Season 3 Episode 10

The Firefly

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Jan 21, 2011 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (16)

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  • A success by all measure

    The decision to move "Fringe" to Friday nights was sounded criticized by many of its fans and critics alike. There's a certain irony in the fact that the two heirs apparent to the "X-Files" legacy, "Fringe" and "Supernatural", now find themselves in direct competition in the original timeslot of their creative ancestor. Yet, against all odds, "Fringe" has managed to match its Thursday ratings (at least for this episode), and therefore improve on the Friday night average for FOX.

    One can only hope this is evidence of good things to come for the series, because creatively, it is hitting all cylinders. This particular episode makes good on the promise of the fall cliffhanger by focusing on the machinations of The Observer. Much of this episode is an elaborate test, designed to determine whether or not Walter would be willing to let Peter risk his life. This suggests that Peter's life may hang in the balance as season arc progresses.

    It's not a minor point, however. If The Observers are some kind of inter-dimensional monitors, tasked with maintaining watch over the Multiverse, then the current war between Fringe Prime and Alt-Fringe would be a matter of great concern. More to the point, if they are working behind the scenes to repair the damage Walter caused, they would have to ensure that Walter himself would not compound the problem.

    With the story now firmly rooted in its own mythology, following the grand J.J. Abrams traditions from "Alias" and "Lost", there is some hope that the origins and role of The Observers will be fleshed out this season. I can't help but wonder if they are connected somehow to the ancient civilization that appears to have created the Vacuum in the first place, in both universes. What if The Observers are the evolved spawn of that ancient culture? The "Fringe" mythology has been relatively tight and well-contained up to this point, so it would make sense.

    The Observer, in this case, designs a psychologically crushing test for Walter in this episode. The notion that he was responsible, however indirectly, for the devastation in the life of someone he so admired is devastating. It was all the more powerful because it was so delicately constructed over the course of the story. One could tell that connections and consequences were impending, but the revelatory scene was chilling in its impact.

    The writers also continue to explore the fallout of the Olivia/Peter mess, as they try to figure out where they stand with one another after the damage Fauxlivia has done. I expect Olivia to relent eventually, as Peter's role in the coming crisis becomes clear, and just in time for Fauxlivia's inevitable return to the stage.

    "Fringe" has gotten to the point where the writers know what the show is meant to be, the boundaries of the story have been fairly well-defined, and it's just a matter of letting everyone execute to the best of their ability. With the season approaching its midpoint with the next episode, the current complications within the story should continue to escalate, and I can't wait to see where the writers take us next.