Welcome to the FB review of Fringe season 2 episode 2 – Night of Desirable Objects. In this review I present my honest opinions on the good and the bad aspects of this installment. I also take a look at the resolved mysteries and open questions relating to this episode, before sharing my remaining thoughts on the aspects which may have been overlooked.
- The ‘creep-factor’. It was grittier, edgier and more sinister than most Fringe episodes, and I didn’t mind that one bit. I’m sure people will relate NODO to X-Files (even though ‘New Day’ had far more direct references). As well as creepiness, there was the human question for us to relate back to the Bishop’s, which is always good in these standalone episodes. The ominous scarecrows, screeching ravens and corn fields with Ricky Nelson’s Poor Little Fool playing in the background were all nice little details that added to the ambiance.
- The Shapeshifer. Evil Charlie. Not Charlie. Whatever you wanna call him, I’m really enjoying this storyline and the way Kirk Acevedo is portraying this soldier from another Universe. That’s the thing, he’s a soldier. Sent for a very specific mission and he’s not being allowed home until his mission is complete. Not to mention, he’s hurting (possibly from being unable to change into a new identity). That is his motivation and it’s all we really know about him. This could easily add nothing to the story, but the desperation and..sadness that Acevedo is conjuring up in those eyes of his really adds depth to this changeling. I love the fact that we’ve seen this character in four different bodies, each one giving us a different side to his persona: his ruthless side, his cool and calculating side, his humanity and his desperation. I have no doubt that this is Acevedo’s best work on Fringe to date – what a shame it will soon come to an end.
- The nods to the loyal fans. Walter realising that he’d already been through the ‘road not taken theory’ on his chalkboard. Nice touch and thank you.
- Filming. Much like New Day some of the camera work in this episode was excellent. I become was (not distracted) of the transitions, high/low positioning and crazy-sharp angles. The camera not only told the story, but enhanced it – especially during Olivia’s ‘Spidey-Sense’ moments.
- Anna Torv. I don’t think she quite gets the credit she deserves for some of her performances. For me, it’s the little things she does that really bring the Olivia character to life. The eye movements, facial expressions, the tilt of the neck and the way she says “Walter” or “Pedah” when Olivia is slightly embarrassed. Having her hair tied back in this episode was a good move – it really enhanced those mannerisms I just mentioned. I particularly enjoyed her use of the cane – it became an extension of her character. She looked like a bird with a bruised wing, trailing behind Peter and Walter when normally she’s the one leading, protecting, chasing. A great contrast to last season. As I’ve said on many previous occasions, her journey is completely watchable.
- Database Protection. I found it a bit hard to believe that Peter would be allowed complete access to the FBI databases (who died and made him Agent Jessup?). And that Phillip would have no problem with this. It’s cool that Peter’s taking charge, but Phil really needs to put some password protection on his systems.
- Logic behind Peter’s parallel case of the week was a bit hard to swallow. I mean, Olivia disappears to another Universe and the closest case that Peter could find was so far removed from what actually happened to Dunham. It seemed more like an excuse to go on a day trip rather than actually finding something relevant to the previous investigation. I’ve got no problem with the odd foray into the wilderness, but Peter may as well have closed his eyes and stuck a pin in a map of Fringe cases and said: “To the Batcave!”.
- Why would Olivia think that someone was upstairs when Molebaby was underground? Quite a big disparity. Perhaps we could put it down to Olivia not being used to her new powers? Even so, it felt a bit contrived. Obviously they wanted Olivia to be in a situation where she almost shoots Peter. Just for that added ‘tension’. I shouldn’t be aware of that though.
- The comedy capers with Molebaby grabbing Olivia by the neck. Then dragging her into his lair with his mouth. Peter leaping though the hole after them – somehow catching up. Molebaby getting to know Peter by jumping and drooling all over him. Peter stabbing Molebaby with a rib. Molebaby staggering off and doing something I couldn’t quite make-out (probably burrowing?). And then, to top it off, Sheriff Gosuddenly’s cop car falls down the hole and crushes him to death. My word, that was the funniest thing I saw all week, but I don’t think that’s the reaction they were going for. It was truly comical It’s almost as if they made that scene specifically for the trailers, to show a car falling down a hole (probably this hole). My least favourite episode of Fringe is “Unleashed” - I’m sad to report that this scene went there. Why can’t Fringe do monsters well?
- Lack of follow-up. Err, so will Fringe Division be needing a closing down sale or not? Because I’d quite like to get my hands on some of that Lab equipment. Seriously though, something big like our F-Team getting shut down should at least be mentioned in this episode. I want to know what Congress made of the device Phillip gave them, because Peter was so sure it would save the day. I guess it saved the day?
- What did Peter need a C-130 transport plane for? Planning a trip somewhere, Peter?
- Who is the shapeshifter communicating with? Why has the mission seemingly changed from killing Olivia to interrogating her, again?
- Why did Molebaby only kill 7 people over a 17 year period?
- Who is Sam Weiss – Cortexiphan coach, inter-reality mentor, or just a nice guy with a bowling alley? Also, why do I get the feeling Nina is hinting at a deep link between her and Olivia? Hmm……
- According to Walter, Olivia was in the alternate Universe for an hour. Interesting – this could tell us something about when Olivia actually travelled to this parallel world, since she was seemingly waiting for Nina in the restaurant for a good while before actually meeting Bell in his office. My theory remains the same – she travelled through more than one Universe before meeting Belly. Though time may not be the same across these worlds.
- Our shapeshifting friend is physically suffering from either:
- Not being able to change into another identity, due to losing the shapeshifting device.
- The delayed impact from the rounds that Charlie and Amy put into him in the previous episode.
- The negative effects of inter-reality travel .
Most likely to be 1 or 3. This could tell us something about their constitution. As an aside, it’s interesting that both the shapeshifter and Olivia are, in one way or another, suffering negative effects of crossing over. Nice little parallel there.
- Walter suggesting that Peter is not normal: “What’s remarkable is how many of us appear to be normal”. Not sure if Walter was in lala-land when he said this, or simply acknowledging the irony. Though obviously this is a reference to the shapeshifter, or Peter being from another reality. (I sense that the question of ‘which’ reality must also be a point here).
- More ‘underground’ references. I’ve lost count at the number of times the show has done this – coincidence or foreshadowing to some kind of ‘hollow earth’ plot?
- Interesting how Nina suggests that Olivia’s body may be a “threat”, whilst Olivia speculates that it may be self-protecting by not allowing her to remember what happened when she crossed over. Fascinating contrast, both possibilities are equally viable in this case. I am most intrigued by the latter though – the idea that Olivia has a in-built self defence mechanism. (or perhaps Belly put a block on her memory).
- Sam Weiss – Nina said he put her “back together”. I Thought Belly did that?
- Amy was like a bee to honey when she noticed the religious items in Mr. Hughes’ house. Some continuation from last week (hurrah!). Later, she suggests that Hughes may have killed his wife and child. Did her findings lead her to that inaccurate assumption? What was the writers intention by having Amy get it wrong?
- Olivia to Evil Charlie: “You’ve come a long way, Charlie Francis”. Yeah, just another Universe.
- How close a tie Sam Weiss has to the bowling complex is not yet known, but I have to think there was intent there. Perhaps bowling, with it’s skittles, multiple straight lanes and need for concentration, helps focus the mind of those who are experiencing new found abilities?
The episode title makes reference to a Night of Desirable Objects fishing lure owned by Peter (and Sheriff Golightly). Bought, when he was a child, in hope that it would allow him and his father (seemingly our Walter) to bond. A way of luring his father to spend time with him. The second purpose of the title is a reference to how the Hughes Molebaby would lure its victims by settings traps.
Both Walter and Mr. Hughes sought desirable objects, but not without consequence. For Hughes, his son wasn’t what he hoped he would be. For Walter, the night is still young.
Best Moment: All of Evil Charlie’s facial expressions! OK, I’ll be more specific – the E-Charlie/Olivia conversation in the car. Everything about that scene as great, and I love that we know something Olivia doesn’t.
Best Performer: Anna Torv (honourable mention, Kirk Acevedo)
Episode Rating: 7/10
You can find all of our previous episode reviews here.