Fringe, FOX, Tuesdays 9/8c
Episode: “The Arrival” (Season 1, Episode 4)
Synopsis: This week on Fringe, we are introduced to a character called “The Observer,” a hairless man who has been present at the scene of many Pattern-related events. Soon Dunham (Anna Torv), Walter (John Noble), The Observer, and an as-yet-unidentified bad guy (famous face Michael Kelly) are all vying for control of a certain object of interest—an enigmatic, explosive cylinder. Meanwhile, Peter (Joshua Jackson) begins to grow discontent with his roles as “consultant” to the FBI and babysitter to his father.
Review: This episode of Fringe was a slight departure from the usual massive dynamic-chasing, fringe-science-using romps. Instead, we are given a bit more character development/ interaction. I found this fact very refreshing. Not only are we introduced to this “Observer” fellow (you don’t know how disappointed I was when a Google search revealed that he did, in fact have a name. I really wanted to just call him “Waldo”), but the writers realized that Peter needed a reason to stick around, and they gave him a great one.
Peter becomes predictably disenchanted with his new occupation and, after Walter’s latest tantrum (forcibly sedating an FBI agent and insulting Peter’s mother), decides it is time for him to cut and run. However, a wrench is thrown into the works: Michael Kelly’s character and his futuristic gun. Michael Kelly explodes on the scene ray-gunning an entire SWAT team in search of the explosive cylinder (the show’s first really cool action sequence, in my opinion). The search brings him to Peter, and he uses an interesting form of torture/ interrogation, wiring Peter’s brain and turning his emotions into pain. “When was the last time your father kissed you?”
Dunham becomes interested in the Observer after she notices him in two corresponding photographs that relate to the pattern. She brings the information to Broyles, who informs her that they have been searching for that very man for 3 years—from the first time he started showing up in photographs relating to the pattern (see Broyles’ “Where’s Waldo”-like smorgasbord of pictures). It’s good to see Torv becoming more comfortable in her character — I actually enjoyed her this episode, and almost related to her.
The show kicks it in high gear toward the end, when the search for the cylinder-missile brings Peter into a confrontation with the enigmatic Observer—a confrontation that so profoundly affects him that he realizes he must stay and answer all the unanswerable questions offered by The Pattern. Joshua Jackson continues to impress.
While not the best episode of the lot, I dug the character development and the new threads of intrigue provided by the writers. It’s an installment like this that makes me look forward to future changes of pace and the possible places the malleable structure of the show can take us.
Up Next Week: When a rather simple man has the ability to harness electricity, dangerous and deadly consequences follow.
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