Episode Review: What Lies Below ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Episode Review: What Lies Below

      Email Post       1/24/2010 05:48:00 PM      

A 75,000 year old virus finds its way free, the result of drilling for oil, and seemingly waits to seek out the maximum number of victims before it kills the host and infects the population. Peter and Olivia quickly find themselves under quarantine along with the other employees of Vitas Petrol on floor sixteen.

It's not long before the episode picks up its pace. As the infected person begins screaming, Peter stumbles backwards and trips on the dead body from early, covered in blood. Olivia walks in and sees him, covered in blood. Scrubbing the blood from his skin, Olivia walks in, telling him, “be careful.” It’s obvious she’s worried and if he’s not infected, the blood on him, scrubbing at roughly would break skin and seep in to infect him. I was wondering how Peter would come to get infected and it was believable enough that he might find himself tripping and forced to fall on the body. Why didn’t they grab something to cover the victim though? I suppose no one had an extra blanket around. If it were me, I’d be avoiding the front, knowing that the corpse is infected and wouldn’t want to come within twenty feet of it. I might have also found a key and locked anyone possibly infected in a room. Maybe they’d have been mad but that is the idea of being quarantined.

When Walter discovers a test to determine whether those quarantined are infected, Peter steals Olivia’s swab from the table after her results come back negative for infection. He swabs his mouth with the swab Walter hands him before switching it, already knowing the truth, having seen drops of blood from his nose. They attempt to head out of the building but are quickly stopped when Peter’s nose begins to bleed again. He is stopped from leaving the building and dragged back inside, screaming, “I just have to get outside!” It’s the first moment we really see an infected Peter, acting out from the virus.

Once outside, Olivia finds out that the state department has authorized the army to go in and contain the infected because it is a level 6 contamination. With twelve people still inside and infected, Olivia phones Astrid who is with Walter and still inside, telling them to get out that the army will be coming in soon. Astrid ignores Olivia’s plea, knowing her only choice is to stay with Walter and help him develop a cure. It is then that Walter slips up, admitting to Astrid, “I can’t let Peter die again, and he’s going to.” Together they focus on the original virus, what killed it so long ago, sulfur from a volcano thousands of years ago. Finding horseradish in the fridge, Walter is able to test his theory and then they quickly contact Olivia to get the CDC to make the cure. That was probably the fastest cure developed but I give the writers credit, it was entertaining. I was just wondering why they couldn’t all eat a spoonful and be cured. Guess it doesn’t quite work like that. Any other cures you can find for diseases in your fridge?

With time running out, the only option Olivia finds herself to have is going back into the building, turning the ventilation system back on as they deliver Fentanyl gas to knock everyone inside unconscious to buy them a few hours to produce the cure. Peter, now fully infected and acting nothing like himself, sees Olivia on the security cameras coming into the elevator and in the building. Stepping out into the parking garage, Peter is already there waiting for her. He attacks her and though she ultimately fights back, he finally gets the gun from her, has it poised and says to her “stay down.” Even completely infected he doesn’t shoot her and realizes he can’t. Once Peter leaves with her gun, Olivia heads to the ventilation system, turning it on, nearly out of time. Moments later they are unconscious and then Walter is administering the antidote. If being in contact with Peter had infected Olivia, she seems to have recovered quite quickly from the antidote. Though she wouldn’t have had the virus in her system very long (a few hours given the time it takes to create the serum) she looks quite well considering how fast it affects the host.

When Peter wakes up, though he doesn’t look too hot, he is once again himself. Olivia asks if he feels better and he turns to look at her and tells her he’s sorry. She shakes her head and answers, “you weren’t yourself.” Peter stares back, his skin still quite pale and sweaty telling her “it’s lucky for me that you were.” It’s good to see Peter back to his old self. I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that this episode was filmed when the cast and crew (including Joshua Jackson) were infected with H1N1. Could that have been why it worked so well?

The final moments of the episode seemed to answer the question that had been nagging at us. Walter heads out and Astrid follows. She asks him what he meant about letting Peter die again. He tells her quite sharply, “some things are meant to be left alone, Agent Farnsworth.” After everything Astrid has seen while working Fringe Division, it should be evident what he’s talking about. Will she be able to keep such shocking news to herself? It seems Peter will probably be finding out soon and to the audience, it’s about time.

All in all, an excellent episode. Though the show has been airing a lot more stand alone episodes, this one could certainly bring in a casual or newer viewer and hopefully get them hooked. My question is, at what point do you stop trying to bring in a new audience and cater exclusively to the one you already have? I’m guessing Season Three.


Unknown said...

Any explanation for the appearance of Olivia's old partner in this episode? Was he not previously taken over by an alien and subsequently disposed of with a bullet from Olivia's gun?

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