Fringe (2008) – The Same Old Story, and The Ghost Network

The second episode of Fringe first aired on 16 September, 2008. Written by J.J. Abrams, Robert Orci and Alex Kurtzman this episode continued pushing the ideas of body horror first seen in the pilot episode.

This time an unfortunate woman sleeps with the wrong man and within moments becomes pregnant, and within minutes delivers a child that dies of old age shortly after. FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is troubled to learn that the murderer matches the profile of one she was tracking with her late partner, he also seems to have a connection to Walter Bishop’s (John Noble) work on the pituitary gland and its effects on aging.

The developing mythology of the show wants to tie The Pattern to Bishop’s work before he ended up in an institution. That is yet another reason I’m glad that idea will be dropped by the end of the season, but for now, it’s front and center building the series’ underlying mythology.

As Olivia and Walter’s son, Peter (Joshua Jackson) attempt to track down the killer, and his connection to Walter’s work, we see the extents Peter is willing to go as well as another interaction with Massive Dynamic and Nina Sharp (Blair Brown).

The episode builds nicely on what was introduced in the pilot episode, and eagle-eyed viewers will notice their first Observer (Michael Cerveris) in this story.

The series is still trying to find its way with its talk about The Pattern, but two episodes in, it shows it can be smart, scary, and funny. Just as important, the characters are developing already as well.

Torv easily owns the screen with her character Olivia and watching her spar with Peter lays some great groundwork for their working relationship.

The Ghost Network once again ties back to Walter’s work, and consequently, The Pattern, in this case someone is using a gas that turns solid when it meets nitrogen, trapping subjects like flies in amber, and it was done to cover up something.

And somehow, a young tortured man, Roy (Zak Orth), is driven to paint, draw, and build the horrific events as they fill his mind. He can see and hear it in his head. And he too has a connection to Walter.

Written by David H. Goodman and J.R. Orci this episode first debuted on 23 September, 2008.

Olivia wrestles with the idea that Broyles (Lance Reddick) may be keeping secrets from her, and that Massive Dynamic can be both ally and threat. She’s also still dealing with the death of, and betrayal by, her partner.

Walter, who has begun self-medicating recalls the experiment that he conducted on Roy. It was to allow for wireless communication, almost mind to mind. It seems someone has perfected it and is using it to run their black ops to recover information that we get a glimpse of towards the end of the episode.

We and Olivia also learn why Broyles didn’t share everything with her, and his revelation and trust at the end of the episode says a lot. The series is developing nicely, layering in mythology (there’s a quick glimpse of an Observer), building characters, and letting the show grow.

I’m hooked all over again.

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