Episode Title: The Firefly
Air Date: January 21st, 2010
Fringe is back in the ‘Friday night death slot’ – is this the beginning of the end for one of the best genre shows on television today? I hope not and J.J. Abrams has been quoted as saying it’s a good thing because it frees them up to do just about anything they want… Does he not have Joss Whedon’s number in his speed dial?
In tonight’s episode, the Observers are back to get things ‘back on track’ and restore balance.
Warning – Spoilers Abound!
“Peter! You’re up early.” Walter is bent over in the dining room, pants down around his ankles, chemicals mixing on the kitchen table, large needle in his hand about to be injected into his leg.
“Oh no, I’m still asleep upstairs in my bed. You’re just talking to an astral projection of me.”
“…you’re just saying that to see if I’m high.”
Yes! Walter Bishop is back!
Christopher Lloyd guest stars in this, the first episode of Fringe for 2011. The team is called in to investigate a hospital patient who is visited by the ghost of his long dead son. As if that isn’t enough, an Observer also makes an appearance at the hospital.
Obviously, the Observer is up to something. As Walter states it – every time he appears, it has something to do with Peter and something bad happens. Whatever he’s here for, it includes doing a Superman on a jewelry story robbery where he catches bullets out of the air at they’re fired at him. Then he helps a hostage by giving her a shot from her inhaler, an inhaler that he pockets on his way out the door.
The awkwardness between Olivia and Peter persists. It doesn’t help that a gift he ordered for Alternate Olivia arrives – a book titled ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!’ Inside is a note, “Olivia, because you asked. Peter.”
Roscoe Joyce (Christopher Lloyd) is brought to Walter’s lab where the team hopes to help him remember what his son said to him. Walter does not believe it was the ghost of the man’s son, but the son in person. He postulates that the Observer does not perceive time the way we do and is capable of moving through time easily. Why shouldn’t he be able to bring someone with him?
With hypnotherapy, Roscoe is able to remember what his son said to him, that he would meet a man, Doctor Walter Bishop, and he would need to help him.
Help him to do what? That’s what they need to find out…
Wow. This is such a great episode. In it, we learn more about the Observers, more about Walter – how everything is connected. The Observer pulled Walter & young Peter from the frozen lake the day they crossed over, causing a chain reaction of events. Peter is saved. Later, he captures a firefly that a girl down the street was meant to save, causing her to stay out later than she would’ve, looking for a firefly she’ll never find. This causes her father to go out searching for her in the rain. Worried, distracted, he drives too fast on slick roads, he can’t stop in time, killing a young man – Roscoe’s son.
“Give him the keys and save the girl.”
This episode is about ‘course correction’. Saving Peter all those years ago changed everything and now things have to be put back on course or, I assume, dire consequences will ensue. Walter immediately goes to the dark place, assuming that it’s all about Peter, that the Observer is going to take Peter away – but is it?
The Observer points out that the smallest detail, the firefly, can shift the course of events dramatically (like the butterfly who flaps it’s wings in China and causes an avalanche in the Rocky Mountains). So is it about Peter or something else?
(keep your eyes on that jug of milk)
Lloyd gives us an excellent portrayal of a burnt out old rock star that is reminiscent of Reverend Jim Ignatowski, though slightly more coherent. Lloyd has played so many characters, old and young, for nearly all my life – HOW OLD IS HE? He’s one of those people that it’s really hard to tell!
This episode illustrates what a fantastic show Fringe is and why more people need to watch it, keep it alive. Excellent writing and acting and they lead you down a path thinking the whole time you know what’s going on, then they give you a twist that makes you come out of your seat, and a reversal that makes you say, simply – wow.
“I must admit. I feared my experiment would fail.”
“But you were right. He’s changed.”
DUN DUN DUN!