As we soon enter the last stretch of our beloved series let's take a look at what I believe are the most important episodes. Actually, I tweeted this list to executive producer, Joel Wyman, months ago, and shortly after he gave me a one word reply-"Perfect."
Before I list what I believe are the 8 most important episodes of Fringe let me just say that I like all of them,
and this list was not necessarily easy to compile. I am sure there are many fans reading this that will have a list different from mine.
Every day for the next 8 days I will post an episode here with a review and a comment on why I believe this episode is so important to the series. For those of you fairly new to Fringe think of this as a sort of 'Cliff Notes' for Fringe.
THE PILOT EPISODE, or Fringe 101(Note:I wrote this review after Season 3 aired)
Do you remember the first time you watched the pilot? I do. I remember being totally engrossed in it, especially being grossed out by the co-pilot's jaw falling off on Flight 627. Those poor people!
I also remember a strong sense of wanting to know more about these incredibly dysfunctional people named Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, and Olivia Dunham, and where they were headed.
I wanted to know why any woman would agree to have a nasty-looking probe shoved into her neck, and a cocktail of drugs shoved into her vein, and lie naked in a rusty deprivation tank.
Peter told Olivia, "I hope your guy is worth it," and I was thinking the same thing.
This is where our endless list of Fringe-related questions started, such as:
How did Walter end up in St. Claire's?
Why is Walter so worried about Peter's physical state?
What in the world did John Scott's last words mean?
Why did John Scott murder Richard Steig?
Who else is John Scott work for?
And why did John Scott try to run Olivia off the road for Pete's sake?
Was that Morse Code the streelight was flashing? Don't they know Morse Code works best as audio?
What is The Pattern that Nina Sharp refers to?
Broyles tells Olivia "We're impressed." Who's "we"?
How can Nina Sharp's Massive Dynamic people question John Scott who's been dead for 5 hours?
What does the man's voice say while Olivia is staring at her uncle's kyak that reads "Zeno?" (It sounds like "Zeno sink." Definitely not "heat sink." But still...could be a reference to the heat sink machine we see for the first time in "Over There:Part 2.")
And as Peter Bishop says, "What happened on that plane is just the beginning."
This episode, written by JJ Arams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci, is extremely well-written, and got me immediately and hopelessly hooked on 'Fringe.'
Other Notable Stuff From The Pilot:
John Scott tells Liv he loves her but she doesn't reply, but for different reasons than Peter's not replying in 'The Day We Died."
Did you notice Olivia's cut on her forehead is similar to Peter's when he wakes up in 3.21, "The Last Sam Weiss?"
"So you're saying my father was Dr. Frankenstein?" Well, Peter does look like Frankenstein's monster when he wakes up in 3.21!
"Excellent. Let's make some LSD!" We learn quickly that Walter Bishop is fond of his homemade drugs. And of course, LSD takes on a much bigger role in 2.04 and 3.19. (I hope 4.19 will be another hallucinogenic episode-mushrooms maybe?)
"I still think that this is deeply irresponsible. And believe me, I would know." The scene where Peter is putting the electrodes on Olivia's chest, these words, and his voice? The very first of many sexy P/O scenes in Fringe.
Walter to Olivia: "You lose being trusted. Strange how important that is once it's gone."
Now that we've seen 3.22 it gives a new perspective to these words.
There's a tombstone in the graveyard of Liv's mind that reads "He's not dead."
We learned in Season 2 that probably meant Peter. Now it probably has a double meaning, that the Peter we've known through all 3 seasons, is not dead. I often wonder if it also means AlternateBell is not dead(and our Dr. Bell, for that matter!). Bell told us in "Over There:Part 2" that Alternate Bell died in a car accident as a young man, but can we believe that?
We get our first look at Nina Sharp here, in charge of Massive Dynamic. She's blunt, cocky, and obviously withholding information.
I am still fascinated today with the Peter Bishop job bio Olivia reads on the way to Iraq:
wildland fireman, congo pilot, college professor. We learn in "Inner Child" that he also swept the floor in a meat-packing plant. Like Massive Dynamic, what didn't he do? I really hope we get to see him pilot a big plane, like the C-130 transport plane he requisitioned but was refused in 2.02, later in this series.
Why Episode 1.01 is on the 8 most important episodes list:
Every television series needs a starting point. An opportunity for us to meet the main characters and get a sense of what the show will be about. And in a show that has to date essentially 5 different starting points, ie. the season premieres of all 5 Seasons, it is especially important to have a well-written point of origin.
And just as Walter wrapped one edge of the paper around to meet the other edge in his demonstration to Peter and Olivia of how Dr. Peck bent time in 'White Tulip,' will the end of the Fringe series possibly wrap back around to this pilot episode? Only time will tell!