.” She reminded him that the best parts remained. There is a great amount of affection between these two, and it makes me wonder where they are headed with their relationship.
At the end, when Walter discovered how Dr. Crick created this new molecule, he rushed to Nina’s office to explain it to her. He said it was an accident that Dr. Crick’s molecule was lighter than air. It should not have been. Walter said it was because of what he did 25 years ago. Taking Peter from the other universe caused this reversal of physics.
He fears the universe is breaking because of what he did. We see again Walter’s overwhelming sense of responsibility. I do feel sorry for Walter, but it was his choice to take Peter from the other side that caused the problems they are facing. It is all about choices. Walter took Nina’s Bell that William Bell had left her in his will, and explained that he can use this to bring back the soul of William Bell. He said microscopic magnets would have to be inserted into the host and Bell would appear in that host. He rang the bell and waited for Nina’s response. Nothing happens.
This takes me to my final topic and that is the ongoing relationship between Peter and Olivia. Peter has kept his secret from everyone that he is studying the chips he took from the shape shifters. At the beginning of this episode Olivia called Peter, while he was studying this chip, and he lied to her about where he was at. You could see that he was aggravated by her phone call. Why was he aggravated at her? The last time we saw them they were holding hands headed to the bedroom. What has changed?
The next chance we have at analyzing their relationship was when they were in the lab with Walter and Astrid. Peter asked Olivia if she wanted to go for a pizza. She was happy with this, and they walked down the hall holding hands until they were seen by Nina. They looked comfortable and happy together. I was confused about this. Earlier in the episode Peter was aggravated with her. They spoke of “full disclosure” with one another. I could sense Peter’s hesitation with this.
It all becomes evident at the end. Peter took Olivia to his place, and showed her the chips that he has been working on. He told her he wants “full disclosure”. You can see Olivia’s face change as she understood how he got the chips. He was the one that killed the shape shifters. I saw a little disappointment in her face.
She was not as happy as she had been the entire episode. She is obviously a woman in love. She turned around to speak to Peter and it was not Olivia. This happened right after Walter rang the bell in Nina’s office. Olivia spoke in a voice that could only be William Bell. Anna Torv does a wonderful impersonation of Leonard Nimoy! I have to give her that. She has been acting as two separate characters throughout this season and last season. Now it would seem they intend to give her a third persona with William Bell. Only Anna Torv could pull this off.
Fringe returns on FOX Friday March 18, 2011 in episode 17 “Stowaway”. In the meantime here is an alert from FOX and the full episode “Os” too!!
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