Synopsis: In the third episode of this new procedural thriller that explores the blurring line between the possible and the unimaginable, our unlikely trio investigates a horrific bus incident in which the dead bodies of commuters are frozen inside a bus like insects in amber. Led by the unconventional Dr. Bishop, who requests a piano in the lab to help him process data, the team uncovers a man who has visions of Pattern-related disturbances before they happen, and race to decipher the distraught man’s thoughts to prevent another atrocious event from occurring.
General Thoughts: Rewatching this episode was a slightly more entertaining experience than the previous one, although I’d put them in the same ball park. Ghost Network does, however, benefit from subtle foreshadowing and interesting underlying themes.
New Observations & Perspectives
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God. And no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead, and their passing away was thought an affliction. and their going forth from us, utter destruction – but they are in peace“ (Wisdom 3:1-9).
There may be no dual intention behind this, but it makes me wonder about death in context of the show – what does it really mean if the dead can still interact with the living? In many ways John is still alive and at peace..somewhere. It also makes me wonder whether Walter could have sought solace from the idea that Peter was in a better place when he died (assuming Peter 1.0 is dead)? Surely Walter used the synaptic chamber in a desperate attempt to communicate with his lost son? Maybe it provided little comfort, perhaps explaining why Walter was so adamant that John could not have interacted with Olivia during her subsequent dreamscapes?
2.) In the cafe there was a clear reflection in the mirror opposite Walter – considering what we know about alter-Walter’s and parallel realities, this seems like a nice little piece of foreshadowing.
3.) It’s been well documented that the interior of the Massive Dynamic building is all white – but it occurred to me whilst rewatching that Nina wears a lot of black. Color symbolism has played a big part in the series – I wonder whether there are any inferences we should be drawing from this one?
4.) Upon realising the purpose of the Ghost Network, Walter says “they took the easy way out”. This made me think – what other purposes could the Ghost Network be used for, and does the notion of undiscovered waves foreshadow the Observer’s ‘phsycic’ communication with Peter? Then there’s the beacon..don’t get me started on that thing..
5.) Roy’s models reveal 3 pattern-cases missed by Fringe Division. I find this interesting as it shows that they are not on top of all the events that happen. Suggesting that some pattern-events might be smaller..harder to spot.
6.) At the end of the season we discover that Nina had an energy cell hidden in her arm, before that people were hiding encryption disks in their hands. Goodness knows what Walter has hidden where.
1.) Peter was supposed to “check in” before he came home – what IS the deal with Big Eddie? I’m assuming the photographer was working for Peter’s Mafia buddies? This is one story arc that never truly got off the ground despite promising to be important in the early stages. Perhaps it’s a season 2 arc, or maybe the writers dropped it completely?
2.) Why did Ziegler and Gerard bother to speak Latin over the Ghost Network – especially if it was supposed to be a private spectrum? My guess is that they wanted to be extra careful – the original technology (or the premise behind it) was seemingly based on Walter’s past work, and as we’ve come to know – that makes it a free for all, with the possibility of multiple parties having access to the same technology and using it to infiltrate rivals. Some believe Latin being a ‘dead language’. That probably made it an attractive option.
3.) Why can’t Walter remember Astrid’s first name? Although he gets it right in the finale, we never really found out WHY her name failed him for 19 episodes. Maybe there’s a good reason, or perhaps the writers thought it would be a good running joke? Hey, it worked. 😉
4.) Did John’s mom give Olivia an evil smile or was Olivia’s perception playing tricks on her? The logical assumption is that she knew about Olivia and John’s affair, or that she blamed Olivia for not protecting her partner out on the field. Not an important ‘loose end’, but at the time it seemed like it could be something, especially with John’s body still on ice over at Massive Dynamic.
1.) Peter suggests that the people behind the bus attack (Ziegler and Gerard) wanted to gain attention. Whilst their primary objective appeared to be the disk, I’m happy to go along with Peter’s line of thought.
As far as I can tell, they used the opportunity to get the disk and to demonstrate their technology – possibly to those interested in buying it – similar to the Steig situation, perhaps.
2.) John Scott also had a disk embedded on his person – At the end of the episode Nina’s technician tells her that they’ve been pulling data from the disk for the last 72 hours, at which point the camera pans to John Scott next to a computer which is extracting information from his disk. Thus linking John with (fellow undercover NSA agent) Evelina, even at this early stage.
The real meat of this episode for me came in the faith vs reason undertones. Roy McComb thought that God was speaking to him, he didn’t understand why he was seeing horrific things before they had played out. He thought that he ‘heard the call’ and there was nothing he could do to help. And yet, it turned out that it wasn’t God showing him prophecies, instead it was technology revealing man’s evil intentions. There was reason to what Roy was experiencing, as Astrid’s said:
“It’s gotta be a relief, right? Knowing there’s a rational explanation”
In the end, science provided comfort to a mind searching for answers – it gave reason where faith didn’t. And yet I get a small sense that a religious man like Roy wouldn’t be fully satisfied to suddenly realise that he wasn’t receiving a call from a higher order.
Maybe I’m reading too much into that, but the series does go on to show how faith and reason collide when one is trying to find their purpose. We see it play out with Olivia, where she struggles to accept the things that are happening to her as she clings on to the last fabric of her reality, yet she grows in the process. So in some instances, science can be a comfort, but believing in something..taking the leap of faith, can get you to the other side.
Best Performer: John Noble
Favourite Moment: It came during Olivia’s meeting with Nina, who masterfully turns Olivia’s questioning on its head by suggesting that Olivia is responsible for the recent Pattern events. I always found this moment great because it suggested that the writers had an answer for WHY everything seemed to happen in Boston. It also elevated Olivia’s overall importance, in my mind. Watching it a second time it was just a joy to watch these two characters go at it, I love their dynamic, so to speak.
Retrospective Rating: 6.5/10
Our Original Ghost Network Eastereggs can be found here.
Next Rewatch Episode: The Arrival – Sunday (ETA)