Inner Child (Fringe)

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"Inner Child"
Fringe episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15
Directed by Fred Toye
Written by Julia Cho
Brad Caleb Kane
Production code 3T7664
Original air date April 7, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
 Previous
"Ability"
Next 
"Unleashed"
Fringe (season 1)
List of Fringe episodes

"Inner Child" is the 15th episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe , and the fifteenth episode overall. The episode was written by co-producer Brad Caleb Kane and staff writer Julia Cho and directed by filmmaker Frederick E. O. Toye. It first aired in the United States on April 7, 2009 on the Fox Broadcasting Company.

<i>Fringe</i> (season 1) season of television series

The first season of the American science fiction television series Fringe commenced airing on the Fox network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on May 12, 2009. It was produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and its showrunners were Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. The first season introduces a Federal Bureau of Investigation "Fringe Division" team based in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses unorthodox "fringe" science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe. FBI agent Olivia Dunham is portrayed by actress Anna Torv, while actors Joshua Jackson and John Noble play father-son duo Peter and Walter Bishop. Other regular cast members include Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, Mark Valley, and Kirk Acevedo.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction, typically dealing with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, and extraterrestrials in fiction. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific other various innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas."

Drama artwork intended for performance, formal type of literature

Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance: a play, opera, mime, ballet, etc, performed in a theatre, or on radio or television. Considered as a genre of poetry in general, the dramatic mode has been contrasted with the epic and the lyrical modes ever since Aristotle's Poetics —the earliest work of dramatic theory.

Contents

The episode relates the intersecting stories of a subterranean feral child looked after by Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and the return of a serial killer from her time before joining the Fringe Division.

Feral child human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age

A feral child is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and so has had little or no experience of human care, behavior or human language. There are several confirmed cases and other speculative ones. Feral children may have experienced severe abuse or trauma before being abandoned or running away. They are sometimes the subjects of folklore and legends, typically portrayed as having been raised by animals.

Olivia Dunham fictional character in the television series Fringe

Olivia Dunham is a fictional character and the main protagonist from the science fiction television series Fringe, which aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company in the United States from 2008 to 2013. The character was created by series' co-creator J. J. Abrams, and is portrayed by actress Anna Torv. Olivia is the series' protagonist, and was introduced as an FBI Special Agent, working for a multi-agency task force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called the Fringe Division, dealing with supernatural events that are linked to experimental occurrences. Having grown up with an abusive stepfather, Olivia struggles with the unexpected changes in her life, following her encounter with mentally unstable scientist Walter Bishop, and his son and an eventual love interest for her, Peter Bishop.

Anna Torv Australian actress

Anna Torv is an Australian actress known for her roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham on television series Fringe (2008–2013) for which she was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 and as Doctor Wendy Carr in Netflix's Mindhunter (2017–present).

Plot

A demolition team is about to bring down a building when one worker is drawn to an area not marked on the blueprints. Inside the area they find a path to the building's foundation, and in the darkness, a boy (Spencer List). The boy is taken to a children's hospital and the Fringe division is contacted. The construction workers examined where the boy was found and determined it had been sealed off for seventy years and could not determine how the boy got inside. The boy does not speak, and Walter Bishop (John Noble) explains some of his medical conditions as a result of living underground for several years. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) seems to be the only person that the boy reacts to, and she helps to coax him to help in his treatment. At one point, she encourages him to eat by sharing candy with him, but he only places the yellow pieces in the form of an arrow for her.

Spencer List American teen actor

Spencer List is an American actor. List is best known from the Fox show Fringe where he played a mysterious mute child in the episode "Inner Child". He has also been on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where he played Tate, the son of Leland Orser's character Kevin Walker. Spencer List appeared in Jack Ketchum's Offspring in 2009. He made a guest appearance on the "Disney Channel" show "Bunk'd" in the episode "Luke's Back" as a camp champion camper named Eric, alongside his twin sister Peyton List who plays Emma Ross, a camp counselor in training.

John Noble Australian actor and director

John Noble is an Australian actor and theatre director of more than 80 plays. He is best known for his roles as Dr. Walter Bishop in the US Fox science fiction television series Fringe, and Henry Parrish in the Fox action-horror series Sleepy Hollow. His most high-profile film role was as Denethor in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He also provided the voice of the DC Comics supervillain Scarecrow in the 2015 video game Batman: Arkham Knight, where his character served as the main antagonist. In 2015, he joined the main cast of the television series Elementary as Sherlock Holmes's father. He was also cast as a doctor in the Australian TV series All Saints. In 2012, Noble was diagnosed with osteoporosis. His charity, Noble Bones, helps to raise awareness for the disease.

Meanwhile, Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) receives a fax, which he recognizes as a taunting invitation from the serial killer the Artist (Jeremy Shamos), who kills women and "displays" them in gruesome poses. Charlie contacts Olivia at the hospital requesting her help, but as she takes notes, the boy attempts to take her writing tools. Olivia gives them to the boy, and he writes, upside down, a name. Olivia and Charlie, along with other agents, later find the body of the Artist's latest victim, who has the same name that the boy wrote down earlier. Later, the boy provides an address, and Olivia and Charlie race to the location, but this time find nothing. Only later do they learn that a second victim was taken from that spot moments before they arrived. Walter comes to believe the boy has an empathic connection to the case.

Kirk Acevedo American actor

Kirk M. Acevedo is an American actor. He is primarily known for his work on television for the portrayals of Miguel Alvarez in the HBO series Oz, Joe Toye in Band of Brothers, FBI Agent Charlie Francis in the science-fiction series Fringe, and Jose Ramse in 12 Monkeys. His best-known films are The Thin Red Line, Dinner Rush and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He portrayed Ricardo Diaz on Arrow as the main antagonist in seasons six and the first half of season seven.

Jeremy Shamos is an American actor.

Walter seeks to use a neural stimulator to understand the boy's empathy, but Peter only allows it after Walter devises less invasive methods. Though the child's mind is difficult to understand, they obtain a third location. Olivia, Charlie, and other agents set up a roadblock in the area and check all vehicles going through it. Olivia spies a van with a yellow tree-shaped air freshener, and recalling the child's candy display from earlier, determines that the Artist is inside. The killer attempts to escape, and Olivia stabs him to death with his own knife during the struggle.

Little Trees

Little Trees are disposable air fresheners shaped like a stylized evergreen tree, marketed for use in motor vehicles, and most commonly seen hanging from rear-view mirrors. They are made of a specially formulated absorbent material produced in a variety of colors and scents.

Olivia and Broyles arrange the transfer of the Child to an adopting family, in large part to keep him away from Eliot Michaels (Erik Palladino), an alleged “social worker” who wants to claim him for CIA research. While in transit to his new home, the boy makes eye contact with the Observer, September (Michael Cerveris), with whom he shares a resemblance.

Erik Palladino is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Dr. Dave Malucci in the NBC medical drama ER. He is also known for his recurring roles as Lt. Michael Daghlian in Joan of Arcadia, Vostanik Sabatino in NCIS: Los Angeles and Kevin Miller on Suits.

Michael Cerveris American actor

Michael Cerveris is an American actor, singer, and guitarist. He has performed in many stage musicals and plays, including several Stephen Sondheim musicals: Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Road Show, and Passion. In 2004, Cerveris won the Tony Award as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Assassins as John Wilkes Booth. In 2015, he won his second Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for Fun Home as Bruce Bechdel.

Production

The episode was written by co-producer Brad Caleb Kane and staff writer Julia Cho and directed by filmmaker Frederick E. O. Toye. [1] It was Kane and Cho's third contributions to the series and Toye's fourth. [2]

Ari Graynor and Lily Pilblad guest starred as Rachel Dunham and her daughter Ella. [1] The episode also featured guest stars Spencer List as the Child, Jeremy Shamos as the Artist, Erik Palladino as Eliot Michaels, Victor Williams as Phil, Alicia Goranson as Samantha Gilmore, Matt Mulhern as Dennis, Sandra Daley as Dr. Winick, Jimmy Palumbo as Mike, and Phil Nee as Archie. [3]

Cultural references

Peter shows the feral boy an action figure of the G.I. Joe character Roadblock, and comments that he always remembers the character as having a scar on the other side of his face. This may be an early indication of differences that Peter remembers from his childhood in the parallel universe. [4]

Reception

Ratings

"Inner Child" was the first episode to air after a two-month hiatus. [5] It was delayed by about 30 minutes because American Idol ran long for the night. The episode won its ad-hoc 9:30–10:30 Eastern timeslot, with about 9.6 million live viewers and a 9 share among viewers 18–49. [6] Fringe also helped Fox win the night in total number of viewers. [7] When asked by a reporter if he was "infuriated" with Fox because of the Idol-induced delay, co-creator J.J. Abrams replied "I will say that I have a different opinion about the network, but I, too, have heard from a number of people [about the issue]. It is infuriating". [8]

Reviews

Jo Garfein at TV Overmind gave the episode a positive preview, saying, "This episode has more of an early X-Files feel, in a good way... To those of you who have either given up on the series or are on the fence, I recommend that you give Fringe another try. If 'Inner Child' is any indication, we are in for a very satisfying and engaging journey for the rest of the season." [9] Alan Sepinwall's review in The Star-Ledger was overall positive, "As far as the episode as a whole goes, I thought it was fairly solid procedural hour of 'Fringe.' No, it didn't follow up on any of the revelations from 'Ability,' but it also didn't feature any of Agent Harris, and both the serial killer case and Olivia's rapport with the kid were compelling enough that I can wait on the mythology stuff for later." [10] Jane Boursaw at TV Squad rated the episode very highly in her recap, and also mooted a theory about the Child, "My theory is that the boy is another Observer. They certainly looked a lot alike, didn't they? Could the boy have come from another dimension and ended up beneath the building? And why did the CIA guy say that they'd found 'another one.'" Apparently, they're keeping track of these creatures or Observers. And if so, where are the others?" [11]

Noel Murray at The Onion's The A. V. Club gave the episode qualified approval with a B rating. According to Murray, "The serial killer stuff in 'Inner Child was fairly pat—with elements swiped wholesale from Thomas Harris and Michael Connelly—and the 'keep Lil’ O away from Eliot' operation struck me as a little sloppy, if not actively implausible. But the episode was fast paced and creepy, with a few good Walter lines (my favorite being a tie between 'Agent Dunham knows what a penis looks like' and 'obviously I was sitting on the toilet') and the return of his wonderfully ridiculous mad scientist device, 'the neural stimulator.'" [12]

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References

  1. 1 2 Fred Toye (director), Julia Cho (writer), Brad Caleb Kane (writer) (2009-04-07). "Inner Child". Fringe . Season 1. Episode 15. Fox.
  2. Stuart 2011, pp. 201–04.
  3. "Fringe Episode: "Inner Child"". TV Guide . Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  4. Carter, R.J. (2009-09-02). "DVD Review: Fringe - The Complete First Season". The Trades. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
  5. Blastr staff (2009-04-08). "Fox's Fringe is back and ratings are up. For now". Blastr.com. Retrieved 2011-02-08.
  6. Gorman, Bill (2009-04-08). "Tuesday Ratings: Fringe Returns Even, Cupid Misses Badly". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  7. Hibberd, James (2010-11-30). "'Fringe' returns strong; 'Cupid' slips". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  8. Hibberd, James (2009-11-30). "'Fringe' season finale will mark 'fundamental shift'". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 2011-03-02. The reporter's full question included Fox was run by "drooling goddamn idiots" for delaying Fringe, which caused Abrams to chuckle.
  9. Garfein, Jo (2009-04-06). "FRINGE Preview: "Inner Child"". TV Overmind. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  10. Sepinwall, Alan (2009-04-08). "Fringe, "Inner Child": What you missed because of 'Idol'". The Star-Ledger . Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  11. Boursaw, Jane (2009-04-08). "Fringe: Inner Child". TV Squad . Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  12. Murray, Noel (2009-04-07). "Fringe "Inner Child"". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2010-06-28.
Works cited