Fringe Update: Episode 3 Review + Ratings and Latest News

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 MentalistFringe 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, in HD. Plus Fox has a full recap and also a bonus feature of ‘Walter’s lab notes.’ More at the official site.

[CLICK to watch FRINGE online]


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I’m really liking this show. I hope FOX doesn’t kill it prematurely like they’ve done so many times to sci-fi shows

It’s a snoozefest. The scientist is the entire show.

I love the cast in this show.. great interaction with them all. And I like that they leave some mysteries like why that guy was following Peter and what was going on with the meeting with agent Broyles & the woman from Massive Dynamics. I really hope FOX gives this a chance because I would like to see where this is all going. Great story telling too.

Great ep, JR. I hope you trek as well you fringe. By the way, here’s a line you can have for future use. When someone questions the plausibility of another miraculous experiment Noble’s character is about to perform, he can respond with indignation: “Can I do it? Of course I can. Why I could raise Captain Kirk from the dead.”

To “Energize”,

I agree that Walter is currently a big part of what makes the show fun to watch, but I think the whole show is entertaining and worth watching.

Like “Montreal Paul”, I hope Fox doesn’t kill it before we get to see where this all is going.

I could barely even stand to finish the first episode. What a dry, dispassionate bore. A mediocre cast with zero chemistry and a visual look xeroxed from a million other shows.

2. Energize – Snoozefest is right!

I will admit it that was an improvement over the first two episodes, which isn’t too surprising since it was the first episode not to be written by the Orci, Kurtzman and Abrams team.

It’s still pretty weak though.

The mad scientist is like Adrian Monk with a fake Henry Kissinger voice. The performance is forced and not consistent, reminiscent of Kevin Kostner’s embarrassing scene to scene changing British accent in Robin Hood.

Clearly, the makers of this show don’t share Gene Roddenberry’s assertion that there is intelligent life on the other side of the TV tube.

Decloaking . . .
I’m very impressed by FRINGE and I refuse to watch TV. I catch the eps. on the net (Battlestar Galactica as well). FRINGE makes me very excited about the new TREK movie, whereas I was very concerned before FRINGE.
Recloaking . . .

Whoa, Cloak is flicking on /off on me . . .
The Anna Torv / John Noble casting is engrossing. Instant Anna Torv fan here. Dig them Aussies!
Decloaking . . .

The show could be really good. But if you want all the same elements with better characters and less talky science scenes watch Lost. it’s just better.

My god, Dancing with the Stars is “Compitition” Oh god when is this freakin country gonna get tired of this damn reality tv crap. I am sooooooooo tired of reality tv, EVEN with stars.
Its such a relief to see some actual fictional shows coming out and just shows that people still desire fiction on TV.
Thats all I want on tv is fiction, NOOOO reality, I can go take a walk in wal-mart if I want a dose of reality, or just turn on day time tv. All these “Judge” shows and talk shows ie Maury.
Lets move out people, enought with the hip hop pop culture and the reality tv.
Im not 40 or 50 years old, Im 27 years old and I cant stand all that crap.

I liked the first episode, but it didn’t pique my interest enough to hang with the show since then, so I watched the second episode intermittantly and I just skipped this one. One problem is that the “fringe” science just seems too made-up and not that believeable. Another problem is that Olivia Dunham is not that interesting a character, and female characters in particular aren’t allowed to be uninteresting. It might give this show another shot, but right now, it’s not holding me.

#11 – “My god, Dancing with the Stars is “Compitition” Oh god when is this freakin country gonna get tired of this damn reality tv crap. I am sooooooooo tired of reality tv, EVEN with stars.”

I concur. I think there is a direct correlation between the demographic that enjoys ‘Dancing With the Donkey Fidoras’ (and trust me, it’s not just old people, I unfortunately have a sister-in-law that enjoys it as well…another reason I hate visiting my brother) and the reason the presidential race is so close, which just baffles my mind. I then think about all the crap that is on TV, including comedies filmed in front of studio audiences still with laugh tracks and all, and it reminds me that there are some freaks out there still…

Starting at about 1:30 to about 4:05.

So far my biggest problem with Fringe is the lead girl. Too wishy-washy and “ooo looky, we gotta cross between Gweneth and Cate!” for me. She’s no Scully. Nice to see Blair Brown, always a special place in my heart since ‘Continental Divide’ :)

I started to watch it but opted instead to pop in a DVD of “Run, Fatboy, Run” starring Simon Pegg.

I was well entertained and engrossed. What even more interested me was the fact that FOX only put 8 min 10 sec of commercials/promo material in the hour. I have gone away from watching TV and rather watch DVDs since I don’t want to sit through commercial after commercial after promo after commercial…etc.

I have still to catch ep3, but John Noble is a positive scenery-chewer, for sure. I still see Denethor, and he’ll definitely have to flesh out beyond crazy.

I loved The Mentalist. That show is a great modern Sherlock Holmes. And I somehow care more about that one man than about anyone on Fringe right now. Hm.

Still, Fringe is improving. Second episode is my favorite (thank goodness the Star Trek writers were responsible for that one!). Not blown away by anything quite yet, but looking forward to when the show settles down a little and starts to actually matter to me…

Dave #6- Someone who agrees!
How refreshing.
As I’ve said, I’ll stick with LOST.
(But John Noble still is really great.)

I am liking it.

21st WOOTS!

First of all I wanted to say I really enjoy the show and it has held my interest.

Second I love this site and visit all the time and enjoy the reviews but I wanted to point out some of the plot holes, which I felt were out of place (being 35 years old). First off the CAT scan has been around for a lot longer then 17 years [this would be 1991] {(First one was created I think in the 60’s, and more mainstream in the early to mid 70’s. Satellite TV has been around since the late 70’s (possibly earlier) I recall ‘The BIG ugly dishes”…

BUT he should have known about cell phones, but maybe the BIG ugly cell phones back then didn’t have vibrate, I was not cool enough at 18 to have one!

Why did they have to kill everyone? Drama and to move the story along, no odd deaths = boring TV ;) Also there needed to be something that got the attention of the FBI…

Anyway I hope not to offend Mr. Anthony Pascale, just wanted to give my two cents worth.

well. Tuesday night is a big night. I mean you have dancing with the Stars.(I don’t Watch it.) Also have House. A great show. But the best Show on tv is by far. N.C.I.S. Thats the best show on T.V. Fringe has a lot of promise and I hope it can deliever.

I’m finding it entertaining so far and yes John Noble is great and the best thing in it, but why is no one addressing the fact that this show is a second rate X-Files knock-off? Complete with location captions except what started as an interesting effect has become very quickly, completly ennoying.

Also, I’m sorry but the writing is a bit lazy. With the quality and sizes of production for television shows you’re telling me these scrpts are the best they can do?

It goes without saying that there is a lot riding on Star Trek, and I think (I hope) that J.J and company will pull this out of the bag. But frankly Orci/Kurtzman have yet to impress as the “golden boys” they have been sold as, and they may never.

My two cents

Fringe = ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………..
I find myself getting bored and flipping channels when its on and I WANT to like it…..

I’m still on the fence about this. I for one don’t like the little tidbits of mystery, like Peter having a mystery medical condition, and being followed around by some guy he knows, since all I heard in interviews was “no labyrinthine mythology.” And “It’s not going to be like Alias or X-Files.” And the pilot was ridiculous (let’s rush to save this guy only to have him be evil and get killed in a car accident an hour later.) That said, I don’t HATE it, and I keep deciding to give it one more chance. Not sure about next week though. I’ll decide Tuesday if I want to DVR it or not.

#26 – MP

Not sure what you are talking about when you say “And the pilot was ridiculous (let’s rush to save this guy only to have him be evil and get killed in a car accident an hour later.)”

they didn’t rush to save anyone. They were trying to stop someone. If you are suggesting that guy hit by the bus is the DEA agent, you are mistaken. He was killed by the badguy in the station. The guy that got killed was the latin speaking guy that was linked to other “Pattern” type cases.

I am also not sure why you don’t like the tidbits of mystery. Those things are interesting.. keeps you guessing and want to know what is going on. Its better than handing everything to you on a platter… that would make it very boring indeed.

“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.”

Didn’t satellite TV exist in 1991?

I’ve watched all three and am rapidly loosing interest. Also, as a Boston resident the scenes that take place at “actual Boston” locations look nothing like their real life counterparts. Very distracting for a local. Boston busses are yellow. Even shows like “Boston Legal” have accurate exterior shots.

I’m the opposite. I’ve watched all three and I’m quickly gaining interest. Each new episode is better than the last and I’m really really looking forward to next week’s ever since they showed clips of it from the season preview a few weeks ago. I haven’t been this excited to see a new episode since I was watching, well, “Lost”.

They need to step up the talk about “The Pattern” if they are going to keep my interest. Who are they or what are they. Maybe it’s a giant super computer.

Also, I think these people are living in a simulation or in The Mad Scientist dreams in the institution.

Need to find out who the bad guys are. I’d like to see more robots. Like the ladies arm in the first episode.

Just go crazy with it. Be creative. Don’t make it soooo much like the X-Files.

#31 I bet you are also one of the people that are screeming for a trailor or pictures of Star Trek because you just can’t let things take their own time

29. Bill – It’s filmed all over the place, but not in the Boston area. More details are here:

i really love this site! REALLY

but there’s just a bit too much “fringe” promotion going on here for my taste.

perhaps fans of that series might start their own site.

anthony… are you going to be reviewing “Eagle Eye,” too? just curious.

This show’s no Lost, but until Lost is back in January (or is it February?) this will tide me over. Assuming the show lasts that long. It certainly has potential. Of course, I might just be saying that because of Anna Torv. :-) Hard to say, really.

FRINGE is dreadful telly. Absolutely awful. I have sat through three episodes now because I keep waiting for that glimmer of hope that the story is worth it, that the characters will actually turn into interesting and likeable people, in fact I’d settle for just watchable, that one of the writers will give the damn woman something other to say that just repeating the action of the previous scene, or sometimes even relating her precise movements IN a shot, seriously, watch out for it. If she isn’t describing her movements she’s tellings us the same thing three times over….’What was her job? She was DEA, she worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency???'(all this while a closeup of an ID card with ALL this info hogs the scene – seriously, I have an attention span more than the length of one sentence. I adore LOST, I miss LOST, I was hoping Fringe could fill a gap in an exciting and different way. But… It’s infuriatingly bad, makes next to NO sense, has dire dialogue that occasionally tries to shoehorn in some zany humour just to leaven the thoroughly grey and wooden atmosphere and endless scenes of basements or soggy streets in Boston.
God I don’t even have the will to criticise it any more. It just sucks. I will gibe it until episode 6 to grab me then, I’m gone. Ugh I feel sullied and unusual…

My take on Fringe is that it took a couple episodes to start up, but the third episode opened it up to tap into more of its potential. It’s a show that will take about half a season to really solidify (like a silicon gas?) into its true form. They have some good starts here and I hope that both Fox and the audience give it a chance. TNG started pretty slowly and look how that turned out — some great seasons once everything was established. DS9 as well — if you gave it a little time, it fleshed itself out and became a truly solid show.

This doesn’t mean that Fringe will achieve that artistic or commercial success, but I see enough positive indicators to show it’s on the right track.

Didn’t satellite TV exist in 1991?

Yes, yes it did. So did cell phones, but they were far, far, far more rare than they are now. The current models compared to the Zack/Screech ‘Saved By the Bell’ model with the torso-sized battery pack are truly a wonder. Sometimes when you are living in the middle of something so wondrous, you lose perspective on how special a thing it is.