FRINGE 3.19 ‘Lysergic Acid Diethylamide’
Episode Title: "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide"
Story by: Jeff Pinkner & J. H. Wyman & Akiva Goldsman
Teleplay by: J. H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner
Director: Joe Chappelle
Previously on "Fringe":
Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) developed a theory that his former partner, William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) could have cheated death through "soul magnets." When Walter activated the soul magnets, Bell's mind took over the body of FBI Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv); much to the alarm of her boyfriend, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). Although Bell assured the Fringe team that Olivia was in no danger, Peter remained suspicious as they investigated the case of a woman who couldn't die. The team even met the Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel) of this Earth.
But when the case was finished, Olivia briefly regained control over her body and she desperately pleaded for Peter to help her. When Bell retook control, he acknowledged that his possession had caused some unforeseen problems that might endanger Olivia's life.
In Walter's lab, the team desperately tries to transfer Bell's mind into the body of a brain dead man, but the attempt fails. Olivia briefly regains control of her body and asks for help before passing out. The team rushes her to the hospital, but just when the doctors are about to defibrillate her, Bell retakes control and tells them that another shock will kill both him and Olivia. Broyles (Lance Reddick) and Peter demand that Bell leave her body, but he explains that he is the only thing keeping her alive. But adds that they only have a day to get Olivia back before she dies anyway.
To save Olivia, Bell suggests that they use Walter's LSD laced method of entering Olivia's mind and then transfer Bell's consciousness to a computer. After dosing themselves, Peter and Walter find themselves on a New York City street in Olivia's mindscape. They see a morse code message from the Twin Towers supposedly from Olivia, but they soon encounter hostile thoughts in the form of Olivia's stepfather and other pedestrians. In the real world, Broyles accidentally doses himself with LSD as well and he begins freaking out. Back in the mindscape, Peter and Walter encounter an evil Nina who tries to kill them before they find William Bell instead of Olivia.
All three men discover that they are in a cartoon state. Bell theorizes that his entrance into Olivia's mind sent her consciousness into hiding. But her unconscious mind is directing the attacks against them. In reality, Broyles briefly despairs over his acid trip and asks Astrid (Jasika Nicole) for comfort. Inside the mindscape of Olivia, the Bishops and Bell are attacked by zombies before they board a zeppelin bound for Jacksonville, Florida… the only place that Olivia would feel safe. Along the way, Bell tells Walter that he doesn't need Bell's guidance any more. But someone on board sabotages the ship along the way.
Peter encounters the unidentified man (Ulrich Thomsen), who escapes from the zeppelin and sends Walter falling to his death. Walter reawakens back in his lab, frightened and agitated. Back in Olivia's mind, Bell assures Peter that his father is fine, but their time is running out. They also theorize that the man who attacked them was someone from Olivia's past. Bell and Peter then track down Olivia's old house on a military compound, where Peter encounters the adult Olivia and finally reunites with her. Except it isn't really her and this time Peter isn't fooled by the deception.
The real Olivia reveals herself to be the child version of herself. She also says that only the real Peter would know her. Olivia's stepfather and others then appear and begin chasing them. A vehicle nearly runs over Olivia, but Peter takes the hit himself and wakes up back in the lab. In the mindscape, Bell trips and tells Olivia to leave him behind. But instead, she confronts her fears and reclaims her adult form. Bell tells her that he has to go now so that she can live. He gives Olivia a message for Walter before he disappears. In the real world, Olivia wakes up as herself again.
However, Bell's consciousness is lost. Olivia's message to Walter reveals that Bell knew this would happen, but he went through with it anyway. Later, Astrid tries to shake Walter out of his sorrow for his friend, but he asks to be left alone. When Peter visits Olivia at her place, they embrace and she seems much happier than we've ever seen her. Peter then asks about the man who attacked them on the zeppelin, to which Olivia calmly replies that she's never seen him before, but she thinks he's the man who's going to kill her.
This episode of "Fringe" brought a surprising amount of closure to a lot of storylines before giving us that stinger at the end. But first, how great was it to have Leonard Nimoy back as William Bell? Even if only for a single episode as "A Scanner Darkly" style cartoon. I presume that Nimoy is holding to his retirement from acting pledge, but he's at least willing to do voiceovers. If the entire "William Bell enters Olivia's brain" story hadn't featured him in some form, it would have been really disappointing.
Nimoy is such a gifted performer that even his voice is enough to carry some extremely moving scenes between Bell and Walter. In fact, as soon as Bell gave Walter his pep talk, I kind of knew that Bell's time was running out. Because those are the words that Walter has needed to hear all season. Walter has really changed and he may actually be a better man than Bell now. Bell's words were well written, but Nimoy gave them some added gravitas and power.
The same was true for Nimoy's final scene in the episode as Bell said goodbye to Olivia. There was something unsatisfying about Bell's death in the second season finale; in part I believe because it seemed as if he was being killed off to accommodate Nimoy's retirement plans. I get the feeling that Bell would have been around with a stronger presence in the series if Nimoy didn't have other plans. But this time, Bell's demise felt right for the character and the show doesn't need him after this. That's the best way to go out.
Even though Olivia was largely offscreen for most of this episode, it may be a major turning point for her as well. As noted by the other characters, Olivia is someone who lives with a lot of fear and she let that control her for most of her life. After her final stand with Bell, Olivia seemed almost like a completely different version of herself. There's a calmness to her that she's never had before… which made her final comments so shocking.
And that leads us to the mystery man in the zeppelin. Who is this guy? Why is Olivia so sure that he'll kill her? And why doesn't that seem to bother her?
As a hook to keep us coming back for the last few episodes of the year, it's fantastic. It's also a twist I didn't see coming.
For all of the seriousness of the episode, there were also some really funny scenes, including Broyles' LSD visions and Walter's hilarious thought balloon when he realized that he had become a cartoon. However, Broyles' conviction that he is death may stem from seeing his alternate's horribly mutilated body. But it could be a premonition of his own fate. We know someone on the Fringe team is likely to die within the next few episodes. We just don't know who…
Care to place any bets?
Crave Online Rating: 8.5 out of 10.