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Fringe: Unearthed

“Unless you believe, you will not understand.”

The rumors about this episode were flying all over the internet. It’s from last season but never aired! It’s from an alternate universe! It’s a ploy to steal ratings from Heroes! Well, as Peter says, “People are free to believe whatever they want.” My thoughts? It’s just an episode and there is no master plan.

I kept my eyes peeled for evidence that we were in the alternaverse, but didn’t see any telltale clues. Peter made a joke about it being Tuesday that seemed more fitting for last season’s airing schedule, but that could all be part of the master plan. Along with Astrid’s hair.

The Theme of the Week seems to be belief, but I don’t really understand how (it’s just that all of the juicy quotes are pointing me in that direction). This felt like a great standalone—I really enjoyed it, mostly because the actress playing Lisa really held it together—but not like a profound philosophical meditation on the nature of faith and trust in the Powers that Be.

But the question of trust that comes from belief is really the question of Fringe, right? Do we trust Orci, Kurtzman, and Abrams to take us where we want to go and not to string us along? I’m leaning towards no. Do we trust them to remain faithful to the universe(s) they’ve created? I’m getting nervous: the hullabaloo surrounding this episode screamed “ploy” more than “easter egg” or “great addition to the complex mythological system which is only being subtly revealed.”

I keep thinking of the Simpsons plug in “Of Human Action.” Setting a scene in Springfield really took me out of the story, and I felt like the producers were playing me—not like I was watching a great game being played, but like I was a rapidly-deflating football being tossed around for ad revenue. Shouldn’t a great show make me forget that I’m nothing more than a statistic to the bean counters? Shouldn’t a great show make me believe?

The Good:

• Walter: “He’s my son, and despite his narrow-mindedness, I’m quite proud.”

• Peter: “What happened to subjects one through five?”
Walter: “I believe they settled with the university out of court.”

• Peter: “We’re kinda partial to freaks in this lab.”

• Lisa has the hots for Peter, and she sensed that Olivia and Peter were, like, interested in each other.

The Bad:

• Lisa and her mother got into a fight about driving—and the young girl only had a learner’s permit. Advice of the week: if all you’ve got is a permit, you’re just not going to win that fight, kids.

It’s a Theory. It Certainly Is:

• Priest: “Are you suggesting that Lisa is possessed?”
Walter: “I wasn’t, but…[insert rant here]”

• I think the underpass where Charlie beat up the guy was the same underpass where John Scott got shot in the pilot. Yes?

• Peter was always sick in school. Even by the time he was seventeen?

Oh, well. It was a fun episode with neat consciousness-shifting. A good standalone with lots of funny lines. I even spotted the Observer coming out of church (weird).

Two out of four Isaiahs.

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


  1. Finally, proof that J.J. Abrams reads billiedoux.com:


    There's a minor (and to me, not-surprising) casting spoiler in the article, but it mostly discusses the possibility of setting an end-date for Fringe a la Lost. I think it's a great idea.

  2. I definitely think this episode is from last season. After all, Charlie, Olivia's partner, died at the beginning of this season, so his presence makes me think this was pre Fall 2009. Or did we all know that already? I don't follow Internet buzz much.

    I'm guessing it originally got dropped from the schedule for some reason or other, probably because it's not very good, what with all the artificial, heavy-handed religious discussion:

    -Hi, I'm an FBI woman trying to help your daughter, and I have been nothing but nice and courteous to you.
    -Oh, you probably look down on me because I have faith.
    -Uh, no, I don't think that's even come up... Did I miss a segue?

    My guess is Fox decided it was worth airing now instead of a Lie to Me rerun, which would explain why it's not at the regular time and Thursday's episode was still advertised as "The Return of Fringe after an all-new Bones!"

    I agree. No master plan here. Just a stray episode to fill a vacant slot.

  3. I'm so glad I read reviews here. I often misunderstand and/or misinterpret some lines. When Lisa told Liv to make her move quickly I somehow thought *she* was making a move on Liv. I don't know how I came to this conclusion and was puzzled as to why the Fringe PTB decided to hint on lesbianism so out of the blue. But the review cleared it all up. Thanks, Josie

    I hope they aired this episode because they decided to bring Lisa again. I was really impressed by the actress and would accept any excuse to see her again. Her "possessed" voice was terrific. And she is also good eye candy, which doesn't hurt.

    Watching Kirk Acevedo being Charlie again was just sad.

  4. WTF? This definitely seemed like it was aired out of sequence, or "Unearthed" from a previous season. It seems extra weird that it's just slotted into the same "out of order" place on the DVD set. I kept waiting for some brilliant twist at the end that explained why Charlie was suddenly alive again and no one seemed to think it odd. But no, we just got the S1 X-Files "twist" ending. Sigh. I'm kind of hoping this will make a brilliant kind of sense once I get a few more episodes down the line, but for the moment, consider me very perplexed.

  5. Interestingly, on the Blu-Ray release, they have pulled this episode out of the show order and added it onto the last disc as a Bonus Feature. Where, arguably, it belongs.

    Not this show's strongest outing.


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