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

Fringe Episode Review: Inner Child

      Email Post       4/08/2009 10:00:00 AM      

Fringe is back. Not with a bang, but with a subtle, creepy whisper. As far as I can tell, Inner Child is a prologue of sorts to the remainder of Season 1, laying a foundation of weirdness for the revelations to come.

"He could be significantly older..."
Our Pattern event of the week: the mysterious appearance of what can only be a young Observer. Or perhaps, as Walter theorizes, a young-looking one. He was found in a creepy subterreanean complex that hadn't been opened since the 1930's, and it looked to me like he was hiding from the construction workers in a holding cell of sorts. Was this some kind of abandoned research facility? Was our bald friend left behind by his experimenters to survive on rats and moths?

Or, could he have come through to our "universe" down there more recently? Given our clues from ZFT, it sounds like the Observers hail from a parallel Earth. Perhaps this one picked a bad place to cross over, and has survived down there for years (but not 70 of them).

"Our perp's name is The Artist."
Congratulations, writers. You managed to successfully incorporate a non-Pattern mystery into the show. By using the young Observer to solve the crime, I didn't feel like our time was wasted with the Artist subplot (like I did with the cyber-killer in The No-Brainer).

The Artist himself was nicely cast. He reminded me of John Fowles' The Collector, a novel about a mild-mannered sociopath who kidnaps women. But making surgical and cosmetic alterations and then putting them on display? That's pure Fringe.

"Not a psychic, more a shark."
Walter's shark analogy to explain the child's mental abilities was brilliant. I was spellbound by the implications. I have a feeling Olivia may be capable of similar feats, thus reinforcing my idea that Inner Child acts as a prologue for the rest of the season, where we may learn more about Olivia's cortexiphran effects.

On the same subject, what did Walter pick up with his wire-infested halo ring on the child's head? A signal from the Ghost Network? I have a feeling we'll be hearing that recording again soon.

Stray Thoughts
  • Best Line of the Night: "Don't be such a prude. I'm sure Agent Dunham knows what a penis looks like!" John's delivery is perfect, once again.
  • This was Anna Torv's strongest performance yet. She's great with action sequences, as we saw in Bound, but her scenes with the young Observer in this ep were touching and filled with nuance.
  • Walter's dance is my new favorite scene. It wasn't just hilarious, it was touching. Walter's still got a very big heart underneath all those years of madness.
  • Was anyone else reminded of the Green Lantern when Olivia mentioned her avoidance of yellow M&M's? (The Lantern's weakness is anything colored yellow.)
  • Ari Graynor and Lily Pilblad are adorable as Olivia's family, and part of me is glad they're apparently here to stay. I do wonder how the writers will incorporate them into the story's meta-narrative.

  • Does Walter's halo ring remind anyone else of Doc Brown's similarly-purposed mind-reading device in Back to the Future?

How would you grade "Inner Child"?

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


Anonymous said...

Yes, it was excellent!! And I figured out that the code spelled "Walter." So cool that they did that!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this one picked a bad place to cross over, and has survived down there for years (but not 70 of them).

That makes the most sense I think - I'm curious now if the older Observer will go and get him or what? Was he meant to be with the other one or does he have a different mission?

He could have been there for a long time if he came over at the same time as the other observer - he's been around since at least the time Peter was a boy.

Walter's shark analogy to explain the child's mental abilities was brilliant.

That definitely fits in with how he was connected to Olivia - because she was thinking about the killer he was searching for information/thoughts directly related to the killer.

I'm curious if he will always stay connected to her. If he does it's going cause some problems for him - especially given how he reacted to her being cold.

Walter's dance was definitely the best part of the episode!

Kayla said...

I really hope the little boy (?) stays connected to Olivia. That would make for some interesting twists later on. And I completely agree. I think Olivia has somewhat of the same abilities as the child.

I only wish Peter had more to do in this one. I'm tired of having him in the background.

Walter - BRILLIANT! I couldn't love him any more if I tried.

Also, what's with the Northwestern garb on Olivia? I thought she went to UNC Chapel Hill and Nina Sharp went to Northwestern? Weird.

fringeobsessed said...

Regarding the yellow M&M's:
I'm wondering if some of the medication Dr. Bell gave Olivia during the cortexiphan trial was "yellow pills"? He could have easily hypnotized her to forget the majority of the details of that part of her life, and all she remembers is yellow pill medicine.

I'm surprised you did not comment on Broyles's performance and persona last night. He was outstanding, standing up to the phoney CIA guy. If that guy was CIA I've got some healthy bridges to sell you :) Broyles knows A LOT more than he lets on. I think he knows more about that boy, and I'd bet you dinner that it all ties in to Nina Sharp and Massive Dynamic. I also wouldn't be surprised if Broyles was "talking" to the kid and vice versa, of course that's JMHO. :)

Dani said...

Here's a theory - the Cylinder - could the young(ish) Observer have come from that?

Edward said...

I think the kid observer is bad, and probably imprisoned in that hole so long ago by our regular observer.

SpiKe X-Crom said...

Fringe Television People...PLEASE READ THIS!
Hey, My name is Court Casselman. First off may I congratulate you on your fantastic blog. It's very well done, and very fun to read.
But here's the thing, you've gotten so many different kinds of screencaps, but it's surpised me that never once have you mentioned the number 47. It's JJ ABRAMS favorite number and every movie and TV show episode, he hides it some where. (ex. The second clue that the observer kid gives Olivia is 547 something street, or in the beginning (first episode) there were 147 passengers on the plane) I'm surprised you never noticed this before. Look at all the other stuff JJ has done. Cloverfield (they stop on the 47th floor when they try to save Beth, or the clock on the camera saves 6:47 frequently), Alias (Marshall says he wants to get the lipstick camera up to 47 pictures, or Page 47). I want to see more of that.

Adam Morgan said...

@Jen, I hope you're right about a continued connection between Baldy Jr. and Olivia.

@Kayla, I agree regarding Peter. He's taken a back seat for quite a few eps.

Also, Jeff Pinkner is a Northwestern grad, so that's probably where the shirt came from!

@Obsessed, I hadn't even thought about the pills that way! And yes, Reddick is always awesome as Philip Broyles. And he definitely knows a lot more than he lets on. I can't wait for Lance to have an action scene and beat somebody down.

@Elle, Nice idea! I tried to connect him to the cylinder myself, but couldn't figure out how. Maybe that's how they transport things between worlds? And Baldy Jr. came through in a bigger cylinder?

@Edward, Wow, I hadn't even considered that, but the adult Observer's face was certainly interesting when he saw Baldy Jr...

@Spike, nice find! Someone in the chatroom brought this up last night (was it you?), and you're definitely right. I'll have to work up an Easter Egg post about it during the hiatus.

DarkMatter said...

Adam I really loved your review. You have some interesting observation. Although I like having Olivia's sister and niece around now I'm worried they may become a nuisance in the future. Like Kim, Jack Bauer's daughter on 24.

Fringe definitely came back on a high note. This was one of my favorite episodes and I hope for the show to just get better over several seasons.

Ander said...

One of the fun parts about last nights episode for me was using the recently deciphered code. I just wonder why WALTER was the word for the episode. Is it possible all the words at the end of the season will yield a sentence that explains something?

tallone said...

I think the yellow candy was the connection between Olivia and the little guy. He knew she didn't like it and then used it as symbol for something to look for. Who knows maybe on some level she is connecting with him.
I agree with Edward there maybe some evil with the liitle kid, maybe I'm reading into this but he had a smirk on his face while riding in the card.

tallone said...

typo car not card sorry

Anonymous said...

I thought the smirk in the car was him sensing that Olivia was playing with her sister and niece.

Anonymous said...

Since the boy writes backwards what if he thinks backwards as well? Can anybody play the part where they record his brainwaves backwards?

Sam said...

I thought for a moment that what they heard when they put that neurotransmitter thing on the boy's head was everyone's thoughts all garbled together. Remember how the Observer knew what Peter was thinking even before he thought it? I think that that's what Walter and crew were hearing.

JJ said...

I remember a story somewhere about people who live inside the earth, a hollow earth type of deal. The cylinder came from within the earth. The boy was found underground. Perhaps instead of aliens, which they said they were trying to avoid, they're actually looking within our own planet for "others" living in a world unfamiliar to us on the surface.

And the general idea in observing is to gather data for a later course of action. Who are they observing for? What course of action will they take when it becomes time to stop observing? Are they rooting for us or the others?

I love the questions this show leaves you with! Gets my brain churning!

Anonymous said...

Hey based on this from next week's episode promo text: "the scientific engineered beast with the body of a lion, claws of an eagle, fangs of a viper, skin of a rhinoceros and tail of a serpent" I think the next episode clue was the Griffin tattoo on the Artist's first victim.

Be well.

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