Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fringe 8: Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel

Walter is the most original character on Fringe - as I've noted before, there's never quite been a mad scientist like him - and last night's Episode 8 was mostly about Walter. That's why it was so good, and, for my money, the best episode of the season so far.

The story went well beyond Walter's crackpot quirks, and even beyond his usual relationship with Peter, which last night's episode helped develop.

The science fiction came, in part, from hypnotic lights, which Walter quickly figures out. But the other part is an unfinished equation, which is a lot tougher to crack. The bad guys kidnap a boy whose musical-mathematical notations may complete the equation. An inmate of Walter's in his former prison may also have the answer - or, at least, knowledge of where the boy is being held. Walter, understandably, does not want to set foot in the prison ever again - but, to help save the boy, Walter does.

We thus see Walter more genuine and heroic than ever before. He also is a pretty good interrogator, and eventually gets some information out the inmate.

But not before Walter and Peter run afoul of the warden, chillingly played by William Sadler. I've admired his performance as a top-tier villain since Die Hard 2, and Sadler didn't disappoint last night. Neither did John Noble, who continues to bring just the right mix of genius, insanity, and compassion to his complex role.

I wasn't 100% clear who exactly was behind the kidnapping, and needing to complete the formula, and why - or even what exactly the formula did (it looked as if it allowed the bad guy to put his hand through the back of a closed safe, and take out out an apple he had earlier put in the normal way). But that's part of Fringe's charm, and I'm assuming we'll find out more...

See also Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission

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