Fringe Episode Review: Bound ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Episode Review: Bound

      Email Post       1/21/2009 11:29:00 PM      

Is Walter watching Fringe in an abandoned theater?Hi Fringe-philes, Adam Morgan here, a newcomer to FringeTelevision. I'll be posting weekly reviews for the rest of season one, sharing my reactions, thoughts, and theories with you. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments!

After a listless seven-week hiatus, Fringe stormed back last night with its best episode yet. Bound was like a shot of adrenaline into the show’s ongoing narrative, filled with action, suspense, mythology, and considerable character development. I was a fan before tonight, but I think in a few years I’ll look back and remember Bound as the episode that hooked me for good.

From a production standpoint, everything worked. The dialogue was crisp; Michael Giacchino’s score was perfect; the location shots were gorgeous; the direction was compelling (especially the low-frame-rate action sequences); and most perhaps importantly, the chemistry between cast members hit an all-time high.

From a narrative standpoint, Bound covered a lot of ground...

Click here to

Dunham Done ‘em

Who's next?One of Bound’s greatest strengths was its focus on Olivia Dunham. We met her sister, her old rival, and learned a few new things. First, that she is lethal. My jaw literally dropped when she single-handedly took out half a dozen men and escaped from the warehouse. Second, that she can be vulnerable, too. Anna Torv did a marvelous job conveying conflicting emotions in this episode, oscillating between fear, distress, and anger. I was worried that her sister’s appearance would become subplot fodder, but their scenes together were nicely tied into the main theme of the episode: Olivia’s struggle to persevere under any circumstance.

Mystery of the Week

She's beautiful, isn't she?Of course, I chose to eat dinner while watching this episode, on a night that features gastrointestinal slugs and spinal taps. Per usual, this week’s scientific mystery seemed tangential at first, but wound up connecting right back to the ongoing story. Two renowned epidemiologists were poisoned with giant single-celled cold viruses that grow to maturity even faster than Lorraine Daisy Alcott’s baby in The Same Old Story. The biggest question here, as usual, is why?

In the Pilot, Phillip Broyles theorizes that someone is using the whole world as their lab, with human beings as test subjects for bizarre experiments. But as the show progresses, this explanation becomes less and less relevant. If you wanted to experiment with a weaponized parasite, why on earth would you target two prominent epidemiologists? It doesn’t add up. Unless it’s more than an experiment. A demonstration of power, perhaps? A cunning move in a worldwide game of human chess? More on this later.

Mitchell Loeb and the Big Tease

Mitchell Loeb drops a bomb on DunhamAs Walter might say, Mitchell Loeb gives me a case of cutis anserina (goose bumps). First he was just another agent the team saved from a parasite (a tentacled fellow that looked like the villain from Monsters, Inc). Then he was a double-agent who used that incident to get information out of a dead man. Then he was a wall-phasing bank robber. The guy gets around.

In Bound, Mitchell is revealed to be even more than he seems once again. We all assumed he was a villain since the end of episode 107, In Which We Meet Mr. Jones. But Loeb’s seemingly genuine confession to Olivia in the interrogation room makes him sound like a misunderstood protagonist. JJ Abrams is up to his old tricks. See Benjamin Linus and virtually every character from Alias.

They weren’t kidnapping Olivia to kill her, but to save her. Who is “they”? And who or what were they saving her from? Loeb’s next lines were the highlight of the night for me: “Do you not understand the rules? What we're up against? Who the two sides are?” Talk about a can of worms. In just a few seconds, Loeb revealed a huge, fundamental layer in Fringe’s mythology.

We were initially led to believe the Pattern was some kind of experimentation by Massive Dynamic. I think we’ve moved beyond that now. To make a Lost analogy, I think that’s like “the Monster is a dinosaur” or “they’re all in purgatory”. Now it appears as though there are two competing factions contributing to the Pattern, both of whom aim to achieve still-illusive objectives that somehow directly involve Olivia Dunham and the research of Walter Bishop. Brilliant. It hints at so much yet to come.

Overall, this was a huge breakthrough for the show. Almost like a second pilot. I’ve enjoyed Fringe from the beginning, but was waiting for an episode to launch the story into the stratosphere with the greats like Lost and The Prisoner.

I think the wait is over.

Stray Thoughts
  • Not much Walter this week, but he still shined when given the chance. His coy remarks about Peter’s feelings for Olivia were cute, and a great way to create tension between two stoic characters. Also, his cavalier slug-trapping maneuver got the biggest laugh of the night from me.

  • Not much Peter either, but Josh Jackson continues to do a great job establishing Peter as a level-headed, resourceful go-to guy. The man gets stuff done, and I like that. I was worried at first, given his Dawson’s Creek pedigree, but Josh has won me over. I’d like to see him get more physical in the future, and can’t wait to learn more about his past. And the man certainly dresses dapper for a globetrotting-opportunist-slash-black-market-entrepreneur, what with the pea coats and scarves from the Gap and all.

  • Broyles was a thrill to watch this week as well. Lance Reddick is so…severe. I’m hoping he gets to do some physical stuff too sometime soon. I’d like to see him take down Sanford Harris, for starters (who didn’t impress me, acting-wise).

  • That was an extremely long cold open.

  • Between her more-than-palpable good looks and her more-than-capable resourcefulness and intelligence, Dunham is becoming the best female lead on television.

  • Lost fans: did Loeb’s speech on “rules” and “sides” remind you of the dynamic between Ben and Charles Widmore?

  • Kudos to Michael Giacchino for that beautiful variation on his main Fringe leitmotif at the end of tonight’s episode. I want a Fringe soundtrack later this year.

Adam Morgan is a writer for both the page and screen in Chicago, and blogs daily on writing, film, pop culture, and strange news at Mount Helicon.


xinpheld said...

Good review!

I think the long cold open just served as a review for those folks who watch but don't obsess like we do, and as a mid-season primer for those who may not have watched yet, but found themselves there after Idol.

Walter's notes for the episode seem particularly important to the story this time. Hope it plays out in the show too.

Unknown said...

"Lost fans: did Loeb’s speech on “rules” and “sides” remind you of the dynamic between Ben and Charles Widmore?"

Absolutely! I was thinking Lost as soon as he started talking about two sides and how Olivia had no idea what was going on on a higher level than she ever imagined. It really felt like the kind of speach Ben could have given to Locke earlier on on Lost.

Anonymous said...

How come Joshua jackson always gets the short end of the stick just because of Dawson's creek?

elitufo said...

I'm new here and haven't commented on the show before until now, but did anyone notice the guy in the green shirt every time the scene switched to the headquarters? He seemed to have popped up in every scene with Olivia and if you watch him, he seems to be watching her.

Interesting. Let me know what you think.

Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar said...

Hey Adam, nice review.
This is my first time on this site, and I think I'm bookmarking it. :)

I have a few comments:

1. Don't go down on Joshua Jackson for Dawson's Creek. He was excellent there as well - the show just went astray.

2. You say "And who or what were they saving her from?"
However, maybe you should give a bit of thought to a minor variation of that question: And who or what were they saving her for?
Maybe.... :)

3. I'm scouring the net and I can't find a single comment on this issue. I've posted the question on the Facebook fan page for Fringe:
There's someone that keeps appearing during this episode, and if I'm not mistaken it's Aaron Douglas (aka Chief Tyrol from BSG).
He's there entering the elevator with Olivia right after her talk with her sister. He's there walking with another agent after Olivia confronts Harris about protecting the second scientist. And again a few minutes later.

Why? Who is he? And why isn't he credited in the episode???

Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar said...

Oh, Reader's Repose, didn't notice your response.

Are we talking about the same guy?

Anonymous said...

I have been a fan of Fringe from the beginning also, but I have to agree with Adam---This was the bookmark episode. Anna and Josh's characters are taken to new levels and I cannot wait to see where they are going.

Jordan said...

Does anyone else agree that they cast Olivia's sister perfectly? Ari Graynor is a dead ringer as a relative of Anna Torv. Kudos to the Bad Robot casting department.

Adam Morgan said...

@RR and Mark: I went back to look for your Green Man, and can say with some certainty that it isn't the actor who played Tyrol. I could be completely wrong, but I'd guess it's probably just one of the extras they use for Federal Building scenes.

@Mark: That IS a good question. What role does Olivia play in the bigger picture? Why do Loeb and Jones help her?

@Jordan: I completely agree. Ari was wonderful, and looks a lot like Torv. I'm hoping she sticks around and plays a part in the meta-story.

Mark "Cypher" Kotlyar said...

Hey Adam, maybe it's not the same guy but someone who looks really like him, anyway:

I got some screen caps.

Also, for an extra, he's too active during this entire episode - appearing at least six times (I've counted now) and either looked at by Olivia or is looking at her, and has an entire wide shot seemingly dedicated to showing him.

elitufo said...

I'm not so sure that he's an extra and I can't recall ever seeing him in any other episode before either. However, that doesn't mean I'm paranoid and believe he's in kahoots with the Observer... hmm, but it is a thought.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone happen to see the observer in this episode? I have watched it twice and cannot find him.

elitufo said...

Just when Olivia is getting out of her car to pick up the Bishops (wide shot), he's walking passed her going from left to right.

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