Welcome to our rewatch for episode 14 of Fringe season 1 – “Ability”. Join us as we round up all the light bulbs we can find in preparation for our Cortexiphan Challenge. We also keep an eye out for newly formed perspectives.
We have renamed this episode: Subject Hero. Because isn’t she just.
That image seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? I think it was one of the first moments when the show broke free from the shackles and realised just how awesome it was. We hit a groove..I say “we” because we were all there with Dunham, sorry, “Super Dunham”, as she stared down those lights, took a huge gulp and dared to believe.
Synopsis: German agents question Olivia about her “relationship” with David Robert Jones, an escaped prisoner questioned months earlier now living in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Fringe Division investigates a threatening case where victims die faceless from their orifices suddenly sealing. With few leads and many questions, German authorities turn to Olivia, Peter and Walter to help makes sense of the return of Mr. Jones and the foreboding mysterious occurrences. As the investigation unfolds, Olivia is put to test.
Below the jump I share my new observations and perspectives, and take a quick look at the unresolved and closed mysteries from “Ability”. Continue reading..
ABILITY: (n.) The quality or state of being able; power to perform, whether physical, moral, intellectual, conventional, or legal; capacity; skill or competence in doing; sufficiency of strength, skill, resources, etc.; — in the plural, faculty, talent.
For a series that describes itself as the “Science Next” show, it should really come as no surprise that “Fringe” is set to reach beyond the conventional norms of regular television experience. The latest episode, “Ability”, presented us with the idea that Olivia is special, gifted. In other words, she has mad skills! It’s a possibility that gives me great optimism for the future of the show. Not only does it offer plausible explanations for why Olivia is so widely coveted by the likes of Nina, Jones and Broyles, and why these seemingly random events happen all around her. But it elevates the show above a human drama to the level of an inspirational human drama.
Olivia beat-out the excellent Jones by just 3 votes, achieving an overall 26% of the total vote. The victory puts Olivia right back in the race for the Season 1 title. The current standings are as follows:
Peter Bishop (6 wins)
Walter Bishop (5 wins)
Olivia Dunham (4 wins)
The Observer/Meegar’s Mom (1 win)
With 7 episodes of S1 remaining, it’s sure to be fascinating to see which Fringe character comes out on top in the eyes of the fans.
Fringe returns with all new episodes from April 7, as will ‘Fringie of the Week’ – see you on the other side, Fringies!
People using their minds to turn off lights – it could only be “Fringe”! But who did it, who passed Jones’ test, was it Olivia or Peter?
I get the sense that whilst the writers want us to believe that it was Olivia, they also want us to further question Peter’s ‘specialness’.
PETER: “I think I’ve got a weird connection”
I think he’s right.
1. We know that Peter is special, least not because his father performed experiments on him as a child, including hooking him up to car batteries! I’d hate to second guess Walter, but why else would he do this unless he wanted to test how special his son was? We also know that Peter had an ‘out of mind experience’ with the Observer in episode 1.04. Whilst it’s thought that the Observer was inside of Peter’s head, reading his thoughts before Peter had even thought of them, perhaps it was also the other way wound, maybe Peter was inside of the Observer’s head? That is, what if Peter’s mind is like a giant amplifier? ..after all, he has a weird connection. For an example, think Roy McComb picking up the ‘Ghost Network’. Walter has already stated that we have to ‘reconsider the way in which we consider communication’.
Here’s the FringeBloggers clues and eastereggs round-up for episode 1.14 “Ability“:
Belly’s Handy Work?
There’s something up with the hands in this episode. David Jones’ right hand is trembling throughout much of it – the initial consequence of his teleporting using Walter’s Diz-Rey. But Nina’s right hand (her bionic one) also has a “glitch”. To my mind, this parallel either alludes to the idea that Nina has also been Diz-Reying about the place (how did she get to London so fast at the end of “Safe” anyways?). Or, perhaps there’s more to this than meets the eye – seeing as we know that Nina’s right arm is bionic, could it be that Jones also has a bionic arm? Does using the Diz-Ray initially affect bionic parts? Is that why both of their right hands were in spasm mode? Do Jones and Nina share the same model of bionic arm, made by William Bell himself? Perhaps Jones IS William Bell. Um, I’ve run out of wild suggestions..carry on..
Actually, here’s some further speculation – seeing as Nina’s hand goes “back to normal” towards the end of the episode (I’m sure Olivia was waiting up for that very news), does that mean that Bell showed up to fix it for her? We didn’t see him do it of course, but as I inferred above..we do know that David Jones made an escape that night. We also know that both Jones and Bell were apparently in Germany near the beginning of the series.
Whatever the deal is, there’s SOMETHING being implied here.
How apt that the conflict should not centre around the stereo-typicallittle green men with four fingers and toes, but with beings much likes ourselves, who’s realities have taken different paths based on the law of averages – the brightness of their stars, and the force of their gravity, and so on. This multiversal conflict not only takes us through the looking glass, but it gives us a chance to reflect on similar conflicts within our own reality – surely a metaphor for what is to come.
Our history is littered with conquests and and wars over territory, belief systems and possessions. So much so that you can imagine that the only thing to bring us together would be a war against beings from an ‘unseen’ universe. But what is this multiverse battle over – God, gold or glory? Do the beings from these other worlds seek to purge us, like the mythological Zeus, or do they seek harmonic convergence? Are we at fault for the advancement of our science..or did we steal it from them in the first place (I’m looking at you, Massive Dynamic!)?
Usually, such ‘earthly’ conflicts result in one side extinguishing the other – or at least, having rule over the other. It should perhaps be noted that the Conquistadors victory over the Aztec and Inca Empires, was partly due to disease, which spread faster than any army. The Aztec’s and Inca’s weren’t used to European diseases and so they succumbed to the viral of the opposition very quickly – interesting considering the recent trio of viral-centric Fringe episodes.
Many ancient tribes and groups have been wiped from our earth, several now hang in the balance. Essentially, this is the prophecy that the ZFT manuscript warns of — an “us or them” rally cry.
How does one review this mother of an episode? Here’s the Fringebloggers ‘good and bad’ review of episode 1.14 “Ability”
Thick with mythology. Along with the characters, mythology is the thing that invests me to a show like this. It’s what makes the story so rich with meaning and context. The ZFT Bible and it’s revelations about multiverses and parallel realities, not to mention news that Belly dosed children with special ‘abilities’, gives us a greater sense of understanding as to overarching story.
Action/Drama/Tension. The episode had bucket-loads of action, drama and tension. The pacing was also brilliant, it rarely lagged. Even the little ‘chat’ between Astrid and Walter towards the end was meaningful and brilliantly shot – I loved the way we only saw their backs as the camera slowly panned closer. Special mention also for the light-bulb/bomb scene. I was so into it I’m not sure who actually turned off those lights; Olivia, Peter or me!?
Game-Changer. I knew that a game-changer was coming, I thought it was “Transformation”, however, in retrospect, I jumped the gun. As well as confirming my dimensional/multiple reality theories, the episode managed to change the game to dramatic effect. Suddenly, the scope and depth of the show has increased, and we have a possible clue as to why the Pattern is happening around Olivia – she’s spesh! I’m also pleased that Fringe is journying into relatively new territory, it’s not cliched – it’s not about aliens; - it’s about US..mankind, or rather multiple instances of ourselves. Just imagine what it would be like to observe another Universe like (or unlike) ours, one which has – by law of averages – taken different paths to form a world similar to our own. It gives a whole new meaning to the world ‘relative’, because it really is. Observers Are Here!