Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fringe, "The Transformation": Hedgehogging your bets

Spoilers for last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I use the word "nipple" again...

Such an awesome, awesome teaser. Such a run-of-the-mill episode after that.

That was some vintage "X-Files" stuff they had going on during the airplane sequence. Impeccably set-up, edited and scored, all leading to the half-terrifying, half-hilarious, intentionally-both glimpse of the hedgehog man bursting out of the bathroom and charging into coach class. (Yet another advantage of first class: you die last!) It followed the old Spielberg circa "Jaws" rule that the less you see of the creature, the scarier it becomes.

That teaser made me terribly excited to see the rest of the episode, which I had to wait on until I dealt with a half-a-dozen other issues last night and today. And then, unfortunately, the rest of the show didn't remotely live up to it.

I'm glad that we're apparently done with Olivia going into the "Altered States" tank. Each successive jaunt has made it seem less dangerous (she sure doesn't seem like she just took a massive dose of LSD by the time the very next scene begins) and less surreal. And I'm surprised/disappointed that they didn't follow the story to the point where John Scott's memories were starting to take up too much space (and control) in Olivia's mind.

And because I still care not one iota about Olivia herself, no matter how many cute sisters and nieces they give her, the climactic moment where Dream John gave Dream Olivia a Dream Engagement Ring did nothing for me.

Still, there were some improvements over recent episodes: no Michael Gaston running around being a moron, Blair Brown and Massive Dynamic back in the picture, and the moment (nicely-played by Kirk Aceveda) where Charlie had to listen to Olivia try to explain about the shared consciousness problem. That was a much better way to address the whole "the rest of the FBI doesn't understand or trust what Olivia is doing" issue than all the nonsense with Gaston (who, unfortunately, I don't think we're done with yet).

What did everybody else think?

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

the show is growing on me

ED said...

They need to be done with "the tank". It is becoming a story cheat, an easy way to get answers - "oh, I'll just go in the tank and see John's memories again" and that will solve it. I read that the guy playing John Scott is off the show now, so I'm hoping the whole storyline of his memories in her head was wrapped up last night (which I got the sense is what they were doing).

Anonymous said...

Very nice timing with this episode as Olivia and John seem to have gotten married in real life. But good show. Liked the tension of the meeting scene between her and the baddies, liked the cinematography of the memory states, liked the monster. But can they ever show a scene between the two sisters that doesn't have its own soundtrack? And if the X-Files is any guide, sisters of FBI agents investigating paranormal events always come to a bad end.

Nick said...

Kind of disappointed that they rehabilitated John Scott. Also a bit surprised that they didn't take it in a "Head-John becoming dangerous to Olivia" direction, especially as I thought the creepiness of Head-john not playing by the rules the Bishop's expected was rather effective (more so the first time they used it, but still in the initial motel room scene before they went soft on him).

Also somewhat pleased they gave Peter something to do. It's always kind of bugged me that he was set up as some sort of rogue genius, but then seemingly got relegated to glorified lab assistant. Every now and again they give him a nice moment of brilliance like being the one to BS Conrad's henchman here, or the defibrillator way back in the second (I think) episode. But they really need to come more often to live up to the intro.

mjryan said...

Totally agree that the episode didn't live up to the teaser. However, I was glad that Olivia actually took down Conrad. The question is: does this wrap up the John Scott storyline? Was his black ops NSA gig the Big Secret and this the Big Case he was working on? Or is he tied up in Massive Dynamics? I would need to rewatch the early episodes, but this ep felt like a manufactured resolution to jettison the whole John Scott storyline. I can't say I'm terribly disappointed since that storyline didn't really deliver. It never went anywhere. It had potential, however.

On a side note, too bad the agent who is after Olivia wasn't around to see her nab Conrad with little to no effort.

Did anyone else notice the random FBI agent in the shot with Pacey at the briefing? He and Olivia were trying to exchange Meaningful Looks and some agent was in the background making faces. It was random and diverted my attention from Worried Pacey.

I wish they would give Charlie more to do than ask questions and follow orders.

Evil Astrid Alert! What was that look she gave when she convinced, in a very passive aggressive way, Olivia to trust John Scott's information. Is she a black ops NSA agent, too? I was really hoping she was Conrad. I'm still hoping for Evil Astrid down the road.

Dan Coyle said...

We still haven't seen any drawn, line in the sand evidence that John Scott was off the books black ops. We only have his word for that, and the unreliability of the surviving agent. It's entirely possible the surviving memories are trying to protect Olivia. Or he's saying want Olivia wants to hear.

Anyway, this tied off the John Scott plot nicely, and was MILES better than the previous two episodes.

Bryan Murray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan Murray said...

I just visited this post to see if Fringe is worth getting into but the comments above don't motivate me much. How is Lance Reddick? Does he have any more to do than the first couple episodes? Would really love another appearance by him on Lost. At least the Band of Brothers guy is getting some decent work. I would be a lot more motivated to watch this show if it were serialized.

Rachel said...

Better than last week. Agree with with mjryan about the manufactured resolution to wrap up the John storyline. Unsatisfactory, yes. But I'll take it, if it also gets us quit of The Sensory Deprivation Tank of Bosoms.

Love the idea of Evil Astrid! Whether or not that's where they're actually going, I am pleased to see that they seem to be trying to better integrate this character into the show. Not enough though ... unless this is just the beginning for Evilj Astrid!

Count Screwloose said...

The last few episodes have made an effort to make Peter a more integral part of the team, as opposed to the guy who stands around and cracks wise - he's the guy whose shady past allows him to call upon any number of "guys who know a guy" that can provide instant workarounds in a tight spot. It's a smart way to go.

The difference between this week and last week's episodes make a pretty convincing argument for the show to become more serialized, not less. The procedural aspect is starting to feel like the weakest part of the show. And I agree that the sensory deprivation tank had begun to wear out its welcome.

The bosoms, thank goodness, have not.

Keith said...

I'm all for stretching reality, but a passenger jet with that much legroom . . . that is jumping the shark.

Jay said...

I haven't noticed "The Observer" since the season has resumed. Has anyone?

K J Gillenwater said...

I'm glad they brought back Massive Dynamic and Blair Brown, too. Was slightly disappointed we didn't get to see more ghastly transformations.

This was more like earlier eps in the season, but still too much focus on Olivia. I like her to be part of a team, not the main character all the time.

I think Astrid is totally underused. I love what her character brings to the show. If she's evil that would be awesome. Hopefully, they will expand her a bit as time goes on.

Any Walter/Peter interaction is great. more please.

NYCIC said...

I wanna do a tab with Walter!

Anonymous said...

This short run of episodes has been emotionally light and centered on a character I really don't care about. Pacey has been nothing more than window-dressing and Walter has been criminally ignored. We are amused by the Walter dialog (who could not? John Noble is far better than the part he's been given) but I'd far rather learn more about him and explore his background and relationship with Pacey (and get some Pacey background as well) than spend more time yawning about girl!detective with quadruple!agent!schmoopypants.

Matt said...

Michael Cerveris, who plays The Observer, has had a very busy schedule of late--he went straight from doing "Road Show" at the Public to playing opposite Mary Louise Parker in the much maligned "Hedda Gabler" on Broadway.

And kill off Anna Torv, replace her with Ari Graynot.

tabernacle said...

I agree 100% that that was a very effective teaser.

It's incredible to me how much I enjoy this show despite: (1) not caring about Anna Torv's character (Olivia); (2) having almost zero expectation of some sort of satisfying answers soon regarding The Pattern and overarching conspiracies.

John Noble / Walter still rules, Peter is badass to just the right amount, and the rest is in the execution and production values, I guess.

Rich C said...

The Observer passes through the frame just as the victim heads to the toilet the first time (pre-hedgehog).