Fringe (2009) – The No-Brainer, and The Transformation

No-Brainer, written by David H. Goodman and Brad Kane first aired on 27 January, 2009.

Olvia (Anna Torv), Peter (Joshua Jackson), and Walter (John Bishop) get called into a strange case that involves the death of two people whose brains seem to have liquified. The only connection between the two is a strange computer file that has been downloaded on their computers.

Olivia’s sister, Rachel (Ari Graynor) is still around (and maybe developing a thing for Peter), and Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) gets to partner up with Olivia through the course of the investigation. We also learn that Astrid (Jasika Nicole) majored in linguistics and minored in computer sciences, she continues to get increasingly awesome.

While the team delves into the case, trouble seems to be rearing its head for Peter and Walter as they are getting letters and calls in the lab. Who is it? It’s a piece of their history, and while it isn’t germane to the overall plot, it does layer out the characters, their responsibilities, and their histories.

It’s a fun episode, and while there are running throughlines for arcs and characters it’s a standalone story giving us a momentary break from the ongoing and developing mythology. There are a lot of character beats, many of them tying into parents and their children and vice versa, and the case proves to be a lot of fun, and creepy.

It feels like a quieter episode than what we’ve gotten before, and it works powerfully because of the actors knowing their roles so well.

The Transformation was penned by J.R. Orci and Zak Whedon and had an original airdate of 3 February, 2009, and it plants us right back in mythology territory.

After a horrifying transformation (on yet another plane, serving as a callback to the Pilot) Olivia discovers connections to the case in the memories she shares with her dead partner, John Scott (Mark Valley). Her boss, Broyles (Lance Reddick), and Massive Dynamic’s Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) reveal the truth about Scott as the team tries to figure out what is causing the transformations and how to stop them from spreading.

The men who have died are carrying a virus, as well as a familiar-looking glass data chip in their palms. To get the answers she needs, and learning the truth about Scott, Olivia has to go into the isolation tank yet again to seek out the memories and information she needs.

As we’ve seen before, however, the dreamscape of memories that she explores isn’t quite what Walter tells her it will be… John Scott can definitely see and interact with her, impossibly. Will it be enough to put a stop to those intent on spreading the virus?

Olivia and the rest are out on a limb, and they are determined in their dogged pursuit, but will Olivia’s faith in Scott pay off?

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