The first couple of weeks, Fringe swung for the fences — aspiring to be fanboy-friendly but also a Zeitgeist-y paranoid thriller — which made it even more pathetic when the show whiffed badly. So it’s been a relief that recent episodes have yielded some solid base hits. Maybe we’re even starting to warm up to annoyingly surly Peter … well, let’s not get crazy now.
The Evil: A fiery explosion at a Williamsburg construction site causes widespread panic. But fear not: TV on the Radio are not harmed in the blast.
The Determination: An egglike metal thingy underground triggered the blast. Dr. Walter Bishop deduces that the egg is an advanced prototype of one of his old government projects: a missile that could be shot through the earth and hit a target on the other side of the world. And now Walter must protect the egg from a bald, eyebrow-less man named the Observer, as well as a mean guy with a laser gun.
Intel on Massive Dynamic: Our favorite dead FBI agent, John Scott, shows up at the end of the episode in Dunham’s house. While Massive Dynamic was behind reanimating him, it’s unclear if the company is aware its lab rat is on the loose and making booty calls.
Wacky Factor: To draw a contrast to his eccentric super-genius ways, Fringe’s writers reveal that Walter has a thing for root-beer floats, which he refers to rhapsodically as “heavenly … but also earthly in a way.” Watch out, U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan…
Paranoia Level: Medium-Low. Since we’ve stuck with it this long, we’d like to make a request of J.J. Abrams: Please stop trying to make us think that Peter can’t stand his father and wants to be off the team. When this show goes for grand emotional moments — Can Walter reconcile with Peter? Can Dunham let go of the ghost of her dead partner and lover? — it’s embarrassing because we don’t care about these people. What we do care about are the ludicrous, twisty “Hey, that would be cool!” plots. Last night’s episode was great in that regard, with Walter mysteriously keeping the egg hidden from the rest of his team and the Observer reading Peter’s mind. It says a lot when a show’s most organic character is an eccentric super-genius — he, like us, enjoys just being along for the ride.