Fringe opened up a whole new pool of possibility with this week’s episode, “Nothing As It Seems”. I think the title is a very obvious warning that things are about to get crazier than a couple of mutated porcupine men! Which is what we saw in this revisit to an old case from the old timeline, the season one episode “The Transformation”. In that timeline, a scientist couldn’t control his Hulk-esque transformation on a plane and went berserk in the bathroom, busting out and causing the plane to crash. Here, we got even more information on what said scientist, Marshall Bowman, was really up to and how he is just one part of a larger, scarier group of rogue scientists playing God via biogenetic manipulation.
This time around, Bowman controlled himself on the plane but transformed on the ground instead, taking on the two TSA agents interrogating him over his weird behavior on the plane. Bowman, transformed into a scary-ass porcupine monster, writhed in pain and died on his own. The Fringe team arrived to collect his body, with Peter providing some more stats on the case at large. One person not supposed to be involved was Olivia – she was giving incorrect information at her psych evaluations and not cleared to return to duty following her memory replacement disorder (didn’t that sound legit, and not like I made it up? Memory replacement disorder is a thing now!). Peter briefed her on the case anyway, since he couldn’t recall Bowman’s scientist partner’s name (Hicks) but Olivia has that darn photographic memory and she flaunted orders and joined them anyway. Olivia then met up with Peter and Lincoln at Hicks’ house, where I had the living daylights scared out of me when Hicks jumped out and attacked Lincoln. I knew it was coming, but it was very sudden and you saw a lot of the creature Hicks had become, and I screamed. I am very, very impressed that Fringe was able to elicit that sort of reaction from me, a veteran of scary scifi! Mad props, Fringe!
Welp, Hicks got Lincoln and he was all infected. Gross. While Walter worked towards a cure, Lincoln’s overwhelming need for bacon (from Walter’s bacon and peanut butter sandwiches…double gross!) led Walter to realize that these scientists were able to hulk out was because they were using human fat to give them a boost. Nasty. This was not an episode to eat dinner to. Walter also discovered a tattoo on Bowman’s corpse, which a Peter-and-Olivia trip to see our old bookshop expert, Ed, revealed was an ancient Sumerian cuneiform mark denoting rebirth. Ed, ever the knowledgeable conspiracy theorist, said that there was an underground group out there posting on tiny little corners of the Interwebs about the ‘guided evolution of man,’ basically people wanting to create a newer, better species. Astrid (her only function this week was to use the Google) found the group’s motto online: “Each generation of gods is overthrown by its children who become new gods with new tools.” Fun times!
We saw some of these improvements when the transformed Hicks showed up at his girlfriend’s apartment to take her on a little jaunt across Boston…in the sky! He picked her up, Lois Lane style, spread his huge wings and they flew off to get some more fat from a cosmetic surgery office. Aw, how romantic. The Fringe team figured this out and met them there, with Peter shooting and killing the transformed Hicks as his girlfriend wept. We then cut to another couple, ready to inject themselves and become part the ‘new world,’ setting us up for future mutants. And the man in this couple was played by none other than Alessandro Juliani, aka Felix Gaeta from Battlestar Galactica! Maybe we’ll see more of him in the future. Oh, and Walter saves Lincoln from having to enroll in Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but Lincoln did look rather hilariously disturbed by all this crazy. Everyone else was like, meh. Must be Tuesday. Also, Broyles forgave Olivia’s disobedience and let her back on the team, like we all knew he would. Broyles, you old softie.
The last scene of the episode found us onboard a freighter of horrors (akin to the Lost freighter of doom, yes?). We caught glimpses of many animals in cages and boxes, none of them normal, including two more porcupine men. A lone caretaker stomped through, checking on his charges. Because this isn’t a recipe for disaster or anything, a bunch of deadly mutant animals all stuffed into one cargo hold!
It’s the Little Things
–Walter loves Peter now, it’s official. He busted out a big box full of presents he bought for Peter’s birthday each year as a way to remember him. The porn magazine for his 16th was pretty amusing – Hump. Lol. Peter was very touched by this gesture, and gave Walter a big ol’ hug…all together now “awwwwww!”
-I saw the Observer! He was in the background when Peter got out of the car at Hicks’ house.
-Lincoln might be close to becoming a supervillain himself, as his little “Yeah, I’m a good guy” reply to Peter’s car chat about their relationships with Olivia was a tad too sarcastic for my taste. She doesn’t even remember their late-night diner chats! Poor Lincoln. Doc Jensen over at EW thinks he’s gonna go out in a self-sacrificing blaze of glory. That would be depressing. I like Lincoln Lee and his big sad eyes. Maybe he and Astrid should date?
Glyph Code: FUTURE. Uh-oh. Make way for mutants!
Episode Rating: a solid outing, and it set up the rest of the season very well. 8 out of 10 Red Vines (it was lacking in Peter/Olivia kissy face)
Next week: Everything in Its Right Place…loving the title, and can’t wait!