Leonard Nimoy Explains Fringe's Final Storm

Illustration for article titled Leonard Nimoy Explains Fringe's Final Storm

Last night on Fringe, we drank worms, did drugs, and stole cryogenically frozen heads. But more importantly, we finally got to see Olivia's visit to the other universe, and hear Leonard Nimoy explain all about the coming interdimensional war.


The Great Cryo-Caper: Agent Broyles nails it with the absurd Fringe quote of the night: "Why are shapeshifting soldiers from another universe stealing frozen heads?" Why not? It's weird, it's slightly gruesome, and it gives them an excuse to show dozens of disembodied heads rolling all over the ground.

Oh, but it has something to do with the plot, too. These universe-jumping warriors are looking for a certain head, but they don't know where it is or what it looks like. One of the soldiers just keeps shaving off small bits of hair, frowning, and then tossing the head over his shoulder like it's a piece of overripe fruit. A pity we don't get to see anyone stumble across this pile of unwanted heads; it would the perfect intro to a ratings-grubbing episode of Law & Order.

The last heist didn't quite go as planned, though, and the frowning supersoldier was forced to kill one of his shapeshifting compatriots, leaving behind a corpse that bleeds mercury and one of those contraptions that let's them steal another person's form.

Flatworm Smoothie: Sometimes I suspect the Fringe writers are constantly working on an empty stomach, what with all the talk of flan and apple fritters. Olivia gets a less tasty treat in the form of Walter's world-famous flatworm smoothie (patent pending). Apparently, in addition to being every kid's favorite animal to chop to bits (how I loved to create two-headed planaria), flatforms have the ability to obtain the memories of other flatworms through ingestion. Walter thinks he can job Olivia's memory by having her swallow the sliced and diced wormies, while Peter thinks that's a load of worm-flavored crap. Olivia, of course, downs the entire glass before Walter can mention that he was going to mix the vile stuff with strawberries. Oh, Olivia, I know you must always prove you're tough and game for anything, but this impulsiveness is going to get you killed — and probably get the whole universe killed with you.

The Blending of Peter and Bell: Nina Sharp reminds us that two objects can't occupy the same space, but Peter and William Bell are certainly coming close, at least in Olivia's mind. First, when she looks at Peter, she has flashbacks to seeing Bell in the alternate universe. Then, when she's just coming out of her massive flashback seizure, she hears Peter's voice layered over Bell's voice. And both Bell and Peter ring similar bells, which serve as bookends to the seizure. I'm probably jumping the gun here, but is it possible that Peter and William Bell are the same person? After all, they're both geniuses, both have worked with Walter, and both have real affinity for Olivia. Could Peter have traveled back in time, assumed the name William Bell, and worked to prevent the "final storm."

Step Through the Plot Hole, Please: Okay, so now that the Fringe team has a dead shapeshifter on their hands, they can see that shapeshifter bodies contain boatloads of mercury. And that dead nurse they thought was the shapeshifter back in episode one? No mercury. Go team! But, why everyone doesn't immediately suspect Charlie, who supposedly shot and killed the nurse, of being the shapeshifter is beyond me. Walter might have an excuse since he's apparently high all the time, but what about our trained FBI agents and uber-perceptive Peter. Gah. Instead, they have to rely on Massive Dynamic to fix the broken shapeshifting device and reconstruct data on the last recorded shape.


Olivia and Peter Geek Out: Part of me adores the impressed look Peter gives Olivia when she reveals her knowledge of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He's got a very non-sexual, sibling-ish crush on her. But part of me is bemused; is he still surprised when she raises her geek flag?

Hallucinogenic Experiments are Sexy: Walter actually gets some action this episode, and it's all thanks to his wacky unethical experiments. He meets up with Rebecca Kidner, the woman he once fed hallucinogenic drugs so she could identify people from other universes (who apparently have a certain glowing aura about them). Far from being upset about the things Walter did to her mind and body, she's grateful and more than a little turned on. When Walter tells her (rather unconvincingly) that he couldn't recommend subjecting her to more hallucinogenic drugs, she immediately and happily volunteers to be his guinea pig again. She even remembers where he keeps his salvia. How sweet.


Will'em and Livvy, Together at Last: Rebecca's psychedlic experience is interrupted by Olivia's flashback seizure. Apparently, the flatworms have kicked in and Olivia is remembering her visit to the alternate universe and her encounter with William Bell. It's a bit of an info dump, but a manageable one, and some of the revelations are a little cryptic:

-William and Olivia have cutesy nicknames for each other, or at least they did when she was a child.
-People who travel from our universe to the other universe often die in the process.
-The people in the other universe have dealt with this by creating hybrids that are part human, part machine. They are called the "First Wave."
-The supersoldiers are looking for their leader, who will have a mark that looks sort of like an omega hidden on his body.
-Bell believes a war is coming, which he describes as the "final storm."
-When Bell and Walter predicted the coming war, they tried to create an individual who could defend the gates between worlds. Out of all of the children Bell and Walter experimented on, Olivia was by far the strongest.
-Momentum can be deferred when traveling from one universe to the other, but it's only put off until your return. That's why Olivia came crashing out of her car windshield in the season premiere — because she'd been pulled out of a moving car and into the other universe.


Peter Glows: Walter is becoming more focused, but he may want to lay off the pot. After all, he should realize that once he triggered Rebecca's ability to recognize people from the other universe, that she would be able to see that Peter is from the other universe. She almost spills the beans to Peter, but catches herself at the last minute. Still, it's another step toward Peter figuring out what's up. Then again, maybe Walter is — consciously or unconsciously — just sabotaging himself.

Snow Globe Apocalypse: On Bell's orders, Olivia visits Nina Sharp to tell her about the final storm. Nina essentially reiterates what ZFT told us last season: that there will be a final conflict between the two universes, and only one universe will survive. After all, two objects cannot occupy the same space. She illustrates this by smashing two snow globes together. Then Olivia thinks, Hey, don't those snow globes look an awful lot like omegas? and she suspects Nina of being the shapeshifter. No, Olivia, it will be hidden on the leader, not held out in front of them.


Farewell, Fake Charlie: But soon reason (or more accurately technology) prevails and Fake Charlie is outed as the shapeshifter. After a battle of the supersoldiers, Olivia wins out and shoots Fake Charlie dead. Poor Kirk Acevedo. You will be missed.

The Head of the First Wave: Meanwhile, the other shapeshifter has found the head he was looking for. He shaves off a little hair to reveal the omega-ish symbol of the First Wave's leader, and then attaches it to a fresh new body.

Illustration for article titled Leonard Nimoy Explains Fringe's Final Storm

Astrid Watch: Just a little Astrid this week, though she gets a nice joke with the "Walter Bishop Deli" line. And I did like it when Walter said he wasn't sure she wasn't a figment of his imagination, even if he meant it strictly in the scientific sense, because sometimes it does seem like Walter treats her like his imaginary friend.


Walter Moment of the Week: This week we learned that Walter smokes a little pot each night before bed and keeps a stash of salvia in his drawer. But the best moment had to be when he asked Peter if he could ride home with Rebecca (and hit him up for bus fare), only to turn around like a giddy kid about to have a playdate:

But at least we got a moment of self-awareness, too, as Walter apologized to Rebecca for the things he did in his wild and reckless scientific youth. And, he may not have gotten her into bed, but at least he's rewarded for his impulsive car ride with a kiss.




"After all, two objects cannot occupy the same space."

I was truly enjoying the episode up until Nina mentioned the Pauli exclusion principle (PEP) and claimed that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time because of it.

Sorry, Nina, but you fail elementary quantum mechanics.

The PEP says that *identical* *fermions* [particles of half-integer spin (1/2, 3/2, 5/2, etc)] cannot occupy the same *quantum state*. Identical bosons [particles of integer spin (0, 1, 2, etc)] *can* - and they like to - occupy the same quantum state.

Note the three important aspects of the PEP:

1. It applies only to *fermions*. Protons, neutrons, and electrons are fermions. Photons, pions and other particles are not (they're bosons). So there are plenty of quantum-level things that *can* occupy the same quantum state at the same time. Lasers, superfluidity, and superconductivity are nothing but applications in which identical bosons lump together in the same quantum state, with macroscopic effects.

2. It applies only to *identical* fermions. A proton and an electron, though both fermions, don't have any trouble occupying the same quantum state at the same time. Only protons among themselves and electrons among themselves cannot.

3. It applies to *quantum states*, not to position in space. A quantum state is described by more than just position in space. Thus, even two identical fermions (say, two electrons) *can* occupy the same position in space at the same time (as far as quantum mechanics will allow you to make that statement) provided that their quantum states differ in some other aspect.

I know that expecting Fringe to abide to real science is too much, but mentioning the PEP by name only to butcher it is too much of an insult.

Bad Fringe writers.