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

Episode Review: August

      Email Post       11/19/2009 10:02:00 PM      

After three standalone episodes, Fox promised a return to Fringe's core mythology this week with a much-hyped Observer-centric storyline. The episode itself was certainly thin on the "answers" and "revelations" promised by promos and press releases, but August proved to be one of the show's best outings ever, regardless.

Pinkner and Wyman gave our new Observer a great defining moment in this ep's teaser, when we see his reaction to the war veteran's gift. The emotion in his eyes was a stark contrast to what we're used to seeing from our old pal, September. And while we all knew from the promos that he was helping Christine Hollis instead of kidnapping her, it was still a great twist that August's motives were so personal. Which raises a few questions.
First, why are the Observers immune to emotion? September seemed concerned when August uttered the word "feeling". And further, what happened to August that transformed him into something more human? We know he witnessed Christine's parents' death, and that her noble suffering inspired compassion in August's cold Observer heart, but surely every Observer has witnessed a host of traumatic events without shedding a tear.
And while the narrative was certainly compelling--and while August and Christine certainly stole the show from our series regulars--we're really left with more questions than answers at the end of the night. The Massive Dynamic geek's Observer-talk was well-delivered, but didn't we already know that there was more than one Observer, that they show up for important events in history, and that their appearances have been increasing exponentially in recent months? The episode's reveals seemed more designed to fill in new viewers than anything else. Those of us following the show from Season 1 are still left wondering: why are they here? What are they looking for? Where do they fit in relation to Fringe's other mythological entities, like the shapeshifting hybrids, the alternate reality, the Last Great Storm, and William Bell?
I guess we'll have to wait a few more weeks for clues to those mysteries, since Snakehead looks like another standalone. At least the monster of the week looks like a Ceti eel!

Other Thoughts
-Would the Observers really need to speak out loud to each other?
-August's bullet-grab = awesome.
-Could the casting department have picked someone more threatening to play the Observer's hitman? Even Walter could outrun that guy. He reminded me of a segway cop.
-I loved that Christine Hollis was an MFA student like myself. The actress also did a great job conveying simultaneous fear and gratitude.
-How ridiculous was that Ford Taurus product placement?!
-Is the He-Saved-Us-From-Drowning story just Walter's cover for September's help in stealing Peter from the Alternate Reality?


Anonymous said...

First, I am glad you mentioned the actress who played Christine. She really stood out to me. I thought she was fantastic!

Second, I really feel like there were answers there, though they were more implied than directly stated. And that's fine by me because the episode was deeply satisfying as a whole. It definitely ranks near the top--if not THE top--of my fave eps in the entire series. I found it emotionally balanced and expository; however, the exposition didn't come off as explanatory and therefore, boring. It just filled in holes to what we already know.

Anyway...enough rambling. This was an excellent installment!

brennaah said...

I think that theory about the drowning being a cover-up is very interesting. I was also very intrigued by September's comment that the reason he 'saved' Walter and Peter was to correct something they had messed up. The older observer was also very cool, but I was confused as to what they kept meaning by calling people 'important'- at first I thought they meant in the outcome of history but then when Christine became important that didn't seem to fit. Overall, I agree that this is one of my favorite episodes thus far in the series.

Dennis said...

Maybe September failed in saving Peter from drowning, so he let Walter take him from the other side.

Anonymous said...

Tonight's episode was excellent. Did the Fringe Division get their hands on the assassin's weird Observer-writing-laiden cell phone-looking thing?

Again, with the red & green lights... So was that guy working for the observers?

What about the guy in the exploding people episode who said that the observers were creating the war...?

I still think the Observers remind me of angels on the Prophecy movies.

Also... in not thinking linear... are all the observers just one observer at different stages in life/time?

Yeah goofy. Juts throwing it out there...

Prompter Bob said...

--The FORD product placement didn't bother me because advertiser support like that is going to help keep the show on the air.

--Any theories about why the Observers love super hot peppers and why the dress in 60s business garb?

--I think the show looked better when it was shot in New York

--Aren't the incidents in the so-called stand alone episodes supposed to still be linked to "the pattern"? Wasn't that the original premise of the show?

Jen said...

Could Peter shoot the gun because he's from 'the Other Side' and it's coded only for Othersiders' use?

Bayport Bob said...

"--Any theories about why the Observers love super hot peppers and why the dress in 60s business garb?"

well they like mad men a lot and got the clothes part correct but messed up on the scotch part?

(i just couldn't help myself and had to say it!)

NickW said...

I think there were a lot of answers in this episode about the Observers and their motivations. While there are certainly more questions to be answered I think we now have a much better understanding of the Observers.

Plus seeing the code they sent to the Assassin being the green and red lights, does anyone else think the Rogue from season 1 could have been a Rogue Observer?

Tuvia said...

To address at least a couple of your questions:

1. I think the Observers are at least descendant from humans. What I suspect is that August suffered from a genetic flaw; a throwback to his human ancestry. This caused human emotions to manifest. Also, note that he looked younger than the other Observers. Its possible that he hasn't been "on the job" as long, and had not yet become as jaded as the others. Personally, I suspect a combination of both; he was new to observing history, and he had a latent genetic predisposition toward emotion.

2. I think the scenes with the Observers speaking to each other out loud were for our benefit. In-universe, they were probably using telepathy.

chollis said...

Just wondering, who would one ask the question to..."Where did they get the name Christine Hollis?" I happen to have the same name and I find I am so curious, especially since Fringe is one of my favorite shows. Any suggestions?

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