Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Episode Review: August

Episode Review: August
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?

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