Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fringe, "Momentum Deferred": 8 heads in a plastic bag

Spoilers for tonight's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I drop the needle on some Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe...
"Why are shape shifting soldiers from another universe stealing frozen heads?" -Broyles
Once again, the writers' willingness to have the characters accept and even embrace the weirdness serves "Fringe" well, with "Momentum Deferred" arguably the strongest episode so far of season two.

There were some plot holes (notably, how does it not occur to anyone that Charlie might be a fake as soon as they realize the nurse's corpse wasn't the shape-shifter?), but "Momentum Deferred" was awash in memorably creepy visuals, whether the severed heads being casually tossed down the hill or the creepy final shot of the head attaching itself to a body, or the beautifully edited sequence of Olivia being pulled out of Earth-WTC, smashing through the car windshield and then waking up in Walter's lab.

And I'm glad they brought Leonard Nimoy back relatively quickly as William Bell, and let him explain at least some of the larger plot to Olivia (and us). I still have little faith that the larger story arc will make sense in the end (this is both an "X-Files" pastiche and a J.J. Abrams show, after all), but relatively transparent episodes like this don't make me feel completely cynical about it.

Some other lovely touches: during Peter's talk about his childhood fear of being replaced (which, technically, he did to this Earth's Peter), he and Olivia talk about the 1978 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," which of course co-starred Nimoy; Theresa Russell's performance as the grown-up but still wide-eyed version of the woman from Walter's old LSD experiment; and the editing of the entire Bell flashback/vision to suggest the strange headspace you'd be in if you jumped to a parallel world.

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

Steve said...

I'm sure at some point the Theresa Russell character's identification of Peter as being from the other world will come into play.

I also got a distinct Harry Potter vibe as the shapeshifting soldier's efforts to reconstitute their leader reminded me quite a bit of the effort to reconstitute Voldemort in Goblet of Fire; the actor playing the leader even looks a bit like Ralph Fiennes with a shaved head.

Jim said...

"Physics is a bitch!"

But this show wasn't.

Best of the series so far.

If they can do decent teasers in between awesome myth-centric stories like this, they really have something.

Steve said...

Two more things:

* Love the mad scientist motif for the logo.

* In a six-degrees-of-separation bit, Theresa Russell was notorious for starring in Ken Russell's "Whore", while it was another Russell film, "Altered States", that served as one of the inspirations for Fringe.

Phil Freeman said...

Disappointed they only cited two versions of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. The mid '90s remake (simply called Body Snatchers) directed by Abel Ferrara is pretty goddamn scary - great performances by Meg Tilly and Forest Whitaker. Other than that, I liked the episode a lot. Loved watching her drink the worms and Walter saying "we were going to mix them with strawberries"...

Garron said...

I've tried accepting a lot of crazy things Abrams has been pumping out. All of "Lost" even makes sense to me. But when the plot of the episode can be summed up by the line;

"Why would shapeshifting soldiers from another dimension want frozen heads?"

I don't know. That may have been one of the most ridiculous statements ever once everyone in the Fringe-verse seems to accept that yeh, this totally makes sense.

I don't even see a motive of why interdimensions should want a war. I don't know. ANy more confusion and I might have to drop the show

Steve said...

And yet two more thoughts as I babble on like Walter...

* I'm getting the impression that it was Walter's nabbing of alt-Peter that's the casus belli which started this inter-dimensional war. Maybe in the Season 2 finale we'll see the alt-Walter masterminding the war from Over There. (And what happened to the alt-Bell? Is he dead over there, because per Nina Sharp's helpful snow globe demonstration they can't exist in the same space?)

* Nice to see Roger Cross (Curtis Manning from 24) getting some series work. I expect we'll see him again.

Karen said...

Nina smashing the globes just made me groan (yeah, we got the point before that, it just wasn't necessary). And the revolving head on the screen looked NOTHING like Nina, which didn't seem to occur to Olivia when "Charlie" told her Nina was the shifter. But quibbles, all in all it was nice to have some forward motion in the story and they kept it enjoyably creepy. Glad they didn't drag the "Charlie" thing out any longer, although I'll really miss Kirk Acevedo. Thumbs up from me.

Archie said...

I loved the interaction towards the end between Peter and Walter. Walter asking his SON - may I go home with this nice lady?? I burst out laughing!

Then Peter asked him how he was going to get home. Cute as that was, Walter's answer was delivered perfectly - I'll take the bus.

And just when I thought it was one of the cutest scenes in any sci-fi show, Walter topped it with - I don't have any money!!!!

I'm loving thsoe two. As long as the writers promise to have at least ONE such interaction per week, I'll keep tuning in.

The scenes with leonard Nimoy - all I can say is, they don't make 'em like him anymore .....

Anonymous said...

the so-called Mercury (Hg) shown on the show really for prop purposes was actually Gallium (Ga). First time i found Ga ever used as a prop.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, we have already seen other world Charlie with a scar on his face.

OldDarth said...

After seeing the return of Leonard Nimoy. Fringe has moved into must viewing for me now. Olivia’s backstory and the role she has to play going forward are very intriguing.

Add in Peter’s backstory and the tension of waiting for the other shoe to drop when he finds out the truth about himself make for engrossing viewing.

Anonymous said...

Certainly, the best epi this season, it had everything....
Loved Peter's unease when he figured out Walter and the Hippie Chick had a thing and she still has a thing for him.

One nit with the review: ABWH is not Yes. Yes is Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe and Squire. And Walter is a fan. Psychedelic, indeed!

Puff

Alan Sepinwall said...

I am aware of the difference. But the only Yes-related album I have in my home is ABWH's self-titled debut.

Karen said...

Wakeman didn't play on The Yes Album (from which "Your Move" is taken). Wasn't in the band yet.

To add to the nitting.

Anonymous said...

Karen said...
"Wakeman didn't play on The Yes Album (from which "Your Move" is taken). Wasn't in the band yet.

To add to the nitting."

You are correct, Maam.

Puff


word verification: syche
Somewhat apropo

Anonymous said...

Fringe is the new X Files and I love it for that very reason.

fonny said...

Does Nina just have snowglobes randomly sitting around, for demonstration purposes?

Does anyone know who played the young Rebecca?

rhys said...

I think you are being paranoid that the overall plot not making sense. X-file pre-dated the "serial drama," and came from a time when episodes were almost all supposed to be one-offs. Then the show tried to create interesting continuing storylines within that framework. They ultimately didn't make much sense because they always had to be self-contained and not really effect the overall universe of the show.

I think they've always had a plan for overall plot of Lost. I think a lot of smaller stuff in the Lost storyline is mostly irrelevant and has been moved around a lot to accommodate studio concerns, fan reactions, and casting issues. When people watch a show they tend to assume that the route taken from point A to point B is the only route. In reality, there are dozens of routes and the writers move amongst those routes all throughout the season. The problems with Lost came from too much studio interference. The studio wanted the show to keep going as long as possible with more focus on the personal drama. When the showrunners were able to get the studio to commit to a set amount of seasons it liberated them, and now we are seeing the results of that in the last two seasons. So I think you are still gun shy because of Lost.

Why is it so hard to believe that the writers have the overall storyline plotted? Abrams has made a few solid movies with beginnings and endings. The writers have specifically said that they had the alternative universe thing planned out in advance and just weren't sure when they'd introduce it. It will probably have plot holes, since hard sci-fi almost always has plot holes. Maybe you won't ultimately like it. They are most likely filling in some of the gaps between point A and point B as they go along. But there's no reason to believe they haven't plotted out the main story elements for a good chunk of the future.

A good example is Farscape. After the third season Farscape was told it got renewed for two more seasons. Then, after season four had been made, it was unceremoniously canceled. The last episode was a cliffhanger. Fortunately they raised the money for a standalone 3 hour mini-series. Watching it you can tell that they basically condensed all of the plot they had planned for Season 5 into those 3 hours. But as far as I was concerned, it worked. Non-stop action with no fluff in-between.

7s Tim said...

Again, Fringe Division helps the other team. Or at least another team. We now have seem Fringe Div kind of wandering into the field of an ongoing war between two worlds, but no matter what they do they just seem to help the side that seems very against their whole world.

Liked they way they colored the alt-world meeting with Bell. They red visions (half of which were mirrored top to bottom, kinda upside down) are changed into yellow tinged memories, which are themselves disjointed. I hope they keep doing things like that-- the color scheme of the show is so grey and blue most of the time. Fits the mood they are going for, but can get a little depressing too.

I hope that Fringe Division gets its act together soon. It really seems that they and Nina Sharp are heading for the same goals (and you'd really think that Bell's enlisting Olivia would bring Nina around) but both sides continue to obfuscate and deceive. Just seems counter productive.

The Massive Dynamic labrat was funny, they should use him again.

I hope most of the ongoing story is given a decet resolution by the end of season 2 or 3 (if we get there), since dragging these things out, as Alan keeps bemoaning, can get tedious.