Just before we get into talking about this week’s edition of Fringe…I realised exactly why I love this show. I’m immersed in it, I’m totally invested in this bizarre universe (both of ’em) and the eccentric team that works in Fringe division. I think the reason I enjoy the show so much is that it’s incredibly immersive, and it lacks the ‘cracks’ that take you out of the story and remind you that you’re watching a show.
The latest episode, The Box, returns us to Earth-1 (our version of Earth) and to an extent brings back the ‘freak of the week’ mystery that the team is often called in to solve. Except that when we dig deeper, the mysterious deaths and strange box of the title are related to Walternate’s doomsday device.
The episode opens on a house where several people are duct-taped and bound to chairs. Downstairs, two men are digging an object out of a basement. And when one of them opens the box, everybody in the vicinity’s eyes glaze over and blood streams from their noses. All except one guy who appears totally unaffected and who leaves with the box.
And so Fringe division find themselves called away to investigate. And the world may be a poorer place for calling Walter (John Noble) away from his experiment to make the cow produce chocolate milk.
Lest you forget, Alt-Olivia (Anna Torv) has everyone convinced she’s the real Olivia Dunham. Whilst investigating, she’s also trying to get her hands on the box. And as luck would have it, the creeped-out thief takes the device right to her when he works out where she lives. Alt-Olivia repays him with a bullet to the back of the head. And she hasn’t disposed of the body before Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) arrives for some kissy-face.
But it’s a little off-putting that the hastily disposed of corpse is running blood under the door of the bathroom. And as viewers we’re all hoping Peter will look round and work it out. She’s smiling too much! That should be the first clue that all’s not as it seems. And she went to investigate a house without calling him first! Wake up, Peter!
In a subway station, Newton plants the reclaimed device with a curious man who looks like he walked straight off the Mars set of Total Recall. Naturally, stupid man opens the box to see what’s inside and instantly kills everyone standing waiting on their train. Fringe team arrive on the scene and discover what Alt-Olivia already knows – if they can’t hear the disruptive frequencies, they’ll be safe. So Alt-Olivia deafens Peter temporarily with gunshots next to his ears and he heads off down the tunnel in pursuit of the guy.
He finds him quickly, because the wee man is a twitching, gibbering mess. did you jump when the guy’s head suddenly exploded, Scanners-style? Mysterious part reclaimed, that’s the story over. Except it isn’t.
Walter inherits Massive Dynamic
Now ‘officially dead’, William Bell’s will is executed, and Walter finds that he’s the sole shareholder for Massive Dynamic. The notion fills me with dread and excitement at the same time. This gives Walter unfathomable power – could he start repeating the mistakes of his early science-without-boundaries days? How would he manage Massive Dynamic when he can barely get himself dressed?
In an episode that was quite routine, this news was a game changer. What does it mean for the Fringe division, what does it mean for the individual members of Fringe? I’ll drive myself mad trying to figure this one out!
One observation before I wrap up: we know other pieces of Walternate’s device are hidden in various places on Earth-1. Is the series likely to invest more time into finding those, like Dumbledore looking for the various bits of Voldemort’s soul? Or by taking out one substantial piece, has that part of the equation been finished with?
Over to you lot…