Fringe 2.2: "Night of Desirable Objects"


After a premiere that re-introduced the status quo and set up the story to evolve organically, the real question was how the writers would shift back into the usual “monster of the week” mode. It was the trick that always seemed to elude the writing staff of “The X-Files”, after all, and something that has plagued other semi-serialized shows as well.


In terms of the overall mythology, the main advancement appears to be the physical and mental changes taking place with Agent Dunham. In particular, she seems to be losing control over some form of enhanced hearing, and that is affecting her perception and ability to focus. Walter, Nina, and Olivia’s new friend Sam all hint at the notion that traveling between two universes can have unexpected consequences, and that this is just the beginning.


Taking the memory loss and perceptual issues into account, this might begin to explain what happened to Walter. It has always seemed like something more than a psychotic break, but the man clearly doesn’t operate on the same wavelength as most of the world. Could this be some kind of lingering aftereffect of repeated travel between dimensions? And could William Bell have chosen to stay in Alt-Fringe to avoid the consequences of frequent travel? (Alternatively, has he discovered a way to cross without the effects?)


“Charlie” also seems to be suffering from some kind of side effect of the transference process, which suggests that this subplot will come to a head sooner rather than later. That’s probably a good thing. This kind of subplot can drag on past its viable lifetime, especially when the ability to hide inconsistencies becomes hard to reconcile.


All of these mythological elements are a good thing, because the case at the center of the story was utterly predictable. This sort of story has been told enough times in enough variations that the twists and turns felt like a paint-by-numbers effort. I’m not sure if this was a matter of easing the audience into the season with a familiar tale, but this felt like something out of a horror story cliché generator. Last season made it abundantly clear that the writers can do better.


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