Fringe

Season 1 Episode 14

Ability

8
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 10, 2009 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (21)

9.4
out of 10
Average
656 votes
  • Ability

    8.5
    We think we understand the reality around us, but the truth is not always our perception of things is correct.



    "We think we understand reality, but our universe is only one of many. The unknown truth is that the way to travel between them has already been discovered by beings much like us, but whose history is slightly ahead of our own. The negative effects of such visitation will be irreversible both to our world and to theirs. It will begin with a series of unnatural occurrences, difficult to notice at first but growing, not unlike a cancer, until a simple fact becomes undeniable. Only one world will survive."



    This "Ability" was an episode that I enjoyed a lot. Here we are placed following the events of the tenth episode, where the mysterious Mr. Jones (Jared Harris) teleported to a prison in Germany for the U.S.. And despite not having been one episode so consistently cited as the "Safe" or "The Arrival", had enough merit to keep the suspense over the same and gave us some light about the way that we can expect that the series seems to want to take. And I must say that part of the appeal that this episode has awakened me was related to the prospect of this new direction, or rather, the direction may not be new, could be planned from the beginning, but this was the first time I attended a more clearly.



    If we believe in the words read during the episode, which outputs a manifesto found in the end it was written by Walter (John Noble) - revelation already expected, but still provided a very interesting final - our perception of reality does not is the right one. In fact, there are many universes parallel to ours and has even been discovered a way to travel between them, not by us but by beings like us (The Observer is one of the travelers'). Despite these beings live in a parallel universe, its history is a point more advanced than ours. These travel between universes have a negative effect, both for our universe as to theirs, and that, at some point, become irreversible. These effects will begin to notice through a series of unnatural events (The Pattern?), Difficult to notice at first, but will grow progressively until a simple fact becomes undeniable: only one of the universes will continue to exist.



    And I love this idea, this confrontation that lies ahead. Gives greater consistency to the series and turns it into something more than a story of some people who regularly investigate cases involving foreign pseudo-science. I just hope that they in future be able to translate this promise into something more substantial and do not do the same as "The X-Files" did with all the conspiracy involving extraterrestrials.



    However, based on this idea that there are people among us of a parallel universe and that is imminent need to fight for the survival of the world as we know, Mr. Jones and his organization will be preparing an army of people with special abilities that can combat literally the end of the world as we know, the Apocalypse. For this, in 1981, several children injected with a drug called Cortexiphan would prevent the human brain to be limited by external constraints. That is, Dr. Bell, who invented the drug, believed that when the human being is born, your mind has infinite capabilities and, as it gives the growth process, all the forces that is, whether social, physical or intellectual, impose limitations and capabilities diminish brain.



    Supposedly, Olivia (Anna Torv) is one of those children and Mr. Jones is willing to prove it, throwing one of his irreverent attacks, this time using a toxin that causes hyperactivity in the protein responsible for healing. Result: the natural orifices of the human body are covered in minutes, people suffocate and die. After proving what we can do, Mr. Jones placed a higher dose of the toxin with a timer ready to release it over the city, if Olivia can not stop it with the power of your mind. And she can.



    This episode proves once again that "Fringe" can be much more than an "event of the week" and whose mythology can actually make it a number much higher than what is shown here at certain times. For my part, I want this "Fringe." Not the other, full of concepts and ideas made repeated.



    Finally, only a small note: Mark Valley left the show, in fact, already have to work again, so it seems that travel to the tank over.
  • The greatest importance of this episode is it foreshadows the apparent endgame of all the show characters. At least until season 3 finale. *MAJOR SPOILERS*

    10
    I am actually writing this review to point out the brilliance this show was written with. I am currently rewatching the show after the amazing season 3 finale. I just had to check if everything fits. And judging by what I've come to see until now - it does.

    ZFT: "We think we understand reality, but our universe is only one of many. The unknown truth is that the way to travel between them has already been discovered by beings much like us, but whose history is slightly ahead of our own. The negative aspects of such visitation will be irreversible both to our world and to theirs. It will begin with a series of unnatural occurrences, difficult to notice at first... but growing, not unlike a cancer, until a simple fact becomes undeniable. Only one world will survive. And it will either be us or them." See this? When Walter read this, I was quite surprised to hear a storyline for seasons 2 and 3. Brilliant if you agree. Everything's laid out at this early stage of the show. The collision of the two worlds, Walter messing everything by stealing Peter, and the destruction of one world by the Doomsday device. Ability: Olivia showing her power of telekinesis returned as a crucial element of the show in the end of season 3. Again, I must state my excitement these story elements were incorporated into the show way back in season one. Her special connection to Peter, the cortexiphan trials, recruits... Everything is there. What more can I say about this episode. It's the episode that defined the show, the mythology and the storyline.
  • The best episode so far,and most revealing too...

    9.5
    This might be the beginning of the show,till now it was not started,so far we just have seen fragments and pieces of what science can do,and what we have seen so far was just the introduction for the show...
    now the story gets started and the real deal is now on.

    in this episode we saw what we never thought to see,as the scientific bases are now completely of records and amazingly made for the show
    one thing that is really caught my attention was that drug that Olivia was given when she was a child and of course because her father was a millatery man in that base where Dr.Bell did his tests,so olivia was used like a lab rat there...

    about the book(ZFT) I believe that Walter wrote it in the first place but he did not remember first and in the end of the episode we see him typing and he looks like he have seen a ghost,as we can see there is a sign on every thing every where we look in this episode that is what makes this one so special.
    And when Mr.jones sees Walter he looks so happy as I think he believes in Walter like a prophet of some kind,and he new damn right what he was talking about,he was not crazy in any way.

    Last thing that I wanna say is "I believe the war that the book talks about is not between humans but it is between human and other species in the universe"...
  • Best Episode Yet!

    10
    This episode truly was amazing. While the beginning wasn't as cool as the later scene at the news stand, it was pretty good but the one thing that really blew me away was the way it introduced several new elements while at the same time giving answers (The one I can think of being mainly the revelation of Parallel Universes coming from the answer of what ZFT is).
    The conclusion with the bomb was also very cool. I really liked the bomb kind of hovering on this view of the city (Which made it all the more tense)
    The ending in particular though with the revelation that Walter wrote the book really surprised me (Although quite a few people I know didn't actually understand the implication of the "y")
    Other than that I can't wait to see more!
  • Wow!

    10
    So this episode starts off with Jones escaping, which I was glad to see because we have not had any information on what happened to him after he escapes. As always, there is also a case, and this is something I have come to enjoy. Finally we find out what ZFT stands for, not that big of a secret, but it does help to understand what they are about. I really liked Jones in this episode, he is an evil man, but that ZFT book along with the test Jones gives Olivia, were pretty entertaining to watch. An amazing episode, and one that really makes you want to watch the next episode!
  • The most revealing episode so far.

    9.5
    Fringe is really impressing me with the last couple of episodes. This show started as ok at best to me but since Safe, business has picked up for sure.
    Since Safe, it was clear that there's a bigger picture here. It is just not an episodic one case per episode show but rather a serialized one now. The bigger picture is slowly but surely being exposed and Ability is the most revealing episode of the show so far.
    The biggest revelation was about Olivia's ability. This is a huge surprise here because it was not even teased. I'm not against. It was great to see Jones back. Still early to know how much of a bad guy (or good or both) he is and that's fine cause it makes him even more intriguing. The revelation of Olivia's ability was perfectly executed. Another major revelation came in the end where we learned that Walter wrote ZTF. It was another huge surprise and I really liked the way this was revealed (with the typewriter's y).
    So the best episode (along with safe) so far and things look very promising for the rest of the season.
  • Another great installment with the return of Mr. Jones and the burning question; how did Olivia do it?

    10
    This was the best episode of the season. When Mr. Jones returns, the head games begin. First of a man working at a magazine stand has the orifice in his head spontaneously get closed over with scar tissue, suffocating him to death. Mr. Jones turns himself in too The FBI and demands to speak to Olivia. He lets her know that a bomb is set to go of at a certain time and she needs to complete a test in order to defuse the bomb Mr. Jones wants Olivia to complete a test by turning some light bulbs out using her mind and Peter rigs up the box to make the lights go out. Mr. Jones gives the location of the bomb and when they get there it is the same puzzle Olivia had to complete for Mr. Jones. They get everybody out of the area leaving Olivia to really make the lights go out. Somehow she does it.

    The team finds a copy of the ZFT, which is the bible for Mr. Jones organization. Walter gets hold of it and starts reading it and in the end, because of the typewriter it was written on compared to his typewriter, he realizes he may have wrote it.

    Olivia is checking into a drug that was tested on children in the early 1980's by Massive Dynamics, because she is been given information that she received the drug as a child. She was told that the experiments were done in Ohio State University. Later she is contacted by Nina Sharpe who tells her that there was also an experiment with the drug in Jacksonville FL at a military base, which is where she lived as a baby.
  • A fine episode that takes Olivia's character in a new direction

    9.5
    We find out something very new and surprising about Olivia this time. That's if it is not some kind of trick I mean. It is a revelation that'll affect everything about the show. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet but the episode was good. The disgusting eye-/nose-/mouth-closing mutation weapon was as "ugh" as anticipated but it served its purpose and was well done. And I must say I am very curious about what "unadvertised side effects" of the teleportation are happening to Mr. Jones. I definitely plan on tuning back in for the seven-in-a-row eps to air after the hiatus!
  • I hate American television networks. They have absolutely no idea how to handle a show successfully.

    9.0
    I hate American television networks. They have absolutely no idea how to handle a show successfully; instead, they adopt ludicrous scheduling initiatives that cause programmes to be on air, off air, here, there and everywhere and then they have the temerity to get themselves in a tizz about dwindling ratings. It's no wonder new shows struggle when they have the kind of stop-start track record that Fringe has suffered in its freshman year. It was off our screens for a month and a half to accommodate Christmas and now, after four short weeks, it's gone until April. APRIL! Two months away! Is it any wonder that the casual viewer loses patience and switches over, never to be seen again?

    To be fair to Fringe, the production staff do an utterly stellar job of trying to encourage people to actually come back sixty or so days down the line. 'Ability' is the best episode of the series since the mind-meltingly bizarre 'Safe', full of cryptic mythology-baiting, sinister terrorist-like plot threads and, most encouragingly of all, some concrete answers regarding the series' overall direction. Obviously, any episode that features the delectable Mr. Jones so heavily is bound to be a winner and this is no exception. He oozes weird, keeping you questioning his every move and word... not entirely unlike Ben, the fantastic antagonist from that other little show produced by J.J. Abrams. He and Ms Dunham have excellent chemistry and play exceedingly well off one another: the scene in the prison cell after he jams the surveillance equipment is nail-bitingly brilliant. This level of dramatic tension is maintained admirably throughout the episode as it is so densely layered with plot. Not only do we have Mr. Jones turning himself in (nice nod to Alias, guys: Sidney's mom, anyone?) and some kooky expo regarding ZFT, but there's a little case to investigate that's marvellously disturbing too (I don't know about you, but the idea of suffocating due to your orifices sealing themselves shut really freaks me out). Cleverly, all of these disparate elements are ultimately connected, giving the narrative a strong cohesive weight and they are peppered with some intriguing insights too. We find out what ZFT is, have a hit at Walter's possible involvement in the production of the manuscript (although, it's only his typewriter's 'y's that are unaligned, just like in the text... I suppose anyone could have typed the words!), discover the reason (sort of) for Olivia's spinal tap and abduction and, try this one on for size, have the potential overview of the entire season-spanning mythology handed to us on a plate. Two co-existing realities converging, duking it out to 'win' the right to supremacy? Essentially, a parallel universe story? Well, I'll buy into that and then some. Sounds fascinating, holds such promise and, crucially, it hasn't really been done before. If the suggestions made here are correct, this makes Fringe a completely different ball game and I, for one, am stoked to see where it takes us.

    So 'Ability' works for me, then. My interest is piqued, I'm raving about the show again and I will definitely be returning for more in April. Let's just hope the viewing public were equally as convinced.
  • Mr Jones makes an appearance

    8.0
    The mysterious Mr. Jones finally makes an appearance after escaping a German prison that teleported to Boston thanks to some hard work from Mitchel Loeb, the corrupt FBI agent. So the followers of The Pattern are gearing up for the war by attacking the people of the Earth with these odd experiments and scientific mumbo-jumbo in for what I believe is to see if it will work on the other inter-dimensional beings in order to win the war. All these people Jones is recruiting all have some special abilities, hence the episode title. Does Olivia have ability? Olivia was given a test by Mr Jones test 1 of 10 apparently, this test involved her turning off the lights by starring at it, the first time round was with a little help from Peter but the second run was all her, so does she have ability? Nina Sharp of Massive Dynamics is to be believed she indeed was injected with whatever drug that gave her these powers so maybe it really is her.
  • Definitely the most exciting episode so far, in all counts

    10
    Wow, this was a punch in the stomach if ever I saw one... I was flooded with questions and potential answers to questions that brought even more new questions along with every turn the episode took! Now that we are given a larger glimpse into what goes on behind the cracks in the final wall of what we are used to call reality, the show is invested with endless potential! The explanations that can be derived from the theory of the multiverse and from two conflicting, opposing realities are simply unimaginable! And I loved the way they use simple script inventions to land the theory back into reality, like Olivia being experimented on with a mind-expanding drug, and Walter being the author that has literally initiated an otherworldly war, with himself having forgotten all about it. When the episode was over I just sat there, mouth open, staring at the blank screen wondering at the marvels of what lies ahead... I can't wait for the next one!!
  • Welcome Back Mr. Jones

    10
    Mr. Jones needs to become the focus of every Fringe episode. This was a very well put together repisode all around, with a whole lot of things coming into play here. Mr. Jones allows himself to be captured early on in the episode, which leada to a lot of Oliva Dunham / Mr. Jones scenes which set up the end of the epsiode. Did Mr. Jones set up the lights knowing that Oliva would try and shut them off? I thought that he did but watching him in the episode makes me think that maybe it was real. The most interesting thing to me now is the remaining nine tests. What are they going to show Olivia? I like that Mr. Jones escaped, I assume he will recieve some medical care for the condition that he was in once he escaped from the hospital. The ending of the episode was interesting, with Walter being the one who apprently wrote the manuscript. Not quite sure where they are going with that but one thing is for sure - Fringe is on a break and when it comes back I'm expecting a whole lot of fast-paced episodes from now until the end of the season
  • is it coming more like Heroes!! What ability Olivia has!!! and what happened with Mr. Jones ???

    9.5
    a great episode, but we must say that this episode seems like Heroes .. people with abilities like Olivia can control things with her mind !!!
    a lot of things happened in this show, and i have to say its a great one and i really like it .. but i still didn't got the real idea about the show :S like is it a war that we are expecting or give people abilities !!!
    this episode were well written and to make the show go into a sequence we must remove the past 2 episode especially the last one !!!
  • this episode defines what will happen with this series

    10
    This series has been a great ride so far, every episode is very entertaining, i love the characters, and i love the stories. Up until this episode, it was already one of my top shows, and something i never missed. But with this episode, clarity was given about what the writers intend to do, the main story developed so much, and now I'm beyond hooked. The ideas presented in this episode were riveting. It is now, without a doubt, going to be a show that goes a long ways.

    This episode left me with chills, and wanting more. I am highly anticipating the next episode.
  • Now I'm hooked.

    10
    All the less-than-impressive introductions have led to this - and it's magnificent!
    FINALLY, the underbelly of the entire premise - a war between two closely knit realities and soldiers recruited from the unwilling. Wow. It gave me expectant shivers to imagine the variety in a psychic army in such an amazing war - and we have yet to see any of it.
    True, the set-up is less than believable, but simplicity does not make a poor base - quite the contrary. The good doctor is in the thick of things, as we see now, and the recruits will surely be assembled if the series is given a chance. I was not convinced in the previous 13 episodes that the series should continue - it was a watered down version of the X-Files with less chemistry. But now, oh my, oh my, this must go on and I await the next chapter with urgency!
  • Really exciting episode which has sent the series off in a new direction.

    9.5
    Great eisode with loads of surprises and lots for Olivia to do. The bomb scene had me sitting on the edge of my seat, heart in mouth it was incredible. The special drug that turned out to be used in a trial on the military base where Olivia was brought up was also a shock. Walter and Peter were great as ever, especially when it was revealed at the end that Walter was the author of ZFT. Mr Jones escaped at the end too so now he's at large again and doing who knows what. Fantastic stuff, just such a shame that there is now a stupidly long break before it comes back again.
  • The team investigates a bizarre incident where the victim's facial orifices closed over, leaving him a faceless corpse. Meanwhile, Mr. Jones turns himself over to the authorities but refuses to speak unless Olivia passes a very particular test for him.

    10
    Once again another great installment! Mr. Jones is back and this time he is able to teleport himself out of the German prison he was locked up in last time we saw him. He is determined to see Olivia to get a recruitment game started with him while Mr. Red Tape himself decides to stall the request which cost the team an agent to the gruesome death of being suffocated by his own body closing every opening on the body (despite efforts by Olivia to "trach" him through the throat).

    This episode was one that made this show very intriguing beyond its already mysterious nature by revealing some inside information via the manuscripts regarding a multiverse and how our world would have to face off with a twin world in another universe, mysterious creatures of like intelligence coming to invade, Olivia being subjected to a drug years ago, and other inside information.

    This leads to Olivia being told of a game she needs to play in and some revealing things regarding her past and her role in this mysterious "pattern". Mr. Jones believes Olivia is to be a recruit into a mysterious army being built up and her first task is to turn off led lights with her mind alone. Olivia and the gang program the lights to turn off and Mr.Jones feigns falling for the trick only to get the team to realize that the first step was only the "practice" round.

    Now she has only so much time to turn off the led lights on a much bigger board that's tied to a bomb which will poison tons with the same death the earlier victims suffered. In the end she succeeds but she's not sure if Mr. Jones just programmed the lights to go off at a certain time or not. Peter can't believe it was a set-up based on the unknown timing of Olivia's response.

    In the end such a conclusion sets up more intrigue for the show and I know I'm one that's looking forward to what's in store for this show. Too bad we'll have to wait until April to find out!!!
  • Bringing it all together

    8.0
    The last few episodes since the winter hiatus have left me less than impressed. In some cases, I thought the narrative was a bit too jumpy and disconnected; in others, I felt that certain plot elements were being wasted. In essence, I've been waiting for an episode to pull the various threads together and bring them into focus.

    This is that episode.

    If my instincts are correct, this was written after the series was given the "back nine", so the writers were probably holding back on introducing what is, essentially, a roadmap to the future of the series. The episode actually presents two distinct possible explanations for everything that has been happening, and both of them would be more than strong enough to sustain the series for quite some time.

    The FZT manifesto was apparently written by a younger Walter Bishop, back during his initial Harvard days. Presumably William Bell would have known about it, and perhaps that explains his seeming involvement with The Pattern and Mr. Jones. At any rate, Bishop came to believe that beings from an alternate universe with slightly more advanced technology had begun an incursion on our own universe. (It's also possible that Bell wrote FZT using Bishop's typewriter, but that would be a slight stretch.)

    The implication is that The Pattern is the result of experimentation by those other beings (perhaps a species connected to The Observer?), essentially a pilot program for an impending war, and the "fringe science" employed by groups like Massive Dynamic, Bishop, Bell, and the "terrorists" is our own reality's attempt to prepare a defense. Individuals with the latent ability to be trained to fight the apparent enemy are located and tested. This explains both the focus on Olivia and Walter's past comments about Peter.

    The genius of this episode is that the basis of the FZT manifesto doesn't have to be "real" at all. It still explains the actions and experiments that have been done thus far, if it turns out that Walter wrote the manifesto during or after his mental collapse. Manifestos have a tendency to accumulate the crazy and fanatical, and I could definitely see Mr. Jones and his acolytes justifying any action as part of their belief.

    But it would be far more satisfying if the manifesto was accurate, and if it was knowledge of the impending war that led to Walter's psychotic break. If there really is an enemy from another universe preparing to destroy our own, that would make those trying to control and utilize the technology the "good guys", from a certain point of view. And it's interesting to consider the possibility that Olivia would be forced to tread a fine line between law enforcement and saving the world!

    This would also make sense of the lingering presence of Mr. Harris, who has been representing (in a personally vindictive way) the "book". As in, doing things "by the book", which Olivia pretty much has to ignore on a daily basis. It was set up ahead of time to ensure that Olivia would find opposition from her superiors in law enforcement before events pushed her to step more and more out of bounds. As much as I hate Harris, he definitely serves a purpose.

    This is an effective episode because it changes the landscape without altering what has come before. If the writers continue along this course, I see no reason why the series couldn't continue into a second season. The real problem will be maintaining patience between now and April.
  • Á jump back to MR Jones and what happpened after Mr Jones teleported and the other hand bizarre incident of a man's opening points in the body get all sewed up after he receives a 2 dollar note by an unknown man. Olivia is put to the test of her life .

    10
    OMg.....everytime Fringe does gets better and better...Mr Jones teleporting and the implications of it which Walter(the inventor) also says out later in the episode..........and then the usual happenings in every episode of bizarre events...but above all Olivia is put to the test of her life after an unexpected turning of Mr Jones who provides her with several tasks....As expected of any thrilling end the lights turn off at the last 2 seconds but the question still remains..was it Olivia who turned it off really because of all the ability she has in her brain due to the chemical possibly endorsed in her body when she was a child..or simple a mind game....and is Walter Bishop really the author of ZFT??!!! Many questions arise.....but wat really is Fringe.....I guess we all have to find out about the complexity as we proceed..
  • The game is changed.

    9.5
    Fantastic episode of Fringe that truly did change the show's direction. The entire manuscript plot with the testing reminded me of Alias... which is good.

    The show's mythology suddenly became even cooler - I loved the reveal at the end. Walter wrote ZFT... now that's surprising. I loved the Jones scenes, he's such a great character, and the actor who portrays him doesn an excellent job. The show really needed a villain like him - well, villain. Is he really a villain?

    I think making Olivia special is the right thing to do. It's good to see finally that the writers are "spicing" up her character, seeing how the biggest complaint regarding the show is that she's way too cold.

    Anyway, fantastic episode, one of the best. See you in april.
  • Olivia gets tested.

    7.5
    A controversial, untrustworthy German, people turning into Pig Men (Seinfeld reference for those that don't know) and Walter Bishop wanting food. Just a regular night of Fringe on Fox.

    I found myself drifting off at points during this episode. I don't want to say my love for Fringe is waning, but I just could not get into this show. Maybe it's because this is the last episode until April, but maybe it's something else. I think the problem is too much Olivia. Broyles was such an intriguing character in the pilot, but he's just sort of there now, and Walter is just not nearly as funny as he once was.

    Average by Fringe standards, but still superior to most TV dramas.
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