Fringe: “Pilot” Is Chock Full of WTF

Wednesday, September 10 by

Episode 1 Nerds, geeks and other people who liked The X-Files have been eagerly anticipating Fringe‘s debut for months, but now that we have all seen the premiere, it seems like we have a hit on our hands. I’m excited for the rest of the season, but remind me never to get on a plane with J. J. Abrams. Dude has some serious issues with air travel.

Story:
The show opens on an international flight that’s moving through some rough weather. After some guy pulls out an insulin needle and injects himself with it, everyone on the plane starts melting like the witch from The Wizard of Oz. The plane lands itself in Boston and our crew of federal investigator main characters starts on their journey into the seedy underground of weird science. Not the movie from the ’80s, but the actual science.

Immediately we find out that John and Olivia are getting it on, even though they’re partners. They’re sent to a mini-storage warehouse to do some recon when they stumble across a full-blown laboratory and a mad scientist who makes a run for it. To give the coppers the slip, he ends up blowing up the whole lab, which exposes agent Scott to some of that mean stuff that turns people into human-shaped jello molds. Olivia is fine, though, and sets out to find the one guy who might be able to figure out a cure. Luckily, he’s a mentally insane scientist, too, which turns the wacky factor up to 11.

Before she can get Dr. Bishop out of the looney bin, she has to convince his super-genius son to come with her. This is where Joshua Jackson gets to start making wise cracks and causing girls with thick glasses to soak their couches. They eventually convince the doctor to come with them to Boston, where they set up a laboratory that looks like something out of House on Haunted Hill. Because Olivia needs to talk to John and he is currently turning into a big pile of bones and jelly, they do a crazy brain-link procedure that’s like a combination of the movie Contact and that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa and Homer go into the isolation booths. It works, and they get the perp’s face. They capture his ass and eventually he spills the beans on the chemicals that were in the lab, which allows the doc to fix up John’s gooey condition.

As agent scott is recovering, Olivia finds out that agent Scott had been in touch with the terrorist before the explosion had gone down. At the same time, Agent Scott puts a pillow over the face of the guy who almost exploded him and then takes off running from the hospital in his SUV. A car chase ensues that seriously looks like it could be from a big-budget movie. And I guess it should, since this episode alone cost around $10 million. Eventually, agent Scott crashes and manages to give Olivia only some cryptic information that starts with, "Ask yourself…" I get so annoyed when dying people can’t just say what’s on their mind.

At the end, Phillip, played by Lance Reddick who is really the only source of tremendous over-acting on the show, fills Olivia in on a series of crazy events that the feds are calling, "the pattern." It’s all very J. J. Abrams. But it perfectly sets up a whole season or eight of wacky science mysteries. I wouldn’t mind being there for all of them.

Stress:
I have to give this show credit because at times it actually feels stressful watching what’s going on. It’s a weird feeling to have no idea what’s happening, but to want to keep going. It’s sort of like my first sexual experience. And every subsequent one now that I think about it. They always have some kind of mad scientist involved and someone is always turning into goo at the end.

Massive Dynamics:
The huge corporation that they keep talking about and showing fake ads for is definitely going to play heavily into the story. I’m sure there’s some kind of symbolism there, but this is TV, not English class so I’m going to ignore it and hope some monsters show up soon.

Is it worth watching?
I can easily recommend Fringe to anyone who likes this kind of thing. The crazy science aspect adds another layer of interesting to police procedural shows, which I find boring as all hell. Maybe if CSI had more telekinesis and less David Caruso hair-flipping, I would be more inclined to watch.

Do you like this story?

More about...