Fringe

Season 2 Episode 8

August

9
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Nov 19, 2009 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

9.3
out of 10
Average
541 votes
  • August

    7.5
    Expectations are always the one ingredient that touches the palate. If you do not have them, or if they are low, before a good show great is huge. And vice versa, ie when they are very high, before an ordinary action, the good is poor.



    It's hard to detach ourselves from what we expect from a certain episode, especially in an era in which we inflict on information from all sides, every second. This would be an episode of mythology, rather, heard us, would be an episode devoted entirely to the theme Observer. Any fan of "Fringe" put the bar up there, we are talking about one of the most emblematic characters of this universe, one of the icons of this strange science that would take 40 minutes inteirinhos just for you. What happened is that "August", despite having some good times, proved a disappointment.



    We begin with the title that is not a month. It's a name. August is an observer, not the one we already knew, but another. He starts the episode to do what they do best: watching, watching a young girl who ends up kidnapped, even in daylight. It's always a good start, those binoculars and futuristic weapons, that growing chaos that only quiets the generic. That said, the investigation begins and the two questions arise, one old and one new one: who are these people and why kidnap this girl?



    And the answer is that the episode leaves much to be desired. Let us begin by observers, on the one hand it was interesting to see more than one, see them at the table with their strange pleasures spicy, watch them solve a problem with one of his, on the other we leave here without any new information. The comparison of the tube with liquid was quite interesting, they watch the weather as a whole and choose the precise locations where they want to appear, always in great moments of history. They have appeared a lot lately which leads us to the conclusion that something serious is going to happen, because we have known for a long time. But then why watch? For what purpose? What is your role in the war between the two worlds? And out here ....



    Jumping to the conclusion the girl turned out to be also unsatisfactory. Since the beginning we are led to think that she will have an important role in future history, in the course of events. If the observer protagonist saved Walter and Peter - allegedly because they are important - we were led to believe that this beauty could be more a character to go down in history. But no, it was just a platonic love, of an impossible love. The solution found by the Observer to save your loved one was interesting - it has the important - and his words on the brink of death when he realizes that he felt, were very well achieved, but this was not looking for lyricism. Because this solution turned out to give only the color of the case this week, and these we have to spare.



    The Best: The Beginning.

    The Worst: Much vine and little grape
  • More Info on the observer

    8.0
    Good episode eventhough when it came to investigations it wasn't much. This episode was mainly about the observers and why they were here. They explained enough to keep us satisfy for now, I think it was some good writer describing why they are there. It was also shocking one of the observers said that he loves the person he saves from the airplane cash by kidnapping her.
  • Frustrating, but beautiful and exciting

    8.0
    A classic, then predictable, tale of a non-human entity that discovers its own humanity ... but nicely done. August's final confession, and his tear, will remain one of the best scenes of Fringe to me. A shame the Fringe division couldn't have a closer look on his body, just to know WHAT the Observers really are, but I guess it's just too soon on the show. The "revelations" were mere confirmations ( yes, we guessed there were several Observers, and yes, we guessed they had something to do with time ) Anyway, a great teaser : I can't wait to know what "mistake" led the Observers to save Walter and Peter ( or just Walter ??? ) , what's the deal between them and Walter ... and what the creepy future has in store for Olivia.
  • You must make your child important.

    9.0
    Only a parent can see a future for his children, only a parent can see how that future is important, even more so than the parent's job, even more so that the parent's life so once the Observer of one Christine Hollis becomes such a parent there's only one man he could ask for advice. Problem for "August" is that the other observers believe she's of no consequence and they will take meassures to correct August's interference with was supposed to be her death, there's nothing he can do and Walter is the only man he knows that could see beyond the limitation of these problems, his dilemma something only Walter could relate to because of what he did back when his own son died. The advice is as simple as Walter's "Please don't take my son" plea: if August can't persuade the observers of his convictions then he must do something to prove it, he must make her important. And so he does ...as he dies to save her life; Christine Hollis is now responsible for the death of one of the observers. The most important person according to their standards, Ausgust's child is safe at last.
  • Not helping Fringe...not helping..

    6.8
    After taking things up a notch, this overly hyped episode just jumped the shark. Nevertheless, Fringe still continues to by my favorite science fiction, and this episode really doesn't help its future renewals on fox.

    We've always wanted to know who these observers were? Are they from the parallel universe, what are they observing, why are they all bald? Nothing much was revealed here, except that they observe all major events and ensure the normal humans don't evade their fate pattern. The whole episode was slow, Walter wasn't in his usual elements, because for him this was much more than an experiment gone wrong. I guess everything was going fine till the point, when August revealed his true intentions for saving Christine. An alien like creepy dude who lives for like a million years falling in love with a hot 20 year something, simply jumped the shark. This is not the kind of storylines you expect from a show like Fringe.

    Weak.
  • Observe the observers being observantly awesome.

    8.2
    What does it say about Fringe when the show's best episode in awhile is about a group of characters whose claim to fame is being on screen for 3 seconds? The Observers were compelling and kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat for the entire episode, something I have not been able to say lately for this show. Fringe also ended with a cliffhanger (who was The Observer talking about when he said she would be in a lot of trouble soon?) an always useful storytelling device.

    This was such a fun and original episode of Fringe that I hope we get more like this. Fast-paced and high on action and mystery, the very formula for a successful drama series.
  • Still seeking balance

    7.0
    "Fringe" has been delivering an interesting second season. While the show has definitely evolved since its stumbling start, I'm not sure that the best lessons of the first season have been learned. The second half of the first season was remarkable for its deft treatment of both episodic and serialized story elements. This season, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be gelling as well as one might hope.

    I'm not going to suggest that this is some sort of sophomore slump; the season has not fallen into any self-destructive patterns. Nor have there been critical casting misfires, like the one that crippled some of the original plans for the second season of "Lost". It's just a feeling that the writers are still trying to satisfy the original intent: a mostly episodic structure with a few important serialized arcs.

    Finding the perfect balance has always been the challenge. Networks prefer episodic formats, because it makes the show more accessible in syndication packages. (The nature of that market has changed dramatically over the past decade, but some essential rules still apply.) Shows like "The X-Files" suffered from the desire to tell a bigger story while sticking to a discrete anthology-style format. Characters would deal with momentous events in one episode, seemingly changing everything, only to shift back into a routine status quo with the very next episode. While it helps to make the show an easier sell for new viewers, it frustrates the fans that enjoy the big picture.

    The flipside is a heavily-serialized show that manages to break up the story into bite-sized chunks in each episode. "Lost" and "Flashforward" are two current examples. While this allows the writing staff to tackle multi-layered concepts and complex storytelling, it also makes it hard for new viewers to jump into the series. I'm fairly sure it would be impossible for anyone to start watching "Lost" at the beginning of the sixth season this spring and make sense of it.

    The balance is a constant work in progress. Even shows like "Supernatural", where that balance has been nearly perfect since the series began, can suddenly lose the delicate equilibrium (as seen this season). The trick is making that balance a part of the DNA of every season. Shows like "Alias", "Buffy", "Angel" and "Supernatural" have excelled at putting together season arcs with a satisfying build and payoff, while keeping the format loose enough to allow for the episodic stories to be told.

    While the season is still relatively young, I'm not feeling that sense of clear direction. For better or worse, the end of the first season made some compelling promises. It felt like the game was about to move to the next level. In many respects, it hasn't. Even this episode, one of the best of the season, seems oddly disconnected from the whole. Only the connections to the unfolding story of Peter's true origin keep it from being rather self-contained.

    This episode was meant to expose startling information about the Observers, but I was left a bit underwhelmed. It certainly raised a number of intriguing questions, particularly about the nature of the Observers and why they are suddenly all over the place, but it was mostly speculation from the usual suspects.

    I'm not at all certain that it was a good idea to pull back the curtain on the Observers in such a fashion. I think they were more interesting as something unknown and vaguely threatening, an outward sign of something worthy of wonder and dread. I really didn't need to know about the Observers in more depth, other than their role within the story, and even that could have been saved for a moment when the revelation would be crushing. The unknown has an ominous strength that the known cannot possess.

    That's not to say this was a bad episode. I've always liked Peter Woodward, going back to his performances as Galen in the "Babylon 5" universe, and he made a capable Observer. He did a good job of selling the notion that a seemingly untouchable being might be compromised by emotional attachment.

    That seemed to tie into the story behind Alt-Peter's abduction by Walter, which is still unclear. I had forgotten the detail about the car accident, and how an Observer apparently saved their lives. The question is: how does this connect to Walter's ongoing insistence that Peter was very sick as a child? I suspect that the real story is that Peter's illness was a ruse, a way to explain the side effects of whatever process Walter used to scrub away Alt-Peter's memories of his former life. Peter Prime may not have survived the car crash at all.

    The unusual nature of the Observer's relationship with time might also imply a unique relationship with alternate realities. Moving between realities has been shown to alter sensory perception; perhaps this is why the Observers need to spice up their food. Whatever the case, the involvement of an Observer in Walter's abduction of Alt-Peter has been heavily implied. Is it possible that this impending collision of realities is, in fact, the result of catastrophic Observer interference?

    The pieces don't necessarily fit, and clearly that is intentional. The mystery of Peter's abduction and its relationship to the conflict to come is a major element of the season arc. I'm just concerned that the writers are parsing the information a bit too much. The revelations at the end of the first season demanded a bit of plot acceleration, and I'm worried that we haven't seen it yet.
  • Over the course of the last season and a half, The Observer has become one of the most interesting and beguiling staples of J.J. Abrams' latest televisual effort.

    7.5
    Over the course of the last season and a half, The Observer has become one of the most interesting and beguiling staples of J.J. Abrams' latest televisual effort. His is a wonderful conceit, appearing in every episode, hidden in plain sight within the frame, supervising the science-bending events that are about to unfold. He is a kind of Where's Wally? for the screenage generation, minus the jam-jar glasses and lankiness and plus a McCarthy-esque hat and shiny, shiny head. The quest to locate him has become a crucial component of the series, providing a suitably entertaining way of engaging the viewer week in and week out. To this point, we know very little about him; he writers right to left in a 'language' consisting of mysterious symbols, seems to like chilli sauce (and lots of it) and perhaps most crucially of all, he rescued Peter and Walter from a dreadful car crash many years ago. Now, with the promise of an entire episode devoted to this most bizarre of creatures, Fringe looked set to rectify this situation and provide us with a great deal of juicy mythology to sink our rabid teeth into.

    Except, it doesn't quite turn out that way. For all its focus on the folically-challenged ones (yes, there's more than one of these dudes, a fact that is built up as a sort of mini-reveal but we'd sorta figured it out from the events of season one's 'Inner Child'), 'August' doesn't really take us any further forward, choosing instead to pepper the narrative with hints and clues rather than resolutely concrete answers. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - after all, it's what makes that other Abrams show Lost so damn addictive - and there is certainly sufficient food for thought on the menu, but what fills the time between snippets ultimately turns out to be a little underwhelming. Essentially, the objective of the episode is to humanise the Observers, to allow them to experience some of the 'feelings' that lead us to irrational and somewhat blinded decisions.

    The revelation that August has altered the course of history purely to serve his own interests, simply because he is in love with a particular woman, might seem like a nice idea on paper but it falls flat in the execution, coming across as a bit of a disappointment when one considers the weight of intrigue, the level of mystery, that surrounds these characters. What we need is more that beguiles, or some form of explanation as to their nature; essentially, anything other than drawing parallels and distracting us from the small matter of the furthering of the arc plot. The story effectively deflates once we realise that there are no ulterior motives behind August's actions, since it is mostly this enigma that drives the narrative forward. Well, that and the possibility that Peter may cotton on to the rather dramatic secret that his father's been keeping from him for the better part of twenty years, but even this fails to transpire, confined instead, probably, to an OTT moment in the season finale. Given that Fringe seems content to play silly buggers with its audience, stalling the progression of the mythology with lazily written, often subpar stand alones week after week, it would be nice if, once the the four week 'big episode' comes around (you know, the one before the week or two's break so that we'll all come back for more...) they didn't insist on keeping the brakes on.

    It's not all doom and gloom though. The intricate details that we're exposed to are deliciously bizarre: the casual manner in which the Observers interact, even when one of them has 'gone off the rails', so to speak; the idea that they are timeless, appearing at every major cataclysmic event in human history; that gun; the mysterious references to 'significance' and the idea that, becuase the girl inadvertently kills one of their own, she is somehow important. One can only guess at their role in the grander scheme of things and, indeed, at what was meant by the observation at episode's end that things are about to get difficult for 'her'... but did they mean Olivia or that irritating little brat, sorry, I mean wonderfully sweet young niece of hers? All of this plays far better than the sort of predictable X Files investigations we've been subjected to since the season began; at least the narrative doesn't feel like it's following a well-worn formula, or trying desperately to pad out a wafer-thin concept.

    While it deals directly with one of the most intriguing ideas Fringe has ever thrown at us, 'August' doesn't exactly provide Earth-shattering revelations or particularly significant advancements in the arc plot. On the one hand, this does prove to be a good thing, allowing the beguiling minutiae to take centre stage and opening the door for some solid character development, but equally, it does prove a little frustrating. If Fringe weren't so keen on holding back, perhaps this wouldn't be as much of a problem. However, as it is, having the narrative transpire to be little more than a hokey lesson about the nature of humanity (as Dave Lister might've called it, "that Star Trek crap") feels like a bit of a cop out. Promising, yes, and interesting, certainly, but just no quite enough to write home about
  • FOX, take note...

    9.0
    Tonight's events and a move to a more reasonable night might just keep Fringe off the critical list. As it should be.

    Really interesting and progressive episode in terms of the "plot". Kind of reminds me of the Vulcans deciding when earth was worth making contact with; these Observers (and there are many), making their presence known though not necessarily understood, over a fairly minor figure by "our" standards.

    Walter's past involvement promises to be revealing, and probably pivotal in the events the Observers promise are about to begin unfolding. And it sounds like poor Olivia is also in for a few more bad hair days before she gets an even break.

    This episode was a waker-upper, and I'm looking forward to the next few weeks, even though I'm betting I will STILL be wondering where I am and what just happened...
  • The perfect filler episode! Warning, spoilers contained below.

    9.0
    Right of the bat we start with an observer, but this time, he does something we have never seen an observer do, he takes action and causes a scene. Strange, up until this point, we have not see an observer start a conflict, right off the bat you get the impression something is afoot. I kind of figured there was always more than just the one observer. We learn more about the observers, which I think is about time, they have been somewhat of a mystery for quite some time now. At the end we get probably one of the smartest cliff-hangers I have seen. More of a hint of what is to come for Olivia, makes me wonder what is coming up in the near future for her.
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