Fringe Summer Rewatch: #108 "The Equation" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #108 "The Equation"

      Email Post       7/25/2011 12:01:00 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.

The Equation is an episode I didn’t think would link too much across episodes but I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few concepts span throughout the series. The episode starts off with a boy named Ben riding home with his father in the pouring rain. Ben is busy in the backseat writing sheet music when he asks his dad not to be upset and if he could slow the wipers down because it’s messing with his tempo. Ben’s father is distracted when he sees a woman along the side of the road who seems to be having troubles with her car. He pulls over to help in any way he can and when he goes to check the engine, flashing green and red lights put him into a “hypnogogic state” where everything around him drops out. This episode becomes a race to rescue young Ben who the Fringe team as determined is being used to solve and equation that many before him had been used to try and solve. We see the first real fight between Peter and Olivia when Olivia is given ultimatum of finding a new lead or having Walter help them by going back into St. Claire’s to try and talk information out of an old friend at the institute. In an act of incredible bravery, Walter agrees, going against Peter’s wishes for him to not go back. Walter survives his short stay at St. Claire’s and seems unsettled after his stay and requests distance from Peter and to have some of his own space. In the end Walter’s adventure back into his nightmare pays off and Olivia gets the information she needs to save Ben, but not in time before the final equation falls into the wrong hands. At the end we learn this equation is used to help sold objects back through other solid objects when Loeb demonstrates the success by pulling an apple from a solid vault. We don’t learn until the episode Safe later on in season one.

I have to say one of my favorite parts of this episode is when Peter discovers the link between music and math since I am a huge music/math geek myself. It was great to see something that most of us can relate to (music) in a case and put into sciencey talk (thank you Peter). Ben's song ends up being a larger part of the Fringe theme song that every episode begins with and that we've all grown to love. It certainly makes me dance in my seat in anticipation.

Highlighted themes I saw in this episode were:

  • What a son would do to save his mother. This made me think of what Peter might've done to save his own mother had he been given a better opportunity.

  • Minds coming together on one thing having never met or talked. Much like the two different universes coming to similar ideas and concepts.

  • Walter goes back into his worst nightmare to save a boy. Sound familiar? It definitely should since we all know the great lengths Walter went to save Walternate's son.

  • “The easiest lie to remember is the one closest to the truth.” This seems to be like the Pre-Fringe team Peter theme, but also a theme we see with Fauxlivia. Definitely something they have in common. Makes you wonder if before the "Fringe team" had ever been created, would Peter have still chosen our Olivia over fauxlivia?

  • Driven to insanity to find a solution. Insanity seems to be a very common thread throughout the series, but what can you expect with a show like Fringe?

  • “It was just a dream. A bad dream.” –Dashiel. How many times have various characters thought they were dreaming, whether they were or not?

  • Peter stands up for Walter finally, showing that he’s willing to show he cares. The beginning of a truly beautiful relationship that only builds.

  • The apple used in the experiment is also a fringe symbol.

  • “Numbers make everything work.” So true!
Questions that came up in this episode are:

  • What does the St. Claire’s director, Dr. Summer, want with Walter now that he is gone? Why is he so upset over him being gone? (Significance in his name, Summer?)

  • When Walter sees “himself”, is it really him or Walternate he thinks he sees.

  • Who put the equation into all of the people’s heads?
If Peter Bishop never existed in The Equation episode…

  • They might never have discovered the true link between Ben’s music and the equation by Dr. Dashiel.

  • Astrid might’ve been driven crazy by Walter’s obsession with Christmas music.

  • Walter may not have gone back to St. Claire’s in order to get the information from Dashiel and Ben would likely not have been saved from the same fate as the other kidnap victims.


fringeobsessed said...

Nice job, oranfly.
And...if Walter didn't go back into St, Clarie's and get the red castle info, the creepy lady who kidnapped and tortured Ben and the others might still be out there hypnotizing people and taking them.

Also, if the same lady took Dashiell when he was younger, how is it that the woman is still young-looking now? Another non-human? Someone who travels across time?

Also there's an interesting line where Walter is trying to get Dashiell to tell him about the woman and he says to Dashiell:
"If you don't,the boy...he'll end up like us!" I believe this is more foreshadowing of Peter(who The Observers and Walter both call 'Boy')going mad in the future.

This is also the episode where we learn that Walter can STILL successfully hypnotize Peter, so one would assume Walter has hypnotized many others in the past...but to do what??

cortexifan said...

-How did Joanna know about gggr, and if she was hired by Loeb, how did he know about it?
-Ha, Peter always stuffs his face and Olivia never eats anything really, except a few mms, and the slice of toast in 3.19 LSD.
-People with severe brain trauma wake up doing things they’ve never done before. I wonder if Olivia’s powers were triggered not only by crossing over but also because of the car accident.
-I talked about the Christmas Carol flyer and that the machine served as a ghost to show Peter, Charlie says here to Olivia that Broyles might have her chasing a ghost.
-Again, Walter reluctantly went back to St. Claire’s to help the boy. In Northwest Passage he was afraid to be sent back there.
-When Walter was back in St. Claire’s he saw “himself”. Was it Walternate?
-Still curious what Peter’s life was like before he ended up with this little Family. I wonder what he meant by telling Sumner he has no idea what he is capable of.
-Ben’s song is one of my favorite pieces on S1 sound track.
-Why did Loeb shoot Joanna?
-Deleted scene: at the room when Olivia and Peter play cards. I still haven’t figured out what epiphany Olivia had there.

If Peter didn’t exist in this episode…

-How did Walter get out of St. Claire’s again?
-Would Walter and Olivia have made the connection between Ben’s song and the equation?
-Would Olivia have found the red castle and thus Ben?

fringeobsessed said...

I find it funny in that deleted scene they're poking fun at the way NECCO wafers taste like chalk. NECCO is a real Boston company called the New England Confectionery Company.(You know those little Sweetheart candies at Valentine's? Well, they make them too.) So, they couldn't include that scene as they insult a Boston tradition. NECCO wafers also show up in "There's More Than One Of Everything," propping up Walter's note to Peter.

cortexifan said...

fringeobsessed, I want some of those and candy buttons :)

Anonymous said...

I think the "other" Walter that Walter sees in St. Claire's is definitely Walternate. Those couple of scenes are really haunting now that we know more of the story. How great is it that this was alluded to so early on in the show?

Loved hearing the whole version of the theme... at 3:33 does anyone else hear a little X-Files?

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