Fringe: The Dreamscape   Rewatch 
July 10, 2014 9:56 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Extenzalife - Quitting time - the polite appearance of cooperation - the obsessive - ominous gongs - toads - This very lab - stepping off - somewhere else - black market trafficker - actionable evidence

"Nina Sharp."
posted by the man of twists and turns (14 comments total)
Jesus H. Christ is the tank scene in this episode creepy. And not in the usual way for this show. Walter Bishop really loves a willing subject.

It's funny to hear Walter say "No! It's not possible!" with such definitive authority. For all the weird shit Olivia has brought to his attention only to have him say, "Just like Bellie and I did right here in this lab 25 years ago!" or "I imagine to do that one would have to use a neuraltropic concoction I wouldn't mind ingesting myself only not in such concentration," you'd think he'd be a little more open to the possibility that John Scott continues to communicate with her in an unknown way.

Just like Olivia has to do some ground-clearing with her past before she can move on from the ghost of John Scott, Peter Bishop's apparently got a whole forest's worth of needles to clear away before he can safely inhabit Boston. (And continue to fall in love with Olivia.)
posted by carsonb at 7:27 AM on July 11, 2014

Jesus H. Christ is the tank scene in this episode creepy.

You're not kidding. That line was a bit much for me. I alternate between repulsion and enjoyment with Walter. They really walk a fine line with him.

I was also a little "what" about "it's not possible!"

Peter is still pretty bland fare so far, though I do appreciate some of the snarky commentary.
posted by moira at 10:34 AM on July 11, 2014

Some of the special effects and CG backdrops on Fringe are really iffy, but the razor butterflies work, maybe partly because they are supposed to look a little artificial. I like the way their wings are made to look like sharp coral edges.

Walter and Peter's relationship is one of the delights of Fringe, and the little byplay over the corpse, where Walter trolls Peter by pretending he's forgotten he has a lab, and Peter's little smile, feels like a nice character moment - but Peter still doesn't want to talk about his childhood with Walter.

I'm trying to remember if the Peter/bad guys storyline goes anywhere. It's already looking slightly silly that we are supposed to worry about some local hoods when Peter a) is effectively embedded with the FBI and b) is confronting lethal black science problems on a regular basis...
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:22 PM on July 11, 2014

Fringe is really kicking into gear here. The X-Files monster of the week approach is starting to quietly die as the writers find the character interactions more and more.


1:15 Nice touch with the butterfly pin on the lapel of the female executive

3:47 Also liked Bell Plaza as first clue as to where this is before panning out to the Massive Dynamic sign.

20:00 Some of us are saying Walter seems to be acting out of character here. But I think this is still consistent with someone who is conflicted and very disturbed. This interview with John Noble explains for the first six months he played the role as someone gradually coming out from under a drug induced fog. More premeditated than I thought.

The bible appears in this scene, Walter is dismissive but I think there is a lot going on with him in this episode as we will see the bible later at 43:48, obviously heavily annotated. He has much on his mind, even if remembered imperfectly. These are the seeds of White Tulip.

28:03 Lens flare! No really, I think honest to God lens flare.

29:47 Creepiest direct eye contact ever! That scared me for days.

36:10 Another lens flare!

45:00ish I like Nina for not putting up with Olivia' s shit in this scene. This surpasses the Bechdel Test. It not only has two named female characters discussing something other than men, but also has them both arguing strongly from a place of both being completely right (because we the audience don't know what is true yet, and those of us who have seen the whole show know one of them is wrong but can see the assumption s coming from a good place). This kind of writing is rare in any TV drama, let alone for two strong female characters.

No glyphs again.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 1:11 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thoughts on this episode:

Opening shot: are middle of the night business meetings common in the US?

2:50 I have real trouble watching this scene. It triggers my lifelong fear of paper cuts.

4:30 I love how, even when Olivia gets dolled up, she instinctively maintains her cortexiphan camouflage of blacks and greys.

8:20 Oceanic Air ticket. Nice covert teaser that Fringe takes place in the Lost universe. Or at least a Lost universe.

11:40 I love that Olivia's bookcase seems to consist mostly of first edition hardcover novels with uniform size and format. I know that's set dressing, but it really fits in with what we're learning about her character as well.

29:00 John Scott is seriously underdressed for this date, at least compared to what Olivia's wearing. He might as well be wearing pyjama shorts and no top.

34:10 Nice double-breasted coat, Peter. Shame about the grievous bodily harm.

38:20 That's a bad habit the Fringe team is developing of having their prime suspects hit by cars while trying to escape and then knocked off while lying in hospital beds.
posted by Sonny Jim at 1:13 PM on July 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

I like Nina for not putting up with Olivia' s shit in this scene.

I am reflecting on how sinister and possibly terrifying Nina Sharp is early in the series. She's obviously 1) got her own agenda and 2) has the resources and capability of pulling it off.

Later on, we will find out more about what she's up to, and her history, but for right now I'm enjoying vaguely threatening Nina Sharp.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:47 PM on July 12, 2014

I do wonder how much of the time Walter is playing ignorant/insane when he's really not. I think he's much more cogent than he's letting on.

No glyphs again.

U.S. Netflix is showing them, at least - I guess other providers took them out for some reason? Or are you talking about something other than the ad break glyphs? Your scene times are a bit different from mine.

Fringepedia shows shots of Walter's notes from each episode, but I don't know where we're supposed to be seeing those.

I'm several episodes ahead. I'm considering binge-watching, then coming through again at a slower pace to pick up things I missed the first time around.
posted by moira at 6:48 PM on July 12, 2014

I am reflecting on how sinister and possibly terrifying Nina Sharp is early in the series. She's obviously 1) got her own agenda and 2) has the resources and capability of pulling it off.

The moment in the first episode where she pulls the skin off her hand struck me as remarkable for a related reason - she's implying, quite clearly, that Massive Dynamic has the kind of resources the FBI can't imagine, and specifically that those resources are science-fictional: they are already in the world Olivia Dunham is blundering into. At this point, it's not certain what Nina's angle is, which makes this even more disconcerting...

(And that contrasts, of course, with Walter's fuzzy-edged, organic, inappropriately priapic mad scientist act. He could probably make you a robot arm, but it would have valves and make inappropriate gestures...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:34 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

He could probably make you a robot arm, but it would have valves and make inappropriate gestures.

He designed it that way for fun 27 years ago, somebody at Massive Dynamic must have spent the intervening time improving it to Nina Sharp's specs.
posted by carsonb at 9:13 PM on July 12, 2014

, that Massive Dynamic has the kind of resources the FBI can't imagine,

What do we do? What don't we do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:41 PM on July 12, 2014

I've recently switched to watching the DVD which would explain both the glyphs and the time stamps. Especially since my box set was bought off of UK Amazon. I wanted to get the extras and we've been building our collection of other JJ shows, Lost and Felicity (but not Alias!).

Thank you for pointing that out as (despite being very flippant about it) cracking the glyphs is a large part of the enjoyment of the show.

My next post for the next episode was going to be about how much of Walter's madness is becoming deception. I'm also bingeing and the next episode makes Walter even more ambiguous. Is he lying or does he really not remember?

I only knew Blair Brown as Molly Dodd. Nina Sharp is such a contrast. I thought they cast her to make that role more jarring (and also Brown is fantastic of course). I have since found out she is better known for Altered States etc.

I do love that Olivia could have got a rise out of her to get her to open up. But instead of defending herself she just took the attack with quiet dignity. Someone who has real power. Yeah she is scary.
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 10:53 PM on July 12, 2014

- Another great opening of a horrific death.
- A lot of people have a work & and dress mode which is separate from their personal life preferences, but personally I say if you spend the time making gourself look good then you should go with it. In other words, Olivia, there's no need to take another shower and straighten your hair.
- Butterfly picture tripping!
- What's up with all the "oh, here's a second explanation"? So annoying. Walter, just tell us all the things! You to, Broyles. Just assume I want to know the other thing as well as the first thing!
- Scott doesn't know much about animal storage does he?
- I forgot how much Olivia strips down in this first season, but those upside down shots are a great way to disorient the audience. Also, it has now been thoroughly established that dreamscapes are basically made of lens flares.
- Still not sure if Scott is part of ZFT or is just a mole for Massive Dynamics. I also wonder if it is common in ZFT to kill your co-warriors(?)? Because it seems like a terrible life choice to join an org where that is commonly the case.
- I'm done hearing "The Pattern".
- The Big Eddie thing never does come around to any kind of resolution and in retrospect appears to be a shortcut to inserting a backstory for Peter.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:53 PM on July 14, 2014

I can't believe Olivia has friends.

How come she saw the butterflies move? It was before she found the toads so she can't have been exposed to bufotoxin - or can she? Good thing there were no puffer fish in there too or the show might have taken a completely different direction.
posted by Athanassiel at 7:34 AM on October 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Worst. Holodeck. Ever.
posted by comealongpole at 5:43 PM on September 5, 2015

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