Review: 2.02 Night of Desirable Objects


Night of Desirable Objects

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 GOOD

someone get this bird off my shoulder :(

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

THE BAD

Hey Broyles, wats your hotmail passwordz?

  1. 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.
  2. 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!”.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 :P 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?
  5. 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?

Unresolved Mysteries

Hi, I'm Sam. Please don't steal my bowling shoes.

  • 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……

Closed Mysteries

Walter, I don't want to see pictures of you and Nina experimenting

  • 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:
  1. Not being able to change into another identity, due to losing the shapeshifting device.
  2. The delayed impact from the rounds that Charlie and Amy put into him in the previous episode.
  3. 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.

Fringe thoughts

  • 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?

Final Thought

Night of Desirable Objects

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.

Comments

  1. mlj102 says

    I just have a few comments in response to some of the things you pointed out:

    The bad:

    2. While the situations themselves were certainly very different, what initially led Peter to focus in on these cases did appear to be very similar. He said there were sudden disappearances, some eye witnesses said they disappeared into thin air — I can see why he would conclude that it sounded very similar to what happened to Olivia. So while it turned out to be something completely different, he couldn’t know that from the initial reports he’d found.

    3. I too found this to be rather odd at first, but if you think about it, it kind of makes sense. We’re able to tell where a sound is coming from because our two ears have the ability to localize the sounds they perceive. But if a person has hearing loss in one ear, they lose that ability to localize sounds. We don’t really know anything about Olivia’s superhearing ability — perhaps the ability allows one to hear very faint sounds without being able to actually localize where they’re coming from. Also, it’s a very new and unfamiliar thing for Olivia right now — maybe she just isn’t used to it, so her brain doesn’t know how to correctly interpret these sounds and determine where they’re coming from. And the time in the house wasn’t the only time. When she heard the conversation in the parking garage, she had to look all around before she spotted the man on the phone. So I don’t really see this as any sort of discrepancy.

    4. I didn’t mind this scene — I certainly felt it was much better than the climax scene in Unleashed. My only problem with this one was that it seemed very rushed. It all happened so fast that when it finished I was thinking two things: “What just happened?” and “That’s it?” But upon watching it again, it made more sense and I actually found it to be very well done. I also think this might be a case where spoilers ruined the moment. Because we’d had prior knowledge of this scene, it set up expectations and took away from the surprise. From what I’ve been able to tell, people who hadn’t seen the clip that had been released earlier, generally seem to have enjoyed the scene.

    5. While it wasn’t directly addressed, I believe it was implied in the scene with Broyles and Peter that the PTB agreed to the terms and are at least not standing in the way. Peter has been allowed greater control and is being given support that he asks for (hence why he seems to be allowed to do whatever he asks and is able to ask for things like a plane). But I do agree that they could have taken a minute or so to actually clarify that.

    Unresolved mysteries:

    2. I have a theory about this one: I was thinking about it and I thought that one possible explanation is that in the first episode, the shapeshifter was a complete stranger to Olivia and, therefore, didn’t stand much of a chance at interacting with her and staying in touch and getting much information out of her. So it was ordered to just give a general interrogation, then kill her while it still could. However, now the shapeshifter is in a very unique position. Being in the form of Charlie, it can interact with her and keep a close eye on her, and possibly get very important information out of her. So while that wasn’t initially part of the plan, there were unforseen changes, and perhaps they have decided to take advantage of that situation. I imagine that they still intend to kill her after getting whatever information from her that they are hoping to get.

    Fringe thoughts:

    4. I think that William Bell put Nina back together physically, while Sam Weiss put her back together emotionally and mentally.

    All in all, I had no problems with this episode. It wasn’t a stand out episode that just blows your mind and leaves you completely amazed, but there were certainly many great aspects of this episode and things that made it very significant and very enjoyable.

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    • says

      2. While the situations themselves were certainly very different, what initially led Peter to focus in on these cases did appear to be very similar. He said there were sudden disappearances, some eye witnesses said they disappeared into thin air — I can see why he would conclude that it sounded very similar to what happened to Olivia. So while it turned out to be something completely different, he couldn’t know that from the initial reports he’d found.

      Good points mlj. I just find Peter’s connection between the two cases a bit weak. It’s as if he didn’t try that hard to find a similar case. After all, Olivia disappeared and returned – his case simply stated that people ‘disappeared’. I’m sure there are loads of cases like that in the FBI database, why was this one given preference? It would have been more believable had he done a bit more research (and conveyed that research) before dragging his father and a mentally fragile Olivia off into potential danger.

      4. I didn’t mind this scene — I certainly felt it was much better than the climax scene in Unleashed. My only problem with this one was that it seemed very rushed. It all happened so fast that when it finished I was thinking two things: “What just happened?” and “That’s it?” But upon watching it again, it made more sense and I actually found it to be very well done. I also think this might be a case where spoilers ruined the moment. Because we’d had prior knowledge of this scene, it set up expectations and took away from the surprise. From what I’ve been able to tell, people who hadn’t seen the clip that had been released earlier, generally seem to have enjoyed the scene.

      Glad you enjoyed this scene more than I did mlj. I just found it too ridiculous – not the Fringe I know and love. The fact that we hardly got to see the Molebaby doesn’t instill me with great confidence over its construction, and its actions where quite odd. Why did it dragg Olivia off so slowly when it moved like lightening when snatching other folks? Why did it try to burrow upwards, when surely there were pre-existing tunnels in several directions? Why (or how) did the car fall in the hole when by all rights there shouldn’t have even been a hole there because the Molebaby didn’t burrow all the way up after being stabbed by Peter?

      Maybe I need to watch that scene again, although I don’t think I’ll be able to keep a straight face!

      That said, I’m glad not everyone disliked it.

      4. I think that William Bell put Nina back together physically, while Sam Weiss put her back together emotionally and mentally.

      Good point. Actually, this opens up some interesting possibilities..

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      • Jayce says

        I tend to agree with mlj102 in regard to the logic behind Peter’s “parallel case”. In a relative vaccuum of leads, it was at least SOMETHING to go on, even if it turned out to be way off track. Then once they were on to this other case, they just followed thru. I do see where Roco is coming from though. I at least like that they attempted to segue the interdimensional events of the previous episode (and the “main” storyline) into this “monster of the week” episode. Last season we would have an episode, or string of episodes dealing with the show’s main plot, then it would suddenly thud into a monster of the week episode the following week as if the previous episode’s events never took place.

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        • mlj102 says

          “I at least like that they attempted to segue the interdimensional events of the previous episode ”

          I agree — it’s at least a step in the right direction for them. I thought it was great that they were showing continuity and transitioning smoothly from one story to the next. Can’t we at least give them credit for that?

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  2. Page 48 says

    Anna Torv was on her game for sure, but sadly, Pinkner and Wyman took the night off.

    AT does wonders with simple facial expressions, despite comments to the contrary, such as can be found on IMDB (i.e. “The acting totally sucks especially the leading lady ANNA Torv much better actress could have been casted in her place because she simply doesn’t know how to Act “). I don’t know how many times I’ve watched “I just want to go back to before” just to watch the way she delivers that line.

    Knowing what Bad Robot is capable of makes it that much more frustrating to watch “Fringe” rag the puck for 40 minutes like they did with the irrelevant ‘chronicles of worm boy’. To me, this is like Jack Bauer taking a hour out of Day Seven to chase down a tax cheat while terrorist scumbags scatter dirty bombs all over the Washington.

    If Peter’s ‘leadership’ is going to result in such offside investigations, how long will it be before he has Walter and Olivia looking into the mysterious disappearance of crooked financial advisors?

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    • says

      I don’t know how many times I’ve watched “I just want to go back to before” just to watch the way she delivers that line.

      The delivery was exceptional.

      If Peter’s ‘leadership’ is going to result in such offside investigations, how long will it be before he has Walter and Olivia looking into the mysterious disappearance of crooked financial advisors?

      I have to agree.

      If it wasn’t for the Olivia and Evil Charlie sub-plots, it would have all been a bit pointless.

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      • Jayce says

        There are few born leaders out there though. Most who go from a position of following thru on other’s decisions to MAKING the decisions have to take their lumps.

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  3. Debi says

    When Olivia shot at Peter, notice the gun shot hole behind Peter’s head seemed to come from behind the wall instead of entering the wall. Do you think this is a clue? (Episode Night of Desirable Objects)

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  4. Pedro says

    My observations thus far and from this episode.
    1. Nina Sharp/Olivia Dialog: After hearing Nina Sharp talk about Sam Weiss putting her back together I came to the conclusion that Nina has probably traveled outside of our universe also. My guess is that while Bell healed her, she had to go to another universe where the medicine was more advanced. that would be why she needed Sam Weiss to put her back together. Interesting how his name sounds like Sam Wise.

    2. Peter/Olivia connection: I think that Peter may know about her hyper-hearing abilities. I’ve always thought that it was interesting that Peter has a “sense” of things around him. I believe that the two of them, Peter and Olivia are connected. When she turned the light box device on to prevent the bomb from going off in season one, who was looking over her shoulder, Peter. She came “back to life” in 2.01 when Peter was leaning over her and she said the Greek phrase that he was familiar with, but she wasn’t. Also, Peter “sensed” that the ECharlie was in the parking lot when they left the hospital.

    3. How fast is Peter?: Olivia is about 10 to 12 feet away, she takes a shot at him, he dodges and the bullet misses him. The scene shows him looking at the bullet hole, but my thought is at that distance, she doesn’t miss. He moved. Was he just lucky or did he move fast enough to get out of the way?

    4. The Observer: I would like for them to at least make an effort for him to be inconspicuous. In 2.01 he’s walking across the street like everyone else. In this episode he’s standing in the middle of the front yard. I don’t like it when the writers just stick him in the seen so that we can talk about him the next day.

    5: Jessup: She’s drawn to “all things biblical?” The writers went out of their way to make her walk right to the cross on the cabinet and open the door. I would like the writers to develop this character faster than other minor characters or she’s going to just seem one dimensional.

    I thought that overall episode was a little weak by fringe standards. I am not a huge fan of standalone episodes in a series like this, but my thought is that either tie it in nicely or make it a standalone all together.

    I wish they would expand on Astrid. Her character has so much potential.

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  5. Ronald says

    here is one thought, maybe the cure for nina (advanced cancer) was in another universe and this is the way how bell helped her, and in this scenario fits sam weiss, he helped her to recover from the inter-universe travel, and nina knows about the current state of olivia, thats why she didnt mention anything about the meeting between olive and bell..

    PD… sorry for my english is very rusty

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  6. says

    This epi was okay as far as Monster of the Week goes. I agree with the climax seeming to go too quickly. “That’s it?” It reminded me of some Smallville eps where CK fights the Krypto-baddie one time by punching them or whatever and then its over.

    I felt there could have been a better payoff given the creep factor at the beginning.

    Also, I think Peter’s decision to check out the case based on the info was sound. It showed that he’s trying to be more proactive and seek out Fringe cases outside of Boston, instead of waiting for them to drop in his lap. A subtle growth of character, but it was there.

    I personally am not a fan of standalones in a show like this. But it becomes necessary as there’s the standard 22 eps in a season. It’s hard to make them all deal with the story arc without spoiling the story too soon.

    I imagine this ep was put out to help newbies get into the show, and I’m hoping the next one will set up the season a little better. I’m not that intrigued, yet, by evil-Charlie and Olivia’s memory loss. All I am waiting for is Peter to find out who he really is, that’s something I think would be interesting.

    I hope Olivia keeps the cane for a while. For some reason, I thought it really added to her character and gave Torv some physical stuff to do. She is best when she has to portray emotions (like pain or exhaustion) but isn’t as great at the flat FBI agent stuff.

    Not enough Walter, either. Just not enough Walter. I really wish they’d return to some of his ordeals in the Mental Hospital (seeing himself) because I find his struggles the most interesting of the cast.

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  7. Peanut says

    … and Amy Jessup gets banished to an alternate universe? The character disappears after this episode. Seriously, couldn’t they at least have her transferred to Phoenix or something? And, I guess, the possible Biblical links to pattern events that she was researching get banished too. Characters & pattern elements get introduced & then just get dropped without explanation–something that I also found disappointing & frustrating about LOST.

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