The non-science of Fringe: Inner Child

Fringe: Season 1: Episode 15: “Inner Child”

Olivia and The Child.

Olivia and The Child.

More serial killers and mind-reading this week – all in a day’s work for our fringe scientists. 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

The tunnels can’t both have been “sealed” for decades and also have a “low” oxygen concentration – the presence of rats and a human (?) down there, along with percolating water and the absence of plants, would have removed all the oxygen a long time ago. In any case, there have to be some gaps to the outside world for the rats to get in.

Haven’t I seen a fake-disabled person bundling a victim into a van somewhere before?

Walter’s natural history is only a little off – he’s right in saying that sharks sense their prey’s electromagnetic field (which all animals produce through muscle contractions), but it’s not through their own. They use passive electroreception via sensory organs called ampullae of Lorenzini, which are extremely sensitive to changes in electric field.

By this analogy, The Child might be able to pick up on thoughts and emotions (and apparently names and addresses) by sensing other people’s brain activity over extremely long distances. This then brings up the problem of signal-to-noise ratio, which would also be a stumbling block for Superman’s super-hearing.

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