1.18 “Midnight” – Science-Fiction vs Science-Fact

"Midnight" - Science Fiction vs Science Fact

Popular Mechanics are back to put the latest episode of Fringe –“Midnight” – under their scientific spotlight:

Peter Bishop might only be able to handle one mad scientist, but in Fringe episode 18, “Midnight,” we got two—Dr. Nicholas Boone, who had been creating bioweapons for the mysterious terrorist organization ZFT, joined Walter Bishop in his Harvard lab. Thanks to Boone, we know how ZFT reacts when your conscience catches up with you: They kidnap your wife, infect her with a virus and turn her into a spinal fluid–drinking monster.

When dead bodies begin turning up in the Boston area with their spinal cords ripped out of their backs and their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) completely drained, Agent Olivia Dunham and father–son duo Walter and Peter Bishop are on the case. Their investigation leads them to scientist Nicholas Boone, who informs them that after he tried to defect from ZFT, they stole his wife and infected her with an extinct strain of syphilis that turned her into a creature thirsty for CSF. The virus upped her body temperature to 105 degrees, he claims, and she’s burning through her own CSF faster than she can replenish it. “When she kills, she’s refueling,” Boone says. And before she took off, Boone tells us, he was feeding his wife with his own spinal fluid. But the more he gave, the more she craved—and that’s how he ended up in a wheelchair.

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  1. D.Fowler says

    My only problem with spinal fluid sucking vampire was how ingesting it would help replenish. Hard to get to the spinal cord through the stomach.

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  2. jase says

    Nothing new here. The science in just about every episode is debunked by Pop Mech. It doesn’t bother me that the science on the show is more science fiction than fact. That is the whole core of the show — FRINGE science. However, based on some of these debunkings, it does seem like the writers could do a little more homework sometimes. The fact that the body replenishes its own spinal fluid, and that you could not become paralyzed by removing too much over time sort of destroys the punch of this episode. The writers would be better off paralleling and then extrapolating “real” science as opposed to just making stuff up. It would add an extra layer of credibility and realism to the show. Most times I think they do this successfully, but they obviously missed the mark this time.

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