Let me start by telling you how surprised I was that my DVR a week ago said Fringe would be on---and on the actual day it was to air, the guide for the HD feed said MLB World Series. Oddly enough the standard feed still said Fringe. I had found out that morning the show would be airing, thankfully news travels fast on the internet. Though not fast enough for everyone, as chatter was made that many who don’t watch it live, seemed to miss out on watching it on their DVR.
So the episode, definitely a stand-alone monster of the week type story. I for one was impressed with the special effects. I don’t believe special effects need to make the show but I liked how it was done. Watching the wife’s hand at the beginning touch her husband and watching his body fall apart while turning to ash in her fingers. It was also one of the first times I could recall a special effect not making me grimace from the gore.
Broyles has a softer side. I rather liked the beginning, seeing him interacting with the young boy at the restaurant. We know from last season he was married and has children. It’s clear from this scene he’s not just the tough, no-nonsense guy we’re used to seeing. He likes kids, not a huge surprise but the rather warm interaction was what caught us off guard. It stood out to me and no wonder since we find out this case was the same one that tore apart his marriage and ultimately ended it.
Russian Fringe Science. Now there is an interesting thought. Even Walter says “I’m always amazed at their advancements. Even 40 years ago.” It’s possible we haven’t seen the end of this. Though I don’t imagine it’ll be anytime soon, it could always be a theme revisited, perhaps in season three.
In Earthling, we find out the cosmonaut brought home an organism with him from space and it was his brother that stole the comatose cosmonaut from a Russian secret quarantine facility. We’re left wondering how his brother knew what was happening to the cosmonaut and how he would have abducted him from any type of secret facility. So much for it being a secret and for the brother believing he died in space. We learn that the organism needs radiation in order to survive and in stealing that radiation from people, it in essence turns them to dust after passing through them. I find it interesting their physical form doesn’t change until something touches them (a hand, a fly, air from the fan). I suppose it makes for nicer special effects then just letting them turn to a pile of ash at the moment of transfer.
I also find it strange that the surveillance at the hospital picked up the shadow organism. Why is it that surveillance video could see it but no one else in all that time at the hospital had witnessed it. Also if he’d been working at the hospital for years, why had there been no incidents? We saw the batteries that the brother was hooking up to the cosmonaut after he took him from the hospital and brought him to a hotel room. Was he getting enough radiation at the hospital and finally he needed more? How many coma patients get regular doses of radiation? Yes the cosmonaut was in a coma but why not focus on a cancer ward where radiation would probably be in higher doses more often? Perhaps that would have been the shadows next move.
In the end, in order to stop the organism that has become one with the cosmonaut, it is Broyles that is forced to shoot him--as the brother that kidnapped the cosmonaut is now dead--and he does so without a second thought. This certainly gives us a glimpse that there is perhaps a darker side to Broyles. Is it because this case has haunted him for the last four years or was he just doing what was entirely necessary to stop more lives from being lost? Fringe Division returned the cosmonauts body in a lead case to the Russians and we find out in the very last scene that in fact, a shot to the head, did not kill a comatose cosmonaut or the entity. Confusing, much? Just a little. I could understand the organism being alive but shouldn't the lead case---or rather coffin have prevented the entity from escaping? Why send it out into space? Do the Russians assume that the organism, being closer to the sun, getting higher levels of radiation---where they found it in space---is safer?
I do enjoy a good stand-alone episode but this one left an avid viewer like myself, feeling as though it came up short. Perhaps the stand-alone stories are the writer’s attempts at bringing in casual viewers without overwhelming the new audience. Maybe it’s the fact I’ve been following the show since the beginning, eagerly waiting to learn more about the shape-shifters, observers, the alternate reality, William Bell, Olivia’s ability, and Peter’s childhood. There’s still so much great story-telling and this show in its second season could easily attract new viewers.