'Fringe' - 'Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?': The monster at the end of this episode
A quick review of last night's "Fringe" coming up just as soon as you get me a framed photo of George W. Bush...
I didn't get to last week's episode in any kind of reasonable time in which to review it, but I liked our expanded, largely sympathetic view of life Over There, and how Olivia's Over Here-ness inadvertently foiled the genius's plan.
As for last night's show, I thought it was one of the strongest Over Here episodes in a long time, one that I think would have been just as good even with Olivia rather than Fauxlivia in the middle of it. While there was tension from seeing Fauxlivia try to work counter to the agenda of Peter, Broyles and the rest, much of what made the episode so strong had little to do with her.
On the lighter side, we had Walter being trippier, and funnier, than usual while enjoying his newfound power at Massive Dynamic(*) and whatever shiny new chemicals it gives him access to. And on the darker side, this was the rare "Fringe" episode where I felt as involved in the story of the Monster of the Week (played by Paul Giamatti's brother Marcus, a solid character actor in his own right) as I did what was happening with the regular characters.
(*) Fienberg is hoping to find time today to do a write-up of his experience as a note-taking extra in the early sequence where Walter is tripping balls before the amused Peter and Nina, but in the meantime, here's the only screencap I could make of Dan and John Noble in the same frame. I'd have to say Dan was more convincing in his extra work than I was last week on "Community," but that may just be because I don't want to believe I could come across as an aging campus pervert.
The idea of the shape-shifters developing emotional attachments so strong that the cop couldn't possibly kill his family (or even change form and leave them behind forever), or that the senator would briefly rise from the dead to talk to his wife about their anniversary plans, worked, thanks to the complicated situation and the performances by Giamatti and (as the senator's widow) Shannon Cochran. Usually, I consider the scenes of the Monster at work to be something to kill time until we get back to the things that interest me(**), but here I was most caught up in seeing the cop try to explain to his son that "sometimes, monsters aren't all bad."
(**) In this case, that role fell to the car chase, which seemed there mainly for that shot of the car logo right before Peter took off after Newton.
The one part I didn't like was Peter and Fauxlivia's conversation in the Massive Dynamic cafeteria. I don't need Peter to figure things out just yet, but then I also don't need a scene where a genius-level character who knows about the parallel worlds and dopplegangers and the rest points out how different Olivia has been since they returned from Earth-2 where he's not remotely considering what that means. Maybe there will be a revelation in a few episodes that Peter did, in fact, figure it out and has been playing Fauxlivia, but if not, that scene just existed to create false tension at the expense of Peter's smarts.
Still, damn good episode. "Fringe" definitely on a roll so far this season.
What did everybody else think?