TV Tuesdays

In which I discuss “Unleashed”, a fine showcase for Kirk Acevedo’s grimaces but formulaic episode of Fringe

This week, the Fringe team searches for a hybrid monster. The matter grows more urgent when they learn it has layed eggs inside agent Charlie Francis. Walter begins to realize that the monster may be the result of one of his long-ago experiments, and attempts to sacrifice himself in order to stop it. Luckily, he shoots it just in time, uses its blood to save Charlie (and stop the larval development) and of course the whole thing ties into Massive Dynamic goes nowhere.

I have a few complaints out of what was otherwise a solidly enjoyable episode. Now that I’ve seen how good Fringe can be, it’s hard to let them slide.

1. The Monster. We’ve seen a few similar creatures this season, or it at least feels like it, and Fringe doesn’t do much to lift it above standard Sci-Fi (or is it SyFy) tv-movie level. I was surprised by the finished product, because it’s so much bulkier than what’s in Walter’s old sketchbook.

2. Consequences, or lack thereof. A regular (though not star) character’s life was put in danger. We cut back and forth to a child about to encounter the Monster in a playground. I didn’t believe for a second that the Monster would eat the child, or that Charlie would die. A few weeks ago, when Olivia’s niece watched the webvideo, I was sure she was a goner. At the moment I can’t account for the difference in execution, but the better episodes can communicate the threat a little better.

3. Walter’s pangs of conscience. Why this week, and not any of the others? I don’t think the episode gives us a good sense of why Walter would suddenly feel responsible, when he hasn’t otherwise. My speculation is that these feelings stem from Walter’s realization in “Ability” that he was the author of the ZFT manuscript. Even though only one episode sits between that discovery and this week’s remorse, it’s been months in viewer-time, and this episode itself could have sold his turn better.

Lastly, I am not so eagle-eyed to know whether Charlie has always sported a wedding ring, but I thought I was picking up on unrequited affection every time he rushes after Olivia.  Maybe I am anyway, but color me disappointed to find out he’s married.


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April 2009
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