The Redemption of John Scott?

The Redemption of John Scott

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fulfil de book. – Bob Marley, Redemption Song

I feel that this is a rather appropriate song in light of recent events on the fringe. Not an exact analogy, but it works for me on some levels, considering that in the space of an episode, John Scott has gone from national traitor to a true hero – redeemed in the eye’s of Olivia; who herself is seemingly free from mental blockage caused by Scott’s consciousness. It will be interesting to see how this liberates her in future episodes – after all, we haven’t seen her this happy since the beginning of the Pilot. An episode where she literally leapt across rooftops in an attempt to save the man who she loved.

The Redemption Song also works with the reference about the futility of atomic energy – “none of them can stop the time”. Perhaps, in the end, science shouldn’t be feared because we all answer to a higher power? Maybe, one day, “Fringe” will boil down to that very conflict – Science vs Mother Nature (or God, or whatever ‘higher power’ the writers go with)?

It’s always great to see a redemption story. It’s one of those things that we all, on some level, strive for. It’s such themes that make Fringe a more human story. Ironic, considering the abnormal transformation that was at the heart of the episode. Metaphorically speaking though, we had the ‘transformation’ of something far more subtle – perspective.

The revelation that John Scott was secretly working for ‘the good guys’ certainly changes the way we look as the game and it’s players. If John was working against “curious” and amoral souls, such as Conrad, we can therefore assume that his partner, George Morales, was also telling the truth about Massive Dynamic being “hell” and it’s leader, William Bell, being “the devil”? Sure, George was seemingly killed by John Scott, suggesting that they weren’t closely aligned, but that wasn’t actually John Scott, it was a manifestation caused by the hallucinogen that also killed Massive Dynamic employee Mark Young. Although, it’s getting difficult to keep track of all the different planes of consciousness on this show!

So, we have Scott and Morales who seemed to be opposed to Massive Dynamic. Yet Nina Sharp appeared positively co-operative in her scene with Olivia and Broyles. Further establishing the idea that she is, perhaps, one of the more altruistic characters on the show. She has a vested interest in the game of course, and it probably suited her to let Olivia have a bash at unlocking Scott’s mind (remember the ‘encryption room’ scene in “Safe”?), after hitting too many dead-ends in retrieving the Intel locked inside his head. Nonetheless, I am beginning to wonder whether Nina and William Bell are more divided than it may seem? We have already seen just how many of their employees and subsidiaries have conflicted with the company’s outward image.

Another aspect that has me intrigued, relates to the point I made in this post about good people doing bad things. Scott was seemingly one such person – “one of the good guys” who simply “ran out of time” in his fight against ‘monsters’ like Conrad. For me, this is one of the most interesting themes on this show – where is the demarcation line between good and evil? If John Scott did have more time, would he have transformed into the very thing that he was fighting against? It’s a question of commitment and loyalty, a question posed to Olivia by the mystifying David Jones.

Closure for Olivia?As an aside, I wonder why Scott didn’t give Olivia more information about the players involved, and whether the likes of Massive Dynamic are to be trusted or not? I guess he knew that he only had a few minutes before their connection ‘died’ and he wanted to fill it with some closure?

Oh, and it looks like we now who those “motivated individuals” are who Nina referenced in “Safe”. Although whether these cells are connected to an overarching ‘parent cell’ remains to be seen. It will be interesting to see where exactly David Jones and ZFT fit into all of this. Currently, it looks as though both Mitchell Loeb and Scott were both aligned against Massive Dynamic, which in turn suggests that ZFT and Jones are too. Unless, of course, ZFT and Massive Dynamic are one in the same side – a ‘smokescreen’ to allow MD to do whatever they want without having their image compromised? I doubt it, but it’s an intriguing possibility.

As a further aside, and going back to the theme of redemption – which I realise is one the creators may not be trying to push as an overarching theme at this point. Ultimately, there has to be consequences for the type of sciences that we’ve seen – consequences on society, the environment and even the spiritual leaning of humanity. Will mankind be able to redeem itself before it’s too late? Or will science blur the lines between right and wrong, good and bad, up and down? We’ve seen Walter Bishop’s attempts to redeem his past actions, and so far he’s painting a hopeful message, but will it be too little too late?

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom
’cause they all I ever had
Redemption songs, redemption songs


  1. Page 48 says

    I think only the truly cynical among us believed that Scott was a bad seed. Having more or less cleared his name now, it makes the car chase that led to his death seem really reckless and ill-conceived on his part.

    As you say, he could easily taken Olivia aside and brought her into the loop. It was only Olivia who saw him ‘getting away’ after killing Steig and subsequently instigated hot pursuit through those unforgiving Toronto streets. How did Scott see that scenario playing out? Did he fear Olivia that much? He might just have easily have gotten HER killed, not to mention countless innocent motorists/pedestrians. Did he seriously distrust her to that extent ? Even if he got away, the high speed getaway was a game-changer for not only his NSA work, but his torrid affair with his co-worker.

    This appears to be a serious error in Scott’s judgment, IMO, unless there is something else going on here.

    And, dammit, why doesn’t Liv ask Broyles why he sent her to the storage facility? Scott’s dying words to her suggests that she do so, and she does NOT follow up? Could it be that ‘she can’t handle the truth’?

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    • says

      Thanks for bringing that up. Scott’s actions towards the end of the Pilot were rather strange. I’d like to think that the writers knew where they were taking the character and just decided to make him ‘wreckless’, as opposed to radically changing the original direction of the character (although I guess we have to allow the writers some flexibility). I guess he had been through a lot on that day. But even so, he killed Richard Steig – was that really necessary? As you say, he could easily have killed Olivia – I’m sure he tried to ram her off the road at one point?

      There could be more to it – I hope there is, because like you mentioned, the Broyles thing is yet to be investigated by Olivia. If we take Scott’s dying words as being important, then perhaps Phillip is not the good guy that many of us think? That said, it’s all relative, and it does seem as though the writers have abandoned this plot angle.

      and she does NOT follow up? Could it be that ’she can’t handle the truth’?

      Now that’s interesting. Is Olivia so afraid of not being able to trust Broyles? She did everything to get to the bottom of John Scott’s involvement, but it’s as if any stain on Broyles’ involvement would be too much to bear.

      Broyles must be her rock!

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  2. Mike says

    So although I liked the 2nd season starter, I am sad to report a major plot error. You start out with two “bodies” (agent and shape shifter) and end up with three – (dead agent – dead “Nurse” (shapeshifter?) and, it’s assumed, the shape shifter alive and now looking like the FBI agent.
    So where did the extra body come from?

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