Welcome to the FB review of the Fringe season 2 episode 3 – Fracture. In this review I present my honest opinions on both the good and the bad aspects of the episode. I also take a look at the answers and unresolved mysteries, before sharing my thoughts on other aspects which may have been overlooked
- Good to see the team getting out of Boston by taking the investigation to Philly and Iraq. The last time we went international the story benefited hugely and this time was no different. Although they didn’t spend long in Iraq (and only one location was used), it was good to get that diversity – they should do it more often, when the story dictates.
- Walter / Astrid. I wasn’t sure about their Lab scenes at first – they seemed to go on forever without much happening. But on reflection, I appreciated the cosy and light-hearted moments. We got to find out a little bit more about Astrid – that she’s a “creature of habit”, and it was good to see Walter actually taking an interest in this person he surely considers to be a friend. It’s well documented that Jasika Nicole doesn’t get enough screen-time on this show, but I liked what she did with the time that she did get. I get the feeling that she’s made the decision to make the most out of every scene she has, and good for her, she’s holding her own. Also, the watermelon scene was pretty neat.
- Peter back-story. I liked that we found out more about Peter’s past, particularly his pre-Fringe Division escapades. It’s poignant because we begin the series with Peter in Iraq, which for me is just as significant as Walter starting the show in St. Claire’s or Olivia being ‘betrayed’ by her partner and lover. Because of this, I feel that I have a broader sense of who Peter is, or should I say was, prior to Olivia coercing him out of his past life. They seemed intent on reminding us that Peter was a self-interested person who didn’t care for others – although this was a bit heavy-handed, it helped illustrate how far Peter has come and makes me wonder what has been the primary reason for his change of perspective (I trust there is one?). Hopefully we’ll get to learn more about this aspect of Peter’s past, when the story allows.
- Olivia’s personal journey. What I love about this subplot (which is more of a central plot) is how much the events from crossing to and from the other reality has affected Dunham. As I mentioned in our Night of Desirable Objects review, Anna Torv’s use of the cane is adding an extra dimension to Olivia. She makes it look so authentic – a physical manifestation of her broken state – whilst portraying a level of determination which is typical of the character.
- Filming. I really admire the way the show is being filmed and directed this season. There’s a crispness to it. They are capturing some really great visuals, and credit where it’s due, the location titles which were at the heart of so much debate last season are now seamless.
- “All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe“. Great song choice, I liked how it bridged two very different scenes – echoing the parting of Peter and Walter as they get separate rooms, before leading us in to the healing of Olivia as she instinctively finds her old self, sticking a gun in Weiss’ face like the Olivia of old (she does have a habit of switching like that).
- The ending. From Gordon’s gravelly narration to the gradual reveal of the Observer to the photos of Walter being watched. It wasn’t just the reveal, but the way they revealed the Observer being connected to these “couriers” that was so satisfying. His trademark hot-sauce sandwich was a nice touch, particularly for the fans who were there for his introduction. Though the reveal posed more questions than answers, it did allow us to get a better grasp on the battle lines and the sides at play. Even if this may be more deceiving than it currently appears (I for one, don’t believe that the Observer is here to “exterminate us” – it wont be as simple as that. But that’s another story for another day).
- Too Convenient. The fact that one of the “Tin Man” doctors just happened to be working in the kitchen of the restaurant where Peter found Ahmed was kind of ridiculous. Last time I checked a map of the world Iraq was a pretty big place. It’s not like they insinuated that Peter had an inkling that the doctor would be there.
- I felt the story fell down a bit when Fringe Division chose not to apprehend Diane Burgess. Obviously this was one of those story-facilitating things, but it made little sense to risk Burgess blowing everyone to smithereens – they wouldn’t have got that past Congress! Preventing the detonation of Burgess was surely the most important objective? After all, they knew that Gordon was running out of soldiers, and they would have caught him sooner or later – it wasn’t their “only chance” to find Gordon.
- Peter’s fight with Gordon. One of the low points of the episode. I’m still not sure how old man Gordon could out-muscle the young and sprightly Peter Bishop? It was purely for drama, but like Peter’s battle with the Mole-Kid last week, this was far from convincing. Oh, and it took far longer than Walter’s “30 seconds at best” for the reaction to take place in Burgess. All shows do that. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
- I liked the Gordan character, but his reasoning made little sense. If he wanted to know more about the Observers and their Intel, why blow that Intel up? Why not have one of his former soldiers simply take the briefcases so that he could use the information to find out more about them? With brains like that, I fear for “over here”!
- Why has Olivia been struggling to remember the events from the parallel reality – did Belly put a protective block on her memory, is her mind self-protecting, does the head-first dive through the windscreen have anything to do with it? Also, if it’s purely down to the negative effect of crossing over, would something similar have happened to David Jones, considering he started falling to pieces from mere teleportation?
- Who are the Observer spies? Are They from the same world as the Observers? Are they themselves Observers? What is their relationship to the shapeshifters? Why are they spying on Walter?
- How did Gordon know who the Observer couriers were? Who was he working for or with – surely he wasn’t getting his Intel on his own? (he did mention “we” when being interrogated at the end)?
- Which side is the Observer on? Was it even OUR Observer?
- Peter was a civilian contractor based out of Baghdad. In other words, he was a weapons dealer.
- Gillespie and Burgess were soldiers who served in the war. During that time they were part of a programme called “Project Tin Man”, where they were exposed to a nerve agent developed under Saddam Hussein. ‘Tin Man’ was the name for the treatment in which serum injected into their bodies for “at least a year”. The build-up of this serum solidified and produced mass amounts of energy, causing their bodies to explode when triggered remotely by Colonel Raymond Gordon, using a radio-wave signal.
- There were over 200 soldiers treated in ‘Tin Man’, only a few of them survived. I wonder what Colonel Gordon would have done once he ran out of soldiers?
- Ahmed believed that Peter was dead. Ironic.
- According to Gordon, spies from the other world are here, “collecting data, making observations..” and that’s what was in the couriers briefcases. Gordan was trying to destroy their Intel by using human bombs.
- Sam Weiss’ coaching was about getting Olivia to become one with her newly activated abilities. To become automatic. To have patience. The exact opposite of where Olivia was at prior to her zing! moment.
- Peter and Walter share a memory from when Peter was 10 years old. Giving us another timestamp as to when Walter may have acquired Peter from the other side.
- I find it a bit odd that Peter is so concerned for Olivia’s health and yet he was more than happy to drag her half way round the world to Iraq. She was like, THANKS Petah! It wouldn’t surprise me if Peter did a little ‘business’ while he was there..
- Interesting that this case should somehow have a direct link back to one of our Fringies at the very end. The last time we saw such a reveal the boot was on the other foot for Walter, as he was the one watching Olive post-incident on the grainy VHS tape.
- Gordan’s voice was perfect for the end-scene. Did they use a synthesizer?
As episode titles go, this is one of the most meaningful. Fracture represents many things – the division between the two worlds. The broken state of Olivia. Walter (reluctantly) gaining independence from Peter. Peter being from another world. Olivia breaking Gordon’s device with her cane. And of course, the human bomb/crystalline plot.
The thing about fractures is they can heal. Although the healing process is often slow and involves the growth of new muscle, the death of others. One wonders whether this will be an allegory for the impending war?
Best Moment: Olivia’s zing! moment / The Observer
Best Performer: Anna Torv
Episode Rating: 8/10