Fringe Rewatch: 2.03 Toy Soldiers And Broken Parts


Welcome to the rewatch for episode 3 of Fringe season 2 – “Fracture”. Join us as we pick up the pieces from the Molebaby encounter and glean new perspectives from Sam Weiss’ magic balls of intrigue.

We have renamed this episode: Toy Soldiers And Broken Parts.

Newly Observed Perspectives

  • At Sam’s bowling alley, Olivia is sitting on a red chair, with a gray chair either side of her. An indication that she is making the transition from a recruit (the “black and gray” clothing) to an alternate universe fighting warrior? Or a random circumstance that happens to fit a certain logic? Take your pick or pick your take.
  • More sleep references, this time from Weiss: “Are you sleeping at night?” No Samuel, she hasn’t slept since encountering Puff The Magic Dragon down in the sewers. And now she sleeps with her light on. Please help her.

  • I’m reminded that this episode did a good job at exploring Olivia’s trauma after her visit to the other side – the trembling hands, the hobbling around on that Jedi stick, the red-tinted flashbacks. Good to see, although I would probably have liked to have seen a bit more of it before the giant RESET button was pushed.
  • The manner in which Olivia found the vials was slightly contrived, but lessened by the underlying idea that her mind was working under the surface, guiding her to the clues.
  • I still want to know why Colonel destroyed the couriers information rather than analyzing it. Seems a bit foolish to me.
  • More sleep references:

“Parts of your brain are still asleep, but once they wake up, all that memory will get flushed down.”

  • A battle is being fought in Olivia’s mind between the parts that want to remember and the parts that gone into a self-imposed sleep so that she remains safe. Both sides mean well.
  • It’s probably weiss to pay attention to any perception reference delivered by Sam. Here he’s essentially alluding to the fact that there’s more to Olivia than meets the eye, as he measures her hand:

“Seven and 1/4 inches. Hmm.

Why Hmm?

Nothing, your hands just seem smaller to me”

  • We could also look at this from another angle, with the idea that there’s more to Weiss than meets the eye – which we know. But it’s still interesting to see Weiss essentially make a comment about perception and how it distorts reality (or reveals the truth) depending on your viewpoint. Then there’s the idea that by getting Olivia to feel small, he’s retracting her mind, getting it to reach down to her inner child, who seems to be under some duress. This also corroborates Weiss’ earlier comment about getting Olivia to keep score at the kids bowling session. The things that Weiss says might not make much sense on the surface, but he’s communicating with the Inner Olivia, if you get my drift. Either way, whatever Weiss did, he fixed her. Or rather, started the rebuilding process.

  • Colonel Gordon may have been crazy (he blew people up, after all), but he hit on some things that we know to be true. I’ll quote him and Broyles:

“Meanwhile we go through our lives unaware. The enemy is among us and nobody is doing anything about it. We don’t have any idea the end is coming. So we had to take matters into our own hands. We had to send them a message”

“What was in the briefcase?”

“They told you I was crazy didn’t they. The Pentagon. They told you I had a psychiatric break. I told them what I’m telling you. That they are here – collecting data, making observations. That’s what’s in the briefcase. They’ve been planning for war. And they’ve been passing information via courier, right under our noses.”

Who are they?”

“We don’t know who they are. But I can tell you what they want. They want to exterminate us, so they’re studying us, our culture, our technology, our science. And they plan to use it against us. One way or another, we’ll find out who they are. But by then, I suppose it wont really matter. because whatever is in those cases, is going to destroy us all”

I’m not sure it does much good to analyze that. I’m not sure that the writers didn’t change their minds along the way as to who they believed Gordon was referring to. At the time Gordon’s claim was made to seem directed towards the Observers (although that may have been intentional misdirection). Now, with the second season completed, it has probably swung more in Walternate and the alternate universe’s direction. Since we know that Walternate has been preparing for war, and gathering data through spies and whatnot. Obviously Gordon himself didn’t know exactly who this ‘great threat’ was – he was right about certain things, but whether the Observers are threats or benign reality defenders, well, it looks like the latter. Though it would be interesting to explore the actual motives of the Observers and who or what their actions are ultimately serving. I mean, science is neutral in this show, but it also has a way of serving those who have it.

Best retrospective performer: Anna Torv

Best retrospective moment: For all its faults, the end scene.

Retrospective episode rating: 7/10

Useful Links

Next rewatch episode – 2.04 “Momentum Deferred” – TBA.

Comments

  1. Pwnsauce says

    7/10 seems like a little too high. It was weird for me, because I felt ‘Night of Desirable Objects’ had more rewatch value than ‘Fracture’, even though I always thought Fracture was a much better episode. I’d give it about a 5/10.

    Roco you’ll have to start doing two-a-days now.

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  2. Elaine says

    I’ve always liked this episode for many of the same reasons you mentioned. The colonel’s objective still seems intentionally skewed; and it’s unclear whether it was due to the writers not being exactly sure where they wanted to take that piece of information, or changing their minds later on, but in retrospect, I wonder if the colonel was mere misinformed. He was crazy even if he was correct about what was in those briefcases wanting to destroy mankind…well, this universe of mankind.

    I particularly liked Olivia and Peter’s visit to Iraq. It was a continuation (imo) of their unwillingness to be open with each other, although you got the sense they wanted to be. Olivia smuding the truth about the headaches, and Peter shutting Olivia out when she asked what was up between Peter and Ahmed…or whatever his name was.

    Then there was the great scenes between Olivia and Sam. I’ve liked Sam from the start. He was perfectly frustrating, yet compassionate to Olivia’s plight, and ultimately, he fixed her…or at least set her back on track.

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  3. number six says

    However true (or not) his conspiracy theory about the Observers was, Gordon’s methods belonged more to a simple psychopath than anything. I don’t buy that he had to kill so many innocent people for a suitcase, when other more simple and clean methods could have been used. To me, as Malik said, he’s just a vicious man with no regard for human life.

    I loved getting more backstory about Peter in Iraq, but Broyles’s decision to send Olivia to Iraq with Peter didn’t seem logical to me. She obviously hadn’t recovered fully and it was totally unnecessary. It was a nice touch to see that Peter didn’t like it at all, since he knew about her headaches.

    This is the first episode, where Walter shows some genuine interest in Astrid. I adore their relationship and I’m happy that it was so well developed in S2. The lab scenes with Walter, Peter and Astrid are always a high point for me. Add some humor, like Peter, Walter, Gene and the sandwich and the rest of the episode can be as bad as it wants to be.

    I disliked:

    – Olivia discovering the medical kit in the bathroom. Too contrived.

    – Peter attacking Gordon. Just a big NO. And he didn’t kick down a door to make up for it.

    Peter in Iraq was my favorite part of the episode. 7.5/10

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  4. Ann_Louise says

    We liked this episode a lot more than “Molebaby”, if only for giving Fringe Division a “win” of sorts. Major McCrazy was prevented from activating the rest of his troops, so at least some innocent lives were saved.

    -I’ll always see Stephen McHattie(sp?) as the Bad Guy from S3 of Beauty and the Beast show, with a little bit of Nite Owl from Watchmen tossed in.

    -In regards to Malik and #6’s comments – is this another case of Fringe showing us a crazy psychopath, or is this another version of Walternate (or Roco’s version :), Walter and Belly etc., – somebody who crosses the line between right and wrong and does terrible things to protect “their” world from destruction?

    -I liked the little touch of having Peter cover the police officer’s remains after the case is wrapped up – another innocent victim.

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  5. says

    I love that header image. Dunham’s got both barrels cocked at Sam’s head, but he pretty much keeps his cool. This guy is not your run-of-the-mill shoe renter.

    I think you’re right that the Observers are in the main, benign. They do have a lot to answer for, though. If it’s true–as it seems to be–that the abduction of Peter started the Red Universe on its path to destruction, they got together and decided it was worth the cost.

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