Fringe 1.16: "Unleashed"

This episode was much more stand-alone than even the previous installment, which meant that the success or failure of the story rested entirely upon its own strengths and weaknesses. Considering the premise and format of the series, this could have easily fallen into overly familiar patterns. As it was, some moments felt like they were HD transfers from an old "X-Files" episode. The focus on character, however, gave this a bit more heft.

Two characters were at the center of attention this week: Walter and Charlie. In Walter's case, it makes sense. He's always been aware, on some level, that the various pieces of The Pattern have been related to his previous work. But now, after "Ability", he is aware (on whatever level that he's aware of anything) that he is more connected to the horrors being unleashed on the world than he might have thought. And while he has never been great with the whole notion of consequences, by his own admission, this episode proves that it has been weighing on him.

Charlie, on the other hand, has been relegated to the background most of the time, so this is the first glimpse of who he really is, beyond his role as Olivia's partner at the FBI. As it turns out, he has the most saccharine relationship with his wife that I've seen in years. Who actually talks like that? He also has a lot more tattoos than one would imagine. These are little things, but they serve to make Charlie more human, rather than just a friend and partner for Olivia.

The creature was definitely interesting and different. I was a bit confused by the lifecycle, however. By that logic, wouldn't all of the victims have been infested with the larvae? And if so, were they sure that they destroyed each and every last one of them? It's entirely possible that there's at least one of the little buggers crawling around somewhere, preparing to mature and run rampant in the future.

There's really not much more to say. The episode was solid, the character interactions were strong, and the case was a nice throwback to the "monster of the week" episodes of an old favorite. If there's one drawback, it̢۪s the ongoing lack of character development for Peter. He's been steadily growing more comfortable with his father's weirdness, but he needs to be brought further into the forefront to give him more depth.


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Apr 20, 2009 4:47PM EDT

I like this new insight into Charlie. I don't think he and his wife's relationship is that overly sweet. Had to lie to her about his scars and I'm sure he has to lie to her about so many things involving his job. As we've seen in this episode, his work can be intense, so I think that the sweetness of their relationship speaks more to her and his home being a retreat from what he has to face every day. I think that when someone goes through so much on a daily basis, they become more appreciative of what they have---hence the sweetness.
And I love the little bit of jealousy that went on in the beginning when Peter called for Olivia's sister. I like Olivia and Peter's dynamic.

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