Fringe

Season 2 Episode 6

Earthling

6
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Nov 05, 2009 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

8.7
out of 10
Average
483 votes
  • Earthling

    5.5
    After a short break we returned to the room. We had time to relax, buy some popcorn and refresh the view. On the other hand, there was time to think, to clean their weapons and refine strategies. Switch off the lights. It will be a new beginning?



    No. We stopped but we returned the same, the carousel cases weekly. The words run away scared and fear of repetition of churn afflicts those who write. Until when? I ask. The answer seems to diffuse and then pass it to this "Earthling", where victims of a strange shadows are turned into ashes. People are like statues and the slightest touch crumble like sand castles. The beginning has to know that and if there is time that usually does not disappoint is this: tension and terror in the right measures.



    Then follows a routine investigation that eventually led to an astronaut in a coma and his brother's protector. Apparently the spaceman brought an alien organism that lived within him, which used the radiation of innocent bodies. It's good to explore deep space and inject some alien theme in the series, but not so confusing and somewhat explicit. Never came to realize as well as the attacker be seized from your body or why do it? What was your ultimate goal anyway? And the formula was so important but ultimately had no resolution? A handful of mysteries that only increase the frustration of the viewer who is faced with more than a simple manhunt. In another procedural.



    Another line was poorly utilized the past history of Broyles (Lance Reddick). It is necessary to further these excellent side who populate the series, but all this background that connected to the case sounded forced, without force. Perhaps the fact that this mystery has been the reason for your separation has aggravated the sense of farce. Failed to transmit at any time, the weight that this case was actually in the life of man. We see some obsession, a willingness to close the loose ends, but never felt the magnitude of pain.



    Regarding the Agent Jessup (Meghan Markle), Jeff Pinkner, executive producer, said that it is available, a kind of tool to use whenever they deem necessary, and prefer at the moment to deepen the stories of the main cast. First, it is urgent to insert it into the story. Second, if the stories to deepen the core refer to episodes of this kind then we will from bad to worse.



    The best: The special effects are still very good.

    The worst: More a case without any interest ... plus a ...
  • Good episode

    8.5
    This show is good because we learned about broyles. which was real good. He tells why he joined the fbi and how he lost his family because he was so hooked on solving this case. He does solve the case and meets with his wife at home, told her and was happy for him. But, since he joined the fbi to protect his family and closed the case that ended his family. I see him at that moment outside hes door paused indicating now what to do. He's very alone and his ex senses that. Great show about boyles, the case was alright but for me what made the show was boyles.
  • Ahhh, the poor CIA needs some love...

    8.5
    ...and an erector set saves the day. Well, that and a bullet to the brain of the "objet du jour" and/or its resident symbiont. Nice to see some of Broyles' background in early experience with the Fringe Division and consequently, some character development for him. Does everyone on TV who is employed in national security come from a broken home or relationship? Is there any such thing as NOT dysfunctional on TV?

    Walter in his own little world, and talking to his own little friends, even without the aid of his pills, is as wonderful as ever. And once again, the episode ends with that creepy feeling that even though this kind of stuff is doubtful, there is some other sh** out there that we don't know about. And it is in the hands of the CIA and others like it, and even worse...now think about this...in the hands of our politicians!

    And Peter wonders why Walter took those pills...!!
  • Bryles centric episode reveals secrets from Fringe Rusia

    8.5
    A shadow man that reduces people to ashes serves as the frame in which Agent Broyles reveals his own past, contrary to the most popular belief it wasn't the love affair with Massive Dynamci's Nina Sharp what caused the end of his marriage but rather his own marriage to Fringe Division illustrated in the first scene where a little boy plays with him until the latest call makes him flee from his dinner table like he probably did back when he still had a family.

    The contrast with the Bishop household starts early in the episode as Walter remembers some particularly embarrasing moments of Peter's childhood and continue all the way up to the scene where Walter is caught up in a music aria solving a formula as Peter & Astrid watch him in awe, a formula that links all the way back to Russian technology and their work on Fringe science.

    As Walter involves and expands his own family, Broyles alienates the only family he has left, Olivia practically has to force him to confess who was his contact, the brother of a Russian cosmonaut called Alex Vasiliev whose shado is probably still killing people as he lies on a coma he hasn't wake up from since Broyles's first case. By the time they contain the shadow both the brother as well as a few others have already been killed.

    In the end Broyles finally goes home to share the news with his ex-wife even if he can no longer share his life with her.
  • Finally, an episode about Broyles

    8.5
    It was about time the writers gave us a Broyles-centric episode, he is such a mysterious and fascinating character and yet, one and a half seasons afterwards, we practically know nothing about him (apart from the fact that there is a love interest between him and Nina Sharp). So in this episode we find out he hides a sensitive man beneath the harsh exterior, one who has had his family deprived of him due to his excessive dedication to his job. Standing at the gateway between two worlds requires a lot of time and effort, and it cost Broyles his family. Another pleasant surprise is that he cares about his cases, as he obviously did about the Russian cosmonaut and his brother. However, his personal feelings don't get in the way of him doing what is necessary, as we witnessed first hand when he shot the cosmonaut.


    Walter, Olivia, Peter and Astrid played a more or less decorative role in this episode, which was something I would've preferred done differently. There have been moments of chemistry between Olivia and Broyles in the past, where it was clear he admired her abilities and dedication, and she admired his leadership, trusted him and viewed him as an ally. This case and Broyles' sharing the details with Olivia could've been used as a vehicle for further development of their relationship.

    Another thing that disappointed me was that Walter didn't have the time to properly solve the case, I so look forward to the final scene where he gives the explanations in each episode(gotta love Walter, he's amazing), and in this one it was cut short by the CIA's intervention. I do understand however that it was necessary for the plot, the Fringe division was operating outside its jurisdiction in this case and it was a matter of time before their access was cut off. The final scene with Broyles and the CIA agent was great, very atmospheric and threatening, reminded me of the golden times of the X Files (I sure miss those times). Fringe can certainly pull off the atmosphere, which isn't easy to do. After this episode there's legitimate reason to hope that the CIA and whatever subplots it may bring to the main arc will be more involved in Fringe's future cases.
  • Shadow "people" exist. I've seen them & I know based on all the phone calls received over the years by Art Bell that other people have seen them as well. And it's just so awesome that the Fringe team has brought some much needed clarity to this mystery!

    10
    This was by far the best episode Ever of Fringe. It was a well told and very spooky story. I also appreciated that this story brought some much needed depth to a character who up until now was as mysterious as the phenomenon the team investigated.

    The special effects were also awesome and freaky in a way that wasn't disgusting. I was also very impressed by the climatic scene in which the girl was motionless on the motel bed and you were left to wonder for a long, dramatic moment whether she had been "bitten."

    Excellent job, folks! If Fringe would lay it down like this on a weekly basis - it would be the #1 show in America! Oh, well, as a very wise and very beautiful woman once said, "You can't have it all - and have it all be perfect!"

    Peace Out!
  • The last thing we all need is for little green men to start showing up, only to find that they're long lost acquaintances of Walter's or something.

    8.5
    Two weeks away, one lengthy Pattern-orientated recap and what do we get? A bloody stand-alone, that's what, completely bereft of any shapeshifting parallel universe robots or Leonard Nimoy cameos. Still, at least Whyman and Vlaming's script is far from a duffer and contains more than enough that is sufficiently interesting to keep the viewer's ever-increasing frustration at bay... for the most part. The concept - that something is quite literally turning people to dust - is actually quite an eerie one and it's deftly handled by both writers and director alike. Jon Cassar, 24 stalwart and king of suspense, does a masterful job of ramping up the tension, making skilful use of chiaroscuro, long shot, slow camera movement and particularly, the suitably monotone and brusque underscore to construct something genuinely chilling. The scenes in the hospital, in particular, stand out as some of the most terrifying in the show's short history. Whyman and Vlaming take their time with the setup too, limiting the number of murders and making each one more methodically menacing. There's a palpable feeling of unease undercutting the whole story, magnified greatly by the unusual and largely unexplained origins of the mysterious creature.

    Moreover, this is a distinctly miserable script: the Fringe Division don't really save the day, they merely keep the 'creature' at bay. Things essentially fall apart for the poor victim as Bishop realises that there is no solution; that he is as good as dead... and then, of course, his poor brother quite literally bites the dust. Hardly the stuff of feel-good TV. It's distinctly pleasing to see such brave narrative decisions being made, and it gives the episode an extra edge (well, that and its focus on Broyles, one of the most criminally underused and under-developed characters on the gogglebox!)

    The only real gripe is the dubious nature of the 'explanation' which feels a little tacky and convenient, rather like the similarly themed X Files episode 'Space', which 'Earthling' seems to be based upon. For all there is an element of intrigue to be found in the lack of concrete answers, it also threatens to drive Fringe too far into conventional sci-fi territory. The last thing we all need is for little green men to start showing up, only to find that they're long lost acquaintances of Walter's or something. And no, that's not just because the show is in desperate need of less similarities to Chris Carter's baby. Still, a competent effort and a good example of how to do these pesky non-mythology episodes well.
  • Shadows and ashes

    9.5
    Fringe
    Season 2
    Episode 6: Earthling
    The Fringe division investigates the deaths of people who are turned to ashes. Broyles then tells Olivia he had a similar case years before, which thorned his family apart.

    Pretty good episode. It was full of suspense and was really good. I quiet enjoyed it and was rlly good. Well written, nicely directed and awesome plot. This is an episode of Fringe to remember. It was full of mystery and suspense and we get things not expected. The episode was great. The mysteries and secrets of the ep... I recommend it to anyone who loves mystery and action
  • Attack of the shadow man in this episode, pretty good start! Warning, spoilers contained below.

    9.0
    The episode starts off with an interesting case as a shadow type man basically turns people into dust. I enjoyed this episode; we finally learn something about Broyles which makes him seem a lot more human. Not that he never did, it's just we never really saw much of his other sides, only his working face really. The other good thing about this episode is that there was no crazy cliff hanger at the end. Now I do enjoy a well placed one, I just don't like it when they put one there that's really big and gets ignored for 3-4 episodes. It's just nice to have a decent filler type episode without a cliff hanger at the end. Sometimes they work (the cliff-hangers) but not all the time.
  • Aliens and ghosts collide

    7.0
    The idea of alien creatures in "Fringe", even if just as a riff on the ongoing exploration of the meaning of consciousness, leaves me a bit uncertain. I would have been a little happier if the "infection" of the cosmonaut had been revealed as a catalyst for the fragmentation of the cosmonaut's own consciousness, or even just a fragment of it.

    After all, the treatment of this rogue consciousness was very similar to the reports of "shadow people" in the paranormal investigative world. Granted, such phenomena isn't said to result in people turning into ash, but there were strong similarities, particularly in terms of the video evidence and the unusual electromagnetic effects. Merging the current legends and lore of "shadow people" to this particular story could have grounded it in the semi-familiar world. (At least, for those already with an interest in "fringe science".)

    I personally think the concepts at play in the show are complicated enough without adding alien consciousnesses to the mix. If there is one thing that has marked genre shows produced by JJ Abrams, it is a tendency to expand the frame of unusual reference a little too far. Keeping the scope of the series to the bizarre fringes of technological advancement between two parallel universes should give them more than enough room to maneuver. Adding aliens into the mix expands the boundaries a bit more than necessary.

    Thankfully, the alien angle is incidental to the point of the episode. The central idea is the separation of mind and body, which has been a part of the series' DNA since the beginning. In a show where memories can be downloaded into another person through technology or an altered state (or both), a consciousness without a physical body is hardly a stretch. (It also means that "ghosts" are at least potentially real in the "Fringe" universe; hence the potential connection to the "shadow people".)

    While the alien connection may seem excessive, I can think of one interesting possibility. The alien seemed to be able to keep the cosmonaut's body alive under extreme circumstances, all for the purpose of maintaining its own existence. This encounter in Fringe Prime didn't have any long-term effects, but what if this alien organism was discovered under very different circumstances in the Alt-Fringe universe? There are plenty of indications that Alt-Walter and his ilk wouldn't let moral considerations get in the way of dissecting and experimenting.

    Despite some minor disappointments with elements of the plot, I did like the episode for its focus on Agent Broyles. There have been some hints along the way that he has been involved in some badass covert ops, and this episode seems to confirm it. Broyles does not seem like the kind of agent one would want to cross, which makes his frustrations at red tape all the more intriguing.

    Broyles also mentioned that the Fringe Division has been around for well over four years, and that it had fallen far out of favor by 2005. Taking into account the homage to "The X-Files", one has to wonder how seriously the writing staff is taking that joke, given how the timelines sometimes seem to mesh. It also places an age on "The Pattern" that I don't remember hearing before. My recollection is that it was a recent development, but it makes sense that there were events and discoveries long before any connective thread was suspected.
  • Ok, so now we are dealing with aliens...

    7.0
    Not particularly a strong episode, this one nonetheless had its moments. I am not sure when we'll be back with the parallel universe storyline, and the usual one episode -one case strategy seems to be working quite well. I liked the ending in particular, after veering around the track, the solution pretty much was in killing the Russian dude. Though the last scene where the CIA agent tells Broyles that cosmonaut had been sent back to space was a touch insane even by the standards of Fringe. There was also a hint given about Broyles past life, and why his wife had left him. I don't know why we were given this irrelevant piece of information, given the fact that personal relationships are not a strong forte of the show. Okay episode.
  • Broyles.

    7.5
    After a few weeks of Fringe withdrawals due to baseball the acclaimed sci-fi drama is back. While not a complete return to the quality it achieved last year, this was still better than a lot of the recent installments we had been getting from the series. The annoying guy from the bowling alley is gone, Olivia is done feeling sorry for herself, all is right in the world of Fringe science.

    This episode focused particularly on Phillip Broyles, who is played brilliantly by Lance Reddick in the show. A refreshing change of pace for him to take the forefront, but I am not hoping this carries over and leads to an Astrid episode.
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