Fringe Summer Rewatch: #317 "Stowaway" ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Summer Rewatch: #317 "Stowaway"

      Email Post       9/15/2011 12:01:00 AM      

Join us for our Fringe Summer re-watch, where we review every episode of Fringe during the summer hiatus.

"Sometimes when one walks away from their fate, it leads them to fate's doorstep." - Bellivia

Stowaway was an episode that brought the viewers from the edge of bizarre to the cliff of hilarity. In the episode prior we see Walter use the bell that William Bell had gifted to Nina claiming that by striking it, it will bring William to them using the hypothesis of soul magnets. It works, but in a way few of us may or may not have expected. This one way freaky Friday on crack episode starts off with Bellivia (Bell in Olivia - yeah, you got it) explaining to Broyles, Walter, Peter, and Astrid in so many words, how he got where he was in Olivia's body and the situation. It turns out Bell can survive for several weeks in Olivia's body, but this is met with quick objections from Peter and Broyles. When asked, Bellivia tells them that he'd fed Olivia the soul magnets 7 months earlier in the tea he'd given her when she'd crossed over to interview him. Peter, of course, looks absolutely pissed through the explanation and who can blame him. They'd finally found their stride in the relationship they've worked like crazy to build from scratch and Bell has taken that away from them. In the end Bellivia and Walter convince Peter and Broyles to allow Bell to remain in Olivia for 48 hours until a suitable host is found and so Walter can pick Bell's brain on Walternate's plot. In reality, Walter is like a child who lost his best friend and now has a chance to keep him again. It's hard to blame Walter for this chance at happiness when he doesn't get much of it, but Peter and Broyles aren't willing to risk Olivia's life for Walter's happiness.

This episode follows Dana Gray, a woman who has lost her family in a robbery gone wrong. Dana was meant to die with her family when she took two bullets to the head and was pronounced dead. Since escaping the morgue after being declared dead, Dana has tried to find a way to die so she could be with her family again. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

We're first introduced to Dana Gray when she meets a man on the top of a roof to talk him back from the ledge and ending his life. They talk about having a purpose to live and having hope for a future and happiness. When he tells her that he really is okay with dying she steps off the ledge with him and they land on a taxi parked on the side of the street. Remarkably, Dana is able to walk away with several witnesses there to catch the scene.

Back at the lab, Bellivia finds the paper that depicts Peter's fate and Bellivia talks to Peter about how he shouldn't run from his fate and that he should consider just accepting that the machine was what he was meant to do with his life. Peter is adament that he doesn't believe in fate and promises he won't ever get into the machine; words he will later take back.
When the Fringe team catches wind of Dana's case after watching the video taken by a witness and seeing her walk away. Walter's first assumption is that a soft spot has been created at that location allowing the impossible to happen. When Bellivia gears up to go out to the scene with them, Peter stubbornly insists he stay behind to continue the search for his new body so he can get Olivia back, but Bellivia is quick to counter him with the reasons he should tag along and he ends up winning. Peter at this point, has gotten very good at not looking at Bellivia while he talks. It probably does seem creepy to see the woman you love and get freaky with talking like that.
On site Bellivia makes the conclusion that the scene is not a weak spot between universes. Broyles arrives onsite and has brought an agent who has worked Dana's case before this; Lincoln Lee. He explains to them how the case went down when he was on it. Since Dana was pronounced dead and went missing from the morgue her prints have been found on more than a few suicide scenes. Lincoln's line: "This is going to sound crazy, but I don't think she can die" throws us all back to when stuff like falling off a building and not dying was actually weird.

They give Lincoln an induction into the world of Fringe by bringing him to the lab at Bellivia's invitation. My favorite introduction was to Gene per Astrid and Lincoln seems to take it all in good stride which shouldn't surprise us considering his alternate's temperament and easy going attitude. Walter explains to them the discovery made that Dana's molecules seem particularly unwilling to part due to an incredibly strong electrical magnetic bond. The novelty of Bellivia giving Lincoln a science talk about how we all are held together by magnetism is not lost when we look to the other side where it is always their Lincoln giving the science talks. Lincoln scoffs at the idea of there being such thing as a soul or human life force and you can tell the effort for everyone not to roll their eyes was epic. They deduce that Dana is possibly a "compassionate soul vampire" much to Bellivia's amusement.

Peter and Lincoln look into a suicide hotline office to discover that Dana is actually very good at her job and saving the people she talks to. They come to the conclusion that Dana isn't trying to steal their life forces to catch a ride on death. Since Dana has been struck by lightning twice her molecules may have become super charged and bonded together. They quickly discover the reason Dana didn't stick around to ride out the latest suicide victim's death is because she was after a bomb that had been made in the victim's basement.

Peter calls Dana's cell phone after finding the number on the victim's phone to try and talk to her. She stubbornly refuses any help, determined to make her ascent to heaven much like Azriel. Unable to trace the call, they resort to listening for clues through their talk and discover that she is at a train station.

They arrive at the station and stop the train and begin searching the cars for Dana only to find her missing. A loud explosion from outside the train cars draw them out to discover Dana at the site of the explosion and she's finally dead.

Peter and Bellivia have a talk over tea, discussing Dana and how she could've died. Bellivia posits that Dana was kept alive to save all the people's lives from the train. She was kept alive to serve her destiny. Church bells sound in the distance and for a second Olivia is back, but before Peter can get too happy, Bell returns, telling Peter that he might've been wrong and that it is worse than he thought - most likely referring to Bell's occupancy in Olivia's body and then just like that; the episode is over.

Unanswered Questions:

  • How does Lincoln know this line and where from? "One of these things is not like the others." - Lincoln

  • How do you hide soul magnets in tea?

  • Could they have put Bell's soul into Gene?

  • How did Lincoln end up in the part of the FBI that he did?

  • Could Lincoln and Peter have become best buddies if they'd worked a few more cases?

And, if Peter Bishop never existed...

I'm sure Broyles would've stuck to his guns about bringing Olivia back to her own body and moving Bell from it, but he wasn't there much to curb Walter and Bellivia's tangents and who knows what would've happened. I wouldn't blame Astrid for running for the hills with those two together with just her to supervise. Peter was also the person to think of calling Dana and if he hadn't, the train probably would've blown up with all those people on it.


Xindilini said...

How does Lincoln know this line and where from? "One of these things is not like the others." - Lincoln

- This is from Sesame Street. I didn't know anyone around the world who didn't watch Sesame Street.

JM said...

IMO this is the episode that sealed anna torv's emmy fate, no matter how hard an actor/actress tries with this kind of thing (i have to say anna torv did exceptionally with what was given to her) you cannot expect an already against sci fi group of emmy voters, to even consider a woman in her early 30's playing a 80 something man to be emmy worthy.

I will say, the whole bellivia thing was even more annoying because it essentially gave us nothing (SHAPESHIFTER DISCS!)

But apart from that this was a good episode, it was refreshing to see lincoln and peter forming a work relationship (possible bromance?), and to see walter working with bell (even though it was really olivia *sigh*)

Xindilini said...

For your information, the members who vote on Emmy awards are other actors (their peers). They are comprised of all genre including sci fi. They watch every show for consideration.

Xindilini said...

forgot to add...
actors vote for actors
directors vote for directors

cortexifan said...

-Again, I love what Anna did as Bell although it was creepy how he hit on Astrid :)
-At least Walter was excited to have Bell back.
-Bell thought Olivia’s body can support him for weeks. Guess not even he knows how strong she really is. As we know by the end of the episode, Olivia was strong enough to come through for just a second.
-I was a little disappointed that Bell really didn’t help with the machine. Still liked the episode.
-Loved how both Broyles and Peter wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible.
-Bellivia: “Sometimes when one walks away from his fate, it leads one directly to fate’s doorstep.” As much as Peter fought about not going into the machine at the end he went in anyway. I don’t think he had any other choice.
-On the TV screen, the license plate was 44DC23 was used before, in 2.04 Momentum Deferred as Olivia is driving to meet with Nina and in 3.21 The Last Sam Weiss by the guy who got out of the car to check out the lightning storm.
-Bellivia introducing him/her to Lincoln. He’s going to be in for a treat in S4. Peter’s words at the end of the episode come to mind: “Be careful what you wish for.”
When Lincoln walked into the lab for the first time, I had to think back to the Pilot where Peter answered the phone with: “Crazy House.”
-Love Gene.
-In Dana’s office is a picture of a tree without leaves on the wall. There are a lot of them throughout the series, especially since we know that the blight killed a lot of the vegetation. Going to get one for my wall :)
-Struck by lightning twice: it was the missing variable in 3.21 The Last Sam Weiss.
-Brian said: “I don’t want to hurt those people on the train.” I had to think of Roy McComb when he said he was afraid of what’s going to happen to the people on the bus (1.03 The Ghost Network).
-Walter smoking a joint and Bellivia eager to get in on that.
-Poor Gene. First polka dots, then chocolate milk and now being possessed by a human :)
-“One of these things is not like the other.” Rebecca Kibner used that in 2.04 Momentum Deferred as she talks about recognizing people who don’t belong.
-Bellivia and Walter figuring out which train she’s on.
-Why was Dana able to die this time? She wasn’t even near the bomb. Any thoughts?
-Bellivia: “I just made a pot of tea, would you like a cup?” And of course Peter says yes. Peter, did you not remember that that’s what got Olivia in trouble? Hello! :)

If Peter never existed in this episode…
-Would Bell still be in Olivia and would Olivia have been gone for good?
-Would someone else have thought about changing the caller id so Dana would pick up the phone?
-Would someone else have thought about calling Walter with the detail about the train?
-Would Bellivia have shared his/her thoughts with someone else instead of Peter?
-Would Olivia have fought at all to take control of her body without Peter there?
-Who else would have drank the tea? Will Bell come back once more, this time in Peter? :)

Anonymous said...

Ive roamed this site for a while but this is my first post...eek.

To Cortexifan:
- Is it possible Lincoln knows that saying because he was experimented on by Bell and Walter.
-Also great observation about Peter and the Tea. I wonder if that will come into play in season 4?


Unknown said...

@cortexifan One thing that really peaked my interest was when Lincoln told Peter to call him if he ever needed help. Peter replied, "Be careful what you wish for." Somehow I think Lee will have a part in helping Peter return from whatever state of non-existence he was in.

milostanfield said...

part 1-
"Why was Dana able to die this time? She wasn’t even near the bomb."
I think the writers purposely left that vague, as the existence of the soul is a mystery that (so far) can't really be touched by science or any other body of knowledge (except maybe Bell). I saw three possible explanations offered that they just let hang out there to turn in the wind.
1- the religious - Dana followed the path taken by Azrael, who was in Purgatory but was lifted to heaven by angels who petitioned God that their combined innocence outweighed Azrael's sins, and God accepted his soul. Prior to their act the angels asked God to lift Azrael's soul but God refused. Dana was trying "stowaway to heaven" (another great Peter quip) lifted on the souls of individuals committing suicide. When she found out about the story at the same time she learned of the bomb, while trying to prevent (or not) Brian's suicide, she saw the connection between the story and her own situation. Despite Brian's wish to have her stop the bomb, so that HE can ascend to heaven, Dana decides to detonate the bomb so she can ride the souls of hundreds of innocents to heaven. This is a heinous act but Dana is desperate to the point of distraction by this time. When Dana leaves the train with the bomb, her act of saving the innocents allows her soul to finally ascend when the bomb explodes. We accept this on faith. My only quibble with this is not knowing why Dana left the train with the bomb. She only did it after the train was stopped by the Fringe team. Would she have stayed on the train and let the bomb go off had this not happened? Was she just fleeing the cops? Perhaps she was frustrated at seeing yet another attempt to ascend thwarted, and just ran away to get away from ALL of it. Her lines when staggering through the field and putting down the bomb "I don't Understand!" were exasperated like Job when he tried to confront the mystery of God. But she DID take the bomb. And her act DID save innocent lives. And at her core she was an innocent, as well as a victim of a brutal crime, and in a very bizarre situation. So God let her really die and up her soul went.
2- the scientific - the force of the explosion was enough to, in Bell's words, reset the electromagnetic bonds from the double lightning strike that prevented her death. Of course this is more scientific conjecture than true science since nothing has been proven in controlled testing. But it is a potential materialistic explanation, one that was explicitly woven into the narrative. But even Bell discounted this for:

milostanfield said...

part 2
3- fate - (paraphrasing Bell) Dana did not die until she saved the train passengers because that act was her fate, her purpose for staying alive after death. This connects with Bell's comments early on in this ep about how even walking away from your fate will lead you to fate's door. Bell seems to see fate and free will not as antagonistic (Which do we have?) but as complementary, like yang and yin. We only have one destiny but we have an infinite variety of different choices that will lead us to our fate anyway. This shares some thinking with religion but in the religious view there are conscious supernatural beings who act on belief. This fate idea is more impersonal, woven into the fabric of the universe itself, like yin and yang, or that may express itself through humans like the force beneath the island in Lost.
I think the third option is more pertinent to the Fringe story, if not Dana's. Fringe does not usually deal with the mysteries of religion the way X-Files and Millennium did. Fringe does of course deal in science, but explanation 2 was presented more as a counterpoint to the other two, and because there has to be some grounding in the mundane to keep the tone of the show balanced. Also, Bell brought up fate two times while alone with Peter. Bell seems to be mentoring Peter here as I see him mentoring Olivia in "LSD". He could be preparing Peter to step into the machine, but with the whole "what was in the tea" issue, perhaps Bell is looking at Peter's fate beyond that act, and wants to be in on a very interesting ride. I'm ambivalent about whether Bell is hitching another ride here. If there is a cut in that scene explicitly showing Peter taking a sip of tea, I will say yes. I don't remember one so I'm up in the air. It may depend on whether or not they see a possibility of coaxing Leonard Nimoy out of retirement. They mimicked him in this ep, and just used his voice in "LSD", so they may be leaving it open as insurance. It would be interesting to see how Josh channels Spock compared to how Anna did it. Perhaps Peter should avoid church bells for a while.

milostanfield said...

"Could Lincoln and Peter have become best buddies if they'd worked a few more cases?"
The two seemed to hit it off right away, both as characters and as actors playing off each other. Peter took Lincoln under his wing right away like he did Agent Jessup in "New Day In The Old Town". For a character who has a backstory as a narcissistic loner, Peter is by far the most gregarious and outgoing of the mains. And he gets everyone coffee. (Once more I find myself a deer staring into headlights wondering how Fringe will be without this character). And at the first opportunity he snaps Linc up for a car ride to gather evidence. Peter loves doing this, getting away, which harkens back to his pre Fringe life. He also needs, on occasion, to get away from Walter, and especially to be with Olivia (sigh). And this time he REALLY needed to get away from the Bellivia monster. Linc stands in for Olivia here, taking her place in the show as Olivia is lost in her own mind somewhere, surfing on a slow sine wave. If next season was to start with Olivia missing and Peter still here, we could say: there ya go. But nope, not the case.

It is almost a certainty that Seth Gabel's name will move to the main credits in S04, a welcome move. How will our new Linc fit in? AltLinc will also have an important role as he and Charlie become more involved in the central mystery. So, after Peter's status, I see the most interesting future developments being how the new Linc will fit in, and then where AltLinc and Charlie's journey proceeds.

Someone predicted, here I think, that Linc will fall in love with Astrid (I know I have). That would be welcome as I would really like to see Astrid's character develop more. But if AltLinc has fallen in love with Altlivia over there, it may be that the same will happen over here. Linc hasn't really met Olivia yet since all he has seen is a beautiful young detective who strangely talked and moved like an old lady, and amid all the other strangeness he hardly noticed her. Strangely, and sadly, that would make Peter and Linc rivals instead of buddies. When Linc and the real Olivia DO finally meet, it will be interesting to see Olivia's reaction, since she met AltLinc FIRST.

Speaking of couple matchups, I'd love to see Milo Stanfield and AltAstrid together! Just imagine the sparkling dinner conversation! The infinite permutations on how to pass the salt! I'll bet you 11 jalapenos on the side that AltAstrid gets the last word!

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