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'Fringe': The case of the scary mole kid

September 25, 2009 |  7:49 am

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"Fringe" continues its second season, and like all sophomores, the show is trying to find out who it is. 

The first year is just figuring everything out. What’s your locker combination, when are your classes, what kind of flanking formation do you use when coining a genetically engineered chimera in a sewer? You know, the basics. 

Then you come back from the summer, and you’re a little more confident. You want to strike out and define yourself. Perhaps wear a fedora for a month. Is that really so awful? Did the other kids have to tease that much?

All the members of the Fringe Division are working to define themselves as well. Last week, Peter made the decision that he was going to run this little ragtag group. He told Broyles to take the broken shape-shifting device to Congress and have it shove it up its R&D department. This week, he’s deciding what case they investigate. People vanishing in rural Pennsylvania. Boom. We’re going. Proving Peter’s new role as the bad-ass version of Fox Mulder. He finds cases that are questionably similar to what their trying to track down, and he chases after them.

Meanwhile, Olivia is becoming a character from "Heroes." Apparently, traveling to the déjà vuniverse has its consequences. Olivia’s first side effect (besides flying through a windshield onto the pavement) is super-hearing. She listens to everything from a fly on a window to people arguing in the next room. Luckily, Nina Sharp seems to have some experience with the possible repercussions of inter-dimension travel. She sends Olivia to Donal Logue’s brother from "Grounded for Life." He asks whether the headaches have started. They haven’t, but as he tells her, “They will.”

Oh, and Hugh Laurie needs to give Anna Torv lessons on walking with a cane. Not that she was doing a bad job, but why not learn from the master when he’s on the same network?

Walter has just become more Walterish. He’s off the leash a bit tonight, introducing himself to everyone he passes on the way to the crime scene and spouting out about how lovely the air is. (It was funny to see him upset that there was no body.) Walter skims the surface of being cheesy at times. When he looked at the hole in the casket of the Hughes’ baby and talked about a “son that wasn’t in his grave,” I almost expected the music cue from "Arrested Development" that comes up whenever Oscar hinted at being Buster’s real father. But Walter made up for it all by asking Peter whether he could go fishing with him at the end. Awww.

And don’t forget the other members of the Fringe Division. Broyles seems to have lost a little of his authority. He’s no longer the scary boss, but he can still dish out a heck of a stare when he thinks you’re lying. And poor Charlie. Killed at the end of last week’s episode and replaced by a shape-shifting soldier from another dimension. Kirk Acevedo might be leaving "Fringe" soon, but I seriously doubt he’ll have much trouble picking up work. He switched over to evil Charlie pretty well. There are almost times when you think the shape-shifting soldier from another dimension is starting to like Olivia. Or at least feel guilty about having to trick her and probably eventually try to kill her. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what the magic typewriter tells him.

What’s in a name – The episode this week was titled "Night of Desirable Objects," which of course refers to the fishing lure Peter bought as a child to use with his father, but come on. It really should have been "Scary Scorpion Mole Kid." Picking that cool lure does give you an excuse for this really cool title, but that kid was really frightening. When he jumped out in the basement and grabbed Olivia … 10 times scarier than anything in "Jennifer’s Body."

Names weren’t this episode’s strongest point. Sheriff Golightly? Hearing Olivia call out his name nervously, took me out of the moment. I was perfectly fine with the sheriff played by the Untouchable who figured out how to get Al Capone for tax evasion, but giving him the same last name as Audrey Hepburn’s character in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" proved a bit distracting.

Astrid action – Astrid didn’t make it out of the lab this week. She was too busy helping Walter re-create Olivia’s crash. We did see a little of Astrid’s power, though. They needed a couple bodies exhumed. She said she’d take care of it, and in the next scene we see cranes digging up a graveyard. Astrid has some pull.

Spot the Observer – If you didn’t see the Observer, he was standing in the field outside the Hughes home while the FBI searched it. About the same time that Agent Jessup had her lineless cameo. Again, I had to go to the Internet to find him. While I was trying to hunt him down, I wondered whether the Observer watches everything. Like when Olivia is taking her bath and listening to the bubbles pop with her super-senses. What if he was just outside the window taking notes in his bizarre language? Someone better keep an eye on that guy.

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo credit: Fox Television

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