Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fringe - 2x01 "A New Day in the Old Town"

Now that was the best episode since the finale. Or, I mean, see, the hook that ended the cold open was so otherworldly heh heh that I can barely think straight. It starts as close to mundane as scifi can get, where a mysterious figure is methodically revealed to be a dangerous Other -- a familiar scifi trope and narrative technique -- and a shapeshifter, no less, an even more familiar scifi trope. Then, the whammy: through the creeping silence of the scene of accident and the mute expectation of "Where's blondie?" until finally through the windshield of a stopped car Olivia suddenly crashes. Color my brain scrambled like eggs.

The rest of the episode doesn't match the exquisite pacing of the cold open, not that that's a failing. For every scene that approached cliche (the neophyte gradually wading into the environment of the show, the congressional committee bearing down on the group unless they produced something tangible), we got another that meshed the fantastic with the mundane, like the interdimensional typewriter. And what happened to dependable Charlie, good old Charlie Francis, how I hate him now, I mean what the show's done to him, but such feelings indicate emotional investment so they did something right before now.

  • For his sake, I hope that Lance Reddick has a thing for redheads.
  • On a related tip, was the threat to close Fringe Division more reminiscent of Major Crimes getting shut down than X-Files getting shuttered?
  • Walter continues to be convinced that Peter loved something in childhood but has since "forgotten." It's probably obvious to other people, but given the revelation that the Peter we see was kidnapped by Walter from the other dimension, we seem to have parallel universes where fundamental differences in personality traits have arisen, too, which begs the question of identity and nature/nurture... but that's not the sort of theory that I'm into.
  • AV Club's Noel Murray thinks that Astrid may have a big development in store, but given how flimsy an actress she is, he probably shouldn't hold his breath.
  • I do not like Astrid's new haircut, unfortunately.
  • Peter's surprise party, while kind of sad attendance-wise, had a cow wearing a party hat, so: best birthday party ever.
  • Walter's adamancy that Olivia absolutely must try his pudding is heartwarming, sort of a twist on a child that insists his parent taste one of his creations.

Indie rating: Fleet Foxes - "He Doesn't Know Why"

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