Fringe Rewatch 407: Wallflower ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Rewatch 407: Wallflower

      Email Post       1/06/2012 03:39:00 PM      

Join us during the fall/winter break every Friday for our Fringe Winter Rewatch.

Here is one of those standalone episode I miss most, besides the ones OVER THERE. As I was saying last week, we are still setting up for what is to come this season. What is Fringe without Nina Sharp and the part that Massive Dynamic plays in this story?

Migraines plague Olivia. How long has she been having them?

After a late night trip to the pharmacy, she spots Agent Lee sitting in an all night diner. He tells her what has been keeping him up at nights over coffee. "I used to believe just a few months ago that, I understood the world we lived in. I mean There were basic truths that I thought were... well... true. I used to sleep like a baby. Blissful ignorance." Blink. Blink. "You know, eventually it will just become your life." It was the same for her, but she doesn't really lose sleep over it like he does. I noticed Olivia never took her eyes off of him the whole time he talked.

Later we see Jack Zoephel hurrying home. He is scared by something. He tells his wife on the phone that he thinks someone is following him. Just as he opens the building door, Jack is rushed in by an invisible assailant. The police arrived less than 2 minutes later to find him dead. One of the officers start shooting at something in the same vein as Sue Storm from Fantastic Four.

Then you have Peter shopping for supplies under supervision and limited civilian interaction. He find these restrictions annoying.

Meanwhile, Fringe Division is called to the crime scene. The officer, who thinks he shot at the killer, tells the science team that he did not actually see anything, but was too afraid to admit that it could be a phantom. In a nod to the season 2 episode Dream Logic, (which apparently never happened in this universe) the victim was completely drained of pigment, prompting Walter to theorize that he may have been scared to death.

At Olivia's prompting, Astrid tells her that the job gets to her too. Astrid sees the company psychiatrist. Olivia realizes she doesn't really talk to anyone. "I'm starting to think that that's weird. That's just not normal, is it?" Back to the case at hand. Lincoln finds trace evidence of blood, proving their perpetrator is no ghost.

Somewhere in a makeshift lab, there is a shelf of personal items. Off to the side there is a tub of liquid. A perfectly normal looking young man emerges from it. Later on, he waits to board an elevator on the 14th floor. He only gets on when a woman he recognizes is there. As soon as she disembarks, the man begins to fade from view.

There have been 3 other bodies similar to the victim, found in the surrounding area over the past 2 weeks, but police never made the connection. Walter finds a mucus-like substance on the corpse. They are chromatophore cells found in octopi or chameleons, cells that allow certain creatures to blend into their backgrounds. Another mystery. The blood sample match that of a baby that was born in 1989. Baby boy Bryant was born with an unclassified genetic variant. He supposedly died 4 days later from complications from his genetic abnormality. What we see from the scene, in the records room, Lincoln taking care of Olivia.

An interview with the nurse, who signed off on his death, revealed that the baby was taken by a private insurance company Cyprox, Incorporated, which was a subsidiary of Kelvin Genetics. (See Season 1 Episode 16 Unleashed) And Kelvin Genetics was now Massive Dynamic.

At Massive Dynamic headquarters, Nina confirms that the boy had been taken for genetic experimentation. The nature of his abnormality allowed chromatophores to be implanted into his system, making him able to blend into his surroundings. While there were military applications, the experiments did allow him to live. It wasn't until a fire in the lab ten years ago, Nina and William Bell would not have learned about Eugene, the name the researchers called him, which was short for unknown genetic disorder. She assumed he had died then.

It did not escape Nina's notice that Olivia seemed to identify with the child's plight. Maybe it would have been better if he had died. "All his life he didn't have a proper name."

We then see Eugene has secretly entered the home of the woman from the elevator.

At the Bishop house, Lincoln brings plans for the machine responsible for the bridge, which Peter believes will be powerful enough to send him home. Peter is grateful for Lincoln's kindness. The scene also reveals how appealing Olivia is to Lincoln.

Back at the lab, Walter shows off his newly purchased octopus. Will the FBI never learn to give the man a budget? Olivia ponders whether Eugene is killing people to steal their pigment to make himself seen. It makes sense to Walter, who surmises that Eugene was using the chromatophores to absorb the victims' pigment. To overcome his condition, he would have to kill again. And he does. His next victim is Ned Ryerson, who we saw earlier on the elevator.

Walter demonstrates what he has learned about the experiment done to Eugene with a pair of lab mice. If Eugene succeeds in curing himself, he will surely die from the genetic abnormality he was born with. The good news is they should be able to find him with ultraviolet light.

In the massive manhunt, it is Eugene who finds Olivia first when she falls through the floor. "All my life... I've been watching them live theirs. Watching them... fall in love. To be looked upon by the right person... to connect... and to see in their eyes kindness. Happiness. And recognition. That's when you exist." He rejects her help and blends among the residents, however, the agents locate where he lived in the building. They find items he has collected from the residents he watched. It was never about being cured. "This was about being seen."

"I thought you weren't coming today. I see you everyday." Better late than never. Poor Eugene does not fade out, because he succeeded in curing himself at the cost of his own life.

Olivia tells Nina that they've found Eugene Bryant's body. "All he wanted was to be like everyone else. But how could he? He could never be like anyone else. Not after what they did to him." Nina knows that Olivia is thinking about what was done to her. "Do you think the Cortexiphan trials stunted my emotions?"

"Life is an experiment you have to find out where you belong." Nina wasn't far off with that remark. "Find your own place in this world." She goes on to tell her, "When the time is right you will know." This just tells me that Olivia has not reached her potential and her innate abilities have yet to be activated.

Back at the Federal Building, Peter drops off new glasses for Lincoln and then Olivia considers stopping by the diner later for a possible rendezvous.

While Lincoln waits at the diner, Olivia is delayed indefinitely. She is incapacitated in her apartment. Once she is unconscious, 2 men enter with little difficulty. They tamper with her security system, to remove signs of them ever being there perhaps, and inject her with Cortexiphan. Then we see Nina Sharp as the one who probably let them in. She closes the door after they leave. The look on Nina's face look was like the one she had in the season 2 episode Brown Betty. They leave Olivia with no memory of the last 2 hours. Of course, all this might only give Olivia a nasty headache, because in this universe, I have a feeling that they don't really know what Cortexiphan does to her, without the proper stimulus.


Zepp said...

I read and liked a lot of rereading and analysis, its in relation to the episode "Wallflower," Xindilini. I like a lot, too, in the form of episodes produced "standalone", I think they characterize it, or customize the show, putting it, properly, "on track" of science fiction. No episodes "standalone", we would not have Fringe, I think. But. I see the "Wallflower", more like an episode, almost, a mixture of "standalone", along with the line sequential, or episode consequences. In "Wallflower," I could see and feel the current psychological stage of the main characters. And what caught my attention, is the current Olivia. She demonstrates now be to me a woman "empty", with no major life goals, which have in their work of FBI agent, his unique sense of life. The Olivia, she is not "be" someone else, is that it "is" a different person now.

"Wallflower" to me, shows that now the main characters are more "distant" from each other without many expressions of intimacy, friendship, which previously had. How, too, shows us that the interpersonal intrigues and mysteries are other, with the "background" situations "fringe" similar to the previous. "Wallflower" is an affirmation that Fringe is a different, is another story now. Thanks, for this your good work of re-reading "Wallflwoer", Xindilini.

Xindilini said...

I gather you are enjoying the mystery too.

In season 1, it was the cases that attracted me to the show. In season 2, it was the characters. In season 3, it was the alternate universe. In season 4, it is the situation and background you mention, because Peter pointed out that there is two universes.

However, I don't agree Olivia is different person. She's simply affected by her situation. Even when there are two Olivias, it was like seeing another side of the same character.

Thank you for your comments.

milostanfield said...

Fringe, especially in this season, is looking at our nature (what we're born with), and our nurture (how we adapt to what we're born into). This used to be expressed as nature versus nurture, but that is now seen to be absurd, like looking at a sine wave as amplitude versus frequency. It's one thing with different facets. So Olivia is both the same, Xindilini, (her nature), and is different, Zepp, (her nurture). How much of what she, or the other characters, are made of which facet, depends on how you look at it.

I see two other facets. One I call "outside interference", traditionally the province of the supernatural and religious: reaching down and forming clay, or arbitrarily changing something for hidden reasons. The Observers fit there, as their ability to manipulate through time is a technology, per Arthur C. Clarke, advanced enough to be indistinguishable from magic.

I personally think randomness and chance is the fourth facet, but since a story is a wholly determined effort from the first capital letter to the last period, I'll leave it out.

"Wallflower", as you said Zepp, is both a standalone and a larger story. And U-Gene/Eugene is a microcosm of this "thing with different facets". He was born with a bizarre genetic defect (nature), was changed by Kelvin Genetics (outside interference), and became the strange creature he was by adapting to what he was given by both (nurture). He came into his own, his flowering, on the confined stage of an elevator. There's a beautiful fern growing absurdly out of a crack between the roof and gutter of the building next door to where I live. It's my favorite plant.

Xindilini said...


Wonderful analogy. The elevator is Eugene stage. It's probably where he watches people.

A fern, by its very nature is a product of evolution. It's has been around for much longer than mankind.

And Wallflower did become a nutshell for this season's theme the more I watched it, by the way Olivia compares herself to Eugene.

Zepp said...

@Xindilini, and @milostanfield,

I liked this talk of you.

No doubt, "Wallflower," by being the last episode I saw, is what else is etched in my memory. And I remember that at the beginning of this episode, a scene that appears, but I could not even imagine which is a trivial encounter between Lincoln and Olivia, in a bar. I see them, a simple scene of two sitting at a table in a bar all by starting a conversation, like everyday, but with the distinct appearance of being a meeting, though, that even be happening in a casual, is-with the distinct impression that there is evidence of the beginning of a romance between the two. And when I looked at the faces of those two, I noticed a great ease, without that "weight" than they had before, as well as their "ways of being," now, both as an other, by comparison, how they were before, now have a more natural, more aspects of everyday people. I, for example, analyze Olivia, because that is what I have more references. Olivia I see now, with their facial expressions more "open", the closer a person's "common" with a more agile, sometimes unassuming, not very attentive, but still showing great intelligence, and a body posture, along with the physiognomy more "open", "free" than they were before. The Olivia before, for me, had a closed expression, the more we could say, measured, studied, and a closer look, the more interested, never relaxed.

It was that simple meeting in a bar, of Olivia, with Lincoln, "Wallflower" is that I finally gave a "snap" me "saying" that Fringe has changed, that now are other stories of the characters and personal goals . They are the same characters, but ... are not the same characters, they are others now. “It's the same bread that looks tasty, yesterday, but today, the breads are the same yesterday, but with another flavor”. Our feelings of love and hate with these "new" characters should be a little different from now, I think.

. Along the way you express yourself through beautiful analogies of milostanfield, I think my feelings, as the plots of current Fringe, now is the same as leaving a room full of people they know, and go to another, next door, where, strangely, I find the same people in the room I came, but, incredibly, they do not know any of them. So I wonder, "Did I just go crazy!" And I myself say, "No, I must be in a "room" Fringe!”

milostanfield said...

A Fringe Room. Now there's an idea for an amusement park ride.

Xindilini said...

Every scene has meaning.


I too noticed how at ease Olivia is in her meeting with Lincoln. I rewatched that scene a few times to be sure. This is a side of Olivia we've never seen before. It demonstrates trust in on her part too. It's good to have in a partnership.

Whatever their destiny may be, right now, I liken Lincoln's experience with the fringe events to where Peter was in the previous seasons. He has just been initiated for the ride. I fear for his future, because he seems out of his league.


Fringe Room = The Twilight Zone.

Zepp said...

@ Xindilini,

Just like you Xindilini spoken, I agree. In these scenes at the beginning of "Wallflowers," Olivia (I could be wrong, but ...), it seemed to be more "woman," I would say even more seductive, enjoying life as much more like a "normal person" than in relation to the previous Olivia, who was looking all that close, like complicated person, with all the image of an FBI agent, who to invite her to something normal, ordinary, something was endowed with "some risk ! ":)

The first Olivia, to her duty, always come before love, see John Scott. And now, I have no idea, but as her way of being changed, it may be that now, love, come first, I do not know ...

@ milostanfield,

I liked your definition for a "Fringe Room." When I wrote it, I reflected in my own room, which is "Fringe Total" I do not recognize anything! :)

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