Fringe, FOX, Tuesdays 9/8c
Episode: “The Cure” (Season 1, Episode 6)
Synopsis: In a Dunham-centric episode, we find her grappling yet again with her inner demons as yet another female victim is used as a guinea pig for the benefit of yet more evil science. Seeing herself reflected in the face of the latest radioactive dying girl, Olivia finds herself on the verge of a nervous breakdown as Peter makes a deal with the devil.
Review: Perhaps it is just that for the last several weeks I have been inundated with theoretical science and the latest sock puppet for the purveyors of the pattern, but this week’s episode of Fringe was most certainly the straw that broke the camel’s back. Especially juxtaposed with the last couple of weeks’ stellar, fresh episodes, I am unenthusiastic to see the formulaic nature of the show begin to show. In “The Cure,” not only does the formula begin to show, but the writers seem to want to beat us over the head with it.
It was perhaps the worst episode of Fringe so far—there was not a single compelling plot or direction took in it. Even the least engrossing scenes of Fringe were followed by entertaining ones, or an interesting bit of foreshadowing or characterization. Nothing in this episode is subtle: the foreshadowing came when we see the friction rising between Dunham and Broyles, and we are basically told that a confrontation between the two is coming, and why (Dunham actually mentions sexism blatantly to him, not trusting the audience to pick up on it themselves). Peter goes to Nina Sharp for a favor, and she ominously grants him one in return for a promise that he will repay the favor someday. I wonder if that will turn out alright. Also, we see the sexual tension build between Olivia and Peter. Obviously. Awkwardly.
The idea of humans as tools comes up again with the “Rare Disease” being injected into this weeks’ guest star. While I like the themes presented in the show, I feel that bringing them up so redundantly is not the way to communicate them. I hope to see some other themes presented in the next few episodes, and I hope they are presented in clever and exciting ways.
Despite the episode’s many faults, there was one bright spark in it, and it comes when Olivia’s true origin is told—apparently she shot her abusive stepfather when she was nine years old. Only, she didn’t kill him, and is angry at herself that she let the biggest monster in her life escape. This is the one poignant moment in the episode—Anna Torv is getting increasingly more comfortable in her character. Her slight, ironic, bittersweet smile perfectly complements her almost-faltering voice. We finally have a large missing puzzle piece: the reason Dunham is so traumatized by women in distress.
Up Next Week: Peter straps himself in to talk to the dead—“Wait, you’re going to stop my heart??” Apparently complications arise. See you then!
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