Fringe reaction

The end of the last episode, and the previews for this one, made me apprehensive that we were going to have a “Dunham as victim” sequence, with her being strapped to a medical table and experimented on while everybody else runs around trying to save her. (I blame this apprehension-reflex on all the times Scully got victimized in The X-Files.) So I was very pleased by what we got instead: a brief interlude on the medical table, in which Dunham never ceased to think and pay attention and make plans, followed by her very ably manipulating and bad-assing her way out of captivity on her own. And it was a little unrealistic, maybe — those were some dumb minions — but no more than expected for TV; the way in which Dunham took everybody out was well within the range I would expect from any competent FBI field agent.

I’m also pleased by the way they handled her killing Loeb’s wife (whose name I’m too lazy to look up). The default options for female characters in this kind of context are: either they can be all guilt-stricken about having killed someone (especially a fellow woman), or they can be hard-as-nails about it in a way that is not psychologically healthy. Dunham? Handles it sanely. An attempt to avoid having to shoot, a long breath of “wow, that was closer than I would have liked,” and then she moves on, just as a male character might.

Love on Charlie for a) helping Dunham and b) going to Peter for extralegal assistance. I’m always in favor of Peter getting to be useful.

The “audited by the powers that be” plot doesn’t thrill me, mostly because The X-Files milked that one for years, so I feel like we’ve been there, done that. On the other hand, for once the show got me to wake up and wish I’d been paying closer attention to the metaplot. I haven’t attended to the details well enough to sort out for myself what Loeb means, but at least it got my interest. Whether or not the show manages to keep it, remains to be seen.

0 Responses to “Fringe reaction”

  1. kythiaranos

    I am just waiting for the episode when Charlie’s put in a position where he *really* has to choose between his law-and-order tendencies and his loyalty to Liv. That’s going to be fun to watch, even more than the squirming and pacing while Peter was doing the illegal phone tap.

  2. pathseeker42

    Yeah, I really loved the episode last night. I was commenting to Ben that in most female-led action shows, the woman has to be something supernatural, some experiment-gone-wrong result in order to kick butt. Dunham’s just a well-trained FBI agent. I love it.

  3. fritz_bogott


    Yeah, but: Dunham vaccinated against the coming global pandemic? (via spinal tap? Strange way to vaccinate.) That’s not nearly contorted enough. I’m worried their foreshadowing is going to paint them into a corner. (Of course, they can always take the honorable path and break continuity.)

    • Marie Brennan

      Re: vaccine?

      What, Abrams painting himself into a corner with his convoluted metaplot? Nah, he’d never do that.

      • fritz_bogott

        Re: vaccine?

        It’s actually sort of an interesting writing strategy: Write serially, plan nothing, and make sure to plant at least one totally unresolvable shit sandwich in every episode. It’s the writerly version of a Ponzi scheme. It sets up an unusual kind of meta-dramatic-irony: The audience can tell in advance that the writers are fucked, deus-ex is going to be required, and the only real suspense is about exactly *what* bizarre-assed deus-ex it will be. resurrection? hallucination? the rapture? Hell yes, bring it on!

  4. ninja_turbo

    Ditto on the worrying about ‘Olivia as victim’ worry and the excitement at the reversal.

    Having the auditor be not just banal-ly antagonistic, but actively antagonistic to Olivia gives it extra degree of tension.

    Also — gigantic common cold? Creepy awesome.

    We got a classic dose of Abrams WTF? with Loeb’s ramblings about her kidnapping. I imagine we’ll see that play out over the rest of the season/beyond. Massive Dynamics-Cyborg-Arm lady already expressed an interest in her, which makes me think that her selection of being in the Fringe unit is based on more than her involvement in the first case.

    I also ditto ‘s anticipation of an episode that pushes Charlie’s loyalties to the breaking point. It’d also be hilarious and/or dumb to have Peter and Charlie get in a fight over Olivia.

    • Marie Brennan

      Eh, the “gigantic virus” thing did not particularly wow me. Then again, slimy critters are just not exciting to me in general.

      You’re right about the active antagonism toward Olivia adding something, but I’m still not wild about it. Loeb interested me more as an in-house antagonist.

  5. Anonymous

    I absolutely loved the, “Pfffftt, Olivia doesn’t need anyone to save her, she does that shit all by herself,” beginning. I also liked how she buried the samples she stole before she called the FBI. It shows that, while she hasn’t necessarily had specific reason not to trust the people she’s working with, she’s still smart enough to know that unexpected shit happens, and you need to be prepared for it.

    I also really liked the one good, “I care about you,” moment with Peter. I liked that it was the fact that he said it, not necessarily how he said it that was significant. On a lesser show that line could have been delivered very, “significantly,” i.e. cheesy, but it wasn’t. Peter just threw it in there because it was the next logical part of his side of the conversation.

    I have to say I’m a big fan of Peter in general. I’ve been told more than once by someone, “oh you should watch random show X it has this character in it you’d love, he’s a sarcastic asshole like you.” Then I watch random show X and said character is a sarcastic asshole, but he’s not my kind of sarcastic asshole. Peter is my kind of sarcastic asshole.

    • Anonymous

      Oh yeah, ^^That’s Tony.

      I keep forgetting to sign this shit.


    • Anonymous

      Lines like “Peter is my kind of sarcastic asshole” serve just as well as a signature for the purposes of identification. <g>

      I suspect that line of Peter’s is another stone in the foundation for an eventual relationship between him and Dunham, but you’re right; the delivery of it was well-calibrated. It came across as a natural, “hey, what happens to you is important, too,” rather than an “OOPS was that my poorly-concealed love for you showing” kind of line.

  6. calico_reaction

    I too was thrilled with how they handled Olivia’s abduction.

    The “audited by the powers that be” plot doesn’t thrill me, mostly because The X-Files milked that one for years, so I feel like we’ve been there, done that.

    I didn’t get around to X-Files until MUCH later, but my first experience with the whole higher powers auditing the odd task force within the FBI was in PROFILER, and that plot annoyed the crap out of me then, too. I do hope FRINGE is done with it…

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