Fringe Review: Observers Galore!

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The long-awaited return of The Observer did not disappoint, as the bullet-headed watcher showed up with several other observers in tow. Including one who has tired of simply watching and wants to change the natural order of things.

Will this disruption help Peter, Walter and Agent Dunham learn more about The Observer, or does his appearance signal trouble to come for the Fringe team? Read our recap of "August" and then check out the review below...

What Worked: Neo Observer
When Peter and Olivia slow down the security footage of the kidnapping, we see Artist catching the park ranger's bullets in his bare hands as if he were in The Matrix. All apologies, of course, to the ranger, who we thought was just a terrible shot. While this revelation made the observers and their powers seem even cooler, it really worked well with the end of the episode, where Artist lets himself be shot by Donald. He sacrifices himself to save Christine when he just as easily could have caught the hit man's bullets.

The Observer Photo

What Also Worked: Walter Bishop, Milkshake Scientist
The secret recipe for the Strawberry Supreme may be the only puzzle Walter cannot solve. If only the proprietors of his favorite, and now closed, ice cream parlor had written the recipe down in observer code, perhaps Walter would have a shot. Instead, he has both his home kitchen and the Harvard lab working overtime trying to concoct the perfect milkshake to mirror the Strawberry Supreme ones he enjoyed at his favorite shop. As Astrid discovers, perhaps French Vanilla ice cream and cough syrup do not a delicious milkshake make.

What Didn't Work: Olivia Dunham, Corporate Shill
Look, we understand the need for commercials. Those shows need to be funded somehow, right? And we're all for in-programming product placement, so long as we're not hit over the head with it.

However, when Agent Dunham shows up in a shiny new Ford and uses the onboard phone service to check in on Ella, and then ends the call and switches to some fancy pants Sirius satellite radio, we realize that we've just exited Fringe and entered a commercial. For a program that excels at showing instead of telling, that little moment's blatant advertising really threw us off course.

What Really, Really Worked: Olivia Dunham, Happy?
Dunham isn't going to win any cheerful awards. She is as serious and stoic a character as we've seen. And why shouldn't she be? She's seen her lover blown up right in front of her, only to occasionally show up in hallucinations. She is investigating the weirdest occurrences in human history.

She's constantly surrounded by the most gruesome deaths. And Walter won't share any Strawberry Supreme with her. But the episode began and ended with Olivia as happy as a clam playing aunt to Ella. Her newfound happiness made the elder observer's cryptic message at the end of the episode - that things would soon go bad for Dunham - even more chilling.

We leave you with this Fringe quote from the episode:

The Observer: Who is she? Why did you save her?
August: I saw her many years ago. She was a child. Her parents had just been killed. She was crying. But she... she was brave. She crossed my mind... somehow. She never left it. I think... it's what they call... feelings. I think... I love her. | permalink

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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great episode indeed!