Fringe: Season 2, Episode 9

Snakehead (3 Dec. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Mystery | Sci-Fi
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 835 users  
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After a cargo ship runs aground, the shoreline becomes littered with bodies hosting a giant squid-like creature. The Fringe team descends upon the scene to examine the bodies and discovers ... See full summary »

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Title: Snakehead (03 Dec 2009)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Nina Sharp (credit only)
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Ming Che
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Matt Jarvis
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Tao Chen
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Paramedic
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Dock Worker Yang
Simon Chin ...
Chinese Vendor
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Mei Lin's Daughter (as Melody Choi)
Linda Feng ...
Chinese Woman
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Storyline

After a cargo ship runs aground, the shoreline becomes littered with bodies hosting a giant squid-like creature. The Fringe team descends upon the scene to examine the bodies and discovers that the mysterious organisms are actually giant parasites. As the investigation unfolds, Walter heads back to the lab while Olivia, Peter and Broyles race against time when they realize the case has ties to a threatening organization. Written by FOX Publicity

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3 December 2009 (USA)  »

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(5.1 surround)

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1.78 : 1
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As Peter is talking on the phone with the person from Chinatown, the phone is in alternate hands on alternate sides of his face with each shot. See more »

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Juke (Single)
(uncredited)
Written by Little Walter
Performed by Little Walter
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User Reviews

 
Interesting Cultural Fringe Episode
20 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I used to love those David Carradine Kung Fu shows, both of them. Because I just love stuff about China and shows where there is any kind of a "Chinatown." But mostly I like the Asian actors and especially when they speak in their native languages, be it Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai or whatever country is represented.

This episode is rife with these things, a hapless lost looking Chinese man is searching desperately for "Ping-On Street." When he finally finds his way there, it looks like he has reached a safe haven. But instead, he has reached the end of his life in a typically gruesome Fringe kind of way: At the hands of Tzi Ma ("Ming Che"), who for all appearances is a kindly Chinese Apocethary but instead is cultivating creatures that are eating their way out of the stomachs of a boat full of Illegal Immigrants.

In fact, a whole boat full of these immigrants had run aground, leaving the illegals to fend for themselves in freezing water. With Shades of "Alien" Walter and crew inspect a crime scene where giant, tentacled creatures have halfway eaten their way out of a number of waterlogged bodies.

One surviving Chinese woman (Rene Wang, "Mei Lin") gives them clues as to what had happened, but is concerned for her husband and daughter who were on a second boat to be arriving within 36 hours.

In the Lab, Walter is inspecting one 7lb 10oz specimen, which appears to be a kind of parasitic worm. Walter marvels about the "infinite variations" of Mother Nature, but Astrid calls Mother nature a real B***, considering Walter's new "pet."

A "Sun Hong Triad" member is caught, but literally "dead ends" while in custody - You'd think Fringe Division, after all they have seen, would think about searching for hidden razor blades. But the involvement of the Triad seems to indicate that the "parasitic worms" may be some kind of narcotic. And in fact, Ming Che is harvesting the creatures, removing an oyster-sized organ from each one, grinding it up into little bits and packing it into what looks like a heroin bindle.

When Walter hears of this possibility, he wants to inject fluid from the creature to find out the high. But the creature saves him the trouble by latching on to Walter's arm. Indeed, the creature has an effect but it is not a narcotic: It is medicine: Specifically, it increases immune response. While the worm is attached to Walter, he remarks on how pleasant it is, while Astrid screeches that it is feeding on him.

This directs the investigation to a whole new avenue: The stuff was being imported as a cure for an immune-deficient disease.

While Peter and Olivia search out who is importing this things, and why, Walter wants to go to Chinatown to buy some of the non-enlarged specimens. Thus begins Walter's Big Adventure. Astrid secretly follows him there, but Walter ditches her quickly: Right after Walter inadvertently tells Ming Che he has a "Four-Foot Specimen" in his lab. Che sends Triad Thugs to retrieve it and Astrid is harmed. Walter, however, gets lost, and he can't remember he has Peter's Phone Number in his pocket!

A kind Chinese lady takes Walter in, and other things may have happened, Walter seems to have no trouble talking to "Fae" despite the language barrier. There was an indication that she was, Er, VERY nice to Walter.

The Cultural barriers, the nature of the "parasitic worms" make this one of my favorite Fringe episodes, there are some rather funny moments mixed in with the typical Fringe Gruesomeness.

I had read remarks about this episode from Asian viewers, who mentioned that there were several inconsistencies with culture and customs: For instance, the little girl on the boat would not have been playing with that kind of toy, it is not "Chinese." And they had problems with the "Triad" thing. But Triads are typical Bad Guys in US Television, just like the Japanese "Yakuza" - It simply does not matter if this stuff is accurate, it just has to make me interested in what's going on - Which it did in this episode, and even if all of the cultural references are totally wrong, it made me interested enough to find out IF they are accurate.

Walter accompanies Peter to Ming Che's, who goes in after he sees the 2nd boatload of refugees enter. Once again, Walter sings his song about Van Amburgh, which he first sang in "Unleashed":

"Van Amburgh is the man, who goes to all the shows, He steps into the Lion's Den, and tells you all he knows"

In the end, it is Walter and Peter, Walter and Astrid, and the interrelationships developed that make this a typically great episode, but mostly, Walter's interactions with the kindly "Fae" make you wonder, what else happened there?


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