Fringe S2E4: The Arrival

“Morning! Morning!”

We meet a new character tonight, a creepy bald guy whose eating habits reminded me (embarrassingly) of Roswell – in the first scene he eats a roast beef sandwich smothered in pepper, Tabasco sauce, and jalapenos. My kind of man.

On to Peter & Walter, still the most intriguing part of the show. Peter continues to be irritated by his father’s idiosyncrasies. Walter continues to keep Peter up all night by reciting the chemical compounds of root beer. Peter wants out, and tells Olivia as much. This will be his last case, even though she tries to sway him by admitting that Walter will not cooperate without Peter by his side. Walter tells Peter (again) that he is squandering his intelligence and his education. I loved Walter’s overeager “Morning!” to everyone at the base. Was that because he drank too much homemade root beer? He tells Peter to open his mind or someone else will open it for him. Surprisingly threatening, for Walter. And telling, considering what’s about to happen.

This week the gang finds a glowing cylinder that Walter recognizes, but remains silent about. Olivia gets a static-filled late-night phone call from John Scott, but when she tries to trace it there is no record of any call. Broyles reveals a man they call “The Observer,” who is the aforementioned bald guy and appears in a series of crime scene photos from the site of every weird happening connected with the pattern. The Observer has been documented at three dozen scenes. Oh, and some other weird guy is going around town killing people with a gun that blasts energy rays.

Walter becomes increasingly agitated, and refuses to talk about the cylinder. He’s not so sweet and dopey anymore. After screaming at Peter and stabbing Astrid with a syringe, Walter meets with The Observer, who thanks him for hiding the beacon and says he’ll have answers soon. Once the government tracks Walter down, they take him into custody. A furious Walter tells Peter not to be like his mother, always questioning his judgment. I am really curious to find out what the deal is there. But anyway, that’s the last straw, and Peter walks out. He calls someone and asks for work, and right then the Energy Killer appears. Look behind you Pacey!

The Energy Killer tortures Peter to find out where Walter hid the cylinder. There was a lot of dramatic buildup to this – Walter saying cryptic things about Peter intuitively knowing where the thing is, mixed with Peter begging for his life – all with a rather disappointing outcome. Energy Killer uses some weird device to read Peter’s mind, and takes him back to a time when his family was happy. He then finds out about Walter’s many hiding places, and thus discovers where the cylinder is. Isn’t this basically regression therapy? It doesn’t have some “fringe” explanation, like Walter and Peter’s minds bring connected.

In the end, Olivia shoots the Energy Killer in the back. The cylinder explodes, and then vanishes. The Observer appears before Peter, reads his mind, and then shoots him. Peter crumples to the ground.

But after the commercial, we see that he’s fine. Walter apologizes to Astrid for the whole syringe gaffe, but she won’t make eye contact. Peter is now a believer, and willing to do anything for the cause. More importantly, he finally has some sympathy for his father. Walter tells Peter a rambling story about how they were in a car accident when Peter was young, and they were on the verge of death when The Observer rescued them. He read Walter’s mind just as he did Peter’s, and Walter knew that one day he would be called upon to return the favor. Today was that day.

At the same time, Olivia goes home to an empty fridge. She gets slightly better each week but she still doesn’t have much of a personality. One thing that might help is if we saw more of Olivia in her off time (a la Sydney and her friends), but at the same time I’m starting to get the impression that the writers are keeping her a blank slate on purpose. Anyway, she eats dry cereal and whiskey for dinner, and when she looks up John Scott is standing before her. WTF?!?!


Linzey said...

I thought of Roswell too!

Anonymous said...

Olivia shooting the guy in the back was a bit much. Good guys don't shoot people in the back. To the credit of the writers, though, they show her being troubled by having killed a guy afterwards. Obviously it's not meant to be a focus or anything, but Alias always bugged me with how Sydney could kills guys at the drop of a hat and show no reaction. So Olivia's subtle reaction was pretty well handled.

The only really unfortunate part about the episode was the "echo speaking" between Peter and the bald guy was already done earlier this year on an episode of Doctor Who, "Midnight". Otherwise the episode was pretty cool.