Season 1 Episode 12

The No-Brainer

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 27, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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  • 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?
  • 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!?!?

  • 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.
  • 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 lol
  • 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.
  • Nothing Really Jumped Out At Me

    Even though the show has been doing standalone epsiodes for a while, it was getting to the point where it was becoming more of a week-to-week show. Mr. Jones's storyline really picked up the action and the entire storyline with Michell Loeb really got me thinking that we were getting into the hot and heavy part of Fringe. I think that's why this episode came across as such a dissapointment. This episode went back to the formula of episode...four or five. There was nothing in this epsiode that was going to tie back into the main plot at all. The old woman wanted to talk with Walter and I thought that was fine as far as storytelling I was interested in. The trio of Dunham, Peter, and Dunham's sister is really interesting. I think the sister has it for Peter, which could throw a damper on a Peter and Oliva hook up before the big break coming up here in two epsiodes or so. The case itself was also a bit of a let-down. A computer programer, well ahead of his time, creates a program and starts targeting members of his old family that he has connections to. For someone so focused and "well ahead of his time", killing off people that mean something to him doesn't make a lot of sense.
  • A computer is causing mayhem in this week's installment

    This week's mystery was a strange computer-based attack that melted people's brains with a weird sequence of images and noises. Somehow a hand was reaching out from the Computer screen and liquidising people's brains. The person that was behind these attacks was a guy that had a personal vendetta against all of his victims; Harris was continuing to make Olivia's job hell as he would do anything to see this department fail. Walter had a small part in this episode though he does continue with his great one liners; he was introduced to a women that he knew quite a long time ago, she wanted answers about her daughter. Peter got all flirty with Olivia's Sister, an Okay episode not as good as the previous one. Mr. Jones where the hell are you?
  • A good episode that really develops on the characters!

    Definitely a step down in intensity from the last episode, but that being said, it didn't make the episode any worse. It's not like every episode can be as action packed as the last one, so it doesn't surprise me that this one was a little less hectic. I was just hoping to find out a bit more about why Olivia was abducted in the first place. Pretty good episode overall, but it didn't really advance to main story, it was more of a character episode. That being said, I really enjoyed that this episode took the time to further the characters in the show.
  • very enjoyable to watch; change of pace...

    I liked this one. True, it had some flaws in the logic of the plot. Some weak lines in the dialogue (like one line which I won't say but it makes Peter sound very naive which is against the grain of his character). But somehow it had a nice feeling to it - The characters were blending well. The little dynamic between Olivia's sister and Peter was promising to make some waves in future, but although what exactly that will look like is hard to say at this point. Will Peter consider using this opportunity to make Olivia jealous, or, is he really interested actually in her? & what's her end game? The main fringe science mystery was perhaps less interesting and complex than most, but on the other hand it made sense to be a little simpler to leave room for the other dynamics that were happening, and to put the focus more on some of the relationships and character interactions. I liked it. The child actor playing Ella, O's niece is pretty good too.
  • Stand-alone episode not fitting into the general Pattern Case scenario. Enjoyable nonetheless.

    Lots of character development in this episode, most of it rather predictable, but that doesn't take out of the enjoyment of watching it. Sometimes it's nice to observe the characters develop even when we more or less expect their next move. Such is the case with Olivia's sister hitting on Peter and Peter being on the brink of deciding between the two. Though in the final scene I think he pretty much made his decision, but that may be just me getting ideas in my head.

    Walter's meeting with his dead assistant's mother was extremely touching, and revealing of an inner strength in Walter that hadn't been demonstrated to the viewers before. It was pleasantly surprising to see Walter so self-composed, focused on reality and showing compassion. Also a great relief to see him finally being able to get a sense of closure.

    Now for the actual plot of this episode, it didn't offer much in terms of excitement or anticipation. The direction of the case-solving was more or less linear, find the connection between the victims, establish motive, get the data and go after the bad guy. The expected danger for Olivia's niece (we had seen that one coming ever since her family came in the picture) speeds up the pace a little bit with the car race and hurried phonecalls etc. And Harris closing in on the department and colliding head-on with Broyles was refreshing. I'd like to see that one develop further as I believe it adds a sense of urgency and emotional charge to the show that isn't without its own unanswered questions. For example, why is Broyles so intent on defending Olivia that he's willing to jeopardize his career on her? What is his connection to Massive Dynamic? Where does John Scott fit in all this? Is Harris and those he represents really the bad guys or are they trying to defend humanity from something even more dangerous than themselves?

    Every show needs a break now and then and this was an easy, enjoyable one. But I hope we get back in the wagon on the next episode!!
  • Solid character development, solid plot, but . . .

    The previews were exciting, so I was a bit disappointed by the end of The No-Brainer because it just left me feeling flat. It wasn't a bad episode, but it wasn't a great one either. The acting, as usual, was dead on. The cast does a fine job of touching the hearts and souls of the characters that they portray. The plot was good. Solid, if a bit predictable . . . Harris continues his campaign to punish Olivia . . . Olivia must rush to save her niece . . .Olivia's sister seems attracted to Peter. How does Olivia feel about this? These predictable plot devices are often just what the doctor ordered. These are the things that create tension, drama and suspense. Those three factors are the foundation for excellent television. The only real bone of contention with this episode was some of the writing. It just felt forced in some scenes. One scene in particular was after Peter tried to prevent his father from meeting a woman with connections to Walter's past. Peter was exceedingly protective of his father. It was clear that Peter was acting in a caring manner because he loves his father despite the complexities of their relationship. The above mentioned scene is connected to one at the end after the villain is unveiled. Olivia and Peter have a conversation where Peter asks Olivia a question. I won't share the question here because it is a spoiler. However, I think the point can be made without knowledge of the question. Both the question and the answer felt forced, obvious, and unnecessary. Don't the writers give their viewers credit to be able to read between the lines? Don't they have faith in the viewer to make connections without being lead to them like a horse to water? Overall, it was an entertaining episode. I enjoyed it, but would have enjoyed it a lot more if some of the writing had been less obvious.
  • Stuck in a rut

    Despite all the insanity of the past few episodes, particularly in terms of Olivia's fractured psychological state and the hints of a war over the technology of the Pattern, the writers seem to think the best direction to take this time around is a relative stand-alone with few connections to those larger themes.

    Olivia's cute sister is still around, as well as her niece, and her division is still under investigation by the most annoying auditor on the planet. Otherwise, this feels like a random episode outside of the larger tapestry. After all, this is just some bizarre personal revenge scheme (and one that doesn't particular add up all that well, either).

    In a way, this reminded me of those first season "X-Files" episodes that, in retrospect, never quite fit. The kind of episode that looks good on paper, but ends up falling short of the mark and feeling, over time, like a way to push at the perceived boundaries of the premise. Will we be looking back, a couple of seasons from now, and wondering why they chose to put Olivia's niece in jeopardy right out of the gate? There are few storytelling cliches quite as annoying.

    I think it's also safe to say that Olivia's sister was brought in for obvious and terribly derivative reasons. Yes, having family so close does serve to humanize Olivia and give her a reason to be a lot less depressed and dour (which means more smiling from Anna, which is much appreciated). But the niece is now the convenient target for anyone going after Olivia for her work, and the sister is a convenient love triangle candidate. Peter's already displaying interest, and the sister is practically jumping in his lap.

    The bottom line is that this is the second episode in a row that failed to live up to the promise of the episodes that aired in the fall. Perhaps events will turn back towards a more cohesive approach with the February sweeps, but right now, this feels like a show still casting about for a definitive voice.
  • Alright.

    This was a good episode of Fringe, but not a great one (which there have been many). It was such a straightforward case that I was a bit disappointed. I like the extra creepy what is going on episodes, but for some reason I just kept seeing what was coming in this episode. That is not to say it was bad, just less engaging and creepy then most Fringe episodes. Hopefully less creepy was not on purpose. I do enjoy seeing how good Olivia is with her niece. It was interesting to see that peter was also very good with her. I wonder where he learned to deal with children?
  • Nice effects but the plot wasn't so good as it usually is.

    There were some good moments in this episode but something seemed to be missing. There were some nice walterisms which are always good to hear. Peter also was interesting but the rest just seemed a bit dull. I liked the computer effects but I needed more than that. There was no mention at all of Massive Dynamic or Olivia's former lover or any of the rest of the main story arc. Just what is going on with this? Maybe the series will pick up next week. I certainly hope so, as Fringe is a big favourite of mine. Could do better.
  • Only slightly above average this time

    Not bad, but not their greatest effort, really... ENJOYABLE would be the word that comes to mind if I had to describe this episode in one word.

    The standalone case started of RLY good. The computer reaching out to the teenage boy was freaky and well done. Fantastic cold open. BUT it all went downhill from there, standalone cases have 2 dimensional characters, even though Chris Bauer was a pretty good villain...

    More interesting aspect of the show is the SERIALIZED story... which SEEMINGLY was completetly absent, but the truth is character development is part of the story too, and there was plenty here. The highlight of the episode was Walter and the dead lab assistant's mother meeting... FANTASTIC. I liked the awkward tension between Peter, Olivia and her sister... Love triangles for the win.

    7.5/10 - seen worse standalone episode of FRINGE, but seen better aswell. Now I hope next week is going to be a little LESS standalone.
  • It's The Ring!

    Well, Fringe can't come up with sci-fi classics every week, but come on with doing the "If you see the tape you die!" storyline.

    Everything about this episode just seemed so average and unoriginal. The agent who hates Olivia concept was done last week and weeks before that and the Walter and Peter banter was not up to par either.

    I like computers so this episode seemed to have promise with the premise, but it was only average at best.

    And the end with Peter visiting Olivia's house, just seemed so, not like Fringe. I thought for a second I might have been watching Joshua Jackson's other show Dawson's Creek with the "relationship" between the two.
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