Fringe (2009) – August, and Snakehead

An Observer known as August (Peter Woodward) goes rogue and takes a young woman, Christine (Jennifer Missoni) hostage in order to keep her safe in the episode August. Written by J.H. Wyman and Jeff Pinkner, this story was first broadcast on 19 November, 2009.

While Walter (John Noble) worries over coming up with the perfect strawberry milkshake, and Olivia (Anna Torv) wants to spend time with her niece, Christine is abducted by August, and the Fringe Division gets called into help find her because August is an Observer.

In keeping with the reveal that there is more than one of everything, we learn that there are a few Observers (including Michael Cerveris and Eugene Lipinski – who is known as December). It soon becomes clear that August has become emotionally attached to Christine and wants to prevent her death in an accident; an airplane crashes that she was supposed to be aboard.

The team finds connections to other times August has saved Christine and her family, violating Observer rules, and throwing things into flux.

As Fringe Division investigates the Observers in their hunt for Christine, they learn that they, whoever they are, have been with us throughout our recorded history. But who are they? What are they looking for?

We are reminded throughout of Walter’s prior contact with the Observer, and that there is something slightly unique about Peter’s (Joshua Jackson) existence. As the episode ends, December and our long-running Observer watch Olivia and her niece at a theme park and lament the fact that things are about to drastically change for the agent…

I really liked this one.

Snakehead was written by David Wilcox and first aired on 3 December, 2009. While Walter hopes to find a bit of independence, which doesn’t go as well as he thought would, the team gets called in on a frightening case that sees parasitical hookworms growing to unusual sizes inside a group of Chinese immigrants.

They soon learn that a Chinese Triad is dosing the immigrants with a drug, then infecting them with the parasite, where it will grow, and they can harvest a drug from it, which is then used in illegal markets, even finding its way into surgeries.

As Olivia and Peter investigate, Walter and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) have a misadventure in Chinatown that causes Walter to reevaluate his own sense of independence and leads the team to frightening discoveries.

There are some great character moments throughout this episode, Walter’s tracking device, his shared moments with Astrid, and Broyce’s (Lance Reddick) reaction when he sees Astrid and Walter with the large hookworm. These characters have become very real, fleshed out, and interact believably in the world they inhabit, as strange as it is.

There’s also a blink-and-miss-it glimpse of the Observer. And while not a mythology episode, it’s a damn fine story, and the effects on the hookworm are really good. They are very unnerving looking.

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