|Index||3 reviews in total|
Three men abduct and keep a family tied up and gagged in the living
room. Two of them dig the basement while the third one watches the
family. The men find a box and decide to take a peek inside. The two
men and the family immediately die. The Fringe Division investigate the
case and Walter performs an autopsy on the bodies. Soon he finds that
they die because they have been exposed to an ultrasound signal. Walter
receives an envelope from William Bell's lawyer as inheritance and he
discloses to Astrid what William left for him. Meanwhile the alternate
Olivia and Newton, who had hired the men to find the box and bring to
him, plot a scheme to retrieve the box. Then they set in motion a
"The Box" is another intriguing episode of Fringe, showing the behavior of the alternate Olivia, a manipulative woman and cold blood killer. The inheritance of Walter will be very interesting and what will he do with the Massive Dynamic? My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "The Box"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode has some very enjoyable Head-Explosions along with Peter's
near-disassembly at the hands of a Subway. A Great Fringe Black Humour
Thomas Jerome Newton, as well as being named after the guy David Bowie plays in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," - Is a Skuzzbucket of the nth degree. He hires 2 similar scumbags to tie up a family and unearth an object which is in the basement of this hapless family's house. What he does not tell them, is: "If you Open the Box you will DIE" - Well naturally, 90% of people who may vote for Mitt Romney WILL open such a box after such a dire warning and the average IQ of the human race will grow by a fraction of a percent. Actually, science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote a story on that premise, which was called "Oath of Fealty" - Based on the assumption that IF there is a warning of impending death 'if you go beyond this point' granted there WILL be people who WILL cross the line. And then Die.
Such a thing happens here. Newton sends the crooks to dig up the box, KNOWING that they would open it and therefore be killed in a horrible manner. But, guess who sent Newton on that task? It was FauxLivia. This is the first Episode where Fauxlivia tosses her weight onto Newton, and he does not like it. Thus begins the slight Friction between Newton and Fauxlivia that lasted until he left the show.
But... What's this, one crook actually LIVED. Newton hired 2 crooks, but a 3rd crook Newton did not know about was there - And he survived, and took the Box. And this causes both Fauxlivia and Newton to scratch heads.
Walter figures out how the crooks died and how a 3rd man could have survived, and the characteristics of such a man.
But this "3rd man" was not really a bad guy like the other two, and did not deserve his "reward" for bringing Fauxlivia the Box. After Fauxlivia kills the hapless bearer of the box and gives the Box to Newton for some mysterious reason, a Black-Humour Moment arises where she is distracting Peter by making out with him and pools of blood start seeping from her bathroom. Which Peter eventually would have seen, if not for an untimely phone call from Broyles, because after Fauxlivia gave Newton the Box, he then gave it to a short homeless man in the middle of a Subway station, who them proceeded to open it right up. So much for Human Intelligence. And Pandora's Boxes.
There is a typical Walter moment as he informs Peter that he used to be a patron of a Message Parlour near the Subway Station: Walter "used to get off there all the time"- Peter says, "I hope you mean, at the Station." Walter prepares Peter so that he can safely get the Box, which the short homeless man still has, but then the poor guy's brain explodes. After Peter picks through the pieces of exploded head, he immediately recognises the box as being a part of the Power Source of "The Vacuum" aka "The Machine" - But the thing Walter had to do to Peter prevents Peter from detecting the approach of an uncontrolled Subway Train! And so, Fauxlivia HAS to save Peter, and therefore save The Box. This particular Box comes up later in the Season, so keep a lookout for it.
This is also the Episode where William Bell's will is read - He had given Walter an envelope with a Key. When Peter asks Walter if he wanted to tell Peter about it, Walter says "No" - But "Belly's" gift to Walter, which we don't know yet - Will be the source of much fun for Walter for the rest of Season 3. And Belly's gift to Nina - Why in 10,000 blue hades did Belly give Nina a BELL? Typical, Belly humour, very much like Walter Humour, which we will find out in S3E19.
Pandora, Pandora. The malicious box is so luscious that shows can't
resist to have one of their own. Opening it should be your second step
toward the long and wicked ending of season 3. With the blue pill in my
belly I felt strong enough to follow Fauxlivia and her team. In the
first four episodes of season 1 I saw Anna Torv as the blonde babe you
throw in the mix to appeal the male audience. But with her new dual
role her characters should change the very idea you had about her. I
mean how can you objectively embrace her when you have grown up with
Dana Scully under your pillow ? Torv is no Gillian Anderson but she
deserves respect and a chance to become who she is. Moreover it's
probably not a coincidence that Olivia's hair turned red in the
alternate universe. It's stealthier than pink, though.
But let's go back to The Box, shall we. The very first minutes sneaking behind the Fringers felt different. Indeed we know that Olivia Dunham is not who the others think she is. The real one is losing it in the parallel universe. Watching his inevitable missteps is exciting because Fauxlivia has to learn who Olivia is. In fact it's a good thing but as often the coin has a backside. Indeed I think the writers approach is not subtle enough. They should have pushed the concept further by hiding the truth to the audience. We just didn't need to know that Fauxlivia wasn't Olivia. It would have made the scenes even more puzzling and the inevitable revelation jaw dropping. Of course the idea is probably inspired by Edward Norton's performances. Once done with the season we would have to watch it all over again to really comprehend what happened and finally notice all hints related to her true identity. They have chosen an other road, probably a more accessible one, but it still has potential.
My only worry was the episodic format. The investigations of the week in season 1 were monstrous compared to the cult The X-Files episodes. Not all of them were exceptional but its charismatic and complementary characters prevented anyone to skip the weekly paranormal adventure. In season 3 Fringe has finally found its marks thanks to the brand new parallel arcs. In fact I can't help comparing them to Lost even if the last editing was so mesmerizing that it gave the process a new dimension. But even if the red and blue concept is less original its execution is nonetheless promising. Indeed the parallel and episodic elements were mixed and the arcs should nourish each other. The story itself was decent but lacked spice. It was really just an other investigation with a magic box and without the surreal dose it almost could have seemed like a Castle episode. However I enjoyed its bleeding side effects and one gore scene actually reminded me of Street Trash. Kids, it's time to go to bed !
All in all it was almost an installment in the same vein as the premiere. Still it could have been way better and despite its many strengths the show has weaknesses that could repel the most demanding viewers. It's specially true for long time scifi fans but even with my little big background I still enjoyed it. Of course compared to Isaac Asimov brilliant writing the investigation felt slightly dry but I'm sure Fringe's Genitrix hasn't played its trump card yet. Last but not least it's sweet that Fauxlivia uses a type writer to report instead of some hyper technological device. And her bizarre relationship with Peter Bishop is definitely intriguing. However Joshua Jackson's portrayal is a little bland so I really hope he'll bring his A game in the next episodes because his face off with Torv could lead to some edgy moments.
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