The Last Sam Weiss

Last updated

"The Last Sam Weiss"
Fringe episode
Peter Bishop looking at One World Trade Center.jpg
Peter Bishop looks at the future One World Trade Center
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 21
Directed by Thomas Yatsko
Written by Monica Owusu-Breen
Alison Schapker
Production code3X6121
Original air dateApril 29, 2011
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
 Previous
"6:02 AM EST"
Next 
"The Day We Died"
Fringe (season 3)
List of Fringe episodes

"The Last Sam Weiss" is the penultimate episode of the third season of the Fox science fiction television series Fringe , and the 64th episode overall. The storyline follows the continuing disintegration of the prime universe, as the Fringe team races to prevent the destruction of their world. FBI agent Olivia Dunham recruits Sam Weiss for help while Peter recovers from touching the doomsday machine in the previous episode.

<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.

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.

Science fiction Genre of speculative fiction

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that has been called the "literature of ideas". It typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, time travel, parallel universes, fictional worlds, space exploration, and extraterrestrial life. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific innovations.

Contents

Executive producers Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker co-wrote the episode, and cinematographer Thomas Yatsko directed. "The Last Sam Weiss" is meant to be the middle of an "epic trilogy," as the season finale aired the following week. Guest actors Kevin Corrigan and Ryan McDonald returned as Weiss and Brandon Fayette, respectively.

Monica Owusu-Breen is an American television producer and screenwriter.

Alison Schapker is an American television writer and producer.

Thomas Yatsko is an American cinematographer and television director, known for his work on television series like CSI: Miami, Brothers & Sisters, and Fringe.

On its initial broadcast on April 29, 2011 in the United States, an estimated 3.49 million viewers tuned in. More viewers in America time shifted the episode than watched it live, leading to a 67 percent increase in the 18–49 demographic. This was the highest increase on any network for that week. While the episode received generally positive reviews, television critics were divided about the ending, with some comparing it to the television series Lost .

In broadcasting, time shifting is the recording of programming to a storage medium to be viewed or listened to after the live broadcasting. Typically, this refers to TV programming but can also refer to radio shows via podcasts.

<i>Lost</i> (TV series) American television series (2004–2010)

Lost is an American drama television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004, to May 23, 2010, over six seasons, comprising a total of 121 episodes. The show contains elements of supernatural and science fiction, and follows the survivors of a commercial jet airliner flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, after the plane crashes on a mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline set on the island, augmented by flashback or flashforward sequences which provide additional insight into the involved characters.

Plot

In the prime universe, the doomsday machine creates numerous static lightning storms along the eastern seaboard. As Walter and Astrid see to Peter's recovery after his failed attempt to enter the machine, Olivia takes Sam Weiss to the machine. Weiss states that the machine is not meant to be a doomsday device and that the strange effects are a byproduct of the machine's "frustration" due to its believing that Peter is already inside the machine. Weiss suggests finding a proverbial "crowbar" that can be used to break the shield protecting the device to give Peter enough time to enter it. As Olivia travels with Weiss to collect a box and the key containing this crowbar, Weiss explains that he descends from a long unbroken line of men named Sam Weiss whose forebear found the incomplete collection of information on the First People and the device, and have sought to try to find the rest. Upon collecting both the box and key, they open it to find a parchment, revealing that Olivia herself is the crowbar.

Doomsday device hypothetical object capable of destroying all life on a planet

A doomsday device is a hypothetical construction — usually a weapon or weapons system — which could destroy all life on a planet, particularly Earth, or destroy the planet itself, bringing "doomsday", a term used for the end of planet Earth. Most hypothetical constructions rely on the fact that hydrogen bombs can be made arbitrarily large assuming there are no concerns about delivering them to a target or that they can be "salted" with materials designed to create long-lasting and hazardous fallout.

Meanwhile, Walter and Astrid determine that most of the effects of the device are occurring in the areas between western Massachusetts and Liberty Islandthe locations of the doomsday machines in the prime and parallel universes respectivelyaligned like iron filings around the ends of a magnet. Walter convinces Broyles to move the device to Liberty Island to reduce the area affected by the strange events. During this time, Peter wakes with confused memories and leaves the hospital, traveling to a location in New York City and buying a silver dollar coin from a pawn shop.

Olivia and Weiss bring the parchment to Walter, who recognizes that Olivia's telekinetic powers must be used to turn off the machine in the parallel universe. To prepare Olivia, they use the quantum entangled Selectric typewriter that the shapeshifters had used to contact the parallel universe. Olivia struggles unsuccessfully with trying to activate the typewriter, even with Walter's support. Peter is soon discovered in New York, about the same time that the machine has been moved into position. Walter and Olivia rejoin him, finding him confused and believing himself to be in the parallel universe. Peter eventually comes to his senses, with Walter believing his confusion to be a temporary result of the head trauma. Astrid calls the trio from the lab, revealing that the typewriter is typing out "Be a better man than your father", a phrase that Olivia and Peter have talked about before, thus giving them hope that Olivia will be able to disengage the parallel universe's device. After she does so, Peter takes a moment to recall the events of his life, including his experiences with Walter and Olivia, and then steps into the machine.

Quantum entanglement Correlation between measurements of quantum subsystems, even when spatially separated

Quantum entanglement is a physical phenomenon that occurs when pairs or groups of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in ways such that the quantum state of each particle cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance.

Peter wakes up wounded on a chaotic street in downtown New York City. He finds himself in unfamiliar territory, facing a plaque dedicated in 2021 to the victims of the September 11 attacks, and is quickly assisted by an officer of the militarized Fringe division.

Production

The episode was co-written by co-executive producers Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker, while being directed by cinematographer Thomas Yatsko. [1] "The Last Sam Weiss" was the second-to-last episode of the season. Though the season 3 finale was scheduled to be just an hour long, executive producer Jeff Pinkner confirmed that the last three episodes would be "linked in one continuous story arc". [2] This was a reflection of Pinkner and co-executive producer J.H. Wyman's intent to have the last three episodes of every season seem like "you're turning the last page of a chapter in a novel. And usually in a good novel, the last pages [of a chapter] compels you forward with a new understanding of what the subject matter is and you get deeper and you can’t wait to turn that page." [3] Some media outlets [4] [5] have referred to the episodes as a "three-part third-season finale". [4]

John Noble (picture left) called his character's nudity the series' "funniest thing yet". Fringe Panel 15 2010 CC.jpg
John Noble (picture left) called his character's nudity the series' "funniest thing yet".

Actor John Noble called the beginning scene with Olivia and Walter naked "the funniest thing" yet, explaining "The writers keep throwing challenges at me, because I never say no. They said, 'Okay, John, you’ll do a scene naked.' I said 'Okay.' And so that was a big surprise. So I do this scene, this strange scene with Anna Torv, without any clothes on. Anna’s staying at the Bishop house with Walter running around with no clothes on except for a pair of slippers, getting breakfast. She comes round the corner and catches him in the full monty, going, 'Oh no!' Didn’t know where to look. That was probably one of the most fun things we ever did. Anna’s reaction was priceless to that. I haven’t seen the scene yet, but it was hilarious to do it." [6]

In March 2011, TVLine's Michael Ausiello exclusively confirmed that previous guest actor Kevin Corrigan would be returning for the twentieth and twenty-first episodes of the season. [7] Corrigan last appeared in the season's twelfth episode "Concentrate and Ask Again"; his role in "The Last Sam Weiss" marked his seventh appearance on Fringe. [8] The actor expressed appreciation that his character's name was used in the title, but was disappointed it alluded to his final appearance in the show to date. [9] The episode is Corrigan's last credit on the series, [8] though he previously stated his interest in returning as one of his ancestors or as a doppelganger. [9]

As with other Fringe episodes, [10] [11] Fox released a science lesson plan in collaboration with Science Olympiad for grade school children, focusing on the science seen in "The Last Sam Weiss", with the intention of having "students learn about static electricity and how it is created and dissipated." [12]

Reception

Ratings

On its first broadcast in the United States on April 29, 2011, the episode was watched by an estimated 3.49 million viewers and scored a 1.3 ratings share among adults 18–49. [13] [14] More viewers time shifted the episode than watched it live, [1] as its ratings increased 67 percent in the 18–49 demographic, resulting in a 2.0 rating; this was the largest increase out of every other television series airing that week. [15]

Reviews

The titular character, played by Kevin Corrigan, was praised by critics. TMOI KevinCorrigan small.jpg
The titular character, played by Kevin Corrigan, was praised by critics.

"The Last Sam Weiss" received generally positive reviews from television critics. Ken Tucker from Entertainment Weekly called the episode "equally surprising in its plotting and pacing", praised Sam and Olivia's scenes together, and believed the ending to be "mind-blowing" and "both startling and thrilling". [16] The A.V. Club's Noel Murray graded the episode with an A-, writing the first half "wasn't quite as rollicking as last week's episode, because there was a lot more set-up and explanation required to keep the story moving" but "then the second half brought in all the emotion and tension, topped off by an unexpected gut-punch of an ending." Murray admitted his "eyes glazed over a bit" during the search for the "crowbar", believing it to be "little too Lost -y", but "the quirky Corrigan as Weiss helped put all the mumbo-jumbo over". [17]

SFScope columnist Sarah Stegall agreed with Murray's Lost comparison, writing that the ending of the episode was "right out of the Lost playbook, a little too on the nose for my liking." Stegall did however call it a "good bridge episode, taking us from the setup of last week to the denouement next week, when it all comes together." [1] IGN writer Ramsey Isler was more positive about the final sequence, explaining that the "last five minutes of this story changed everything, and made me excited about the series again." While praising the special effects, he also noted his displeasure that Sam Weiss "ends up not being as mystical or magical as previous stories hinted". Isler wished Corrigan had more screen time in the episode, calling it "under-utilization of a great character the writers have spent a lot of time building up." He rated it 7.5/10, an indication of a "good" episode, but criticized its "slow" pacing. [18]

While Isler was pleased that Olivia appeared on the drawing, [18] Stegall expressed skepticism that this revelation "smacks too much of manipulation, which would render our heroes' actions and sacrifices meaningless." [1] TV.com staff highlighted "The Last Sam Weiss" as one of the best television episodes of the 2010–11 United States network television schedule. [19]

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.

Peter Bishop

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

<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.

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 episode 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.

Reciprocity (<i>Fringe</i>) 11th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Reciprocity" is the eleventh episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 54th episode overall. In the episode, the Fringe division follows a chain of shapeshifter murders as the assembly of the doomsday device nears completion. Ryan McDonald and Charles Parnell guest starred.

Olivia (<i>Fringe</i>) 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.

Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep? 4th episode of the third season of Fringe

"Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" is the fourth episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 47th episode overall. The first half of the third season alternated entire episodes between the parallel universe and the prime universe. "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" took place in the prime universe, and involved several shapeshifters, including Thomas Jerome Newton, who is eventually captured. Meanwhile, Fauxlivia attempts to maintain her cover and minimize the damage.

"Concentrate and Ask Again" is the 12th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 55th episode overall. In the episode, the Fringe division enlists the help of a troubled telepathic man in their investigation of a mysterious blue killing powder. Abtahi, Kevin Corrigan, Jody Thompson, and Paul Jarrett guest starred.

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.

Fracture (<i>Fringe</i>) 3rd episode of the second season of Fringe

"Fracture" is the third episode of the second season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe. The episode followed the Fringe team's investigation into a man who mysteriously hardens and then explodes, killing those around him. The case leads them to a secret government project and an AWOL colonel.

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.

6:02 AM EST 20th episode of the third season of Fringe

"6:02 AM EST" is the 20th episode of the third season of the American science fiction drama television series Fringe, and the 63rd episode overall. The narrative follows the activation of the doomsday device by the parallel universe, and the subsequent devastating consequences experienced by our world.

The Day We Died 22nd episode of the third season of Fringe

"The Day We Died" is the third season finale of the Fox science fiction drama television series Fringe. It is the season's 22nd episode and the series' 65th episode overall. The finale follows the aftermath of Peter Bishop entering and activating the doomsday device, events which took place in the previous episode. He finds himself 15 years in the future; though the device has destroyed the parallel universe, his universe is nevertheless gradually disintegrating. Peter comes to realize the background of the doomsday device and wakes up in 2011. After getting the two universes to agree to work together, he inexplicably disappears.

Fringe is an American science fiction drama television series originally broadcast from 2008 to 2013. The show, created by Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, revolves around the fictional Fringe Division, a congressionally funded federal law enforcement task force, manned primarily by Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security personnel. The task force is responsible for investigating crimes and phenomena related to fringe science and the individuals and conspiratorial organizations that perpetrate those acts. During the five year series, the mythology and backstory of the show expanded exponentially across a broad spectrum of recurring themes, locations and characters to serialize story arcs and intricately link early episodes with later ones across all five seasons.

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.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Stegall, Sarah (2011-05-02). "Entanglement—Fringe's "The Last Sam Weiss"". SFScope . Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  2. Ausiello, Michael (2011-03-15). "Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Glee, Bones, Castle, Fringe, Chuck, Fringe and More!". TVLine . Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  3. Roffman, Marisa (2011-03-25). "FRINGE: 'Bloodline' Teases, Plus EPs Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman Talk Peter's Choice and the Other Universe". Give Me My Remote . Retrieved 2012-03-18.
  4. 1 2 Murray, Noel (2011-04-29). "The Last Sam Weiss". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  5. Isler, Ramsey (2011-04-24). "Fringe: "6:02 AM EST" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  6. VanDerWerff, Todd (2011-05-06). "Interview John Noble". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  7. Ausiello, Michael (2011-03-08). "Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Fringe, House, Grey's Anatomy, True Blood, Glee and More!". TVline . Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  8. 1 2 "Kevin Corrigan: Credits". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-05-12.
  9. 1 2 Wilkins, Alasdair (2011-05-06). "Wolverine could be back for the next X-Men: First Class movie. Plus the cast and crew of Fringe discuss the world-shattering finale!". io9 . Retrieved 2012-04-04.
  10. "TV Show "Fringe" on Fox Partners with Science Olympiad". Science Olympiad . Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  11. Holbrook, Damian (2010-11-11). "Fringe Unveils Science Sites". TV Guide . Retrieved 2011-07-07.
  12. "The Science of Fringe: Exploring Static Electricity" (PDF). Fox Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2011-07-19.
  13. Gorman, Bill (2011-04-30). "TV Ratings Friday: 'Fringe' Rises; 'Smallville,' 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Shark Tank' Fall; 'Supernatural,' 'CSI:NY' Steady". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  14. Hibberd, James (2011-04-30). "Friday ratings: 'Smallville,' 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Shark Tank' dip, 'Fringe' rises". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  15. Gorman, Bill (2011-05-09). "Live+7 DVR Ratings: Yet Again, 'Modern Family' Tops Absolute Gains, 'Fringe' Tops % Gains". TV by the Numbers . Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  16. Tucker, Ken (2011-04-30). "'Fringe' recap: 'The Last Sam Weiss' and the first glimpse of the future of 'Fringe'". Entertainment Weekly . Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  17. Murray, Noel (2011-04-29). "The Last Sam Weiss". The A.V. Club . Retrieved 2011-05-01.
  18. 1 2 Isler, Ramsey (2011-05-01). "Fringe: "The Last Sam Weiss" Review". IGN . Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  19. TV.com staff (2011-06-03). "TV.com Top 10: Our Favorite Episodes of the 2010-2011 TV Season". TV.com . Retrieved 2012-01-23.