Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fringe's Walter Bishop: What Are His Aspects?

The Fall, I began watching Fringe from both ends simultaneously: watching the new episodes on FOX and the re-runs of the series on the Science Channel on Tuesday nights. It has been quite an exhilarating ride!

I got a "War on Terror" bad vibe when I watched the first five minutes of the pilot so many years ago. It was sufficient to make me stay away from the show for all these years.

Fortunately, I came back. I am very impressed with how the story arc develops. Unlike the X-Files, the meta-narrative in Fringe actually takes you somewhere. And it has a rather somber tone throughout - it is SF tinged by loss, as well as by that old SF-staple, wonder. I think this is the best SF series of the last decade.

Like a lot of Fringe fans, I am pretty interested in the figure at the center of this sorrow: Walter Bishop. He exemplifies one face of the academic-military-industrial complex: He is the face of madness, that hard-to-believe but nevertheless real intersection between military-sponsored research and the counterculture which emerged in the 1960s.

Experimentation with mind altering drugs, brainwashing, remote viewing, and all sorts of other fringe science.

Lack of ethical considerations such as human subjects reviews.

Terrible choices.

Weaponized science.

Weaponized humans.

Defoliants as depopulants.

"We had to destroy the village to save it."

It is all that rational-irrational stuff that started in the mid-20th Century. Over the last month, I have also been watching Oliver Stone's new documentary series on Showtime, The Untold History of the United States. 

It doesn't deal with conspiracies at all; instead Oliver Stone does an amazingly good job relating the history of the Cold War and origins and growth of the national security state. It serves as the perfect complement to the hidden history we see in Fringe.

So, our good friend Walter Bishop. What are his Aspects?

Here's my take FATE Core style, with one Aspect to spare:
  • A Father of Fringe Science (High Concept)
  • No Boundaries, No Limits (Trouble)
  • There is only room for one God in this lab and it isn't yours
  • My son is dying and I won't let that happen again
  • You were our first successful experiment!
  • My assistant's name starts with an "A"...
What Aspects would you choose for Walter Bishop?

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