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'Fringe': You are not my father

April 23, 2010 |  6:34 am

218_man_0775 Nothing like a mythology episode to get “Fringe” firing on all cylinders. The last couple of weeks have been good, but they were caught in the shadow of “Peter,” one of my favorite hours of the show so far.

Thursday night we got another move in the game of chess played between the two universes. Chess is a good analogy due to the strategy involved and because they move excruciatingly slow. In comparison, I’d say “Lost” is like a game of backgammon. There’s the dark side and the light side, everything moves quicker, and I’m not quite sure of all the rules. 

As their latest play in this cosmic game, the Déjà Vuniverse (I’m still trying to get that to stick) sent over three brand-new shape-shifting super soldiers from another world. They pop into what the titles claim is Worcester, Mass., but come on. You’ve got two kids smoking pot and listening to Rush. It’s Canada. 

The Shape Shifters still the kids’ appearances and take off, leaving behind corpses with three holes in their mouths (a red flag straight to Fringe Division) and a pulsating fleshy mass covered lightly by cardboard boxes. Walter’s drawn to it as soon as he sees it. Who wouldn’t? It’s a pulsating fleshy mass. And of course, your first instinct is to slice it open with a scalpel. I’ll admit, that whole part made me queasy. 

Walter figures out that the pulsating fleshy mass is actually a Shape Shifter embryo. Not that that makes it any better. Shape Shifters travel between universes as these embryos and then mature in our world (like their own Rumspringa). Only this little Shape Shifter never became a real boy, but that’s nothing Walter can’t fix with a corpse and a bunch of car batteries. The Shape Shifter springs to life long enough to mention two people: Daniel Verona and Mr. Secretary. 

They’re the keys to Shape Shifter squad leader Thomas Jerome Newton’s plan. The new Shape Shifters replace Verona and two other individuals whose jobs give them access to locations they need to plant high-tech tuning forks to help open a door to the other universe. Seeing as the Shape Shifter who was supposed to replace Verona died, the plan does get more complicated. Though I couldn’t figure out why it was so important for the other Shape Shifter to replace the utility worker. Seems like anyone could have placed that turning fork.

Of course, during all of this, Walter is also trying to find the right time to tell Peter the truth about where he came from. Walter had the perfect opportunity, but Peter decided to take a phone call in the middle of Walter’s dramatic speech. Even to a crazy guy, that’s kinda rude. 

Instead, Peter figures out the truth on his own. When the team shows up to stop Newton from opening the dimensional door, Peter mans the vibration canceling device Walter built and watches as the powerful waves completely obliterate an unlucky FBI agent (as soon as I saw that guy, I knew he was going to die). The waves knocked Peter back, but they didn’t kill him. Just like they didn’t kill the man from the other side who was trying to come through. Peter puts two and two together and realizes he’s also a man from the other side. Pow.

Peter’s reaction is probably what Walter thought about when he pictured the worst possible response. Peter saying, “You are not my father” hit like Darth Vader saying “Luke, you are my son.” Even though they’re total opposites. Walter’s longing stare through the window as he walked away was crushingly sad. It might have taken “Fringe” longer than I wanted to get to this scene, but they did it amazingly well.

Now the stage is set for a wildly climactic season finale. Peter’s off wandering and trying to deal with the truth about his past. Where will that take him? And did anyone else get the feeling that maybe his mother isn’t dead? And what about Newton’s man from the other side, Mr. Secretary? Any guess who that might be (that aren’t Walternate)? 

Oh, “Fringe,” why do you have to do any episodes that aren’t all mythology?

For whom the Bell tolls – So you’ve probably heard that Lenoard Nimoy announced his retirement from acting this week. Unfortunate for us viewers, but I wish Mr. Nimoy the best. What does this mean for “Fringe?” Nimoy is set to reprise his role as William Bell in the season finale, but what about after that? Killing off William Bell would be a terrible loss. In my opinion, they should take a "Dr. Who" approach to this. Bell is a master of insane science. He could invent a way to transfer his mind into another body. What do you think? What would you do to handle the loss of Nimoy?

Astrid Action – “Astrid, quickly. Some candles.” Astrid’s still fulfilling her most basic duties: getting something Walter needs or delivering a message. Granted, there was a lot going on, so less time for Astrid Action. But how about the Brandon Action? I always love to see my favorite Massive Dynamic scientist. He took so much glee in explaining about radio waves and universes. He needs more screen time (after Astrid gets hers, of course). Oh, and there was some seriously good Olivia Action tonight: catching the lack of lipstick on the joint, shooting the cop in the head because he used his cellphone instead of his radio. Everybody got some good action tonight.

Spot the Observer – See him? If you did, you deserve an award. He was in the bank when Newton walked in to ask for McCalister. He’s on the far right facing away. It almost seems like we caught the Observer off duty. He was just stopping in to cash a check and get some quarters for laundry when the show happened upon him. Poor observer. He can never get away. 

-- Andrew Hanson

Related:

"Fringe": Do Over

"Fringe": the detective game

Complete "Fringe" coverage on Show Tracker

Photo: The team (from left, Joshua Jackson, Lance Reddick, Anna Torv and John Noble) makes a startling discovery. Credit:  Fox Television

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