Ipanemian Insight - Episode Review - Fringe 3.19: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Ipanemian Insight - Episode Review - Fringe 3.19: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

      Email Post       4/17/2011 05:00:00 AM      

The Girl From Ipanema

Tall and tan and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanema goes walking,
And when she passes each one she passes goes "a-a-ah!"
When she walks she's like a samba that,
Swings so cool and sways so gentle,
That when she passes each one she passes goes "a-a-ah!"
Oh, but I watch her so sadly,
How can I tell her I love her?
Yes, I would give my heart gladly
But each day when she walks to the sea,
She looks straight ahead not at me
The girl from Ipanema goes walking,
And when she passes
I smile, but she doesn't see,
She just doesn't see,
No she doesn't see

To paraphrase my favorite James T. Kirk speech of all time from, 'Return To Tomorrow,' , 'Risk! Risk is our business. That’s what Fringe is all about. That’s why we write the stories we do.’

The Fringe showrunners, like Kirk, have made Risk their business.

And they are good at their business. Very, very good.


With a musical episode under their belts, Fringe took an obstacle and turned it in an opportunity. They parlayed Nimoy’s aversion to any further acting and created a way for Nimoy to be on the show without him having to do any long distance traveling.

They TOON’ed Belly!

And Walter, or Wally as Astro, er Astrid is wont to call him, Peter, Olivia, Brandon, and Olivia’s step-dad too. Using a mix of live action and animation; and LSD; the show took these tools to leverage off of Nimoy’s recalcitrance. They enticed him for a swan song appearance as William ‘Belly’ Bell and showed us the interior mental landscape of Olivia’s deepest thoughts to boot.

The most admirable thing about Fringe is how high they set their sites. Very few shows would take the risks Fringe has to date. And with the goals set by LSD, very few shows would be willing to take such a risk. And those few that did, would be quite proud of taking those risks. Not Fringe. Fringe aims higher. They took the risk of animating part of the episode and weaved in story threads that move the characters into positions that ready them for the upcoming climax of the season, plant seeds for new storylines, give Peter a masterful moment of redemption, and throw in liberal doses of humor too. All that and a cliffhanger closing line by Olivia too.

Whew! What more can one ask for? I mean, seriously?

With LSD, important issues for the three main characters are resolved. Olivia is able to face and stand down her internal life long demons. A thing of well written beauty as it included her stepfather too. William Bell may be a genius but he has been proven not to be infallible. His proclamation that Olivia has never felt safe and that she is her own worst enemy is cursory and incorrect because the past three seasons have shown us that not to be true. Her Season 1 romance with John Scott and now with Peter demonstrate that while Olivia may wrestle with her fears more the others, no small wonder when one reviews her life history, she has repeatedly overcome those fears. Much of that perseverance comes from within Olivia. Out of all the Cortexiphan Children, Olivia is the strongest. But no one can go it on their own and with Peter, Olivia now has that relational anchor that everyone needs.

With Peter in LSD, we are shown - if nothing else you have to appreciate how often the Fringe writers are able to show us important character development and story points - how close Peter and Olivia have become between episodes. The off screen insights that Olivia has shared with Peter become the road map that leads to her rescue. Equally skillful is the redemption provided for Peter as he is allowed to atone for his earlier Season 3 mistake of not being able to discern that the person he was involved with, was not the real Olivia. Looking into her eyes, Peter knew the Olivia inside her childhood home was not the real one. That the real Olivia revealed herself to Peter, after he passed the eye test, as an innocent, a child, was a wonderful visual demonstration of Olivia’s trust in Peter.

The conversation between Walter and Belly in the zeppelin showed the realization by both men of their youthful arrogance. Walter learned that his dependency on Belly to help him in his quest to save Peter from the Machine is unwarranted. Bell points out to Walter what we have been shown- there is that word again! - since the pilot; Walter has learned humility. A character trait both men lacked in their youth. Walter is now grounded and will be able to make the right decisions.

For William Bell, his reluctance to say good bye extended to an aversion to leaving life. In trying to cheat death, Bell learned to let go, freeing himself and Olivia in the process.

Fringe Patterns: (add your own in the comments)

  • ‘Astro,’ , ‘ Wally!’
  • ‘Perfectly safe. Take a few steps back.’
  • ‘Ready Belly?’ ‘Aye, aye. Captain.’
  • simultaneous - ‘He’s my partner.’ , ‘She’s my girlfriend.’
  • Bellivia gives the Spockian raised eyebrow
  • Whole Brain Emulation software
  • ‘Where are the neurosensors?’ , ‘Back shelf by the fish food.’
  • ‘Have you ever tripped Peter?’
  • Tripping Peter exclaiming Broyles is bald and a possible Observer
  • in Olivia’s mind everyone dresses like her in dark and neutral colors
  • ‘There is a plan, right Walter?’
  • chocolate pudding, Walter’s favorite, shiny lid used for sending Morse code
  • Broyles tripping and engrossed by swirls on Walter’s Red Vines licorice
  • Wait! You’re driving?!?!’ , ‘Ok.’
  • ‘Peter! I made a skid!’
  • Belly is an animated liar
  • Toon Walter’s, ‘How Wonderful,’ thought balloon
  • Broyles sees death, it is him, and he asks Astrid to hold his hand
  • loved the world view of Olivia's mind from the top of the Twin Towers building
  • Zombie BadBrandons!
  • Mystery Man on zeppelin
  • Walter falls. Was that Reiden Lake he fell to?
  • Massive Dynamic RAM for computer memory
  • Peter sees in adult Olivia’s eyes that is is not her
  • little aka real Olivia trusts Peter
  • Peter saves little Olivia
  • Broyles blowing bubbles
  • ‘I remember you.’
  • Astrid downloaded ZOOM for Walter
  • Peter’s foreshadowing line, ‘Pretty crazy. What we will have to face next?’
  • Olivia at peace with herself
  • any significance to the toast?
  • Olivia’s foreshadowing cliffhanger line, ‘I haven’t seen him before but I think he’s the man who is going to kill me.’
The animation for the characters was pretty fantastic too. Very reminiscent, but more stylized, of Linklater's, 'Waking Life,' or the animated adaption of Philip K. Dick's, 'A Scanner Darkly.'  The first time I watched the episode the only drawback to the animation seemed to be that, naturally, that the emotional nuances of the actors was lost. On rewatch I found that not to be true. The animators did a wonderful job of expressing character emotions. The animation did work better for the older actors, whose lined visages make emoting an easier process. Peter and Olivia did not emote nearly as well.

So unlike, ‘The girl from Ipanema,’ who could not, or would not, see the world around her and the possibility of love, Olivia could and did. Her life long fears may have hobbled her but Olivia never buckled under. It is a testament to her strength of will how much Olivia has been able to accomplish. Fear is a motivating factor for everyone at their innermost levels. Fear of death, of loss of loved ones, of providing shelter and food for their family, and the fear of being alone.

Olivia’s story of triumph over her personal demons is truly that of a hero. What a joy to behold.

What a joy it is also to watch such a wonderfully written episode.


real.one said...

Great preview , Do you really think that Bell is gone ? I think Olivia's character is more deep than we did watch , Walter did give us a hint :

Walter said : Cortexiphan subjects experience a strong desire to blend in, to stay in the background. They were designed that way .

So i agree with you that Olivia is living the peace with herself .. but what we are seeing is not Olivia ! ( my guess )


Anonymous said...

Enjoyable but not wonderfully written in my opinion. A wonderfully written episode would have addressed somehow the conversation Olivia and Peter were having just as William Bell took over Olivia and see them deal with the fallout of Peter's deceitfulness (hopefully this will be addressed at some point in the remaining episodes).
And a wonderfully written episode would be one in which Peter doesn't say that Olivia told him the last time she felt normal was the day she met Walter and Belly, because she doesn't remember AT ALL that part of her childhood so this is totally inconsistent. If the writers expect us fans to pick up on the tiniest clues and easter eggs, they should also expect us to notice inconsistencies or plot holes and therefore pay attention to that.

Anonymous said...

Great review!

"Olivia’s story of triumph over her personal demons is truly that of a hero. What a joy to behold. What a joy it is also to watch such a wonderfully written episode."

beautifully written, I totally agree!

Anonymous said...

I feel like Olivia recalls some of her memories from Jacksonville. Remember when her and Peter went back there? I could be wrong, but I feel like by the end she was remembering bits and pieces.

Also, I think it makes sense why Peter's deception isn't that big of a deal in light of everything else going on. I mean, it isn't the first time one of them has kept the others out of the loop for a while.

Anonymous said...

Before I get started, this review was very well written. Now...when I heard Peter say he knew where Olivia's safe place was, for some reason I believed he'd lead the team to the white tulip field, on instinct. Wouldn't that buried memory of having met Peter when they were kids have been unearthed? That revelation would have been satisfying. Overall, it was still a great episode. I applaud risk takers who shake up homogenized network TV.

Note: The sign on the bus that Walter was on top of had Olivia striking a pose wearing her signature drabs. Funny stuff.

Roberto said...

A nearly identical, almost scene for scene, rip off of INCEPTION. If they had some throw away line referencing the movie or DiCaprio, that would make it an homage. I wish I found all the little silly stuff all that amusing. Seems overdone. I'm curious as to why Olivia was hiding in her mind in the Altverse. Wouldn't that be a far more dangerous place with Walternate and his Fringe Div. after her? I know it's fantasy, but her stepfather and her house would not have been there. Some line of explanation would have been nice. I didn't get the Girl From Ipanema. Nice observation. Also about her not feeling normal the day after she met Walter. In the deep recesses of her mind, she certainly DOES remember. If that had been delivered by her in or after this ep, it would have been fine. But otherwise, yeah, a little sloppy. Not sure "deceitful" correctly describes Peter on any level. Certainly not his actions with Fauxlivia. That he has feelings for both is understandable, as is the reason to keep them to himself. Deceitful just is inaccurate. Some episodes do grow on me on another viewing, but this one just didn't have the heart that even some of the weaker episodes did. It may have exceeded BROWN BETTY as my least favorite episode, though both were maybe the most imaginative. Maybe fantasy on top of SyFy that already is more fantasy than science is too much suspension of disbelief. A word keeps coming up in my head not just for this ep, but the whole Bell return which seemed to serve no purpose. Sort of like, "Let's consider all the ways we can reinsert Nimoy w/o actually having him physically appear." And then use them all. That word is "contrived". And any ep w/o Anna being either Liv, is going to pale by comparison. Sorry, Risk 10/10 Results 5/10. I believe the story and media this week sucked out all the humanity in the characters, which is FRINGE's strength. Compare this to the previous 10/10 of BLOODLINE.

g33k said...

I don't understand how quick everyone is to compare this to the latest go-in-your-head movie and say Fringe is ripping it off.
Before Inception was Matrix and before Matrix there were likely others.
Plus Fringe has been going inside Olivia's head since the pilot and they've obviously planned this story arc since early season 2 when she drank the tea. I don't think the "rip-off" point is valid. Who knows, maybe some Inception writers used to work on Fringe and knowing the Fringe story arc influenced what they wrote for Inception!

The entering-the-subconscious story has been done before and I thought Fringe told it uber creatively. I'm appreciating it for what it is and my results rating is waaay higher. 10/10

Anonymous said...

Inception is just a re-hash of Dark City. Everyone who writes and creates has been influenced by something. Oh The Humanity!

Lccf said...

I agree with you, the place Walter fell into looks like Reiden Lake ... which begs the question : why would it be in Olivia's mind ? It's important to both Walter and Peter, but Olivia ... not so much.

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