Hi Fringe fans!
This just keeps getting better and better, right?
We recount Fringe with Walters Bishop (John Noble) in a dilemma at often seeing Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) in any reflective surface such as a television.
Walter he thinks he is due for the mental home again. He also seems to call out Peter’s name at odd moments. It is as if Peter is in an alternate dimension with a very thin veil between that universe and this reality.
Walter is not sure what the heck is going on, so, he is going about his lab covering all reflective surfaces, such as mirrors and TV screens and monitors. Walter keeps hearing Peter calling out to him. Since the end of season three, no one appears to remembers Peter. Walter is fearful of his own sanity while the two universe teams and both Olivia Dunham’s (Anna Torv) are working together to save the worlds.
“Alone In The World” (Or, No One Is An Island):
We open this episode with Walter talking to his psychiatrist. He is being questioned about keeping up with the medications and I felt a small sense of foreboding when Walter says that he has, “… For the most part…with a few modifications of course..” Hmmm. something about a doctor treating himself having a fool for a patient comes to mind. It seems the Psychiatrist has been receiving reports from his agents who have been following Walter and knows about the reflections, and of Walter seeing a strange man, and hearing him, when no one else can.
The next scene is of a young boy, being chased by some local bullies. They are angry at the younger boy for telling the teacher about a stash in one of the older boy’s locker. The younger boy runs into a tunnel and the boys come in and find him. “You picked a bad place to hide, dumb ass!” one of the bullies says to the younger boy. As the boys are about to lay into him, They become bothered by something crawling on their skin and the two bullies are overcome by the growing affliction as the younger boy runs off, unharmed!
Olivia seeks information at her computer, apparently trying to use the facial recognition software as we see various faces scrolling along at a rapid rate. Olivia tells the new agent, Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) that she understands as he is looking over the reports and things about past cases. Olivia shares that she understands this is all fairly new to him, and how he may be questioning the world he thought he knew. Olivia is being supportive and wants to tell the agent he is welcome to talk with her if he needs to talk things over. She is interrupted by a phone call.
The next scene is at Hyde Park where the bodies of two twelve year old boys have been found. Their advanced state of decomposition leads FBI agents asking how many months they have been missing, and it has not been months, but only hours. Agent Broyles (Lance Reddick) says. The bodies look as if it has been months however! The boys were only reported missing when they did not come home the night before. They retrieve the bodies. Naturally one of the the victims is taken to Walters lab, the other to the morgue.
Investigators in the tunnel spot a third set of sneaker tracks going in and out from the tunnel. Walter is observed unzipping the body bag with Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) speculating about the pungent stench! Agent Broyles asks Walter if he is alright as the psychiatrist submitted reports about Walter to him earlier, so of course he wanted to come see Walter for himself.
Olivia phones Broyles from the local school and tells him they have a lead. Apparently a student told her the two boys who were found had been planning to beat a kid up. We now see the aforementioned boy sitting in the cafeteria drawing a fairly intricate scene in his notebook.
Back at Harvard University, the boy has been brought in from his school. We learn that his name is Aaron Sneddon (Evan Bird) and he is ten years old. He has been sitting in the lab, drawing intently in his notebook. He has told Olivia it was pretty dark and he did not see much after being chased into the tunnel. Olivia finds out he is pretty much “Alone In The World”.
The father is apparently not in the picture, while Aaron’s mother is out of the country a lot for her career work. Normally, Aaron stays at a neighbors home during this time. The school principal said the boy is “not known to have many friends”.
Olivia tells Aaron that Dr. Bishop (Walter) would like to check him over. Aaron tells her quietly that he does not like doctors. “They scare me” he explains. “You will like Walter, there’s nothing scary about him.” She smiles as Walter comes over to the boy. Walter was wearing the gloves and big apron, looking more like a figure from a horror film than a kindly doctor. I would have been leaving skid marks as I ran from the lab if I were in Aaron’s shoes!
In the next scene, we thankfully see that Walter is in a normal white lab coat, no gloves or apron, and is far less threatening looking as he explains to Aaron he is going to take a blood sample, not inject, as he holds a needle (a typical blood test). Walter gently promises the boy it is this one time only. The blood was withdrawn gently and the boy visibly relaxes.
Aaron sees a small action figure on Walters’ desk and goes to touch it and takes it down. Walter sees the boy holding the toy and hurries to take it from him. :”Please, don’t touch that!” he snaps, startling Aaron. Walter quickly apologized, explaining this used to belong to his son. “You have a son?” asked Aaron. “I did… he died.” Walter explained.
Astrid comes in and asks Walter to come with her. “You need to come take a look at this.” Astrid was moving a candle near the corpse of one of the boys, and the flame of the candle blew out. A draft from the corpse…! The LAMBDA Scale shows the corpse is blowing high levels of oxygen out into the air, and Walter notices more mold on the ribcage. He sees what is happening and orders the incubation casing to be brought there… quickly!
As Astrid and Walter throw the corpse into the hermetic casing, it is sealed in time just as the corpse exploded. The corpse has released what could be termed as spores. Walter now sees this as an aggressive fungi that killed the boys. it is seemingly trying to spread now. Astrid says that Olivia and Lincoln went to the morgue to get the other body!
Next scene is at the morgue and our Fringe duo is only getting to the elevator when Astrid called them. “Evacuate the morgue and lock it down. That body is going to explode and release spores!” As Olivia and Lincoln rush to do that, Astrid tried to call the actual room where the body is. One of the staff is eating his lunch, …While the body sits there in front of him… and he will not answer the phone!
As Olivia and Lincoln push their way through the halls, past bemused lab workers and others, the female morgue worker goes to answer the phone. NOW the lunch-eating worker sees something odd about the body and goes to investigate it. As he sees the body expanding, he calls to his colleague: “Hey, Beth.. come take a look at this.”
As Beth is picking up the phone, Olivia and Lincoln reach the doors to the morgue and we see the explosion from within. The morgue staff are coughing and passing out inside As Olivia stops Lincoln from opening the door, she says they need to lock this down and get a team in here. Lincoln says “We can not just leave them in there to die!” Olivia tells him “They are already dead!”
The HAZMAT suited team comes into the morgue and we see the dead lab workers and the mold growing everywhere on the walls. Broyles called Walter to see what they know. Walter says it is a genetic mutation, with accelerated growth and nutrition absorption.which explains the rapid decomposition of the bodies. Walter” Olivia says “What’s cortisubsfungi?”
Walter explains it is a species capable of releasing neurotoxin cells to paralyze the host. “Usually it is in insects, so the fungi can feed and lay it’s spores. Still a lower life form, it would not know or care that you’re there so long as you have not touched them” Walter explains the fungi relies on tactile stimuli of some sort.
The team notices the mold has gone to the morgue sink as well, and this fascinates Walter. It shows him that this is trying to obtain more water and expand their reach as far as possible. Broyles asked how to kill these things. Walter points out as with many species of mold and fungi, strong UV light and heat should eradicate them. Broyles orders more UV lamps and such to be brought in… “As many as you can find.”
Walter is now telling Aaron that his blood work is fine and he is now free to return home, Aaron looks depressed, and Walter says “Unless it is not good news…?”
“Nobody’s there.” Aaron says. The neighbor never talks to him. Walter says he understands what it is like to have nowhere to go. “This is the only home I know” He says as he looks about the lab.
Aaron is so depressed, Walter invites him to stay with him a little while longer. The next scene is Fringe favorite, that of milkshakes being made, tinfoil hats being worn, resulting in a much happier Aaron.
Aaron asks Walter about his son. Walter was forthright in the alternate universes and how he had taken Peter from there to this one, and how Peter had drowned. Aaron listened patiently, and quietly asked Water: “And you don’t think you belong in a mental institution?” Walter only sips at his milkshake quietly.
Next, back in the tunnel, the team finds the ‘Perpetrator’… A large cluster of the mold. The agents are waiting for the lamps and so on to be brought in. As we see the tunnel, there is a heavy ‘vein’ of the mold crawling along the drawings on the wall…. Drawings which look like the ones in Aaron’s notebook!
As the lamps are turned on, directed at the mold, Aaron, back in Walters’ lab, starts to feel uncomfortable. “It’s…. BRIGHT!…Ugh… Too bright!!” In the tunnel, the agents are finding a lot more of this organism throughout the wall. We see some is growing up the leg of one of the flood lamps. It is also going down into some grating.
Between scenes of bright lights in the tunnel, and agents asking “what’s past this grating? Anybody know?” we see Aaron in discomfort, asking “What is that?” As a flood lamp explodes Aaron falls to the floor in Walters’ lab and Olivia is saying “Burn it. Burn it all…!”
Aaron has a high-grade fever now, and Walter, with Astrid are tying to figure out what is wrong with him. Just as a large flame thrower is ignited, the agents in the tunnel get a phone call from Walter. “Stop what you’re doing!” Olivia say “What?” Walter again commands “I said Stop it… You’re killing the boy!!”
Aaron is now in an ice-bath in the lab. This technique is commonly used to stop high fevers from …in effect… ‘cooking’; the body. Once a temperature goes beyond approximately 105 F, the proteins which make up our biology will ‘denature’. Think of it like an egg: When in it’s natural state, it is gelatinous and when cooked it is hardened. All growth and processes are stopped. In humans, death would result. That is why the main goal of treatments in fever is to bring the body temperature down so the denaturing does not occur.
Now, the connection between the boy and the main part of the mold is being realized. Olivia may have an idea about why the mold at the morgue did not affect the kid, but this one is. She is looking at the cave-like entrance to the tunnel, and the graffiti surrounding it.
Walter is now asking Aaron why he lied about having been in the tunnel before the other boys were killed. “I’d say you’ve gone there a lot.” Walter says as he showed Aaron a page og the drawings. “Olivia found drawings like this …”
Aaron admitted he would go to the tunnel to get away from things. After awhile, he would start to feel better. Like he wasn’t alone. “That there was something there that was sad whenever I was sad…I know it sounds stupid”
“It’s not.” Walter indicates. “You say there was something there that felt as you felt.”
“I thought I was just imagining it” Aaron said. “Maybe I was was crazy. but it’s like it understood me…Like it wanted to …”
“Protect you” Walter said, completing the boy’s sentence.
Walter then asked Aaron if he intentionally led those boys who were chasing him to the tunnel. “It told you to bring them back to the tunnel.”
Aaron told Walter he did not know what was going to happen to them. He didn’t know what it was! Aaron was crying with remorse, and Walter, gentle Walter, told the boy he believed he did nothing wrong and comforted Aaron.
So, now we are beginning to understand this life form may be sentient and may actually have more to it than thought. Walter sees it now as a single organism with advanced communication skills, forming a psychic bond with Aaron. Walter now believes the spores and fungi are actually like neurons of our brain. The tendrils coming out of them are like Dendrites and synapses. That the ‘Fungi” is in fact a vast neural network.
Lincoln is amazed. “You’re saying this is like a giant brain….?” Walter has named it “GUS”. … For the sake of clarity. (I love Walter! He is amazing!) The stuff at the morgue had not been able to join the network and that is why Aaron was unaffected as it was destroyed. Also, the stuff going down the sink was not looking for water, it was trying to join GUS… at the mainframe level!
But this explains now why any attempt to hurt “GUS” will hurt Aaron. so now, the mission is to dissociate the boy’s psyche from GUS.
Broyles calls with news of a homeless man inflicted with the organism and the location (Roxbury Crossing) is six miles away from the origin of GUS. The grating near the homeless man is part of the Boston sewer line, and Broyles now say “We have a major infestation. We have to eradicate it now!” Walter is very upset and yells at Broyles through the speakerphone “He’ll DIE!! You understand? You’re going to KILL PETER!”
“Aaron.” Olivia says softly. Walter, you mean Aaron.” Broyles indicated he has two hours.
Olivia calls Walter and he tells her they have managed to isolate the brain waves of GUS and Aaron. The link appears to be in Aaron’s prefrontal lobe. Walter is getting set to actually remove the lobe in Aaron. Broyles said there is another attack in midtown. Two hours are now no more.
The agents found an injection point to administer a toxin to GUS. this is a HUGE network under the tunnel As this is done, Aaron tries to sit bolt-upright yelling “NO!!” and GUS has come to life below ground grabbing the toxin administrator, Agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel).
Aaron’s blood pressure is falling and Walter suddenly thinks “Limbic System“! Of course! Emotions=Limbic! So now he must appeal to Aaron’s emotions to release this hold to GUS. Walter is talking to Aaron trying to get him to release the hold GUS has on him. Walter is trying to tell Aaron that he is not alone and is begging him not to leave him Walter is saying “I don’t want to lose you! Not again!”
Walter is pleading with Aaron to trust. The boy starts to believe Walter. It is working and Aaron’s vitals are stabilizing. Olivia calls from their location at the tunnel saying that something is happening. Astrid tells Walter the brain waves are now separating …
“It’s gone…” Astrid says as she looks at the monitors… “GUS is gone…”
Olivia is back in the tunnel. She indicates that the organism is dying. The toxin administrator (Lincoln) is safe. Aaron is taken off to the hospital and Walter gives him the little action figure. “We’ll meet again, very soon!” Walter promises. Walter looks away from Aaron and sees Peter in the glass housing the fire extinguisher.
Walter goes to his books and takes down a volume and the page is open to an ominous topic. Lobotomies.
Walter is set to perform a lobotomy on himself!! Olivia comes in to see this man, with tools at the ready.
Olivia does stop this activity and we see that she is visibly upset. Walter is crying that he is going insane and “doesn’t want to be re-committed”. He explains he has been seeing this stranger in reflective surfaces and is in fear that he is losing his mind again. Olivia shows Walter a drawing of who we know to be Peter. She has been seeing him too, but of course, she does not remember who he is and neither does Walter.
My Take For What It Is Worth:
How many times do we hear or read of solitary youths growing into serial killers if not just the forgotten ones of society? We usually see the neighbors saying “Oh, he was always quiet and polite. We never had a clue what was going on” to the news team on television. Or perhaps the youths who bring guns to school to teach the ‘jocks’ a lesson?
They are usually, though not always, the outcasts, alone at school and at home. Cries go out of “We had no idea it was like this…” and that is when I ask “Why not? Because you do not care enough to talk to your neighbors? Or perhaps to invite the lonely kid to come sit with you in the lunchroom?” I have to ask: Whose fault is it really when we as a people fail to reach out to each other?
It is almost like one who is searching for employment. “Oh, you need experience to work here” They are told, but are not hired.
So, GIVE THEM THE EXPERIENCE! They will never be experienced until they are given the CHANCE to work there! Just as the socially inept will never learn if they are constantly excluded from social interaction.
Now, granted, not every recluse is a violent or even cruel person. There are many ‘outcasts’ who search internally for knowledge and friendship from ‘Imaginary’ playmates as kids, or even mentors from books and TV. One will usually go to the safest option first. I grew up as a legally-blind kid and no one had much to do with me. MY ‘friends were ‘Casper, the friendly ghost’ -because I felt like he did.
I would come up to a group of ids wanting to play, but they would run away, or push me away. I loved “Astro-Boy”, “Marine Boy” anyone ‘different’ and empathized with them. Later as my reading grew stronger I relied on heroes of history and current times for their knowledge and advise. I did not wind up in a foster care system, or prison, or like Walter, a mental home.
I am one of the lucky ones. But I felt so deeply for Aaron (Evan Bird). That poor kid may have not been a homeless kid, starving and shoeless, but his poverty was greater. He lacked simple human contact and did not feel he was really loved, so he formed a psychic link to what could have been a dangerous ally. Even today at my age, I empathize with Science Fiction ‘Aliens’ having been ‘alienated’ throughout my own life.
It is… at least in my opinion, better to follow the advanced minds and abilities of the Others and Eartheaon people of wisdom and heart than what *could* have happened, really. Aaron will be okay. He is in this case a very lucky boy. I would have loved to have a “Walter” in my life, but I did have good parents and Dad was an Endineer and Machinist. He was ‘my’ “Walter”.
So please… do not be a island. We as a species are social and companionship is an essential in our needs. Reach out and at least say “Hello” to someone. It costs absolutely nothing to do so.
Thanks to Kenn for completing the staging of the the images and the links, and thanks to you for reading my review and for visiting WormholeRiders News Agency.
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Until next time,
One thought on “Fringe: “Alone In The World” or “No One Is An Island””
Very Nice review of “Alone in the World”. Always enjoy your “My Take For What Its Worth” section. Also interested to see if the theory in the episode may play a role in the story arc later in the fourth season as I predicted last year regarding the two universes working together against a larger threat?
What is most interesting is that FOX is apparently doing a re-run a week from Friday of the season opener.
Nice images selected for an interesting episode setting up the return of Peter. Thank you.
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