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Fringe Season 3, Episode 17

Season 3, Episode 17

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To customize a famous quote from David St. Hubbins, it’s such a fine line between ingenious homage and stupid rip-off. The William Bell “soul magnet” plot on the “Fringe” episode “Stowaway,” taking up where last week’s left off, seems suspiciously similar to the premise of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Remember how Spock died in The Wrath of Khan and they left his body on the Genesis planet? But they discovered that Spock’s soul or “katra” was in Dr. McCoy, so they needed to put it back in Spock’s body (which, conveniently, was brought back to life by the Genesis effect)?

“Fringe” adapts the same basic plot, with the soul of William Bell (another Leonard Nimoy character, of course) hitchhiking in Olivia’s body. Bell claims that Olivia is harmlessly “resting” while Bell possesses her body, but the Fringe team needs to find him a suitable permanent host. Peter, unsurprisingly, is pretty pissed that an old man’s living in his girlfriend, but Walter (Peter King lookalike John Noble) delighted to have his old partner “Belli” back.

This week’s paranormal mystery dovetails a little too neatly into the Bellivia plot. Paula Malcolmson plays Dana Gray, whom TV geeks probably best remember as Trixie from Deadwood. She first appears in a rooftop conversation with a depressed Oliver Platt-looking guy, and they talk about stuff like “Every drop of rain holds the promise of regrowth.” Just when you think they’re going to start singing “I believe that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows,” the guy rolls off the roof and Dana goes with him. They crash spectacularly onto a parked car, but Dana gets up and walks away. Is she indestructible like Supergirl?