Review: 2.06 Earthling


Review - 2.06 Earthling

Welcome to the FB review of the Fringe season 2 episode 6 – Earthling. 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.

THE GOOD

Finally..I get an episode.

  • Humanizing Phillip Brolyes. It was good to see Phillip’s back-story fleshed out. I feel that I know him a little bit better after this episode – In particular, I know that some of his flaws, are also some of his strengths. I learned that he’s a man who’s prepared to make sacrifices if it means that the world is a safer place. Cliched perhaps, but all in all I have a greater understanding of WHAT Fringe Division is and how tirelessly Phillip has worked to keep them afloat.
  • International investigation. The Russian government, The CIA and inter-departmental friction.  These elements hinted at a greater sense of urgency and importance (even if the episode didn’t quite deliver on that front). It’s only natural that other countries have their own brand of “Fringe Science”, and it’s believable for the CIA to butt heads with those who they see as interfering. I feel that the show is building towards a more realistic world-view, with the American government and various international agencies and societies becoming an important part of the storyline the further along we progress.
  • Analogy to the alternate reality theme. The episode was quite effective in the way it played with parallels to the alternate reality theme. It felt as if the magnifying glass was positioned closer to home, allowing us to consider space as another ‘reality’ in its own right. Although the show has a strict “No aliens” policy, I also have to wonder whether this is as close as we’ll get to an alien storyline in Fringe? Technically it could be argued that the ‘shadow organism’ was ‘alien’. Either way, I really enjoyed comparing the shadow storyline to the broader alternate reality theme.
  • Cool effects. I thought the crumbling into ash effect was pretty darn awesome.

THE BAD

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  • Pacing. The episode moved along at an awkward pace. It felt too slow at times, often pondering through scenes which didn’t quite resonate. Earthling had a couple of tense moments, but they bookended the episode. The rest of the scenes tried to be creepy and interesting but lacked the spark to get them out of 1st gear. Perhaps the ‘slowness’ was to help provide that introspective feel, but I overall I think there were too many missteps.
  • The Shadow – opportunity missed. I would have liked to have known more about the shadow and its motivations. This was a great chance to explore an interesting character in the Fringe mythology. We know that it was a ‘projection’ that absorbed radiation, but WHY? Did it need radiation to survive or was it something more sinister? Some of its actions also made little sense (like following people home and going after little girls who presumably didn’t have high levels of radiation). It just seems like the shadow was a “cool” concept that wasn’t fully thought through. There wasn’t enough fleshing out, either through the cosmonauts back-story, his brother’s battle to keep him alive (and the ethical consequences thereof) or even Phillip’s past encounter with the case. It all seemed a bit, well, random. Kinda like Night of Desirable Objects.
  • Walter’s explanations for the shadow were half-arsed at best. That’s not normally a problem if he’s to back up his theories, but too many of his ‘break-throughs’ were muddled and barely explained. I hate to say it but it felt as if they cut corners just to resolve the episode before the closing credits.
  • Are we supposed to believe that Tomas kept this organism at bay, wheeling his comatose brother from hospital to hospital without the CIA, Fringe Division or the Russian government finding him? The problem is, I didn’t buy the character, his ability to avoid capture for so long, or his skill in keeping the shadow quiet for 4 years. Again, he reminded me of the doctor from Night of Desirable Objects. I get the idea – he is another allusion to the Walter/Peter story (or perhaps the Peter/Peter story), but the guy was not that exceptional. Furthermore, what prevented the shadow from going after him in the first place? Too many contrivances.
  • By servicing Phillip the other characters took back seats and Astrid was relegated to the cart. I LOVE that Phillip got some character development, but I was still disappointed that this was at the expense of others. It works the other way too – most of the time Phillip, Astrid and Nina are left to feed on scraps, and if you read FB regularly then you already know what I think would solve this problem…
  • Episode format. I’ve championed a more serialized format for Fringe for a long while now. This episode is another example of why I feel the producers need to re-think the stand-alone preference. We have a potentially fascinating character such as the shadow and yet we’re unable to really dig into it because the show is more concerned with wrapping everything up with a ribbon by the 42nd minute. Trouble is, some stories can’t be completed within an episode, they need room to run over. I feel that this is one such ‘case’ that needed more depth, investigation and exploration. I know we get bits and pieces of the wider arc in each episode, and I do enjoy that, but Fringe is not CSI, the stories and its characters need room to breathe. Furthermore, you simply don’t get transported to another dimension and not mention it in either of the two proceeding episodes. Rethink, rethink, rethink.
  • “There was a man, a shadow man. He disappeared”. This looked good in the trailers, wasn’t nearly as effective in the episode (I said a similar thing for Night of Desirable Objects). The line was purely for dramatic effect and I can’t see how having the girl spell out the obvious added to the episode. If they wanted to make sure we knew that the shadow’s life was connected to that of the cosmonaut they could have had one of our Fringies mention it in passing. In fact, I’m sure it was mentioned. The kid at the start was a cute little bit of character building, the girl at the end was anything but. And don’t get me started on why she just sat there motionless after seeing a shadow man. No child would just sit there and then calmly describe the situation.

ANSWERS

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  • The “organism” seemingly became ‘one’ with the cosmonaut when he went on a spacewalk. The shadow was a “projection” of the organism, which passed through its victims to absorb their radiation, disintegrating them to ash in the process.
  • Tomas was apparently able to ‘contain’ the shadow by distressing his brother with electric shocks – “if you hurt the host, you hurt the organism”.
  • Although Phillip shot the cosmonaut in the head, seemingly killing the organism, the cosmonaut lived. The insinuation being that the CIA sent his body back into space to prevent the organism from projecting here on earth. One wonders why they didn’t just kill the cosmonaut? Or are we to suspect that the shadow made him indestructible?
  • Fringe Division has had a troubled history, struggling to stay in operation due to a lack of “public results”.

UNRESOLVED MYSTERIES

"And so I told them. Get me a suit like the Observer or I quit"

  • What IS the shadow?
  • What value is the shadow to the CIA and Russian government? This question becomes less clear if we believe that the CIA sent the shadow back into space. Would the Russian government have done the same thing?
  • Why did the shadow stop killing for 4 years? I’m assuming its because it had all the radiation it needed, but even this seems inconceivable given that Tomas took credit for keeping it at “bay” for this long. What measures did he take to contain the shadow, and what changed for the shadow suddenly become “stronger”?
  • IF the CIA sent the cosmonaut’s body (and hence the shadow) back into space, how did they arrange it so quickly? Does his also suggest that they have previous experience of dealing with shadows? What else have they ‘dumped’ up there?
  • Are we supposed to believe that the fly passed through the shadow and became infected? If that’s the case, why didn’t the fly fall to pieces before reducing the coma patient to rubble?
  • If the shadow / organism is a projection of itself here on earth….what does it actually look like?

FRINGE THOUGHTS

"This reminds me of a woman I used to know..her name was Dusty.."

  • As usual, there were more allusions to Peter being from another universe, here are a couple of examples:

Walter giving a firewood analogy of the disintegration effect: “So hot it remains intact, holding shape of is former self. You used to love that when you were a child..”

Walter talking about Russian Fringe Science: “Because they’re from the other side of the world, Peter. Is it so hard to believe that they’d have their own stripe of the inconceivable?”

  • Phillip keeps his evidence files in a public self-storage facility. Really?
  • Walter refers to the formula as a she. That’s Walter for you, but it’s perhaps interesting that Mother Nature (Mother Earth) is usually referred to as she. Just saying.
  • I loved this line from Olivia: “When we break the rules we’ve got you to protect us. Who’s going to protect you?” It really illustrates just how much juggling and string-pulling Phillip has to do to keep this operation alive. It also shows just how fair Olivia and Phillip have come. As always, I really like these two in scenes together.
  • For a while now I’ve gotten the impression that they’ve added post-production voice overs for Walter. There was another one in this episode when Walter was explaining how he planned to contain the shadow. Not a big thing but it takes me out of the episode a wee bit.
  • The season 2 the location titles appear to have gone from silver to gold and back to silver again in this episode. I’ve been observing this for a while, it’s probably nothing important though.
  • Can the shadow project across realities? Now that would be one deadly weapon in, I don’t know, an inter-dimensional war of some kind..(especially if over there was made more radioactive).
  • Fringe has featured quite a few head-kills. We’ve already had exploding heads and Evil Charlie’s death-by-bullet, now the cosmonaut gets shot in the head. Not all networks are so liberal with head-violence – in fact, has there ever been a head-kill on LOST?

FINAL THOUGHT

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I would really like to see this episode in serialized format, I think it could have been truly amazing, all things being equal. This has probably been my most frustrating episode to review. Not because it was terrible, but because it feels like an opportunity missed on soo many levels. Coming off the back of Dream Logic also doesn’t help. We’re treading water when we should be swimming in waves.

That aside, my lingering thought from the episode is: Who is the “Earthling” in the title? It could be the cosmonaut – Earth’s voyager, or perhaps Phillip – Earth’s protector? Maybe the shadow is the “Earthling” – a sentient being not of this world who has become trapped down here?

Another thought crossed my mind whilst watching the episode – Olivia asked whether the cosmonaut had been “dosed”, something we’ve seen before on Fringe. Whilst this seemed to have been refuted, what if he was dosed or purposefully infected by a man-made organism in space, away from the glare of public intrusion?

On a final note, the Earthling title coupled with Phillip looking up at the night sky illustrates just how tiny, yet central, Earth1 is to this entire arc. Perhaps we are all the “Earthlings” in the title.

Best Moment: The ending – hinting at a much larger conspiracy.

Best Performer: Lance Reddick

Episode Rating: 7/10

Comments

  1. Gonzalo says

    I don’t think the fly became infected in any way, and probably was just used as a trigger for the patient to begin falling to pieces. Congratulations for the blog, it is clear that it has a big deal of thinking in the background.

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  2. mlj102 says

    As always, good review. I think you were more disappointed with this episode than I was… but that’s not really anything new.

    However, I will say that I completely agree with you about the little girl at the end. The whole episode, I kept expecting her to show up. I thought that she would have a greater role in the episode as a whole — that she was connected to the shadow in some way, or that she had seen it and, therefore, would be able to provide some very valuable information to Fringe Division. So it was rather lame, in my opinion, that it was just this random scene at the end that didn’t even seem to have any significance to what was going on. They could just as well have left out that whole little scene and just have heard someone scream, or had the shadow approaching the team or something to prompt Broyles to shoot the cosmonaut. (And, for the record, I thought that was a brilliant resolution to the scene — it was completely unexpected! I expected to see Broyles and Olivia go running to try and find the person who screamed, while Walter continued to try and get the technology to work. So when Broyles went and shot the cosmonaut, I was stunned!)

    I also thought that the ending where the CIA guy implied that they’d sent the cosmonaut back into space, and how he explained that they had no choice after he “started breathing again” was quite ominous. In my opinion, it was very clear that the shadow creature was keeping the cosmonaut alive. There’s no way that you get shot point blank in the head, and start breathing again. And that seemed to be confirmed from Timur’s experience of shocking his brother so much that he flatlined, then miraculously recovered.

    I do think it would be interesting if we were to find out that the shadow wasn’t a creature from space after all, but that it was a result of some Russian experimentation. Really neat.

    I also agree with your assessment that the focus on Broyles took away from the focus on the other characters. While it was very important to get that insight into Broyles, and I appreciated it, I felt like Peter, Olivia, and Walter had no development whatsoever. While I wouldn’t expect the episode to focus on them, I did feel like it took too much away from them, and I found that kind of distracting. I can’t think of another episode where they seemed to insignificant and lacking in depth.

    All in all, I thought the episode was good. Not spectacular, but still very enjoyable. It had its faults, but I liked it and I was thrilled we got a new episode this week. I thought the concept was fascinating, the character focus on Broyles was important, and the effects and the actual production of the episode was very well done and very creepy.

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  3. says

    May I say FOCUS to the writers……The ideas are very good, GREAT, truly, but the writing is not as good as it could be. You have to have a story line with different unexplained events melting into the whole Walter, Peter, Olivia idea. You have to take time to think it through. THINK WRITERS….I know you have it in you. So stop with the, this is OK and start really going past today and start thinging about tomorrow. Start thinking about the big picture. Start moving the story a little faster. You can get a point across and keep the action moving if the story is there. Please for the sake of FRINGE,a great idea, a great story for the sake of the show and the actors and directors who try so hard. WRITER’s move it along…………………. get into the what is Fringe Science and stop spinning around it.

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  4. Alina says

    Excellent review, and I agree with you completely- I almost want to go as far as to say that this episode was the worst I’ve seen in the past two seasons of Fringe, but that is only because the plot was not one that could be successfully and wholly completed in a single episode. I also understand that the producers behind Fringe are creating stand-alone episodes to help audience members who haven’t watched previous episodes stay engaged throughout the show, but they really need to stop that, it’s seriously hurting the show. Fringe has an amazing story, with the alternate universe and all, and it has some truly fascinating characters (Olivia, Peter, and Walter to name a few), but I am very worried about the future of the show after seeing the puzzling route the second season has taken so far.

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  5. Pedro says

    To me this is the 2nd worst episode of Fringe ever. The number one worst episode of Fringe being “The Adventures of Moleboy and his Daddy.” :)

    The writers/directors/producers are ruining this show for me with the new format.

    Nice review Rocco.

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    • jkyarr says

      ROFL! Pennsylvania is now insulted yet again! Not only are they the back-woodsy hicks that “cling to their guns and religion” but they’re also home to “The Adventures of Moleboy and his Daddy.” ROFLMAO!!! Good one Pedro!

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  6. Frustrated says

    I’m getting to the point where I’m simply going to stop following the show. It’s bad enough that the threat of cancellation hangs over its head everyday; but when the core storyline isn’t progressing… that’s just frustrating. I looked forward to S02 from the last second of the S01 finale… but it seems I’ve been wasting my time. For God’s sake, there are shape-changing soldiers who have located their leader about to open the gate between our sides. Does that not mean anything?

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    • Pedro says

      I agree with you.

      In fact, my wife just had time to watch Earthling. She told me that she’s about to give up and just wait for the DVD. I am not to that point yet, but I am very disappointed in where we are in the story-line.

      The problem is that I doubt seriously that the writers/producers/directors or anyone from Fox/Bad Robot/Fringe actually looks at blogs like this one.

      No offense Rocco. I love the site.

      I just think most of us agree about standalones being to dominate, but I don’t know how we can make a difference.

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  7. YeeYang1 says

    mlj102, Peter, Walter and oLivia have been the focus of every single episode so far. Broyles rarely got any focus nor any character development, so what is wrong with Broyles taking center stage for once? Shows do that, you know.
    They bring a secondary character into the limelight since the show can’t possibly always revolve around the main characters.

    Frustrated, and its frustrating that only 6 episodes aired and people are always being whiny over stuff that will happen later.

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    • mlj102 says

      YeeYang1, let me try to clarify. I didn’t mean to imply that I disliked the focus on Broyles. On the contrary, like you, I felt that it was a great choice and I liked getting to focus on Broyles for a change and to learn more about the character. I understand that all characters should get to be the main focus every now and then, and I’m glad they do that. It makes things more well rounded.

      However, if they were to do another episode focusing on Broyles (or any other secondary character) in the future, I would like to see it be a little more balanced. In this episode, I felt that, as a result of having the focus on Broyles, all of the other characters became kind of insignificant, uninteresting, and one dimensional. It was like there was no depth to them, and I found that to be kind of distracting throughout the episode. Again, I’m not saying that I wanted Peter to be just as important as Broyles in this episode. But I do think they could have used the other characters better. In my opinion, past episodes have had a better balance in those regards. Even in an episode focusing on Olivia, Peter still had some development. Or in an episode centered on Charlie, Walter was also a significant character. Does that make sense?

      I wasn’t trying to say that Broyles shouldn’t have the chance to take center stage every now and then. All I meant was that, when he (or any other character) takes center stage, I hope the other characters will still show some amount of depth or development, and I didn’t feel that they did in this episode.

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      • YeeYang1 says

        Well, I have to disagree with the whole Peter having character development when an episode centers around Olivia or even Walter. Peter, Broyles and Astrid are the only people on this show who has not had an episode centered around them, (Olivia and Walter are the only two people the writers have been giving all the good stuff to) Frankly, Astrid and Broyles haven’t any character development at all so why should they bring Broyles and Astrid center stage and STILL give attention to Olivia and Walter.

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        • mlj102 says

          Okay. Well, I’m not going to get too involved in this debate once again — I’ve already shared my opinion about this issue before in great length and I don’t think there’s any reason to rehash all that. But I will say that, in my opinion, Olivia, Peter, and Walter are the primary characters of the show, thus it only makes sense that they would be the ones with all the “attention” on the show. That doesn’t mean that Broyles and Astrid and other similar characters shouldn’t be developed more; only that it should come as no surprise that Olivia, Peter, and Walter are the ones who get the majority of the story lines. And just because Astrid or Broyles might be the focus of an episode here and there, doesn’t mean Olivia, Peter and Walter should be reduced to insignificant characters with nothing going on. I think they can still center an episode around Broyles or Astrid while still showing some development of Olivia, Peter, and Walter.

          And before everyone starts arguing that Peter never gets any attention, I’ll say right now that I don’t think that’s entirely true. While I will admit that he hasn’t had the amount of focus that Olivia or Walter have had, I don’t think it’s at all accurate to say “Peter never does anything” or “nothing interesting ever happens to Peter” or “Olivia gets all the good stories” because I think there have been a lot of things that Peter has done and I think they have introduced many fascinating stories about Peter and that we will see those explored more as the show progresses.

          But that’s just my perspective. And if you feel differently, that’s okay. Certainly everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

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    • Pedro says

      YeeYang – The 6 episodes is more than one quarter of what we get to see this season.

      The argument that you and a few others make is that we will see the storyline later.

      There is no evidence that the 3 standalone to 1 storyline ratio is going to be abandoned as the season progresses.

      As far as I can recall I have not seen an interview where anyone stated that the format was going to change.

      It is frustrating to me when people (like you) call us whiny for wanting a more balanced show.

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  8. Betynha says

    I agree with Matthew, this was a great piece of episode, though it is a stand-alone. And I must agree that they could have gotten this story line and made more.

    I am really getting upset with these stand-alone thing. Can’t wait for more about other universes… after all this is all about the show!

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  9. hal says

    It also strikes me as quite ridiculous that they simply all forget that those shape shifter guys are about to open the gate between worlds.. William Bell and Nina made it clear that it was of extreme importance that this doesn’t happen.. and yet, assuming the episodes following the moment they resurrect their leader-head-thing a few weeks have already passed… what’s going on?
    Sure, it’s just some fluke, like they just aren’t ready to destroy the universe.. not until these damn 1 off stories are finished for a few episodes cos they can’t flesh out enough of the good stuff consistently.. With fringe you can never expect the really good episodes to happen on a weekly basis.. Which isn’t a bad thing.. but this was bad. I mean.. if this shadow was disintegrating people why is there still a glare in the dead bodies eye? when they are gray ash..inside.. why isnt the outside of their body gray too? that doesnt make any sense..its just to be cool looking.. but when you think about it you realize its just to add senseless things to wow the audiences..the stupid ones that is..
    I’m also really tired of all the random nobodys that are in each episode(the ones that die usually) all live in this upper class nice looking places. In reality the people that are gonna die are usually hobos and shit. Need more dying hobos JJ!!11

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  10. Frobozz says

    This episode was another “No Brainer” in an increasing line of “No Brainers.”

    But seriously…I always thought “No Brainer” from season one was extremely weak…stand-alone, bad-guy-of-the-week, no connection to the Pattern whatsoever. This season though, they’ve taken this formula and produced several. I know some people like the stand-alone stuff but man…it’s like they’re padding this season out. It’s like they don’t have a lot to work with so they’ve cooked up several “No Brainer” style episodes to fill in space.

    This story though, could have been ripped from any “monster of the week” episode from any season of the X-Files. Try to picture the same story, but with Mulder and Scully. It’s interchangeable. (And even similar a bit to the “dark matter” guy with the shadow that killed people and turned them into a pile of ash on the floor.)

    In my personal rating system I wouldn’t give this one a 7/10…maybe 5, tops.

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  11. qiguai says

    Although this is seemingly of no relation, I would like to point out some odd similarities that I found between Broyles and the literary character Don Quijote from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes. For those who are not familiar with the story, Don Quijote is the alter-ego of Alonso Quijana, who enjoys collecting and reading ancient tales about chivalrous men and heroes such as Alexander the Great and Hercules. He collects these tales obsessively, selling all the grain from his farmland to buy books which he stores in a huge library. He takes it upon himself to expand upon his honor and become a knight errant, traveling abroad, cleansing the world by killing that which is bad and protecting the weak in the name of his love Dulcinea del Toboso who knows little about his misadventures. Throughout the novel, Don Quijote is made fun of because everyone but him can tell that he is a lunatic. Don Quijote is sadly unaware of this because he has fully immersed himself in his own chivalrous reality. Similarly, Broyles also has an idealistic view of his job, taking it upon himself to protect the world and protect his family (as he specifically references, his wife). This results in himself putting great distance between him and his wife. Broyles essentially gives everything he has to the protection of his ideals. His work also leads him to question in some manner what exactly reality is. After all, anyone who is not in the Fringe Division could easily say that Broyles is insane.

    I found this quite interesting. The parallels are not extensive, but I thought they merited looking into.

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  12. jkyarr says

    I have to say that for me, other than some character development for Broyles, this episode flopped. This was not the way to come back from the world series hiatus. We needed more tie-ins to the overarching storyline. I discussed this with a coworker who watches and here is the kernel of what we concluded. See if you agree.

    With the way things are going these days for new TV series you’d better do your damnedest to get on TV, get a following, and then get your story told before the inevitable happens and you’re not renewed by the network for next season!

    Quit with the “filler” stand-alones and tell us the story! Season 1 was necessarily like this because the whole crew never knew if they were going to get a season 2. So keep acting like you don’t know if the show will air next week when you measure out the meaningful content for each show. Tell the story in just as focused and deliberate way as you did in season 1. Take time to tell every part of it you want to tell, but give us a sense that you’re still telling us things that are relevant. As fans we hate feeling sidelined off on a tangent!

    I.E. It occurred to me as I watched that the shadowman from this episode could have been David Robert Jones. How much intrigue could have been built around just having one of the cast muse on that possibility? Use the world / paradigm you’ve created to give these slower plot moving episodes some persistence. Why no Sam Weiss, Nina Sharp, or Olivia’s Sister / niece in this episode? Astrid might as well have not been there for all the hollow scooby doo lines she had to deliver.

    They’ve really fed us a particular diet of high nutrient fringe during season 1. and now season 2 has come along with so many empty calories and unsatisfying filler fluff that it tastes mostly inedible by comparison.

    I’m confident that such sentiment will earn me a “So quit watching!” or 2, but I’ll refute that treatment right here and now. I haven’t seen anyone else posting spreadsheets and tracking lore trends from the premiere on. I can say with no level of even slight exaggeration that I’ve seen each episode 4 or 5 times each. I’m as invested in this show as anyone can be and I’ve offered solutions to what I perceive as problems. “So quit watching” is how you treat complainers who give no thought to solutions. Don’t go there on me!

    I’m having a hard time being as in to season 2 as I was in season 1. The only metaphor that seems to explain it is that the waters aren’t as deep yet. It still feels like we’re in the shallow end of the pool for this season. We’re not being as engaged by the episodes to dig deeper into the lore or the science or the characters as often nor with as much incentive. Its not that they’re uninteresting, its just that they continue to be unknowns. “Mercury-bots from over there” isn’t as dissect-able a topic as “what happens to teleported matter? (like Jones)” or “how is trans-dimensional teleportation different from trans-locational teleportation in it’s side effects?”

    Still John Noble continues to give incredible dimension and personality to the character of Walter in an extraordinary way! The beauty of this show in particular is that a later episode could revisit the seeming nonsense of this last week’s episode and cast its events in a sightly different light and leave us all as stunned and thrilled by the twist as ever! That’s what I really hope for!

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    • mlj102 says

      “They’ve really fed us a particular diet of high nutrient fringe during season 1. and now season 2 has come along with so many empty calories and unsatisfying filler fluff that it tastes mostly inedible by comparison.”

      Your assessment of the two seasons up to this point caught my attention because, personally, I see it completely opposite. I felt that Season 1 was setting up a lot of things and, in many ways, it was introducing us to the characters and to the world of Fringe. As a result, I felt like the episodes in Season 1, while all wonderful episodes, contained a lot of empty information, repetitive information, and, in general, it was more choppy. But I feel this season has flowed together a lot more smoothly and that there’s been greater continuity and they’ve built on what they started in Season 1. I think the character development has been outstanding, the writing is better, the stories are more engaging, and that in these first few episodes of the season, they’re setting the stage for some huge developments. While I admit that there hasn’t been a lot of focus (yet) on the other reality or the pattern, etc., I wouldn’t say that the episodes have been filled with “fluff” or “empty” information.

      Perhaps one reason it feels like Season 1 had a lot more substantial things is because it was the first season, so everything was new. Now, however, things that might have been huge in Season 1, aren’t such a big deal.

      Another thought is that it’s still really rather soon to be jumping to conclusions about this season and comparing it to Season 1. Judging Season 1 as a whole, of course Season 2 is going to fall short. But that’s because we’ve only had 6 episodes so far. Look back at the first six episodes of Season 1 and think about how things appeared at that point. I think the reactions were very similar then as they are now. There were some really stand out episodes (pilot, The Arrival) and there were some downers (Same Old Story, Power Hungry). I think at this point last season (though I can’t be sure), a lot of people were expressing similar frustrations about wanting things to move forward. And it’s easy to get like that on a week to week basis. But when you look back on Season 1 as a whole, it really doesn’t feel that bad, and even the “bad” episodes aren’t as bad as you remember them being (at least for me). I think it will be similar for this season. I imagine we’ll look back at it and realize that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed at the time.

      In my opinion, so far Season 2 has been spectacular! I think it has really built off of the introduction from Season 1 and has continued to uncover amazing things. In general, I feel like Fringe has found its stride and is going strong. It just feels like the writers have found the right balance and are getting comfortable with where they’re going. I think there’s a big difference in the quality of the episodes since Season 1, and I think it’s for the better. The episodes feel more powerful, more focused, more intriguing, and I think the writing is better, the characters are stronger, and that we’re in for a great ride this season!

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      • Page 48 says

        “In my opinion, so far Season 2 has been spectacular!”

        OMG, is that the “Fringe” flavoured Kool-Aid talking? I want “Fringe” to be all that and then some, too, because there is precious little on TV that’s worth watching at the best of times, especially post-“Alias”. However, the series I’ve been watching falls well short of ‘spectacular’, and has, at times, been known to struggle to rise to the level of ‘okay’.

        That said, I’m sticking with “Fringe” because of what I believe to be its unrealized potential.

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  13. says

    I thought this episode was pretty good overall. I could see them revisiting the shadow-man, cosmonaut, CIA conspiracy in a later episode. It was definately a better episode than Desirable Objects. I think they need these MOTW episodes to keep the myth arc episodes on a clear well thought out storyline and not get too confused too quickly, a la LOST.

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  14. Page 48 says

    Now might be a good time to review JJ’s early promotion of “Fringe”. You know, the one where he throws “Alias” under the bus for having the audacity to try to keep viewers engaged on a weekly basis (God forbid).

    It’s all about keeping it simple for the folks who miss
    their weekly dose of “Murder, She Wrote”.

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  15. Gillian says

    Didn’t John Scott have his own set of files just like Broyles in that basement in S1?

    I like how there was a more international theme to this story, there surely can’t be just one Fringe Division out there.

    The body was handed over to the Russians so how did the CIA send it up into space?

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  16. David F says

    7/10 come on this episode sucked like every episode this year with the exception of 4, and its pretty shocking that even these pointless, lifeless episodes get your support.5/10 at best. If you want to watch a great episode of tv watch ep 4 of dollhouse Belonging, puts this show and its sycophantic “fans” to shame. Oh thats right, that show is not worthy of your attention, even when it knocks it out the park, stick to ff garbage if you want.

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    • Page 48 says

      “Dollhouse” 2.4 was best of series, for sure…and just in time for a 5 or 6 week hiatus. Momentum Deferred as William Bell would say.

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  17. mj says

    you’re too harsh when you say it’s too slow.

    i was wondering did the shadow guy get brought back to life, but then i remembered he was shot in the head and md wanted the head undamaged when they brought the traitor, olive’s boyfriend back to life.

    and it seemed, or that is, i think the episode implied that the dead russian was sent back into space, as if in attempts to lure another shadow.

    what ever the case may be, im sure the observer knows how to kill the shadow, my personal theory is that it jumped into the tv, a little strenuous on the plot, but interesting, that is the observer can put a shadow in the tv, by force.

    to what purpose do the assassins in mercury powered suits gather?

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