The Mad Science of Fringe: Tantric Sex Meets Cancer Remission


In last night's Fringe, one of the Cortexiphan trial patients with whom Olivia shared a bizarre childhood summer camp (Alias's Project Christmas, anyone?) had his mental abilities activated in the form of: exchanging his cancer with other Cortexiphan patients with only a handshake! And Olivia (Anna Torv) decides not to tell Peter (Joshua Jackson) he's from the alternate universe, only for Walter, minutes later, to tell her it's time to right his wrongs. Now, I'm no physicist, but let's try to gauge the relative plausibility of Walter's mad science in Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver.

Scenario: On a woman covered in malignant sarcomas, Walter (John Noble) uses a black light to reveal which cells show the most progression and traces the cancer's starting point.

Plausibility: 5 of 10. You almost had us, Walter, with the whole the-cancer-has-got-to-have-a-starting-point thing. But then things started changing colors under that black light. And the only explanation we got was "cells that show more progression refract a different color."

Scenario: Walter finds a hand print at the cancer's point of origin. He then bakes the sample of skin until he can analyze the fingerprints.

Plausibility: 7 of 10. I don't quite get how the baking helped, other than setting up a funny little juxtaposition between Walter making taffy and baking human flesh. And I don't get how he was able to sift through those tumors to actually get to the hand print, but I'll give him the fingerprint scanner. Looked like a piece of cake.

Scenario: The original cancer patient--the one who's transferring his disease to the other Cortexiphan recipients--exploits everyone's enhanced mental functioning to exchange energy (and cancer) in an experience Walter likens to Tantric sex.

Plausibility: 8 of 10. The Cortexiphan connection boosts the credibility of this one quite a bit; it'd be pretty hard to swallow if Patient X was running around exchanging his cancer with just anybody. But according to Walter, the enhanced brain function allows for a deeper link between the Jacksonville crew, one that, like Tantric sex, leads to a heightened awareness of the, um, partner? Too bad this heightened awareness will kill you in minutes. It might be a ridiculous explanation, but at least it's well sourced. I'll buy it. You?


  • DHE says:

    The "science" on this show is beyond laughable, but fortunately everyone understands it's just pure filler. The whole Walter-Olivia-Peter-otherworld thing has me hooked. The only question is how soon the producers will ruin it by adding more characters and "twists." Right now it's the best science opera on television.

  • John says:

    Anna Torv is just hot.

  • muffinfluffer says:

    ANNA TORV. and ANNA TORV. and besides that, ANNA TORV. ANNA TORV AND ANNA TORV prove ANNA TORV is totally ANNA TORV. QED. i could eat her for hours. she's the reason ANNA TORV is so ANNA TORV.

  • secyatlaw says:

    I miss Charlie, but I guess they needed the "space" to make room for the family dynamic.

  • steve says:

    It's fun, that's the purpose of the show. Just like believing aliens.

  • Well… Let me just say, If one tried tantric relationships, she will never go back to the same old human nonsense. It amazes me that many people still consider tantra to be unfit for people of good taste. Tantra is also often accused of being a kind of black magic. Tantra is one of the most important Indian traditions, representing the practical aspect of the Vedic tradition, that now serves many spiritual people in the West.