The Ghost Network

Last updated

"The Ghost Network"
Fringe episode
Fringe The Ghost Network Roy.jpg
Roy is wearing equipment that will help the Fringe team tap into the "Ghost Network".
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 3
Directed by Frederick E. O. Toye
Written by David H. Goodman
J. R. Orci
Production code3T7652
Original air dateSeptember 23, 2008
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
 Previous
"The Same Old Story"
Next 
"The Arrival"
Fringe (season 1)
List of Fringe episodes

"The Ghost Network" is the third episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe . The episode was written by co-executive producer David H. Goodman and supervising producer J. R. Orci, and was directed by Frederick E. O. Toye. The episode follows the Fringe team's investigation into a bus that was filled with amber, encasing the people inside. They discover a man named Roy (Zak Orth) who predicted it and other similar events, and Walter realizes Roy has connections to a past experiment he did over twenty years ago, called the "Ghost Network".

<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 that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.

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 was important in the show's evolution, as the writers noted that Roy was the first guest character the audience could get emotionally invested in. "The Ghost Network" also included their quest to explain seemingly impossible and weird phenomenon through a real scientific explanation from Walter's past research.

It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 23, 2008. An estimated 9.42 million viewers watched the episode on its first broadcast. It received mixed reviews, with many believing the show to be finally finding its legs, while others worried over the ongoing formulaic storylines featured in each episode.

Fox Broadcasting Company American television network

The Fox Broadcasting Company is an American free-to-air television network that is a flagship property of the Fox Corporation. The network is headquartered at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in New York City, with additional offices at the Fox Broadcasting Center and at the Fox Television Center in Los Angeles.

Plot

A man named Roy McComb (Zak Orth) confesses to his priest that he sees visions of bad things, including a bus where everyone is going to die. Simultaneously with this scene, a man enters a bus, unleashes a canister emitting gaseous fumes, and steals a backpack before quickly getting off. The Fringe team arrives soon after, only to find the fumes have hardened into an amber-like substance, trapping and killing those inside. Walter (John Noble) studies the substance and concludes it started out as a gas and then solidified, suffocating the passengers. While looking at a victim's video footage, Olivia (Anna Torv) discovers a backpack is missing, and traces it back to one of the victims, a Federal employee with undercover connections to a drug cartel. They interview her "handler", who comes to identify her body. The Fringe team finds out about Roy, and search through his apartment, believing he is behind the bus and other Pattern-related terror attacks. They soon realize all of his drawings are dated before the incidents took place, despite the fact that several of them were never made public. In an interrogation, Roy tells Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) he's been receiving his visions for nine months, roughly when they began seeing Pattern-related attacks.

Zak Orth American comedic actor

Zak Orth is an American actor known for his roles in Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, Melinda and Melinda, In and Out, Music and Lyrics, and NYC 22. He also starred in the NBC television drama Revolution as Aaron, and appeared as a man haunted by psychic visions in an episode of the Fox series Fringe.

Priest person authorized to lead the sacred rituals of a religion (for a minister use Q1423891)

A priest or priestess is a religious leader authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities. Their office or position is the priesthood, a term which also may apply to such persons collectively.

Walter Bishop (<i>Fringe</i>) fictional character on the Fox television series Fringe

Walter Harold Bishop, Ph.D. is a fictional character on the Fox television series Fringe. He is portrayed by John Noble. Noble also plays Walter's counterpart in the show's parallel universe, who is referred to in the show as Walternate.

Meanwhile, they trace the substance to Massive Dynamic. Olivia interviews Massive Dynamic executive Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), who tells her the substance has been seen in an attack before. Walter suspects Roy is psychic and runs tests on him before realizing Roy has some kind of magnetic compound in his blood. This leads Walter to recall he and his old lab partner William Bell had conducted research on creating a "Ghost Network" to secretly communicate messages from one person to another in an otherwise undetectable frequency range. During this research, Roy was one of his past test subjects. Walter further theorizes that someone else has perfected his research, and that Roy is overhearing secret messages from some of the people behind the terrorist attacks. Olivia and Peter (Joshua Jackson) arrive at his old house to find equipment needed to tap into Roy's mind.

Blair Brown American actress

Bonnie Blair Brown is an American theater, film and television actress. She has had a number of high-profile roles, including in the play Copenhagen on Broadway, the leading actress in the films Altered States (1980), Continental Divide (1981) and Strapless (1989), as well as a run as the title character in the comedy-drama television series The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, which ran from 1987 to 1991. Her later roles include Nina Sharp on the Fox television series Fringe and Judy King on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Psychic person who claims to use extrasensory perception to identify information hidden from the normal senses

A psychic is a person who claims to use extrasensory perception (ESP) to identify information hidden from the normal senses, particularly involving telepathy or clairvoyance, or who performs acts that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws. Although many people believe in psychic abilities, the scientific consensus is that there is no proof of the existence of such powers, and describes the practice as pseudoscience. The word "psychic" is also used as an adjective to describe such abilities.

Peter Bishop fictional character in the television series Fringe

Peter Bishop is a fictional character of the Fox television series Fringe. He is portrayed by Joshua Jackson.

Using the equipment, they are able to intercept messages in Latin detailing an upcoming exchange at South Station in an hour. They realize the handler removed a small crystalline disk from the Federal agent's hand when he identified her body, and that he is now going to exchange it for something else. Olivia intercepts the man, who is killed before she can talk to him. She chases another man involved in the exchange, who commits suicide in front of a bus after giving them a briefcase containing the disc. Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) secretly gives the disc to Nina for analysis, while Roy is sent home, as they believe he will no longer see visions because the Ghost Network has been compromised.

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Lance Reddick American actor

Lance Reddick is an American actor and musician. He is best known for playing Cedric Daniels in The Wire and Phillip Broyles in Fringe. He is also known for portraying Detective Johnny Basil on Oz, Matthew Abaddon in Lost and Charon from the John Wick franchise. He has provided the voice and likeness for video game characters Martin Hatch in Quantum Break, Sylens in Horizon Zero Dawn and Commander Zavala in the Destiny franchise. He currently plays Chief Irvin Irving on Amazon Prime's Bosch.

Production

Writing

Executive producer Jeff Pinkner decided he wanted fellow executive producer David H. Goodman and supervising producer J. R. Orci to collaborate in writing the episode; [1] [2] Goodman wrote the first half, while Orci wrote the rest of the episode. The two later worked together on only one other episode, "The Equation". [2] Frederick E. O. Toye directed the episode, [3] as he had worked previously with the writers on Alias . [2] The writers had the idea for a couple of weeks of Olivia walking into an apartment and discovering walls covered with drawings of events that "no man could possibly have known about". They wanted to take "urban myths or legends of strange events" and come up with a fringe science equivalent; this led them to creating the story of Roy, a man with seemingly "psychic" abilities, which they then expanded by offering a real scientific explanation in the form of Walter's past research. [2] In the show's early development, the producers were also unsure about how other aspects should be developed, such as Joshua Jackson's character Peter. For instance, in "The Ghost Network", they debated whether or not Peter would break into his childhood home before finally "stalling and just let him do it"; Orci came up with Peter's explanation to Olivia, that he used to live there so it wasn't really breaking in. [2]

Jeff Pinkner American television writer and producer

Jeff Pinkner is an American television and movie writer and producer.

David H. Goodman is an American television writer and producer.

Jorge Richard "J.R." Orci is a Mexican television writer and producer.

Casting

The character Roy McComb was played by actor Zak Orth. Roy's name was inspired from Richard Dreyfuss' character Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind . The writers noted in the audio commentary that Roy was the first guest character the audience could get emotionally invested in. They wanted the actor to shave off his head in preparation for the experimentation scene in Walter's lab, but Orth successfully "begged" them to change their minds. When casting for the part of Grant, the writers looked for a man similar in appearance to previous character John Scott (Mark Valley), as they wanted "to play into whatever Olivia's feelings about how she was or was not betrayed by John". [2] Peter Hermann won the part. [4]

Filming

Actor Joshua Jackson (pictured left) actually plays the piano in the episode. Fringe Panel 7 2010 CC.jpg
Actor Joshua Jackson (pictured left) actually plays the piano in the episode.

Orci came up with the idea to start the episode in a church's confessional, while the ambered scene on the bus was originally scripted to take place on a subway; one of the writers felt the bus "let you see more of the city". Early in the show's creation the writers were trying to figure out what Fringe could be, and ultimately chose "big crazy event[s]" at the start of each episode that would catapult its plot and drive its characters. They felt the bus scene essentially achieved this. [2] When creating the scene on the bus when the gas canister is released, the crew sat on a bus that was really driving through the streets of New York City; director Frederick Toye called the shooting "Student film style, run and gun". [5] To shoot the three scenes of the bus in the tunnel, the crew looked at a variety of locations before choosing a tunnel near the United Nations headquarters on the east side of Manhattan. As it was a busy area, they had to shoot at night and then attempt to make it appear to be daytime, as the scenes were set during the day. They had a limited schedule to shoot all three scenes, and despite never having seen the tunnel before, the production crews had 8–9 hours to quickly set up the massive set and leave enough time to shoot the scenes before dawn approached. [6] To simulate being encased in amber, the actors had to pretend they were frozen. [5]

The episode marked the first time composer Michael Giacchino worked with assistant Chad Seiter on a Fringe episode. [2] Seiter would continue to score the rest of the season's first half. [2] Joshua Jackson's character briefly plays the piano in a scene near the end of the episode, and it is really Jackson playing. The writers noted in the audio commentary that Jackson can actually play the piano, and that when he receives musical scenes, he learns the piece(s) beforehand to be able to play it for the scene. [2]

Reception

Ratings

"The Ghost Network" first aired in the United States on September 23, 2008. [7] The episode's broadcast was watched by an estimated 9.42 million viewers in the US. [8]

Reviews

The story this week is a good one and it isn’t just a case of the week, it’s also tied directly into the mythology of the series. Actually, every case of the week is tied to the mythology but this week’s story is directly connected to the shady people that the Fringe team is searching for. By the end of the episode, the mystery becomes extremely compelling and finally Fringe hits that special place of TV series addiction reserved for shows like LOST and Battlestar Galactica.

 — Stephen Lackey, Mania.com [3]

The episode received mixed reviews. The A.V. Club's Noel Murray graded the episode with a B, explaining that while he thought it was "much more fun" than the previous week's episode and enjoyed Peter's expanded presence, he was growing slightly wearied by the "hint-dropping" of Peter's past. Murray thought the climax was "so exciting" that he was willing "to forgive the fact that this is the third week in a row that Walter's big idea has involved some kind of communication with the unconscious". [9] IGN's Travis Fickett rated it 7.5/10, writing that he thought it was a solid episode because the "characters are coming together nicely, the story is better than last week's – but already it seems the show is hitting a formula". Fickett expressed worriment that Fringe would eventually become too formulaic, much like the first season of Smallville , and concluded his review by calling Fringe "a solid show, but [not] exceptional yet". [7]

Writing for Mania.com, Stephen Lackey thought that though the episode wasn't perfect, Fringe had finally seemed to hit its stride, as its "mix of humor and darker storytelling... is starting to come together nicely". Lackey concluded his review by expressing his "excitement" at watching Fringe get better and better, and thought the show could become the best new series of the year if it continued to improve with each episode. [3] Another UGO writer, Alex Zalben, compared "The Ghost Network" to the similarly-plotted The X-Files film The X-Files: I Want to Believe . Zalben wrote, "Man, that X-Files movie was just no good. Fringe wins." [10]

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.

Pilot (<i>Fringe</i>) 1st episode of the first season of Fringe

The pilot episode of the television series Fringe premiered on the Fox network on September 9, 2008. The pilot was written by series creators J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, and directed by Alex Graves. The episode introduces the character Olivia Dunham, portrayed by Anna Torv, an FBI special agent drawn into the world of applied fringe science. John Noble portrays Dr. Walter Bishop, a scientist formerly incarcerated in a mental institution for over seventeen years. Joshua Jackson plays his son, Peter, who is hired by Olivia to assist with Walter's work.

Power Hungry (<i>Fringe</i>) 5th episode of the first season of Fringe

"Power Hungry" is the fifth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode was written by playwright Julia Cho and consulting producer Jason Cahill, and was directed by Christopher Misiano. The episode focuses on Fringe Division's efforts in finding a man with the uncontrolled ability to affect electrical energy, thanks to the work of a wanted rogue scientist. Meanwhile, Olivia Dunham sees visions of her deceased lover, John Scott.

The Arrival (<i>Fringe</i>) 4th episode of the first season of Fringe

"The Arrival" is the fourth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode was written by the series co-creator and executive producer J. J. Abrams and executive producer and show runner Jeff Pinkner. Paul A. Edwards directed it.

"The Same Old Story" is the second episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode was written by executive producer Jeff Pinkner and co-creators J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. When developing the series, they sought to find a medium between serialized drama and the crime procedural. "The Same Old Story" was the first regular episode of Fringe, and journalists viewed it as an example of what they could expect from the series. It was directed by Paul A. Edwards.

"In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" is the seventh episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The story begins when a FBI agent collapses from a parasite constricting his heart, and Olivia must meet with biochemist David Robert Jones in Frankfurt in order to find a cure. It featured the first appearance by Harris.

"The Equation" is the eighth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode follows the Fringe team's investigation into the kidnapping of a young musical prodigy who has become obsessed with finishing one piece of music. Dr. Walter Bishop returns to St. Claire's Hospital in an effort to find the boy's whereabouts.

The Dreamscape 9th episode of the first season of Fringe

"The Dreamscape" is the ninth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It centers on a Fringe investigation of a Massive Dynamic employee who, after believing himself to be under attack by a swarm of sharp-winged butterflies, jumps out of a window. Meanwhile, Olivia continues her visions of the deceased John Scott, and discovers how he related to a deadly psychoactive drug synthesized by Massive Dynamic.

"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.

"The Road Not Taken" is the nineteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It centers on the death of a young woman, who spontaneously combusts in the middle of a street. The Fringe team's investigation leads them to learn more about the drug trials Olivia experienced as a child, as well as other revelations.

Safe (<i>Fringe</i>) 10th episode of the first season of Fringe

"Safe" is the tenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It begins when a group uses technology to walk through a bank's wall and steal a safe deposit box. Its contents contain special equipment meant to ultimately break David Robert Jones out of his Frankfurt jail.

The Box (<i>Fringe</i>) 2nd episode of the third season of Fringe

"The Box" is the second episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode was co-written by Josh Singer and Graham Roland, and directed by Jeffrey Hunt. The third season spent its time alternating between the prime and parallel universes, and "The Box" was set in the former. It followed a mysterious box that when opened, killed whomever heard it. The fringe team of Fauxlivia, Peter, and Walter investigate, with unknown consequences to the creation of a doomsday device.

What Lies Below 13th episode of the second season of Fringe

"What Lies Below" is the 13th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. Set in a quarantined Boston office building, the episode revolves around a thousands-year-old viral hemorrhagic fever that infects and then influences its victims to attempt to spread the viral particles outside of the building.

Night of Desirable Objects (<i>Fringe</i>) 2nd episode of the second season of Fringe

"Night of Desirable Objects" is the second episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode followed Olivia and Peter's investigation into mysterious disappearances taking place in a small Pennsylvania town.

"The Man from the Other Side" is the 19th episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode follows the attempts of Thomas Jerome Newton, with the help of shapeshifters, to create a pathway between the two parallel universes, while the Fringe team's Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop try to stop him.

The Cure (<i>Fringe</i>) 6th episode of the first season of Fringe

"The Cure" is the sixth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It followed two women suffering from a fictional disease, who are then given radiation drugs and exploited by a pharmaceutical company to cause nearby individuals' brains to boil.

Bound (<i>Fringe</i>) 11th episode of the first season of Fringe

"Bound" is the eleventh episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. It follows the aftermath of Olivia's capture in the previous episode, and subsequent efforts to identify and apprehend her kidnappers. Along with a double agent, Olivia's investigation is hampered by the appearance of Sanford Harris, an old adversary hired to audit Fringe Division.

The Transformation 13th episode of the first season of Fringe

"The Transformation" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. Its storyline centers on the circumstances surrounding a deceased scientist, who was doped with a "designer virus" and transformed into a dangerous monster, causing his plane to crash. Fringe agent Olivia Dunham and FBI consultants Peter and Walter Bishop connect the event to an impending arms deal. Olivia must explore her mind for remaining memories of her former partner and lover, John Scott, in order to prevent the sale of the virus.

References

  1. Lachonis, Jon (2008-09-24). "Fringe: "The Ghost Network" Review". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 2010-10-02. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 David H. Goodman, J.R. Orci, Bryan Burk (2009). Audio commentary for "The Ghost Network" (DVD). Fringe: The Complete First Season Disc 2: Warner Bros. Television.
  3. 1 2 3 Lackey, Stephen (2008-09-25). "FRINGE: The Ghost Network". Mania.com. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  4. "Peter Hermann Credits". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  5. 1 2 Conrad Brink, Fred Toye, Gary Rake, Peter Gelfman, Christopher Scollard, Gilbert Gertsen (2009). Deciphering the Scene: The Ghost Network (DVD). Fringe: The Complete First Season Disc 2: Warner Bros. Television.
  6. Lynn Powers, Michael Trisoli, Thomas Yatsko, Tom Tobin, Stephen Kelly (2009). The Massive Undertaking: The Ghost Network (DVD). Fringe: The Complete First Season Disc 2: Warner Bros. Television.
  7. 1 2 Fickett, Travis (2008-09-24). "Fringe: "The Ghost Network" Review". IGN . Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  8. Gorman, Bill (2008-09-30). "Top Fox Primetime Shows, September 22–28". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  9. Murray, Noel (2008-09-23). "The Ghost Network". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  10. Alex, Zalben (2010-04-05). "Fringe vs. The X-Files: Which Does Weird Science Better?". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2012-03-18.