Saturday, December 12, 2009

Fringe 2.10: Walter's Brain, Harry Potter, and Flowers for Algernon

Fringe 2.10 went Harry Potter's "pensieve" one big, science fictional step better this week, with a story about crucial pieces of Walter's memory being literally sliced out of his brain, and placed for safekeeping in the brains of others.

One part of this excellent story featured the impact of the implanted slivers of brain on the recipients: they went crazy. This impelled the people who did the extracts and the implants - our "friends" from the alternate reality that was once our Peter's home, and is now William Bell's - to remove the slivers from the hosts, and put them back in Walter's brain.

Like any fine piece of science fiction, this story followed through with logical results. The hosts became cured as soon as the piece of Walter's brain was removed. And Walter became complete, sane, when the missing pieces were hooked up again (not reinserted - there wasn't time) to his brain.

And, like Charlie in Daniel Keyes' masterpiece Flowers for Algernon, Walter of course becomes a little crazy once more - the Walter we have come to know and love - when the connections to the missing pieces of his brain are removed. A tour de force sensitive performance by John Noble - a little crazy, clear and sane, a little crazy again - brought this all home.

Interestingly, this is the second time in this Fall 2009 television season that I've noticed a powerful connection to Flowers for Algernoon - see my House 6.8 and the Reverse of Flowers for Algernon. It's a real pleasure to see good television resonate with such a science fictional and deeply moving classic.

The people from Bell's world wanted Walter's knowledge of how he built a doorway to their world. They're getting ever closer to building the portal that could leave our world in ruins - we should at least be ok until the series resumes in 2010.

5-min podcast review of Fringe

See also Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb ... Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing ... Fringe 2.5: Peter in Alternate Reality and Wi-Fi for the Mind ... A Different Stripe of Fringe in 2.6 ... The Kid Who Changed Minds in Fringe 2.7 ... Fringe 2.8: The Eternal Bald Observers ... Fringe 2.9: Walter's Journey

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

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