There are times when Fringe is a little crazy, and then there are times when Fringe is absolutely completely balls-to-the-wall psycho nuts. However, Fringe has never before spent an entire hour being the latter, until now. “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide,” as the title would suggest, was an experiment: a thoughtless, reckless experiment. But it was experiment that succeeded, albeit perhaps for all the wrong reasons.

Sojourns into another human’s consciousness are far from rare in fiction. Because we can never actually step inside someone else’s brain, writers have free rein to do whatever the hell they want. The writers can fill a person’s mind with angry mobs, make the world half real and half cartoon, or even shorten the distance between New York and Jacksonville. Fringe’s version of Olivia’s mind fell somewhere between the dangerous quasi-realism of Inception1 and the freewheeling cartoon vibe of Psychonauts.2

What happened in Olivia’s brain was kind of confusing, and I won’t go into much detail here for fear of ruining the beautiful illusion that any part of “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” made sense. The idea that Olivia could emerge from her own consciousness by facing her fear is interesting, and it raises the question of whether she can no longer access her fear-activated Cortexiphan abilities. But I’m content to write off the rest of this episode as a giant, glorious mindfuck and leave it at that, because I had a hell of a great time watching all the nonsense unfold. Car chases, cartoon skydiving, motorcycle rides – this is all great stuff. I never thought I’d be typing the sentence, “Cartoon Peter fights off a horde of cartoon zombies,” but here I am, typing it out.

Of course, if I was supposed to take all of this seriously, then this episode failed miserably. A subplot about Broyles accidentally taking LSD undermined any modicum of seriousness that could have remained. But I’m fine with that. I’m fine with thinking of this episode as what Fringe would be like if the writers were dropping acid all the time. I’m glad that they decided to do this episode. And I hope they never do one like it again.

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1 They should have just called this episode “Fringeception.”

2 I’m not really a gamer, but nonetheless, if you have any interest in computer games, I’d highly recommend that you give Psychonauts a go, if only for the hilarious “Milkman Conspiracy” level.

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