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October 7, 2015

Review: Fringe - Earthling

by Jane Boursaw, posted Nov 5th 2009 11:20PM
Fringe: Earthling, Anna Torv, Lance Reddick
(S02E06) "Why is this case so important to you?" - Olivia to Agent Broyles

I said in my preview earlier today that I hoped this episode of Fringe wouldn't be a stand-alone creature feature. Unfortunately, that's exactly what it was. No William Bell. No Nina Sharp. No Pattern. No alternate universe. And no Observer. At least, not front and center. Did anyone see him?

Instead, we got a little diversion into the life of Phillip Broyles; how he got so involved in a case four years ago that it cost him his marriage and family. I feel for the guy, but I'm not that interested in his life. As for the Shadow, was this an X-Files knock-off? You can tell me in the comments after the jump.

As an avid Art Bell listener from way back, I couldn't help but think about The Shadow People that used to be a frequent topic on his radio show. As I recall, the Shadow People were beings passing through from one inter-dimensional spot to another. Kids told stories of seeing lines of Shadow People walking past their door at night, heading ... somewhere ...

In this case, though, the shadow person was a being from outer space, brought back to earth by a Russian cosmonaut who was also serving as the alien's host. The alien was able to project itself out of the guy's body and grab energy from other people, who then turned into dust. Really nice special effects on that score. Half a head -- yes.

As the fringe crew investigated the case, we got a look into the life of Agent Broyles. We see him playing peekaboo with a kid sitting at the table next to him in a restaurant. We hear the story about how this case broke up his marriage four years ago. We see him going to tell his ex-wife that the case is finally solved. We see a departmental struggle between the fringe team and the CIA. Take the creepy alien factor out of it, and this could have been any other police procedural.

Well, maybe not. We always have Walter and his Walter-isms, though not too many of those tonight. We learned that he thinks of complicated formulas as female, calling this particular one a "sly temptress," as he tries to decipher it with tinker toys while listening to opera music. And he's still into licorice. He's still our Walter.

One thing I didn't understand, though: When Broyles shot the host, it seemed like the bullet must have killed him (and thus killed the alien). But later, after talking with the guy outside his ex-wife's home, it appeared that the host started breathing again and was then shot into space, taking the alien with him. Any theories on that?

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So...from the time they caught the creature, which looked like mid-afternoon, until the time Broyles meets up with his ex-wife sometime that evening, the CIA has obtained a rocket, strapped in the dead guy(?) and the shadowman and launched them into outer-space! Take that you pinkos----USA! USA! USA!

November 11 2009 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The ending of the ep actually made a good deal of sense. Alex (the comatose cosmonaut) was just a host body and the alien creature needed radiation to survive. The Russians have failed in separating the creature from the man, the brother failed to control the creature, and Broyles failed to stop it even by killing the host. There may not have been any apparent strategic or scientific reason to continue detaining the creature on Earth and the safest way to give it access to radiation it needs was to shoot it out into space.

I do wonder what they turned over to the Russians in that white sarcophagus.

November 08 2009 at 3:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For a significant change, good acting, good writing and if left to the morons running programming, good bye.

November 07 2009 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If it was similar to The X-Files, I would say it was a cross between 'Space' and 'Soft Light.'

Next week's episode is definitely based on 'Pusher' and 'Kitsunegari (sp?)'

November 06 2009 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Observer can be spotted in the Fringe episode Earthling at the airport while Broyles is talking to Olivia on the phone, just before she sees the Shadow Man on the surveillance video.

November 06 2009 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone notice the little girl was watching Kimba the White Lion on TV??!!

November 06 2009 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Funny thing...it not only remembers me of the X-Files...at first i thought of Stargate SG-1 and Anubis as an alien shadow possessing the body of a russian astronaut and returning with him to earth...

November 06 2009 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't help but notice that this episode was similar to an episode of the X-Files that I watched yesterday.


I'm not saying it was an exact ripoff, but there were a fair amount of similarities. That's not to say I didn't love the episode. As far as standalones go, it was solid. And I loved the background on Broyles.

November 06 2009 at 12:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to elementus's comment

I don't know. I actually liked it because of it's X-Filesness tonight. Part of the reason the X-Files worked was because they mixed it up with one-off monster episodes and allowed you to get in on it without requiring watching everything that season.

I will say I'm a little weary of the preview for next week which feels like a rip-off of the "Cerulean Blue" guy. X-philes will know what that means.

November 06 2009 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nick I wondered the same thing when I saw the previews... good call!

November 06 2009 at 9:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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