Friday, November 18, 2011

Fringe 4.7: The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man has been a great staple of science fiction since H. G. Wells' novel (1897) of the same through Hollow Man (the fine 2000 movie starring Kevin Bacon).   He - or another version of an invisible guy - returned tonight in Fringe (episode 4.7), which exells in bringing classic science fiction onto today's television screens.

The specifics of the story are less important than what they do to Olivia.  The invisible man - struggling to become visible, literally dying to do that - became that way due to a genetic condition, treated by a predecessor of Massive Dynamic, with Bell and Nina in residence.  This has two effects:

1. Olivia gets more in touch with the treatment Walter and Bell subjected her to.

2.  Even more importantly, this gets Olivia to go see Nina.   Which sets up the ending: Olivia is knocked out (white gas under her door), and injected with something that will remove her memories from the two hours.  In some sense, Nina is now a villain.

But to what purpose?  What did Olivia see, think, do, feel in the previous two hours that Nina, for whomever or whatever she may be working for, wants Olive (as Nina calls Olivia in their meeting) to forget?  We'll have to wait until January to find out more, but I'm thinking Nina may be working in concert with Walternate.

We haven't seen too much of the alternate universe in Fringe this Fall, but the coming attractions show it will be back in the action.

Both ours and the alternate universe have been changed by Peter's absence, and it's important to bear in mind in which ways the alternate universe has been changed and unchanged from what we knew of it last season (we've seen this season how much our universe has been changed by Peter's absence).  Since Peter "died" in the crossing on the iced-over lake, Walternate may hate our universe and Walter even more than in the reality in which Peter at least lived on our side.   From Walternate's point of view in this double-universe without Peter, Walter not only kidnapped Peter but killed him.

The resolution has to come down to Peter, now, who is the only witness (other than the Eternal Bald Obersvers) to what we the audience saw the first three seasons.  He gives Lincoln a new pair of glasses - to make him more attractive to Olivia? - but the metaphoric implications of this are huge.  What's going on in Fringe is how to improve everyone's vision, so they see the truth.  Somehow, that reality - ours and Peter's (who is also an invisible man) - has to become visible.

Hey, check out my essay The Return of 1950s Science Fiction in Fringe in this new anthology

See also Fringe Returns for Season 4: Almost with Peter
... Fringe 4.2: Better and Worse Selves ... Fringe 4.3: Sanity and Son ... Fringe 4.4: Peter's Back, Ectoplasm, and McLuhan ... Fringe 4.5: Double Return ... Fringe 4.6: Time Slips

See also Fringe 3.1: The Other Olivia ... Fringe 3.2: Bad Olivia and Peter ... Fringe 3.3: Our/Their Olivia on the Other Side ... Fringe 3.5: Back from Hiatus, Back from the Amber ... Fringe 3.7: Two Universes Still Nearing Collision ... Fringe 3.8: Long Voyages Home ... Fringe 3.10: The Return of the Eternal Bald Observers ... Flowers for Fringenon in Fringe 3.11 ... Fringe 3.12: The Wrong Coffee  ... Fringe 3.13: Alternate Fringe ... Fringe 3.14: Amber Here ... Fringe 3.15: Young Peter and Olivia ... Fringe 3.16: Walter and Yoko ... Fringe 3.17: Bell, Olivia, Lee, and the Cow ... Fringe 3.18: Clever Walternate ... Fringe 3.19 meets Inception, The Walking Dead, Tron ... Fringe 3.20: Countdown to Season 3 Finale 1 of 3 ... Fringe 3.21:  Ben Frankin, Rimbaldi, and the Future ... Fringe Season 3 Finale: Here's What Happened ... Death Not Death in Fringe 
See also reviews of Season 2: 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 ...  New Fringe on Monday Night: In Alternate Universe? ... Fringe 2.12: Classic Science Fiction Chiante ... Fringe 2.13: "I Can't Let Peter Die Again" ... Fringe 2.14: Walter's Health, Books, and Father ... Fringe 2.15: I'll Take 'Manhatan' ... Fringe 2.16: Peter's Story ... Fringe 2.17: Will Olivia Tell Peter? ... Fringe 2.18: Strangeness on a Train ... Fringe 2.19: Two Plus Infinity ... Fringe the Noir Musical ... Fringe 2.21: Bring on the Alternates ... Fringe 2.22:  Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming ... Fringe Season 2 Finale: The Switch

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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The Plot to Save Socrates

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