This week’s episode of Fringe wasted no time, taking off right where we left off from last week where we were teased with the reappearance of David Robert Jones (Jared Harris). Will we find out what he’s doing back and how he managed to survive being sliced in half as a portal between two alternate dimensions closed on him?
Let’s check it out after the jump.
Well the short answer is no, of course not. But we do get a trip down memory lane as a scarred up Jones and a smug Peter (Joshua Jackson) play cat and mouse during Jones’ interrogation. Great move on the Fringe creative team for bringing Harris back because no one plays calm, cool and diabolically evil as well as he does. And yet he’s so lovable on Mad Men! Anyway, let me jump back at bit to how Harris ended up in a room with Peter in the first place. Faux-livia (Anna Torv) and Alt-Lincoln (Seth Gabel) barge in on Jones and his lair of human shape-shifters in suspended animation whist in water tanks. Jones creepily tells him how much he loves his “children” before killing one right in front of the agents. He forebodingly tells them to only imagine what he’s capable of with those he doesn’t care a lick about. Harris’ delivery of dialogue is so calculated and controlled that all he’s gotta do is talk and the tension is palpable.
After a little speech, he willingly goes to Fringe HQ but only to recover a hard-drive that recently-offed human shapeshifter Fayette (Ryan Mcdonald) left behind. We soon learn that Jones is puppet master and is always two steps ahead. If tight-t-shirt (TTS) Broyles (Lance Reddick) and his team doesn’t deliver the hard-drive, he’ll set off a chain of mass civilian killings all over the city. And he means business as the Fringe division calls his bluff causing him to enact his plan to kill an entire ER full of patients and staff. Getting one of his shapeshifters to conference in on speakerphone, the Fringe division helplessly listens as patients scream while the flesh melts off their bones due Jones’ chemical bomb. They’ve got no choice but to give Jones the hard-drive and send him on his merry way. But not to worry – Alt-Lincoln pats himself on the back by telling everyone Jones has ingested a tracking device from his cup of tea.
Of course, we know from last week’s eppy that TTS Broyles is working with Jones as a mole on the inside. Am I the only one who thinks it would be far too convenient if TTS Broyles turned out to be a human shapeshifter? I suspect something far more sinister! Perhaps mutiny in the Fringe division to overthrow Walternate (John Noble)? Maybe it’s just because the ‘over here’ Broyles is such a good guy, I’m determined to think TTS Broyles is a bad ass.
Because he’s in cahoots with Jones, TTS Broyles manages thwart Fringe’s plan to track him, allowing him to escape once again. And Jones’ endgame? We still don’t know, but Peter manages to find out he’s out looking for a rare mineral that has the potential to blow a hole in the universe (likely to reveal itself come season finale time). We get a couple of action sequences of the team trying to catch Jones, but Jones (of course) manages to just slip away. Key outcomes of this exercise- ‘over there” and “over here” have decided they really need to work together to stop this human shapeshifter threat – as a team. Duh, we knew this, but they make it official by gathering around a boardroom table and vocalizing it. And we also get further confirmation that Peter is the key to Jones’ undoing (once again).
In other news, Peter and Olivia share a tender moment after the ‘over here’/’over there’ truce, which furthers my theory that this Olivia is indeed Peter’s Olivia, but she just has amnesia. Poor Lincoln! Also, after a visit from Elizabeth (Orla Brady) from over-there, Walter has decided to help Peter get back to his timeline. Although I love the contrast that Walternate provides, ‘over here’ Walter is just so darn lovable that I’m always wanting more of him.
Clearly this episode had a more expository function as opposed to the mind-blowing reveals, but I think it was a good move to establish that Walternate isn’t the obvious ‘big bad” of this season and to formally establish the two dimensions are working together going forward. It’s so very X2- X-Men United (Singer, 2003). But of course, Fringe has to end on a cliffhanger and give us just enough to whet our appetites. In the closing scene , we see that Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) is actually the mastermind behind it all, typing to Jones, this time not on a typewriter, but what looks like a commodore 64. You know when the technology advances that the evil-ness does as well. I shudder to think what the evil plan will be when they start conversing over iPads! It’s also alluded that Olivia is likely to have a much bigger role in the things to come, lest we forget about all of the over-night gassing she’s been getting courtesy of Ms. Sharp and Massive Dynamic.
Some other observations:
- John Noble is truly a treasure. The scenes with him and Orla Brady are pitch-perfect. The range Noble manages to show as both Walternate and lovable Walter is just amazing. In fact, the entire cast deserves a round of applause for taking on the alternate versions of themselves, which are often polar opposites of one another.
- The scene with the “open-hand on window” smear was brilliantly disgusting. Kudos to the FX team for that. It’s no surprise that the show is losing money because high-quality effects like those can’t be cheap (nor should they be!)
- Based on the preview for next week’s episode, we’re falling back into a monster-of-the-week format. I’m a bit disappointed especially now that some juicy threads have been set into motion. Let’s hope the MOW is merely a backdrop to progressing what’s really going on with Olivia, among other things.
What did you think Fringe fans? Are you happy with the way things are unfolding? Do you think Peter really needs to “go home” or is his already there? Maybe Nina and her gas-a-polooza is really just a memory wipe? Perhaps she’s doing it to everyone? A little implausible I know, but I just can’t shake the feeling that Peter’s universe isn’t “out there” somewhere, as he might think. What are your theories? Chime in down in the comments section below!