Fringe: The Transformation

Posted by SH

OK, this one was supposed to be pivotal. Here was when we got all our questions answered about John Scott. Who he was, who he was working for, did he really love Olivia, what he was really after. Did we get all that? I guess. Can’t say it was all that earth-shattering, though.

He was a black-ops guy, working undercover with a couple other black-ops guys to try to get hold of a deadly virus that apparently turns people into mindless killing machines that resemble giant hedgehogs. So, he was a good guy, then? I’m still not sure why then, in the pilot, he hightailed it out of the hospital and led Olivia on a high-speed chase that ended in his death.

Speaking of the pilot, we start this episode back on an airplane. Instead of a flesh-eating virus, this time it’s a nervous guy who freaks out when he gets a nosebleed and his teeth start to fall out. He tries to convince the flight crew that something bad is about to happen, but they are incredulous. Cut to a few moments later when the man is busting out of the lavatory having transformed into the aforementioned hedgehog.

The plane crashes and the Fringe team is sent to investigate. Olivia combs through the passenger list and stumbles upon someone who gets the part of her brain that still houses John’s consciousness tingling. Hate it when that happens. They pick up another shady associate from John’s past who is on the verge of becoming the next hedgehog. Then before we know it, Olivia’s back in the tank — apparently required to wear that black bra and panties ensemble — searching for John in her mind to find out what he knows. This time, despite Walter’s constant denial of it, she can interact with John and ask him direct questions. He tells her he was involved in something he couldn’t tell her about, but that he really did love her.

The most exciting part of the episode actually came without mutant hedgehogs and fiery plane crashes. It was when Olivia and Peter went undercover to bust the bad guys trying to sell the serum that makes people transform. Olivia is equipped with a transmitter through which John’s shady associate can tell her what to say in order to not get shot. It’s an old-fashioned spy-movie moment with, of course, things going wrong at the last minute, forcing our heroes to improvise. But the deal goes down and the bad guys are put away, letting Olivia get back to mending her broken heart.

For the coda, she gets back in the tank and says a loving goodbye to John.

Is this really it for them? Frankly, I hope so. There doesn’t seem to be too much else they could do with the character and, besides, if this is the depth to which his secrets delve, it really wasn’t worth all that buildup. Next week promises the return of Mr. Jones and some more nasty Pattern-related mayhem. The previews didn’t mention whether there will be any more plane crashes.

Comedic highlight: Walter’s relating of nature’s 1/2-nipple rule to a disgusted Peter.