Thursday, September 17, 2009

Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season: Double Realities and Double Agents

Fringe came back leaner, cleaner, with more attention to its riveting, incredible central storyline tonight than last year. In short, just what we want from a series that meandered in Season One, but ended with a tour-de-force introduction to alternate universes - or one alternate universe, in which JFK and the World Trade Center live, and Agent Olivia Dunham from our universe ends up...

Tonight she's back in our universe, in a car that crashes in New York City, without much memory of how she get there, or where she had been. This raises a major, so far unaddressed question: what happens when two versions of the same person from different universes come to inhabit the same universe? Of all of the characters in Fringe, only Peter has made the move from one universe to another - kidnapped from the alternate universe to this one by his father Walter, after the Peter in this universe had died - and Peter seems to be doing ok. But what happens when two live versions of the same person end up in the same universe? Does the universe expel one of them? Is this what happened to Olivia?

Tonight's episode 2.1 was about different versions of the same person in more ways than one. Olivia's loyal partner Charlie is killed by a murderous shape shifter (from the alternate universe?) who almost kills Olivia in the hospital. The shape shifter takes Charlie's shape, so Fringe Division now has a double agent par excellence in its midst.

But it almost didn't survive tonight, courtesy of a jackass Senate committee that almost put it out of business. (Penny-pinching myopic Senate committees ... hmmm ... sounds a lot like some the of Senate committees in our reality, outside of Fringe, which are often on the verge of strangling crucial, beneficial programs.)

Peter comes to the rescue, with some evidence - broken tech from the alternate universe - which he found on the scene of Olivia's cab crash. The Senate committee told Broyles it needed some evidence, and this could be it.

So Fringe is off and running in the strange night. All of the regular gang are back (albeit Charlie now as a villain shape shifter), and we learn in a nice reveal that Nina and Broyles had and may still have a physical relationship; we have a bright, attractive new agent Amy Jessup; and an intriguing new mystery on top of everything else:

Why did Olivia, when she first woke up, speak to Peter the same Greek advice that he recalled from his mother?

Looking forward to more.

See also reviews of Season One Fringe Begins ... Fringe 2 and 3: The Anthology Tightrope ... 4: The Eternal Bald Observer ... 7: A Bullet Can Scramble a Dead Brain's Transmission ... 8. Heroic Walter and Apple Through Steel ... 9. Razor-Tipped Butterflies of the Mind ... 10. Shattered Pieces Come Together Through Space and Times ... 11. A Traitor, a Crimimal, and a Lunatic ... 12, 13, 14: Fringe and Teleportation ... 15: Fringe is Back with Feral Child, Pheromones, and Bald Men ... 17. Fringe in New York, with Oliva as Her Suspect ... 18. Heroes and Villains across Fringe ... Stephen King, Arthur C. Clarke, and Star Trek in Penultimate Fringe ... Fringe Alternate Reality Finale: Science Fiction At Its Best

And this Fringe 101 refresher that I wrote for scifiwire earlier today... and Fringe Bloggers Roundtable about Season One Finale I participated in last May ...

8-min podcast review of Fringe

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