Only a show like Fringe can have an opening with weightless paraplegic thieves, a conversation about human parapsychological antennas, and tell a story about hanging out with John Lennon & Yoko Ono over a bong hit with Hurly from Lost in its first five minutes. A stoned Jorge Garcia makes a cameo appearance in the beginning of this week on Fringe, but then it's back to business with another classic fringe event-style episode.
"Os" opens with an odd, but funny, cameo of Garcia as a video security guard at Massive Dynamic, who is introduced by him getting high with Walter in their observational room and never seen again in the episode. This sets up Walter's curiosity to look into William Bell's old office. After spending a few hours in there, Walter confronts Nina about the possibility of contacting William from the afterlife using his own 'Soul Magnet' technology. Sure enough, Walter's mission to converse with his late lab partner gets side tracked when the latest fringe event comes up (literally); a case, ironically, involving some weightless burglars stealing osmium (the densest of all elements), and the misguided scientist masterminding their heists. This scientist has coaxed individuals who are confined to wheelchairs to steal osmium by temporarily curing their paralysis with weightlessness in hopes to perfect the treatment for his own paralyzed son.
Besides the Walter at Massive Dynamic opening, Fringe does another one of their classic fringe event-style intros that help set the mood of the episode. I'm not going to go into detail and argue about of the holes in Fringe's physics regarding the zero-G handicap patients: one, because I'm not that smart, and two, because it doesn't really matter -- it's just TV. All you need to know is the concept is unique, the story is smart, and the episode is great. They do add a twist at the end, suggesting that this week's fringe event defying the laws of physics possibly has something to do with the rift between the two universes, but that still only half explains things. But, again, it's entertaining TV so it's easy to let it slide.
The whole concept of the scientist conning/promising those in wheelchairs to participate in his floating drug trial works great because he isn't the criminal mastermind type, so it doesn't take long until he gets caught. This storyline isn't too complicated (minus maybe the human balloons) and is a very practical outline for this type of episode. The climax for "Os" also had a fantastic stunt when Peter tackled that young kid from floating away to top it all off.
Everything in this episode aside, I can't not talk about the surprise ending for "Os". That being [SPOILER ALERT] the return of the William Bell character through Olivia as a vessel. "Os" shows yet again how Fringe loves to plan in advance, tying back something as small as Olivia having a cup of tea in season 2 to now, 35 episodes later. In "Os" they expand on what was in that cup of tea William Bell gave Olivia when she first crossed over to the alternate universe, back in "Momentum Deferred". The tea of course contained William's soul magnet technology, in case of his death. It also explains the reason William was constantly ringing that damn bell over and over again, as the signature trigger for the magnets to activate after his death. Seemed pointless at the time, but now I've learned to never question any odd little detail in the show because Fringe seems to know what they are doing.
Lastly, I want to point out the great idea of full disclosure for Peter with Olivia by him telling her about his little project with the shape-shifter discs he acquired. Instead of lying to her to create some kind of minor plot device over a few episodes, Fringe takes the high ground to show their audience that they don't need filler in their episodes. Proving yet again Fringe doesn't yield to the obvious episodic conventions, instead they blaze their own trail and outwit every other show on television. Any other show would use this idea of mistrust between two main characters as a crutch for multiple episodes, but Fringe doesn't waste their time with these blatant conceits.
For me, Fringe's next episode can't come soon enough. I just hope when it does that Anna Trov's Leonard Nimoy impression won't over shadow the episode, because it came dangerously close to being more humorous than serious. Question is, how was William Bell's soul/energy able to transfer between universes, since he died on the other side? Oh wait, I said I'm not questioning the show anymore, I'll just enjoy the ride.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.