Fringe Episode Review: The Road Not Taken ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Episode Review: The Road Not Taken

      Email Post       5/09/2009 12:26:00 AM      

Sorry for the delay on this review, but May (like December), is when all things happen at once.

Since Fringe returned on April 7th with Inner Child, we've gotten one great ep after another, and the roller coaster continued this week with The Road Not Taken, a brilliant serial-procedural hybrid that featured several compelling mysteries, Emmy-worthy performances, and some real pay-offs for devoted fans. Oh, and some shameless cross-promotion for a little movie that came out this week.

"Blonde girl about 5'7. Really well-done. Melted fillings."
Spontaneous human combustion? Nah. That was The X-Files. This is Fringe.
So Susan Pratt and Nancy Lewis were part of the same Cortexiphan trials as Olivia and Nick Drake. It looks like Cortexiphan affects more than just perception! Sure, Liv can see into alternate realities, but she, along with this week's twins, can also excite molecules until they conflagrate. What other kinds of mind-tricks are ZFT recruits capable of? And why did William Bell think these super soldiers were necessary to win the imminent inter-reality war?

"Each choice we make creates a new reality."
Walter confirmed it: Fringe doesn't just take place in our own universe, but in the meta-universe. The world we've occupied since the Pilot is only one path of causality, out of an infinite number of possible timelines, akin to Hugh Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics.

The narrative implications are endless. Is there an alternate Boston where John Scott is still alive? Where Peter and Walter weren't rescued from drowning by the Observer? Where history as we know it is remarkably different? That certainly seems to be the case with the reality Olivia glimpses in The Road Not Taken. Here's everything I noticed about it:

Dell is still a ubiquitous computer manufacturer. Everyone wears kevlar. Things are...bluer. There seems to be no trash pickup. Lots of graffiti. Lots of smoke and fire. The FBI communicates via red bat-phones. Kirk Acevedo is mean. And scarred. And giving shoot-to-kill orders. The city of Boston is being both evacuated and quaratined (which seems a contradiction).

My biggest question about Olivia's visions: is this reality the one with whom ZFT prophecizes a war? The one they created super soldiers to fight? If so, I'm confused. Where do the Observers fit in? And what's so special about this particular alternate reality, when there are an infinite number of them in the meta-universal manifold?

"William Bell is not the enemy."
Look out, we've got another Ambiguously Powerful Figure from JJ Abrams, the same man who brought us Arvin Sloane and Benjamin Linus. All of Season 1, the writers have establish Bell as a morally corrupt Man Behind the Curtain of Massive Dynamic, the Pattern, and now ZFT. But in The Road Not Taken, both Nina Sharp and Walter defend Bell's character, assuring viewers that he's been misrepresented.

Who do we trust? Will the apocryphal Chapter of Ethics really prove Bell's innocence? I have a feeling Bell's intentions may be benevolent, but his means, unethical. Maybe we'll find out in next week's finale. And if Bell's not evil, who's responsible for ripping out the Chapter of Ethics and corrupting ZFT? Mr. Jones?

Stray Thoughts
  • Best Walterism of the Night: "When he was five, he built me a popsicle napkin-holder. Dreadful design. Utterly useless."
  • How slick is Lance Reddick? The man could kill someone with a glance.
  • Interesting cameo from Clint Howard. I imagine Akiva Goldsman talked him into it. Did this shameless Trek plug bother anyone?
  • How many of you cheered when Sanford Harris went up in flames?
  • Blair Brown was awesome as Nina Sharp in this ep, and I think John Noble deserves an Emmy for this performance. The coffee-shop scene particularly.
  • Nina seems to be limping all of a sudden. Just how much of her is robotic, do you think?
  • Nice to see Astrid out of the lab! Get that girl a gun next season.
  • I liked the return of the light box. Here's hoping we see ZFT Test #2 next year.
Adam Morgan is a writer for both the page and screen in Chicago, and he blogs pseudo-daily at Mount Helicon.


Caroline said...

Great review, Adam. One thing- I saw Blair Brown at the New York Comic Con, and as she was walking to the autograph area, she had a really big limp (I can't remember if she was using a cane or not). So it may not be the character with the limp.

Gil_cdn said...

Huh? Nick Drake? I thought his name is Nick Lane?

For sure I was cheering when Harris went up in flame. (SANFORD HARRIS: "Not if she can control it. And if not, she'll explode and kill the both of you. So one problem solves another.") Burn Baby Burn, agent Harris!

Not only John is brilliant in his acting, but Anna shines in that coffee house scene too (so helpless and sad). I thought she was also good in the scene in Broyles office when she suddenly change from one dimension to another. GREAT ACTING! Hats off to Anna!

Did anyone sing "Ghostbusters!" when Peter and Walter said: "When there is something stange, in the neighborhood .... who you gotta call ..." (when they were examining the charred body of Susan Pratt).

Anonymous said...

This episode was very satisfying to watch. My favourite scene after the Coffee-shop scene gotta be when Harris went up in flames. Even though i thought the CGI wasn't that good, it still was very nice to finally get rid of him "Frogort style"

Count Screwloose said...

The manifold is stable!

introspective said...

Overall. Fringe is good TV series. It reminds me a little bit to Torchwood and X Files. I hope that it will not be spoiled over time.

Post a Comment

Formatting Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i >italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">link</a> = link

Anonymous posting has been turned off.


Viral & Official FOX Websites

FTV Members


Powered by Blogger
Designed by Spot