With only two weeks left before season two of Fringe comes to a close and introduces an element I never saw coming. This episode didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be, whether focusing on Peter or Walter, typical mystery of the week or running plot, it still worked and raised some interesting questions that delved all the way into the very meaning of life. With an ending that throws you for a loop we’re officially barreling towards a finale and there’s no stopping it.
Peter is holed up in a small Washington town hiding out from Broyles and the rest of the Fringies. When a local waitress is murdered Peter becomes the prime suspect until he teams up with Sheriff Mathis (Martha Plimpton) and clears his name. As the two work to find out who is the murderer, and as more bodies start to pile up, it is up to Peter and the Sheriff to find out who are the killer and what the shape shifter Newton does or doesn’t have to do with it.
Walter’s meltdown in the store was utterly heartbreaking as it wasn’t long ago Walter’s eccentricities landed him in a mental hospital. After all the good he’s done and how much Walter has learned he’s still well-aware that he’s seen as crazy. The bigger question becomes does Walter truly need Peter to remain stable or is he self-sabotaging himself? Considering how far Walter’s come in his quest for independence this seemed like an intentional step back on his part and this arc has truly shown how much Walter loves his son and needs him. Mathis speech on Peter attributing meaning to things that don’t have them was also incredibly insightful for this episode. Peter’s constant wonderings of why he could see Newton and others couldn’t, or if he was imagining things entirely was great because it did make audiences wonder if he was crazy. This connected right back to Walter battling with his own sanity furthering showing that father and son need each other to remain stable. The deaths of the girls were a classic red herring and almost made the episode Hitchcockian in a sense. Not to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen the episode yet, who was as blown away as I was? While it seems like such a logical place to go in hindsight, I honestly thought we’d see Bell return instead of who we ended up with. It should lead down some explosive roads and I can’t wait!
The weakest link this week had to be guest star Martha Plimpton as Sheriff Mathis. For some reason she can off as over-the-top and her delivery of the lines seemed more forceful than they should have been. I adore Plimpton as much as the next lover of 80’s films but here she was trying too hard to be Frances McDormand in Fargo and it came off laughable. The juxtaposition of Walter and Peter was great but the lack of Walter throughout and the excess of Peter made the episode unbalanced. It’s as if the episode should have been longer or Walter should have been excised entirely. I enjoyed the combination of both but there wasn’t enough of the father and too much of the son.
An ending that left me wanting more, here’s hoping Fringe can sustain the momentum and keep audiences on the edge of their seats for the next two weeks. The episode brought up a lot of interesting questions, and aside from a bland turn from Martha Plimpton, I wanted more answers and some more time to delve into the theories that arise from where this episode ended.