Fringe Season 4 Episode 7 ‘Wallflower’ Review

Fringe Season 4 Episode 7 Wallflower ReviewThere’s a famous social experiment where a monkey was taken away from its family and raised with no physical interaction at all save for a doll in a cage. The monkey became severely depressed and emotionally unhinged, eventually becoming numb to everything. This week’s Fringe episode ‘Wallflower’ was all about the psychological importance of emotion, interaction and the lengths some will go to be seen and felt.

Eugene was a “nobody”… literally. Due to a genetic defect and experimentation done by Nina Sharpe and William Bell back at Massive Dynamic, he became a human chameleon who was invisible to everyone and everything.

Over the years, the lack of being noticed has severely damaged Eugene’s psyche to the point that he will do anything to be seen, including murder. By excreting an octopus gel on his victims, he leaches the pigment from their body. This, coupled with a goo bath in a makeshift lab down in a sub-basement of an apartment complex he’s basically squatting in, re-pigments his skin.

The issue is, not only is the treatment temporary and will require him to continually kill people, but also each treatment is killing him. When he is confronted by Olivia, who tells him if he does it one more time that it will kill him, he gives a very memorable speech about being seen and noticed and what that means to you as a human being.

Fringe Season 4 Episode 7 Wallflower Review

Eugene, tossing aside Olivia’s advice, is finally seen by the woman he’s been longing to be noticed by for a long time. When she finally does notice him and they have a brief, but memorable, exchange, your heart actually does melt a little for Eugene. Putting aside the fact that he’s a murdering genetic freak of nature, he is really just a product of the aforementioned experiment to the extreme.

Olivia, on the other end of the spectrum from Eugene, is experiencing numbness as a result of over exposure to the everyday freaky-deaky-ness of being a member of the Fringe Division. The romance between her and Lincoln is starting to bloom more and more, but Olivia is still a little reserved, and she starts to question if maybe the Cortexiphan she was subjected to may have desensitized her emotionally, and working for Fringe is exacerbating the condition. She confides this to Nina Sharpe who dismisses her concerns and seemingly tries to put her at ease. I say seemingly as the end of the episode shows Olivia succumbing to gas being pumped into her apartment as men come in, reset her security camera to erase any evidence that they were there, and inject some type of liquid into her neck. And who is watching over the evening’s festivities? Good old Nina.

Fringe Season 4 Episode 7 Wallflower Review

In addition to all of this, Peter has been isolated from any contact with those around him so as to avoid any kind of temporal hiccups from continuing to occur. He comes up with the brilliant idea to go all Ben Affleck in Paycheck and reverse engineer the machine that wiped him from his timeline’s existence in the first place in order to return home. His bit of business with Lincoln over whether or not he’s making moves with the current timeline’s Olivia was nice, mostly for the amount of depth it gave to the character of Lincoln.

The depth and emotion the writers were able to draw from the Eugene character was really impressive. It is on such a human level, and you were quickly able to move past what he did in order to achieve his goal because the goal itself is something we struggle with in one way shape or form throughout our lives. No one wants to be invisible. At the same time, seeing Olivia’s conflict and Nina’s betrayal was a really welcome addition to the episode and really has me angry that we have to wait until 2012 to see the rest of the season.

– James Zappie

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