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Fringe 3.19 - Lysergic Acid Diethylamide - Review

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Fringe 3x19: In Which the Gang Gets Their Animation On and Broyles Blows Bubbles

Episode 19 - the episode we’ve been waiting three weeks for and even longer if you heard the cast tease that this would be the most outlandish offering since 'Brown Betty'. What could be more outrageous than Fringe gone noir, you ask? How about Fringe gone Inception, gone 2-D? This was a trippy trip through Olivia’s mindscape, which allowed for the strange and at times utterly bizarre (I’m lookin’ at you, Broyles) yet like all things on Fringe, nothing was without a deeper meaning, although I have a feeling it’s going to take us a while to peel back the layers within layers, within layers…


“Are you suggesting that I die?” - So it took Olivia’s life to be threatened for Bell to finally decide to permanently move residence. We also discovered that he’d been holding out. Apparently he knew that Olivia would inevitably be at risk, he just hadn’t planned on it being so soon. So Walter and Bell talk pseudo-science that goes over all of our heads and come up with a plan that involves vast amounts of LSD. Of course Peter is highly suspicious of said plan, but his desperation to get Olivia back prompts him to go with it. I enjoyed the little moments between Peter and Astrid in the beginning of this episode as they whispered and conspired while the adults spoke.

On a side note: High!Peter is officially one of my favourite Fringe conceptions. He is utterly adorbz. “I think he’s an Observer,” will go down as one of the funniest lines ever.

Olivia’s Mindscape - Once the Bishop Boys reach Olivia’s mind, things get pretty ugly pretty quickly. But before Olivia’s subconscious turns on them, Walter uses a chocolate pudding cover to signal Morse-code to an unknown figure in the still-residing Twin Towers. That was rather neat. The chase to Massive Dynamic was perhaps unnecessary, but Walter’s glee at being able to drive made it worth it.

Nina got Meaner - So in Olivia’s mind, not only is Nina living an openly-cyborg lifestyle, she’s fairly homicidal. Interestingly, all the external figures which the team encountered in Olivia’s mind were hostile, which is why there was no Astrid or Broyles. This really makes one wonder if Olivia still sees Nina as a potentially antagonistic figure on the board.

The first time Fringe characters ever appeared rather two-dimensional – I admit, the thought that Fringe might go the Roger Rabbit route for this episode had crossed my mind, and I wasn’t so much shocked as I was excited when Belly opened that door. I know the fandom is fairly torn over the use of animation, but personally, I love the fact that a sci-fi show is taking full advantage of its genre and effectively going there. They did it with 'Brown Betty' and they did it again with 'LSD' (shows how much fun you can have on drugs, kids!) Although I did think the animation sequence ran a tad too long, I enjoyed seeing our characters cartoonified.

Those that disliked it should remember that we’re probably never going to see this particular kind of thing again, so what’s the harm in sitting back and enjoying the crazy for one episode?

I particularly enjoyed Peter kicking ass and taking the names of the zombie-Brandons and the epic sweep of the zeppelin was rather beautifully done I thought.

Know Thyself – We’ve been told countless times by the great and powerful Wynkner duo that season three is the season of self-actualisation. And as we near the end of the season, these words begin to make sense. Ironically our characters accomplish some of this ‘self-awareness’ by getting high on LSD and going down a proverbial rabbit-hole. Despite all the cartoon-crazy, this was an intensely character-based episode, which I think managed very well to hold up mirrors in which the characters were able to gain understanding about themselves or at the very least, see themselves in a new light.

Astrid: There wasn’t much self-awareness going on for Astrid, but we did get to see more of her and it was great seeing her mother and nurture everybody although would have liked to see her out of her element as well. I’m still hoping that we get another layer added to the Astrid character. Hopefully next season. Although her retort to Walter in the beginning, calling him “Wally” was inspired! Touché, Agent Farnsworth!

Broyles: After literally facing his own mortality, it was both hilarious and disturbing to see Special Agent Philip Broyles tripping his brains out. From his dopey expression to his bubble-blowing, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Okay, no, I laughed…a lot. But I did find his monologue profoundly moving as we were reminded of the sacrifices made by Alt-Broyles and the trauma faced by ours. With all that scowling, it’s easy to forget that sometimes Broyles needs someone to hold his hand too.

Walter and Bell: I found the conversation between Walter and William Bell in the zeppelin to be really significant as it recalled their dialogue at the end of “Over There II” in which Bell states, “Walter... You asked me why I took out part of your brain. I did it because you asked me to. Because of what you were becoming.”

Clearly, both Bell and Walter feared that Walter’s intellect would eventually become dangerous and his choices questionable. Yet on the zeppelin, Bell tells Walter, “We needed each other then to check and balance, now you possess the wisdom of humility. We didn’t back then – the decisions you make will be the right ones. The direction you choose to take will be just.” Walter seemed disappointed, as previous episodes have suggested, he had expected Bell to help solve the problem of the eroding universes, yet instead, Bell tells Walter that if it comes down to him, he will make the right decisions. This is similar to what Nina told Walter a couple of episodes back. I think part of Walter’s arc will be to embrace his agency and look himself to make the hard decisions.

Side note: I thought that him 'dying' by falling into the icy Reiden Lake was particularly interesting in terms of symbolism, if you consider that it is Olivia's mind that he is in.

Peter and Olivia: It’s established really early in the episode that Peter was none-too pleased with ‘ole Belly’s extended vacay in his girlfriend’s body, and his concern over Olivia’s well-being is emphasized during his conversation with Astrid. This episode really was a big step forward for Peter and Olivia’s relationship. “You know her better than anyone,” Walter told Peter and presumably, the viewers. What this episode did, was really try to allow Peter some form of redemption after his massive screw-up in the first half of the season. As he said numerous times throughout, "I know Olivia." It was Peter who knew where to look for Olivia, it was Peter who knew that her house would have a red door, and at the moment when it mattered most, it was Peter who looked into her eyes and could tell the real Olivia from the fake one.

“He looked into her eyes, and he knew it wasn’t her.” Olivia said to a guilt-racked Peter in 'Marionette'. “She wasn’t me, how could you not see that?” Well, this time, he did, and I think that this played a large part in Olivia finally being able to move forward.

Olivia: The only thing we have to fear in fear itself. I’ve seen a number of fans express concern over the fact that Olivia now seems to be rid her fears. Her munching on toast like a boss while casually discussing her death would certainly seem to suggest this and since we know that fear is one of her triggers for using her Cortexiphan skills, it could be a problem. The thing is, I don’t believe that William Bell meant that Olivia is fearless in the sense that she is now abnormal or unemotional. I believe that what he meant was that she had finally conquered her inner demons, the terrors and insecurities that have haunted her for most of her life. But, like most people she will still experience fear for those she loves. I can’t imagine that the thought of Peter being strapped to the Doomsday Machine will have her munching on toast, you know? In fact, I’m still hoping that at some point we’ll see adult Liv use her pyroskizilz to light things up.

Going back to that last scene, I haven’t really touched on the man in the zeppelin because I believe that many of the theories going around are intricately tied to finale spoilers, which I try so very hard to stay away from, so rather than theorise blindly, I’ll leave it to you to mull over. What I do think is interesting is the fact that he specifically asked for Peter’s name, as if he would ‘remember’ it if they were ever to meet outside of Olivia’s mind, which of course brings up issues of temporal sequence, since Olivia must have met him already for him to have been lodged in there in the first place. But, I’ll leave it at that ;)


I found this episode immensely enjoyable and possibly among my top five of the season. The fact that Fringe takes risks and continues to push the boundaries of television is what makes it one of the most interesting shows on our screens at the moment and in my opinion, makes it one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever watched.


9.2 Trippy Disney Birds

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