Stowaway (Fringe)

Last updated

"Stowaway"
Fringe episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 17
Directed by Charles Beeson
Story by Akiva Goldsman
Jeff Pinkner
J. H. Wyman
Teleplay byDanielle Dispaltro
Production code3X6117
Original air dateMarch 18, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
 Previous
"Os"
Next 
"Bloodline"
Fringe (season 3)
List of Fringe episodes

"Stowaway" is the 17th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe , and the 60th episode overall. It followed the Fringe team's investigation into a woman, Dana Gray (Paula Malcomson), who repeatedly but unsuccessfully tries to commit suicide. Meanwhile, Olivia continues to serve as the host for William Bell, to the dismay of most of her other team members.

Contents

The episode's story was written by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, and J. H. Wyman, while Danielle Dispaltro contributed its teleplay. Charles Beeson served as the director. Along with Malcomson, "Stowaway" featured a guest appearance by previous Fringe actor Seth Gabel. Though Leonard Nimoy had recently retired, the writers still had storylines involving his character, leading to their decision to have Bell possess Olivia's body.

"Stowaway" first aired in the United States on March 18, 2011 to an estimated 3.8 million viewers and a 1.3 ratings share for adults aged between 18 and 49. This was the series' lowest ratings share for adults up to that point. Reviews of the episode were generally positive, as multiple critics praised Anna Torv's Nimoy impression as well as Joshua Jackson's reaction to it.

Plot

Following from "Os", Olivia's (Anna Torv) body has been possessed by William Bell. Though he promises that no harm will come to Olivia while he seeks a suitable host for his mind, Broyles (Lance Reddick) demands that Bell leave Olivia in 48 hours. Bell begins searching local hospitals for a host.

They are alerted to eyewitness accounts of a woman who, after jumping with another man from a high roof and crashing onto a taxi parked below, simply walked away. As the Fringe team investigates, they are approached by another FBI agent, Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel), who identifies the woman as Dana Gray (Paula Malcomson). Dana, who had been struck by lightning twice, was killed eighteen months earlier along with her family during a robbery of their home, but she apparently was able to walk away from the morgue. Since then, she has appeared to commit suicide with several others, but always managing to walk away. Walter (John Noble) and Bell, in studying Dana's blood samples, find that her body may have been altered by several past lightning strikes, making her incapable of dying.

Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Lincoln find that Dana worked as a suicide hotline operator, and in investigating her belongings, find that she appears to have a strong desire to take her soul to heaven or hell. Lincoln comes to believe that Dana may be looking for a way to have her soul "stow away" with that of another to join her family in the afterlife, and used the suicide hotline position to find those who are close to committing suicide.

Another man is found dead by a self-inflicted bullet wound, though Dana was seen leaving his apartment. Evidence in his apartment points to the construction of a bomb, and the Fringe team suspects that Dana knows its location and may be hoping to exploit an event which will kill several people simultaneously in order to increase her own chances of death. Peter calls her, using caller ID spoofing to disguise his number as that of her late husband, and the signal allows authorities to pinpoint her location to a commuter train. The train is stopped and searched, while Dana leaves on her own with the bomb, moving it far enough away from the train. The bomb soon explodes, and when Peter and Lincoln search, they find Dana's body nearby, finally dead, and the only fatality from the explosion.

Peter returns home where Walter has invited Bell to stay the evening. Bell explains that he believes that Dana was finally able to die after serving a purposesaving the lives of the people on the train. [note 1] When church bells go off nearby, Olivia's personality slips through momentarily. Bell regains control, but expresses new-found fear that his possession of Olivia's body has become more complicated than he thought.

Production

"The idea came from still having story to tell for the character. One of the themes of our show is balance and harmony and the idea that there are two sides to everything. That’s a seed we planted in season one – William & Walter are Lennon & McCartney. They bring out the best in one another and are not complete without the other."

— Executive producer Jeff Pinkner on their decision to bring back William Bell in Olivia's body. [1]

The episode's teleplay was written by Danielle Dispaltro, while the story was contributed by consulting producer Akiva Goldsman and co-showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. Supernatural veteran Charles Beeson directed. [2] The episode was shot in early February 2011. [3]

Despite previous guest actor Leonard Nimoy's recent retirement, [4] the writers still had plot lines concerning his character William Bell. [1] Some months prior to the airing of "Stowaway", Nimoy and others had noted that Bell's character would return to Fringe. [5] Anna Torv, who portrays Olivia, was not aware that her character would be channeling Bell until just prior to filming of the episode, and stated of the role, "This is not one I had been asking for!" [6] To prepare, Torv sought advice from her fellow star John Noble, as both as a friend and because Noble's character, Walter, had spent the most time with Bell. She took further advice from the show's dialect coach and reviewed footage of Nimoy's previous work, though eventually she decided to jump right into the role. [6] Noble later commented "I think the solutions she came up with – taking the essence of the man, playing with the eyebrows, simulating the voice — were really smart. We had a lot of fun doing it." [7]

Actor Seth Gabel portrayed the prime universe version of his character Lincoln Lee. Seth Gabel by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Actor Seth Gabel portrayed the prime universe version of his character Lincoln Lee.

Executive producers J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pickner were both impressed with Torv's take on the role, with Wyman stating that it "just transcended all our expectations", while Pinkner noted that Nimoy himself was "the most proud and most impressed" with the outcome. [5] Actor Joshua Jackson found her performance "so creepy". He explained, "In the episodes, you see I can barely look at her. I think it ended up being a good way to play Peter’s reaction to Olivia, but it was born out of the fact that when that voice came out of her, I was like: ‘Oh, that’s just wrong!'" [7] Pinkner confirmed in an interview with TVline that Bell's appearance would last for "a couple" episodes, and also warned that "cohabitation is not as benign as William assumes it is", a reference to problems Bell would soon have in Olivia's body. [8] The possessed state of Olivia has led viewers to refer to her as "Bellivia". [9] [10]

"Stowaway" featured a guest appearance by actress Paula Malcomson, [11] her first and only time on the show to date. [12] Guest actor Seth Gabel had previously played just one version of character Lincoln Lee, who existed as the head of Fringe division in the parallel universe. "Stowaway" marked the first appearance of the character from the prime universe. [13] Gabel described his prime universe character as someone who works for the FBI, "but has no idea about Fringe Division. He's more of a desk jockey [who] eventually comes to believe there is much more than reality suggests". [14] Executive producer Jeff Pinkner described Lincoln's introduction as "insanely fun -- the characterization Seth has created just makes you smile". [1] Gabel also indicated the new character would likely return for more episodes. [15]

As with other Fringe episodes, [16] [17] Fox released a science lesson plan in collaboration with Science Olympiad for grade school children, focusing on the science seen in "Stowaway", with the intention of having "students learn about magnetism and how magnets can be created and demagnetized." [18]

Reception

Ratings

"Stowaway" was watched by an estimated 3.8 million viewers with a 1.3 ratings share among those 18-49 on its first broadcast. It fell 13 percent in this ratings share from the previous week's episode. This was the lowest viewership for the show in the 18–49 adult demographic, [2] though this has been partially attributed to the onset of daylight saving time and the NCAA Tournament. [19] For that night, Fringe helped the Fox network finish in first place among the adult demographic, but it placed in third among total viewers. [20] Time shifted viewing increased the episode's ratings among adults by 57 percent to a 2.2 ratings share. This was the largest increase in time shifting viewing for the week among network shows. [21]

Reviews

Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv's performances were mostly praised by critics. Fringe Panel 8 2010 CC.jpg
Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv's performances were mostly praised by critics.

Television critics' reviews for "Stowaway" were mostly positive. Writing for Entertainment Weekly , Ken Tucker thought Anna Torv's Nimoy impression was "aces, very wry and amusing," and also praised Joshua Jackson's acting in response to it. [22] Like Tucker, Noel Murray from The A.V. Club also praised Torv and Jackson's performances, and graded the episode with a B+, explaining it "was an effective episode despite all its metaphysical mumbo-jumbo [because] Dana's predicament was a legitimately tense one... As she stepped on the train, I didn't know if she was planning to save the passengers or send their souls a-scattering... the suspense itself was palpable". [23] Murray however admitted that "if the "villain" weren't so sympathetic, or if the action weren't so breathless, or if I didn't find the Bellivia material so funny, I'd probably be annoyed by the wacky way the Fringe writers have found to bring William Bell back." [23] Andrew Hanson of the Los Angeles Times noted of Torv that her "cadence of her words was dead on, and his/her interactions with everyone else in Fringe Division were pitch perfect." He praised other facets of the episode, including how "the weekly mysteries unfold like origami", and that introducing the prime's version of the Lincoln character allowed the audience "to see all the weirdness of Fringe through fresh eyes". [11]

SFScope columnist Sarah Stegall also lauded Torv's performance, noting that the actress "captures Nimoy's staccato delivery, her growling voice, even his trick eyebrow. Not since Zachary Quinto played a young Spock in Star Trek a couple of years ago have I seen anyone so perfectly sound and move like Nimoy." [2] Stegall did express a wish that the characters not try to explain every case (such as the one in the episode) out of a belief that their explanations were often absurd; this observation led Stegall to praise the new character of Lincoln however, as she believed, like Hanson, that the series has "been needing an Everyman in this mix for awhile, someone for whom immortality is not a commonplace." [2] Charlie Jane Anders of io9 was critical of the episode, remarking that "the whole 'soul magnets' thing, which had seemed to be a throwaway comment a few episodes ago, is turning out to be sort of a weak plot device. And the whole bodily-possession storyline is just perhaps one level of wackiness too far for me. I also had the feeling that this might finally be the acting challenge that was beyond Anna Torv's considerable abilities, as her Leonard Nimoy impression quickly started to grate on my nerves." [24]

Notes

  1. In the middle of the episode Dana had visited a nun who had procured for Dana a (fictitious) rare and very obscure religious book. The nun related one prominent story from the book about a dead man named Azrael who had been a great sinner and was accordingly trapped in Purgatory. Twenty angels felt compassion for the man and went to Purgatory to carry him to Heaven. They appealed to God to allow the man into Heaven and God permitted this on the basis that their innocence overweighed the man's sins.

Related Research Articles

<i>Fringe</i> (TV series) American science fiction television series

Fringe is an American science fiction television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. It premiered on the Fox network on September 9, 2008, and concluded on January 18, 2013, after five seasons and 100 episodes. The series follows Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop, all members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.

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.

"There's More Than One of Everything" is the finale of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The finale followed David Robert Jones' attempts to open a doorway to the parallel universe, while the Fringe team tries to stop him. It ends with FBI agent Olivia Dunham discovering a startling secret about Massive Dynamic founder William Bell.

<i>Fringe</i> (season 2) season of television series

The second season of the American science fiction television series Fringe commenced airing on the Fox network on September 17, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2010. The season was produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and its showrunners were Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. Actors Anna Torv, John Noble, and Joshua Jackson reprised their roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham and father-son duo Walter and Peter Bishop, respectively. Previous series regulars Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Blair Brown, and Kirk Acevedo also returned, though with Acevedo in a limited capacity.

<i>Fringe</i> (season 3) season of television series

The third season of the American science fiction television series Fringe began airing on the Fox network on September 23, 2010, and concluded on May 6, 2011. Twenty-two episodes long, the season was produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, and its showrunners were Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. Lead actors Anna Torv, John Noble, and Joshua Jackson reprised their roles as FBI agent Olivia Dunham and the father-son duo Walter and Peter Bishop. Previous series regulars Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, and Blair Brown also returned, along with recurring guest stars Kirk Acevedo, Seth Gabel, and Ryan McDonald.

Jacksonville (<i>Fringe</i>) 15th episode of the second season of Fringe

"Jacksonville" is the 15th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 35th episode overall. In the episode, Olivia is forced to recount her time spent as a child in tests conducted by Walter to regain the ability to see objects that have been influenced by the parallel universe and prevent the deaths of innocents. Though successful, Olivia comes to learn the truth about Peter, that he is from the parallel universe.

"Entrada" is the eighth episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 51st episode overall. The first part of the third season spent much of its time alternating between the prime and parallel universes, and "Entrada" was the first episode of the season to have time evenly divided between both. In the episode, both Olivia and her doppelganger "Fauxlivia" attempt to journey back to their respective universes. John Cassini, Seth Gabel, Ryan McDonald, Stefan Arngrim, and Karen Holness guest starred.

Over There (<i>Fringe</i>) 22nd and 23rd episodes of the second season of Fringe

"Over There" is the two-part second season finale of the Fox science fiction drama series Fringe. They are the 22nd and 23rd episodes of the season, and the 42nd and 43rd episodes of the series overall. Both parts were written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, together with showrunners Jeff Pinkner and J. H. Wyman. Goldsman also served as director, his first such credit since the season premiere.

The Plateau (<i>Fringe</i>) 3rd episode of the third season of Fringe

"The Plateau" is the third episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 46th episode overall. As one of the early Season 3 episodes that take place entirely in the parallel universe, the episode centers on Olivia, conditioned to believe she is a member of the alternate Fringe team, trying to track down a mentally unstable man that can predict the team's every move.

Olivia (<i>Fringe</i> episode) 1st episode of the third season of Fringe

"Olivia" is the first episode of the third season of the American science fiction television series Fringe. The episode was co-written by J. H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner, and was directed by Joe Chappelle. The third season spent its time alternating between the prime and parallel universes, and "Olivia" was placed in the latter. This is indicated in the introduction of the episode, with the same red screen used in the last season's finale, "Over There". "Olivia" follows the cliffhanger left by the second season, in which Olivia Dunham is trapped in the parallel universe. The episode explores the consequences of Olivia's abduction by Walternate, and her attempt to go back to the prime universe.

Lincoln Lee is a fictional character on the Fox television series Fringe (2008-2013). Lincoln first appeared in the season two finale on May 13, 2010. He is portrayed by actor Seth Gabel.

Momentum Deferred 4th episode of the second season of Fringe

"Momentum Deferred" is the fourth episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. Screenwriters Zack Stentz and Ashley Edward Miller wrote the episode, and co-executive producer Joe Chappelle directed it.

Bad Dreams (<i>Fringe</i>) 17th episode of the first season of Fringe

"Bad Dreams" is the 17th episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It was written and directed by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, his first writing credit for a television show. In the episode, Olivia dreams she is causing people to either kill others or themselves, which leads her to meet Nick Lane, a man from her past that leads Olivia to discover their shared history as test subjects in a series of childhood drug trials.

Immortality (<i>Fringe</i>) 13th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Immortality" is the 13th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 56th episode overall. In the episode, the Fringe Division of the parallel universe investigates a series of deaths caused by flesh-eating "skelter beetles", unleashed by a mad scientist. Abutbul, Seth Gabel, Kirk Acevedo, Philip Winchester, Ryan McDonald, and Joan Chen appeared as guest stars.

6B (<i>Fringe</i>) 14th episode of the third season of Fringe

"6B" is the 14th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 57th episode overall. In the episode, the fringe team investigates mysterious deaths at an apartment building, the result of a merging between the prime and parallel universes; while there, they encounter a woman who claims to be able to see the ghost of her deceased husband.

Bloodline (<i>Fringe</i>) 18th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Bloodline" is the eighteenth episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 61st episode overall. The storyline follows the pregnant Olivia Dunham of the parallel universe ("Fauxlivia") as she experiences a kidnapping and acceleration of her pregnancy; meanwhile, her fellow Fringe agents Lincoln Lee and Charlie Francis attempt to locate her.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (<i>Fringe</i>) 19th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" is the 19th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 62nd episode overall. The narrative followed the Fringe team's attempts to extract William Bell from Olivia's brain by entering her mind with the help of LSD.

Neither Here nor There (<i>Fringe</i>) 1st episode of the fourth season of Fringe

"Neither Here nor There" is the fourth season premiere of the Fox science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode depicts the aftermath of the third season finale in which Peter Bishop disappears from his timeline. In the new, altered timeline, Olivia Dunham is joined by FBI agent Lincoln Lee after the latter's partner is murdered. The two work to investigate his death, which revolves around shape-shifting technology.

"Nothing As It Seems" is the sixteenth episode of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 81st episode overall. The case of the episode is a parallel observation to the events of the first season's "The Transformation".

"Brave New World" is the two-part finale of the fourth season of the Fox science-fiction drama television series Fringe, and the series' 86th and 87th episodes overall. The episode, at the time of its writing and production, was created to be a possible series finale if the show was not renewed for a final season. As such, the episode not only resolves many of the plot lines introduced for the fourth season, but also several long-running plots throughout the show's run. In the episode, the Fringe division learns that Walter Bishop's old colleague, William Bell, has been in control of David Robert Jones' actions to collapse both universes in an attempt to create a new universe under his own control, and the Fringe team must make sacrifices to put an end to Bell's plans.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Wieselman, Jarett (2011-03-04). "'Fringe' exec producer plays 'What If?'". New York Post . Archived from the original on 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Stegall, Sarah (2011-03-23). "A Purpose-Driven Life—Fringe's "Stowaway"". SFScope. Archived from the original on 2012-05-14. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  3. "Fringe Paula Malcomson night shoot Vancouver February 3, 2011 nh 14". Flickr. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  4. Williamson, Kevin (2009-04-19). "Leonard Nimoy set to retire". Toronto Sun . Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  5. 1 2 Goldman, Eric (2011-03-29). "Fringe's Future: Walternate's Plan, Olivia as Bell, More". IGN. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  6. 1 2 Mitovich, Matt Webb (2011-03-21). "Fringe Exclusive: Anna Torv Shares Her Take On a Very Spocking Twist". TV Line . Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  7. 1 2 Jensen, Jeff (2011-05-08). "'Fringe' Mystery Finale: We've solved it! PLUS: John Noble, Joshua Jackson talk cliffhanger, renewal and more". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  8. Ausiello, Michael (2011-03-15). "Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Glee, Bones, Castle, Fringe, Chuck, Fringe and More!". TVLine . Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  9. IGN TV (2011-03-17). "Fringe Preview: "Stowaway"". IGN . Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  10. Jeffrey, Morgan (2011-03-21). "Recap - 'Fringe': 'Stowaway'". Digital Spy . Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  11. 1 2 Hanson, Andrew (2011-03-19). "'Fringe' recap: 'The place where the mysteries of the universe get answered'". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  12. "Paula Malcomson: Credits". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-05-27.
  13. Wieselman, Jarett (2011-02-28). "'Fringe' introduces a familiar face". New York Post . Archived from the original on 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  14. Holbrook, Damian (2011-03-09). "Fringe's Seth Gabel Previews the Lincoln Lee We Haven't Met Yet". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  15. Jeffrey, Morgan (2011-03-10). "'Fringe' star Gabel teases Lincoln twist". Digital Spy . Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  16. "TV Show "Fringe" on Fox Partners with Science Olympiad". Science Olympiad . Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  17. Holbrook, Damian (2010-11-11). "Fringe Unveils Science Sites". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  18. "The Science of Fringe: Exploring Magnetism" (PDF). Fox Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  19. Hibbard, James (2011-03-19). "'Fringe' ratings sink to all-time low". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-03-19.
  20. Gorman, Bill (2011-03-19). "Updated TV Ratings Friday: "Fringe," "Kitchen Nightmares" Fall; "Supernanny" Series Finale Rises". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2011-03-21.
  21. Gorman, Bill (2011-04-04). "Live+7 DVR Ratings: 'Glee' Tops Absolute Gains, 'Fringe' Again Tops % Gains". TV By the Numbers . Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  22. Tucker, Ken (2011-03-18). "'Fringe' recap: Soul vampires take over!". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  23. 1 2 Murray, Noel (2011-03-18). "Stowaway". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-03-18.
  24. Anders, Charlie Jane (2011-03-19). "Did Fringe just serve up one crazy plot twist too many?". io9 . Retrieved 2012-03-09.