That Which "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" Unearthed ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

That Which "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" Unearthed

      Email Post       4/20/2011 09:42:00 AM      

Has your subconscious Fringe ever demanded you to re-watch a particular Fringe episode? Three days before "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide"(henceforth referred to as "LSD") aired my "inner Fringe" demanded I watch an older episode. So I looked through the BluRay menu for Season 2 and got suddenly frustrated, until I found what my inner Fringe wanted in the "extra features" section: "Unearthed." The website, which does not follow FOX's official episodic numbering schedule, lists "Unearthed" as episode 211 (the official number is #121), which explains why our Agent Charlie Francis is alive and well in that episode, even though he got killed in episode 201 (see: Fringe Math for more info).

It took a good 15 minutes into the episode and suddenly I had a feeling I was exactly where I was supposed to be. A high school girl named Lisa Donovan comes back from the dead shouting launch codes for nuclear ICBM missles and the ID code for a Naval petty officer Andrew Rusk.Olivia is asking Lisa Donovan questions. She tells the girl that the ID she shouted belongs to a man named Andrew Rusk, and she asks if that rings any bells? OK, this is starting to sound familiar!Just then Lisa Donovan launches into fluent Russian, which of course, human lexicon Peter Bishop is able to decipher. About two thirds of the way into this episode Walter decides Lisa Donovan is not channeling Rusk psychically, but that "Mister Rusk's entire consciousness was transferred into Lisa." Now the bells are ringing for me! This is all foreshadowing way back in "Unearthed" for Bell's consciousness transferring into our poor Olivia!Two women lying on gurneys (probably the same one) posessed, if you will, by a man's consciousness. Their names even sound the same: Lisa Donovan, and 'Livia Dunham. Wow. Who would've guessed an episode in the Extra Features section would be closely linked to "LSD"? But Lisa Donovan gets a benzodiazepine to start the prosess that purges her man, whereas our Liv gets LSD. Why the difference? I'll get back to that in a bit.

Episode 319 titled "LSD," is a real trip(pun intended). This is an above average episode that transferred itself into Fringe Nirvana via a heady, robust infusion of high-tech animation. As soon as Walter and Peter open the door to Belly's office and find him in an animated state I was reminded of an interview with Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman months ago when someone in the media asked if they were planning on doing an animated episode, and Jeff's response was "Hold that thought." Well, hold it no longer! I'm no expert on animation and barely a fan of it, but I was absoultely mesmerized by the appearance of Belly's glass of whiskey-the way it captured the light, as well as the whiskey bottle. And it wasn't because I caught the "Lost" meaning of it, it was just the way the glass and the bottle appeared. The episode quickly reaches "don't leave your seat" status just like "Over There:Parts 1 and 2," "Jacksonville," and several others.

There's a lot of great humor in "LSD." Most noteworthy are Bellivia's nod to Star Trek when Walter asks if she's ready and Bell replies "Aye, aye, Captain," and both Peter's and Broyles' outrageous expressions while under the influence. Astrid was great too when she replies "Just about, Wally," to Walter's inquiry of "Are you ready, Astro?" It's about time Walter gets a taste of his own medicine. And a salute to the Morse Code in this episode which is actually copyable.I can copy about 12 words per minute, and that was an SOS from one of the Twin Towers, and also "O-L" from "Olivia." (It worked much better than with that street light in the pilot.) I haven't had the chance to see "Inception," but 319 smells of one of my favorite movies, "The Matrix" when Peter in his RayBans and Walter try to blend into the sea of people in the Manhatan of Olivia's mind. Broyles blowing bubbles is a fun image I'll try to keep in mind as we get into the rougher episodes to come. And Brandon-looking Massive Dynamic zombies? A nice touch. Speaking of nice touches, did anyone else think of that old music vid "Take On Me" by the 80's group Aha, when Peter opened the door to Olivia's old house on the Jacksonville military base and de-animated?

There are a couple of lovely intense scenes in "LSD" as well. Like when Bell tells Walter he doesn't need him anymore to check and balance, because Walter posesses "the wisdom of humility." I think the best one is when Peter looks into adult Olivia's eyes and realizes it isn't her(Finally, Peter gets it!) as adorable young Olivia rises from the dinner table. And when Peter returns to himself and grabs Walter in a death grip is pretty great also.

Our girl Olivia wakes up neatly tucked into herself as the gang looks on, and it appears the decisions Walter has made indeed have been the right ones. But that ending is a true face smacker that knocks us off our seat. Peter's lucky he didn't take the proffered toast, as he might have choked on it.

References To Other Episodes In This Episode
  • Naked Mr. Spence, from the medical school, getting shocked in the tub-reminds me of the similar scene with dead Mr. Smith in the tub in 107, "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones"
  • The second lightbulb going out in the ceiling-reminds me of the last light going out in 114, "Ability."
  • Walter sending Morse Code with the aluminum chocolate pudding wrapper-reminds me of the streetlight sending Morse Code in the pilot episode.
  • Walter's crazy cab ride-reminded me of Henry Higgins wild ride in 301, "Olivia."
  • Walter and Peter stepping off the elevator into the white hall-reminds me of Olivia stepping into the same hall in 204, "Momentum Deferred."
  • The Massive Dynamic Brandon-looking zombies-remind me a little of crazy cerebral spinal fluid-sucking Mrs. Boone in 118, "Midnight."
  • Peter awakening in the lab, panicked-reminds me of Olivia doing the same in the pilot episode AND Olivia grabbing Peter the same breathless way in 113, "The Transformation."
  • Peter telling Liv in the house "I can see it in your eyes. you're not her"-reminds me of Olivia's discussion with him in the garden in 309, "Marionette."
  • Olivia on the gurney asking, "What happened to me?"-reminds me of Lisa Donovan asking Peter the exact same question in "Unearthed."
  • "Thank you for coming to get me"-reminds me of Olivia thanking Peter for coming to her aid in 217, "Olivia. In The Lab. With The Revolver."

Things That Struck Me About This Episode

  • The awesome animation. Period!
  • The second light bulb popped in the lab ceiling right after a frustrated Peter said "I'm suggesting that I want Olivia back. And I'm losing patience." So who's mental energy popped that bulb? Olivia's? Peter's? Or more likely, their combined energy?(Think back to the Merchants and what they did with their frustrated energy in "6B.")
  • Astrid says to Peter, "Right now I think you're her only hope." Does that sound a little Star Wars-ish to you? Like when hologram Princess Leia says something similar to Obi-Wan Kenobi?
  • "An inorganic host can house organic material." Hmm. So where has Belly gone now? I still think they should check Gene's EEG, if the Fringe comics are any indication(get it, cow-bell? Sorry, couldn't resist). But with this new information Bell could be anywhere. Maybe in Walter's record player? Or his jar of Red Vines?
  • Broyles on LSD! Priceless! Did Astrid feel anything when she held his hand?
  • Evil Nina Sharp trying to kill Walter and Peter. Sadly that doesn't seem so far-fetched does it? I'm hoping that was Olivia's rendition of Alt-Nina and not our own.
  • "No. It's infinite. It's all around us. ..I know it followed me...Death. I saw death. All of it. And it was me!" I assume Phillip Broyles is talking about viewing his dead doppelganger here, but is this also foreshadowing of the death to come?
  • Another insanely long jump performed by Peter Bishop! Peter jumps from the top of the MD building to the blimp's rope ladder, and we see him unanimated for just a secon while he does it. So is jumping or flying(or both) one of Peter's abilities?
  • "The direction you choose to take will be just." Bell says this to Walter in the blimp. For those of you who have read "Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin, the book young Olivia was reading in "Subject 13," this phrase should sound familiar.
  • Painting the door of Olivia's house red for "good luck." Hmm. A reference to the Red Universe being lucky? Does that make anyone else nervous?
  • "I can see it in your eyes. You're not her." I think from this and from Peter's comments that our Olivia told him about her childhood house that we can assume Olivia has really opened herself up to Peter, which is quite an achievement since 'The Firefly." And thank you to the writers for letting us see that Peter Bishop really can get it right! (At least right now, anyway.)
  • Astrid downloaded "Zoom" for Walter. For those of you that don't know "Zoom" was a PBS show produced and filmed in Boston that aired from 1972-78 and then had a second run from 1999-2006. This was a giant Easter egg, and as New England as NECCO wafers!
  • Question: Why did Olivia's mind have Walter, Peter, and Bell Over There, rather than Over Here? Were we really in our Olivia Dunham's mind? I certainly hope so!
  • The guy with the thick cross on his shirt-He seemed to know of Peter Bishop, so I assume he's from Over There.
  • "When she came to us in the lab, she asked for our help." Red alert! Peter says this at his meeting with Walter and Bell in Bell's office and if he's talking about our Olivia in her current situation it doesn't make any sense. I think Peter is talking about something that didn't happen on the show yet, ie. FauxLivia probably appearing to our gang in the lab, which means what, that our Olivia is precognitive? Psychic? Could be. Remember Walter's explanation to Peter, Olivia, and Astrid in the lab in "Unearthed" that his research in stimulating the Broca's area of the brain could increase a person's psychic ability. I would keep that phrase in mind if I were you. This would also explain why she tells Peter at the end that she thinks it's a drawing of the man who is going to kill her.
  • "In the end you are as strong as Walter and I always believed you were. And now you know it too." This is an interesting conversation between William Bell and Olivia that I think has some foreshadowing towards the Season 3 finale and the seasons ahead.
  • Lisa Donovan got a benzodiazepine in "Unearthed," but our Olivia got LSD, to purge the man's consciousness out. Why the difference? I think this whole episode needed a reason to have Walter, Olivia, Bell, Peter, and Broyles all take LSD so they can see things coming from Over There in the near future. Think back to Rebecca Kibner in 204, "Momentum Deferred." After taking LSD at least twice, she was able to see things from Over There that we normally wouldn't see, like shapeshifters, Peter's glimmer, etc. This could be a valuable new "ability" for our team as we quickly move into the chaos that "6:02AM EST" seems to promise.

I could watch "Lysergic Acid Diethylamine" over and over again and probably will. I don't often give Fringe episodes the maximum rating, but I do give this episode 5 out of 5 sugar cubes.


cortexifan said...

Awesome review for an awesome episode. You asked the same questions I had too.
I'm actually reading Winter's tale right now and am surprised how many references to Fringe are in there. Even just the summary on the back could be a possible season ending.
I think Olivia was projecting more Over There because she was infused with Fauxlivia's memory. In the roof shot down to the city I saw Massive Dynamic HQ, Fringe HQ (alternate universe), Grand Hotel, roller coaster and the Eiffel tower. When Peter finds Olivia and she talks to him, reminded me of 6599 khz after she shot the shapeshifter and explained herself to Peter. I also want to know who her real dad is and why he was important. And I don't think we've seen the last of William Bell. I believe is has an ulterior motive. For him to just stay there was too easy. Loved the Broyles moments. Still can't whistle when I think of the tweety bird. The end made me gasp and very anxious for Friday to come.
Fringe is awesome and those who don't watch it are missing out on great TV.

Anonymous said...

Wow FO! Skimming through this I can envision little arrows and flowcharts on your computer screen making the connections.

On why Olivia's mind would be like the Red Universe, I always wondered who was aware of the other side first. Little Olive or Walter/William? How did it come to be? What with her father painting their door red. Is the alternate universe supposedly some kind of fantasy realm?

Just before Peter said "you're not her", projection Olivia sounded herself from "Jacksonville".

- xindilini

fringeobsessed said...

Thank you cortexifan and Xindilini both for your comments. I actually had that reference to 6955kHz in mind when Peter hugged her, but forgot to list it-good catch, cortexifan!

And Xindilini,that is is very good question that I may use sometime. Who was aware of the Other Side first? I didn't catch the "Jacksonville" reference you mentioned, I'll have to go look for that. Thanks.

justin said...

"When she came to us in the lab, she asked for our help."

Peter was referring to when the bulb burst and Olivia's consciousness surfaced briefly.

As for why it was "Over There", the world seemed to be based on her nightmares. Remember, she was trapped and being held prisoner on Earth-2 maybe a few months ago in the show's time. That's also why zombie alt-Brandon showed up. Remember, he was only a few seconds away from cutting into her with saw.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...after reading this review and the comments, I suddenly had an idea that Olivia may be from the other side. Maybe she and Faux are one and the same, as though she was one child split into two. There were questions about Olivia's childhood brought up in the "Jacksonville" episode. A large swath of her memory has been wiped clean and never explained further. There has to be a reason for that. And why would the frozen lake be in her sub-conscious? Trade Towers? Blimp travel? Anything goes with Fringe.

fringeobsessed said...

Very good points, Justin.

And Anon, hold those thoughts. We'll need to discuss that further after the next 1-3 episodes!

g33k said...

"which means what, that our Olivia is precognitive? Psychic? Could be."

I think her new ability is retrocognition (which by the way shows up in the season 3 opening as one of the scientific concepts... plus it just started showing up during season 3. If you look slowly at the opening sequence, it actually starts as "mutation", then, well, mutates into retrocognition as the "observers are here" flashes below it as it changes.

retrocognition: describes "knowledge of a past event which could not have been learned or inferred by normal means" (from wikipedia)

she's been showing signs of it all through season 3:
- she sees the pen in plateau and shouts "It's still happening!" right before the ambulance hits the guy. She's able to pick out Milo as the bad guy in the crowd.
- she knows she's not from over there.
- projection Peter spells it out to her "but I KNOW things!" he says and lists off a whole bunch of over here facts.
- she knew the twins switched.
- she could guess/know that walternate had a tank in Boston too.

I haven't said anything about this theory since the winter break, but I think the next episode the writers are probably going to start explaining it because of how Olivia dropped the bomb of. "Oh he's going to kill me." rather nonchalantly at the end of this episode. Because she just knows.

PS Love your review!!!! The unearthed parallels are great!

FringeFrogee said...

I think the red door is definitely a strong indication that Olivia's father knew something. He went to a lot of trouble to ensure it stayed, suggesting to me he knew it would be important to her to find her way home - maybe there is also some connection to the redverse. Could her father of been from there? – she wouldn't have known because he was gone by the time she went into the trials with Walter. I think if she was somehow from the otherside, she would see her own glimmer.

A red door is also a promoter of strong Yang energy (but only on a South facing door, which is the preferred orientation in Feng Shui I believe).

fringeobsessed said...

Very nice FringeFrogee.
Here's some more meanings of a red front door.

FringeFrogee said...

Thanks Fringeobsessed I really think the Hebrew version in the link you posted "...the Hebrew slaves were instructed to smear blood of a lamb on their front doors to protect their first born from the angel of death."

Doesn't that just bring to mind a very large machine and Walternate's (I presume it is him not Walter we hear) statement in the promo! Olivia is a first born, I hope we see some more red doors!

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