Fringe Rewatch: 1.18 Being Human

Welcome to our rewatch for episode 18 of Fringe season 1 “Midnight”. Join us as we hunt down new perspectives, before Valerie Boone sinks her teeth into our succulent spines.

We have renamed this episode: Being Human.

Newly Observed Perspectives

  • “We have another monster on the loose?” Haha! I feel your incredulity Broylesy.

“Will I ever be able to sleep at night again?”

“That depends”

“Depends on what?”

Whether the light is on or not

  • Gregg wants full custody of Ella and labels R@chel an “unfit parent”. R@chel phones Olivia while she’s on a ZFT raid to tell her all about her universe-shattering news. It’s just all about you, isn’t it, R@ch? ๐Ÿ˜›
  • Nicolas Boone. Another glimpse into the mind of a pioneering scientist made to suffer personal consequences for the risks he took. It’s perhaps interesting to consider whether Walter was channelling his sympathy and empathy towards Boone, when he imagined himself in a wheelchair in “Brown Betty“? If that episode was in some way an exploration of Walter’s inner mind, it could imply that he was associating Boone’s situation to his own. Funny how Walter had to go one better by making his chair electric-powered.
  • This episode gives us ZFT’s motivation: “to show off to other scientists”. Well, clearly David Jones, rogue or otherwise, had a personal agenda. As for Bell, well..we’ll get to him later.
  • Ah, Peter’s ‘mystery project’. What an utter disappointment that was.
  • The following comment from Walter has gained depth since season 2 (“Grey Matters”):

“A little memory loss, is often kind to the soul”

  • As we know, Walter asked William Bell to remove parts of his memory because he was ‘afraid of what he was becoming’. The above quote suggests that this was a self-interested move on Walter’s part – he wanted to extinguish the guilt that weighed heavy on his conscience. But there’s also the possibility that he wanted to protect society by purging memories which could be dangerous in his mind, or the minds of others. As often is the case with Walter, he carries a lot of duality. Reinforced by this next exchange:

“Is that a figure of speech, or do you believe there is such a thing – the soul?”

There are days when I wish I didn’t. There are days when I wish I did

  • Walter and Boone also talk about “judgement”. They have both struggled with the idea, but ultimately feared that one day their judgement would come. Walter reveals that he and Bellie used to debate the very notion of judgement. I don’t know about you, but that’s one debate I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for!
  • Walter sees himself beneath Bellie:

“We used to share a Lab. Quite a fall”

  • I would suggest that both men fell. Both of them leapt, reached the other side, but ultimately failed in their responsibilities. That Bellie amassed billions is not the point – particularly when we’re talking about concepts of the soul and judgement.
  • Although I have my issues with Walter (and boy do I have issues with Walter!), I do admire his desire to turn things around. If time is not linear (certainly in the world of this show), than perhaps it’s even more important that he never gives up in his search for redemption. This is my hope for Walter, that he succeeds in what I believe to be his personal goal:

“If indeed there is a soul, we must consider then that there is..still time for redemption.”

  • Boone claimed that he had never heard of Jones – so that answers of a few of our returning ZFT questions, while making me wonder where the rest of Jones’ rogue ZFT army is, and what they’re up to these days? Loeb is in a hole somewhere, but what about the rest? He also confirmed that Bell funds the main ZFT – nothing we didn’t already surmise at this point, but it’s interesting to look back and see how shocked Broyles is. Nina kept that one quiet, eh, Broyles. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Best retrospective performer: Lance Reddick.

Best retrospective moment: Discussions of the soul with Bishop and Boone.

Retrospective episode rating: 5/10

Useful Links

Next rewatch episode โ€“ 1.19 โ€œThe Road Not Takenโ€ โ€“ TBA.


  1. jophan says

    We’ve never gotten a last-seen date for Bell in this universe, have we? How long has he been trapped on the other side, and how does this work into the accusations of his being behind ZFT? Perhaps it’s an impostor, such as the person who convinced Bell to form MD (since he denied being the originator of the idea in OT2). I don’t have any trouble with Boone not knowing Jones because Jones was originally from a European cell and interacted with the Boston cell through associates.

    I wonder if Walter’s being “afraid of what he was becoming” ties into Penrose’s opinion of him: “No one in power should know what he knows” (The Same Old Story). We’ll have to look for clues in Walternate.

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  2. FinChase says

    “Midnight” is not really a bad episode–it’s certainly better than either “Unleashed” or “The No-Brainer”. But it suffers from being sandwiched between the giant that is “Bad Dreams” and the almost equally powerful “The Road Not Taken”.

    I actually found Nicholas Boone’s story compelling, and it would have been interesting to have learned more about him. How was he recruited by ZFT originally? Walter seemed so thrilled to be showing him around his lab. What happened to his wife later? The scene where Valerie awakes in the car and attacks Dunham is quite suspenseful, even if you do see it coming.

    I wonder if Leonard Nimoy had not retired, how much more culpable would the writers have made him in the season 2 finale? They were certainly heading down this path, and much as I like Nimoy, I often regret they did not cast a younger, less well-known actor to play Bell so he could be a continuing character. He cast a shadow over the entire first season, and I think the second season missed that presence.

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  3. number six says

    Well, the monster of the week wasn’t one of the best, but at least it was related to the mythology. I liked the mutual understanding and instant connection between Boone and Walter. They had an interesting conversation and, as always, John Noble was excellent. It’s a pity that they didn’t develop the William Bell/ZFT plot in S2, when it was so important at the end of S1.

    Among other things:

    “I’m looking for someone with syphilis.”
    So awesome!

    “You know what I hate worst than the cold?” “Not much.”
    The trauma of his kidnapping and almost drowning in the freezing water at work, I suppose.

    6.5/10. Once again, the Bishops came to the rescue and saved an episode.

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