Fringe – August S02E08

Warning spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen this episode.
 
The episode opens with the Observer, last seen in Season 1, watching a young girl on a
college campus in Boston. The Observer then proceeds to kidnap the girl and after a
shoot out with a security guard he makes his escape. This leads to the Fringe team
investigating the kidnapping but is everything as it seems ?
 
This is another fine episode from the much improved Season 2 of Fringe, which nicely
builds on the mythos of the show but without revealing any real secrets – which is just
the way it should be. JJ Abrams has obviously learnt a lot from the ‘Lost’ experience
there.
 
It’s surprising looking back on the first eight episodes how much character development
there has been in this season. Agent Olivia Dunam played by Anna Torv is no longer
boring and aloof, the character is now somebody you want to watch and engage with.
As always John Noble is excellent as Dr Walter Bishop, he was the best thing in Season
1 and continues to chew up the screen and steal scenes through out these opening
episodes of season 2, bringing both high comedy and high drama to the role. Walter’s
remark about eating the chilli and the terrible flatulence it caused is laugh out loud
funny and on the other hand you get the scene in the diner when he is pleading with the
Observer not to take Peter because he needs him, is totally believable and heart
breaking – a great performance from John Noble. 
 
Then there’s Peter Bishop played by Joshua Jackson who has turned from the college
drop out waster to the de facto Fringe team leader. There have also been a few hints
that there’s more to Peter than meets the eye in a couple of the previous Season 2
episodes for example in episode 1 when he more or less tells Reddick what to say in
front of the Senate Hearing to get the Fringe team backup and running. Then there’s
episode 3 Fracture when Peter and Olivia visit Iraq and they meet with one of Peter’s old
contacts, there’s not a lot said between them but there’s a strong undercurrent that’s
not elaborated on. Exactly what Peter was doing before his involvement with the Fringe
investigations is still a mystery but after the way he beat on that hit man in the
Observers apartment I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with him.
 
Now on to some of the bad points.
 
The reveal by a scientist from Massive Dynamics that the Observers have been around
for hundreds of years and they can be seen in certain paintings is laughable and they
look horrible. It very much reminded me of the Rose episode in Doctor Who when the
guy in the shed more or less makes the same observation about the Doctor and show’s
Rose some paintings and drawings in some books, it didn’t work then and it doesn’t
work now.
 
Although I enjoyed the episode the story of the Observer saving the life of the girl he
kidnapped when she was little, then falling in love with her and stopping her dying on
the plane was nothing new and held no surprises, as usual with Fringe it’s what’s going
on as a whole that’s more interesting.
 
However the episode ends on an ominous note with the Observer’s watching Olivia
and her niece on a roller coaster saying how happy she looks and what a pity it is
because of all the sadness that is coming. Damn.
 
Rating 3/5 – Plus another 1 for the excellent John Noble !!
1 Dry Slap for the Observers in the paintings – rubbish 
 
GS Reviewer: Nick Roberts

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