Fringe 1.6: "The Cure"


Much like the previous episode, this installment is mostly stand-alone, with very specific connections to the larger mythology. In essence, the hunt for Claire Williams and a cure for her artificially-induced medical situation is a means to an end. The notion that Massive Dynamic is more than happy to take advantage of situations brought about by those exploiting The Pattern is reinforced and expanded.


What seems most interesting about this situation is how Massive Dynamic uses the need for a solution to these deadly problems as a bargaining chip. I assume this is not lost on anyone involved in Broyles' team, and certainly not on Olivia or Peter. Peter is essentially blackmailed into giving Nina Sharp a blank check for a future favor, and that's even after Massive Dynamic stood to gain considerable profit from Olivia's success. That's more than a little disconcerting.


For me, this once again fits into the more comprehensive meaning of the name of the series. Massive Dynamic has a great reputation as one of the most innovative and powerful companies in the world, but it also capitalizes on the fringe science that Bishop and Bell worked on decades earlier. This is the same work that appears to have prompted the excesses and depredations of The Pattern. So the question becomes: does Massive Dynamic even try to avoid the ethically challenged aspects of their chosen areas of fringe research?


If Massive Dynamic has the resources to attend to their own success, then they have the resources to see to the protection of their interests. They use Broyles' team as a kind of smokescreen to look into aspects of The Pattern that they want to explore, offering assistance as a ploy. That means Peter may find that favor to be hard to fulfill, as it will almost certainly involve something even he would find distasteful.


The past couple of episodes would appear to fit into the kind of scheme the producers are going for: a more episodic format connected by a consistent continuity of background. Some of the pitfalls of "Alias" are being avoided, but the producers and writers should be careful not to stray too far into "X-Files" territory. If the "X-Files" had one weakness, it was the enormous disconnect between the stand-alone and mythology-laden episodes. So far, "Fringe" is getting the job done.

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