Spoilers for tonight's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I add "messy" to the APB...
I've been waiting half the day to write this review, frequently procrastinating on other projects (like the return of "Lost"), even though I watched a screener of "August" yesterday and could have banged it out right away.
Usually, when I struggle with writer's block on a column or blog post, it's because I don't feel passionately one way or the other about something - where I'm writing something because I feel like I should, and not because I really care. (This week's Heather Locklear column was another one that took forever to finish.) And unfortunately, I think that's where I stand on "Fringe."
I want to like "Fringe" more than I do. John Noble is wonderful, Joshua Jackson plays off him well, and the mix of obsolete technology and 21st century filmmaking techniques has led to a lot of memorably creepy images. But I never quite feel as attached to the show as I want to. When the standalone episodes air, I think, "that was okay, but let's get back to the mythology." Yet when the mythology episodes air, I'm still sometimes underwhelmed.
An entire episode about The Observers should have been a lot of fun. And certainly, parts of it were, like the opening sequence with August catching bullets and shooting a raygun, or Olivia and Peter getting a quick-and-dirty lesson about Observer history from the guy at Massive Dynamic.
And there were also some fine emotional moments, both between August and the kidnapped girl he had come to love, and as Walter thought back to how he came into custody of the Peter of Earth-WTC, and as he feared that The Observers intended to take this Peter away from him.
But something still feels oddly lacking from the show, beyond my ongoing issues with Anna Torv's intermittent charisma. "August" told us quite a bit about The Observers, and again hinted at the looming inter-dimensional apocalypse. But at this stage of the series, with an episode like this, I expected to be blown away by this one and it was... okay. Entertaining enough in spots, but still not a sign that the show is taking The Leap anytime soon.
Also, for a race of superhuman time-travelers, The Observers have very poor taste in henchmen. Donald the assassin was meant to be some terrifying killing machine, I think, and yet he lets Peter Bishop get away from him despite having a gun to his head. I know Peter's not exactly a wimp and has an odd skill set, but still.
What did everybody else think?