Fringe

Season 2 Episode 7

Of Human Action

9
Aired Friday 9:00 PM Nov 12, 2009 on FOX
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

8.8
out of 10
Average
474 votes
  • Of Human Action

    8.5
    After half a dozen signs of fatigue are evident. We came here with dark circles and without faith. Counting the days of those who know equal to those who wait know different.



    It is not necessary to read minds to know the opinion already worn and used, "Fringe" is sick. Symptoms of an initial season got worse and now we are faced with several problems: first, the central plot is interspersed with episodes amorphous, without the slightest reference to the mythology of the series, and secondly, these fillers may even be interested if they had mystery, suspense, tension, but nothing is so obvious that even offend, and finally, as a consequence of the two preceding paragraphs, the fluidity and willingness to watch the next episode ceased to exist.



    And that's how I would position myself to watch one more case of the week. And so I was happily surprised, for "Of Human Action" is everything a weekly episode of "Fringe" should be. It is the careful correction of the faults listed. Consider this: the beginning (always good) presents us with a pair of kidnappers and a kid. The police try in vain to catch them but they are driven by what we perceive to be mind control, to put an end to their lives. The flight continues, as the normal hunting, but which at any time it was not linear here:



    Neither the first nor the raptor raptor two were the real cause of those deaths and that kidnapping. The way we were showing the incident was well mounted, with some plans that led us to believe a false truth. The real culprit was the kidnapped girl. The roles were reversed and sinister after the accident victim was a predator. A good surprise that filled the first part of the episode and dynamic force.

    The scene of the headphones is sublime. Although a mechanism has already seen, resulted in perfection, offering as close to reality here, leading us into the heart of the action, lost in the sleepy sound. One of the best exercises for action that the series has offered us this season.

    Discovering the identity of the villain of service missing figure out why all their wickedness. Peter (Joshua Jackson) is abducted and taken a road trip, tense and turbulent, which only ends when the young man finds his mother, who told him that was dead, that he seeks only to embrace never to quit. This is the mind in question was normal and not full of violence. New trail, but this time with a happy ending.

    Finally, then there is the connection to Massive Dynamics and William Bell (Leonard Nimoy). We knew that the young man's father was a scientist of the company, we did not know, and that was revealed only in the final moments, is that everything was part of a giant experiment. A laboratory test where dozens of clones are tested, where many Tylers have put their skills into play. The final scene is beautiful, with the balance of Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) to serve as background to the closing of the doors.



    Creativity, rhythm, mystery and action. Episodes are so "Fringe" needs. Moments that grab from start to finish and that destapem gradually the veil of events. May more.



    The Best: The scene of the headphones.

    The worst: The cases of the week are not all like that.
  • Alright

    7.5
    This episode is alright, I didn't see a whole lot happening in this episode. Kids goes crazy to find his mom so he kidnaps two car saleperson with mind control to do his evil bidding. He fake his ransom to get the money and kidnap Peter in the proecess the whole show was trying to find out who controlling the salesmen when it's so predicable we knew it was the kid. So watching the whole show knowing whats going on was a pain. Only little juicy surprise was the ending and that was the last 10-15 seconds of it.
  • Another classic scenario emerges

    8.0
    One of the most popular episodes of "The X-Files" was called "Pusher". It involved a man who could use mind control, and as one would expect, this particular criminal had some serious moral deficiencies. That episode continues to be one of the most memorable for "X-Files" fans, so the writers for "Fringe" are treading on sacred ground for many.

    The writers do manage to put a spin on the formula by having the mind control agent be a teenager, and giving the kind of explanation for the ability that meshes with the "Fringe" mythos. It's been a long time since elements of The Pattern were directly linked to the activities of Massive Dynamic, so this was a welcome turn of events.

    Since the end of the first season, The Pattern has largely been attributed to the activities related to immoral and illegal experiments conducted to develop both offensive and defensive capabilities for the coming war with Alt-Fringe. The role of Massive Dynamic in that scheme has never been completely clear, and this episode doesn't necessarily change that. Instead, it adds to the evidence that Massive Dynamic was put in place to mitigate the human cost of developing an defense against Alt-Fringe.

    That does much to render William Bell a more enigmatic figure. While he may consider it important to foster Olivia's development as the most important element of Fringe Prime's defense, there's no indication of how far he's willing to go to that end. We have yet to see much advancement in Olivia's training, after all. But it makes sense that Massive Dynamic would be meant to facilitate that training, directly or indirectly.

    That said, it's hard to fathom what the current experiments in mind control are meant to achieve. Why create several versions of a single person, spread them around the country under foster care, and then conduct these experiments under those conditions? It speaks to the notion that William Bell never stopped the kind of experimentation that he and Walter started decades earlier, but it doesn't quite seem to fit in the scheme of the conflict as it has been presented.

    Having Peter be abducted and controlled made for some compelling tension, even if it was highly unlikely that he would be seriously hurt or killed. It was enough to see him try to work his way around the control and fail. Peter's resourcefulness has always been an important part of his character, so it makes sense that he would keep testing and pushing Tyler's ability.

    More than that, it applied more pressure on Walter, who is slowly but surely losing the ability to hide what he knows about Peter's unique background. Walter identified with the powerful emotions of losing a child, but at the same time, he was also reacting to the fact that he was, in truth, a child abductor. He's been on both sides of that coin, and considering that Walter is not good with complex emotions, it's hard to know how close Walter is getting to revealing the truth.

    Overall, this was another solid entry for the second season, but the writers need to start pulling the threads together a bit more. Right now, the season seems to be struggling to present a clear direction, despite some key revelations along the way. Given some of the challenges to the ratings this season, thanks to an inexplicable timeslot shift by FOX, the writers need to make sure the story doesn't get lose coherence.
  • I thought Peter was going to get flashbacks of his childhood for a minute.

    8.0
    Good episode. I think they are going to delve into what really happened to Peter (speaking about Walter kidnapping him from the other reality) and this show was the catalyst. I thought that maybe Walter was going to slip when he said that he couldn't lose him again referring to Peter. Massive Dynamic still has "massive" secrets and we will never get to the root of them all. It looks like the observer was on the sidewalk behind a car during the the police car chase just before they ended up on top of the parking garage.
  • Mind control this time..

    7.5
    Although this episode had the usual JJ Abrams fringy touch to it, I wasn't too thrilled with the mind control concept. It's like the most overused theme in almost all Sci-fi', Matt Parkman in Heroes for instance.

    I actually get why ratings have taken a nosedive this season. As a matter of fact, this whole one case a day strategy has waned my interest. It's about time they took care of the parallel universe track, and stop writing stuff about kids controlling people after popping some pills. Not to steal the moment from this story, I must admit the ending was pretty cool. Massive Dynamics dark side has been revealed once again. No matter how open and helpful they seem to Dunham and the Fringe division, they sure do have the most bizarre of secrets.

    Decent episode.
  • Of Peter's Teddy bear and some Massive Dinamic Daddy issues.

    10
    An action packaged rescue operation evolves into something completely different once Fringe division gets involved, as the only son of one of Massive Dynamic's employees fakes his own kidnaping because his father lied to him - not unlike Peter was lied to - about his childhood, more especifically his mother who he was told to be dead.

    Ironic how Peter, of all people, turns out to be Tyler latest victim once his teddy bear fails to do the trick through the earphones Walter gave the agents, ironic because as we all know, that's not Peter's teddy bear but Walter's son teddy bear, a child that has been dead longer than Tyler has been lied to. The kid using mind control abilities to grab a hold on Peter just like he did with his "kidnappers".

    An interesting cat and mouse game develops between Peter and Tyler each one revealing the reasons why Peter's life could blow up in his own face any second now, by the time they reach the mother's home something is off and we're not talking about Peter shooting Broyles before they can contain the child, as Nina Sharp sums up to Bell, what Tyler 01 found was in fact his surrogate mother and while Tyler 03 and 02 remain fine and well with their assigned families at Massive Dynamic, the Corporation must shut down the mind control experiment despite its utter success.
  • Massive Dynamic needs to do some house cleaning

    8.0
    After the son of one of it's employees, Tyler, "goes rogue", Massive Dynamic is forced to deal with the fallout.

    With extreme mind control abilities, Tyler goes on a killing/kidnapping spree. His motivation is to find his mother, whom he found out was alive after being told by his father that she was dead. It draws parallels between the father's situation, and that of Walter Bishop and his feelings about Peter. In an effort to put a stop to Tyler's rampage, Fringe Division works closely with Nina Sharp and Massive Dynamic. After the failure of what was to be a certain way of avoiding Tyler's mind control powers, Peter is taken and a game of cat and mouse ensues. Of course, not before Broyles is shot, by Peter no less.

    Overall, a decent episode but I thought the plot was just a little too dramatic for Fringe. A teenager with abandonment issues? Fringe? Ah well, looks like next episode the Observer returns.
  • That's cool.

    8.0
    Fringe's ratings have been a disaster this season, but I'm going to elect to not talk about that too much in this review. No need on hampering on something that can't be done, but what I could review is this outstanding episode of Fringe. It really had that X-Files feel with a seemingly indestructable opponent with supernatural powers, and a fast-moving plot that only one JJ Abrams could helm. The first half of this episode was definitely up there among the best installments of this show during 2009.

    The second half was a bit of a dropoff as I didn't care much for the bromance between Tyler and Peter, but the action was jacked up in volume to justify a few emotional scenes. Honestly didn't expect Peter to shoot Broyles, so that was a nice surprise.

    Fun episode, and I think the ahow is better off doing these one-off storylines, than trying to create episodic TV all the time.
  • Not a bad episode, though still mostly a filler, it definitely was a good episode! Warning, spoilers contained below.

    9.5
    Another interesting start to an episode, not at all uncommon of this show. But as always, you have wonder, will the rest of the episode be as good as the start. We find out that the scientist's son was not kidnapped after all, but was actually controlling people with his mind. The biggest twist, which actually made the most sense, was that Massive Dynamic was really behind the mind control after all. It was not a mistake; just the result was not what they wanted. I wonder what they are up to, sometimes it seems like they are doing more than just preparing for some war. Makes you wonder how good their intensions are.
  • A considered, intelligent episode that manages to incorporate that oh-so-important ingredient that so many other stand alones choose to ignore: complexity.

    8.5
    A considered, intelligent episode that manages to incorporate that oh-so-important ingredient that so many other stand alones choose to ignore: complexity. While the revelation that the boy is the one behind the somewhat horrific attacks is easily deduced (or, at least, it is to this writer... maybe I've become too accustomed to the type and style of swerve commonly used in American television drama), it isn't treated with an unnecessarily verbose fanfare, so we aren't left scratching our heads at exactly why we're supposed to be so impressed or surprised. Instead, the writers make the reveal and move on, taking the story in a completely different direction by using Peter as a vehicle for the necessary exposition regarding the child's reasoning. And significantly, this doesn't happen at the end of the third act, or even halfway through: no, less than twenty minutes have passed before the puzzle has been pieced together, giving the episode a chance to take a breath and try something new. It's decidedly refreshing to see; all too often this season, Fringe's plots have seemed threadbare, with basic conceits barely fleshed out, stretched painstakingly thin over forty minutes ('Night of Desirable Objects', I'm looking at you.) It's extraordinarily frustrating for the viewer, feeling rather like our intelligence is being insulted, but thankfully, this is almost entirely avoided here.

    The sequences between Peter and Tyler are very nicely executed, featuring some believable, evocative dialogue that helps to both three-dimensionalise the boy's character and add some interesting dimensions to the Bishop family dynamic. For once, the child actor (Cameron Monaghan) is actually quite good, managing to pull off teenage angst and trauma pretty well. We also get a chance to peer into the deeper psychological ennui of Walter's relationship with his son: John Noble is just excellent here, delivering some deeply moving moments with the aid of very little dialogue. As per, kudos is to be given to the director and cinematography guys, this time for doing some decidedly disturbing in the execution of the 'mind control' scenes. The moment in the convenience store is perhaps the most memorable; when the poor customer pours boiling water over his head and runs straight into the glass, you just can't help but gasp at the horror of the whole thing. There's some commendable use of music too: the dissonant strings that soundtrack the police officers' suicides amplify the scare factor considerably.

    The only real bugbear is the rather tacked-on ending. While it is nice to see yet another twist in the tale and one that, admittedly, isn't all that expected, it does threaten to cheapen the story somewhat. Fringe has so far managed to avoid demonising Massive Dynamic to too great an extent, and while this plot development doesn't necessarily constitute a besmerching of the organisation, if we see too many of these last minute reveals regarding their dodgy scientific experiments, it could become both repetitive and detrimental to the show's integrity (creepy company full of persistent, probbaly mad scientists? Well there's an original concept). And guys, how many more times are you gonna pilfer from the X Files back catalogue? Multiple child experiments? 'Eve', much? (Look it up...)
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