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.
Newly Observed Perspectives
- Are we ever going to find out why Jones was in Germany and what “state secrets” he was stealing? I can assume that it was somehow connected to William Bell? Or perhaps he stole some of Robert Bishop’s earlier work to help him with the next part of his mission? I can massage the plot and maybe bend it a bit, but it would be nice if his story had a bit more follow through.
- Poor Tommy Newsstand. Having your orifices close up on you like that must be terrible. And look at September just gawping at him like a fish. Unlike Peter, Tommy just wasn’t worth intervening over. Spare a thought for Tommy next time you’re in a sulk, Peter.
- Has Olivia ever looked more soldier-like than in her scene with Mitchell?
- Looking back at the whole Olivia vs Mitchell animosity. I wonder if in retrospect Olivia has a better appreciation for what he and Jones were trying to do now that she’s in the thick of the conflict? Speaking of Mitch, I wonder what he’s up to these days?
- Peter and his “weird connections”. Olivia and her puppy dogs eyes. Is there a more perfect couple than this?
- I would love to know exactly how Peter and Markham met. Aside from reading comics in his alternate universe youth, Peter doesn’t strike me as the bookstore type. Is Peter part of a secret book club that we don’t know about? Did he once desperately put Markham on the hunt to find “Kicking Down Doors for Dummies”?
- Peter quotes from ZFT:
“The advances of science, which are supposed to expand our understanding of the universe, will, if not carefully controlled, destroy the world as we know it. Our technological ambition, has not only driven us to the brink of catastrophe, the catastrophe has already begun.”
- Presuming Bell wrote ZFT with the knowledge that Walter essentially triggered the catastrophe, perhaps he should have made room for “human immorality” alongside “the advances of science”. Clearly science is not to blame here – it’s the human application of science, when morally or emotionally impaired, that requires even greater control.
- The Jones vs Harris scene implies that they weren’t working for the same side, or that agent Harassment was unaware that he was on the same side as Jones. I prefer the former, it makes more sense. Therefore, we can assume that Harris was indeed working for Bell, who charged Harris (and Winters) with activating his ‘children’ so that they could cross universes to free him from his prison (oh, and ready them for the coming war, of course). At least, that’s one possible interpretation. This scenario would also suggest that Nina was clued in on Harris.
- “Before they must be regarded as soldiers, they must be regarded as recruits. And the expectation must be that the shall be unwilling.” Aside from being the classic ‘hero’ trope, what importance does the reluctance of a chosen one play in the cultivation of a hero? What specific qualities does such unwillingness breed once it has been converted? I just find it interesting that Bell expected his children to initially resist their potential. Was this consideration based on the natural mechanics of their predisposition, or was it something that he taught them? Oh Bellie, if only you were still here to explain yourself.
- Olivia has powers alright..powers of deception. The rigged box test was another example of her ability to pull out a performance when needed. Even Peter was impressed. This isn’t a criticism as such, I just find it to be an interesting bow to her weaponry – something which might even come in handy over in the old AU. “Walternate, pwease! Pwease can I have a glass of water?” *SMASH!*
- I still have to admire Olivia’s bravery in the face of catastrophe. What drove her to risk life and limb to diffuse the impossible bomb? It may have been many things – defiance, selflessness, insanity. How about faith? An incredible amount of self belief – Cortexiphan enhanced or innate. I’ve always got the sense that, when it boils down to it, Olivia can do almost anything that she puts her mind to. A hand for Peter too, coming back for his girl (and possibly diffusing the bomb with his mind skills), although allowing Dunham to shield him from the potential blast (I kid).
Possible Answers to Unresolved Questions
- Why didn’t Bell publish ZFT?
- Interesting, since Walternate didn’t hang about in publishing his version (even though it was a pack of half-truths). I can only assume that Bell wanted to keep it ‘underground’, as they say. Maybe he thought (like Walternate) that the world wasn’t ready for such truths? Or perhaps he wanted to protect Walter or Peter?
- If the side-effects of the teleporter were “unadvertised”, how did Jones originally plan on making it safely to the alternate universe?
- First, let’s just clarify that (as was later implied) the teleporter (or what it did to his molecular structure) would have provided Jones with a better chance of making it to the alternate universe without being ripped apart. Therefore, prior to that, he must have been planning to use Olivia’s ability to travel safely across. Similar to what we eventually see in the season 2 finale with the Cortexiphan kids and Walter. This would at least offer some explanation as to why Jones dropped her like she was hot after this episode.
- Who fixed Nina’s hand?
- I want to say Bell (did he chance one more trip?). Alternatively, I’d go for Samuel of Weissington.
Best retrospective performer: Jared Harris
Best retrospective moment: Olivia and/or Peter disarming the bomb with their
Retrospective episode rating: 8/10
Next rewatch episode – 1.15 “Inner Child” – TBA.