While this episode in itself was one of those Fringe episode that future fans of the show, in a hurry to find out what is going to happen at the end of Season 3, might be told to skip, I found it fascinating because of the oft mentioned storytelling prouesse of the production team.
The plot was simple enough: by fluke, a scientist discovers that he can make people fly by injecting them with a mixture of two of the world’s densest elements. Having a son who doesn’t have the use of his legs, he immediately realises how he can help him, and starts secretly testing on other paralysed individuals, using their emotional vulnerability at being in wheelchairs to get them to accept. Of course this leads to many deaths and, as the end of the episode, leads to a very disappointed son who realises that his father thinks of him as something that needs "fixing."
The title of this episode is “Os”, which of course refers to one of the elements at the heart of the episode, i.e. osmium. The glyphs spell out EARTH; is this related to the osmium, or to something else? I don’t quite know. As for the Observer, he is standing amongst curious onlookers outside the Massachusetts Metal Depository.
One of the stars of this episode was Anna Torv, whose portrayal of the transformation, at the end of the episode, from Olivia to Bell, was rather amazing. But more on that later, as we focus on another star in the show was John Noble, whose portrayal of a mad scientist slowly coming apart at the seams is just as brilliant.
In very typical Walter fashion, our he turns once again to drugs to numb his pain. While is always gives way for some amazing moments, such as the one at the beginning of the episode where he is hanging out with the night security guard at Massive Dynamic and smoking marijuana, it also underlies part of what seems to me the increasingly quick progression of Walter into Walternate.
One of the reasons I loved the following exchange is because it underlies the fact that dissatisfaction and discontent are extremely dangerous:
Walter: This is wonderful, Kevin. You get to sit here all night looking at these monitors. What a magnificent job.
Kevin: CEO of Massive Dynamic isn’t that bad either. Must be nice, to have all that power.
Perhaps part of Walter’s dissatisfaction and discontent has to do with the fact that he knows that, despite being CEO of Massive Dynamic, he doesn’t really have real power.