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.
“Bound” is really, I think, where Fringe kicked off. After what seemed like an eternity between this episode and the previous one (over a month between the two), it picks up straight after Safe. This is really the first time we’ve had an episode like this, one not completely standalone, and it proved there’s more to Fringe than simple Monster-Of-The-Week stories.
It starts off lightheartedly enough. You know, the usual drugging of bugs which I’m sure is a nice family pastime for many of you, until Astrid spoils the fun we all know Peter’s secretly having by informing them Olivia has gone missing.
Olivia gets a spinal tap to determine whether she had Cortexiphan in her system – the results, we know, were positive.
Broyles orders a search for Olivia which isn’t necessary as she breaks herself out anyway, stealing a few samples and killing/knocking out a few guys in the process. She hides the samples and calls Broyles before she’s surrounded and taken by the man who is secretly our favourite character, Sanford Harris.
His talk with Olivia in the hospital provides a nice little recap for any new viewers, telling us about Walter’s insanity, Peter’s having been arrested seven times and the fact this all started off with John Scott, Olivia’s former partner and lover.
Then there’s a little conversation with Charlie which reminds us that it was Olivia who was the reason behind Harris’s arrest for molesting three women. In the Pilot, we see Broyles is resentful of Olivia for that, calling Harris’s crimes a “small lapse in judgement” so I think it’s interesting now to see with whom his loyalties actually do lie.
We’re introduced to Olivia’s sister, Rachel, and Olivia’s niece, Ella, who gives Olivia a Magic 8 Ball. It’s nice, I think, that they introduced these characters because it shows a different side to Olivia which we haven’t really seen since the first scene of the Pilot. I think both of these characters are important because at the time Olivia was getting a lot of criticism from some fans for being wooden and two dimensional – her family gave her an extra dimension, they showed there is more to her than her work.
Olivia seems to remember Peter exists and calls him to tell him that she needs Walter to identify the samples she stole.
Suddenly we’re at a college and there’s a giant slug tearing its way out of a professor’s oesophagus.
The giant cold virus is a particular favourite Monster-Of-The-Week of mine for no reason other than I’ve never found anything that really shouldn’t be as cute and adorable as I found that. Apart from the worms in Snakehead. But that’s a story for another time.
Peter, Olivia and Walter go to investigate the giant virus and after Walter catches it and takes it to his lab and he tells us that the slug was developed from the same materials as those samples Olivia stole earlier.
There’s one line that stands out to me here: “My boy, I'm not even sure that we all exist on the same plane of consciousness.” As a lot of Fringe is focused on perception, and what is or isn’t real is referenced quite a lot (especially in earlier episodes) it makes me wonder whether, now we’re up to season three and looking back, if we were being given some sort of clues either about the Observers or about where Peter’s consciousness may have gone or even if those two places are one and the same.
We then see Broyles showing us exactly where his loyalties lie, and they’re not with Harris. It just shows how far, after only eleven episodes, these characters have come.
We find out from the TA the unfortunate professor was having an affair with that he had just got a big job with the CDC to oversee the country’s preparedness to fight off an epidemic, which reminds me a little of Frank from the alternate universe with their many epidemics.
Mitchell Loeb tells Olivia he’s going to coordinate the investigation on her abduction before she brings in a man she believes to be the next target, Russell Simon. After a bit of bickering with Harris (who doesn’t love having him around, right?) Peter calls to tell her they’ve made a breakthrough – all the victim has to do to be the next lucky home for a giant cold virus is ingest the “yellow powdery stuff” from the vials Olivia stole. Which is just what Simon does. After the organism tears its way out of Simon’s mouth we go back to the lab where Walter tells Peter and Olivia just exactly what it is, “a single specimen of a virus for the common cold”.
We see Rachel talking with Olivia about how Olivia has “always been the strong one” which is proven later in the series, after all Olivia goes through. Olivia asks about Rachel’s ex, showing that while Olivia is focused on her job, she’s also got a family she cares about, too.
At the office, Olivia drops Ella’s Magic 8 Ball and notices Loeb’s shoes have the same white spot as her abductors’ because apparently people wear their work shoes when performing a kidnapping. A bit contrived, but each to their own. There’s a lovely scene next with Charlie and Peter, where Charlie asks for Peter’s help in tapping Loeb’s phone, and, of course, Peter knows a guy, which is pretty useful because the minute he starts listening in, he hears Loeb telling his wife to kill Olivia, who is at their house. There’s a fight between Samantha Loeb and Olivia, and Samantha ends up shot through the head.
They lure Loeb to them using Samantha’s phone and arrest Mitchell, but not before Olivia pistol-whips him. Loeb is brought in for questioning and tells Olivia that there are two sides to a war and that she’d just blown their plan, and that he hadn’t kidnapped her, he’d saved her, but wouldn’t explain further.
Although it’s not really one of the more memorable episodes of early season one like, for example, The Arrival or Ability, it’s one of my favorites because it took the characters to a bit of a new level, it fleshed them all out a little such as Olivia with her family, or Peter, trusting the FBI enough to contact someone from his shady past to put a wire tap on an agent’s phone.
The title of this episode is interesting, too. Who is bound to what? Loeb to ZFT? Broyles to his agents rather than his old friend? Olivia to her job? Or Peter to his new role in the Fringe Division after a life of being a nomad? This episode shows he cares about more than just answers.
If Peter Bishop Never Existed:
We know Olivia’s a good fighter, but without Peter’s wire tap and warning for Olivia, would she have come out of the fight with Samantha unscathed?