Fringe Review, Season 4, Episode 6: “And Those We Left Behind”
Written by Robert Chiappetta & Glen Whitman
Directed by Brad Anderson
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on Fox
This week, on Fringe: Walter gains respect for Peter, Olivia is perceptive, and Peter Groundhogs Days it up.
After last week’s less than winning investigation of the new shapeshifters, this week Fringe is back on form with an episode that demonstrates just how great the series can be. Other than the continued underuse of Jasika Nicole as Astrid, “And Those…” fires on all cylinders, providing an intellectually, emotionally, and cinematically satisfying episode that ranks among the series’ best.
Wisely, we quickly learn that no one’s body is moving about in time, just their consciousness. Or so it would seem from Peter’s experience. The woman who’s house and daughter travel back four years receives no such explanation, but this is absolutely for the best. Neither is an explanation given for why Peter is the only one at the train scene experiencing such distortions. This would be annoying, but Robert Chiappetta and Glen Whitman don’t allow the pace to lag, continually pushing forward to the heart of the episode, the introduction of Raymond and Kate. The characters comment briefly on the bizarreness and unpredictability of the situation and Peter struggles, and fails, to explain it, and that’s enough to satisfy viewer’s desire for answers.
Obligatory Groundhog Day time loop reference aside, this is an original and affecting story elevated further by excellent performances. The technical side of this is also very well handled. The visual effects, from the time transitions, to the bubbled train, to the iridescent time bubble itself are all executed seamlessly and are examples of just how great sci-fi can look on a TV budget. There are a few entertaining touches as well, such as the Frankenstein lighting in Raymond’s basement when he flips the switch on his machine and yet another 47 (fans of Abrams series will note that the number 47 comes up a lot in his work). There are also some nice bits of humor, particularly from Walter who is handling the Peter situation about as well as can be expected. He makes a lot of progress this week, gaining grudging respect for Peter’s intelligence. It’s notable that Walter has no qualms of sending Peter into the time bubble with their mobile Faraday cage, despite its potential for ‘splosiony failure.
None of the regular cast, however, match the power of Root and particularly Rosemont’s performances this week. Someone should grab them up- they’re successful character actors, but both would be excellent dramatic leads, or even additions to an ensemble cast. (Imagine what they’d do with a nice juicy arc on The Good Wife or Justified!) That aside, this is a fantastic (mostly) standalone episode that demonstrates just how fantastic the series, and dramatic network sci-fi, can be and puts Fringe back in contention as one of network TV’s best.
What did you think of the episode? Think we’ll see Peter pull a Raymond later this season? Post your thoughts below!
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