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Fringe Episode 4.02: One Night in October

by on October 11, 2011

After running ragged for a whole month, I find myself with too much time on my hands, and nothing to review. I’m trying to catch up to Fringe, but unless I skip a week, it seems remotely impossible. Such is life.

I’m trying to decide which of the fairy tale inspired television shows to follow. I’m thinking that Grimm seems the more promising, but that’s a discussion for a later time.

This episode of Fringe is a classic science-fiction plot. Let’s see how they execute it.

Fringe – Season 4, Episode 1: One Night in October

Last week we learned the following:

  • Peter Bishop never grew to be a man in either universe.
  • The Fringe Divisions from both sides are working together to repair the damages to the universes.
  • The (Blue) world version of Lincoln joins the Fringe Division.
  • The Observer chose not to erase the impression of Peter Bishop from the universe.
  • A new class of shape shifters now exists in the (blue) world.
  • Walter is seeing glimpses of Peter, but he does not know who he is

Synopsis

  • In the alternate universe, John McClennan is a serial killer who uses chemicals to try and extract happy memories from his victims.
  • The Alt-Version of Fringe Division asks Olivia to help by bringing the John McClennan from her universe to help solve the case. McClennan is a professor forensic psychology.
  • McClennan investigates the serial killer’s residence before realizing the similarities. He goes off to find his alternative version himself.
  • Olivia and the alternative universe Fringe Division chase after both men, trying to save McClennan’s latest victim.
  • The serial killer hooks the professor up to his chemical machine to extract his memories. The experiment is successful, and the serial killer realizes what he’s done and commits suicide.
  • The professor’s memories of the event and of Marjorie the woman who helped him are missing.

Changes Since Peter’s Sacrifice

  • Faux-livia and her boyfriend Frank are still together, as the sexual tryst with Peter did not cause their break-up.
  • Olivia killed her step-father when she was a child.

Questions and Answers

  1. Lincoln still seems attracted to Faux-livia
  2. Silly Question: Is Faux-Livia’s hair color originally red? Or did she dye it to its current color?

Quotes

Walter: She bought my ignorance with baked goods while she carried out her plan to steal pieces of the machine with the–that damn Portuguese sweet bread.

Olivia: Well, you hope he can.
Faux-Livia: Well, I lived in your apartment, and I picked up a lot of things about you.

Faux-Livia: Yeah, come in. What do you think?
Alt-Lee: Blonde looks good on you.
Faux-Livia: Yeah well, lucky Frank likes the red, huh?

Lincoln: You hate being out here, don’t you?
Olivia: Why do you say that?
Lincoln: ‘Cause it would drive her crazy.
Olivia: I’m fine with it.

Lincoln: Charlie’s on a beach sipping Mai-Tais with the bug lady. I’m sorry, Mrs. Bug Lady.

Faux-Livia: What you said to John about your stepfather– you were trying to open him up, huh?
Olivia: Yes. It’s also true.
Faux-Livia: So what happened to him?
Olivia: My stepfather? I killed him.

Broyles: At the risk of sounding sentimental… I’ve always thought there were people who leave an indelible mark on your soul. An imprint that can never be erased.

Analysis

  • Walter covering the reflective surfaces is an overdone touch. I understand doing it. I think it would have been clever to just show Walter agitated, and not actively covering the surfaces. But that’s a preference.
  • Anna Torv is definitely playing the other world Olivia as a real needler. She had softened by the end of Season 3, and is that Peter’s influence or is it more pronounced as both Olivias are occupying the same space.
  • Loved the Walter reenactment of the Maxell audio tape commercial! 80s references rule!
  • Really nicely done with Alt-Lincoln being friendly to Olivia. He genuinely seems like a good guy.
  • Was great to see Olivia mildly being bothered by not being active in the investigation by Professor McClennan, and then Faux-Livia extremely agitated by taking the same backseat role.
  • The dichotomy between the professor and the serial killer is interesting enough. It tends to be very true that people are attracted to the fields that contain their own psychoses and damages. (i.e., arsonists wanting to be firefighters).
  • Added to the dichotomy is the internal struggle of the professor who realizes that one slight divergence in his history would have taken him down a certain path. And the personal torment and enlightenment from knowing that.
  • The conversation between the professor and the serial killer was excellently done. A sort of knowing that could take place without having to tell each other.
  • The conversation definitely reminded me of The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. That is a compliment!
  • The ‘imprint on the soul’ was reasonably subtle (especially for television). It was nicely done.
  • Great debate between memory versus personality. Does the memory trigger a personality change, or does the personality change exist outside of the connected memory. If a dog bites me at 5 years old, am I scared of dogs for the rest of my life, even if that memory is somehow extracted from my mind? One of those great debates that only science fiction can tackle.

Verdict

For me, this episode’s only flaw is the throwaway, reset to zero aspect of it. I like stories that have more impact on the overall plot going forward. That being said, this was an exceptional episode, with tremendous acting, and a great question and excellent execution.

A-

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