Fringe In A Nutshell ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe In A Nutshell

      Email Post       4/09/2009 03:40:00 PM      

Are you a newcomer to Fringe? Wanna get caught up without waiting for the DVD or combing through dozens of wiki pages?

Here's a Fringe primer, just for you:

The Premise
All over the world, a series of inexplicable phenomena (coined "The Pattern") has aroused the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Special Agent Philip Broyles (Lance Reddick) heads up a multi-agency team called the Fringe Division to investigate the Pattern. They believe science and technology have advanced to unknown, unregulatable levels that put society at risk.

The Players
Agent Olivia Dunham - a headstrong young FBI agent who Broyles personally recruits to help him solve the mystery of the pattern. Olivia follows her instincts and wears her emotions on her sleeve. At the age of three, she unwittingly participated in a drug trial on a military base in Jacksonville, where her father was stationed. The experimental drug, Cortexiphan, was intended to prevent the limitation of the mind's potential, meaning Olivia may have some unnatural mental capabilities. (Played by Anna Torv).
Dr. Walter Bishop - an impatient, brilliant scientist (with a knack for hilarious non-sequitors) whose questionable experimental ethics landed him in a mental institution in 1991. Olivia Dunham managed to get him released from St. Claire's Hospital to help the Fringe Division make sense of the Pattern, as most of the phenomena are scientific mysteries with curious ties to Walter's former work in the basements of Harvard University. (Played by John Noble).

Peter Bishop - an intelligent black-market entrepreneur whose mysterious past constantly threatens to catch up with him, Walter's son often acts as a translator between his unintelligable father and the rest of the Fringe Division. Given Walter's institutionalization, his relationship with Peter is an estranged one, though they are slowly building a rapport. (Played by Joshua Jackson).

William Bell - Walter's former lab parter at Harvard, who went on to become the fabulously wealthy founder of Massive Dynamic, a multi-billion-dollar tech corporation involved in research and development for a variety of fields, such as pharmaceuticals, robotics, and defense. Bell has yet to make an appearance on the show, but his influence is everywhere. Many Pattern events have ties to his (and Walter's) technology.
Nina Sharp - Massive Dynamic's Executive Director, a silver-tongued professional who also shows interest in Olivia Dunham's capabilities, and acts as her liason at the corporation when investigations point in its direction. Nina lost her arm to cancer in the past, but it was replaced by a fully-articulated robotic limb designed and developed by William Bell himself. She also has an unknown history with Walter Bishop, and an unqualified relationship with Fringe Division head Philip Broyles, with whom she often shares clandestine information. (Played by Blair Brown).
Charlie Francis - Olivia Dunham's straight-talking ally in the FBI, Charlie is second-in-command behind Broyles. He and Olivia have a long professional history, and they trust each other implicitly. (Played by Kirk Acevedo).

Astrid Farnsworth - A junior agent assigned to assist Walter Bishop in his revamped Harvard laboratory, Astrid's knowledge of cryptology, linguistics, and technology have proven vital to the Fringe Division's success. (Played by Jasika Nicole).

Philip Broyles - A high-ranking DHS agent in charge of the Fringe Division, Broyles is Olivia Dunham's immediate superior, who often intercedes on her behalf against beurocratic rivals like Sanford Harris. Broyles also has a mysterious, collaborative relationship with Nina Sharp. (Played by Lance Reddick).

John Scott - Olivia Dunham's deceased former partner, both professionally and romantically, John was killed on the run from authorities when he was exposed as a double-agent. But thanks to Walter's sensory deprivation tank, parts of John's consciousness crossed over into Olivia's mind, revealing his benevolent, undercover mission. (Played by Mark Valley).

The Story So Far
Each week, the Fringe Division deals with a new phenomenon: creatures, viruses, inexplicable objects and incidents. And at every single Pattern event, a mysterious man can be found watching in the background. He's known simply as the Observer.

In episode four, The Arrival, we learned that the Observer once saved Walter and Peter Bishop from drowning in an icy lake, ostensibly breaking his just-here-to-watch rules. The Observer also demonstrated the ability to hear the thoughts and feelings of people nearby.
In episode ten, Safe, FBI double-agent Mitchell Loeb uses a teleportation device invented by Walter Bishop to transport the mysterious Mr. Jones out of a high-security German prison. Mr. Jones is a powerful biotech terrorist with ties to something called ZFT.
In episode fourteen, Ability, we learn that ZFT is the German acronym for an obscure manuscript called Destruction by Advancement of Technology, an eschatological polemic that warns against the unchecked advancement of technology. According to the anonymous author, it will open doors to a parallel universe similar to our own, whose history is slightly more advanced. That the way to travel between these universes has been discovered, and that it will lead to the destruction of one. Us, or them.

Mr. Jones forces Olivia Dunham to take a test (one of ten), to prove herself capable of the abilities necessary to participate in this "war" between universes...

Does she succeed? Where does the Observer fit into this cosmology? What do Massive Dynamic and Walter Bishop's research have to do with the Pattern?

Tune into Fringe for the next five Tuesday nights at 9/8c on FOX.

Also, and are able to stream the last eleven episodes for free.


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Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, what I should have said first was that it was a awesome primer for the newbies! I just noticed a few things missing and jumped on that first... I think I'll go back to watching Babylon 5 now...

Anonymous said...

great overview! only thing: hulu streams that last 11 episodes. why? i'm not sure, but its free and good quality.
can't wait until next week! charlie better not die though!!!!!

Adam Morgan said...

@jen, I'm sure I left out a ton of important stuff! Just tried to be as concise as possible for newbies. Is there anything vital I should add?

@Anon, Wow, you're right! Thanks for the correction; for some reason I thought it was only five.

Anonymous said...

@Adam - reading it through again I think there's enough about Broyles to cover most of it - it's just spread throughout the post rather than in a paragraph for him. I also do think it seems a bit weird to have pictures for all the main players except him. Like you're leaving him off for a reason - I think that's why I noticed he was missing right away and jumped on that first.

I think it might be worth it to mention something about how he and Olivia have a bit of a history with her having arrested his friend - who has now shown up to cause more problems?

I'd also consider adding something about John Scott - he's rather important even if he's technically dead. He's provided information and also it's apparent he knew something about the pattern and maybe Broyles as well.

Adam Morgan said...

You're right, Jen! I'll add a pic/profile for Broyles and Scott. My reasoning was that I already introduced Broyles above, and that Scott seems to be out of the picture for now, but they definitely deserve pics.

Caroline said...

Nice recap, Adam. I'm hoping people who are curious see this post and start to watch!

Anonymous said...

@Adam - Good additions. Would it be worth it to mention that Walter probably wrote the manuscript? Or is it to much of a guess at this time since all we have is the fact that one letter is the same via the typewriter?

I also wonder if it would be worth it to attempt to make a summary of the key events of each episode? Not just for the newbies but in general a cheat sheet of what we learned when? I'm thinking of trying it with the pilot episode at least to have a better idea of what it could look like... if that's okay with you?

Anonymous said...

(Using the information from the Fringe Wiki I mean)

Adam Morgan said...

@JenR, I just wanted to give newbies a very brief, minimalist recap of the show, but if you want to do an ep-by-ep cheat sheet, knock yourself out! I'll be glad to link to it or put it up on our wiki somewhere.

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