Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/6/09

Anyone who watched last night’s installment of RESCUE ME witnessed Michael J. Fox‘s Emmy reel — and perhaps the series’ bid for writing and best drama. It was that good — ironically, because it was so difficult to watch. It began with a horrifying dream sequence depicting suitcase bombs exacting a terrible toll on the city, then followed up with Sean receiving a diagnosis of kidney cancer, Colleen and blackSean ruining their relationship by having sex, and finished up with Sheila’s extended monologue about the uniquely personal horror of 9/11. By the time it was over, I didn’t know whether to stand and applaud or throw my TV out of the nearest window. Yep, that’s TV you can get behind. TV that draws you in, grabs you by the [CENSORED] and twists. That’s why the best dramas are on cable.

As ATROCIOUS IDOL ate into my precious FRINGE time, the phone-number recap revealed that Allison and Kris didn’t completely suck, like Danny, and Adam was only pretty bad instead of awful as usual.

“A myth is just an unverified fact.”
— Walter Bishop

Yep, that was AS THE WORLD TURNS’ former Jennifer, Jennifer Ferrin, playing Nancy Lewis and her barbecued twin, Susan Pratt, on FRINGE. Only this wasn’t a case of of spontaneous human combustion, it was pyrokinesis. Nancy and her sister were given the ability to start fires with their mind but, lacking training, had trouble directing the heat outward. Olivia makes a connection between the experimentation on Nancy and the Cortexiphan trials she herself underwent.

Remember that video of a young Olive cowering in a burned-out room? We can now assume the younger Liv was a firestarter, after all! Nancy put her power to good use when she torched the scuzzy Sanford Harris. (Were you as disappointed as I was that Sanford turned out to be part of the conspiracy? It was all too neat and convenient. I wanted him to just be a garden variety jerk with an axe to grind playing office politics.) Speaking of the Z.F.T., Walter revealed that the typewriter responsible for the Z.F.T. Manifesto belonged to “Belly” — William Bell. However, Walter maintained that the founder of Massive Dynamic would never do the bad things attributed to Z.F.T., and blamed others for twisting its ideals. This episode was a treasure trove of meta references (even more than usual):

•While investigating Susan’s death on the street, Walter was toting a Slusho drink — a recurring in-joke seen in many J.J. Abrams productions, from ALIAS to LOST to the movie Cloverfield, and even slipped into other shows, like HEROES. Slusho — “You can’t drink just six!”
•The entire interlude with Emmanuel Grayson was one big wink at STAR TREK fandom. “Grayson” is taken from “Amanda Grayson,” Spock’s human mother (hence his “I am the son of Sarek” line). The conspiracy by renegade Romulans from the future to alter the timeline is the plotline of the new Star Trek movie, written by FRINGE co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci and directed by Abrams! And, of course, the actor playing Grayson, Clint Howard, appeared in several TV incarnations of the series. Oh, and look for Slusho in the movie! (Hint: It appears in a bar scene.)

Next week is FRINGE’s season finale, so we will find out if Ms. Sharp survived being shot, and (hopefully) exactly where the Observer is taking Walter. Also, be in the lookout for an cameo by Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy as William Bell. And I am happy to note that FRINGE has been renewed for a second season, so we can look forward to a few more appearances by Nimoy.

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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