Season 2 Episode 1

A New Day in the Old Town

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Sep 17, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (30)

Write A Review
out of 10
723 votes
  • Probably Fringe's best episode.

    I've to admit that I just finished watching the first season, but I do believe this episode is the best of 'em all so far. Unlike this one, all of the 1st season episodes seemed so predictable and not that gripping. There was always something lacking, but this season starter was a real mind bender. Yup, some action at last - and I don't mean the guns, chasing and dead people - we get to see that all the time, but now ...we finally saw some development in the storyline. In order to understand why does the Fringe division exist - you've watch this episode. Peter Bishop's greek totally sucked, I barely understood what he said, but that little line was another cross-reference to what there is to come in the series.
  • This is how you start a season!

    It was quite a ride from beginning to end. Totally worth waiting a whole summer for! I absolutely loved it. I like how they addressed a couple of the mysteries from last season and added more than a few to this season as well as mapping out the direction for what's going to happen with Fringe this year. I also like how the characters seem to be developing. Walter's still as kooky as ever, able to alternate between directing Astrid on how to make custard while doing an autopsy, Broyles strange connection with Nina Sharpe and her implications on his character, Olivia breaking down only to get stronger as she becomes an unwitting piece in a war they're only just beginning to scratch the surface on, and best of all Peter. Peter is starting to emerge more as a force in the division. He's no longer just his father's babysitter and junior scientist. I like that he's beginning to take a more active role in the division and the lead that he took in this episode when Olivia and Broyles were unable to do much. Peter in fact saved Fringe and I loved his take charge attitude. There also seemed to be a more pronounced chemistry between he and Olivia. The only minor, and by minor I mean teensy tiny little nitpicky detail that slightly irritated me. When Peter ran off after the shapeshifter, he didn't have a weapon was he supposed to stop it? The female agent already tried shooting it and it didn't work, so what was Peter going to do? Cut it with his scathing cynical comments? Shoot it down with sarcasm? Least he could do was grab the gun that Olivia dropped and try to shoot it in the head.
    To me that little pea in the mattress was the only detraction in one heck of a fun episode. Bring on the rest of the season!
  • Great start to the new season

    I love how they didn't start off right where we left off, but instead show what the outcome was. That was a huge surprise and I think that made the premiere even more better. Glad to see the return of Rachel, and hope to see her more often. while her character may be small, she adds to the entire cast, as well as the over all story line aside from the usual weirdness. The series now fells more like a movie then a TV show, at least the season premiere, with the investigation of the "Fringe decision", character development etc.

    The whole deal with Charlie's body being taken over seems to have come a bit too soon. What I wish they would have done was kept us thinking the real charlie killed the "nurse" but then revel that the "nurse" took over his body later on in the season. But its still early, so who knows, this may have been the right move.
  • Premiere starting with a bang, they said...

    ... Who knew they could be so litteral? The premiere totally rocked. That was a kickass premiere for a brilliant show. The crash and Olivia rushing through the windshield definitely made me jump outta my chair. Plus, although we all know that since Olivia is a main lead, they probably wouldn't have killed her, so that kinda slowed the process of the first half of the episode and makes me wonder what it really was for. No brain activity and all of a sudden she's back?! Come on, there has to be some other explanation and i surely hope that there will be reasons for that. Anyway, questions, that's all this episode has been about. Answering some while posing others and that's the reason why I love this show. What is the object hidden, is the shapeshifter the bad guy or is it really a bad guy at all? I mean, in a war, both sides are convinced they're right about what they believe, so in their POV, the other side is always the baddie... Walter is lovely and sweet at the same time. His reaction to Olivia's health news really touched me. And with the ambulance ride reminded me so much of a child, it was cute and really nicely played.
    Peter is more pro-active and Olivia... well, she's confused and that's an understatement.

    The shapeshifter plot was well put in my opinion. The typing machine stuff got me tripping, that was ♥ . What a way to communicate LOL. On the contrary, I'm still wondering about the real goal of that agent Jessup. What's the point of her being there by the way? To put a religion taste to anything related with the Pattern?? I don't know, we'll see.

    As for Charlie, that's bad he got killed, but I think that this whole Sharlie thing will help development of Olivia's character somehow, in a bad or a good way. A lot of questions, as I said. But that's the exact reason why I love this show: you get to enjoy the hour of watching and when you're done you're free to speculate, wonder, theorize the impossibilities. This show is free to roam to any (im)possibilities and it keeps its fan wondering about it and for a curious fan like me, this is brilliant.
  • Amazing episode that starts the season off with a bang. Warning, spoilers contained below.

    This season starts off with a bang! Not sure who the dude was, or what on earth he was doing, but seeing Olivia come flying out of the window of a car when she was not in the car a moment ago, that was messed up. Later we see that whatever happened between the season finale and this episode, it's not good. There are people who can communicate with the other side, and they are targeting Olivia. What did she learn on the other side that is so valuable? Obviously we figure out what that guy was doing, but there are still lots of new questions that get put out there. I just really hated seeing Charlie dead at the end of the episode, how did I not see that coming! Damn, amazing episode none the less.
  • think outside the box...

    I've just gotten into fringe... sadly after it has ended.

    But with this episode (which I thought was fantastic) I have to ask all the critics of the final scene...

    did the real Charlie actually shoot the shapeshifter as you are all assuming? everyone is complaining that there wasn't enough time to do everything.

    well I posit that the real Charlie was overpowered without firing the shots. (we never saw him shoot, just heard, like the others)

    so shapeshifter Charlie does his business, hides the real Charlie and then shoots real nurse's body that was hidden from earlier to bring the others running...
  • Best episode yet for me

    This show is what I was hoping for when I said team work. I saw a lot of it in this episode when they try to stop fringe division from closing, and also another side of Peter more confident and starting to believe in what he's doing. Now there is complete trust between the team and that's what I wanted to see. Sad what has happen to the agent, but like I said before we didn't even know much about him, his lost should have been deeper felt, but still very sad because his connection with his wife. Still we need more incite into the characters to get a stronger bond its getting there step by step
  • The return of this mysterious show with an episode full of suspanse..and a goof.

    It was really , really fascinating how this episode unfolded introducing new charachters - agent jessup and the soldier from other world - and signaling a new development in the Fringe division. They're getting ready for war as far as i can see.Maybe not this seson..but in the next..I do hope mr JJ has it all planned and doesn't go by the ear because it could ruin a potentially amazing developemnt. I still trust in his magic though.

    Now on with the goof: maybe it's just me but how did the Soldier get the body of that nurse there in order to be shot by fake-charlie?! did they analyze the nurse then? isn't she supposed to have different characteristics?! after all a thing from other universe non necessary human [ or totally human ].

    For me, while interesting, the whole charlie thing makes no sense. when did he have time to bring the body of the nurse [ which was left somehwere at the entrance after he changed her OR did he bring her there forseeing what did come?!-unlikely ]- change into charlie AND close charlie's body?!
    isn't that too much in such a short time-span?

    i'm sorry. i'm not convinced.

    and i'm also pissed that they killed charlie. i think it was really a charachter that made the connection with reality as we know it. the last one of them maybe..
  • Awesome start to season two.

    What I love about Fringe is that every episode starts with an opening scene in an unknown location and ends with a "whoa, what the hell just happened!?" moment, before showing the title screen. At that point you usually know whether you care to continue watching and I can safely say after witnessing Olivia being tossed from the vehicles window, I knew Fringe was back and better than ever. I had forgotten how much mystery and suspense one episode can have and how many questions it could leave you with. Some may not like this method of storytelling, but personally I wouldn't mind waiting an entire season for one answer if it meant keeping me in constant suspense until that point. The inclusion of shape shifters from the 'other side' feels like it could play out nicely and I'm glad they plan on continuing it in the future. At this point we have Olivia's other world encounters to look forward to hearing about and that's enough to keep me coming back for at least a few more weeks.
  • Olivia returns from the alternate reality and Peter tries to get information about her visit. Walter makes some custard for his son's birthday, while Broyles deals with the threat of a government shutdown of the Fringe Division.

    Olivia returns from the alternate reality and Peter tries to get information about her visit. Walter makes some custard for his son's birthday, while Broyles deals with the threat of a government shutdown of the Fringe Division. I thought this was a good return from the break. Olivia can't remember what happened in the alternate reality. Which will force us to wait a little longer. I loved the scene at the begining when Peter and Rachel have that very emotional scene when they think that Olivia is dead. I thought the case in this one is going to set up a very interesting mini-story arch. Charlie Francis is dead, which made me a little sad actully. I really liked his characters devolopmnt in season one and I was hoping to see more of his character in season two. I don't think the clone will last that long into season two, but long enough to make it interesting. Loved the typewriter back and forth between this world and the other world too.
  • Peter's mom sends him a birthday message through the most unlikely vessel.

    It's Fringe division Torchwood's style as junior agent Gwen Coop...err Amy Jessup investigate the crash scene of the SUV Olivia was driving before she went to see William Bell. In the obligatory X-Files homage the shapeshifter sent to stop Olivia's "message" shift into a new body while watching a rerun of the cult show.

    Back at Fringe division, the Bishop boys are dealing with the aftermath of Olive's injuries like the makeshift family unit they really are with Walter unable to deal with the prospect of her living will and Peter trying hard not to crumble in front of his father. However, right before Peter kiss her goodbye Olivia wakes up to deliver a message in greek, the code Peter's mom used to urge him to be a better man than his father, to "keep your people close", to take care of the people you care about.

    And that's exactly what Peter does as he single handle helps Colonel Broyles to get the results they need not to close Fringe division, recruits agent Jessup, helps Charlie to save Olivia's life and gets home in time for the birthday's custard Walter and Astrid made for him, with the message delivered and its target alive, the shapeshifter has no other choice but to stay the form of special agent Charlie Francis may he rest in peace.
  • Fringe is back, back again...

    There's a car crash. One of the drivers run away but the other car has nobody on the driver's seat. Walter and Bishop are called in, since it's Olivia's car out there.
    Walter opens the vehicle and starts touching stuff and all of a sudden, Olivia bursts through the windshield and flies into the street.. how cool is that?

    We didn't get to see what happened to Olivia on the other side, since she has amnesia and stays in the hospital the whole episode.

    I liked the new agent. She's intrigued by Fringe's division's jobs and I guess she's gonna be replacing Charlie as the new good guy.

    Speaking of Charlie.. when I saw him shooting the nurse and then Peter and the new agent arriving at the scene.. I was sure Charlie was gone and the shapeshifter had taken his place.
    But come on.. when the shifter used the device to change his appeareance in the beginning of the episode.. first, he had to smash his face, then plug the device into him and the other person.. turn it on, and after like 20-30 seconds of pain and agony, he was done. But when he swapped with Charlie, not only he had to take him down after the shots and start the "shifting procedure", but he had to get his clothes, hide his body inside that laundry cart and put the nurse's body on the ground. Even if he had previously hidden her body in the same room, the whole shifting thing plus taking Charlie's clothes and hiding his body and getting the nurse's on the ground couldn't have possibly be done in that amount of time... But anyways, we'll have to see what the shifter wants.. the location of what and why..

  • I really did enjoy this episode, but it took a bit of thinking to truly work out the body shifting. I was SURE it was all wrong but in fact when you put it together is WAS possible as shown - read on to see why...

    First we have the guy in the car "Crash Guy". He's seen having the accident, walking away from it and then seen in the apartment hallway where he is intercepted by "Apartment Guy".

    Next we see who has to be Apartment Guy on the floor of his apartment and Crash Guy (clearly seen before he squishes himself) plugs in to him with his own style of vacuum cleaner. He sucks up Apartment Guy and is now clearly seen to BE Apartment Guy. Who is actually left on the floor after the "vacuuming" at this point isnt made all that clear.

    Next we get a section on how Crash Guy has been seen in camera photos as the driver of the car. They have his address and raid his apartment - he's on the floor sucked dry. This confused me completely on first viewing as in the mix of it all it seemed this was the leftover scenario from the scene above - but its NOT. This just shows what happened to Crash Guy when he was originally sucked dry BEFORE he ever even got into the car, which we never actually even saw. So this now sets up the scenario that when Crash Guy took his body he left the original Crash Guy lying in his apartment, and then when Crash Guy took Apartment Guy he also left his original body in HIS apartment too. This all makes perfect sense to here.

    Next we see the Fringers get an alert call that a body has been found with the tripod vacuum marks. Its the original Apartment Guy and Peter correctly surmises that the original body gets left behind when vacuum man takes over his new entity.

    Next we see Apartment Man meet Nurse in the downstairs area of the hospital. It isnt really made totally clear exactly where this is - but it could be basement-y - she's outside and having coffee - sort of the down in the basement for coffee and cigarette feel to it. Anyway Nurse is toast - she gets vacuumed by Apartment Man which we never see. But based on the above at this point Nurse's original body MUST be left behind down where she was having coffee some place. Maybe tucked away safely somewhere but definitely down there.

    In the final confrontation Nurse vacuums Charlie. We know that this HAS TO create an original Charlie body as well as the new Charlie clone. What it does NOT do is create any Nurse body at all. So the ONLY way there can be a nurse body in the final scene is if the one that was created when the Nurse was first vaccumed has been MOVED to the Charlie death scene by the Charlie clone. The problem with this is that IF the Nurse and all the clones are dead, then there will be the original Nurse body left over outside having coffee - AND the clone that Charlie had killed. They will ONLY ever find one nurse so as the Trivia rightly says there would be no reason at all to close the case - and they would know that Charlie cant be Charlie at all.

    As has already been said - the original vacuum scene took an eternity. In that scene the clone didn't swap clothes either - he just wandered off in what he had on - which fitted the new body perfectly - um oops.

    So in the final scene, for it to even work - Nurse had to overcome Charlie (and he had who just shot her) then vacuum up Charlie (which takes a while) the get the original Charlie out of hiding and get his clothes off, then get into them himself. Then get original Charlie back into hiding, THEN get original Nurse from outside and get her into the death scene to be found with "vacuum cleaner".

    Lordy that's a mess - but yes it is possible. We can only imagine that Clone Charlie (and the others) must have a "Super-speed" mode - or a "Freeze-time" mode - or that the writers just think nobody is going to sit down and fully figure it out lol.

    But anyway for those that were wondering that's the full story in great detail. I like it - its flawed but its not actually impossible after all. I loved Walter feeding the note into the vending machine and worried he was going to lose his fingers - so damn funny and so well acted. And his custard back story too - and trying to take a taste with a glove wrapped hand that has just been in a corpse. If you dont want to tear your brain apart on the sci-fi of it all - these little moments just make it all worse while by themselves!

    My only real complaint with the pilot would be there was no more Leonard Nimoy, I had been SO looking forward to even a brief little scene where we saw him tell Olivia something seriously important about the back story - but sadly it never happened. Still all in all a really great start to the season.
  • A New Day in the Old Town

    New day, new season. In this universe and another. And if Olivia (Anna Torv) was appalled at the top of this revelation, we were left hanging. In time and space, inside the tank, sleeping on the speculation of the future, science being a fan. Well, we can disconnect the wires and connect to reality, we are back to "Fringe."

    And nothing better to dismantle this return in questions and answers:

    What happened to Olivia after coming to the window of one of the towers of the World Trade Center's parallel universe?

    We do not know. Contrary to expectations, the episode kicks off with a freak accident, a fugitive who changes shape and Olivia violently that appears out of nowhere. Strange, rough and puzzling. Best start was difficult. Not only says that the conversation between the protagonist and Bell (Nimoy Leoanrd) will get to later (cleverly holding the mystery) and gave us an excellent way to meet and bizarre one (possible) villains.

    And who is this shapeshifter?

    Ui, tough question. Let's start with certainty: the time the typewriter was a highlight of the episode. The secretary, the machine and the mirror. The dark, moist, where two populations are in contact with each other. These are small details that go emphasizing mythology and cementing an increasingly strong. He is a soldier and had as its mission to prevent the meeting between Olivia and Bell. How could not he received new orders: to know what was said at that meeting and eliminate the beautiful FBI agent. Can not even one thing, because it is amnestic or another, because she is the protagonist, but it is what is the big "surprise" of the episode.

    What a surprise is this?

    Well, here is what I regret to read news. To all who knew Kirk Acevedo output of the series, this twist had no impact. At least for me. The blame is not on who built the scene is maybe more. As soon as I heard the shot out of sight I saw there was scheme and was there the eject button on the agent Charlie series. After all, this conversion of the official villain is certainly a bold choice - if the "House" Charlie was killed early in the morning and only saw him the trotters - and interestingly enough, that will provide for a time the agitation the plot.

    Who will replace Charlie?

    The Agent Jessup (Meghan Markle). Appears in the initial crash and start digging until you get to the Fringe Division. All this interest is not only strange how sudden. Was inserted within the research, gaining the confidence of all, very quickly. It is too early to conclude to be whatever is on this character, so let's stick with the statement: it is beautiful, she is agile and she is mysterious, most do not know.

    The Fringe Division will close?

    No. Does it still put the hypothesis to continue but with new leadership (Massive Dynamics?). However, Peter (Joshua Jackson) can help Philiph (Lance Reddick) and hands him one device that allows change shape in order to deliver this to the Council a physical proof that the division operates. The kiss between him and Nina (Blair Brown) was weird, raising more question and designing a more bizarre moment.

    And the Easter eggs?

    The Watcher in the first minute and "Files" to give television shortly thereafter.

    "Fringe" is back. Although we know that Olivia could not die, that Charlie had an exit visa stamped and that the division had to stand up, I was very genica the episode told us the "how." And he told it as only this universe can count. With new characters, new mysteries and all mythology. "Fringe" as told here is back!
  • This season premiere was exactly that I could expect from a show like Fringe.

    Presentation Phase - » (10/10) could be a better way to start the premiere? I do not think so, this was simply excellent;

    Complication Phase - » (8/10) as predicted, Olivia doesn´t remember what happened before she was tossed, she remains in the hospital and there a part that could make some people that Olivia was done, the villain was strange, nothing different, the patterns of investigation was good as usual, the new character was introduced and works not only as a replacement, but to ask for explanations, for the audience that is fresh to this show;

    Climax Phase - » (9/10) the climax was surprising because I think was very hard to predict that one character would eventually die;

    Ending - » (9/10) Was predictable for some part of the audience like me, but turn things in a new level, made me want to see more;

    Details/Progress (To point A to B) -» (9/10) The necessary progress was made, Olivia is back, one character is death and a new villain that seems hard to kill;

    Time and Scene Management - » (10/10) Didn´t notice fillers;

    Plot Details/Holes- » (10/10) fine for now, ok, maybe it is strange Olivia sudden loss of memory, but this is a show where there are many questions to be answered;

    Suspense/Tension - » (8/10) we had some parts with enough tension, but could be even better;

    Drama - » (8/10) wasn´t the top drama, but was fine for the type of episode;

    Surprises/Shocks/Twists - » (10/10) This episode is full of surprises, since Olivia appearance, one romance revealed and one death by the end of the episode.

    This season premiere was exactly that I could expect from a show like Fringe.
  • i have no idea whats going on!!

    i have no idea whats going on!! i mean what a hell of a start for a season??? loved it. how was Olivia thrown outa the car, the car had already crashed, but after Walter opens the door, we start hearing the breaks and the crash sounds then Olivia jumped outa the front shield. it was hell of a way to enter the normal world?? the other scene she is in the hospital with fatal wounds and yet she wakes up screaming in Greek, how did she wake up? how did her brain come back to function?

    she all freaked out and shaking, doesn't remember a thing, we know she met William Bail, and he tells her something that will save the world as usual, it's always saving the world.

    i love agent Franssess and i dont want to see him as a bad guy, or Olivia's first enemy?? i would really want to see her face when she finds out that he is the shape shifter??

    then we got the scene in the lab with Peter saying that his father checks his breathing everytime he's at sleep, which means that in both normal or the paralal world there is only one Peter and the other is dead, how about Olivia? maybe at that time in the hospital she died, but somehow she was combined with the other person? and was brought to life??? nothing is imposible in Fringe, right?

    ..whats wrong with the X-files, Alias, Lost and Heroes?? we all love these shows and if there will be another seasons of them we'll all watch them???
  • Great season premiere, but my head feels like it's about to explode from the questions.

    I remember the last thing I saw on Fringe was Olivia Dunham finally meeting William Bell in an alternate universe.. the next thing I know, Season 2 is premiering, we're watching a shapeshifter escape from a car accident where nobody is in the car he crashed into and all of a sudden... Olivia Dunham bursts out of a car window and is launched thirty feet onto the tar. Huh?!

    With Lost coming to an end, Fringe appears to be the new show that will keep you scratching your head and guessing at what's going on. Watching this episode, I always felt like I was out of the loop on something, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.. it just shows you how frustrating the show is going to be with cliffhangers and plot development (it sounds bad, but I really do mean this in a positive way).

    Now that Olivia has no idea what happened when she went into the alternate universe, we can't help but wonder when she's going to remember meeting William Bell, being lead there by Nina Sharp and everything that happened afterwards. Also, the writers set up the next mystery: what exactly is the shapeshifter looking for? Does Olivia know and it's just being repressed?

    This is really less then a review and more of a rant and list of questions. It's extremely difficult to wrap my head around what's going on, so I'm just going to say this: this was an excellent way to start the season, filled with twists, plenty of action and a cliffhanger that will leave you kicking the nearest person in frustration.
  • its back

    Olivia returns from the alternate reality and Peter tries to get information about her visit. Walter makes some custard for his son's birthday, while Broyles deals with the threat of a government shutdown of the Fringe Division.
    What a episode, this had everything I wanted, the twist was kind of predictable but the idea of it is fantastic, the episode was fast paced, well acted and just what you would come to expect from this show, it just gets better and better. Walter is as funny as ever. I like the new character Amy and it was good to see Peter get loads of screentime. Awesome episode
  • Awesome way to start things.

    While I will not say that Fringe > Lost, this was a Lost-quality season premiere where your jaw just drops and you are left asking, "What!!!???"

    True, some of the events such as Charlie's body being taken over, the nurse being the interrogator and Olivia coming back to life when Peter was bedside were predictable, it was still great sci-fi writing by the sci-fi king JJ Abrams. This is how you write for the genre, take note Joss Whedon.

    I was watching the show with three other people, one a die-hard Fringe fan and the other two had never seen or heard of the show before. Needless to say all four of us were hooked from start to end credits. While the move to Thursdays might be risky, it does open the door to some people who may not have not about the show on Tuesdays or to a new demographic in Bones fans.

    We are only one episode in, and last year's series premiere was great as well, but I have a feeling this is going to be a fun year for Fringe.
  • Good season opener (Spoilers)

    I liked this episode and thought it really moved the story along. The shape shifter was cool and it will be interesting to see how he comes into play in later episodes. What I was hoping for in this episode what a lead off from the season one finale. I wanted to see more of the alternate universe but I knew that wouldn't happen so soon. I hated the ending with Charlie dying. I really liked him and thought he was actually like a real FBI agent. He also had a good connection with Olivia, he would like watch over her. Well you could tell he was going to die sooner or later. I'm going to miss him.
  • So Glad Fringe is back.

    This episode was a nice primer for those who hadn't watched the first season as well as continuing to further the mythos a bit. one flaw at the end. Knowing that the soldier could change shape, why wouldn't they have checked Charles Boyle? And noticeably, Jessup should've noticed only the two bullet wounds that she shot and no more. Guessing Boyle missed or his hand was deflected when he shot.

    I loved the little tips present in the episode toward X-files. That was a nice easter egg.

    Well anyhow now I need 100 words to just make it to be able to post.
  • Olivia Dunham's return to the real world is a shock while the end of the episode may leave you speechless.

    Overall, I though this was a decent episode. I liked Walter's fascination with making Peter custard. Also, I like the idea of adding a new character and I laughed at her reaction to the cow in the lab. What I did not enjoy about the episode was that I found it to be too predictable. I mean, it was kind of obvious that Dunham was not going to die. I wish they made her return from the parallel unverse more surprising. I knew that Charlie was going to be umm, I don't know exactly how to phrase it. Well, I really liked his character and it's going to be hard for me to accept him as a "bad" character. So, all in all, the episode was good but no where near outstanding.
  • The heir to the X-Files has returned!

    After such a tantalizing first season finale and a long summer hiatus, this season premiere seems like a bit of a step backwards. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The show is complicated enough that the writers had to be conscious of the learning curve for any potential new viewers. With the buzz surrounding the show, the producers had to know that the first hour back would need to be a primer of sorts.

    Enter the new Agent Jessup, who is essentially designed to help the audience get back up to speed. As Agent Jessup gets herself acquainted with the ways of Fringe Division, thanks to a personal interest in the strange and bizarre, so does the audience ease into their world again. While that might seem like a waste of time to those well-versed in the DVDs and minutia of the "Fringe" mythos, it's a necessary evil.

    The plot is not unlike something that one would expect from a classic "X-Files" season opener, with the Fringe Division in danger of being shot down and one of the leads reeling from some inexplicable personal experience of great import. With the presence of otherworldly shape-shifters now part of the story, the writers made a point to reference, however obliquely, its forebear. It won't help make the case that "Fringe" is more than just a retread of the "X-Files" mythology, but anyone still beating on that drum is unlikely to come around anyway.

    In a nutshell, Olivia doesn't remember much from her jaunt into the alternate reality or her conversation with William Bell, but the enemy (apparently from that alternate reality) wants to find out what she knows and eliminate her before she can tell anyone else. This soldier can take on the form of another through the use of a specific device with three nails (nice Christ imagery). In the end, Olivia is saved from the assassin, but Charlie is killed and his form is assumed by the assassin, setting up a subplot going into the season.

    The nice part about Olivia's condition is that her process of discovering the truth and uncovering her memories will lead the audience on the same revelatory path. She knows something is hidden, she knows it will be vital to the survival of everyone in the Fringe Prime universe, and now all the principles know that the war with the Alt-Fringe universe is coming home to roost. Questions abound regarding all of those aspects of the story.

    I've mentioned more than once that the creative team behind "Fringe" seems to be dedicated to treading the same ground as "X-Files", only without making the same mistakes. While the continuity aspects for "Fringe" have been a vast improvement, they need to be careful. "X-Files" suffered from a lack of forethought, so there were a ton of loose details that were never tied into the overall tapestry in a satisfying manner. The origins and purpose of the shape-shifter should eventually be explained, even if the motives seem to fit what is already known from the first season.

    Playing fair with Agent Jessup would be another good move. One major drawback to the structure of "X-Files" was the limited cast. The writers never made a solid effort to provide a means to expand beyond the Mulder-Scully dynamic. Characters like Doggett and Reyes were brought in far too late, and earlier supporting characters never seemed to get the right amount of development.

    Agent Jessup has the potential to take the story in new directions, while allowing the core Fringe Division to remain the focus. In particular, I'm intrigued by how she has taken the incidents from the first season and linked them to imagery from the Book of Revelation. Apocalyptic tales are a personal favorite of mine, particularly in terms of how different writers tie in interpretations of Revelation (see: "Supernatural"), so that immediately gained my interest. Once again, the Biblical imagery and connections were all over "X-Files" mythology, but they never seemed to gel into anything definitive. Hopefully that will not be the case with "Fringe".

    I found it intriguing that the operatives from Alt-Fringe (if that's where the shape-shifter indeed originated) have collaborators in Fringe Prime. It also appears that the ZFT terrorist groups, developing the technology originally conceived and tested by Bishop and Bell, are simply engaging in their end of a cross-universe arms race. This leads me to believe, as before, that Walter was responsible, perhaps along with William Bell, for initiating the war. I can't help but think that stealing Alt-Peter and bringing him to Fringe Prime ties into it all.

    I also love the imagery suggested by the use of the "magic mirror". Clearly that particular typewriter is supposed to be a product of the Alt-Fringe universe, and the mirror connects it to either someone or an identical typewriter on the other side. The metaphor of the "mirror universe" was a nice touch, and further underscores the notion that it is only these two universes that are involved in the current crisis. (Which, of course, would make sense if it were the result of Walter's very personal and specific act.)

    I've compared "Fringe" to "X-Files" quite a bit in this review, but that's partly due to the references that were in the episode. Also, I think it's a fair comparison to make, since the premise is quite similar and Abrams is infamous for creating shows that are, in essence, his own versions of classic concepts. This season premiere was as much about paying homage to the past as it was paving the way towards the future.
  • Fringe is back...sci fi at its best.

    This is not the kind of show that you can allow yourself to be distracted.

    I have to admit I floundered a bit understanding this episode. I had forgotten what had happened in the last episode so it took me awhile to actually understand what was going on.

    But otherwise the episode was really good and a good start to the season. I expect that it will get better now that the writers don't have to explain what happened before.

    I really like the scene's with Walter and Peter. Those two actors play off each other so well that they almost steal the show.

    Can't wait for the next episode.
  • Would you eat something from Walters lab?


    I wouldn't! Its so funny and disgusting seeing Walter perform an autopsy and licking a lollipop at the same time, touching everything.

    This episode was good but not great, the story was exciting but filled with too manyplot holesand confusing parts.

    Liked how they tricked us last episode, thinking Olivia avoided the car crash and switched universes in the elevator. That's why we saw people in the elevator, she switched back and forth super fast. It doesn't explain how she wound up being in one of the twin towers though and why she suddenly got back in her car, crashing out the window, where did the time go? Maybe I think of this the wrong way, hope to get a goodexplanation when the Fringe's have thought on this for a while.

    It was so sad seeing Olivia almost dead even though I knew she wouldn't die. Walter was so upset, I'm verydisappointed that we didn't see his or the rest of the cast big relief when she came back. It's a miracle, I want a big reaction next time.

    The Shapeshifter is a great new storyline for the show but once again I'mdisappointed with the writers. The first time we see him shift, he has to make himself look like some sort of vampire from Buffy before he changes form, it seems like he need a few minutes to get it done. Later he does the same trick in seconds, clothes and everything (how can clothes change, they don't belong to the body?). And what about the bodies? I guess somehow, the Shifter was very lucky that Charlie found him in the room that he must have hid the real nurse in before. I'm very confused about this.

    I feel so sorry for Charlie, monster attack and now this. I'm gonna miss him, he was such a good friend to Olivia and one of the good guys. Interesting to see him act as the Shifter though, wonder how long he can keep it up!?

  • Great show, even with blunders such as the ones found in this episode, it's still a great show that I enjoy watching for it's many strange ideas.

    Love TV shows like Fringe, very creative ideas. I can forgo realism on mundane situations such as FBI agents in high heels, seem to be universal concept of all present day TV shows. But when an episode such as "A New Day In The Old Town" ends with such poorly thought through script then it pains me. Not since Will Smith disable an alien mother ship using an alien computer virus, have I felt so annoyed over a script getting produced.

    The alien soldier can replicate/shape shift into another being. We saw that early in the show. But the process took time and the original body was where he first had changed, he didn't leave that apartment with 2 bodies behind. So when Charlie shoot the "nurse", and Peter with the new agent rush to where the shot came from, he somehow had time to: Change into Charlie, undress Him, hide the body, change clothing and someone have the body of the nurse available in the basement for them all to find....with gunshot wounds in her body now and in her own cloth again ... Where is the alien time stop machine...

    Bad script, bad way of having Charlie being shape shifted, that could have been done 100 times better.
  • Fringe's sophomore year- good opener...

    The best sci-fi on TV started off with a bang with Anna Torv dramatic entrance into the screen. However, the episode lost most of the initial momentum and settled down on a pretty lackluster note.

    The shape shifter plot was a unoriginal, and if you are Sylar from Heroes, you might most likely say- 'been there, done that'. Apart from that, most small an large plot bits were very Fringe-like and predictable. You know, things like Walter acting like a kid, preparing custard before a corpse and acting like it's another day at work. Olivia waking up just in time before our fuses blow off. Or for instance Peter pitching in to save Olivia's life.

    Charlie Francis is killed off the show, in case most people didn't recall. The actor had apparently mentioned it in his Twitter or Facebook profile sometime in May this year. So the new FBI agent, who seems all too interested in Fringe business is his replacement. I guess the reason why I am still not convinced is because, Anna Torv was bedridden for the whole installment. I am sure next Thursday's one should be a blast. Well, there nothing left now other than to look out for the Emmy's this weekend.
  • These type of shows like to impress with great visuals and plot twist, but fall short on the story

    I know they like to show Walter as a older man who is a mental unstable genius, and some of the things he do is humorous, but having him eat liquorice while performing an autopsy with bloodied hands, took the cake!

    When Peter was showing the new female fbi agent the fringe division in the basement of a Harvard school building, he walks through the door like it is some big government cover up conspiracy-only for her to be greeted by a regular school lab with only two people working in civilian clothes. I thought it to be funny!

    One of the most concerning inconsistencies in this episode was with Charlie. During the time in the hospital basement, the shapeshifter(nurse) seem to have taken over Charlie's body and swapped clothes in less time it takes Peter and the fbi agent to get to the scene to see Charlie and the dead nurse. Its funny because earlier it shows that process taking some time without the clothes changing part. Then on top of that, you see the shapeshifter(Charlie) dumping the real Charlie's body in the furnace. Now, wouldn't that require three bodies total? You have the shapeshifter(Charlie) and the nurse, and I'm sure the nurse went to the morg. So where did the extra body come from?
  • Starts off as a filler episode and ends with a twist.

    I was very disappointed to see Fringe start off its second season back in its original dimension. More of the same Fringeness. Bad guy straight out of the X-files. The need to consult Walters old research. Charlie Francis's boring bedside stories. Blair Brown kissing on Mr. Abaddon( that was kind of gross). I enjoyed the prospect of a new character in Junior Agent Jessop but I fear she may be wearing a red shirt in later episodes. Here is hoping they cut to the chase and we get to see what was going on in dimension X with Mr. Spock.

    Agent Jessop, the usual Bishop banter, and the twist ending save this episode from just be a filler.
  • What Fringe really needs right now is to keep the momentum going and this one, sadly, is a bit of a slow burner.

    And the award for the most ironically appropriate episode title goes to... This is 'the old town' indeed, as virtually everything about Abrams and Goldsman's script feels incredibly familiar, and not always in a good way. While the ease with which the writers and actors slot back into the show's central characters is certainly commendable, the same cannot be said of the intricacies of the narrative, which are often frustratingly low-key and predictable. When we left Broyles, Dunham and the Bishops at the end of season one, things had gone to hell in a handbasket with the shooting of Nina Sharp, David Robert Jones's ill-fated attempt to cross over into the alternate reality and Olivia's actual successful trip there, in which she came face to face with the one, the only, William Bell himself, who turned out to be Spock in a three piece suit. The show was riding the crest of a decidedly addictive wave, propelling its central storyline forward with considerable momentum. Now, after being deprived of any developments for four long, drawn out months, we return to find the writers stalling for time, working extremely hard to prevent anything but the barest scraps from being given away, essentially playing silly buggers with their audience. Oh look, we return to the story once Olivia's come back from her oh-so-important meeting with Bell and don't get to experience it first hand. Well, okay, maybe they couldn't get Nimoy back for another round, perhaps he was too busy filming the Star Trek DVD commentary or something. Fine. But to have her not remember anything about the encounter other than that something is being hidden? And that the information she acquired is 'imperative to the survival of everyone'? Sigh. These water-treading tactics just become frustrating; sure, they set up key mysteries to be resolved later in the season, but would it really hurt to give us some sort of juicy morsel now? To treat us to something, anything, that would make the episode feel like it had any sort of point?

    Of course, the die-hard supporters among Fringe's ever-burgeoning fanbase will probably point to the shapeshifter storyline as evidence of fresh intrigue being imbued into the show. This is a fair point, as the concept is certainly an interesting one and it is introduced to the narrative in a superlatively macabre way. The teaser sequence (as always, it seems, with this programme) is just superb, playing all sorts of mind games with the viewer before the horror of what is actually going on eventually becomes clear, and the effects used within the actual transformation process are actually pretty nifty. It's good to see gadgetry being incorporated into the process too; while the technology is evidently science fiction, at least there is an attempt being made to maintain the illusion of reality. The scene in the miscellaneous back alley store is also wonderfully mysterious: the 'typewriter conversation between realities' is quite simply a genius idea, directed in a beautifully understated, matter-of-fact way by Goldsman. Where this strand begins to fall down is in its lapses into predictability. The shapeshifter's jumps between bodies are never surprising, and while this works to a certain extent with its acquisition of the nurse's countenance, since the tension in the scene is essentially predicated on our dramatic irony as we anticipate the reveal, or Olivia's realisation, it proves rather less than successful when the focus is turned to Agent Francis. The poorly placed cut away in their confrontation nullifies any ambiguity whatsoever, practically screaming "he's dead!" at the viewer, and so the final scene, the big, shocking reveal, falls flat on its sorry arse. Of course, it doesn't help that his departure from Fringe was made public knowledge a month or so ago, so those viewers who keep up with the show's news spend every moment after he first appears in the episode waiting to see how he's going to snuff it.

    There are many other distinctly calculable narrative developments too, which make the episode's composition feel depressingly lazy. The manner in which the Bishops uncover the truth behind the mysterious deaths recalls the frustrating penchant for the old deux et machina that plagued many episodes in the early stages of Fringe's freshman year. Fair enough, Walter has an established, significant history in the field he is investigating but come on... would it hurt to present him with something he hadn't seen before? Does he always have to have postulated about the existence of the mysterious science that features in the 'curiosity of the week', or have some convenient piece of exposition on hand to magically provide all the answers? The girl on the video tape provides far too succinct an explanation of events; so much so that it makes the previous steps taken in the investigation seem utterly pointless. Then there is the bizarre custard-making C-storyline, which is entirely throwaway and superficial, and the closure of the Fringe Division itself, which is rendered completely ineffectual by essentially being resolved by the end of the episode. Look guys, if you're going to rip-off The X Files, at least do a respectable job of it (the inclusion of a sequence from the 'Dreamcatcher' two parter was far more satisfying...); Chris Carter's show got it right by actually keeping Mulder and Scully apart, at least in job title, for almost half a season. It gave us consequence and realism; here, the trope's entire function appears to be to give Joshua Jackson some ludicrously hyperbolic bravado to spout at Lance Reddick. His assertion that 'we're not reacting any more!' (paraphrased, that) is hopelessly hamfisted and somewhat negates the effect of the plot thread that it is paying off: Broyles and Peter's beautifully scripted two hander in the admittedly wonderful first act, which concentrates on the effects of Olivia's supposed death on each of the characters.

    Speaking of characters, how about Meghan Markle as brand spanking new Junior Agent Amy Jessup, huh? Well, wasn't she just a peach, eh? Didn't we all just immediately warm to her wonderfully rounded, highly complex and thoroughly believable character? Oh, okay, I jest. Jessup wins the award for most transparent cipher yet to be introduced to the show, as her one-dimensional treatment and lack of virtually any character development whatsoever exposes her central function: to replace Agent Francis and make the number of people in love with Joshua Jackson increase to 7,452. Oh sorry, and provide a form of interpretative transference for casual or first-time viewers. The vast majority of her dialogue, and the conversations she takes part in, function to reiterate facts about the history of the show that we already know, the most blatant of which is her introduction to the Harvard University setting, in which Peter essentially guides the audience around Fringe's basic premise. It's as if the network called Abrams, panicking about whether viewers would be able to follow the show given its penchant for ongoing narratives, or even remember what they'd seen last year, and insisted he had to retread everything before he could get on with the actual plot. To be fair to the writers, the character's introduction is at least a more organic way of solving this problem - all too often, regular cast members suddenly start telling each other facts that they are all too familiar with - but it does make her feel rather useless. Her willingness to accept the bizarro world of Fringe Division is suspicious too. The conspiracy nut in me reckons there's more going on here, that perhaps she's going to turn out to have more involvement with 'The Pattern' (unusually enough, not mentioned once in the hour) than at first thought, but perhaps this is just wishful thinking. Maybe I don't want to acknowledge that actually, this amounts to little more than a careless, quick-fire way of getting on with the story.

    All of this criticism makes 'A New Day in the Old Town' sound like something of an atrocity; in actuality, it's a reasonably enjoyable episode, provided you don't think too much about its composition, or expect too much from its narrative. There are some excellent orchestrated scenes and character beats, particularly Peter and Broyles in the bar, Olivia and Charlie in the hospital, and everyone's reactions to Dunham's potential death in the first act. Goldsman does a delicate, sophisticated job of directing the piece and the actors all slot back into their personalities perfectly. Where the episode falls down is in its predictability; none of the reveals actually surprise you, and the central plot feels underwhelming when one considers the gravitas of events that occurred in season one's top notch finale. What Fringe really needs right now is to keep the momentum going and this one, sadly, is a bit of a slow burner.