A blog about movies and filmmaking.

There’s No Reason You Shouldn’t Be Watching FRINGE

In sci-fi, television on April 5, 2010 at 1:18 am

There’s become a name synonymous with quite excellent television over the past six or so years – no not Joss Whedon – and that is JJ Abrams. Say what you will – and for the most part, everyone only has positive things to say about the shows he’s helped create – but it’s with the first new episode of FRINGE since the mid-season break, that proves FRINGE may wind up being the best of them.

“But, what about LOST?” I hear you say. Yeah, yeah, I love that show too. But, y’know, with only a handful of episodes left, they’ve got quite a hill to climb in order to end that series on a positive (let alone, satisfying) note. And while I wish I could say, “you can go back and get all caught up on FRINGE right now, online” – the best source for watching TV (HULU, naturally) only has a handful of the latest episodes. And while I would never ask anyone to spoil an entire season, the couple of episodes you can watch, online right now; are worth it just to get to the episode that I want to talk about.

The episode titled, “Peter”, picks up where the previous episode, “Jacksonville” leaves off. A spoiler of that magnitude – though not really, if you’re familiar with the show – which I shall not divulge here. Needless to say, “Peter” deals with the revelation of what exactly happened with Peter when he was a boy; and gives us quite the story – mostly being set in 1985, as we see a much younger Walter Bishop (as always played by the magnificent John Noble), working not only to save his son from some genetic disorder, but also showing to military officials the window into a parallel world. One where in 1985, the United States already has mobile phones that we wouldn’t see in our world until the middle of the new millennium. Alas, he tells them, we cannot travel between worlds, just watch. Well, until it becomes necessary to journey to the other side.

The entire setup of this episode is absolutely brilliant. From the opening credit sequence that tells us that this story will not be taking place in the time of smooth computer effects, to the pretty well-done (if still not quite perfect) youthifying of Noble and Blair Brown’s Nina Sharp, a character who also appears in the 1985 segments – and we see a vital moment in her life as well.

But, this story belongs to Walter. This is before the incident that lead to his being incarcerated and shamed; it’s still a little before William Bell and Massive Dynamic seem to have taken over the world; and most of all, this is when we see Walter at his most sane and normal. Sure, I missed his talk of tripping on acid, or his strange requests for snacks over inappropriate material (like dead bodies, ick!). But, in it’s place we get a story with heart, with misery, with hope, with a moment of action; and best of all, no cliffhanger ending that leaves you saying, “wha?!” at the end. (That’s a jab at LOST, in case you didn’t catch it.) Though there is an added mystery, featuring our favorite bald-headed, fedora wearing Observer.

I won’t say that this episode is a perfect place to start – if somehow you can go back to the beginning of just this season, that would probably suffice, but I will say watching this episode ought to make a die-hard fan out of just about anyone that sees it. And this is what makes it one step up from the continued mysteries and complex plots that LOST is still throwing at the audience, so close to it’s end. Plus, where else will you see an alternate world where they got the theatrical release of BACK TO THE FUTURE starring Eric Stoltz?

Check out FRINGE, it airs on FOX Thursday nights @9pm, or whenever. Check your listings, set your DVR’s, all that. Or watch it, and other episodes on HULU.


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