I like “Stowaway” as a single episode. Anna Torv, following on her William Bell/Leonard Nimoy impression from the end of last week’s episode, maintains the gravely voice and inflection for the entire episode, along with various physical ticks. Bell’s interactions with Walter are just priceless. The plot this week has an interesting concept, a woman trying to kill herself after her family is murder but can’t. She gets on a train, knowing a bomb is on, seeing all the people who’ll die alongside her. In the end, she takes the bomb off the train once the police come and she does die.
However, Bell proposes a new theory of the universe, that destiny is guiding people, which is troubling to say the least. Maybe Peter will end up in the machine despite Walter’s best efforts. Maybe Dana (the woman who couldn’t die) couldn’t die because she was fated to save those on the train. This seems very reminiscent of Lost, where the supernatural weirdness is explained through destiny. Plenty of stories through the ages has explored this concept, as well as recent sci-fi shows, so I’m a little disappointed Fringe may be headed this way. Fringe is supposed to be a show about science (or at least the first 60 are about science), and this isn’t science. We also have to remember that this is Bell’s opinion, supported only by meager empirical observations and wild speculation, not science. After lots of interesting themes and plot developments in the past two seasons, hopefully Fringe can continue the streak.
As Dana’s condition was being revealed, I kept wondering why she was only trying to kill herself physically. I don’t want to sound like a wacko, but my impulse from watching so much television is that she should have tried to drown herself or overdose on pills. However, it’s not shown whether she tried that or even if that would work. That’s part of the problem of Fringe’s psuedo-science, because the writers don’t need to explain everything.