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'Fringe': Transformation

February 4, 2009 |  7:20 am

113_transf_049 "I like to cut."

Walter said that off screen. Olivia had just marched into the lab, looked over the sedated man who was in the process of turning into some sort of werehedgehog and said she wanted to cut open his hand. That's when Walter made his little proclamation, and I knew the "Fringe" I liked was back.

Looking back, though, it's obvious that this episode was written specifically for me. It's like Zack Whedon and J.R. Orci sat down and thought, "What would make that Show Tracker guy happy?" They are the two perfect guys to do this: Zack Whedon, the writer of one of my favorite episodes of "Deadwood" and collaborator on "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" with his brother, Joss; and J.R. Orci, one of my favorite budding photographers.

"The Transformation" starts out with an incredible werewolf scene that's not a werewolf scene. And aboard a plane. I mean, I hope you're not traveling anywhere soon. J.J. Abrams really doesn't want you flying. Two airline disasters in the first season and the granddaddy of all airline disasters from "Fringe's" cousin over on ABC. How can you not love "Fringe's" nod to "Lost" when they called out the flight number, 718?

Along with that, we got a long conversation about the 1/2 Nipple Theory, the reveal of John Scott's body and Walter watching Olivia interrogate through a two-way mirror, saying "It's just like a detective movie." Most of all, though, "The Transformation" hit the perfect tone for "Fringe." The right mixture of science fiction, dark comedy, crime story and melodrama. Well, maybe a little extra melodrama.

I guess I would say that was one of the two things I didn't like about "The Transformation." The episode seemed to promise closure on the Olivia-John relationship. Olivia finds out that John really was a good guy working on a top-secret mission who loved her (Oh, sorry. Spoiler Alert.), but at the very end of the episode, Olivia says, "I love you too." It was the perfect period on the sentence, but I know how much I like the flirty, fun Olivia from her trip to Germany when she first met Dr. Jones. I guess I hope she doesn't carry this torch too long.

The other thing I didn't like about "The Transformation"? It really made me want a widescreen TV. Damn them.

Astrid Action: Astrid did get one speech. She even fired out comments about always getting her nose in where it doesn't belong and that she hasn't been here very long. Again, it really feels like they're aiming directly at me. I should start asking for stranger stuff. Like including the word "ginormous" in an episode.

Spot the Observer: The Observer stands on the edge of the soccer field when Flight 718 crashes in the episode's opening scenes. The reflection of plane on the back window of the minivan was too cool for him to miss.

--Andrew Hanson

Photo: Fox

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