On FRINGE last night, Vertis Air Flight 718 passenger Marshal Bowman started literally going to pieces in the lavatory — then he transformed into a slavering monster. Haven’t we all been on flights like this? I loved the smash-edit of the scene in which the creature broke out, because it had a Cloverfield-like sense of verity. The government cover story for the crash in Scarsdale, N.Y., was engine failure, which eerily echoed the recent ditching of a plane in New York’s Hudson River. When the corpse of the monster was recovered, Olivia experienced one of the memories she retained from John Scott: She saw Bowman and co-conspirator Strickland. Turned out the men were facilitating the sale of a designer virus as a biological weapon. I love how Olivia continues to develop a personality; she has become so stone cold now that she withheld medical treatment until Strickland gave up the name of a suspect. What is this, 24? Olivia realized that the key to the case resided in John’s memories, so she re-entered the isolation tank to access the knowledge she inherited from her former partner (played by Mark Valley, ex-Jack, DAYS OF OUR LIVES). With the active help of the MemoryJohn, Liv was able to solve the case, stop the sale of the chemical weapon and — most importantly for her — release her anger that her former lover was a traitor to his country. (He was just pretending while working black ops.) Oh, and MemoryJohn proposed to her. Talk about a dream fiancé! Olivia said goodbye to John’s memories on the dock of a frozen lake, where he slipped the ring on her finger before fading from her consciousness. Who says FRINGE isn’t romantic? Still, the whole episode was suffused with tension and the series’ trademark grotesque gore. And Walter introduced us to the “One-half Nipple Rule,” which states that a mammal species’ typical number of offspring equals half the number of the mother’s nipples. (Sadly, no “reverse mutator” is gonna erase that fact from your brain.)
The caterwauling continued as AMERICAN IDOL “whittled” the field down to…er, 104 contestants. (This is gonna take a while….) Watching the throwdown between newbie judge Kara and erstwhile “Bikini Girl” Katrina, I noticed that while delivering her criticism, Kara tried to keep her eyes focused on the table; she could barely stand to look at Katrina. That told me she has a problem with Katrina’s appearance. Even Paula admitted she could sing, so it wasn’t just a male thing. There’s a lot of talk that this whole “Bikini Girl” kerfuffle is setting a bad example for young girls; I think the “wrong” message that’s being sent by Kara vs. Katrina is that women are somehow supposed to be catty. Not true. You’re there to judge the singing, Kara, not the wardrobe. There are other reality shows for that.