Spoilers for last night's return of "Fringe" -- including a brief synopsis of what you might have missed at the end because of the obnoxious "American Idol" overrun -- coming up just as soon as I put on a robe...
I watched this on a DVD screener, so I can't speak to exactly when the Fox broadcast cut off because "Idol" ran long and pushed the end of "Fringe" past 10 p.m., but here were the notable developments:
• Olivia recognizes The Artist at a police roadblock because he has a yellow Christmas tree air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror -- just like the M&M sculpture the boy made earlier in the episode -- gives chase and wins a hand-to-hand fight by stabbing him with his own knife.
• Olivia arranges for the boy to be taken away by the doctor from the hospital, and Broyles lies to Erik Palladino and claims the kid somehow snuck off on his own.
• After Olivia comes home to enjoy the sight of her sister and her niece playing together, we cut to the doctor driving the boy off to his new safe home, and the car goes right past The Observer. The boy -- clearly implied to be some kind of junior Observer -- takes a long look, the car keeps going, and The Observer walks off (no doubt in search of a CostCo-sized bottle of Tabasco).
As far as the episode as a whole goes, I thought it was fairly solid procedural hour of "Fringe." No, it didn't follow up on any of the revelations from "Ability," but it also didn't feature any of Agent Harris, and both the serial killer case and Olivia's rapport with the kid were compelling enough that I can wait on the mythology stuff for later.
Anna Torv's always going to finish a distant third in a charisma contest among the show's three leads, but she does seem to brighten up a bit when she's around young children. Still, she couldn't help but be upstaged by Walter's Al Green dance number (and his Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" moment with the robe), or to Peter explaining to the kid that Roadblock was "not really one of your top-tier GI Joes," but was the best they could find.
Weird seeing Erik Palladino pop up in two shows in one night (he was also on "Cupid"), and the idea that the CIA has its own equivalent to Fringe Division has potential.
I'm lucky that I was watching "Idol" live and could see it was running long, which allowed me to both pad that recording and make sure I knew where my "Fringe" screener was (and I would have padded that recording too, if needed). But for those of you who got screwed, I understand your anger. The blogosphere is in fire with calls for "Idol" director Bruce Gowers' firing. Whoever was responsible, that was embarrassing.
What did everybody else think?