The first five episodes of Fringe is out of the way, and apparently they might be the last we see till November if the ending previews are anything to go by. The good thing is the episode more than entertained, and definitely picked up after the lackluster events of last week, the question is did it leave us anything to look forward to when it returns?
This week the Fringies travel to Seattle to investigate a rash of violent attacks where the alleged murderers saw monsters. What the group discovers is all the violent offenders were embedded with chips in their brains to suppress night terrors, led by a doctor who merely wants to do good. Olivia continues to cope with Charlie's death and Sam Weiss leads her to gaining some closure. Peter remembers his own issues with nightmares as a child and Walter goes off the grid to solve the mystery.
The concept of dreams and nightmares is one Fringe has touched on in other episodes. Here it was used as a successful plot device that opened up small tidbits of story that will definitely be coming out in future episodes, and possibly be the driving force if the ending scene indicates anything. The actual deaths of the murderers, driven to the point of exhaustion where their hair turns white, was shocking and perfectly Fringe if there's any way to describe it. It also uniquely blended in addiction which lead to stories about Olivia's stepfather whose been mentioned in the past. Hopefully that wasn't just a throwaway comment on her part and we'll learn about her stepfather in the future. Speaking of Olivia it's nice to know she's coping with Charlie's death, although why are they still listing Kirk Acevedo in the credits? Her need for closure lead to a really touching story about her first meeting with Agent Francis that actually allowed Anna Torv to show some emotion and connection. Her weird habit of collecting business cards seemed pretty pointless until the amazing Sam Weiss showed her the path to closure. I don't know about you but I teared up a bit when Olivia saw the anagram of the words the card's revealed. I still miss Charlie Francis but it's nice that there's a grieving period being experienced. Peter and the nightmares was also really fascinating as it just adds another layer to the mystery that is Peter Bishop. So far we know he's survived death, maybe, that he's got some sort of shape shifter aura and he has nightmares. If the writers don't have a massive Peter reveal that gives the need for all this secrecy then it's a slap in the face. Peter's final dream of the evening and Walter's worried glance lead to an unsettling final scene that hopefully will be fully fleshed out. John Noble also had some great acting in this episode, especially when he tried to explain to Peter why he wanted to leave Seattle.
In terms of nitpicks, nothing near as bad as last week's although was this the episode that should take us into a hiatus? Sure it asked a lot of questions, but there was really nothing to keep viewers involved until November. It should be interesting to see how the ratings do once the show returns, if old fans who haven't been wowed by these five episodes show up in a month.
Overall Fringe picked up and delivered a solid episode, I'm just not sure if it was one that will keep fans holding on until it's return. It's unknown when exactly Fringe plans on returning, sometime in November which is odd considering it's a perfect Halloween series, but I'll be there to review when it gets back. This week gains a healthy 4/5.