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September 3, 2015

Fringe: Unleashed

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 15th 2009 8:02AM
Fringe: Unleashed
(S01E16) "Psychedelics? No, not since Thursday." - Walter, responding to Peter's question as to whether he's on something.

Fringe just gets better and better! This week's episode was one big, long freak-show-horror-movie-mystery. Although they once again didn't have anything about the pattern or the missing Nina Sharp or Massive Dynamic, we know it's coming. We know this because Leonard Nimoy is on tap to play the mysterious William Bell, Walter's long-lost lab partner. Wheeeeee!!!!

So this episode was a bit of a public announcement that we'd BETTER KEEP AN EYE ON THOSE ANIMAL LABORATORIES, because lord knows what's going on in there. They could be creating bizarre genetic experiments that will terrorize a town as big as Boston and everyone in it.

But I really appreciated the special effects, the tension, the underlying current of Olivia reading a monster story to niece Ella, and everything else. It was pretty awesome.

Other stuff:

  • Yuk, yuk, yuk. When Peter cuts a piece off of Walter's omelette to eat it, turns out it has an HUMAN EAR inside it! Just the thought of it's making me gag. And I wonder who's ear it was.
  • Likewise with the little creepy-crawlies that invaded Charlie's body. I must say, he did an admirable job of keeping it together, though. I would have been freaking out royally seeing those things crawling around under my skin. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
  • Nice to see Charlie's home life. For a while there, I thought he and Olivia might have something going. Not the case, apparently.
  • Walter: "The claws of a lion and the fangs of a snake ... reminds me of a woman I once knew in Cleveland. Her name was Harriet."
  • Olivia being jealous over the friendship between Rachel and Peter. And then lying to Peter that she's not jealous.
  • Peter and Walter arguing about all the weird stuff Walter does in the lab, which threatens Peter's life – you know, like taking a bite of an "ear omelette," washing your face in acid in the sink, that sort of thing. Well, we know Walter's been doing experiments on Peter since he was a baby, so that's nothing new.
  • Walter eating something out of the car where the bloody bodies were found in the woods. Blech.
  • Walter meeting the beast in the sewer. That was intense.
  • The larvae implanted into humans by the creature's stinger. All in all, this episode was one gross thing after another - and I loved it.
  • I saw The Observer! Did you?
So what did you think of this episode?

Fringe' Show & Cast Photos

    FRINGE Walter (John Noble), Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv) and Broyles (Lance Reddick) enter a governement warehouse to examine a mysterious cylinder found among the debris of a construction site explosion in the episode "The Arrival." Airs Tuesday, September 30, 2008.


    FRINGE Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble) and Broyles (Lance Reddick) return to the lab to gather more information on a mysterious cylinder found among the debris of a construction site explosion in the episode "The Arrival." Airs Tuesday, September 30, 2008.


    FRINGE Olivia (Anna Torv) chases a suspect through the woods in the episode "The Arrival." Airs Tuesday, September 30, 2008.


    FRINGE Walter (John Noble, L) and Peter (Joshua Jackson, R) examine a mysterious cylinder found among the debris of a construction site explosion in the episode "The Arrival." Airs Tuesday, September 30, 2008.


    FRINGE Olivia (Anna Torv) chases a suspect through the woods in the episode "The Arrival". Airs Tuesday, September 30, 2008.


    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 13: Actress Jasika Nicole attends FOX's "Fringe" premiere during the 2008 New York Television Festival at New World Stage on September 13, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jasika Nicole

    Getty Images

    Executive Producers John Wirth, Josh Friedman and James Middleton arrive at The Paley Center and TV Guide

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Molly Stanton arrive at The Paley Center and TV Guide

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Jesse Tyler Ferguson arrives at The Paley Center and TV Guide

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

    Mark Valley arrives at The Paley Center and TV Guide

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage.com

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Eludium-Q36: Yeah.

April 15 2009 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eludium-Q36: I don't think it is possible for any show on TV to be even somewhat original. It's gotten to the point where shows are called unique and original merely because they are not cop/lawyer/doctor procedurals. But that's a load of crap. The best we can really hope for is good writing and good actors making a well-used idea seem somewhat fresh.

Something I was thinking about -- having a monster of the week on Fringe begs the question as to why the Observer is there if it has nothing to do with "the pattern"... or does any odd occurrence (random computer guy melting people's brains) qualify as part of the pattern? Obviously at this point they don't know, but I assume pattern-based situations have something to do with the ZFT group or the multidimensional "observer" beings. Some random genetics specialist making a killer monster doesn't necessarily qualify if it's an isolated occurrence. So why is the observer always there? Yes there could be, and most likely are, multiple observers - not always the same guy. But still. Is the observer there just to give us something to look for, or does it actually serve a purpose with respect to the plot?

It would be like having the cigarette smoking man show up in every episode of the X-Files, no matter how random, and no matter how irrelevant to aliens.

April 15 2009 at 7:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bruce's comment

I think you answered your own question, but I would go on to say that simply making The Observer a Where's Waldo game doesn't move the plot forward. It could be argued that each creature feature is tied to The Pattern, but the problem is that our central characters aren't making the connection! Broyles isn't noticing, Nina is coyly dropping hints, The Observer isn't taking notes or calling Orson from Ork, and for that matter have Peter and Walter even been INFORMED of The Pattern ?! I think Broyles has only told Olivia and I don't recall her ever briefing P&W about it! Yeh, they're chasing this ZFT and Mr Jones connection but not in the name of The Pattern.

The show just doesn't seem to be put together very well. Yes, it's got decent production values, but the creators in conjunction with the writers just aren't putting together a cohesive and gripping tale. It's more like a loose confederacy of concepts that only occasionally coalesce into a great episode like "Ability" was.

April 15 2009 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another great point, but I think the better question, and the greater failure of this show, is why does every single fantastical, supernatural, not-of-this-world, non-sensical creation always relate back to Walter! Its been said before, but this guy's research is responsible, or it relates back to him and his tight little circle in some way, every f#@king week! Its just beyond stupid and improbable to an infinite degree.

At least on the X-Files, strange stuff happened independently all over the place, and Mulder went out to investigate them independently. Only the conspiracy tied together. Fringe is like having X-Files' aliens responsible for every bizarre event in the X-Files universe. It gets f#@king old fast and is f#@king ridiculous!

I hate this show.


April 16 2009 at 12:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Walter, "Peter, a petri dish... *larvae erruption* ...make it a bucket."

Astrid, "I'm gonna be sick."

"Two buckets!"

That gave me a good laugh.

April 15 2009 at 5:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show is not stellar, but it's watchable. I'd say more, but most has already been said above. The monster of the week is required to a certain extent -- this is their "ordinary world" but in these Monster Of The Week shows are often written independent of the story arcs, and are basically filler. LOST had this problem for a while. It can drive away an audience, yet serve as a throwdown episode that can actually attract new viewers. Sticking with JUST a story arc can drive away new people just joining in.

A standalone ep of the XFiles wouldn't be one with the mega story arc, it would be a standard Monster. If you're interested, you'll watch more. Then you stick around for the story arc that spans multiple eps. LOST standalones were terrible. Yet if someone were to watch LOST today, half of the drama is gone because you have to know what happened before to get it.

It's a very flawed system, but that's what we get. Part filler, part mega story.

April 15 2009 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Walt's comment

Thanks, good try at an explanation, but "Lost" and other serialized dramas often lead with a minute or two of "Previously on ..." to set the context of the show. And such shows often have a clip-show before the start of a season to clue new viewers in. And, of course, there are lots of fan sites where people can go to clue into a serial.

Probably the best current show to counter your point is "24". That serialized drama stays on point week after week. It never diverts off on tangents with terrorist-of-the-week, or here's how Jack grew up as a kid. And it attracts and keeps a large audience.

April 15 2009 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Okay, I'm a wuss and I don't watch horror movies.

This episode scared me so bad that after Walter locked himself away from Peter and Olivia and it got really tense and I knew a monster was going to jump out at him--I had to turn the channel. It was freakin' me out.

I turned back to see the very end, but I never saw what happened when it attacked Walter. What happened? Did you ever see the whole creature? Thanks in advance to anyone willing to fill in the blanks!

And, again, the fact that I'm a wuss is uncontested, but kudos to Fringe. That's the first time in my life that something on broadcast television scared me enough to change the channel!

April 15 2009 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Eludium-Q36: Yeah in fact I do agree with everything you said. Very well put. I hate "monster of the week" episodes that don't advance the plot-arc. I hated them in X-Files and I don't like them here. There have not been too many here, and sometimes we find that some episodes fit in somewhere in the arc later on. Bankrobbers stealing something... turns out to be transporter. But yes, enough with the sister and her daughter in "cute mode" - it's gotten nauseating. You'd think she would have had them move out after the little girl almost got killed by the brain-melting computer program, but no. Two episosed ago the sister had something important (bad, it seemed) to tell Olivia, she started but Olivia's phone rang and she had to leave. So far nothing about that, unless she was going to simply tell Olivia that she and Peter talked to each other. But I don't think that's what it was, plus the sister seemed quite nonchalant about the fact that Peter called her in this episode. So I'm still waiting to hear what serious/bad news the sister has for Olivia.

I still enjoyed watching the episode but we're only 16 eps into the series, and there was nothing else on TV last night... in retrospect you're right, it actually sucked for an episode of Fringe, compared to what we know the show has to offer. I was expecting at least one little twist at the end, but nope - nada. I really hope that we get more than 2 more interesting episodes this season... i know the last 2 deal with William Bell and MD. I can't tell if next week's episode will be another monster of the week ep or not. I hope it has something to do with Olivia and that drug tested on her as a child. We'll see. I'm already bored of "the tank" though. There's nothing interesting about that anymore.

And how come the FBI has not changed its interrogation practices now that they know that they can interrogate dead people (and apparently they'll always give you the answer to your questions)? Surely Broyles, at the very least, knows what Olivia and the Bishops are doing down there.

Anyway, yeah, I do indeed agree with everything you said about this ep and the show in general. Though if "it's been done already" is your litmus test for whether you'll watch a TV show, I assure you that you'll never be turning your TV on again....

April 15 2009 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bruce's comment

Ha, my "been there, done that" remark was meant in the specific sense, not the general. Fringe wants to be X-Files + 10 yrs. No thanks. Similarly, Amy Poehler's new show "Parks & Recreation" is getting slapped for being too similar to "The Office" and even "Reno 911".

Some people like the same formula with different characters/environment. I don't. I like to look deeper into a series to "feel it out", to understand its underlying themes and messages. And shows that copy other shows don't satisfy that so they're of no use to me; but again, that's just me (and those like me). Others watch for different reasons, it all comes down to a big "whatever" anyway.

April 15 2009 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or why could a guy get attacked and injured by a chimera and not kept under 24-hours of observation just to be sure. Its not like he was in a car accident and checked out and released. He was stung by a giant bat/snake/tiger and sent home with a few bandages that his wife thought were cute. (This show is so f#@king stupid!)

Eludium-Q36: I agree, ripping things off is offensive, especially when its unoriginal and done as poorly as Fringe. But it is a fact of life in Hollywood since time immemorial (e.g. Paul Blart, Mall Cop and Observe & Report--neither of which I have seen--and about 5,000 other movies). But I'll forgive a project like Parks & Recreation, because its from the same producers on the same network and its at least contemporaneous--they are trying to give the viewer more of what they obviously like, and spin-offs are the way of the world in LALA land. My only complaint with P & R was that it wasn't quite as funny.

If I was Chris Carter, who himself was INSPIRED and INFLUENCED by "Kolchak: The Night Stalker," I would sue anyone and everyone involved with Fringe, which goes so far beyond influence as to be FRAUDULENT and OUTRIGHT THIEVERY.

April 15 2009 at 11:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OK am I missing something here? Charlie is STRAIGHT? During the 1st couple of episodes Olivia & he were discussing the fact that the guy she was secretly seeing (the one that became translucent and is now housed at Massive Dynamics) said "I love you" Charlie replied, "yes he told me that too...."

April 15 2009 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is there some official FOX site/link/email where we can complain about AI going over? Just plain inexcusable. Only sports should run long. And you're right. The few singers I've been forced to hear do to the show running past 9PM have truly been awful. Each time I think, "They're down to the final bunch. All those auditions in all of those cities and *this* is the best talent they found?!" :0

April 15 2009 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I really enjoyed this episode (I even, ahem, found an additional copy so I could find out what happened after my TiVo cut off the last 60 seconds. Damn you, American Idol!). Some good scares, good laughs and a lot of cringes, and also some surprisingly strong CGI work. I'm a lifelong Doctor Who fan so it's not in my nature to fault an otherwise strong show for weak effects, but Fringe generally sets a high bar.

I'm starting to feel bad for Peter, though, as it seems that he's only around to (a) chide Walter for saying/doing inappropriate things, and (b) deliver lines that begin with "Are you seriously suggesting that..." My wife has started saying "Drink!" each time he rolls out one of those lines.

April 15 2009 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to George's comment

George: Peter also has some sentences that start off with the oh so irreverent "Let me guess..."

I've been complaining for a while now that Peter's antics may have made sense in the pilot and maybe the first 2-3 episodes, but by now he should have no doubt that Walter is an absolute genius who can do absolutely anything, and as such he should quit being a whiny little sarcastic ass towards and about his dad. At this point it seems the only purpose of the Peter Bishop character is to provide comic relief... but it's completely unnecessary as Walter is quite hilarious on his own. What's the point in having the hilarious actions of a mad scientist constantly being followed by a sarcastic comment from his son, who is otherwise irrelevant to the plot? Maybe at some point in the future we'll learn something interesting about Peter's past, both criminally and genetically, but as for now he's completely pointless and should just shut up and help. The fact that Joshua Jackson has such an irritating fratboy voice makes this far more irritating than it probably would otherwise be.

April 16 2009 at 12:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if you guys remember the story about the "fringe code" (the symbols that appear at the end of each block correspond to letters), the code spelled out peter this week. since it wasn't really a peter episode i wonder if it could imply something about him being genetically modified or something. they've hinted that not all is kosher with him in the past.

April 15 2009 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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