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Fringe: Earthling

“I just wanted to make the world a safer place.”

As though the traditional threats of MRSA and staph infections, and the new threat of swine flu, weren’t enough, now we’ve got a shadowy Russian radiation-craving night nurse cosmonaut to worry about at the hospital. We also have the even more frightening threat of what looks like a string of stand-alone episodes to contend with—this one was pure mind-candy, with creepy ghosts and fulfilled vendettas and a touching emotional scene. But there wasn’t an ounce of mythology here. Not. One. Ounce.

When the Russian was electrocuting his brother it was very Dr. Frankenstein, which made the old quote at the beginning of the episode seem strange: was there an implicit comparison between Walter and the Russian?

There was a definite comparison between Broyles and the Russian: four years ago, both just wanted to take care of their families. Broyles lost his, but the Russian got away. Now, Broyles gets to exorcise his demons and get his vengeance on, 24-style (the episode was directed by 24 alum Jon Cassar). He’s an impressively forceful man, that Broyles.

Olivia was concerned for Broyles’s accountability if he went rogue—or rouge, I guess, given the ‘pinko’ theme of tonight’s episode. She was looking out for her co-workers and her boss: I think the old Olivia is back. Hooray!

Olivia took care of Broyles, Peter checked Walter’s vest, and Broyles and the Russian were all about taking care of their families, which is our Theme of the Week.

The Good:

• For some reason, the red walls of the restaurant reminded me of Spy Dad’s advice to Sydney’s friend Francie.

• Broyles has put on some weight. He looks good.

• At first, I thought ‘Dusty’ was cheating on his wife and that’s why he was lying about the airport lounge.

• The music was so very Alias, with those moody Slavic tones.

• Peter: ‘Walter, that is a man’s remains that you’re playing with.’

• Walter: ‘Just because they’re on the other side of the world, is it so hard to believe that they have their own brand of the inconceivable?’

• Walter asking Astrid to get some licorice for his guests, the way someone might ask their spouse to make coffee.

• Walter: ‘Yes, I can dominate her, Agent Broyles!’

The Bad:

• There weren’t any ‘previously on’—just a recap of what the Fringe division is and how Walter is like Frankenstein. That’s always a sign that we’re getting a stand-alone. Our first of the season, right?

• My lists of ‘Bads’ have been getting shorter and shorter. That’s a good thing for the show, a bad thing for consistent reviewing structure. After next week I might remove the category altogether.

This Doesn’t Make Any Sense (as Walter said):

• I don’t quite understand how you have to ‘solve’ the formula for something when you’ve already got the ‘map’ (or whatever it’s called) for how all the little bits fit together. And with that statement, I reveal my utter ignorance of how chemistry works.

And now I’m out of things to say. I really enjoyed this episode, but in retrospect it feels just as insubstantial as the shadowy villain. It’s certainly the best stand-alone Fringe has ever given us, though.

I rode in an elevator with Ian Ziering today. He’s the guy from the first 90210 whose name has become a byword for an actor who is utterly unemployable after his hit show is over. He very sweetly let me exit the elevator first, and for that I have decided to honor him in my own small way:

Four out of four Ian Zierings.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

5 comments:

  1. Very funny review, Josie. I loved your rogue/rouge/pinko line. It fits nicely with the assorted Sarah Palin books coming out.

    As for Ian Ziering, let's not forget his brief return to near glory on 'Dancing with the Stars.' I don't actually watch that show, but I remember hearing he had a good run on it in one of the early seasons. I think.

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  2. You made me laugh, too, Josie.

    I don't know who Ian Ziering is, thus proving your premise.

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  3. I loved the opening scene in the restaurant, with Broyles and the little boy playing peekaboo. Which of course means something in the context of an episode about family in which we discover how Broyles lost his.

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  4. I'm loathe to complain about an episode focusing on Broyles and giving Lance Reddick a moment in the spotlight, but the lack of mytharc this week was definitely a bummer. I don't need full-on arc treatment every week, but I like getting the little drips and drabs every week. Even if it's just Olivia visiting with Sam Weiss at the bowling alley.

    Plus, the whole "monster from space" thing kept giving me unpleasant flashbacks to that horrible Season 1 X-Files episode on the same subject. Granted, this was a far better episode than that (this monster was actually creepy, not laughable), but even thinking about 'Space'put me in a bad mood for this episode. Moving on.

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  5. Well, for me the episode also reminded me very much of the season 2 X-Files episode "Soft Light" where a man's shadow kills people. This second season of Fringe seems to resample many of the ideas from the X-Files.

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