Fringe: Concentrate and Ask Again

Posted by: Andrew Burns  //  February 6, 2011 @ 8:49pm

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

Doctors say to have at least 2-4 glasses of milk per day for your daily dose calcium and help maintain strong bones. Unfortunately for Warren Blake all that vitamin D doesn't help if someone targets you with a bone disintegrating chemical weapon. Fringe gets back to their 'fringe event of the week' kind of episodes, but not without hinting at a few new twists for it's problematic love triangle of universal proportions.

This week's episode, "Concentrate and Ask Again", picks up right after "Reciprocity" left off with Nina investigating the books on the 'first people' and looking into William Bell's interest in them. After Nina finds that William had a copy of the book her and Olivia agree their accuracy for the exact locations of the doomsday machine make them impossible to discount. But looking into the 'first people' books gets put on hold when a man, Blake, suddenly loses his skeleton in a manner of minutes. After the fringe team realizes that Blake was actually a target they ask for help from a mind reader from one of Walter & William's old Cortexiphan trails to help find the killers before they get to their next target.

The episode starts out with a nice little nod to Leonard Nimoy when Nina is looking around in William's office, to see if he had a copy of the 'first people' book, and there was a book entitle 'Dr. Spocks'. The way that scene was shoot you get to see only a fraction of William's office and only a few pieces of his personal collection. Hopefully the office of William Bell is revisited another time down the road as there must be possible stories hidden away there as there have been for Walter's lab. With Walter now owner of Massive Dynamic its only a matter of time before gets an office there and who knows maybe he moves into his old buddy's office.

As for this week's fringe event, being one where a weapon could disintegrate your bones, it worked mostly because of the reintroduction of the Cortexiphan kids story-line and it also having good a revenge plot. If the episode just had the killers use their weapon in random attacks or freak accidents the episode would have seemed more like a beginner first-season kind of episode. But having the killers in a semi-complex revenge plot makes the story more interesting as you can also sympathize with their characters as they justify their actions. Since the three killers were all former US marines who were exposed to that chemical weapon, it made it impossible for them to start a family after. That exposure would only have an effect on each of their wives unborn children, giving them all a bone decease that killed them shortly before they were to me born.

Then with the Cortexiphan kids story-line returning again it raises a couple of new questions. Where did this new character come from? And how many more of these Coxtexiphan patients will there be? With both Olivia and Broyles having already investigated and researched all of the past known members from Walter & William's trails the writers decide to make a loop hole and add another name to that list they never knew about. Because of Simon Phillips' (Omid Abtahi) unique reaction to the Cortexiphan drug he had developed the ability to read people's minds and had to be removed from the study in fear of reading Walter's thoughts about Peter's true origins. Thus explaining why Olivia and Broyles never knew about him. With Simon's unique ability making it almost impossible to be around regular people I was surprised when the writers didn't go a different direction with his relationship with Olivia. With Olivia being the only person immune to his mind reading ability I was half expecting there to be some kind of romantic attraction (at least on Simon's part). But I can see why adding another person to an already complicated love story wouldn't be the best idea.

As for how many more of these patients (or soldiers as Walter called them) there still are out there, it was brought up in the episode. Brought up, but not answered. Meaning there still could be many more that haven't been introduced yet. The way I see it is the whole reason Walter & William started those trails were to make soldiers in case there was a war between the two universes. So I don't think the show would be jumping the shark by introducing even a small army of Cortexiphan soldiers we have never seen before when (and if) the two universes go to war.

A couple of other fun things about "Concentrate and Ask Again" were the action scenes near the end of the episode. Anna Torv got very James Bond-ish (for a girl I mean) as she is all dressed up with a silencer in her hand bag and kicks some ass while looking stylish. Another notable part in the episode was the return of the C.I.A.'s agent Edwards for the first time since "Earthling" (2.06). The interaction between Edwards and Broyles was fun to watch again, but it was the stuff between Edwards and Nina that was curious. Edwards only seemed to get involved after Nina's request. The two exchanged a certain look to imply a possible romantic history there. It's starting to seem like Nina got around when she was younger as she had past relationships with powerful men like William Bell, Broyles, and now maybe a top C.I.A. agent in Edwards.

Last thing to note has to be Nina's discovery of Sam Weiss' connection to the 'first people' books. Nina figures out that it was Sam how wrote each of those books and questions him on them and the machine. Sam, if you don't remember, was the one who helped Olivia recover from her first trip between universes back in season 2. Does this mean Sam is one of the 'first people'? And if so what the hell does that even mean? The only answer we get as viewers is that the machine is kind of like a mood ring, where it depends on Peter's feelings for Olivia or Fauxlivia (since Walter started calling her this I'll stop calling her Bolivia in the following reviews). So the fate of the universe could all come down to which girl Peter decides to pick to be with. No pressure Pete.

Tags: Fringe, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole, Omid Abtahi

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Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.

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