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.
"Dream Logic" was written by Josh Singer. It's a stand-alone episode with what I think is a smidgen of foreshadowing of Season 4 or 5. Another interesting thing to me is it seems to have 3 different beginnings, Sam's discussion with Olivia, the poor worker in the office in Seattle, and Peter and Walter moving into their new home.
There's a smooth transition from the previous episode, 204, into this one. Olivia returns her bowling shoes to Sam Weiss, telling him she got her memories back. Sam looks into her eyes for not even 3 seconds and says, "Who died?" In the next scene we see them sitting together on his therapy couch, the plastic bowling lane chairs. Apparently Olivia has told Sam something about how her partner Charlie Francis died. Sam tells Olivia she needs something to make sense of it all(where's he been through all the Pattern-related stuff, hmm?) She says "Like bowling?" and they both laugh at her joke. He tells her he's giving her a project.Sam's next words are very interesting, because really, how much has he really discussed with her:
"You're gonna think I'm full of it, but here's the thing, Olivia, whether you admit it or not, your life is something of a nightmare."
That's a pretty bold statement from a man that doesn't know her that well, or does he? Then Sam pushes a slip of paper her way and says,"I hope you don't have anything against the color red."
In this episode there are 3 incidences where normal people commit horrific crimes, killing people, and die themselves in the process. Their hair turns solid gray. Peter and Olivia follow the trails. In performing Greg Leiter's(the first victim) autopsy back in Boston, Walter finds a suture line on the back of his neck(If you've watched Season 2 you may be thinking of "Gray Matters.")During the autopsy of Leiter's brain, Walter pulls a filament out of his midbrain attached to a computer chip. While talking with Peter about it on the phone, Peter finds an incision at the base of the second victim's head.
In a not surprising scene Nina fills Phillip Broyles in on the fact that the computer thingies in the two victim's brain are B.C.I.'s , brain-computer interfaces. She tells him they act like a pacemaker, monitoring sleep, and stimulating the thalamus when necessary. She also tells him there's a brilliant researcher in Seattle working with them that Massive Dynamic has been tracking for years, and hands him a file on a Dr. Nayak.
Peter and Olivia pay Dr. Nayak a visit, and he tells them both victims were part of an 82-patient clinical trial of the brain chips. Olivia collects the doctor's business card, and Peter makes the leap as to a possible motive:
"The bio chip plugs directly into the thalamus which not only regulates sleep, it works as a relay tower to the cerebral cortex, which also controls motor function."
Walter enlightens Peter further via phone saying "Mind control." He reminds Peter of his work on the famous MK Ultra project. Walter says at that time they thought they could do it with LSD and hypnotic suggestion, which should make you think of the "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" episode from Season 3, and eerily enough, of Olivia's 4 experiences in the tank in Season 1.
"Mind control" is also the first example of fringe science Olivia gave Peter on their ride back from Iraq in episode 101. And if you've watched through all of Season 2, "Of Human Action" should be entering your mind about now as well.
Peter asks Walter if he could test the chip Nina gave him if he sent him the schematic of it. Walter tells Peter he'd prefer a live subject. Peter jumps in and makes Walter promise not to experiment on any students. Little does Peter know Agent Kashner, a non-student, has just walked into the lab!
Peter and Olivia noodle over the fact that Dr. Nayak could only list 26 patients. Peter sees her glance at a picture of her and Charlie and watches her expression change. He changes topic and tries to reassure her she didn't kill her partner. Olivia launches into a memory of the first time she met Charlie on a mission. Her voice cracks and she gets teary. Peter starts swallowing which means he's getting affected. Quickly Olivia gets up and says she's gonna go help the clinic staff round up more of Nayak's patients. That moment where Peter finds himself sitting there alone saying "Ok," very softly, is foreshadowing of the depressing scene in "Marionette," where an upset Olivia leaves Peter sitting alone in the garden saying "Sorry."
We learn about halfway through this episode that Dr. Nayak sits in front of a console wearing a cap with electrodes. He dials up a patient from the sleep clinic files. His assistant asks him if he really wants to increase the dose.
In a strange moment Sam Weiss calls Olivia on her cell phone. When she answers he says in an extremely casual manner, "What's shakin', Bacon?" Strangely, Olivia doesn't seemed shocked by his call and gives him a cocky answer. Sam gives her the rest of the instructions of his assignment. She asks him what to do with the letters on her paper and he answers, "Jumble. Anagram. Word Puzzle. Find the phrase," which is foreshadowing of the phrase on the blackboard Over There in episode 223.
Peter informs Olivia during her investigation of a third case. When they confront Dr. Nayak he admits she was also one of his patients. He tells them his lab assistant, Zach Miller skipped work today. Peter and Olivia investigate Zach's apartment, and Peter finds him dead in his entertainment center. After they leave, Dr. Nayak picks up his phone and leaves a message,"I told them. I showed them your damned note. So you might as well stop."
Walter pretty much figures out in his lab with the help of an unconscious Agent Kashner how Dr. Nayak's B.C.I.'s work. He tells Peter it's not mind control, but that the biochips are transmitting large amounts of data. Walter tells Peter the chips are accessing all the data that runs through a person's thalamus.
Olivia gets right to the point, "Walter, are you saying the Doctor Nayak's bio-chips are stealing dreams?" And again, if you've watched through all of Season 2 "Brown Betty" should be popping into your head right now.
Peter points out to Walter that Leiter slept for hours but never dreamed. Walter points out that the dreams were siphoned off before they reached his consciousness and that by not allowing the brain to recharge it could put a person into death by exhaustion. Walter gets to the heart of the matter by telling Peter he believes the bio-chips could turn on while a patient was awake, and that could lead to what they are witnessing in the three victims. Peter asks Walter why someone would want to steal dreams, and Walter tells him for the rush. Walter goes so far as to say he thinks the person who comes in contact with that rush could become its slave. Olivia get an idea and she and Peter go back to the hotel. Olivia brings up her drunk stepfather, saying he had two personalities, like Jekyll and Hyde. (If you're starting to think of "Dark Peter" in "Reciprocity," you're not alone.) She compares Dr. Nayak's handwriting to the note he found on his clinic door, and she determines the two are from the same person.
In an interesting moment, Dr. Nayak checks the messages on his answering machine, and hears his own voice telling him he showed them "your damed note. So you might as well stop. Please." Mystery solved. Nice that Olivia's nasty stepfather was useful for something.
Then we see Dr. Nayak enter his home lab and don his EEG skull cap. He dials up another patient from the sleep center files, a seaplane pilot who's in the process of taking off from a lake in the Seattle area. As Dr. Nayak get high off the pilot's thoughts Peter, Olivia, and the detective they've been working with hurriedly enter Dr. Nayak's house. They find him hooked up and Peter tries in vain to shut down the computer program. Peter can't disable the server. Olivia gets impatient and warns Peter to stand back as she shoots the computer mainframe 6 times.
As Peter and Olivia exit Dr. Nayak's house they discuss what they think happened.
Peter has a theory, anad here's how that P/O conversation goes:
Peter:"You remember how horrified Nayak was when we told him his patients were dying? I don't think that he was fully aware of what his darker side was up to...until tonight."
Olivia: "So this was his way of trying to put a stop to things."
Peter:"I guess that's the irony. His addiction to dreams became his nightmare, one that he couldn't wake up from. Maybe that was his only way of ending the nightmare."
Hmm. Is this foreshadowing of something to come with one of our 3 main characters in Season 4? The episode could have ended right there, but this is the first of 3 endings.
In the second to last scene Olivia is at Charlie Francis's grave paying her respects. She gets back into her SUV and pulls out the letters Sam Weiss had her write down and jumbles them. After a few tries You're gonna be fine shows up on her notepad, and she wipes the tears from her eyes. The episode could have ended here, but there is one remaining scene.
The episode ends with Walter watching as Peter sleeps. A young Peter dreams of his father in the mirror and he screams. Peter wakes up and sees Walter sitting there watching him. Walter tells him he was talking in his sleep. Peter tells him he thinks he was having a bad dream about being a kid in his room and Walter being there. Walter asks if he can remember anything else and Peter shakes his head "no."
Interesting Things About This Episode
The MK Ultra Project-This is very heady stuff! According to sources, the CIA director in the 1950's ordered a program to start called MKULTRA(it had other acronyms) as a result of alleged Soviet(Russian), North Korean, and Chinese use of mind control techniques on US prisoners of war in Korea. The CIA wanted to exert mind control techniques on its own subjects. Apparently there were several sub-projects also involved and studies on unknowing subjects who did not give consent were conducted by the CIA from the 50's into the 70's. Around 1973 the then CIA director ordered the related documents to be destroyed.
Interestingly, over 20,000 were reported found after that time. Sometimes the studies involved giving LSD to unkowing subjects.
Unanswered Questions That Arose From "Dream Logic"
Sam Weiss tells Olivia her life is pretty much a nightmare. How much does Sam Weiss really know about Olivia Dunham, and how does he know it?
Peter says from the age of eight to almost nineteen he doesn't remember a single dream.
Did Walter exert mind control on Peter after they returned from Over There? Did Walter steal Peter's dreams? If so, why didn't Peter die from exhaustion like the bio-chip victims did? Isn't it too bad no one checked Peter's neck for a healed suture line?
Why has Massvie Dynamic been tracking Dr. Nayak and his work for years?
Dr. Nayak only gave the feds 26 of the 82 bio-chip patient names. Was he selfishly keeping the others a secret to use them to get high? Did anyone ever get the rest of the patient names before Dr. Nayak died, or are all these people still walking around with the bio-chips in their brains? If so, can anyone else, like say Massive Dynamic, dial them up like Dr. Nayak did?
Walter tells Peter they thought they could do mind control back in the time of the MK Ultra project with just LSD and hypnotic suggestion. Olivia had LSD and hypnotic suggestion 4 times when she went into the tank. Did Walter exert mind control on Olivia? Did Walter and William Bell practice mind control on all the cortexiphan kids?
Did the machine in "Reciprocity" exert mind control over Peter (sans the LSD)?
Walter is fishing for information after Peter awakens from his bad dream.
Again, did Walter exert mind control over Peter for several years to get him to forget being kidnapped from Over There?
If Peter Bishop Never Existed
Walter Bishop would probably never wear his shorts to bed. Actually, Walter probably would not be living in that big house in Cambridge either. But wherever he would be living, you can bet it faces east.
Walter probably would have begged Olivia to go home to Boston. Would she have let him?
Would Olivia have stayed in Seattle by herself to work on the case? Or would Broyles have sent her some help? Or, would both Astrid and Olivia have accompanied Walter to Seattle to work on the case?
If Agent Kashner had to accompany Walter back to Boston, no one would have given him any nuggets of advice on how to deal with Walter on the flight home.
If Olivia had to interview Mrs. Leiter herself, she may have missed the significance of the sleep disorder books on their bookshelf, and wouldn't have thought to ask about a sleep journal, let alone request to see it. Therefore, Olivia might have missed the link to Dr, Nayak and his bio-chips. Following this line of reasoning, Dr. Nayak may still be alive, tuning into his research patients and getting high, while killing them off one by one. And of course, there would be much collateral damage.
There would be no matching gray P/O shirts(How sad).
Walter may have implanted the bio-chip into Agent Kashner's brain.
He wouldn't have given us that great bit of foreshadowing of "Reciprocity":
"I don't think that he was fully aware of what his darker side was up to...until tonight."