Season 1 Episode 12

The No-Brainer

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 27, 2009 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
559 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Olivia, Walter, and Peter are brought in to try and stop a killer with the ability to liquefy the human brain.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • The No-Brainer

    Tip of the day: Always follow the advice of your grandparents. I say this because my grandmother always told me to spend much time in front of the computer was not healthy ... and it seems she may actually be right.

    Now then, "Fringe" returns to the model "case of the week", which can not even say it's a surprise, but it does so with a case that causes little more than a mere yawn almost continuously for fifty minutes.

    A man, a computer genius, decides to create a program, or rather a virus that melts the brain to the people who unload the Internet. No, there is no subliminal message here: the people who wrote this episode should even have anything against the Web course the man sends the virus to carry out a personal vendetta, and of course, as people who die are a complete useless when it comes to surfing the net, not even suspect they are doing something stupid when you click on a message nothing suspicious that suddenly appears on the monitor and says "What's that sound?". Yes, I admit that I too would click right away if I just announcement appeared on my computer ... then robbing a bocadin ... Sorry, I forgot that the term now used is "honor" ... Why, then, paying homage to "The Ring" and click where no one else would click a video file begins to play with random images and indecipherable (except for the Observer, so it seemed, in the opening scene), people fall into a state of deep hypnosis until they begin to hallucinate with one hand out of the monitor that will melt your brain. And that is ready ... ...

    In turn, and as he was imprisoned for a long time and technology evolved without waiting for him, Walter (John Noble) turns out to be something out of the case and has a line of argument a little different, well built and very promising, but whose outcome too lame, and even predictable to a certain extent by the fuss that Peter (Joshua Jackson) was doing the whole issue has left a bitter taste right.

    Well, now I realized why Olivia's sister showed up this whole story: basically, it should start to become interested in Peter, probably can come out with one another, and Olivia (Anna Torv) eventually find that you have feelings for him and gets jealous. Anyway ... If this is the case, will not be anything new, nor even of great interest, and will only increase the strength I have in relation to truly enjoy this series.

    Episode to forget. Hurry.

    PS - I remembered something else now ... Someone explain to me what is that Blair Brown and Mark Valley are still doing the show?moreless
  • About the characters.

    The case of the week seems like a poor excuse to get to know the characters more on a personal level. The case is a about amiddle aged man who seeks revenge on people by melting their loved ones brains through a computer virus. Pretty silly and a very weak fringe case, the cast doesn't seem that bothered either.

    This week was more about the characters and their family's. Olivia's sister and her nice is still staying at her house and that poor little girl almost got her brain melted, good thing she has a super aunt! It's nice to see this different side of Olivia, loving sister and aunt.

    Peter tries to protect Walter from the mother of his old assistant who died in a accident years ago in his lab. When Olivia finds out what Peter is doing they have a little argument, Olivia believes that Walter can handle a meeting and that it only will do him good to face the past. When they solve the case which had someconvenient father/son issues Peter agrees with Olivia and set up a meeting with the mother and Walter. Turns out, the mother wasn't angry, she only wanted to ask Walter about her daughter, how she was before she died and so on. Walter talks about his former assistant in a nice, loving way, connecting with the mother. Best scene in the episode.

    I'm a bit miffed with Peter and Olivia's sister, flirting!?!?moreless
  • With each passing week, Fringe becomes more and more like The X Files. And Alias.

    With each passing week, Fringe becomes more and more like The X Files. And Alias. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if it weren't the more regrettable qualities of these particular shows that it chooses to emulate. 'The No-Brainer' is very much a stand alone episode, taking a side step from the mythology of the Pattern to deliver a kooky story about a highly intelligent computer programmer who has somehow developed the ability to liquefy people's brains by looking at a series of images on their computer screen. Uh huh. Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? That's because it is. To this writer's mind, Fringe abandoned all semblance of scientific credibility many, many episodes back so it's not too much to swallow. What I refuse to blindly accept, however, is that virtually no explanation is given as to the how and why. At least in previous instalments, some attempt has been made (often with rather laughable pseudo-science, admittedly) to delineate the way in which the event is actually possible. Here, Bishop mumbles something about computer viruses transferable to humans and that's it. Nothing about the science behind such an idea (although there is a jargon-filled sentence or two thrown in there, just to beguile), nothing about why 'what's that noise?' is even remotely significant, everything just is. And I'm sorry, but I have a hard time buying into what is effectively lazy writing. Things don't get much better elsewhere, unfortunately: while we get a nice cameo from Mary Beth Piel (my fellow Dawson's Creek fans and I were squeeing like crazy), and the scene between she and Walter is nicely done, the other character beats just fall infuriatingly flat. First, the sister. She's still there, hanging around like a bad smell, giving Olivia a chance to sit on a couch, listening to MOR acoustic music and talk about 'her life', and now it looks like she might have designs on Peter (great! Romantic distractions we don't care about!) Then there's Sanford Harris who needs to get off our screens as soon as possible. There he goes again, getting in the way of the progression of the narrative and just generally pissing everyone off. Whomever thought introducing an irritating piss weasel like this into the story was a good idea needs to be forcibly ejected from the world of television pronto. As with 'Bound', I suspect my inherent distaste for these particular elements of the narrative may be clouding my judgement of the whole. 'The No-Brainer' is a decent episode. It coasts along at a fairly stable rate and can be enjoyed at face value as an entertaining piece of dramatic television, provided you don't think about it too much. And look away whenever Michael Gaston's on the screen. Come on Fringe... you can do better than this.moreless
  • Two mens' brains are liquefied and their only apparent connection is that they both downloaded a huge file before dying.

    i think this episode kind of look like the movie the ring . its like u watch it online or tape and later on u die, but just the different way of killing who ever watches it but its good when Olivia's boss is on her side for once, I'm happy with this episode people say too much time on the computer is bad for your mind Ella is the one who save everyone because if she didn't told Olivia about the hand then they wont know who is the killer,

    Jessica wants to know stuff about her daughter's death, and Walter knows about. Jessica is the Jan's grandma from Dawson creek i think Olivia and peter should be together lolmoreless
  • really Touching

    nice episode, gets really good at the end, i mean emotions start to take place, and in these scene we can see how good is the acting going on.

    well written story, but not like the Fringe theme, a little different thats all, but still enjoyable story to be watched.

    the start was good, the hand that comes out of the monitor, but i guess from the this scene you just thing that things should happened in a different direction, because its fringe i mean, but it was good.

    but mostly i liked the end of the episode, when Dr. Bishop met that lady and talked to her it was touching.

    also when Peter talked to Olivia, it was a good scene.moreless
Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson

Peter Bishop

Lance Reddick

Lance Reddick

Phillip Broyles

Kirk Acevedo

Kirk Acevedo

Charlie Francis

Jasika Nicole

Jasika Nicole

Astrid Farnsworth

John Noble

John Noble

Dr. Walter Bishop

Anna Torv

Anna Torv

Olivia Dunham

Chris Bauer

Chris Bauer

Brian Dempsey

Guest Star

Michael Gaston

Michael Gaston

Sanford Harris

Guest Star

Mary Beth Peil

Mary Beth Peil

Jessica Warren

Guest Star

Ari Graynor

Ari Graynor

Rachel Dunham

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Trivia: The glyph cipher spells "bishop."

    • When Peter takes the two hard drives to his friend, he wraps them in a single sheet of bubble wrap and puts them in the box. However, when he is taking them out of the box at his friend's place of work, he slides the two drives out of a plastic bag instead of unraveling them out of the sheet of bubble wrap.

    • Trivia: In the shot of Walter at the autodealership, you can see a sign behind him saying "Lease for $718.00 per month." This is a clue toward the next episode, "The Transformation."

    • When the guy connects the hard-drives to check its data, when he turns on the PC, you can see in the screen PIV 2.8 MMX CPU at 3.2kMHTZ, when the correct unit should be Ghz (giga hertz). Then when he's trying to find the exact place associated with the IP address from where the program is being downloaded, you can see the IP 456.262.736.462, which makes no sense because an IP address has 32 bits (4 octets), so an IP can vary only between and

    • Trivia: The Observer can be seen as Olivia drives to rescue Ella. He's standing on a street corner as Olivia screeches past him, at the 19:20 mark.

    • The stockbroker's computer is still up and running a stock market program after it has been used to melt his brain. The hard drive should be toast like the previous two computers.

    • Trivia: Olivia's home address is 1124 Strathmore Blvd., Brighton, MA 02135

    • The director and editor mix up two scenes. Olivia goes to see Dempsey, then she returns to Harvard and tells Astrid she's going to see Dempsey. Then she goes to FBI Headquarters and talks to Harris. There is never a second conversation with Dempsey at the time until they arrest him, or any reason for her to talk to him a second time. This was fixed in the DVD release.

  • QUOTES (14)

    • Peter: (to Olivia) I wanted to say that I've never had him in my life, Walter, and now, thanks to your insane freakshow of an operation, I do, have him in my life. And I think that I was a little scared.

    • Peter: I don't underestimate my father, by the way. I understand him. Sometimes more than I want to. Look, if I let him talk to that woman, she's just going to accuse him of killing her daughter, which is something he didn't do.
      Olivia: Then why not just let them meet?
      Peter: Whose side are you on anyway?
      Olivia: I know what it's like to live with something unresolved. That's all.
      Peter: Congratulations. You just described the entire planet.

    • Olivia: With all due respect, Agent Harris, I have done my due dilligence. I just got off the phone with my contact at the CDC. And they have seen nothing like it. But you tell me, does this look like a flu you've heard of? Where people's brains come out of their ears?

    • Peter: I think I got a guy who can help us.
      Olivia: Who?
      Peter: Do you really want to know?
      Olivia: Good point.

    • Walter: With all due respect, Darwin got it all wrong. I used to make the joke that Darwin's thinking was rather... unevolved.
      Peter: Which I'm sure used to be very funny.

    • Astrid: The coroner's on the way with a body.
      Walter: You know, this is the part of the day that I look forward to the most. When I know there's something bizarre out there, I just don't know what it is. Like a grab bag of disturbing events.

    • Walter: He can be rotated onto his back now, drain the remainder of his brain. Once that's done, we can examine his cranial cavity.
      Peter: Oh, this is gonna be awesome.

    • Walter: All we know is that his brain matter has been completely liquefied. How? My first thought is an extremely virulent form of syphilis.
      Olivia: You're saying that his brain could have been cooked by an STD?
      Walter: Safe sex is important. You do always have your sexual partners wear a condom, I hope?
      Peter: Walter...

    • Walter: Oh, and be sure to check his floppy disks as well.
      Peter: Floppy disks are a little outdated. Why don't you focus on what you do best? All yours--liquid brains.
      Walter: Oh, fantastic. I'll get the bone saw.

    • Walter: (checking a corpse at a car dealership) I wonder if they sell cars here with those seats that warm your ass?
      Peter: Well why don't you ask him?
      Walter: Hmmm? Maybe I will.

    • Rachel: Do you do birthday parties too?
      Peter: Not so much, no. Though I have done my fair share of babysitting recently.

    • Peter: I tried to expense a couple of Celtic tickets on the FBI--she caught me.
      Walter: Oh, I see. I hope she doesn't notice the $2,000 for the baboon seminal fluid I ordered. I hope I can recall why I ordered it.

    • Olivia: He just called a cab. One guess where it's taking him.
      Peter: Oh, come on. He cannot possibly be that stupid.
      Olivia: He's 19.
      Peter: Good point.

    • Peter: Walter, there's a woman here who wants to talk to you.
      Walter: She pretty?

  • NOTES (3)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Norway: March 22, 2009 on TVN
      Finland: March 23, 2009 on MTV3
      United Kingdom: March 29, 2009 on Sky1/Sky1 HD
      Latin America: June 2, 2009 on WB
      Germany: June 15, 2009 on ProSieben
      Sweden: June 18, 2009 on Kanal 5
      Belgium: July 9, 2009 on RTBF2
      France: July 22, 2009 on TF1
      Australia: October 28, 2009 on GO!
      Poland: November 27, 2009 on TVN
      Slovakia: December 20, 2009 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: March 19, 2010 on Nova Cinema

    • Music: Spaceman (The Killers), Single Ladies (Beyoncé), Bandits (Midlake), Insight (Fort Knox Five)

    • Blair Brown and Mark Valley are credited but don't appear.