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'Fringe': Tin Man

October 2, 2009 |  7:21 am

203_fracture_0546 Spot the Observer – I normally end my Show Tracker with “Spot the Observer.” Usually because it takes me forever to find the guy. Last week he was standing in a field miles away. I had to look it up online. So this week, I scoured every scene searching for baldy. Yeah. Thanks a lot, “Fringe.” You couldn’t give me a heads-up. Flash it at the bottom of the screen. It’s good enough for the “House” promo. Why can’t get just get a little “the Observer’s at the very end” crawl?

There were so many scenes that seemed like they could have been hiding places for the Observer too. The episode started out in a train station. Camera spinning around. Seemed like the perfect place for him to be hanging around. I watched it twice to make sure I didn’t miss him.

Then we rolled into our character development scenes. Olivia’s hanging out at the bowling alley with Kevin Corrigan, though they never get around to actually bowling. He teaches her to tie her shoes, and he measures her hands (finding them smaller than he expected), and spouts out a lot of what Olivia calls “Yoda crap.” I was thinking more along the lines of Mr. Miyagi. Training her by having her do mundane tasks. I was waiting for him to tell her to wax on/wax off the alleys.

Olivia makes the very un-Ralph Macchio move of pulling a gun on her own Pat Morita. And deep down, don’t you always kinda wish that would happen? Don’t you think if Ralph Macchio had a gun he wouldn’t have whipped it out and told Mr. Miyagi to just teach him karate already?

Back in the lab, Peter and Walter are apartment hunting. Truthfully, Peter’s hunting, and Walter’s dragging his feet. And doing naked jumping jacks while singing arias first thing in the morning too. I can understand why Peter might be so desperate to find a place where he can have his own room. By the end of the episode, when Walter’s finally ready for a new place, he picks one that he mentions is in “Billy’s old neighborhood.” By Billy, of course, he means William Bell, who all signs are indicating will make his second appearance in next week’s episode (fingers crossed).

Though Olivia and Peter are pulled away from their personal dilemmas to track down what caused a police officer to turn to crystal and explode. They go to speak with the cop’s wife, and Olivia shows why she could never be a character on “Lost.” She has a bunch of short flashbacks and then immediately pukes. How long would we have put up with Sayid if he did that every time?

Speaking of Sayid, Peter and Olivia go to Baghdad to track down the doctors who helped create the exploding-man serum (or Tin Man program as it is called for some reason I don’t quite get). Peter insists Agent Broyles let him go to war-torn Iraq. Broyles agrees as long as Peter has an FBI agent accompany him. Who to send? How about the agent who was flung from a car a couple weeks ago, still walks with a cane and has PTSD flashbacks while interviewing widows? Of course. Done deal.

I have to admit, I even looked for the Observer in the Baghdad bar Peter took Olivia to find his contact. Now that would have been awesome. He could be sitting in the background, smoking a hookah. This is a guy so pale he makes Minnesotans look like they’re wearing spray tan. I’m sure he would have fit in fine in the kind of place you expect someone to be telling Indiana Jones not to eat the dates.

In the end, the big twist wasn’t who was creating these human bombs. It was just some former colonel from the Army. It wasn’t even why he was blowing these people up. To stop the Observers from gathering information to wipe us all out. Not even that he refers to there being multiple Observers. No, I think the biggest twist was that apparently the Observers are hiring interns. They’re getting awkward young men in black trench coats to carry around briefcases for them. These Observers can go anywhere to watch anything that’s happening, but they’re hiring guys to take pictures of Walter or at least to pass them along to friends. Don’t they have Facebook? Just make a gallery.

But are the Observers really out to get human beings? Is the Colonel right or is he actually a crazy man? What do you think?

Who do you think you are – Peter has been on a bit of a tear this season. Toward the end of last year, he was fading into the background, it seemed, but now he’s back and he’s in charge. It doesn’t stop there. This week he was wandering around the home of the exploded police officer like he owned the place, touching stuff, picking up pictures. Plus when he was hanging out in the Baghdad bar, he reached over the counter and grabbed the bottle of vodka. I thought alcohol was a bit hard to come by in Muslim-heavy countries. I’m sure that store owner loved Peter drawing attention to that. Oh, and eating a cheeseburger in front of Gene the cow? Peter, you should know better.

Astrid Action – Apparently we’re not the only ones who want to know more about Astrid. Walter finally got around to asking her more about herself. Specifically, where she lived. He asked after she gave him a nice little pep talk about moving into a new apartment. Walter paid her back by nearly blowing her up later in the episode. When you’re experimenting with the serum that made a human being into a bomb, why pick such a large fruit as watermelon? I’m sure a grape would have done fine. And shouldn’t you take some sort of cover in case a piece of crystallized watermelon tries to make a beeline through your abdomen?
I’m just looking out for Astrid. I’d hate for her to get hurt.

-Andrew Hanson

Photo: Walter (John Noble) surveys a crime scene. Fox Television