Fringe, from Star Trek film makers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk, has settled into its groove with its third episode, “Ghost Network.” We have a review and an update on the latest ratings and Fringe news below.
Review – Fringe episode 3 – "The Ghost Network"
Fringe’s third outing (and first to not be written by Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams) continues to build on the work of the first two with mostly good results. Although this is a high-concept show, the best part is actually the characters with John Noble’s Walter continuing to steal the show with his lovable mad scientist routine — this week we learn he is self-medicating (even making his own drugs). The third episode also continued to deepen the relationships and chemistry with all the characters, and is even starting to give some of the secondary characters some time to get fleshed out. The dynamic between Olivia, Peter and Walter is starting to shape up to be a bit akin to the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship with Walter being the scientist, Peter being the skeptic and Olivia having to balance them out and make the right decisions. However they need to give Peter more to do than just sit around and question his father, which is bordering on just being snarky.
The mystery of the week storyline involving the killing of a DEA agent (using some weird gas that killed everyone on a bus) was more intriguing than the past week, but there were some plot holes, like why did they have to kill everyone on that bus bringing so much attention. Also Walter, who has been in a mental institution for 17 years, seemed unfamiliar with cell phone technology, but knew all about CAT scans and Satellite TV. Again the weekly storyline was stand-alone while at the same time also tied into the overall show mythology of ‘The Pattern,’ Massive Dynamics and Noble’s checkered past as a government researcher. And again possibly the most interesting parts of the show’s plot came in the last minute with the mysterious meeting between agent Broyles and Nina Sharp…what is up with that? It is good to see that the episode did not end with everything tied up in a nice bow.
One interesting angle with the episode was the introduction of religion. The episode started in a church confessional and the bad guys seemed to also be meeting in a church or some kind of gothic location, plus they spoke Latin on their ‘ghost network.’ Walter even made a request for Bach’s Mass in B minor. It isn’t clear if this was all isolated to this episode or if these religious themes are also tied into the Pattern (maybe there is a bit of the DaVinci Code going on here?).
Overall the show continues to head in the right direction with the characters (mostly) and with a good mix of mythology and plot.
Fringe science of the week:
- gas that solidifies into silicon (used as murder weapon)
- artificially created psychic communication (Ghost Network)
Walter line of the week: "I think it’s time for some intra-cranial penetration"
Noble’s Walter continues to lead the cast on Fringe
Ratings – Fringe faces tough competition – wins young viewers
In its third week out FOX’s Fringe faced some serious competition. ABC ended up winning the 9:00 PM timeslot for overall viewers with its season premiere of Dancing with the Stars with 17.9 million and CBS brought in 15.5 million for its series premiere of The Mentalist. Fringe ended up in third place with 9.7 million viewers (a drop of 4 million), but still came in a close second for the 18-49 demographic and won the 18-34 demographic. Fringe’s lead in show House also saw similar drop in numbers from last week’s premiere as it faced the NCIS season premiere. Broadcast news reports that the Fox ratings drop "was expected" due to the competition.
Quick Fringe links
Watch episode and extras online
If you missed it, you can watch the show online at Fox.com, in HD. Plus Fox has a full recap and also a bonus feature of ‘Walter’s lab notes.’ More at the official site.