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Fringe – Momentum Deferred

Inter-dimensional travel is not all it is cracked up to be

This review may contain spoilers.

Cryogenics looked awfully scary in this episode.

First, a truck-load of frozen heads is stolen in a shoot-out worthy of the OK Corral. Then we see a shape-shifter tossing them casually over his shoulder as he discards each as not the one he is looking for. And in the end, once the much sought after head is found, it is reattached to a new body like something out of Frankenstein — and before it is even fully reattached, its eyes opened. Creepy was not even adequately describe how this all appeared.

Besides the side-trip into cryogenic-hell, this episode was all about Faux Charlie (Kirk Acevedo). The shape-shifter’s time was running out as he was clearly going through mercury withdrawal and could not get his hands on enough of it to keep from dying. With the clock-ticking both by his decaying body and with Global Dynamics working round the clock to use a facial recognition program to identify his current features from the recovered shape-shifting device, Faux Charlie had to act quickly.

As for Olivia (Anna Torv), while Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Walter (John Noble) worked to re-enact the hallucinogenic experiment that previously allowed Rebecca (Theresa Russell) to recognize those from the other dimension, Olivia was finally able to remember her momentous meeting with the infamous Dr. William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) — albeit only after Peter literally struck a bell and she collapsed to the floor. For science-fiction fans around the globe, this epic meeting was quite an event to see.

With cryptic remarks like, “You’re lucky, most people who cross dimensions without your natural talent are simply torn apart,” and “I have a unique perspective shaped by having lived in two worlds,” Dr. William Bell does not disappoint. But his revelation that there are indeed shape-shifting soldiers crossing the dimensions in order to locate a mysterious gate-keeper who controls the door between the two dimensions feels slightly anti-climatic. The only thing that he revealed at this juncture that was enlightening was the symbol that could be used to recognize the gate-keeper and the facility in which his head was housed.

In the race to the wire, everyone failed: Olivia failed to locate the gate-keeper’s head and actually gave Faux Charlie the facility in which it was located; Nina’s facial recognition software failed to identify Faux Charlie in time; Walter’s attempt to re-create the hallucinogenic test to reactivate Rebecca’s special abilities while successful was not realized; and William Bell’s warning came too late. Olivia recognized her failure by saying, William Bell pulled me into another universe to give me a warning — thats how important this is — and I failed.

Olivia then she yelled in frustration and anger, What do they want?! What did we do to them? Echoing her sentiments, we are left wondering why exactly the citizens of another universe would feel it necessary to infiltrate and take over ours.

What Worked

It was a brave thing for William Bell to admit the wrongness of what he and Walter did in experimenting on Olivia and the other children. His attempt to rationalize it by stating, “In the search for knowledge there are unintended consequences” was half-hearted at best. But at least we did get a sense of his genuine sorrow at what Olivia had gone through.

On a fun, lighter note, it was amusing to hear Mr. Bell explain that as a result of his yanking Olivia right out of her moving car that there would be some difficulty in returning her to the proper dimension in that, Momentum can be deferred. . . but it always must be paid back. Physics is a bitch.” Surely, this will be the tagline of many sci-fi convention apparel for years to come.

What Didn’t Work

After Rebecca recognized that Peter emitted the same glow that beings from the other dimension have, she simply chalked it up to the drugs. It would have been more interesting to see her confront Walter about who Peter really is.

After taking on a leadership role in the prior episodes, it was disappointing to see Peter relegated back to being merely a chauffeur and baby-sitter for Walter. It was much more interesting when Peter accompanied Olivia in the field and had her back in tough situations.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Fringe” stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. “Momentum Deferred” was written by Ashley Miller and Zach Stertz and directed by Joe Chapelle.

“Fringe” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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