Fringe Review: 6955 KHz ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Review: 6955 KHz

      Email Post       11/14/2010 06:10:00 AM      


“If you end up breaking the universe, this time it’s on your head.”

The First People existed long before dinosaurs. They conceived of time differently than we did, using a complex system of variable-length months to give order to their universe. They also discovered the vacuum cleaner. No, wait: The Vacuum, a device that has the power to create and destroy at the level of the Big Bang. No wonder they didn’t last long.


All of this information comes from our latest Text of Infinite Possibilities, penned by none other than Seamus Wiles, whose name is an anagram of Samuel Weiss. Remember Sam Weiss, the bowling-alley psychiatrist? Looks like his story is unfinished, which is wonderful. (Also wonderful: that I figured that anagram out on my own. I never figure out anagrams.)

Walternate knows about The Vacuum, which is buried in bits and pieces across the globe, except for the part that Peter brought back with him from Over There, and the guide that shows Peter with his eyes blazing out of his head. Luckily, our heroes already have those pieces. Olivia’s task was to clue out team into the locations of the pieces through a complex game of Clue that left many people amnesiacs and a small planeload dead.

“Number stations” were the first clue. They’ve always been broadcasting—were even broadcasting as Marconi invented the radio—but Walternate drew our heroes’ attention to them by causing so much death. (Well, that’s my theory. Walter’s theory is that the people died because they got close to figure out the code, which seems unlikely, as there’s just that one copy of Seamus Wiles’s book.) Astrid, channeling her over-there-self, broke the code through a combination of intelligence, stubbornness, and dumb luck. End Phase One, initiate Phase Two.

What an ominous phrase. This whole episode felt ominous, from Walter’s sudden cynicism to Peter blindly sleeping with the enemy—and even buying her U2 tickets, which registers an 11 on the cool boyfriend scale. Walter referred to Astrid as the Watson to his Holmes, and the process of deduction led our heroes down the path of scary doomsday. It feels like things are really coming to a head, and the previews for next week look like I’m not wrong.

Lots of information—this episode was mostly exposition—but I was still riveted throughout. In part, it was the joy of seeing Walter and Peter and even Astrid. Only seeing them in alternate weeks makes me appreciate them more. But the tone of playfulness really made me happy: not playfulness like one of those awesome bouncy houses at kids’ parties. Playfulness like puns, codes, tricks, and allusions.

For instance: The Seamus Wiles anagram. Joseph Feller as alternate Joseph Heller (writer of Catch-22, a popular Lost allusion, too). Astrid’s code as following a map of the world. The numbers, including 42, which is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Puns. Bach, who embedded numerical games into many of his works. Oh, and the fabulous Kevin Weisman of Alias fame John Locking his way out the window by a con-woman. (I hope the shapeshifter didn’t shapeshift Marshall.)

Our Theme of the Week is that binaries sometimes resolve into just one thing. Walter is worried that Peter is turning into him, by working with the “virus,” as Nina said, to find the “vaccine.” Astrid is becoming more like her counterpart. Fauxlivia seems to be having doubts. Seamus Wiles and Sam Weiss are the same man. There was talk of magnets. If that is the theme, then what can we surmise about creation vs. destruction? Is it possible there’s a happy medium? Perhaps some sort of merge?

All in all, a strong episode. Lots of exposition nicely balanced by lots of fun. Lots of completely unbelievable things (like objects buried hundreds of years ago that are close enough to the surface of Jersey City to be dug up in a day) balanced by they neat way they fit into earlier mythology. And I do love a sense of impending dread.

I Have a Prescription:

• Pun of the Week Award: “I love U2.” It’s a play on “I love you, too” as well as “I love You 2.0.”

• Walter: “Ham radio enthusiasts? Maybe their brains were erased by the magnetic winds of the solar storm.”
Peter: “If it hadn’t happened four hours after sundown, you might be on to something.”

• Walter: “I knew my Jimi Hendrix wah-wah pedal would come in handy.”

• Walter: “I know what this woman is going through. To not recognize your life…”

• Markus: “Stamp collecting. Now there’s a hobby with dividends.”

• Peter: “If you don’t know anything, you can just say that.”

• Walter: “Now I have bookends.”

• Walter: “If I’d known you were coming, I’d have baked a cake.”
Nina: “Mm.”
Astrid: “He means that. Literally.”

• Walter: “It’s the key to the universe! It’s a secret worth protecting!”

• Walter: “Of course, the chips are just because I like food that crunches.”

• Nina told Olivia that she is “usually more direct with Walter.” Her tone was curious: does she know that Olivia is really Fauxlivia? But Fauxlivia doesn’t know that she knows?

• Astrid looks better without lipstick.

Four out of four bookends.

24 Comments:

Anonymous said...

google "the conet project"

Patrick H. Lauke said...

"The First People existed long before dinosaurs. They conceived of time differently than we did"

but they still used latitude and longitude that we use today? that factoid really grinds me gears...lazy scriptwriting.

Ron E. said...

Maybe one of them was still around and (re)invented latitude and longitude?

James said...

You missed the fact that Olivia struggled to remember the numbers when Peter asked for them. Another part that her not being the real Olivia is starting to come through.

Anne said...

“I knew my Jimi Hendrix wah-wah pedal would come in handy.”
I'm sorry, I'm French and I really don't understand this sentence. What's the hint? thanks for that ;)
btw, I loved this ep, as usual. There are always so many little things to discover, this show is so smart. Oh and I loved you "I love U2" pun ;)

Anonymous said...

since peter is on our world, Walternate wants them to build the device here, since they can't use it with the device in the alternate world...I think?

the LOST tie in was kinda cool. Far fetched and silly but a LOST/Walter+William flashback would be cool. I mean those two had to have intersected with the Dharma folks at some point..

Anonymous said...

Seamus Wiles = Samuel Weiss (anagram)

Does this mean that Sam Weiss is one of the First People?

That was a serious plot hole in the way the co-ordinates matched up perfectly, dispite millions of years of tectonic movements affecting the layout of the land.

Also I didn't like the way that the plot with the Amnesia victims was never really resolved. Do they get their memories back? Do they go insane and get put in a home? What happens to them in the end?

James said...

There are no First People, it's all generated by Walternate to get Peter to the pieces. The machine HAS to be put together and turned on in this world to destroy it, it was never going to be turned on in the other world.

Nina Sharp also seems to understand that Olivia isn't Olivia and might have something up her bionic sleeve to stop this from actually happening, as well as Peter being aware of what the machine may do and that Olivia isn't who she may be.

Anonymous said...

Somehow, this doomsday device is tied in with the Observers. I recognized that the symbols are similar in the Observers handwriting and the symbols on the weapon pieces. Not sure how it all ties in though. Perhaps this machine is not what it seems.

Secondly, Olivia the Alt will be sucked back to her universe when our gal returns, that is if the laws of Fringe physics still holds. One of theirs for one of ours of equal mass. Hope the writers don't forget their own details.

Brown betty said...

okay review, but it lacks veracity.

a good reviewer woukd at least know the correct title of the show she watchd.

it was called 6955 kHz and not 6995 KHz... doh

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong as well.

It's 6955 kHz and not 6955 KHz... doh

fringeobsessed said...

Josie,
You didn't comment on Peter kidding around and bowing to FauxLivia?! It makes such an awesome moving avatar, that two friends sent one to me the morning after this episode aired.

But seriously, the symbolism's there that Peter has made himself subservient to FauxLiv. The bow plus the awesome promo pic of our Fringe team with Peter kneeling on the ground holding the butterfly glyph while Queen Faux sits on her throne..He is under her command, and you can bet that'll come to a screeching halt when he finds out he's been duped. Our poor Liv! She probably would have enjoyed a moment of an adoring man being subservient to her. Uh, wait a minute. She had that with Frank!

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

So much weirdness. My personal theory: The FIRST PEOPLE are real and living among us on both sides. Seamus Wiles is Sam 'I'm older than I look' Weiss; the observers were created by the First People to keep tabs on events necessary to the restoration of the First People World, a third universe I believe (watch out for 'yellow'); is waiting to appear.
People are making too much of the characters not picking up on altOlivia's changes - I think not - everyone is picking up on things but don't want to show their hand yet. Peter's a guy, he'll take full advantage of the situation, like I would or most any other heater male would. Give it time, it will all play out.
I really get tired of people stop watching or threatening to stop watching just because the plot doesn't go the way they think it should, or they invent reasons that justify themselves in their own eyes. Come on people it's a TV series, just sit back and enjoy it!

Josie Kafka said...

Brown Betty and Anonymous, thanks for catching the typo in the title! I've fixed it.

Anonymous said...

your reviews are full of unlikely theories. Please analyze what your typing before posting it, as the majority of your rambles are incoherent.

Ilana said...

Observers = First People

Zort70 said...

Enjoyed the episode over all, but you are right there are a couple of loose ends that are rather glaring by there absence.

What happened to the amnesiacs ? That was just glossed over as poor them, bye bye now, good luck.

I have to agree that it is annoying that the lattitude / longitude thing existed before mankind as we know it, and suddenly someone in the 16th century put the lines exactly where they were set millions of years ago.

For a start the continents wouldn't have been in the same place then, so a co-ordinate today would not match what it was when the numbers were first generated.

So we have to assume that the people who created this number broadcast were so advanced that they built in some sort of corrective mechanism that not only adjusted to the movement of the continents, but also to the co-ordinate system of the culture that discovered it.

Alternatively they had travelled to the future and saw that mankind discovers the items at this time and set the system retrospectively. Apart from all sorts of paradox generating possibilities, it could be an explanation for the presence of the observers, they could be the first ones that are looking for the moment mankind discovers the location.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Zort70 completely, and while we may later get an explanation as to how million year old longditute/latitude and moving continents issues were overcome to ensure that we found the pieces right where the book said they'd be, what bugged me the most is that neither Peter, Walter nor Astrid thought of this. The very second that Astrid said that these numbers were coordinates written millions of years ago for places around the world, the first thing I thought was "Pity, that was probably when the world was a single continent, wonder where on earth those places are now..." I'm no scientist and that was my first thought, so I can't wait to see how long it takes our intelligent crew to figure it out. When they do, they'll realise there's something much more dubious going on.

Can we assume too that if/when all the pieces of this machine are collected and put together, that it will only respond to Peter? How can something that old be wired only to work for someone who was an amino acid at the time it was built! So many questions!!!

The First People is an interesting little addition to the plot. You'd wonder are they playing our two universes off each other for their own unknown benefit. Hard to believe that evolution got that far before the dinosaurs without any evidence today. And why it took so long for it to happen again afterwards. There had to have been survivors (Sam Weiss) or else we couldn't know about them. Perhaps the first people visited earth millions of years ago but that's not where they started out. Perhaps the First People are like the Observers in the way that they travel through time. If not, I want to know what skin cream Sam Weiss is using LOL!

One last little thing. Did you all hate the way Fauxlivia is following her orders so closely? She was told to focus on Peter, now he's (seemingly) eating out of her hand. Then they told her to work on Walter and there she is, gently carressing his cheek with a caring smile when Walter is having an emotional moment over the amnesiacs who "don't recognise their own lives". God I hate her... Come on Liv, get yourself together and warp back over here!!!

Xindilini said...

Coordinates system - If the First People were advanced, they could in all likelihood project where the landmasses would be. I mean how much of an area is covered by long./lat.
If you can believe that today's astronomers have a way to see what the constellations were like some 3000 years ago, you can swallow this piece of fiction.

@fringeobsessed: Funny comment on Frank being a subservient, adoring man for Olivia. He knelt before her. - Makes my day.

Amnesiacs - Walter concluded that Becky's memories are still there. If he was being honest with her, then they may be able to find a cure yet.

I will say this here too. I find that Alt-Livia is becoming more interesting by the minute. This episode show gets a GOLD STAR for making me defend her so rigorously.

Anonymous said...

sorry to go back but in season 1 the episode of the inner child...is that boy going to have any relevance in the coming episodes since he is a baby observer...is he??

Anonymous said...

I know its off topic but lets all vote for this show for the Peoples Choice Award http://www.peopleschoice.com/pca/vote/votenow.jsp

I voted for it then pressed previous channel and went back to the one with Fringe and voted again. I gave about 15 votes so lets get this show an award.

BTW- I love this show!!!

Caryn said...

Also another interesting note:
do you remember how a while ago we were puzzled over the term First Peoples in the red alt universe title screen?
Well we finally see that reappearing in this episode, as and with other terms in the blue opening scene this concept is going to be a significant one!

Mark said...

I was curious as to how the numbers stations broadcasts by the "First People" are in current modern-day languages. Unless, as speculated in an above comment, there were no first people and the numbers stations are somehow originating from Walternate on the other side as a ploy to get Peter to build the Vacuum on this side to destroy us. Although, I think they will play on the first people idea longer.

mama-t said...

I know it's late but, what is Peter's IQ? And he doesn't know what "decimate" means!

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