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The fourth episode of the new genre show Fringe, from Star Trek film makers Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk, is aptly named, “Arrival” as this may be the one where the show truly ‘arrived’ with its own voice. We have a review and an update on the latest ratings and Fringe news below.
Review – Fringe episode 4 – "Arrival"
The fourth episode of Fringe "Arrival" may be the one where people went from like the show, to loving it, especially for genre fans. With a tight script written by JJ Abrams and showrunner Jeff Pinker, the episode was full of intrigue, mystery, action, and yet still had time for character moments.
The mythology of the show took a big leap in this pivotal episode, introducing a new mysterious character called ‘The Observer’ who has been showing at ‘Pattern’ related events for decades, but appears to have a tailor from around 1960. Even more intriguing is that Walter knows this guy and even took some time out to have a root bear float with him. The show also seems to be dipping its toe deeper into genre territory with both the Observer and the episode’s maguffin (the mysterious tunneling thing called ‘The Beacon’) having a lot of possible alien tendencies. There was also a new bad guy who has some sort of ‘ray gun’ and a nasty mind reading torture machine that involves electrodes shoved into victims noses…ouch. Of course with Abrams this is all ‘Mystery Box’ territory where we really have no idea what is going on, but that is all the point.
Expect to see more of no-eyebrows guy
As for the characters, this show was also pivotal. As noted in previous reviews, the character of Peter seemed to not have anything to do. In this episode that issue was faced head on and he actually tried to leave until he saw for himself how big the whole ‘Pattern’ thing was and by the end he was on board and even got his own shiny new laminate badge. Also the character of Walter became a lot more serious in this episode, allaying fears that his mad scientist thing could move into parody. And Anna Torv’s Olivia continues to be haunted by her former lover (and supposed to be dead) John Scott (Mark Valley), and by haunting…I mean literally haunting…like phantom phone calls and showing up at her apartment. Is he really there? Who knows, but it all adds up in the growing mystery that is Fringe.
All in all this episode was certainly the best of the post-premiere shows and everything from the music to the acting seems to be truly finding its own voice.
Fringe science of the week:
- Lots of mind reading
- Subterranean sound-wave torpedo (the Beacon)
Walter line of the week:
[apologizing to Astrid for injecting her with a sedative against her will]
"If it would help you feel a sense of retribution, I would tell you to inject me too, but I would most likely enjoy it."
Walter knows what it is…but he isn’t talking
Ratings – Fringe helps FOX win youth demo
In its third week out FOX’s Fringe increased its overall viewers to come in around 10 million, which puts it in third place for all viewers, but winning both key 18-49 and 18-34 Demographics. Along with the lead-in show House, FOX won the demos for the night. Fringe is also doing well on the DVR, with its premiere ranking as the number one ‘time shifted’ show for the second week of September. Fringe also has the ‘honor’ of being the 10th most pirated show on BitTorrent. FOX’s overall ratings for the year are up and according to media analyst Magna Global this ‘was helped largely’ by Fringe.
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.
UPDATE: Fox orders full season
Variety is reporting that Fox as ordered ‘the back nine’ which is industry talk for ‘the rest of the season’ or nine additional episodes of Fringe. Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly tells TV Week:
We’re having a blast working on this show with this great team of producers. The series has really taken off creatively, and it’s exciting to see that the audience is responding. We believe this is the first full season of many years to come.