This week’s episode of Fringe is a bit of a mixed bag, it is essentially a ‘monster-of-the-week episode’ but it also moves the storyline of Peter’s disapearance further in a proper way.
As for the plot…
It begins by showing two boys chasing another even younger boy, evidently one of the boys was slighted and seeks revenge. The younger boy hides out in a abandoned sewer drain and the two other young boys chase after him. Just as one of the boy is set to beat up the boy the they were chasing both of the bullies are grabbed by a strange creature which paralyses them which gives the younger boy time to escape.
In the next scene we see Walter being questioned by the Doctor Sumner (William Sadler), he interviews Walter on a monthly basis and now confronts him with the reports that people have noticed Walter having hallucinations. Walter dismisses the reports and states nothing is wrong with him, despite seeing Peter again in a reflective surface.
Olivia meanwhile suggest to agent Lee that he can always talk with her if the Fringe subject material would freak him out. During the conversation agent Broyles calls to inform them two bodies have been found.
The bodies belong to two 12 year olds that have been missing since the day before, the mystery lies in the fact that they are already in a advance state if decomposition. Personally I find the lack of drama surrounding the death of children a little cold even if they were bullies, the family of the kids are also not mentioned. Walter while back at the lab dares not to speculate as to cause of death or the decomposition but a third track of sneakers leads Olivia and Lincoln to believe that another child may have been involved. Quickly they find out the tracks belong to Aaron Snathon (I hope i got the name right) a 10 year old boy, Olivia and Lee take him to Walter’s lab to find out of he has been infected by something, we see the boy make drawings in a clipboard that a little later becomes a big spoiler.
Examining one of the bodies of the teens Walter notices a foul stench coming from the body which he can’t identify, Walter also demands to inspect the other body but agent Broyles first confronts him with the report that he is having hallucinations. Walter tries to deny this but then Peter starts to talk to him leading to very erratic behaviour on Walter’s part.
Aaron meanwhile peruses around Walter’s lab, after finding a toy Walter gets very angry and states it belongs to his dead son Peter. Walter quickly enough calms down and tells Aaron the story of how his son died of a disease, how he went to the other universe and took Peter from Walternate but that upon their return Peter died when they fell though the ice. Aaron then asks surly why Walter doesn’t think he should be in a mental institute.
Astrid finds out that the body is sucking oxygen towards it, Walter notices a fungus growing on the body and quickly states that the body should be placed in a confined glass box. After which in yet again grizzly detail it explodes and we see a cloud of fungus spores float in the box.
Walter realizes the same will happen to the other body which is still at the morgue, he contacts Olivia and Lee and suggest they evacuate the morgue as quickly as possible. They are however too late and the body explodes and infects the medical examiners working there.
Agent Broyles realizes that the fungus must be eradicated and sets out to do just that. Aaron meanwhile stays at Walter’s lab as his mother and father are out of the country and the people he is staying with don’t talk to him. Walter sees a lot of Peter in him and slowly begins to wonder whether there is a connection between the fungus and Aaron.
Walter now makes a number of erratic rants against Olivia and Broyles during which he confuses Peter’s name with Aaron’s. Walter states that by killing rh fungus htye are killing Peter.
When Olivia and Lee re-enter the storm drain they use UV lights to fight the fungus, however this has an adverse effect on Aaron and situation quickly becomes an emergency. Broyles is reluctant to stop fighting the fungus not in the least as it is spreading. Walter sees more apparitions of Peter and people wonder if he is going insane. Finally Broyles orders Olivia and Lee to attack the fungus with a chemical agent. Walter urges Aaron to let go of the bond with the fungus as he duduces it is a mental bond. Aaron is reluctant as he states he has no one in the world and the fungus protects him. Finally Walter manages to convice him and Aaron terminates the mental bond, leading Olivia and Lee being successful in fighting the fungus.
That said, the last quarter of the episode was very predictable, after Olivia and Lee found a drawing similar to the one Aaron made in the cave/drain things were pretty much spoilered and I was just watching the characters going through their paces.
What follows next is as far as I know the only reason to watch the episode intently. Walter has decided that he is going insane and with precision instruments hopes to destroy a part of his brain in order to stop seeing apparitions of Peter. Olivia was earlier in the episode seen with a drawing of Peter and seemed to use facial recognition software to find out who it is. As Olivia enters Walter’s lab in order to congratulate Walter on fighting the fungus we hear a number of soft blows, as Olivia enters Walters office we see Walter with an instrument struck into his eye that has pierced his brain, in the other hand he is the small hammer. Quickly Olivia extracts the tool from Walter’s brain, as Walter tells in an erratic tone that he is seeing a face of a man and hearing his voices something seems to click with Olivia. Olivia holds up the drawing of the face and says the man appeared in her dreams. Walter knows he isn’t mad and together they vow to find out who the man is…..
The episode very much functions as a introduction to next’s weeks episode, the plot of Peter’s disapearance is the real draw while the plot of the man eating fungus is unbelieveble not in the least because off-screen a lot seems to be happening that would make the show almost jump the shark. Suggesting that the fungus was spreading all over the city was from that point a mistake, and yet we have no real idea how the fungus came to be. Suggesting it was a mutation of the fungus that feeds on ants was just a little too convenient. The episode had in my mind a fair amount of sloppy writing.
The character of Lincoln Lee seems to be growing in this series, as of yet no reappearance of agent Francis and it wasn’t mentioned whether he was rock climbing or taking up stamp collecting. Let’s just hope he will be back next episode because otherwise he might as well not come back.
The episode like the ones before it from season 4 seems hellbent on making it more accessible to new viewers and as such appears to be a little bit dumbed down. I also wonder if the budget for the series has been slashed for just like the last two episodes the amount of special effects seems less.
Rating; 3.24 million. that is a slight bump over last week but then again the episode had a good promo trailer.
Next week’s episode is entitled ‘Subject 9’.
Fringe Subject 9 will see the return of characters such as Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) and is written by Jeff Pinker (Lost and Profiler) and J.h Wyman.