Welcome to the rewatch for Fringe episode 1.12 “The No Brainer”. In this rewatch we scoop up our brains and search for any new perspectives.
We’ve renamed this episode Please Don’t Hurt Daddy! Because, was it really about anything else?
Newly Observed Perspectives
- R@chel says that Ella reminds her of Olivia. It’s not much, and I don’t hold value in pretty much anything that comes from her mouth, but it’s little things like this that might suggest the writers at least considered the idea of Ella being Olivia’s child at one point.
- Did Body Shop Dude check out Olivia’s ass? That’s the second that’s happened this season. I always say it’s the important details that matter most.
- Ah, the classic R@chel cooking a ‘pot of boiling water’ scene (I could be wrong, but I believe it was Page 48 who first came up with that delightful description for what she was actually doing). She gets one point for intuitively taking on board my hint about cooking Olivia a meal (although lets face it, she only did it so she wouldn’t hear Olivia’s phone call). But she loses two points for being a sucky parent. Could she have been any less concerned about Ella? If the Dunhamnator comes bursting through my door waving a gun, hair flailing all over the place, you better believe I’ve got my cape on ready to assist her in like 2 seconds flat. Screw the pasta, Gotham needs saving!
- Is it just me or was R@chel trying to make Peter her baby daddy after 5 seconds of knowing the guy? And anyway, he might be good at birthday parties, but there’s no guarantee he’ll stay for longer than a few minutes. Ain’t that right, Peter?
- Oh R@chel: “My sister’s not really the weekend off type. That was always more me.” Your child almost had her brains melted and you’re trying to snare a date with Peter? Really, R@chel..really? Just look at how concerned Olivia is. That alone should have you, at the very least, intrigued.
- Peter: “It’s amazing isn’t it? All these people and they don’t have a clue how crazy it all really is. The world, everything.” The irony is that Peter himself had no idea just how crazy it really was.
- Jessica Warren’s arrival is one of the more interesting aspects of this episode – since by extension of her daughter, Carla, she’s connected to two acts which would forever alter Walter. His decision to abduct Peter from the alternate universe, and the lab fire which killed Carla and sent Walter to the asylum.
- It was interesting to see Peter attempt to shield Walter from the reality of his past. But in doing so he was being incredibly unfair to both Walter and especially Jessica, who must have been desperate for some sort of closure. This is an example of how good intentions can be subjective – benefiting those who they serve most. Peter wanted to protect Walter, but he also wanted to hold on to his father and their newly forming relationship. Self preservation.
- Olivia’s (I guess we can call it) faith in Walter’s capacity to handle this ghost from his past is another intriguing element. What did Dunham see in Walter that Peter couldn’t? More to the point, why (aside form selfish reasons) was Peter unable to trust his father to cope with Jessica’s arrival? Perhaps there’s such a thing as being too close to someone to see their true capability? This could be argued to be a similar to Walter’s inability to tell Peter the truth about his origins. Placing trust in a person’s human nature can be too much to bear because it means letting go, losing control. In fact all of our heroes really hate losing control of the world around them, yet when they let go and act on impulse we often see their true potential (Olivia crossing universes, Broyles protecting his team, etc)
- I found it noteworthy that Olivia was able to take the perspective that it must also be hard for Jessica to come back to the place where she lost her daughter. I like that. It’s in-keeping with Olivia’s character. Furthermore, it’s interesting that Peter’s ‘underestimation’ of his father angered Olivia slightly. I’m loathe to place too much value in this of all episodes, but I found that to be an intriguing little aspect that I can’t recall previously picking up on. Olivia is really observant and knows what it’s like to be underestimated, so it’s no wonder that this aspect of Peter’s relationship with his father would bother her.
- Question for Harris: Were you born an a-hole or is it something that you acquired along the way? I only ask because I’m interested in this whole nature vs nurture thing.
- Livvy is always good for a comedy moment:
Charlie: “What about Harris?”
Olivia: “..Screw him!”
- Interesting Peter tidbit: “I don’t underestimate my father, by the way. I understand him, sometimes more than I want to.” Nothing we didn’t already know, but it perhaps informs us of Peter’s later ‘acceptance’ of his father’s actions.
- You know, although I like the sentiment behind Olivia’s response, the following line from Peter doesn’t half make him seem slow on the uptake:
“I don’t get it, he knew he was killing those people. Why would the kid protect a murderer like that?”
- It also makes me think of Walternate and Peter’s haste in abandoning him. Olivia’s answer only works on emotional connections. Peter’s bond with Walternate was broken by an act that Walter committed, and yet even once that truth is out in the open, Walter still gets the boy. I really feel sorry for Walternate and I wonder whether he might have suspected that Peter would always choose Walter over him?
Possible Answers to Unresolved Mysteries
- How did Brian Dempsey know to target Olivia with the virus?
- Given the state of FBI security, he probably did some digging and found that Olivia was closing in on him. Captain Genius then decided to target someone she cared about, namely Ella. It still doesn’t make much sense, but not much of the plot really came together in a satisfying way.
Best retrospective performer: Anna Torv
Best retrospective moment: Walter and Jessica
Retrospective episode rating: 3/10
Next rewatch episode – 1.13 “The Transformation” – TBA.