The non-science of Fringe: Ability

Fringe: Season 1: Episode 14: “Ability”

FBI on the case.

FBI on the case.

How to defuse a bomb…with your brain! This episode was refreshingly easy to watch.

This episode is debunked at Popular Mechanics and Polite Dissent, and you can read more about it at Fox, IMDb and the A.V. Club.

Random thoughts

Mr. Jones is back, and apparently not in best of health post-teleportation. Judging by the hole in the hospital wall, though, the disintegration/reintegration has turned him into some kind of super-villain! Or perhaps a Goblin King (tenuous connection: David Robert Jones is David Bowie’s real name, and he played Jareth the Goblin King in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth).

Why would Olivia yell for a medic, and then attempt to perform the tracheotomy herself? I’m sure that the doctor would be better trained. And for that matter, it should be possible to keep an airway open no matter how quickly “scar tissue” is growing – just a matter of a longer hose or regular incisions.

“Ask yourself why Broyles sent you to the storage facility.” Could it be Cortexiphan, a chemical that prevents brain “limitation”? This is actually quite interesting, carrying overtones of synaptic pruning and neuroplasticity – if people could retain their brain’s malleability, would it result in enhanced learning abilities? Perhaps this is why Olivia is so good at remembering faces.


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