Fringe: Season 3, Episode 17

Stowaway (18 Mar. 2011)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 916 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

When the Fringe team investigates an apparent suicide victim, they uncover a second set of fingerprints leading them to a woman with uncanny characteristics that cannot die.

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Dana Gray
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Jason Poulsen ...
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Branden Nadon ...
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When the Fringe team investigates an apparent suicide victim, they uncover a second set of fingerprints leading them to a woman with uncanny characteristics that cannot die. Written by Fox Publicity

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18 March 2011 (USA)  »

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Trivia

Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) imitates William Bell's voice throughout the episode while her body is "possessed" by Bell. See more »

Goofs

Broyles asks an agent to check a suspects "Metrocard". In the Boston area the stored value cards for mass transit are called Charliecards after the song "Charlie on the MTA". See more »

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References Sesame Street (1969) See more »

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Fringe Main Title Theme
(uncredited)
Written by J.J. Abrams
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Fringe goes from Future-Science to Science-Fiction to Religious Crap
28 December 2011 | by (Israel) – See all my reviews

First, let me say, I love Fringe - as a whole. I own the second season on Blu-ray and I watch 'White Tulip" almost every week. It is, realistically, the best science-fiction-esq story we are going to get in the 2000s.

But that's the point of Fringe - to be Science Fact, not Science Fiction.

From the beginning, we are placed into a world just like our own, where the laws of science and psychics apply just the same, and then we are taken on a journey to find out what else is out there - in our world - realistically, that we simply haven't discovered yet.

That is why I have always thought of Fringe as "Future-Science", as in the Science Fiction of yesterday becoming the Science Fact of today.

I imagine that Fringe would be very much like a story of a non- combustible light-source (a light-bulb), written in the time before Edison.

And that is why I tune in.

Unfortunately, the series has taken an unfortunate turn into the busy, crowded and meaningless intersection of semi-religious, Pseudo-Science.

This episode embodies this so pro-actively, I could barely watch it. All I could do to stomach it is appease myself that its other glaring flaws must mean it was written entirely by one very poor writer.

In the whole of the series we go from things like being able to travel through a wall - a possible theoretic ability, to a species of people who lived before the Dinosaurs (I assume when the world was still 97% volcanic).. to the epitome of anti-science and religious fiction - the soul.

This episode was absolutely positively ridiculous for these reasons:

1.) It posits that the soul is an entity or mass of energy, separate from the body and able to live without it.

  • That is so bullshit, it is difficult to explain. Consciousness


requires electrical signals in a brain. Without those signals and without a brain, there is no consciousness. Thus, there is no soul.

2.) The soul of every person who has ever died, even if they died in another universe, are floating in the air around us.

  • Yes, in the same way that every time I shut down my computer, its


soul escapes and is now hovering above me in this room.

3.) You can use magnets to draw a soul into merging with a body.

  • Again, this is like the idea of ringing a bell and making pudding


appear. You cannot use magnets to draw energy that doesn't exist.

4.) The soul, now implanted into a new host will act exactly as if the person had been asleep the whole time.

  • So, William Bell is now in Olivia's body, after essentially hovering


in the air for a few months and/or not-existing and he's.. 100% his old self. Damn. We need some magnets to attract some logic here..

But I think the thing that gets to me most is Dr. Walter Bishop's believing all this. He was very adamant a few episodes back about it not being possible, setting clear limits being science-fact and science-fiction - something very important as the series had begun to lose track of reality at the time. Now, he responds just as positively and seemingly-brilliantly to something that has about as much possible theoretic probability of existing as the Boogie-Man.

I suppose the second, perhaps almost equivalently irritating part of the episode was Olivia trying to do an impression of Leonard Nimoy. It sounds like she's been possessed by Catherine Hepburn. It ruins both characters and makes me think there is something wrong with the show if they had to create this abhorrent plot-line just because they weren't able to get Mr. Nimoy himself back.

But as irritating as that may have been, nothing can trump the religious pseudo-science of this episode. From the "soul", to the idea that you can live through an accident by taking another person's life energy, to the biblical versus, the scene in the church, and the.. unfaltering belief of every cast member in an afterlife, which is wholeheartedly implied.

Although above all, it is the poppycock premise of "fate" and "destiny". Lost managed to pull this off because its world is not our world - it is Supposed to be fiction, and they played equally on both courts - science and fiction, but Fringe is no Lost. In Lost, you have the poor, old, John Locke who believes in his destiny because he has nothing left to believe in; the audience can choose to see him as personally-motivated to believe what he believes and thus discard it. It is also then proved correct in some ways. In Fringe, you have the world's two smartest scientists - even though unique for their imaginations - believing in the "soul" with the same verity as magnetism and gravity.

I am writing this review because I needed to say all of this. Because I could not watch another episode without putting this straight.

Maybe Fringe will get better, but they can NEVER make up for this religious episode.

Fringe's main point was to show us what is possible in OUR world, what science we will have in the future that we had only thought could be in our fantasies.

Now, that point is gone, because I will never believe anything in this show to be real.

And as an Atheist, I am insulted and hurt that the image I have of Dr. Walter Bishop has been dragged through fallacious, gospel mud as it has.

R.I.P. Fringe.

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