Season 1 Episode 19

The Road Not Taken

Aired Friday 9:00 PM May 05, 2009 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (17)

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  • The Road Not Taken

    "In one episode we get bored without smiles. Only with the assurance that if this was the trump card of the season and then we can start to cry. "I said last week. I had never been mentioned but the circumstances so require. To prove not only that I can fool myself badly (where is my faith?), But also "Fringe" can in the twinkling of an eye over the beast beast.

    After a "Midnight" that promised a lot and ended up giving too little, we got to the episode that, without much fuss, gives us the most genuine juice of this universe. The road begins to be clearer and there is the clear choice of a path, a theme. And this is where, or if he jumps off, or if the series definitely embraces. I, as a fanatic who has everything to do with the weather - not the weather, but the continuous - embark on the journey, not a little kid. From "Sliders" who longed for the return of parallel dimensions, those due to the fact that a simple change everything is brutally different. Well, my wait is over.

    The episode starts to prove immediately that this is not a filler. Again we return to the hunt group ZFT, now supported by revelation (obvious) that William Bell is involved in this organization to the neck. Alongside the most watched a guy, subject to the bizarre and deadly experiments. A girl catches fire and explodes spontaneously. The team then begins the investigation protagonists each drawing on their wisdom:

    Olivia (Anna Torv) starts having strange visions. Sees a different reality for a moment from our own, very similar but with distinct elements. These moments invade it for minutes and then return it to the real. Instead of a carbonized body sees two and instead of a building serene sees the same burning. Caught in these strange phenomena decides to start using them to solve the case at hand. The option comes out to be the right one: save the girl and discovers that even his superior Sanford Harris (Michael Gaston) is involved (ie a rather startling revelation!). At the end accountable with Walter (John Noble) and gives us the certainty that this ability to look at such "roads not chosen" is in fact his skill, his extraordinary capacity, product trials suffered as a child, who is coming to a head. Although not yet have realized the usefulness of this power in a possible war, I was completely surrendered to all the scenes in which she gives the "jump" to the other side and I was so sorry that had been so few. These are moments of pure fiction betting without fear in a narrative complex and difficult. A narrative that leaves us pondering the rest of the day.

    Peter (Joshua Jackson) also showed that after one knows fringe science things and it was thanks to the device that the girl was saved. A contraption he had built for his father. It was another good invention, a character who I think will have a crucial role in the unfolding of it all. As I said I have a strong suspicion that he was also the subject of experience as a child and that his power should be just around the bust.

    Walter reveals that he has a copy of the ZFT manifesto with a chapter on ethics that is not in the police version. Someone withdrew these pages to give the wrong idea from the words of Bell. The memory of the old scientist is not the best but in the end there he finds the object of the search, at the time the observer arrives and tells him it's time. What? I have no idea. Just know that Walter knows more of what it says, or rather Walter in the middle of crazy brain has clear idea of what happens and will happen.

    The trio add to this fantastic event can join the wink to the "Star Trek" (the next episode will see why, but do not know already) and shot (fatal or not) to Nina Sharp (Blair Brown).

    The die is cast and the cards are on the table. Each pawn in the right place. Come on the final game
  • Great

    Well great episode. A lot of clues are now coming together, like always Peter is still in the dark of whats going on. Olivia and Walter seems to have a good grasp to whats going on. I like the epic end of that damn Sanford, gets annoying. Unfortunately, I have put up with him on The Mentalist ;(. Well anyway the observer came for Walter and said it's time to go. I wonder whats that all about, can't wait for the next episode.
  • Jacksonville children.


    This week a woman suffer a self combustion and the Fringe group investigates. As the story move forward we learn that the woman and her twin (who manages to control her fire) was in the same Jacksonville drug trial Olivia was in. Olivia's specialabilities evolve and she seems to switch realitiesuncontrollably, she think she is going crazy. This doesn't stop superwoman Olivia though, when she get's a sudden opportunity in the "other" world, she takes it and the fringe's solve the case.

    We finally get rid of Harris in a mostsatisfying way. Somehow he always was a follower to the ZFT, I thought he just was regular creep.

    Finally Oliviaconfronts Walter with the drug trial, asking him how he could do experiments with children andwhat really went on. Walter starts to cry, saying that he doesn't remember.

    I really wonder how Walter was back in the day, I can't figure out if I should be mad or feel sorry for him. Did Belly use him or maybe even damaged his brain to make him forget? How bad is Belly and Massive Dynamic?

    Nina seems really upset, something is very wrong.....Total surprise end. Hope she survives.

    One of my favorites shows himself again, The Observer. Where are they going?

    Next one!!

  • A decent episode with a good amount of information revealed, just not as good as it could have been. Warning, spoilers contained below

    Another pretty good episode. These visions Olivia has, when explained made sense, but they really don't make it easy for her if she can't control them. We find out also in this episode that Harris is working for ZFT, but we don't really find out much else other than that because he is killed due to his own experiment (well sort of). Really good way to take out that sucker, I always hated the guy. What I didn't like watching, but what I knew was going to happen and what had to happen, was Olivia confronting Walter about what he and Bell did to her and the other kids. Even though what Walter did seems un-forgivable, somehow I think Walter really didn't mean any harm, and that Bell might be the kind of guy that takes things too far. Also in this episode near the end, the Observer takes Walter away somewhere, and Nina is shot. Nina being shot probably has something to do with what she said to Broyles, but it still doesn't explain what exactly she did tell him.
  • Outstanding!

    Easily one of the best shows of the season and a perfect set up for the season finale. This show has so many similarities with the X-Files. Like the X-Files, the shows that deal with the main mythology are without a doubt the best shows and that is why the 2nd half of the season took this show to a whole new level. The idea of parallel universes just gets more and more intriguing especially now that we know Olivia actually has the ability to see or travel between them. This show just gets better and better with each passing episode. I cant wait to see the finale!!
  • More questions than answers - per usual.

    One of the things that really stuck out in this episode for me was Walter. I saw glimpses of the Walter but tonight's Walter was more intense and thoughtful. Tonight's twist that Harris was at the basis of the "test subjects" "outing" and "coming into" their abilities was great as well as explosive. Olivia is being being more puzzle pieces but I think she's also finding connections. Those connections are individuals like herself and maybe through them she can help herself. Olivia has more questions and is looking for answers from Walter. One of the things that I really struggled with was Peter getting voices out of the glass.
  • "Big" Storylines Set-Up Finale

    Olivia begins seeing visions while awake that aren't really there. She uses these visions to help solve the case of a woman who spontaneously combusted. Meanwhile, Walter tries to prove that Bell isn't involved with the ZFT, while sightings of the Observer increase. Solid lead-in to the finale, with a couple of big storylines coming into play. Sightings of the observer begin to increase, which furthers the mystery of the character even more. He comes for Walter at the end of the episode, setting up something big for the finale. We see a case in which the cop that has been frustrating the team for quite a while becomes apart of the bad guys. His "betrayal" seemed a little odd considering his very by-the-book approach that he has always preeched inside of the FBI office. The case itself was very intertwined with Massive Dynamic, with a nice little shout-out to JJ Abrams and Star Trek thrown in the middle of all of it. Overall, pretty decent episode but nothing off-the-wall spectacular until the final 3 minutes when Walter finds the original script, is taken by the Observer, and Nina Sharp is killed.
  • Back to the bigger issues again

    A lot of strands come together this time. The freak of the week turns out to have grown up in Jacksonville, so seems was in the same study Olivia was. Olivia really lays into Walter for what she has gone through as a result of the experiment and he cries - - a lot - poor Walter. Massive dynamic and William Bell, who I was thinking were bad bad guys seem to be maybe found to be maybe not so bad? Per Walter? And Nina getting shot? And the observer popping in to tell Walter "it's time" or some such thing? Will Olivia and Peter find the copy of the manifesto W unearthed just before leaving? Will we find out more about who the observer really is?
  • After a woman's charred remains are found, Olivia and her team race to discover if this is purely a case of spontaneous human combustion or is the ZFT involved once more. The puzzle thinkens when Olivia questions her sanity as the case progresses...

    Great episode - it delves even deeper into the ZFT and even manages to expose someone who's involved with it all. This is probably the first episode that almost reaches a point where you finally feel the burning need to see the next one, less so because of Olivia's quest for the truth but more to discover what lies in Walter's past and achingly the end of this episode promises that the next might reveal a little of his strange history. With very little left to the series, where on earth will it end (maybe not even on earth!) and more importantly, where is Walter going...??
  • Just when the plot cant get any thicker

    Just when the plot cant get any thicker, you fall into the true black hole, awesome episode to an even more awesome series... how many twists and turns can one series possibly have!!! i cant wait for the last episode, and now that Nina and Harris are out of the picture it begs the question who else is in on it, will Olivia manage to control her power a bit more, will we see Peters dad return or is he off with the watcher for good? and who really did write the ZFT manual its all to much for my little mind to take....
  • Wowza one of the best episodes yet. Revealing, confusing, fantastic!

    Damn what can i say, I loved this episode! it was pretty cool, it had so much info that my head is still spinning. We see the case of the week again but more focused now on the "impending" war thats coming. We find out that those children they experimented on like Olivia get triggered and are tested to see if they can use their "abilities", not sure for what purpose or if indeed Bell is behind all that.

    Peter was great on this episode cause he took the lead on the science department and wasnt just shown as a Walter sidekick. Olivia and Walter were also superb on their performing.

    Theres just soo much to say about this episode, i believe its pivotal to the series and Fringe keeps getting better and better. Unlike the x-files (which were pretty good on their time i and liked it but now i see an episode and fall asleep) this show has a good mixture of mistery, action, scifi, crazy-comedy (Walter).

    Im excited to see what comes next. Olivia seemed to be developing her abilities (travel thru realities holy crap) and a pyrokinetic friend damn. i wish I knew what was goin on but the suspense feels great.
  • This world on fire

    Being the prelude to the season finale, this is another homerun for the freshman series. This is exactly the kind of episode that I wanted to see in the wake of the renewal announcement: an episode that felt like a highlight reel of all the reasons why the series deserves to continue.

    It's been a while since Harris was around to plague Olivia's career, but it was worth the wait. It's ironic that I suspected Broyles earlier in the season and never quite took Harris at anything other than face value. If I had ever suspected him of working for Bell/ZFT, then it was merely a fleeting thought. If Harris was working for Bell/ZFT, then why would he have obstructed Olivia so often, even in cases where she was supposed to be involved to "prepare" her for further training?

    I was also waiting for the pyrokinesis situation to shed light on that videotape that Walter was watching not so long ago, with young "Olive" sitting in the corner of a burned out room. Was the situation in this episode an evolution of those earlier Cortexiphan experiments? It would logically be so. The presence of the light board in the warehouse lab chamber also helps paint the picture that this is the continuance of those early efforts to prepare soldiers for a war against invaders from a parallel universe.

    Walter's discussion on the Many Worlds Theory was about as brief as one would expect, but this is one of those aspects of the show that mines actual science. The Many Worlds Theory has been gaining more and more traction in the realm of quantum and post-quantum physics, and I've even heard that explanation for deja vu tossed around more than once.

    What Olivia's experience seems to indicate is that she is somehow developing the ability to jump between parallel realities. After all, it's more than just seeing what is happening in those alternate worlds, but rather, interaction within those worlds. If this is the same parallel universe that is supposedly incurring into the world we know and love on the show ("Fringe Prime", for sake of simplicity), then it debunks the theory that the Observers are the invaders.

    But there's no reason to believe, based on the Many Worlds Theory, that there's only one parallel world in play. The possibilities are effectively infinite. The Observers could come from one version of reality, one much more divergent from Fringe Prime than the one Olivia saw in this episode.

    A lot seems to hinge on what William Bell has to say for himself. Walter claims that Bell was the author of the ZFT Manifesto, but there's no definitely evidence yet that Walter wasn't really the one who wrote it. That said, it's about damn time that Olivia confronted Walter about everything that was done when she was a child. If his memory hadn't imploded (or been altered), would he be so semi-repentant?

    Based on the way Walter acted when the Observer came calling, I'm certain that the Observers were involved in whatever incident drove Walter off his rocker. I'm also certain that Nina Sharp knows a lot more than she's letting on, and that the conspiracy nut was right on the money, up until he started promoting the new Star Trek film. If there was a moment in the episode that didn't quite work, that was it.
  • A somewhat beguiling episode this, feeling more like a small piece of a very large and complex narratalogical puzzle.

    A somewhat beguiling episode this, feeling more like a small piece of a very large and complex narratalogical puzzle. Oh sure, there's the rudimentary 'curiosity of the week' to contend with - here, it's the somewhat limited but rather cool looking concept of pyrokinesis - but it's mere window dressing, a little garnish to flavour the more mythology-based substance of the plot. This is certainly a refreshing turn up for the books: the tendency of most Fringe episodes is to relegate the season-spanning narrative to B or C-story status (if it's even featured at all), giving the tiniest of clues as to the general course of things but not really moving anything on. Not so here. 'The Road Not Taken' is veritably bursting at the seams with progression: wham! We resolve the issue of Walter's malfunctioning 'y' key on 'his' typewriter, confirming that he has nothing to do with the ZFT manuscript. Bam! Cortexefan comes back to haunt Olivia again as she starts 'slipping' between worlds, experiencing the consequences of decisions she didn't make. Sock! Nina Sharp gets herself in a tizz because sightings of the Observer are on the rise. Kersplat! Walter finds missing pages of the manuscript that potentially indicate William Bell's innocence... and then he's carted off by the Observer because 'it's time'. And, erm, thunk! Nina's shot by some masked dudes at episode's end. It's all addictively frustrating stuff, giving us narrative movement at the expense of concrete answers and guaranteeing that we'll return next week for the undoubtedly explosive finale. It's a shame that there are some missteps here, however: the revelation that Sanford Harris has been working for ZFT (well, we presume) all along is just too convenient a plot twist, an easy way of getting rid of a thoroughly irritating character. While I'm glad to see the back of him, seeing as he functioned as little more than a personified road-block for Olivia, and the plot, to circumnavigate, this could've been executed in a far more organic and believable manner. Then there's Peter's magic sound recreating device which, while certainly rather cool, just seems completely outside the realms of possibility in any way, shape or form. I'm starting to tire of the ridiculousness of the 'psuedo-science' in the show and all the technobabble that comes with it; can't we have a little more grounding in reality, please? I know that's not what the programme's essentially about but we were promised at least a semblance of believability. This just appears ridiculous... although I'm sure someone with a better degree of scientific knowledge than I will be able to demonstrate just how plausible the whole thing is. Darn. Oh and the Star Trek thing? Gratuitous, embarrassing and unnecessarily self-congratulatory when you consider a certain spoiler regarding next week's episode. It's a shame that these less desirable qualities mar an otherwise exciting episode. Given a little extra attention, this could've been a classic.
  • The best episode so far! Exciting and revealing! p.s. SourceEnergy stop reviewing Fringe you obviously don't like it for some reason I can't imagine - go away.

    This show so far has had really good episodes and some okay episodes thrown in, but there have also been some incredible episodes as well. This was one of them. Everything is really coming together now as the finale approaches, and it couldn't be better. A woman dies, with connections to Olivia's past. This leads to interesting scenes where an appearant ability of Olivia's is experienced. The incredibly unlikeable Harris returns this episode, and his demeanour is revealed to be due to more than just a mean streak. The writers rewarded the audience with the death that he deserved - it was perfect! John Noble as Walter had his best scene as Walter yet, as Olivia confronts him about his involvements with the trials and he breaks down, unable to remember why he did what he did. Though the investigation was a little slow, the last 15 or so minutes were incredible, with reveals and twists that lead up to two incredibly shocking moments. I was shocked when the observer showed up to take Walter wherever he went, and even more shocked when Nina appearantly met her maker. I can`t wait until the finale!
  • Once again, Olivia must re-examine the whole concept of seeing is believing while Walter continues crying & Peter proves MacGyver isn't the only one who can build a computer using a needle & gum. And firing the boss is best accomplished from a distance.

    Okay, I told myself weeks ago that I would never put myself through the television disaster known as Fringe. However, I work with a friend who is a huge fan of the show so I keep finding myself drawn to the "lucky after Idol time-slot" just because I very much want to like this show as much as my friend does.

    The good news is that I was somewhat pleased by last night's episode as I did not need those silly 60 or 90 second reminders to keep me rooted to my viewing chair. I really did care what was going to happen next. Well, it also helps that I used my DVR to record ahead and skip the commercials. I needed a 10 minute break after a mostly horrific American Idol presentation. I'm thinking Adam still has a good chance of going home tonight. But I digress.

    Since Fringe has been virtually guaranteed a second season life, I am going to work very hard to forgive the bad acting and bad casting choices. I still believe that this show suffers from a serious lack of eye candy, sex appeal and romantic tension. And just how much fun can two people have when dissecting a body? And why does one wear protective eye gear while the other is left to concentrate on being cute and perky? And why is it that no one pauses for at least a corporate conference call before storming after the Boss with guns drawn?

    I do think the writers of this show are listening to the critical feedback and working on plugging some of the obvious holes. However, they still have yet to make us truly care about any of the characters, i.e., I'd be surprised if more than three people in America gathered by the water cooler this morning to share their concern regarding what is going to happen next to Olivia. Or how about the coming "threat" that is a direct rip-off from plot themes already presented in Smallville and the X-files – just to name an extreme few. Enough with the Alien invasions already!

    In addition, Walter's explanation of the existence of alternate realities was more akin to the pedantic musings of a stand-up comedian rather than anything offered by a so-called mad/genius scientist.

    Well, I suppose the best news out of last night's episode is that I'm guessing Olivia will no longer have to worry about submitting to the psychiatric evaluation imposed on her by Harris. But I think that most of you will likely agree that Homegirl really should go get herself checked out.

  • Another great installment.

    I really miss the episode tags we could put for each review as "Another great installment" was just so fitting for Fringe. This is a show that rarely takes a week off with a filler episode and almost always has one on the edge of their seat with a great sci-fi mystery.

    The fire on the exploding woman in the opening scene was a bit low budget, but I am willing to make that sacrifice if the tradeoff is for a strong writing and a shocking cliffhanger leading up the season finale. I think we are all excited to see Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame guest starring in that episode.

    Very little to complain about here as I got what I have been asking for in the form of more banter between Peter and Walter and of course the return of The Observer.

    We also got some great news earlier this week that a full second season of Fringe has been ordered so hooray for that as well.
  • A woman spontaneously combusts, Olivia starts having visions,Walter tries to prove William Bell's good intentions and Peter works on a project that reveals his affection towards someone close to him.

    An amazing episode, not only storywise, but the acting of all the cast members was superb.

    This is definitely the best episode so far and, to be honest, the first time I actually cared about ZFT and the whole experiment plot. Before now it has been interesting seeing the case-of-the-week episodes and knowing that something bigger was lying underneath it. But it was not until this week that I truly can't wait to see what the big mystery is. I think what's really amazing is the ability of the show to be inventive without beeing too far-fetched. And this episode was a great example for that. The writing was extraordinarily good and there was continous tension from the first scene to the last.

    I am looking forward to find out how they will manage to transport the intensity now created to the second season and (hopefully) following ones. The plot of Olivia and other "future soldiers" having abilities to defend mankind against an upcoming war can lead to different methods the series may adopt.
    I doubt that we'll be presented with a "Fantastic Four"-stylish storyline, so where does the knowledge of those abilities leave us? And what exactly is Olivia's ability? Until now we know that she has been trained to start fire and she knows that she can control the ability. Plus, she has visions or an insight in a parallel universum respectively. But how is this any helpful?

    I guess we'll get more answers or, as hinted, more questions to that next week. But this is what a good series is all about, isn't it?