‘Fringe’ recap: Bugs, and a game-changer
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Gearing up for Friday night’s “Fringe,” I read online that this episode would have a game-changing twist, and I totally called it. The first thing that popped into my head was ... well, I’ll wait to talk about it until after the jump. Don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t watched yet, but I called it.
“Immortality” takes place back in the Deja Vuniverse where people travel in zeppelins, the opening titles are red, and “I Want You to Want Me” is a country-western song. I feared that once Olivia and Fauxlivia switch back to their home universes, we wouldn’t see much of the other side, but here we get a whole episode from the parallel world as its Fringe Division deals with a case of spontaneous bug eruption.
Now you can’t talk about a Fox sci-fi show doing a bug episode without acknowledging the “X-Files” bug episode. Remember that one? It wasn’t my favorite adventure of Mulder and Scully, but when they had the bug run across the screen, that was great television. Fauxlivia and her Fringe Division are on the trail of Dr. Anton Silva (I made sure I spelled it correctly as he requested). Silva is a genius working on a vaccine to the avian flu with an enzyme from a parasite that lives inside sheep. The problem is, on that side, all the sheep died out back in 2001. (Imagine that. A world without sweaters.) Dr. Silva attempts to bring the parasite back from extinction with the help of a few human hosts that he goes to great lengths to find. Seriously, picking one up at a zeppelin-docking station at the top of the Empire State Building and the other in a busy diner? There have to be easier places to find test subjects.
Dr. Silva’s motivations actually almost seem reasonable. He thought he was close to a major breakthrough when suddenly the hosts to the bugs generating that breakthrough die out. He’s not the only evil scientist who’s surprisingly grounded in this episode. What about Walternate (or Mr. Secretary as I like to call him)? Up to this point, Walternate has gone to any length to win the war he believes is taking place between universes, but he does have one limit. He won’t experiment on children. We know very well that the Walter in our universe doesn’t have that, or any other, limit. I found myself rooting for Walternate in this episode, and that’s the best kind of villain. The one who is a hero in his own eyes.
Walternate’s not the only one whom we see in more depth. “Immortality” felt like an episode of the other universe’s “Fringe.” Before it had always been mostly about our Olivia stuck in their world. This story was all about them. In their world. Dealing with their own mysteries. Their personalities shone through, in moments such as when Lincoln and Charlie were joking around in the Empire State Building bathroom (how playful and honest that seemed). Lincoln stepped up to take the place of Broyles, even though he looks like he was 12 in that chair and apparently can’t keep a secret. Plus the scene in which Fauxlivia tried to reconnect with her boyfriend after her mission to our world. I would watch a show about their Fringe Division. Looks fun.
Then there was the game-changer. Fauxlivia is pregnant. Six weeks pregnant, which means she is having Peter’s baby. That is a way better game-changer than last week, when we found out that who Peter chooses determines which universe survives. I wasn’t the biggest fan of that revelation. I don’t want to see how emotions affect science. I want to see how science affects emotions. Fauxlivia traveled to our world and went undercover. A relationship with Peter was part of her mission, but she developed feelings and got knocked up as well. Her fiance’s reaction was perfect (“You were going to marry me”); Walternate’s reaction was creepy perfect; and I can’t wait to see Peter’s, Walter’s, and Olivia’s reactions. That really was a great game-changer, and I called it.
The Bug Girl -- Normally I don’t go for the cute science chicks in TV shows. Mostly because they don’t come off that realistic. The Bug Girl fell in that category for me right away. Would she really be dressed like that while at work studying bugs? But then she got all groupie over Charlie, and that sold it for me. I still didn’t buy her as a scientist, but I loved seeing Charlie get the attention. Though it still doesn’t forgive Fauxlivia’s horrible, horrible pun. Bad, Fauxlivia. Bad.
Astrid Action -- Astrid got a lot of love in this episode. She only got that one scene, spouting out percentages, but she did figure out that the bugs weren’t an epidemic and gave the idea of putting out a Fringe alert on the bugs. Fauxlivia’s fiance couldn’t stop commenting on how great she is and asked where he could get one. Yeah, buddy, get in line.
Spot the Observer -- I saw him. “Fringe” did pick a good place to hide him. Right at the beginning of the episode while Fauxlivia is waiting at the zeppelin station, he is standing in the background, staring out one of the windows. I could see people missing him in the awe of that opening sequence. It was pretty beautiful.
[Update: Anyone catch the ‘Fringe’ shout out on ‘the Cleveland Show’ last night? ‘It’s about space or something.’ Oh, and check out this happy V-Day message from ‘Fringe.’]
-- Andrew Hanson