Monday, January 11, 2010

New Fringe on Monday Night - In Alternate Universe with Dybbuk?

Fringe is on Thursday nights on Fox. But a new episode was shown this evening - Monday - advertised as an all new Fringe. The first hint that this was more than new came in the opening credits. Kirk Acevedo's name was there. He played Olivia's erstwhile partner Charlie Francis - erstwhile because Charlie was first killed, then came back inhabited by one of the alternate universe bad guys (presumably William Bell's current haunts - though maybe the bad beings are attacking both Bell's and our universes).

So I thought, when I saw Acevedo's name ... hmmm ... maybe the bad guys are putting in our universe another Charlie clone, ala the Terminator. But no, this clearly wasn't the case, because Olivia seemed perfectly at home with her former, possessed, doubly deceased partner.

What was going on? One closer inspection in the realm of extra-fiction - meaning, outside of the show on Fox tonight itself - we find on Fox Flash  (see about 1/4 down the page) that tonight's Fringe is a "SPECIAL UNEARTHED EPISODE FROM SEASON ONE." Ah ha! That certainly explains Charlie and Olivia's lack of alarm (to say the least) about him. But why would Fox just slip in this out-of-season (though not especially out of sync) episode from last year? Contempt for Fringe's audience? Well, maybe not ... Fox Flash concludes its blurb about tonight's Fringe as follows: "is it an unaired episode from Season One or is it from an alternate universe?"

Ah, alternate universe! Now we're talking. Fringe has already established that, in its (our fictitious) universe, there are other, parallel, alternate universes. One is William Bell's. But there could be others. So maybe tonight's episode was a story in an alternate Fringe universe, in which Charlie never died, not even once, and is still Olivia's partner.

Once I started focusing on this hypothesis, I noticed some other differences. A character commented on Olivia and Peter's possible romantic involvement - you don't see that too much in our universe. And Walter seemed a lot less crazy. I'm just sayin...

The story itself - in whatever universe - was good tonight. A young woman who's near death (or maybe has died) because of an aneurysm is vulnerable to her brain/mind/soul being taken over by a discontented soul whose body had just been murdered. The play on the Yiddish dybbuk story has a top-notch confrontation between Walter and a priest, who argue over explanations based on science verses those that come from faith. And the ending, in which the soul is freed from the young woman, only to inhabit someone else has almost or just died, makes perfect sense, since the soul has not yet gotten its revenge on its body's murderer.

So, kudos to Fox not only for putting this show on, but tying it in the Fox Flash to the alternate universe possibility. Ordinarily, I'd be a little annoyed by such television programming mind games. But, in this case, I-

Wait a minute, this just isn't like me. Am I in some alternate universe right now? How about you?

Whatever universe I'm in, I hope Fringe at some point in one of its futures puts in some little reference to tonight's story, just to make these meta-connections even more intriguing.

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

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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