Welcome to Part 4 of 'The 8 Most Important Episodes of Fringe.'
Every day until the next episode airs on Fringe Friday, December 7th, I will post a review of an episode I believe is most important to the series, and a commentary on why I believe it is so.
Episode 2.04 Momentum Deferred(review written by samspade on 08/10/11)
Momentum Deferred is an important episode in the overall story of the show. It's importance stems from the fact that previously Agent Charlie Francis had become a shape-shifter and no-one is the wiser on the Fringe team.
The episode centers around Olivia trying to recover her memories from crossing over to the other side. Her attempt in doing so in the beginning of the episode involves her drinking flatworms to help trigger her memory. Meanwhile multiple cryogenics facilities have been robbed and someone seems to be targeting frozen heads across the country. One of the corpses found at the scene bleeds silver (mercury) and left behind one of the devices used to help him shape-shift. Charlie begins to suffer the effects of his previous shape-shifting, having been in the body too long and in an attempt to heal himself, drinks mercury to recompose himself. It seems to be a temporary fix.
Olivia takes the shape-shifting device to Massive Dynamic where they work at rendering the image of the last shape-shifter and promise to have it on a public server for Olivia the minute they figure out who it is. Meanwhile Peter takes Walter to visit Rebecca Kibner, a previous test subject that had the ability to recognize people from the other side. Rebecca eagerly agrees to come back with them to the lab to undergo tests once again in order to help.
While in the lab, they ring the bell while Rebecca is under. The sound immediately affects Olivia as she passes out onto the floor and is unresponsive. During this time, we get a flashback of Olivia and William Bell from the otherside. Olivia is told that she is the gatekeeper, the strongest of all the children protected. She is informed that very few can cross over and that her ability makes her special and that she is just now coming into it. She must also remember the symbol on the back of the shape-shifters neck and show it to Nina Sharp . Peter revives Olivia painfully with a needle filled with adrenaline straight to the heart. Jolting up, she gasps that she needs to speak with Nina Sharp. Olivia remembered her time crossing over.
Nina breaks it down to Olivia, telling her about the Pauli Exclusion Principle and the last great storm. Olivia is interrupted by her phone and sees Charlie is calling. He tells her that Nina is the shapeshifter and to get out. Olivia quickly excuses herself, confessing to Charlie that she almost gave the information to Nina, that the body is at “Laston-Hennings Cryonics.” Just as she tells him, she sees another message on her phone and looks down to see the reconstruction of Charlie as the shape-shifter. Charlie manages to make the call, assaulting Olivia and attempting to kill her. She has no choice but to defend herself and finds that she has to shoot him in the head to kill him. In the end, the facility had already been cleaned out and presumably had taken whatever it was they were looking for. We see a head being strangely reattached in the final seconds of the episode.
New questions raised in this episode that remain unanswered:
Charlie is dying in his body and needs a new device to survive. How long is a typical shape-shifter in their body? Do they use the device for anything other than changing bodies?
The frozen head that the shape-shifters are after – where was the body prior to being frozen? What led him to this state?
What does the symbol mean on the back of the shape-shifters head? Why does he have it?
Bell tells Olivia that most people are torn apart that try to cross over. How many others have tried to cross over? We know Olivia has a natural ability to cross over but how was Walter and Peter able to cross over? What about William Bell? Is that why he needs the oxygen mask?
Did William Bell know that by ringing the bell it would later help jog Olivia’s memory?
How does William Bell know the phrase “Einai kalytero... Anthropo apo toy... Patera toy” Did he know Peter’s mother more intimately than we’ve been told?
Why Episode 2.04 is on the 8 most important episodes list:
Momentum Deferred is on the most important episode list because of the conversation Olivia Dunham has with William Bell in the middle of this episode. It's so important that I'm going to post here:
WILLIAM BELL: You'll have to forgive me. The method by which I brought you over here was crude, and I'm sorry for that, but there were people who were trying to prevent our meeting. This is not at all the kind of reunion I had always envisioned. OLIVIA: The reunion that you had envisioned? Doctor Bell, I have been trying to meet with you for over a year.
WILLIAM BELL: Please, call me William... or Willam - if that feels warmer to you. Willam -- that's what you always called me when you were a girl. How do you like your tea?
OLIVIA: I don't want any tea. I want answers. [rumbling]
WILLIAM BELL: [laughs] You're still a little disoriented from the time slips, aren't you? Happened to me when I first came here. You're -- you're out of sync with this side. You're lucky. Most people who cross dimensions, without your natural talent, are simply torn apart.
OLIVIA: Well, 'lucky' isn't the word that I would choose. [rumbling] [gas hissing] [breathing deeply]
WILLIAM BELL: Ahh. I don't know how much Walter's told you by now. I don't know how much he remembers.
OLIVIA: He told me what you two did to me when I was just a girl... how you conducted drug trials on young children.
WILLIAM BELL: We weren't trying to hurt you, Olivia. We weren't trying to hurt anybody.
OLIVIA: Hey, guess what? [chuckles] You did. I've met some of the others. To say that they are permanently damaged would be an understatement.
WILLIAM BELL: Yes. In any search for knowledge, there are always unintended consequences -- victims, you might say. But not you. I can see that... just by looking at you. In fact, you're just coming into your ability. [rumbling] [echoing] I've seen history repeat itself enough times to know a war is coming, just as we predicted, Walter and I, years ago, and we knew that we had to prepare a guardian, someone to watch the gate.
OLIVIA: The gate?
WILLIAM BELL: Between this side and yours. I would like to say 'ours', because that's where I came from, but I'm afraid I would sound disingenuous.
OLIVIA: Go on.
WILLIAM BELL: For reasons that will become clear in time, I cannot go back yet, maybe not ever. But now we know how difficult it is to cross over. I can count on my hand the number of people who've done it safely. But on this side, they've become more insidious. They have designed hybrids -- part organic tissue, part machine -- that can do things that humans can't. They can change shapes, taking the form of human beings. Over here, they call them 'the first wave'.
OLIVIA: So you're saying that these hybrids are already on our side.
WILLIAM BELL: I know it's difficult to grasp.
OLIVIA: Oh, I can grasp it just fine. I don't trust you, Doctor Bell... or William, or... Willam... or whatever cutesy name you think might appeal to my childhood instincts. It won't. Your company has been involved in, if not directly responsible for, some of the most horrific things that I have ever seen, to say nothing of the fact that you just yanked me into a parallel universe to warn me about an inter-dimensional war that I believe you are responsible for starting. So what I want is not warmth, or tea. It's the truth.
WILLIAM BELL: The truth will come out. It always does. Livvy, you don't have to trust me. You don't even have to like me, but you can't deny I have a unique perspective, shaped by having lived in two worlds. I know the difference a wrong choice can make... or a right one. For example, this building is still standing because different choices were made. So, Livvy, if you can look past your anger, you may find that I am more of an ally than you think. [rumbling] [voices echoing] A storm is coming, perhaps the last and worst storm of all. And when it is over, I fear there will be little left of our world. The shape-shifters on your side are looking for someone, someone to open the door between universes, and if they find him, there will be no stopping them, and that is why you must find him first.
WILLIAM BELL: You are the one, Olivia. Of all the children that Walter and I prepared, you were the strongest. You were always the strongest. [rumbling] Remember this symbol. It's hidden on their leader. That's how you'll know him. [echoing] Show this to Nina Sharp. [rumbling] She can help you. We're out of time. [bell dings] Olivia. [echoing voices] [rumbling]
WILLIAM BELL: You should stand. I think it'll be less painful that way. OLIVIA: What will?
WILLIAM BELL: And remember this -- Einai kalytero... Anthropo apo toy... Patera toy. Tell that to Peter. You're going to need him by your side. Tell it to him. He'll know what it means. [rumbling]
WALTER: We have to shock her heart. There's a vial of adrenaline, Peter.
WILLIAM BELL: And I'm afraid there's no avoiding what has to happen next. I pulled you out of a moving car. Momentum can be deferred, but it must always be paid back, in full. [rumbling]
And Nina Sharp adds some perspective to William Bell's definition of 'storm':
NINA: A storm? OLIVIA: Yeah. What?
NINA: It was a phrase he used. When Doctor Bell realized the existence of the other side, the thing he dreaded most was the inevitable collision... if our two universes ever came together.
NINA: The Pauli Exclusion Principle means that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Doctor Bell was afraid that if the doorway between the two sides was ever opened... that the unavoidable conclusion... only one world would remain. It's what he called the last great storm.
While these conversations set the stage nicely for the rest of Season 2 going into Season 3, I believe there's quite a bit of foreshadowing here.
We know Alt-Olivia found one man with the Omega mark on his head, Thomas Jerome Newton. But, we have not seen Olivia Dunham(the blue and amber version) operating as a gatekeeper. And we have not seen her repeat that famous Greek phase, "Be A Better Man Than Your Father," since 2.04 aired.
This is just my opinion, but I think William Bell's 'Great Storm' is the final showdown between our Fringe team, and the powerful enemy(whoever that is, ie. Windmark and Company?) I believe this conversation combined with Emmanuele Grayson's words about the upcoming war(from 1.19) give us a little hint about the series' finale.