Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fringe, "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones": The Godfather vs. The Parasite

Spoilers for last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as I find my Polaroid...

Unlike Agent Dunham -- who was on the receiving end of one of the most meta monologues I've ever heard, in which Broyles lectures her (and us) about calming down and not demanding big answers at the end of every episode -- I'm becoming easy to satisfy when it comes to "Fringe," because my hopes for it are now pretty low. I don't much care about if/when we're going to find out something important about The Pattern; all I ask for is that the show be appropriately creepy and tense and, at times, funny each week, and "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" gave me enough solid episodic stuff that I was satisfied.

The heart-encircling parasite gave me nightmares (whereas it gave James Poniewozik a craving for seafood), and if Walter's method of extracting information from the dead man's brain felt like a retread of past experiments, at least the pacing of it created the necessary amount of tension, with some black humor along the way.

On the downside, I have no interest in Olivia's personal life -- or, really, in Olivia, and would be more than happy if she were to get eaten by a much larger parasite and the investigator role was turned over to Broyles or Charlie or a new character. And the twist ending about Loeb (played by Chance Kelly, aka Godfather from "Generation Kill") was revealed to have masterminded the whole thing so he and his wife could find "The Gentleman," would have worked much better if the previous scene between Broyles and Loeb hadn't so blatantly telegraphed it.

What did everybody else think?


Hal Incandenza said...

Rats...totally missed the Broyles-Loeb scene, so I was pretty surprised.

Best ep since the pilot, imho.

Sara Ann said...

Walter can keep his theory about bullets destroying the horizontal lines section of the brain; clearly Woodstock is The Gentleman. Meaning Snoopy is the mastermind behind all of this, and, presumably, that evil German scientist is the great-great-grandson of the Red Baron. I look forward to some doghouse dog fights in Fringe's future. And if we're really lucky someone will crash into one of those floating chyrons and we'll finally get a reason for their existence.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm about where Alan is: I'm not expecting or asking for much. This ep delivered enough to satisfy.

I couldn't care much less about Olivia's personal life (romantic or otherwise) either. I do feel sorry for Billy Burke, though, because he's a decent enough actor and he's a good looking guy and yet I have never, to my recollection, been anything but bored silly by the characters he plays. And I'm now waiting for Scott Patterson to show up, since we've knocked two of Lorelei Gilmore's boyfriends out back to back.

From the shallow end: Jackson was hotter than pretty much *ever* last night.

And I didn't have nightmares or crave sea food, but I did sort of want to watch "Little Shop of Horrors" when it was all over.

Anonymous said...

Once again the procedural stuff slows the plot down to glacial pace. The writers are playing it way to safe, there has been very little plot development in terms of the mythology in 7 episodes.

Mo Ryan said...

I still feel like it's way to formulaic. Most episodes feature:

-brain connector thingie
-ominous mentions of the Pattern
-chase scenes/action etc (which are well done, I must admit)
-Walter quipping
-Peter looking irritated
-cow cameo.

Have I missed anything? On the plus side, what happened to Godfather wasn't anything Walter was involved in (that would have been a dealbreaker for me, at this point), but when I saw the whizbang "let's connect brains!" device, I admit I felt let down. That again?

Overall I don't care a whit about Olivia or her boyfriends or her heartbreak or ... anything, really.

The question I ask at the end of every episode is -- do I want to watch again? After the one with Baldie, I definitely did. All the rest just seem like remixes of the same few increasingly tiresome themes/events/plots.

THe best moment was when Peter recalled that Walter used to torture him with the brain connector. That sort of stuff is always good. But that moment only lasted a minute. Ah well.

K J Gillenwater said...

I did get the Broyles-Loeb thing either. But I knew *some* kind of surprise was coming...just didn't expect it between husband and wife.

Maybe I missed this, but why didn't they ever really theorize or talk about HOW this thing got inside him? I mean, I get that they started talking again about experiments going on in the real world...but how does one get a big old strange thing with teeth clamped around one's heart?

The whole 'growth' with the 'roots' reminded me quite a bit of the book/movie "The Ruins." Moreso the book, actually.

I go with the idea that I have relatively low expectations of this show and realize it is not the new "Lost," so I find myself entertained every week. Still enjoy the quirky dad with his weird comments that come out of nowhere. Still find Jackson appealing and likeable. I'm growing to like Astrid more and more every week...I wish they'd give her more of a personality or something.

Anonymous said...

Mo, it's not just ominous mentions of the Pattern; it's Broyles telling Olivia every week that "there's a lot about the Pattern you don't know about."

Anonymous said...

Alan, you're way too harsh on this show.

J said...

Alan, you're not harsh enough on this show.

And I didn't have nightmares or crave sea food, but I did sort of want to watch "Little Shop of Horrors" when it was all over

I was totally screaming "Feed Me!" (Levi Stubbs, RIP) every time they cut to that thing. And the parasite was cool. Nothing much else was, though. I will probably keep watching the first five minutes of this show, but have to remember to turn it off once I don't see a "Written by Darin Morgan" credit.

Anonymous said...

Until Jared Harris showed up, I thought this episode was the worst so far this season. Why do I get the feeling they made Olivia's former colleague also a former lover because they couldn't think of a reason for her to stay in Germany after Smith was killed?

Like, even though the lead was gone, given what's been established about Olivia so far, she'd still find another way to try to get the information out of the doctor, right? She wouldn't just give up, thus making it easy for her ex to beg her to stay, right?

Oh wait, this is JJ Abrams land, where relationships Are The Only Thing That Really Matters. Justice, the need to save a life, curiosity about the world, the desire for knowledge, getting off the goddamn island- nah, who's fuckin' who is the only plausible explanation.

Also, what a ridiculous twist (which I saw coming because you don't hire an actress as experienced as Trini Alvarado for a one-note scared wife role) ending: wait, Loeb purposefully infected himself with the parasite so they could get the information? They took that big a risk?

Anonymous said...

The heart-encircling parasite gave me nightmares

This is the first I've seen the show in weeks and that thing freaked me the hell out. The parasite started off looking like a little grey monster growing inside him (I also had the "Feed me, Seymour!" flash when I saw it), then it was revealed to be a wormy thing with teeth-like legs, which only slightly eased my discomfort. Just thinking about it right now is giving me piss shivers again, ugh.

Couldn't care less about The Pattern, and especially not about Olivia. Give me Walter and his fruit obsessions all episode long, and I'd be happy. Plus some Jackson and Lance Reddick and Kirk Acevedo, and creepy bugs/monsters/whatever. Maybe not as creepy as last night's parasite, though [shudder].

"Cow cameo" has me giggling over here, Mo.

Anonymous said...

@J: waiting on the Morgan credit is probably the healthiest way to watch the show. I just can't be that hard on this show because I don't care enough. There's nothing else I'll be watching during that time period, I'm already watching "House" and this doesn't really require much attention from me unless I want to gasp at the hotness of Jackson, see what Walter's obsessing over or enjoy the goodness of Redick. I can do twelve other things and not really get lost.

Mo Ryan said...

I think we can all agree that the show needs more cow. Now.

it's not just ominous mentions of the Pattern; it's Broyles telling Olivia every week that "there's a lot about the Pattern you don't know about."

Oh, absolutely. What's with all the doubletalk from him, too? "Don't look into the Pattern!" "You must investigate the Pattern!" "You've found out some stuff about the Pattern. Good. But you don't know more about it. Let me be cryptic and vague!"

Honest to goodness, it's just all over the map. How about instead of *telling* me how interesting and menacing the pattern is -- writing stories in which the Pattern is menacing and interesting?

Really, except for The Arrival, it's been all tell and not much show.

I'm also waiting for a Darin Morgan writing credit.

Anonymous said...

The most entertaining thing in the episode for me was how the actors spoke the mostly grammatically correct german.

Anonymous said...

We enjoy this show. I will say Olivia is not doing much for me at all. I wish she was, but she's not.

That "thing" = me having nightmares, too! Creepy grey lobster shell with teeth and roots and ICK!

Some faves from last night:
*Peter giving Dad the gum.
*Dad saying to Peter, "It's me, your father, Walter Bishop." That cracked me up!
*The fruit cocktail bit.
*Walter shushing the cow when it mooed.
*And, of course, Walter calling Astrid both "Astro" and "Asteroid".

Love Walter! John Noble is doing an amazing job with that part.

Anonymous said...

I want to be annoyed by Walter's eccentricities and I feel like I should be annoyed by Walter's eccentricities, but I can't. He amuses me too much. Just when something gets stale, he busts out a new thing. That he's getting closer to Astrid's actual name is amusing.

Debsa said...

'Olivia, and would be more than happy if she were to get eaten by a much larger parasite ' Yes please...

Anonymous said...

I predicted "spoilers coming up just as soon as I find some gum... or a mint."

The Observer was in Germany.

Highlight - Walter calling her "Asteroid."

Oaktown Girl said...

Boy, the Fox website for this show sucks. After reading this post, I went there looking for a handy reference for character names, (because I don't care enough to have them all memorized), but could only find the four main ones. The others may be listed there somewhere, but they sure don't make it easy to find.

Anonymous said...

Oakgal- Usually Wikipedia provides the background you need without all the scripts crawling up your browser.
Main article: List of Fringe characters
Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, a young FBI agent who is assigned to investigate the spread of unexplained phenomena and work with Dr. Walter Bishop after her partner, John Scott, is exposed to a flesh-dissolving agent.
John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop, a former government researcher into fringe science who was institutionalized after a lab accident which resulted in manslaughter charges.
Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, Walter's son.
Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, a Homeland Security agent who runs the Fringe division.
Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, one of Olivia's friends in the FBI.
Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, a high ranking employee of Massive Dynamic who is part of the Fringe division.
Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth, a federal agent and assistant to Olivia Dunham.
Mark Valley as John Scott, Olivia's former partner and lover.

Lost Mythos said...

Does anyone notice that the "Watcher" or whatver the bald guy is called is in every episode...

tabernacle said...

Yeah, "Astro" and "Asteroid" cracked me up. Almost, Walter, almost. "Cow cameo" is too funny. "Cowmeo?"

Don't care about Olivia. Re Broyles toward Dunham, hate the unnecessary obscurantism; why be vague and cryptic instead of forthcoming and useful?

Seeing the two guys from different David Simon shows kind of messed with my head for a moment. Hey, are "Generation Kill" and "The Wire" in the same universe? I guess they can't be given the bit of actor overlap (the peculiarly-coiffed cop...).

amysa, regarding Lorelai, who have we seen already? Not Max Medina--ah, of course: the guy who played Jason. Who else, though? Not Luke, not Christopher...

As a couple of posters have already mentioned, I'm enjoying the show after having adjusted my expectations. "Lost" this isn't, or mytharc "X-Files".

Unknown said...

I wish this show would abandon the Pattern mytharc completely and go with the MotW format. I always thought that was the area that The X Files excelled in and very few of these mythological based shows deliver long term.

I'm very close to giving Fringe's Tivo timeslot to Simon Baker's hair and shit-eating grin.