Watching: Fringe Goes on Romantic Tangent and I Grow Bored With Slim Chicks

by Irma Arkus

Last night’s Fringe (season 1, episode 6 “The Cure”) brought on some more mysteriously exploding people who murder others in near vicinity just by looking at them! Okay, maybe not looking at them, but rather radically irradiating them until they bleed out of their eye sockets and succumb to the speedy demise. Another mystery for our heroes. Come on professor, you have 20 seconds to give us an answer to yet another unsolvable question!

(re:Photo: See Bishop stick a thermometer into the body above. This apparently explains everything!)

While there is a part of me that views this episode’s events with a bit of “this is a little too Scooby Doo” sentiment, my interest has been piqued by the obvious efforts to develop Olivia Dunham’s character. She shows us a bit of passion, and self-righteous anger and delivers a finale speech that quite frankly blew me away:

Dunham: “I understand that you think I acted too emotionally
and putting aside the fact that men always say that about
women they work with, I’ll get straight to the point:
I am emotional. I do bring it into my work. It’s what
motivates me. Helps me get into the headspace of our victims,
see what they’ve seen, even if I don’t want to, even if it
horrifies me, and I think it makes me a better agent. If you
have a problem with that, sorry. You can fire me, but I hope
you don’t.”

Pheew. Ladies and gentleman, I think I’m in love. What a show. Dunham is “stickin’ it to the man,” and for a minute there, she was everything I wanted in a great female protagonist. For a moment, she somehow managed to represent 51% of the population that wanted to kick some guy’s behind. In this case, that being a really annoying, uber-wealthy and thus automatically powerful and untouchable David Esterbrook M.D. (a la Dr. Frankenstein,) played marvelously by Chris Eigeman.

Be on the lookout for the budding seeds of romance between Dunham and Peter, which right now consists of a fragile friendship of two people who understand one another, feel kinship, and experience struggle on daily basis, yet distrust each other’s motives.

Peter also brings us further insights into Massive Dynamics, as we uncover (as does he) that he spent a lot of time with Nina Sharp as a child, a fact that eludes his memory. The creepy, yet semi-omnipotent Nina represents some sort of demonic force that Peter shouldn’t bargain with. The fact that he does, opens yet another door into things that will creep from Massive Dynamics into that small lab in Harvard basement grounds.

The one thing I am missing in this episode is the freak and gross out factor. I know that the whole “ewww, they’re bleeding from their eyes” scene is supposed to satisfy that urge to watch a bit of late night gore, but it doesn’t. I guess the bit where the kind, young waiter meets an untimely and messy end is supposed to make me feel sad, but it doesn’t either. Instead, the gore bits feel sanitized, familiar, as if we’ve seen it (and we probably have) a million times before, while the science this time around, felt rushed and nonsensical.

The one thing that did freak me out is the secondary cast. For some reason, this episode just brought home the point that actresses are starving themselves silly. All the female cast, most around 30+ years old, seemed emaciated and starved, as if they were picked up in a hurry from some other set that was just wrapping up a commemorative holocaust shoot, or even from some anorexics anonymous meeting. Frankly, it was far creepier staring at those fleshy, drawn out faces, than at the people dying in the episode’s opening. Not sure what the deal is, but, yes, the rest of the casting does feel a bit X-files-ish.

Also, I’d like add that watching Bishop at work is half the show, because he always has some of the most entertaining lines, and he happens to be *very mysterious.* This time around, however, he is set back a bit — it looks like other daisies needed some time to shine in the spotlight. So, until next week, our dear Bishop. Until next week.

Holding on for next week….