Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Fringe-Gnome business plan

I've previously watched two (2) episodes of Fringe. The first was the pilot, which was meh. The second involved the mysterious albino boy in the sub basement last week. I was thinking of getting back into it. Hey, nothing else was on, Dollhouse appears to be on the verge of cancellation. I need my SF TV.

Anyway, the teaser for this week's episode, Unleashed, intrigued me. Frankly, I was hoping for werewolves. No such luck. Spoiler time now.

So a bunch of animal rights activists break into a lab, they find a dark and ominous door lit with red light bulbs, it's obvious bad news. Really, the only way it could be worse is if it contained the rage virus. Instead, it's a big scary thing that kills them and infests their corpses with larvae. The Steward of Gondor, Pacey, Token Black Woman, and Scully-the-Lesser are called in to investigate and decide it's some kind of chimera, created by putting lots of animals together in a blender and pressing "Evil." Denethor's all "Oh, boo hoo, maybe this terrible monster is based on my research," like he's the only mad scientist on the block. Nope. Turns out that a totally different group had the same idea he did. And they did more than draw awesome snake/scorpion hybrid sketches. Which will totally go on the cover of my first metal album, by the way.

Boring story short, FBI Agent Scully-the-Lesser tracks down the last of the animal rights activists and discovers his dad runs a local animal testing firm. Son decided to free the animals, stumbled on Dad's seriously ill conceived lab project. Our heroes kill the beastie in the sewers; there is angst and sexual tension, and it is boring.

Here's the thing: who in their right mind would create a hybrid wasp/tiger/snake/scorpion/bat? And how can I not comment on the impossibility of melding together creatures with such divergent basic bodyplans? No matter how much you know about Hox genes, I don't think you can just successfully weld a wasp and a bat together. They're not like multiple Lego sets; you can't just snap castle parts on the spaceship. 

And what was it for in the first place? It's like an Underpants gnome scheme. 

• Step 1: Create hideous, giant, violent, uncontrollable monster

• Step 2: ???

• Step 3: Profit!!!

What's worse, no one in the episode asks either Denethor (who's done this kind of work before) or the eeeeevil animal testing guy why they would want to do it. That's a pretty good question, yes? 

Possible answers:

• "The villagers were getting uppity. They needed a good scare. What do you want? I'm mad, mad I tell you, bwah hah hah hah!"

• "Dude, it's so fucking cool! Can we give version 2.0 retractable adamantium claws and teach it to say 'Bub'?"

• "I don't know, Blackwater ordered it. Crowd control for Katrina victims. We may have overdesigned it a bit."

• "Well, if you don't spend all the money the Pentagon gives you every year, they give you less next year."

You know the first thing people would actually create, if they could make crazy hybrids? They'd make real-life Turducken. And that would be way cooler than this episode. 

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