Friday, October 9, 2009

Fringe 2.4 Unfolds and Takes Wing

Fringe 2.4 finally dished out some significant answers tonight. In the process, we got a tender romantic moment for Walter, a resolution for the shape-shifter Charlie, and a good, welcome dose of William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) - all in all, making for the second best episode of the entire series so far, second only to the Season One finale last year, in which Bell and the alternate universe were first and breathtakingly revealed.

Walter figures out a way of eliciting Olivia's memories of her alternate-universe visit, and we see for the first time the conversation she and Bell had last year, or, rather, what Bell told her. It's pretty much as we expected - an alternate universe, much like ours, except alternate decisions (unspecified) which, among other results, kept the Twin Towers standing. Bell also explains what the shape-shifters are up to, and, if we believe him, that Massive Dynamic is on the side of the angels in this. Well, I believe him. Spock doesn't lie.

No, I believe what Bell told Oliva because it makes sense.

Back on our side, Olivia is almost taken in by the ersatz Charlie. She gets his face on her cell phone - the face of the shape-shifter, courtesy of a nifty algorithmic program - just in time. Even so, bad Charlie almost kills her. But another FBI guy (good) distracts Charlie, and Olivia prevails. She proves again, as Bell has told her, that she was the best of the children he and Walter had trained.

Which brings us back to Walter. He seeks out the co-ed he experimented with - via LSD - decades ago, to help with the cases at hand. She's grown up into someone who loves him, or at least has strong, positive feelings for him. She's played by Theresa Russell, a fine actress, who brings vibrancy and sincerity to the role. Walter goes back to her apartment. She wants to sleep with him, but settles for kissing him, because Walter, in one of his most human moments, demurs. He apologizes for what he did to her years ago, including taking advantage of those circumstances.

Theresa also gave Peter a look, before she left for her house and the kiss with Walter. The meaning of that look? Even if there was no chemistry at all now with Walter - which in fact there's plenty of - she must know or sense that Peter is from the alternate universe. This in itself is reason enough to look forward to more from her in this series.

Roger Cross - Curtis of 24! - also puts in an appearance in this excellent episode, as a shape-shifter, less shifty-eyed than Charlie and now likely picking up for him. And just to top things off, with another nod to the classic science fiction which is the well-spring of Fringe, Peter and Olivia talk about Invasion of the Body Snatchers - pod people masquerading as humans - only mentioning two of the umpteen versions, though. (Pod people also do podcasts nowadays, as science fiction critic Gary Wolfe suggested.)

Well, there'll be time to mention some of the others later on, as Fringe unfolds and really starts to take wing this season...

See also Top Notch Return of Fringe Second Season ... Fringe 2.2 and The Mole People ... Fringe 2.3 and the Human Body as Bomb

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

10-min podcast review of Fringe
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