Riders On The Storm-A Review of 321 ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Riders On The Storm-A Review of 321

      Email Post       5/04/2011 12:02:00 PM      

If anyone ever gave out awards for the most information packed into a Fringe episode,"The Last Sam Weiss" would win. This episode makes your head spin even more than last year's "Over There:Part 2" did. We're introduced to new revelations about Sam Wiess, Olivia, Peter, and *gulp* the future.

I could tell by about 5 minutes into the episode that this was not a Pinker/Wyman/Goldsman creation. It didn't have that smooth feel to it. As I pondered that thought, the "written by" credit appeared at 7:47, informing us "The Last Sam Weiss" was written by the female Fringe writing tag team of Owusu-Breen and Schapker. OK, I thought to myself. This is probably going to P/O hurt in some way...

I wouldn't do this in a review, but there is so much crammed into this chapter that I will list everything we've learned in "The Last Sam Weiss" below.

What We Learned In 321:

  • Walter says Peter could have memory deficits and aphasia as a result of interacting with the Wave Sink Device

  • Tapioca Pudding is a useful distraction tactic for Walter Bishop

  • Sam Weiss has the original machine manuscript, and more!

  • Holyoke, Mass. is just outside Worcester, Mass.-NOT!!

  • Sam Weiss is at the very least the 6th in a line of Sam Weisses

  • Walter gets struck by lightning-twice!

  • It's apparently OK for Sam Weiss to drive Olivia Dunham around

  • Peter has either amnesia or aphasia when he first awakens-hard to tell which

  • The former Sam Weisses are buried in the Saint Arthelais mausoleum in western Mass.

  • The box and crowbar Sam and Olivia need is in the Whitely Museum in Boston

  • The Whitely Museum(and other buildings in the area) are experiencing lightning inside

  • The two Wave Sink Devices are causing a fift between them and horrifying events

  • Moving our WSD closer to the one Over There will stall the pace of destruction

  • Olivia's picture is on the paper manuscript page across from Peter!

  • Walter curves the paper to show Olivia bending the WSD with her mind. Olivia doubts her ability to do this. Walter has her practice her telekinesis on FauxLivia's Selectric 251 typewriter. Nothing happens and Olivia blames herself.

  • Peter was pretty sure there was a pawn shop at 42nd and Lexington in NYC. Turns out the pawn shop is on Third.

  • Peter buys the same Liberty half-dollar he owned as a child Over There

  • Peter tells a guard at Liberty Island he needs to see his father, the Secretary of Defense, Walter Bishop.

  • Olivia tells Walter Peter is on Liberty Island in NYC and they go and retrieve him

  • Astrid discovers the Selectric 251 typing Peter's mother's Greek phrase over and over

  • Walter and Olivia take Peter back to the Wave Sink Device in Pittsfield, Mass. Walter gives Peter a small physical and mental exam.

  • Olivia unlocks the WSD with her mind

  • Peter straps into the Wave Sink Device, just like in the picture of the manuscript

  • "Agent Bishop" finds himself in a war zone at least 10 years in the future. He is injured.

  • If you look at that list above it is truly amazing that the writers were able to include all that into a 42 minute show! What is most remarkable about this episode is the ending, where we are thrown into a future view of the Fringe Division at work, and Peter is apparently an active part of it, as an agent. Wow, is it May 6th yet?

    Things in the episode that remind me of other episodes:

  • Peter in bed with a bedside heart monitor-reminds me of a similar scene in 223, "Over There:Part 2."

  • Sam Weiss' drawing of the box-rerminds me of a similarly-shaped box in 302, "The Box."

  • Sam Weiss prying the lid off the vault-reminds me of Peter opening a similar-looking container in NJ in 306, "6955 kHz."

  • Peter waking up wide-eyed with electrodes on his head-makes me think of his words to Olivia in 101, the pilot episode: "So you're saying my father is Dr. Frankenstein?"

  • Walter getting struck by lightning twice-reminds me of Dana Gray's history of the same thing happening to her in 317, "Stowaway."

  • "My name's....."-reminds me of the amnesia of Peter Lake, the main character in the book "Winter's Tale," by Mark Helprin, that young Olivia was reading in 315, "Subject 13."

  • Walter's reference to David Robert Jones and the lightbox-are a direct reference to 114, "Ability."

  • Astrid's announcement that "Peter's missing"-reminds me of Olivia telling Walter and Astrid "He's gone" in 219, "The Man From The Other Side."

  • Olivia running by explosions in the Whitely Museum hallway-reminds me of a similar thing as she ran with Peter in 314, "6B."

  • Sam's calculating his throw to make the vase fall and block the door-reminds me of Milo's calculated movements to make things happen in 303, "The Plateau."

  • Olivia using "Be A Better Man Than Your Father" to test her telekinesis-reminds me of the same phrase in 201, "A New Day In The Old Town."

  • "It's my favorite. It always brings me luck"-reminds me of Walter's "This one, this was your favorite" in 120, "There's More Than One Of Everything."

  • "Don't say I never took you anywhere"-reminds me of Peter saying a similar thing to Olivia in the sewer in 116, "Unleashed."

  • "You have no idea how extroardinary you are"-reminds me of Peter's "I've never met anyone who can do the things you do" in 215, "Jacksonville."

  • "I love you"-reminds me of John Scott saying the same to Olivia in 113, "The Transformation."

  • "Dear God!"-Walter said the same thing upon seeing the creature in 116, "Unleashed."

  • Walter beding the piece of paper to show Olivia bending the WSD with her mind-reminds me of Walter bending the paper to show how Alistair Peck could bend time in 218, "White Tulip."

  • Things That Struck Me About This Episode:

  • "Riders On The Storm" on young Nate's Ipod:-the lyrics of this are quite apropos for this episode: "Girl you gotta love your man, take him by the hand, make him understand." Yeah, I like it. I wonder who the Doors fan is? The writers or the executive producers? Or both? And I think that the actors, the characters, and even we the audience are Riders On The Storm, and it's just getting started!

  • Why would father Gary get out of his car in a lightning storm?-He looked strange and was dressed all in black. Is he a shape-shifter? Is that why he was so fearless?

  • "Spontaneous dry lightning storm, just outside Worcester." Holyoke, Massachusetts is not just outside Worcester, Massachusetts. Call me picky but I think if you're gonna write about distance like that you should make it as factual as you can. Holyoke is a good 40 minutes or more west of Worcester.

  • Regarding Sam Weiss being at least the 6th in a line of Sam Weisses-Hmm. Is this a play on the book series "The Saga of Seven Sons," in which the 7th son of the 7th son(I think that's how it goes) has special powers? (I have also wondered if the Violet Sedan Chair album, "Seven Suns" is also a nameplay on that book series.)

  • Walter getting struck by lightning-twice. Hmm. All of a sudden people are getting struck by lightning twice! Remember how Dana Gray's boss, in "Stowaway" told Lincoln Lee and Peter that she was struck by lightning twice? Also, if you've been reading the latest crop of Fringe comics, you'll remember there's one more member of Over Here that's been struck by lightning at least once-Nina Sharp.

  • Doesn't Peter look like Frakenstein's monster when he awakes with those electrodes on his head and the scars on his face?" I mentioned above the quote I thought of from the series pilot, and I think this reference is deliberate.

  • Ben Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanac"-nice segue into Walter demonstrating Ben's kite experiment. And Walter kissing the top of Astrid's head? Adorable. (Notice he said her name correctly at least twice in this episode.)

  • Walter's science demonstration to Broyles-Very nice. Science whether you want it or not.

  • "Walter, maybe if you give me Cortexiphan..." This whole scene between Walter and Olivia was very bittersweet. A very Akiva Goldsman-like scene. Nice job, writers.

  • The police officer outside of the Whitney Museum-He and the cabbie had pretty good Massachusetts accents. We don't hear much of those on this show, even though it's based in Boston.

  • "Sam Weiss, patron member since '82."-Love that bit of humor. Hard to hate Sam when he does things like that.

  • Sam's Indiana Jones' type moves and "I work in a bowling alley."Hard to hate him when he does that too!

  • "I could've sworn there was one here..." Peter tells the male pedestrian at 42nd & Lex this as he struggles to figure out where the pawn shop is that he has been to before. If this scene makes the hairs stand up on your arm like poor Nate's did, you're not alone. This scene reminds me of Peter telling the bald kid in "Inner Child," that he could've sworn his GI Joe had its scar on the opposite side of his face, which was our first subtle clue that Peter wasn't from Over Here. Peter is having trouble remembering the differences between Over Here and Over There, and I have this creepy feeling that the showrunners are hinting that we'ver been looking at everything from a different angle from the pilot episode up to now. It's hard to put into words, but it's a thought worth remembering.

  • "That you don't fail." I wonder if that will be true of Olivia forever?

  • "I love you." Whoa! How many of you went "Oh" or gasped when Olivia told Peter that? What a huge confession for our Olivia!

  • Peter did not tell Olivia he loved her back. Hmm. I honestly expected something like this from these two writers. They also wrote "Marionette," which was a very P/O painful episode. I wonder what Olivia was thinking when he didn't reply with the same words?

  • Peter had two sets of flashbacks. The first set I believe was all of Season 1. The second set after he was locked into the WSD, was Seasons 1, 2, and 3 all mixed together. Notice there were no intimate thoughts of either Olivia during this, which is interesting. And, he was thinking of the "Projection Peter" kiss? Why would he picture that?! And he imaged he and Olivia as the kids they were in "Subject 13"? My first comment is, that maybe he was also thinking her thoughts once he was strapped in? I believe P/O worked together mentally to put out the light bomb in "Ability" AND that they worked together when she opened up the machine. That's just my opinion, though, I could be wrong. There were also images of Walter in the second set of flashbacks and I loved that.

  • Images of Fringe Division future. Wow. Is it May 6th yet?!

  • Overall this was an incredible episode. Because the writers crammed so much into it I will forgive them for not researching the geography of Massachusetts.

    I give this episode 5 out of 5 Over There half-dollars.


    Anonymous said...

    Nice! But they don't take Peter back to Pittsfield, they moved the machine to Liberty Island! I can't wait to see the finale! :D

    Anonymous said...

    Very nice , but hey .. the BBM is in NYC not at the same place .

    i didn't know that the same writers of marionette did write this also , magic writing , they are writing Olivia's character very well , i can't forget the amazing scene at the garden and how Olivia was giving Peter what he deserve "D


    fringeobsessed said...

    Real1 and Anon,
    Thanks for pointing out my relocation error.

    Anonymous said...

    Since it was Peter who was risking his life to save her and our universe, Peter didn't need to say I love you at all. You can say I love you to a person and NOT make it mean anything. You can say, "i love you" but still cheat on them. So, IMO, Olivia isn't that selfish and she cares a great deal about Peter and what HE wants.

    Not sure why people act like only OLIVIA's feelings matter. PETER is the one who is risking his life here not Olivia so why would Olivia be all "poor me, Peter didn't say I love you back! Wah! he loves fauxlivia more!" when this is PETER'S big moment?

    I don't recall Olivia saying I love you to John scott when he first said it.

    BTW, maybe Peter isn't ready to say I love you to Olivia yet? Why force somebody to say i love you when you are not ready yet? It doesn't mean that Peter doesn't love her. My parents rarely say i love you to me but I KNOW they love me. So maybe Olivia KNOWS Peter loves her.

    BTW, I love you in these moments always means goodbye so maybe Peter is NOT ready to say goodbye.

    Anonymous said...

    yes, i agree, Peter will tell those words to Olivia once he's through with this machine. As what Astrid said in episode 20, "tell her yourself."

    Elliiot said...

    Maybe he's already told her he loves her, they've had months now of being a couple and waking up together.

    And the rest of the verse from 'Riders On the Storm" is "the world on you depends our life will never end."

    But I agree, that pair of writers is usually pain-plus, I was worried what they would do to P/O as well, but something melted their hearts and I am glad.

    Anonymous said...

    i like those writers! and it's riders on the storm...

    breen wrote one of my fav lost episodes "the cost of living" and some great fringe episodes

    FringeFrogee said...

    Thanks Fringeobssessed, great bullet point review! I'm glad you picked up on the I love you, most reviews didn't seem worried about it or notice.

    And no Anonymous, my concern is not for Olivia's feelings, although I got the feeling she was putting herself out of her comfort zone again and normally you would hope to get a positive response from that. My concern is he didn't say it for a reason, such as he really isn't fully himself. I felt his mannerisms and reactions are off, he is definitely not back to his normal self, and as Fringeobssessed has pointed out there was inconsistency in his flashbacks that seem to indicate his feelings about the two universes aren't what we'd expect. Making that lack of I love you a warning of things to come, and a lot more important than just Olivia's feelings.

    Old Darth said...

    Peter said his, 'I love you,' with the kiss. He didn't need to verbalize it.

    Anonymous said...

    FringeFrogee, he was zapped 15 feet into the air and landed on the ground hard and he JUST got out of a coma, of course he would be "off". I mean come on, PETER HAS FEELINGS, TOO.

    fringeobsessed said...

    I do have to agree with you that I am wondering if there is more to it, only because of Sam's former words about whichever Liv he picks their world will be saved. If Sam had never said that, I would be thinking more like Elliot that maybe he already told her that before now, or like Anon that "I love yous" imply good-bye in this type of situation, and he knew it wasn't a good-bye. Guess we'll learn more in two days!

    loveycats said...

    Are people really worried about this "I love you" thing? Maybe Peter was doing his Han Solo impersonation.

    Amy said...

    loveycats- that's exactly what I was going to write! it's Leia: "I love you." Han: "I know." the guy is being too macho to say it. yes of course he loves her or he wouldn't be risking his life to save her. he feels like if he throws that out there that it will hurt her worse if he is killed, as if it would be easier for her to move on.
    However, I am worried that the series is getting too complicated for its own good. Like Lost (even though I loved that show), it is starting to add too many stray directions to travel. If they keep bringing together and separating P/O every couple of episodes, we will tire of this formula and if they separate them too long, they will lose our interest due to lack of chemistry. the best part of the show is how the characters interact and if you separate one from the others (I'm thinking Peter is going solo next season or at least will be our lone connection to the reality we've known), well, we'll see how well Joshua Jackson can hold our interest on his own. I have my doubts, unless the writers finally get to the core of his character, what Peter is thinking and get brutally honest this time. I'm tired of not knowing about Peter.

    FringeFrogee said...

    Never said he didn't love her, or that it couldn't be implied, I'd have no problem with that all. This was simply something that put in context with other things that seemed slightly out of character for Peter or the storyline, pointed to a possible direction for where things were going with the show. The question for me was from the series point of view, the whole "nothing is what it seems", not anything to do with a P/O or Peter fixation.

    Rosemary Wessel said...

    Overall, I liked this episode, but I've lived and/or worked in the Pioneer Valley (areas around Holyoke) for 20 years now. You're right - Holyoke is *not* near Worcester, and although the hills in the distance on that highway scene look like the Holyoke Range, that scene must have been shot somewhere in the praries. There's not a spot in Western MA that looks like that. Oh, and when Peter finds himself in Pittsfield ... that's not Pittsfield. Not even close to looking like it.

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