Fringe Summer Rewatch: #106 "The Cure" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #106 "The Cure"

      Email Post       7/23/2011 07:46:00 AM      

Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus. Comments are welcome as we dig into the connections made over three seasons.

Before I get into "The Cure," let me refresh your memory of the episode via my parody project, "The Fringemunks." Back in Fall 2008, I produced a song recap of the episode that parodied "Friday I'm in Love" by (of course) The Cure:

We, the early devotees of Fringe, enjoyed "Fringe Tuesdays." We also enjoyed the ratings. "The Cure" was watched by almost 9 million people in its first broadcast - a number that the series likely won't ever reach again.

With a light and airy editing style, in which Mr. Papaya went ka-boom and actors' smirks (especially those of Josh Jackson) were not left on the cutting room floor, there was an engaging factor to a mass audience: spontaneity. This factor is still existent as of the pre-Season 4 hiatus, but not to the same extent. Fringe, while retaining humor and wit, has lost some of its engagement to a mass audience in recent months due to the complexity of the plot, lesser emphasis on standalones, and limited room for spontaneity… which falls into the category of, "be careful what you wish for": Good for the show's credibility, bad for the ratings.

The writers and showrunners, who I'm sure were pleased at their huge audience at the time, probably didn't know exactly where their story was going to end up at the end of Season 1. Thus, they used a Pattern-related plot involving a fictional lymphatic disease and a shady pharmaceutical company, and threw in a few mythological seeds - some of which would be watered through the years, one of which died on the spot. ("We'll figure this out later," it seems they were saying to each other.)

Let's examine these seeds now:
  • Olivia's abusive stepdad - we didn't hear much more about him until Season 3 episode "Subject 13," and it was indeed a seed that was shelved away for awhile. Just how crucial is his character in the overall Fringe storyline, and where is he now?

  • Nina's deal with Peter - as far as I know, Peter never returned Nina's favor, and probably never will. Unless he gives her a backrub in Season 6 and says: "I owed you one."

  • Humans as guinea pigs - it seems that the experiments were conducted so people could be made "special," as in soldiers for an upcoming conflict… but - besides the Cortexiphan subjects - where are all these other people now, and will they ever be utilized? Where are the fellow clones of Chris Penrose? Will Mr. Meegar be called into action?
At the time this episode aired, the series was different in another key fashion: the episodes were longer, due to FOX's experimental limited-commercial format. Whereas later episodes (in Season 2 and 3) lasted about 44 minutes each, "The Cure" clocks out at over 50 minutes.

This length, in retrospect, is vitally refreshing. It allowed the characters to breathe and reflect, and it allowed plotlines to have more detail and garner more intensity. This plays out in two scenes that I will emphasize here:
  • The opening scene at Holly's Diner - the Fringe title sequence doesn't start until the 5:25 mark. Basically, 4 minutes elapse (to us) between the time Emily enters the diner, and the time her head blows up. The conversation between the cop and Emily lasts a while during this time, increasing suspense and curiosity.

  • The long pauses between Peter and Olivia near the end - watch in particular the scene spanning 47:00 through 48:43. Lots of pauses, lots of staring - little details that wouldn't see the light of day if the episode had to be truncated to 44 minutes. Look at how much the pauses add to the scene. This was part of the charm of Season 1.
William Bell later explained Jung's concept of synchronicity as having "the interconnectedness of apparently unrelated events" in the Season 3 episode "Stowaway." Synchronicity can also be explained as the Fringe writers' "excuse" for certain standalone episodes to take place. In "The Cure," it is Charlie Francis who notices that it is "one hell of a coincidence" that they were tackling a case involving an abused young woman, on Olivia's birthday ("today of all days...").


... then there would have had to be another trigger or deal that compelled Nina to help the Fringe Division solve the case. Olivia would have been flirting with some imaginary dude at the end - not a charming idea at all. Also, Walter would have been guaranteed to use the right toothbrush, one would hope.


fringeobsessed said...

Delightful, David.
I agree about the pauses in this episode.
It flows much differently than alot of the other episodes.

A few comments:
I think Emily and Claire were foreshadowing of our Liv's history of being experimented upon.
All 3 women were made special against their will.

There's humor in this episode in addition to the sadness and grossness. Walter's "Can I get some of that soup? It looks delicious," makes you chuckle and is adorable.

True story. Somewhere on the net there's a video interview with Joshua Jackson on a late night show telling the host his mom called him after "The Cure" to complain about Emily's head blowing up. He said she said something to the extent of "No, No, Joshua. That is not good!"

The theme of people being "special" started in 104, "The Arrival,"(I think) when Peter told Olivia "There's nothing special about me." Then of course Dr. Fischer told Joseph Meager in 105 "Power Hungry" that "You are special." If you've watched through 322 you know this concept has come up again many times.

If you are not familiar with David Wu and his Fringemunks project, be sure to check out his other Fringe song parodies. He has alot and they'll make you smile. :)

cortexifan said...

-Roy McComb drew a picture of a girl that looked like Emily blowing up in the diner.
-Blue and red medicine – blue and red universe?
-Olivia is carrying a heavy psychic burden – as Peter called it “haunted”. Her step father not only beat her mom, but apparently Olivia as well (Subject 13).
-Strontium 90, which radioactive heat signature is not visible to spy satellites, was used to create the electrolights in “The day we died”. Apparently a method was found to read the signatures in the future.
-Why was Estebrook wearing the Alyph from her uncle’s kayak?
-When Estebrook was threatening Olivia in the hotel bar I thought of what happened to the children in Concentrate and ask again. I’m also wondering when Olivia said in The Day We Died to get lucky because of the picture Amanda drew, if there was more than just “I don’t want to bring a baby into this world”. Just my thought.
-Where is her step dad, how did her mom die, where was Rachel when she shot him?
-How well does Nina really know Peter? She seemed fairly upset when he died.
-Olivia said they were entering through the northwest. In 1.19 The road not taken, Nancy Lewis was in the northwest corner of the building. Olivia graduated from Northwestern. 2.20 is called Northwest Passage and Fauxlivia was in the northwest bathroom in 3.08 Entrada.
-Ha, I really like how Olivia doesn’t take crap from anyone. May it be Estebrook or Broyles.
-This is the first time Peter hears about her step dad, well actually it’s the second time. But he doesn’t remember the first time which was 3.15 Subject 13.

If Peter didn’t exist in this episode..
-Would they have found Claire? Peter was the one going to Nina.
-After sharing her story with Peter, Olivia’s demeanor changed. She calmed down a bit. If Peter wouldn’t have been there, would she have been more miserable.

fringeobsessed said...

I don't think they would have found Claire.
If Peter never existed then he didn't get the address from Nina, the SWAT never happened, and Estebrook and his minions would still be out there using innocents as guinea pigs and "activating" them.

LOVE that you pointed out all the Northwestern stuff, cortexifan. "Northwest" is a very big thing with them.

Darrell said...

Excellent post, David. While many of the viewers may have forgotten about that exchange between Nina and Peter, Blair Brown has not. Last week at Comic-Con the cast asked trivia questions to the audience and her trivia question was about that scene and what she required from Peter in return for her help. I think Blair, like those of us that do remember that scene, hopes that we get to see that promise fulfilled someday.

Post a Comment

Formatting Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i >italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">link</a> = link

Anonymous posting has been turned off.


Viral & Official FOX Websites

FTV Members


Powered by Blogger
Designed by Spot