Season 1 Episode 8

The Equation

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Nov 18, 2008 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (18)

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  • The Equation

    The eighth episode of "Fringe" is distinguished from its predecessors (except "The Arrival") by the ease in which we got involved in the case of the week, due to its credibility, and the return of Walter (John Noble) to house that he met during the last decades, which gives us some scenes far more uncomfortable than any head explode. The problem comes to us in the end, when we want to take away and just take in the carpet under his feet.

    Like "Fringe" will not exactly to do with whether or not to be skeptical about certain subjects out of common sense. There are many other series that explore alternatives to our realities that somehow managed to sell us the concept enabling us that each scene too farfetched, we did not feel the temptation to roll your eyes or simply turn off the television. Some even managed to become a cult phenomenon and 40 minutes per week not to be missed. "Fringe" seems to adopt the same posture, but in my case, I can not put on your pseudoscience or their revolts and fancy hooks that can result in little more than a twitch of discomfort on the couch.

    However, this episode before its end, can carry us to a world we can imagine as ours: we have a sophisticated form of hypnotism (ok, it is accepted), we have a woman who supposedly died in a car accident ten years, but it is alive (instead of the usual ghost a la John Scott, it seems that this time was even a covert death and that the woman was even alive) and have a kid stuck in your imagination (it is much more acceptable than, for example, connecting wires to the brain of a dead person and see what he saw or talk to him or whatever). Only I will not question why is this kid know the formula, it seems that others also knew that somehow, after having been six days in a coma. I will not ask me about it because they simply do not want to know an answer I would bring more than just lack of interest in what happens in this series ...

    To save the kid of evildoers, Walter must return to the site where he spent the last decades of his life in captivity. The burden of dramatic scenes set in a psychiatric hospital, and the reflection of terror in the face of Walter back there, they gave the character more sympathetic than ever. He did not want to return to that place, where his life was withdrawn from him, but put the search and the possibility of salvation for a kid, a stranger, above their fears. On top of that, things did not go for the best and Walter almost found himself trapped again, but never lost the sense of what had taken him there and got the same information I wanted. The scenes shared between John Noble and Randall Duk Kim were superb and the difficulties posed by the character of William Sadler created some tension to leave me to wonder if Walter could really turn it up to that setback. Just did not realize the scenes in which he saw himself.

    As I did not realize that ending. These outcomes are typical in the series of mystery from JJ Abrams. "Alias" had them. "Lost" has them. But "Fringe" can not catch up to either of the two, much less the second, where these mysterious end result and this can only create further confusion and frustration. Mitchell Loeb (Chance Kelly), the character found in the previous episode, being a double agent, reappears. The woman who kidnapped and tortured the kid gives him the formula. He places an apple inside a machine. Both have a dialogue about the properties of numbers, the kind that would leave a book "Physics for Dummies." Connect with it and takes out his club a few seconds later, able to cross the wall of the chest with his hand. He kills his wife (who knows why ...). Connects to someone to say that it worked and ready ... went away. There was a hook that has piqued my interest to continue to monitor what these people go to engender. On the contrary: just gave me even less inclined to see the show.
  • Good Ol' Walter.

    I think one of the things that I love about this episode is that it was a great balance between case and personal. We have an Ben who is suddenly able to play and compose music. But the musical composition is an obsession of both little Ben and a patient at St. Claire's. Walter is willing to see what his friend knows by returning to St. Claire's. It turns our the obsession isn't a pattern, it's an ability. But it's currently in the wrong hands. The wonderful part of this episode is the interaction between Peter and Walter. Peter wanting to protect and care for the man whom is his father. Walter wanting to be the father to Peter that he never had.
  • A show focused on Walter!

    This was a good episode that focused more an Walter. Walter has been doing better lately and this episode really highlights how much healthier Walter is out of the hospital. It also makes you wonder what they do to the patients in that hospital. Walter definitely seems crazier inside the hospital than with Peter. It was also good to see Peter stand up for his father and even respect him a bit for doing something that scared him so badly. Olivia did not have that much to do do in this episode, but the episode still works. We also learn that the doctor at the hospital might make things hard for Peter in the future. Overall, another great episode!
  • I absolutely adore this show and this is most likely my favorite so far!

    Fringe is a great show because it is so out there and different from other shows on television right now. The Equation is an excellent episode for many reasons. First off, it helped show that waltar genuinely does care about the welfare of others because he sacrifices himself in order to get inside and speak to the man who he believes to have the answer to where the woman took the boy. Another reason it is good is because it helps show that Peter loves and cares for his father. All in all the episode had some excellent character development and told one amazing story.
  • A mysterious woman kidnaps a child music prodigy.

    Where Fringe is successful is in capturing the essence of the first season of Lost. Throughout the episode you find yourself on the edge of the seat while asking just what the hell is going on? In that area the show is a success. Where Fringe struggles is with the concept of planning out episodes. For some reason they insist on lengthy run-times nearing 50 minutes, when the major storyline of each could easily be handled in the normal 42.

    Until programs like Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who return Fringe is still the best source of science fiction excitement on television. It is still an incredibly well-written program and this episode was no different, but the storylines are starting to get repetitive. We already had the mad scientist who tried to milk information out of subjects done on this show.

    There's a whole world of craziness out there. Explore some of it and Fringe will become even better but if they stick to the same 3-4 concepts the show will lose all of its momentum very shortly.
  • Another good story and more questions posed. Just wanting a bit more from Peter.

    This episode encapsulates a lot of what is keeping Fringe great: spooky encounters, good one-liners, and characters that are easy to love. Watching Walter have to go back to the place that may have driven him insane was very interesting and very worrying, and getting a glimpse of his mind's inner workings was great. And again the writers are giving us mysteries with only the barest hint at what it all means... and I'm not frustrated. I'm intrigued.

    I haven't yet missed an episode of Fringe and I'm still excited about where it might be going. I have to grumble about Peter Bishop a bit, though - he was introduced as this brilliant guy who broke a lot of rules and ran around the world making money and being more intelligent than everyone. Now he's comic relief who occasionally gets to add something to an equation. I just feel like the man has to do something heroic (that doesn't involve getting electrocuted and/or tortured) before he loses credibility. As much as I adore funny lab-Peter, I want to see the 190 IQ MIT fraud again.
  • This was one of the better episodes in awhile.

    I thought that this was a good episode. I like how they had walter go back the mental hospital. I was glad see how much he has changed from the first episode. I dont think that I would have noticed without the comparison at the hospital. I like how they are setting up some drama with the leader of the hospital. The was one of the better episodes in awhile, but i still hope the they add some more crazy effects here soon. The effects are one of the main reasons that I watch the show, and I think that area has been lacking for awhile now.
  • This was a really good episode with many touching Walter moments.

    Fringe is one of those shows that has built up the story very gradually and it took a while for me to really get into it. My favourite character is Walter so it was great seeing the development of his character in this episode. The scenes at St Claire's Hospital were particularly moving. It is clear just how much better off he is with Peter than back there. There was nothing about Massive Dynamic this week so I am looking forward to seeing some links there.

    This was probably the best episode of the season so far and well worth a look.
  • great episode and i really felt sad for Walter

    what a great episode ... it was really touching .. specially from Walter side .. how he felt when he get back to that filthy place .
    the story was good handled and well written , this show is really something !!!
    Walter really were heart in that place, which gives him an addition to his character in the show, and now we cant wait to see if the manager of the mental institution really want to take Walter from his son
    but we didn't know what the story with the "equation" and what it really do, only go through metal ??
  • A strange woman takes a boy

    A man and his son are driving on a lonely highway in the rain, when they come across a woman with her broken car. The man stops to help her and, looking under the hood, he sees a green and red flashing light. For him, time jumps forward, and his son and the woman are gone. The trail leads back to the mental institution where Walter had previously resided, and a fellow resident, Dashiell Kim might hold the key to finding the boy and solving the puzzle. Walter gets to Dash and discovers this is exactly what happened to him. After an altercation with Dash, Water is held under Dr. Summer's instruction, before Olivia and Peter use their influence to get Walter out. A chance phone call to Olivia triggers her to investigate an old red fairground attraction near where she's conducting house to house calls. Olivia and Charlie investigate, and immediately split up. Olivia finds the boy but is attacked by the woman, the abductor. She's about to arrest her when the lights flash and Olivia blanks out.
  • Review

    Good episode, though I do find the 49 minutes becoming longer and longer during these past couple of episodes. Walter returns to the hospital, which I hope will at least give us that vision of himself that he saw while he was there. It looks like the vision was something that only torments him while he is there though. Olivia scenes were pretty boring. For being the star of the show I actually don't like seeing her on the screen that much. I like the bad girl in this episode and I liked the Green Green Green Red thing that they did. They took a small step back from all of the science fiction I thought in this episode. The woman had the boy hooked up to a machine the entire time, but for the most part it was an episode you could see happening to a degree in real life. I also like that they brought back the guy from last episode in this episode. Looks like we are going to begin multi-episode story archs, which looks to be exciting.
  • Not so much an action episode, but still good

    Not so much an action episode, but still great. This was one of those episodes which had you really thinking, and admiring how well it played out. I really like how they explained the connection between the music the kid played, and the math equations of the mad scientist dude. What I didn't like so much was how Walter was taken back into the mental institute. Not that it ruined the story, but I really didn't like seeing him in there. This equation that ZFT is getting people to work on, eventually works, but I wonder what bigger threats it could be used for. The one thing that bothers me about this show though, is 8 episodes in, we really don't know a thing. A lot of the episodes had cliff hangers that never again get mentioned. What is up with that? I hope that we get at least some answers soon!
  • A young boy is abducted and the only clue that seems to help is that Walter knew someone in the asylum that had told him a story that was similar. Walter must return to speak with him and risk his sanity again.

    An interesting stand alone episode obviously having something to do with something The Pattern wants to know but again we are give a lot more questions than answers. ***** Spoilers *****
    The main piece in all this is that the boy was saved in the end. It may be my prospective in watching this on DVD versus the week to week viewing of the original network broadcast, but this story seems to be going nowhere fast. We are in the eighth episode and we know nothing more than what was really told us in the first few episodes.

    We see that the women who was supposedly dead and had spent the last ten plus years working on a solution to this problem is killed the second the solution is found. What that solution was for is still somewhat in the dark even though we were supposedly witness to what was happening.

    Overall way to cryptic and nothing is really learned from this episode. What do we know up to this point? There is a group called The Pattern and a cell group called ZFT. They are trying all sorts of perverted and outlandish experiments that seem to just prove they can do some things that no one else can. They have infiltrated law enforcement agencies, and other affiliated organizations. When we learn something as viewers they jump to some totally unrelated subject in the next episode never answering the abundant questions that came up in earlier episodes.

    The ever present William Sadler is excellent as the ominous Dr. Sumner of the asylum where Walter was held. There is something indecent going on that institution. If you were sane going in you won't be after a while. More of The Pattern? I especially loved the Peter/Dr. Sumner scene near the end!

    I enjoyed the procedural part of the episode. This would have made a good Law & Order: Criminal Intent if we ever got wind of what the criminals really wanted. Unfortunately we only see the results of their actions not what drives them. Interesting stuff but definitely a niche type show that would interest maybe X-Files or Millennium type viewers. Thanks for reading...
  • 'The Equation' gives John Noble a chance to shine and shine he does.

    'The Equation' gives John Noble a chance to shine and shine he does, stealing the entire 45 minutes with a performance that jolts from scatterbrained to fiery to empathetic and back again in a matter of seconds without ever seeming hokum or excessive, which is no small feat. That he manages to retain the viewer's sympathies throughout is even more remarkable and simply underlines the successful nature of the show's recent developments of Walter Bishop's character. His sequences with Dashiell, a fine character in himself, are particularly representative of this, striking a painfully believable chord in a somewhat absurd narratalogical scenario, thanks to a combination of powerful dialogue and considered performance. Orci and Goodman's script is considerably strong as it combines an intriguing premise with a satisfying degree of character development, giving it a level of cohesion that was perhaps lacking in some of the season's earlier episodes. A definite winner.
  • The best episode ever! Lot's of symbolism.

    Another step towards "the pattern", which is the codename given to the sequence of unexplained events happening around the world under investigation by Olivia Dunham, with the help of Walter Bishop.
    This time, at the end of the episode appears the image of a seahorse with the Fibonacci spiral on it. On a previews episode there was a frog image with the greek letter Phi on its back. The Phi letter is the character commonly used to represent the Golden Ratio in mathematics. The Fibonacci spiral approximates the golden spiral...this makes me wonder what is yet to come.

    For more Fringe symbolism go to:
  • Dashing through the snow...Christmas lights are used for evil in what turned out to be a pretty good episode.

    In this episode, a young prodigy is kidnapped in the same manner that some other so called geniuses are taken. The others were returned, though not mentally in the same condition that they were abducted. Olivia, Peter, and Walter race to find him before his abductor or abductors return him without his sanity. One lead that they have is an old friend of Walter's from the mental institution. In order to save the boy, Walter must return to the institution and find out what his friend knows.
    I liked the episode. The science was less ambiguous, the case was interesting and I enjoyed seeing Peter so protective of Walter-especially the face off that he had with the head of the institution. There was also the intriguing suggestion that the administrator is not what he seems. What happened to Walter while he was in there? How did he become so addled? We did get a reminder of how Walter was when he was institutionalized, and we got to see how he had changed. I like where the show is going and can't wait until the next episode.
  • Getting somewhere, but not quite yet

    While this is another episode dominated by stand-alone elements, there are plenty of connections to the existing continuity and hints of something dark and ominous on the horizon. Walter's sanity is placed in relative context, and there are hints of future challenges to his freedom.

    This early in any series, let alone any season, it's hard to tell what will be important. Will William Sadler's character become a recurring thorn in Olivia's side? Will all these comments about Peter's past associations and his threats against the doctor ever become a genuine subplot? Was the phase equation part of The Pattern, or was it some kind of covert Massive Dynamic experiment?

    One gets the impression that this episode was more about what the case revealed than the case itself. Even so, I found the basis of the situation to be intriguing enough on its own. As an engineer with a strong musical background, the integration of mathematics and musical theory was a nice touch. I'm not sure that the connections would have worked out quite in the manner presented, but the intentions were clear enough and the execution was clever.

    The episode never quite explained how the various subjects were induced into the savant state, or how the hallucinations were being introduced into their perceptions. If there's a weakness to the episode, that would be it: too many aspects of the "fringe science" in use are intentionally vague. That's always been true of the "science" shown on this series, since the writers take unusual concepts and twist them around, but beyond the math/music connection, there wasn't much in terms of the concrete.

    There was, however, a new look at Walter's relative insanity. We're used to seeing him around Olivia and Peter in the Harvard setting. From that perspective, Walter is clearly unbalanced and out of his mind, even dangerously out of touch with the context of his own memory and conjecture. Compared to his former inmates at the institution, however, Walter is far more focused and aware. Part of that is the medication, of course, but it does play into the possibility that Olivia and Peter may think of Walter as more functional and helpful than he really is.

    All of which makes this episode feel like the calm before the storm, despite the fact that it was hardly a moment of quiet reflection. A lot has been introduced, and while I don't expect the writers to abandon the semi-anthology model completely, I do suspect that some mythology is soon coming our way.
  • In which Loeb reaches through steel...

    Fantastic episode of Fringe ONCE AGAIN! But honestly, this was probably the 3rd best episode so far(only beaten by the Pilot and The Arrival)

    The thing I enjoyed the most about this episode was the way it connected with the previous one - Mr Loeb returns, and its good to see that he is actually part of the big something that's behind the Pattern.

    Another thing abotu the episode that had me very much entertained was the Walter scenes in the mental hospital.. some brilliant character development.

    I also loved Peter fighting for him.

    The Olivia scenes were the weakest ones, but they were still good. She even got hypnothized! Ha.

    Great episode overall, and it took me a rewatch to realize Loeb reached through the steel for that apple...