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'Fringe': Finding its groove

April 15, 2009 |  6:34 am

116_unleashed_094 "What’s wrong?”

That’s such a perfect line. Peter calls Olivia at night and she instantly thinks something horrible has happened. After this long dealing with  bizarre cases, of course they would be used to it. Expecting it, even.

The characters in "Fringe" are getting into their groove, and it really seems like the people who put the show together are getting into their groove.

Peter wasn’t even calling Olivia. He was calling her sister. Guess we know what Rachel was doing up so late in the last episode. I knew that would become something important. Seriously. It was one of my Bits and Pieces last week. Though this is way cooler than anything I would have expected. Peter has a life outside Walter’s lab. After the single mother. Smooth.

Then the monster sequence of “Unleashed” was better than most horror films I’ve seen lately. The kids breaking into the animal testing facility, the car flipping in the forest -- everything built to the gravity of what they released. And they cleverly didn’t show the lizardwaspbatthingie in a way that built the tension and probably save a ton of cash.

I watched the credits to prove my theory and, yep, written by J.R. Orci and Zach Whedon, the pair behind “The Transformation.” Remember that episode about the kinda-werewolf guys? Yeah, that was a good one.

You know who else was really in his groove on this episode? Kirk Acevedo. Charlie Francis. Going out into the woods and getting attacked by the lizardwaspbatthingie, climbing into bed and soothing the fears of his hot wife (the girl who replaced Jessie in "Saved by the Bell: The College Years"), and lying in bed filled with grubs. You can’t help but like this guy. And you can’t help but like this show.

I hope that the people who would enjoy it are finding it. Hopefully, the release of "Star Trek "and Leonard Nimoy’s appearance as William Bell will bring that audience and this show together like strangers on a blind date. Just like a blind date, it may not lead to a lifetime love, but it can lead to some fun nights.

Possible spin-off -- J.J. Abrams, if you’re reading this (and honestly, how can you not be), I want to talk to you about a possible "Fringe" spin-off. Call it "Peter Bishop: The College Years." When Peter mentioned he spent a few nights at MIT, I imagined him wandering around the country, a genius intellect with no real direction. Meeting chicks and hatching plots. This could be a winner. Call me.

Astrid Action -- Astrid kept pretty busy tonight. Still mostly helping out though. We’ve had our Charlie episode, isn’t it time for us to learn a little more about our lab assistant outside the lab?

Spot the Observer -- Baldy is getting a little cocky. See him walking in the background of the news report? He's like any other person who sees filming and can't help but "walk casually" in the background. You think the Observer called all his friends and told them to watch the news that night?

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Fox