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Fringe has returned after a longer than brief hiatus and is just as strong as ever. This episode, The Firefly (no doubt an in-joke to their new time slot) focuses on the Observer and his plans for the Bishops, with Olivia and Peter angst in the background. The episode begins with an old musician (Christopher Lloyd) meeting his long dead son and the fringe team are called to investigate. As the investigation continues, we begin to learn exactly how Walter’s decisions have affected the multiverse. Like the X-files, Fringe’s strongest episodes are the ones that directly deal with the mythology. Season one had way too much filler, Season two learned from this mistake and became one of the best shows on television today. Season three has continued this trend, a continuing mythology that refuses to give its viewers time to rest. Nonstop action.
The beginning of this episode is the definition of misleading; it starts off with the idea that it’ll focus on the awesome stunt casting of Doc Brown Chris Lloyd. Lloyd plays a musician that Walter admires and shares his fascination with strawberry milkshakes. I never thought that Lloyd ever lost his touch as an actor, but it was nice to be reaffirmed of that fact. He was on Chuck last year, but he really wasn’t given much to do. This time around, he’s given a completely different character to play. The episode also did a great job of giving subtle hints of his character from Back to the Future. He doesn’t give any lines from the movies and nobody calls him Doc, he just happens to be in an episode about time travel and has no clue as to what the hell is going on. It was an awesome character, played by an awesome actor.
I shouldn’t have to mention how great John Noble is. Every episode, his character is put through hell. He is afraid of losing his son to the plans of the Observers. Am I the only one that finds the Observers becoming more and more hypocritical over time? They claim to be ones who just watch, and now they’re killing anyone they have to make things right again. They’re slowly turning into Jacob from Lost.
One thing I wanted to talk about was the relationship business with Olivia and Peter. Out of all the shows on television that involve a man and a woman arguing about an evil twin that ruined their relationship, Fringe is easily the best one. Last episode, Olivia acted in a very real way (angry) and Peter responded in a real way (he couldn’t). In this episode, it looks like they both have calmed down, Olivia isn’t demanding that he get out of her life anymore, they’re acting professionally at work, but there are enough awkward silences to fill a Michael Richards stand-up act. How sad is it that I can say that a television series that involves parallel universes and shape-shifters has more real characters than shows that claim to be “grounded”? If you have a girlfriend who normally doesn't watch sci-fi, show them this series. Fringe really empowers its female characters and makes the show about them and the best part about that is that the men arn't neglected at the same time. Fox may not care enough to keep it out of the Friday death slot, but I care enough to still watch and love it, as should you. Make sure you tune in on Friday nights or at least DVR it; watching on Hulu is somewhat helpful too.