Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Creature Feature

I talked before about the way this show manages to take something that seems completely ridiculous and turn it into something that seems completely possible. In fact, this crafty ability is what makes Fringe rock. Take this week's episode about a creature created in a lab from the pieces of other creatures. Basically, scientists were able to successfully create a new species by using the DNA of several existing species. Sounds crazy, right? I totally thought so until Walter presented his research, addressed all of the difficulties that one would have to overcome in order to accomplish such a feat, and then pointed out that if the scientist built on his research from 20 years ago, he/she would be able to create a hybrid creature (in theory anyway). And then toward the end, we learned that the "monster" contained bat DNA, and suddenly, the whole thing was made even more credible. Apparently, bats have an unique immune system that would allow them to fight off the effects of different DNA coming together (much like the way the body will reject an organ transplant unless the recipient takes specific drugs to stop the process). Now, I have no doubt that the show (like any show) takes a lot of creative license in order to craft its stories, but I have to give them mad props for taking the impossible, making it possible, and then giving good enough explanations to the audience to make it all plausible. Bravo, Fringe.

I didn't think that they would kill off Charlie (and I knew this wasn't the end of the road for Walter), but there were a few times when I wasn't sure how they were going to save the FBI agent. When the poison seemed to do more bad than good, I wondered what Walter and co. were going to do next. And then he came up with the risky blood remedy, which ultimately, saved Charlie's life while ending the life of the creature, I held my breath. I guess you could say it was a "win-win" for the Fringe crew. BTW, loved the Big Bird joke at the beginning. Classic Walter!

Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed last night's episode, watch it for free at Photo courtesy Fox.


Anonymous said...

Nice recap, but what happened to your usual Cold Case recap?


John said...

I liked the episode less than you. It was a monster of the week without any purpose.

Also, the rejection argument made no sense, at least to my nonscientist ears. If they were grafting the tail of a Gila Monster on to something else there would be rejection worries. But they were using genetic engineering to take some of the capabilities of different species and combined them into one new “species”. Based on my understanding, the body’s immune system learns what is self and doesn’t attack that (except in the case of autoimmune diseases), but only non-self. Since the creatures various parts would all be together since conception the immune system would treatment all as self and not attack them. Thus the immunity problem is really not a problem. A bigger problem is getting these different animal parts to function as one animal or even function at all, indeed for the parts to even develop. That maybe possible, but that is the question they should have addressed, but I am guessing they had no answer for that so ignored it.

Also, why would someone create that creature in the first place? I can see a scientist trying to combine the attributes of different animals together, but they would presumably start with something that, if it worked, wouldn’t kill them and would have some use. The animal doesn’t even make a good weapon since it seems uncontrollable.

As a quibble, I object to the terminology implying that the people who were injected with the larva had been mated with. They were not in any sense a mate; they were the food supple. There are wasps that do this with spiders (I think one of the species that was part of the amalgamation may have been that). Lots of parasites do that with people, from malaria to tapeworms.

TVFan said...

Good point about why scientists would want to create such a creature. I suppose, just to see if they could, but why not start with something a bit tamer? I guess there would be no story then.

As far as my CC recap goes, I was out of town and just finally watched it. I'm about to write it up, so stay tuned...