Season 2 Episode 14

The Bishop Revival

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 28, 2010 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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  • The Bishop Revival

    There are titles that may mislead and deceive. Let us think and solve the puzzle, every minute, side by side with time. Well, the house of bad luck this season we took a certainty beforehand: this episode would focus on the Bishop family.

    If you are thinking about Peter (Joshua Jackson) or Walter (John Noble) think again, think farther back. The big picture of this episode was ubiquitous Robert Bishop , grandfather of the first and the second parent. But back to the beginning, a wedding, a party that will of course not to smile to their players. A sinister figure, leaning against a corner is recognized by an elderly woman who in her desperation begins to scream. Too late and people start dying, suffocated by something, something mysterious. And far as the generic. So far so good, one thing that "Fringe" can do is offer a good start.

    The great advantage of this episode was to bring an interesting concept (and scary at the same time): What if the Nazis were able to have created a biological weapon that selectively eliminate only those who belonged to the superior race? This is the episode with a villain who proposes in this attempt to carry out this will last. This weapon, this formula was created by his father Walter who worked as a spy in the former Nazi Germany. The course of the episode was the common line of hunting, interspersed with the dynamic father-son-grandfather who was able to offer good times. The final big question is a little open at the last second when you realize (or confirm) that the killer in question is not of our time. Time travel? Eternal youth? We do not know and sometimes well known, the mystery.

    Moreover, and unfortunately for us it was just another case of the week, without strength or vigor. More a biological weapon - how bioweapons have seen since the beginning of the series? - More than a manhunt, another happy ending for good. One more to see and quickly forget.

    The Best: The story of the past that frightens the present.

    The worst: More a filler ... more
  • Step Forward

    Many standstill episodes, this episode breaks a little bit of the ice. A Nazi from many decades ago is still alive killing people that are not fit for hitlers vision. Than he went after Walter because he was the son of who he use to work with, Walter survived ofcourse, Walter made another toxin to only kill him which succeeded. This episode was the first time ever he was truely mad at Peter for selling Walter fathers books. Found out later that the Nazi didn't get it from books but he was working on the project along with Walters father. Peter later found all of Walters books and returned it him.
  • I have a theory.

    I have a theory. I think Walter Bishop is the guy that was in Germany, who he claims is his father. Clearly they discovered something to prolong life. I hypothesise that Walter is not ageing. This is why the Nazi dude called him a traitor! This would make perfect sense as to why Walter valued the books so highly, beacause they were actually his! It would also explain why Walter is so clever as he has been studying Fringe science for generations! Does anyone else think this or is it just me having a far out guess? please let me know
  • 'The Bishop Revival' is a definite improvement on Fringe's recent stand alone offerings.

    One day, Fringe will present its viewers with a case in which no one, not Olivia, not Peter, not Broyles, no one, has any connection to the events in question or the antagonist responsible whatso-bleeding-ever. Since the show returned from its Christmas hiatus, we've had Walter just so happen to have worked on Project Elephant, the experiment that ultimately laid genetic waste to the town of Edina, Peter and Olivia have become trapped in a building containing a deadly virus, thereby amping up the stakes for Walter as he tries desperately to rescue them, and now, as a barking mad Nazi tries to 'purify' the human race and create Das Herrenvolk through the means that science has now opened up to him, we discover that it was actually Walter's father, the esteemed Roger Bischoff, who conceived of the science and technology that would be involved in the first place! Honestly, the amount of significant scientific discoveries and important milestone projects that the Bishop family have been involved in collectively over the last sixty or seventy years is bloody astounding. They should give them some sort of Guiness Book of World Records entry or something.

    And of course, I jest, but it would be nice to see a story in which Walter has no previous connection to any element of the plot whatsoever, if for no other reason than it would force the writing staff to start thinking outside of the box and not allow them to simply pull out the 'Bishop knows something!' card every time they write themselves into a corner. And to be fair, its inclusion in 'The Bishop Revival' actually isn't all that bad. Unlike in certain recent episodes, it does open the door to some interesting character development, particularly for Noble. This is the first time we've seen Walter this deeply invested in something for a considerable amount of time; to the extent, in fact, that he becomes furious with Peter when he learns that his son sold the books containing the theoretical formula. This is a beautifully written scene, full of anger, regret and remorse, and pleasingly, it runs continually as an undercurrent in all of their subsequent scenes, until paid off in the closing moments. Jackson and Noble have such incredible antagonistic chemistry that it's a surprise they don't do this sort of thing more often... although it's looking likely that a similar sort of situation will arise once Peter finds out that, actually, he's totally from another dimension or something. There's also a great deal to be said for Walter's ultimate decision to murder the man responsible for the series of killings; this is a new and very dark development for the character but refreshingly, it seems to fit. The viewer understands his motives and appreciates the conclusion, however predictable it may be (as soon as Walter starts looking shiftily around that basement, it's perfectly obvious what he's going to do.)

    Similarly, while it is clear from the moment that the 'Holocaust survivor' trope is married to the 'brown eyes' experiment that the objective is to create the Aryan race, the predictability factor is offset somewhat by the horror of the central concept. Once again, the writing staff work wonders with the teaser sequence, keeping the outcome fairly oblique but maintaining an undercurrent of inevitable tension that is brought to fruition wonderfully when Nana starts choking to death while walking down the aisle. Setting the scene at a wedding is a wonderfully macabre, twisted touch, and the District 9/Cloverfield-esque flitting between handheld recordings and steady camera (metatextuality and textuality) gives it an unsettlingly realistic feel. Subsequent scenes in the coffee shop and at the abandoned back alley are also well executed, harbouring enough dramatic weight and grizzly shock value to keep everyone satisfied. The key problem, though, is that these scenes never feel quite enough. Even with the addition of a link to Walter's past, and the barrier this throws up between father and son, the episode often feels like it's treading water, biding its time before the conclusion can be reached. There are nice set pieces, sure, and the character development is spot on, but both viewer and protagonist reach a complete understanding of events way too soon, so the plot simply shifts to auto-pilot before the big denouement. It's a shame really, since the story has the makings of a very good stand alone; it's just a shame the writers couldn't take that next step.

    'The Bishop Revival' is a definite improvement on Fringe's recent stand alone offerings. There is a genuinely intriguing concept at the heart of the story that is executed well and provides much opportunity for discussion, while the additional scope for character development that is offered to both Walter and Peter pays dividends since it allows us to see aspects of both characters that haven't previously been explored in great detail. Where the episode falters is in both its reliance on a connection to Walter's past, which has been greatly overused of late, and, more importantly, in the lightweight aspects of certain elements of the narrative. At times, there just isn't enough here to keep the momentum going and as a result, the viewer's attention inevitably wanders. Still, this is certainly a good effort and at least it isn't just ripping off The X Files again. Probably.
  • A step back in the right direction

    With an episode title that references the Bishops, I was hoping that the long-running plot thread involving Peter and his origins would finally come to a head. Instead, there was a completely different connection to the Bishops. While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it was still a solid episode compared to other recent offerings.

    As it turns out, Walter Bishop is not the only member of the family to have a hankering for weird science. That seems to be a trait that was handed down from his father. The connections to the Nazi Reich and its own obsession with "fringe science" grounds the series in an unexpected way. In a sense, the entire series is now the story of what might have happened if the gruesome and bizarre experiments and theories of Mengele and his contemporaries had led to a new generation of equally amoral scientists.

    In historical terms, one might say that is exactly what happened in the real world. Yet in this instance, it all came down to Walter Bishop and William Bell, experiments they conducted, and the fallout in this generation. Considering the fact that I'm a sucker for stories like this, where it's just as much about the past as it is the present ("Lost", "X-Files", "Harry Potter", etc.), I appreciate how the writers are giving the current crisis such a compelling origin.

    I will admit, however, that there is a certain cliché to pointing back to the Nazis. Taking "Fringe" along with the other three examples I gave of stories of similar depth, three of them trace back to the Nazis or some analogue. It remains the go-to specter of the past to reference when something monstrous emerges out of history. I personally don't have a problem with it, since it works for a reason, but I think some will roll their eyes and wonder if writers will ever think of something different. (Speaking for myself, I hope not, since that would mean something even worse than the Nazis will have replaced them in the collective unconscious.)

    In terms of the technology at the center of the plot, this kind of targeted biological weapon has been a matter of speculation for decades. There are many who believe that such technology already exists. It probably wouldn't be something that could be developed in someone's basement, but it's much closer to actual science than most of the "fringe science" that has been explored.

    There was a nice bit of tension between Peter and Walter, even if it lasted only so long, and Walter showed some of the dark side that hasn't been quite so obvious this season. It's sometimes hard to remember just how amoral Walter has always been, and that he is likely to be cast as the original villain of the "Fringe" story, given his abduction of a young boy from a completely different universe. It's not at all surprising that he would kill someone in the name of his family.

    Of course, it wouldn't be "Fringe" if there wasn't some odd convenience in the "science". I may be recalling this plot point incorrectly, but I believe Walter explains, early in the episode, that the toxin changed the ability of the blood to oxygenate, thus killing the victim. Walter himself is later exposed to the toxin himself, but all he needs to recover is a bit of oxygen. That shouldn't have worked. If he was already affected enough to start gasping for air in the basement, then his system was already saturated enough to continue killing him regardless of whether he was moved! Similarly, that inhaler for asthma wouldn't have made a bit of difference.

    Even so, the context of this particular episode allowed it to transcend its stand-alone aspects. This was more than just connecting the episode to the rest of the season through a couple lines of dialogue; this was placing the entire series in historical perspective. It may not have worked for some, but it worked for me.
  • "Science sans conscience n'est que ruine de l'âme" ( François Rabelais, 16th century french writer )

    Which translates : "Science without wisdom does only destroy the soul". Certainly, this is one of Fringe's main themes from the beginning, but it was never clearer than in this episode. Not only does it add layers to the Bishops' ( or Bischoffs, should I say )backstory, but it also reminds us of what the show is about. The ending, although a little predictable, is also here to remind us that, under his harmless appearance, Walter can be a dark and tormented soul if pushed by the circumstances. Add to this great character interaction between father and son, and even between Walter and Broyles, and you've got an above-average Fringe episode. If only all their stand-alones could be that way ...
  • Another good episode, and a step forward in standalone episodes. Warning, spoilers contained below.

    Another interesting episode, in this one, a man devises a way to kill people who he has targeted. His methods range from eye color, to family genes, the interesting thing however, is what we learn later. We learn that the formula which the man was using, is one that Walters father created some time ago for the Nazi's. Walters family sure has a hand in a lot of dangerous experiments and discoveries. For the first time (or at least as far as I remember) Walter is directly responsible for the death of a man. I definitely didn't see that coming, I thought Walter had created an antidote, but it seems he wanted to single out the man who was misusing his dad's formula.
  • All of Hitler's dreams in one little toxin.

    This heavy mytharc episode not only reveals the meaning of the sea horse glyph as the tade mark symbol of one Dr. Robert Bishop, Walter's father, a spy for the allies working among the Nazis up until 1943 but also the fate of the late Mrs. Bishop, whose wedding day was the happiest day of Walter's life, so much in fact that he still keeps his tuxedo in the hopes that one day his son would wear it too.

    As funny as it is to see Walter claim Olivia as his once and future daughter in law - and wonder if she would ever call him Dad - his reaction to Peter selling the books with the toxin formula was not a joke, Walter has never been as mad at the mere throught of Dr. Robert Bishop's work being used to further the very agenda he became a spy to fight against. The little details such as the body bag that contains the mother of the 6 year old the audience saw together only moments before they were exposed or Markham, the Librarian who found the ZTF manifest, adds an atmosphere of dread that goes beyond the current episode and even though Fringe Division saves the day the bad guys are still at large.
  • A toxin that could kill people with brown eyes and brown hair.

    If this were a Friends episode it would be titled: The One in Which Olivia Yells. Olivia Dunham, is one of TV's baddest female cops, but sometimes she goes a little crazy with the "FBI, stop!" call of hers, and tonight was one of those episodes. But Anna Torv does a good job with her, and it's refreshing to see her play the lead on a show, when she doesn't have you typical look.

    Tonight's episode was brilliantly done yet again as the show has been one of the best on TV for the past few weeks. The backstory was great, the villain was so deliciously evil and there wasn't a dull moment throughout.

    I really hope Fringe doe not get canceled as the show has been superb as of late.
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