TV Show: Fringe
Episode Title: Stowaway
Original Air Date: March 18, 2011
Episode Number: 3×17
Answers lead to new questions when the Fringe team investigates an apparent suicide victim. Uncovering a second set of fingerprints, they are led to a woman with uncanny characteristics that cannot die. As the Fringe team hopes to alleviate Olivia’s possession quickly, Agent Lincoln Lee of the F.B.I. meets them for the first time over the curious case of what he calls “the compassionate soul vampire.”
Okay, the concept of the episode was definitely a unique one and I think the showrunners were expecting this to be a huge success and a lot of fun, but I think the execution was a bit flat. I noticed that JH Wyman, Jeff Pinkner, and Akiva Goldsman were credited as the ones who came up with the story and that the teleplay was written by a woman Danielle Dispralto and I believe this is the first and only Fringe episode that she has written. I’m not sure how she got this assignment and handle such an important episode, but I wasn’t impressed. Would have preferred it if the three men would have written this episode by themselves (as they have done so numerous times in the past) instead of farming it out.
The one thing that really irked me about this episode was Bell hitting on Astrid a total of three times (once indirectly) which made Astrid uncomfortable. The first time was when he complimented how beautiful her hands were when she was trying to remove the electrode wires from his head. The second time was when he put the bracelet on Astrid’s wrist and said that it looks good on her. Notice Astrid taking off the bracelet right away and buttoning her blouse up all the way to her neck. The third was when he and Walter were talking about having Bell’s soul transfer to Gene and Walter commented about having to milk Gene and Bell says that they can always assign Astrid to do it. Gross. If the writer thought this was supposed to be funny, it wasn’t. There’s nothing funny about sexual harassment and I’m appalled that a woman would write these three scenes into this episode. This episode is definitely one of my least favorite Fringe episodes just because of this.
Anna Torv did her best with trying to channel Leonard Nimoy by changing her voice and trying to talk like Bell and also by the way she moved. There was definitely a lot of eyebrow-raising from Bell in this episode. It was a good performance, but I feel bad about her having to work with this script.
By the way, in addition to Bell harassing Astrid, there’s another point of issue that came up after this episode aired about a man taking over a woman’s body without her consent. What does that sound like to you? It’s definitely not the same, but still, Bell entering Olivia’s body and mind without her consent is a huge violation of her person. It’s so disappointing that the writers (and I will include the three men in this) would allow this to happen to their lead character without thinking about the implications. What a mess.
The episode wasn’t a complete bust because we finally got to meet the Lincoln Lee in our universe and he’s also an FBI agent, but is stationed in Connecticut. Good way to introduce him to the team and I seriously doubt this is the last we’ve seen of him. Loved his easy camaraderie with Peter and how he seemed un-fussed by Walter’s lab and all the weirdness going on in it.
Peter’s complete discomfort and unease about this whole Bellivia situation was understandable and I totally feel him. I liked how Joshua Jackson played Peter in this episode especially the last scene with Bellivia where Bell is talking and looking at Peter and Peter is just unable to look at him and maintain eye contact. I also liked his little smile when Olivia peeked out from under Bell’s “control” for a split second only to be supplanted by Bell again. What Bell said didn’t sound good. He better be out of Olivia’s body by next episode.
It was good to see Walter and Bell working together again, but why didn’t they use this time together to talk about the other universe and what the fuck Walternate’s plans are instead of going over candidates for Bell’s soul? Didn’t they think that if they can’t find a suitable host, Bell could be gone for good? Surely they didn’t expect to use Olivia for the entire time? I am really appalled by this. Jeez, as I continue to write these thoughts down, I keep on coming up with many more reasons as to why this is one of the worst Fringe episodes ever. 🤔 I should end my review here.
One last thing, good job, Paula Malcomson on playing Dana Gray. She was a very sympathetic character by the end. Nice thought from Bell (the only good thing he did in this episode) when he said that maybe the reason that Dana couldn’t die those times she tried to kill herself is because maybe she was meant to save the lives of those people on the train. Destiny, fate, whatever it was, it was a good thing. Maybe this had nothing to do with science at all. I liked that explanation very much.