After a brief hiatus (I’d just like to note that the Season One Finale aired on May 12, 2009 and the Season Two premiere aired on September 17, 2009), we’re back, baby! Fringe Season 2! Our homework for this week was to watch a the season premiere. (You can read the Television Without Pity Recap here, while the AV Club has their recap of the episode here. The posts dedicated to Season One are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

As always, here are the ground rules: nothing that we have seen so far is considered a spoiler, anything that we have not yet seen should be considered a spoiler. Crazy nutbar speculation is *NOT* a spoiler, but confirming or denying said confirmation would be.

Here’s my idea for spoilers: please rot13 them. That’s a simple encryption that will allow the folks who want to avoid spoilers to avoid them and allow the people who want to argue them to argue them. We good? We good! Everybody who has seen the finale, see you after the cut!

Augh, it’s already a car wreck! Not the show, the opener. We wake up with a guy behind the wheel of a car. The windshield is spiderwebbed, he has blood on his forehead, we get out. Running down the street, we try to find an open apartment building and, finding one, press all of the buzzer buttons until one lets us in. The door buzzes and we run up the stairs to find a guy asking “what happened?” We, of course, kill this man. (Who didn’t see that coming?) We drag him into his apartment and squish and break our face (I didn’t see that coming), take out a measuring tape kinda thing, put one piece in his mouth, one piece in ours, and steal the other guys face. Whoa.

Back to the scene of the accident and we see a new, fresh-faced agent asking the other vehicle and who was driving it. She gets handed a photo of Olivia Dunham.

Cut to the Walter and Peter show at your local supermarket. Walter is talking about Ho-hos and Custard, and Peter is talking about not-Ho-hos and not-Custard until Peter’s cell rings. He answers it, waits a beat, says “what?” and we flash to the crash site. At the crash site, we see Walter breaking into Olivia’s vehicle at the same time that we see Peter treat the new, fresh-faced agent (Jessup) the way that he, personally, hates to be treated. Go Peter! We see Peter asking questions and then refusing to answer questions because, of course, the answers are “classified”. Meanwhile, Walter successfully breaks into the car, fiddles about, and sees the radio and hazards turn on. We see Walter’s face say “I need to be somewhere else” and he gets out in time for the car’s engine to start revving and the lights to flash… followed by Olivia flying out of the windshield and onto the blacktop.

Whoa. That was awesome.

Welcome back to Fringe.

In this episode we see the following:

Walter feeling *AWFUL* about Olivia having been in a car accident (and subsequently brain-dead) and he calls her “Olive”.

Broyles at his Broylesiest yelling at Jessup and making her falsify documents with the power of his not-inconsiderable staredown.

A tease where Peter and Broyles get into a drinking game and discuss Fringe division closing.

Jessup stumbling across various high-profile, if classified, cases from Season One (including, of course, the bus that got filled with that amber aerosol gas stuff).

A tease where we threaten to pull the plug on Olivia and, instead, see her sit up and scream “Einai kalytero anthropo apo ton patera toi” and, subsequently, be unable to answer questions about the last couple of hours/days to the doctors (and Peter) who are asking about it.

We see Peter’s FBI credentials revoked at the FBI building and, subsequently, speaking with Agent Jessup about the crash… apparently, the skid marks for the face breaky guy were darkest at the back rather than the front which means that the car was speeding up rather than braking (!).

We, and the FBI, find the body left behind by the face-stealer (henceforth: “shapeshifter”… note: this is important) and have a lovely moment where we watch Jessup and Peter interact about Walter’s quirks/eccentricities. (“Is he crazy?” “Oh, yeah.”)

We flash to an old-schooly typewriter repair shop. The shapeshifter walks in and says that he needs to use the “Selectric 251”. They never made, a 251, we’re told. From the 245 to the 255, they went, we’re told. “Yeah. I’m still going to need the 251.” “Oh… you’re one of them.” The shapeshifter is given a key. In the locked room is a Selectric 251 next to a mirror. The shapeshifter types a status report into the 251. (I had to google this next part to get it right:) “Mission Accomplished, Target Terminated, In Fatal Car Crash, Meeting Prevented, Request Extraction.” Someone writes back: “Negative, Mission Failure, Meeting Occurred, Target Still Alive.” The Shapeshifter waits a beat and then types: “Request new orders.”

Interrogate target then kill her.”

We introduce Agent Jessup to The Lab where Walter is working on the body and he requests bunsen burners and bowls. For the custard he wishes to make. DUDE DON’T EAT IN THE LAB. Seriously.

Cut to Olivia and Charlie where Charlie is a nice guy who tells a story about a call he went on, once… and, by the end of it, I am reminded of how he’s, like, my favorite supporting character after Astrid. He, successfully, guesses that Olivia has a gun under her pillow. Why? Because Charlie would. Dang, he’s awesome.

Back to the lab, where Walter finds three holes in the body’s soft palate… which reminds him of one of his tapes from the 80’s. He plays it for all of us and we see a woman who is, in the vernacular, tripping balls and explaining about soldiers who are, in fact, shapeshifters. They put out an APB for corpses with holes in the soft palate.

Cut to Olivia who is having trouble loading the gun she, presumably, had under her pillow.

Cut to Broyles who is defending the existence of the Fringe Division to a bunch of suits who don’t understand how very badly we *NEED* Fringe Division. I mean, seriously. We’ve had stuff like planes full of translucent corpses, werewolves filling up planes with opaque corpses, buses full of an aresol gel thing, and, may I point out, MISTER FREAKING JONES and the Senate is questioning the point of Fringe Division? I’m all for fiscal responsibility but, seriously, this is one of those things like NASA that has a higher ROI than, say, the Delaware River Basin Commission. (No politics.)

Nina’s on the stairs of the Senate building and, pow, plants one on the lips of Broyles and tells him to save the day.

They *ALREADY* get a call about a corpse with three holes in the soft palate. Dang. Shapeshifters are busy… which is, I suppose, the point. They hammer out that there are enough of these things out there that, holy crap, Olivia is still in trouble… just in time for us to cut to a scene where we see the shapeshifter giving The Look to a nurse behind the hospital. “You scared me to death”, she foreshadows.

Now we’ve got a ticking clock show… Jessup and Peter are rushing to the hospital while the nurse who was behind the hospital and is now almost certainly the shapeshifter is interrogating Olivia. The Shapeshifter hammers out that Olivia doesn’t remember much of anything, nods sadly, then TOTALLY TRIES TO KILL OLIVIA while, at the same time, folks on the ground floor are talking about how the only person allowed in Olivia’s room is the nurse. Who, of course, was the *ONE* nurse smoking behind the building for the shapeshifter. (Two morals this show: Don’t let people into your building just because they buzz your apartment. Don’t smoke. You’re watching FOX.)

Our intrepid agents get to the room as the shapeshifter is telling Olivia to just let go and shoot the shapeshifter twice (!) before the shapeshifter jumps out the window (!) and lands a couple of floors below on the roof of an adjacent building (!). Our agents go after the shapeshifter and, after some tense moments, we see Charlie corner the shapeshifter and put a couple of bullets into her/him/it. Peter and Jessup find Charlie standing over the nurse’s body and they confiscate the nurse’s tape measure facestealing tool thingy.

Cut back to Olivia and Peter for their debriefing and we hammer out that the Greek phrase that Olivia screamed when she woke up was something that Peter’s mom always said to Peter: “Be a better man than your father.” (Not to complain or anything but other than doing science testing on children, have they really communicated that Walter was a bad person back in the day? I’ve been told that but not shown that…)

Cut to Peter giving the tape measure facestealing tool thingy to Broyles and saying that Broyles can use this to save Fringe Division.

Cut to Olivia successfully loading the gun that, presumably, she had under her pillow.

Cut to Charlie in the hospital basement pushing a laundry cart with Charlie in it. Oh, gosh. The Shapeshifter got Charlie. They killed Charlie.



I like Jessup a lot. The trick of having someone not affiliated with Fringe show up and boggle at all of the stuff that we’ve grown used to is a great trick that I have yet to tire of. The idea that Fringe could have officially been shut down was a nice tease but I wonder what the season might have looked like had they actually shut it down for a few episodes (we could have Walter do product placement… “We need to make LSD… Let’s go to Home Depot!”).

What thinks did you thunk?


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com


  1. It was a great premier. I like the new agent, but I feel like they added her to be the explaination getter for the rest of us.

    The openning was interesting because I had wondered in earlier posting about what happens to Olivia when she goes over. Now I know, but I have to wonder about the details for a moment and then I will drop it. I bet she was wearing a seat belt to begin with, but when she came back she was out of it, why? She left before the accident, but the kinnects were still in force for her return?!? Okay, back to suspension of disbelief.

    The typewriter was awesome. I love the creepy feel of this. What I want to know and sure will be explained at some point is why there are people on the other side that have higher dimesional tech and understanding than we do if the world are so close to parallel.

    I think it would be cool to find out that Alternate Dimension Walter is behind a bunch of this, because his son was stolen out from under him by our Walter. I still think there are/were serious repercussions for that, beyond just the weakenning of the barrier between the dimensions. We shall see.

    • She left before the accident, but the kinnects were still in force for her return?!?

      For what it’s worth (minor spoiler) they actually kinda explain this in an upcoming episode. Kinda.

  2. This episode does a great job setting up the season, with the introduction of the shapeshifters. It also makes it very clear (in contrast to last season, when the team spent most of the year learning to get along with each other) that Walter, Peter and Olivia are very close and care about each other a great deal.

    I’m amused by the way Fringe treats LSD as a magic, all-purpose tool. And it makes you understand why the Senate might want to shut Fringe down, because “we think an alternate universe with shapeshifters exists on the basis of someone’s ramblings after we gave them drugs” is not generally considered reliable evidence.

    • I’m amused by the way Fringe treats LSD as a magic, all-purpose tool.

      I tend to agree. They do a lot of winks and nods to religious folks (Jessup comparing Fringe Season 1 happenings to stuff in the book of Revelation, the upcoming White Tulip episode) and then, after catering to those guys, say “LET’S BLOW OUR MINDS OPEN!” and start turning themselves on.

        • It’s definitely mine. (And, yes! It’s Season 2!!!)

          I am tempted to make White Tulip a stand-alone episode for the bookclub, because I am self-indulgent like that.

          • Since there’s five episodes after “White Tulip”, it would mess with the scheduling a bit, but I’m a big fan of the episode as well. There’s a fair few this season that arguably deserve stand-alone weeks (basically everything from episode 14 (Jacksonville) onwards).

    • I also like that this ep. is the one that explicitly draws the X-Files comparisons – it appears on the TV of the apt. that the shapeshifter gains entry to, and one of the grilling Senators makes reference to ‘The old ‘X’ designation’, implying that Fringe Division are Mulder & Scully’s direct descendants.

      • I want to say that there’s an episode on the television when the shapeshifter takes his first victim.

        Either have the X-Files on the television *OR* have the Senate mention the the old X designation for Fringe.

        To do both gilds the lily.

        • Right, as I said, IIRC it is in both spots.

          More than lily-gilding, is this really more one of your ‘Pluto/Goofy’ things?

          That is, the ‘Fringe’ Universe should either have had a ‘real’ old X-Files FBI division that birthed the Fringe Division; or, the Fringe universe could have had a fictional television show called ‘The X Files’; but not both, OR REALITY AS WE KNOW IT WILL COLLAPSE?

          Given Fringe’s premise, I’d think Fringe could maybe be the rare show to get away with ‘both’. 😉

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