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“Fringe” recap: What’s the FBI?

November 18, 2010 | 11:52 pm

307_abducted_004a I’m going to be having nightmares off the opening of “The Abducted.” I’m man enough to say it. Little kid, scared of monsters in his closet. You know what’s coming. You saw the freaky dude shaving his head only a second before. That freaky dude is going to get the kid. It’s just a matter of time. Then the kid closes his eyes and counts to three, but when he opens them, the freaky dude is right there! I mean, I could have done without the Phantom of the Opera mask and the dramatic leap from the window, but still, that is a frightening opening. “Fringe” isn’t pulling any punches this year. 

“The Abducted” was all about the children. Not in a Helen Lovejoy “won’t someone please think about the children” way. It was more the “you don’t mess with kids” way. You can do what you want with adults. Stuff them full of larva, make their heads explode in diners, trap them in amber. No biggie. But when you mess with a kid, then all bets are off. Doesn’t matter if you're climbing on the boat that might take you back to your own universe, everything is less important when a child’s at risk.

Yes, Olivia takes the first steps to try to return to our side of the spectrum. She makes contact with old buddy Henry Higgins. You might remember him from the season premiere. Olivia hijacked his cab when she escaped Walternate, and they bonded as she slowly succumbed to the memories they implanted in her mind. I’m glad they brought back Henry. I didn’t care that it was way convenient that he had access to a boat. Andre Royo can show up whenever he wants.

Before Olivia and Henry can set sail for Ellis Island, Olivia gets called away to a case. Apparently in the alternate universe the Peter Bishop Act of ’91 requires every kidnapping be treated like a hostile Fringe event. As head of the Department of Defense, it’s easy to see how Walternate could get that made into law, seeing as his son’s kidnapping was the whole reason there is a Fringe Division. It turns out to be a good thing that Fringe Division was brought in on this kidnapping because it turns out to be the work of the Candyman.

Every two years, the Candyman steals a child, holds him or her for 48 hours, then releases the kid changed. Sick. Drained of life. The only clues they have are the wounds on the back of the victim’s necks and high levels of sugar in the attacker’s secretions. 

One of the victims of the Candyman happens to be Agent Broyles’ son Christopher, which ends up giving Lance Reddick so many incredible moments to play. He gets the conversation with Walternate about how both their sons were taken. Reddick and Noble tossing that dialogue back and forth like seasoned boxers sparing. Then Reddick also got to play Broyles responding to Olivia’s request to interview his son. The Olivia he knows is fake, doubting his ability to ask the right questions. And he topped it off with the turmoil of knowing this other-world Olivia brought his son’s kidnapper to justice. We need more of these deep emotional moments for our Broyles over here. He’s had a few, but there’s always room for more.

The whole concept of “the Abducted” was disturbing, even for “Fringe.” More so when you see the weak little kid with the creepy device stuck on his spine. When Olivia finally tracks Wyatt “the Candyman” Toomy down and finds the boy, she shoots Toomy square in the chest. No questions asked. None needed. Same when Broyles arrives home to find Rev. Marcus holding his son. Just bang, he’s dead. In some cases, you wanna see the good guys try to negotiate. Make an effort take the criminal alive. But when it comes to kids, not so much. Bravo to “Fringe.”

Now we wait two weeks for, as the teaser called it, “the end of the journey home.” Olivia managed to jump back to our universe long enough to leave a message with a gift shop cleaning lady. Obviously the next best thing to having an Android-based phone, which Peter apparently owns. (Seems more like his kind of smart phone. I could see him creating his own apps). So enjoy next week off. Have some turkey. Tell your family how “Fringe” is the best science fiction on television right now. There’s still plenty of time to get them caught up on Season 3 so they see how these two universes come crashing together.

Preshow – I got home early enough that I had time to watch something off the old DVR before “Fringe” started, so I decided on this week’s “Community.” Couldn’t ask for a better lead in. “Conspiracy Theories and Soft Defenses” dipped far into the genre of “Fringe.” I almost expected to see the Observer hiding in the background. (Might need to go back and rewatch just in case.) I look forward to see what Alison Dingeldein says about it

Even Kevin Corrigan showed up as Professor Professorson. Speaking of which, nice call from Altair in the comments last week spotting the similarity in his character’s name (Sam Weiss) and the author of “the First People” (Seamus Wiles). I think you might be on to something.

Astrid Action – This might be the least we’ve seen of Astrid in a while. She popped in early on to read off information on the Candyman’s earlier victims. Astrid has been getting her fair share of screen time this season, especially in the episodes that take place in our universe. It’s almost getting to the point where I could stop having a special section devoted to her. I won’t, but I could.

Spot the Observer – You’ve got to be kidding me! Did anyone actually see the Observer? If you did, it’s your duty to join the Air Force. You have the keenest eyes on the planet. I checked in at to get a little helping hand on tracking the Observer down only to find out that he’s standing across the street while Olivia and Henry are having breakfast. He’s the size of the mustard bottle. You can only see his little head and hat. Oh, you’re not even playing fair “Fringe.” 

-Andrew Hanson


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PHOTO: Olivia (Anna Torv) searches for the truth. FOX TELEVISION