Susan Young May 12, 2009
Fringe-ers have never seen the illusive brain behind the shady corporation Massive Dynamic, but now creator J.J. Abrams has put a face on the sinister William Bell, the man who used to be Dr. Walter Bishop’s lab partner.
And he looks a lot like Spock.
Abrams, who helmed the new Star Trek movie, says he begged Leonard Nimoy to take on the pivotal role of Bell. He says the Fringe season finale sets up a “massive turning point in the series,” which Fox renewed for 22 more episodes next season. And Abrams, who also produces Lost, explains that “while Lost concerns itself more with traveling through time, Fringe is more about traveling through space.”
Would that be space, the final frontier?
All we know is that if Bell and Spock ever met up through space or time, it would be interesting to see who came out on top. In the meantime, we’ll pit them against each other in our TV Throwdown.
Spock’s the poster boy for logic, the go-to guy for the last word on what makes sense. You’ve got to have something to hang your ears on when you’re battling those interior demons vying for dominance between your alien Vulcan side and your human half.
But Bell’s also a guy who sees the logic in what he’s attempting to do: Be on the winning side when the parallel Earths go to war. In Bell’s mind, he believes that not only is it logical to experiment on humans to develop some super soldiers, but essential to the success of his side coming out the winner in this war of the worlds. Even if that means engaging in experiments on children like little Olive, now our heroine FBI Agent Olivia Dunham. Both Bell and Spock put logic above all else, but since Spock broke the ground, we’ll have to give it him.
Bell may not have been the one to actually snuff out the lives of his enemies, but he certainly provided the ways and the means to do some dastardly things. On a recent episode, a woman was infected with a virus, turning her into a spinal-fluid tappin’ killer just because her husband wanted to leave Bell’s rogue ZFT science group. The worst thing Spock could do was render his enemy unconscious with a Vulcan nerve pinch. Deadly virus, tranquiler move … yeah, gotta go with Bell on this one.
When it comes to the guy who looks more like a monster, it’s good to recall the first episode of Star Trek when NBC execs thought Spock looked like Satan and would frighten small children. They asked that his eyebrows get toned down and his ears a little less pointy. The suits lost, and turns out most people thought Spock looked just fine. Still, not a guy you’d warm to on a first meeting. Bell’s one of the richest men in the world, and barring any Howard Hughes surprises, he probably looks like the business man that he is. Taking into account that most people in this recession aren’t feeling particularly warm towards the titans of finance, we still think they would find Bell more charming than Spock.
While neither Bell nor Spock seem to be the kind of guys who hang out with their buddies in the man caves, it seems both have bonded at least a bit with two co-workers. Bell worked as Bishop’s lab partner, sharing all their secrets and ethically challenged experiments. Walter said that Bell was the only other person in the world who had intimate knowledge of Walter’s scientific work. There was a bit of a clash at the beginning of the relationship between Kirk and Spock, but the two became fast friends. Well, as close as an emotionally distant half-Vulcan can get to a full-fledged human, or any other life form for that matter. So while Spock might like everyone to believe that logic precludes a friendship verging on a bromance, you gotta know this one has to go to Spock.
It’s all about natural ability vs. manipulative ability. With his science knowledge, Bell can turn people into gelatinous blobs, human torches and even microwaves that make them, and others, explode like a watermelon at a Gallagher performance. On the other side, Spock can merge with another being through a mind meld, which can also allow him to cheat death by throwing his essence into another life form — and retrieve it at a later date. As cool as that is, Mr. Spock, we’ve gotta go with the guy who can manipulate the lives and bodies of all creatures at will.
Bottom line, Bell barely squeaks past Spock. But we’d still rather hang out with Spock any day.
Categories: TVTags: Abrams:, Fringe, Jj, Leonard nimoy, Star trek