Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Fringe: Snakehead

“I didn’t know.”

Fringe hasn’t really been doing it for me lately. The individual episodes have been solid, but I don’t feel an “Oooh! Fringe is on tonight! What will happen this week?” twinge on Thursdays. It looks like this season is structured sandwich-style: mythology bread at the beginning and end of the season, and meaty stand-alones in the middle, with occasional mustardy dabbles of pseudo-arc like last week’s episode.

This episode definitely cut the mustard. Human trafficking, international organized crime, squiddy drugs, deadpan humor, germaphobes and magical cure-alls. And, on the other hand, Astrid and Walter in peril.

Walter wants to “live with a semblance of dignity and self-respect.” He might even join a gym. He’s definitely chaffing under the constant observation, and he’s also bonding with Astrid. The Astrid-bonding has been brewing for a while, but where’s this “self-actualization” kick coming from? Has this been a-stir, and I’ve missed it? Either way, his emotions were more interesting to me than the actual plot. Astrid’s, too.

Peter, Olivia, and Broyles met under an overpass. Mostly they’ve been meeting in parks: I thought they just liked the fresh air. But I guess Fringe Division is really sub rosa these days.

Our Theme of the Week is the pharmakon: the medicine that’s also poison. Walter thought he could be not-crazy just by asserting his own independence, but he wound up getting his comeuppance via Astrid’s head wound, the same way that the people who wanted to take the magical squiddy thing wound up risking others’ lives for their own well-being. No one wanted anyone to get hurt, but independence and decent health care evidently come at a high price.

The Good:

• Astrid: “Walter, you are not smoking this thing!”

• Walter: “Don’t you dare follow me! [beat] May I borrow some change for the bus fare?”

• Peter: “If you’re buying hand sanitizer in bulk and hermetically sealing all of your windows, you’re either Howard Hughes or actually sick.”

The Bad:

• That big black glove definitely came from someone’s proctological nightmare.

• Two of my favorite LA mystery writers are Jonathan Kellerman and Michael Connelly. Kellerman’s latest book includes a scene where a suspect sneaks a suicide-weapon into a holding cell; Connelly’s latest is all about Hong Kong triads. Either the writers read the same books as I do, or this entire reality just exists in my head and I’m actually strapped down in the super-crazy wing of a mental institution.

• Odd beings bursting out of stomachs are an obvious Alien reference, but they always make me think of Spaceballs first.

Mother Nature’s Disturbing Sense of Humor:

• Squid-ish tapewormy alien things are a very creative gross-out.

• And the shot of the one in the aquarium was really neat.

• Walter now has one of those GPS-trackers that people put in their dogs.

What do you all think? Are you enjoying Fringe? Able to accept it for what it is? Do you wish it had more of an arc?

Three out of four schwartzes.

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


  1. Re: Walter's self actualization. Two episodes before Snakehead, Peter is kidnapped by the psychic control kid and was in very real danger of being killed. Walter started to fall completely apart. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Walter could not really function without Peter. Last episode, Walter met with a different Observer. He immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Observers were going to take Peter away. As Walter becomes stronger mentally, I think he is facing the fact that somehow he is going to lose Peter. I think his self actualization is an attempt to try to be able to cope without Peter. Sadly, Walter found out that at this time he really can't do it without Peter. Even his friendship with Astrid is not enough to keep him grounded. Since we have been shown that Walter's Peter died and Peter is really Alt-Peter I am really looking for the ramifications of Peter finding out the truth. Peter may well be in the position of feeling very conflicted about Walter, while at the same time having to realize that Walter is the only one with the intelligence to save this world, AND Walter can not function without Peter, forcing Peter to choose between the survival of the world or leaving his kidnapper and finding his real world and his real family.

  2. I'm still enjoying "Fringe", but then I'm a sci-fi nerd at heart. I must agree, however, that the buzz of anticipation has worn off for me as well. What I enjoy most about the series is Walter, rather than the universe arc and yucky monsters of the week.

  3. I can't help wishing they would stop beating around the bush. I mean seriously... when is this "war" going to start? And why hire an actor like Lenoard Nimroy and have him in it for about 5 seconds? I hope to God when he does appeat again it isn't a cameo at the end of the ep. I also agree; Walter is slowley regaining self awareness which is brilliant; I would love to see an alter Walter who didn't lose his mind at all but the journey our Walter can go on opens the door for many possibilites. Walter can't live without Peter. I think to lose his son would actually kill him.

  4. This is a decent monster of the week episode, but as Nightowl above commented, the strength of the series is Walter and his relationship with Peter, not the yucky monster of the week. And why were people picking up those horrendous parasites with their bare hands?

  5. The nice thing about watching a series on DVD (especially when you already have a general sense of where things are going) is that the stand alones don't usually bother you as much. Especially when they include great character interactions.

    I was extremely put off by the overgrown, squid-like hookworms, but once the story got to the fantastic Walter-Astrid bits, I was able to look right past the gross-out monster-of-the-week. I absolutely loved Walter's scene on the bus bench, and his concern for Astrid and his horror at what had happened to her was extremely touching. I love the bond those two are developing, and their reunion in the lab following the attack made this episode entirely worth my time.

  6. I'm with Jess. I think the Astrid/Walter relationship, which has always been fun to watch, took a very sweet turn this week. They obviously care about each other and their concern for each other was touching. The scene in the lab at the end always brings a tear to my eye.

    They've come a long way from his not being able to remember her name.

  7. It's so interesting to me to go back and read the reviews and comments from 10 years ago. Fringe is definitely a show that (in my opinion) is made for binge-watching. I can't imagine that I would have watched it each week for all 5 seasons. I have a hard enough time remembering what happened 5 minutes ago, let alone having to wait a whole week for the next episode. I think it would be really interesting to have someone review shows like Fringe now as a binge watch and see how different the feelings about the show might be.

    I also very much appreciate that the reviewers still take the time to reply to comments even 10 years later! It says a lot about the site and the personal investment you all have.

  8. Sherry, thanks so much. I'm enjoying your Fringe comments.

    Doux is something of a time travel site. Although the new stuff gets readers and comments, our classic older shows get the most hits. I'm happy to say that a lot of our writers have been around for years, and I love hearing what new viewers have to say about our old faves.

  9. Billie is right. We are time travelers!


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.