It seems a lot of people were perplexed by the previous episode, which just goes to show how FOX is contributing to what is rapidly becoming an unnecessary sophomore slump for âFringeâ. As intriguing as many of the ideas have been in the second season, the whole is not exceeding the sum of its parts. If anything, I feel as though the trend has been to loosen whatever serialization was established in the first season.
At the same time, this episode reinforces my point about context. While itâs not nearly as solid an effort as the typical âSupernaturalâ episode, where character and plot conflicts are routinely enmeshed, this was clearly an attempt to address Walterâs anxiety in the wake of his abduction through the filter of the citizens of Edina. And in that sense, this largely stand-alone episode really only fits into this point in the overall series continuity.
Walter was just trying to push for further independence again, when the parasite incident undermined his confidence and the subsequent abduction shattered his sense of security. After all, Walter had no recollection of ever being on the receiving end of the kind of experiments he once conducted; his comfort zone has been researching and resolving those effects on others. Itâs no surprise that he feels a desire to retreat from the world into a space filled with familiar and friendly faces.
So it makes sense that Walterâs first steps towards overcoming that renewed anxiety would come during a case that revolves around a group of people who have chosen to isolate themselves from the rest of the world at all costs. And, in keeping with the mythology of âFringeâ, a group that is connected to something in Walterâs past.
The parallels may have been evident, but that doesnât make them particularly compelling. In fact, by the time I was finally getting a little bit invested in the deeper aspects of the story, the episode came to an end. Even by the time the layer of perception was added to the mix, it seemed like there wasnât time to build up to the interchange between Walter and Peter properly.
Iâm sure that part of my reaction to the episode is frustration over yet another stand-alone story. I was willing to be patient with âLostâ during its slower period because itâs success made patience reasonable. The producers were going to have more than enough time to achieve their endgame. âFringeâ doesnât have that kind of luxury. And when the producers consistently mention that they have accelerated several aspects of the series arc for the second season, itâs annoying when the evidence of that doesnât seem to be reaching the audience quite yet.