I really am happy Fringe is back.
I just don't seem to get to watch it every week, but that means you get several episode reviews at once, and I get to pretend I'm watching it on DVD and don't have to wait for episodes.
So, onward! We start off with Unleashed, where a group of PETA types are raiding a lab and setting all the animals free-- and one of them is a man-eating monster. Sweet. There's alot of hack-and-slash while the creature goes on a rampage, but the fun part is when they're tracking it: it literally goes underground, and they have to go into the old catacomb-like sewers to get it. Walter, of course, knows what it is, and blames his own research for it, and so takes it upon himself to stop it. Meanwhile, this week's ick-factor: it lays it's eggs in it's victims, and a day or so later, they burst out of the body and squirm all over the place. The dead kids are gross enough. but Francis gets stung and is still alive when it's happening to him, and you gotta think, did they just go 'hey, we've got this gross plot point, you know what would make it grosser? if the vic were alive when it happened'. And you know what? It totally was.
So he's got larva in his sixpack, and we get to meet his wife-- that chick from Indipendence Day who got blown up because she went to the welcoming party. But with red hair, and not playing a stripper-- and it's very sweet, her thinking he's just calling in from the office and him knowing he's dying and wanting to hear her voice one more time just in case. The cure is in the creature's blood, and that's why the tram has to go kill it where it's hiding. And they do. Well, Walter does. He locks Liv and Peter away, and goes after it himself, and when it tracks him down, he freezes, but we get to see a pretty awesome Samael-type chimera thing; Peter manages to distract it, and when it goes for him, Walter shoots it with a BFhandG, and voila, cure. Charlie's saved, his wife doesn't know any better, and the episode is over.
Fringe is most like the X-Files in these monster eps, and that's good. The first season of X-Files was bearable because the monsters broke up the Core Episodes, and really, conspiracies are better as a sideline, not the main plot. It gets too heavy.
Was this the episode where Liv tries to pretend she isn't jealous that Peter is calling her sister? I think so.
Next: Bad Dreams. Liv dreams she kills some pretty lady by bushing her in front of an oncoming train in front of her two-year-old daughter, and then finds out that it actually happened-- in New york, as she was asleep in bed in Boston. She has a really nice bed, by the way. It must be nice having a job where it's purpose is to investigate weird things and a boss who has come to trust your instincts, even if he doesn't tell you anything; Broyles lets her go investigate, and she finds a straightforward suicide. Then, she dreams a lady in a restaurant flips out and stabs her husband, and Liv holds her hand and helps her do it. Peter doesn't believe she's killing people or that she's capable of it, but Walter takes her seriously, and Broyles lets her keep investigating, even though it's against regulations to investigate yourself. This point in the show is the best, character-wise: Liv is coming apart at the seams, being erratic, feeling frantic, not sleeping for fear that it'll happen again, and Peter is very sweet and calming and comforting. An eyewitness of the guy who was in the seat Liv dreamed she was in leads them to a guy who she recognizes from the security cameras of the subway suicide-- and she realizes it's him. They track him down and he turns out to be one of the test subjects like Liv, and he remembers her. They knew eachother as kids, and he sent her the dreams to call for her help. She tracks him in a hypnotic state, experiences a little second-hand sexiness, dreams she's making out with a stripper who doesn't get a single line, freaks out and gets calmed by the very presence of Peter's hand on her's, and winds up on a rooftop with this guy who can infect people with his emotions-- a runaway empath-- and something like ten people who have been caught up in it and want to jump off the roof with him. Liv talks him down enough to get a bullet in his leg and release all but one captive. He wants to be killed, to be stopped, but she can't do it, so we have a link to her past kept in a permanent medical coma, and I'm sure he'll come back later. Also, he's kinda pretty.
So now Liv knows that she was definitely tested on, and that it was for the purpose of being a soldier against this coming invasion ZFT keeps talking about. They were supposed to forget until needed, but he didn't forget, and he remembers her-- and says that she was always the one who could stop him. And right at the end, Walter finds a VHS tape with a little blonde girl they're calling Olive, curled up in a corner of what looks like a trashed, burned up room, with him and Spock / Leonard Nimoy talking about her.
And now there's Midnight. This one is a little Core-ish, but it doesn't start out that way. The news says someone is butchering people and leaving the bodies (the newslady is not a very convincing newslady), and we see this guy going on the prowl while his girlfriend's out of town-- and I totally called that he wasn't the killer, though he was pretty greasy. Vindicated when he becomes the victim-- his pretty conquest tears open his spine and sucks up all his spinal fluid. Yum! No, wait, gross. They find that the corpse has an extinct form of syphillis, and that leads them through the CDC to the only place in the area that's ordered a sample of it: a so-called lab that is based out of some dude's apartment. And they catch him because he can't run away: he's in a wheelchair.
He claims that his wife is being held hostage as a punishment for him and that the monster is some innocent that was dosed to test the virus-plague thing he was working on; he'll help them stop her if they free his wife. Only the wife isn't in the second secret lab behind a Chinese restaurant that they raid, only the samples of the poison, which he has them bring back and tells them that the innocent is his wife and they were keeping him from making a cure. She kills some more, and they agree to let him work with Walter to find a cure so she'll stop killing. He's in a wheelchair because he was feeding her his own spinal fluid trying to save her-- the poison burns off your own when you're infected and makes you kill to replenish it-- but when he had to stop, she got out. It's all a ZFT plot, and he was trying to get out, and if they can bring her back alive, he'll tell them everything he knows.
So they track her, using the raised body temperature the syphillis causes, and she almost gets Liv's spine, but Peter manages to drive and trank her, and they bring her in. Cured, sure, but the procedure requires a little more spinal fluid and that kills the doctor-husband, as soon as he knows his wife is alright. He left a video, though, and Liv knows the names: including William Bell, Walter's old lab partner and none other than Spock himself.
The best part? When Broyles goes 'Are you telling me we have another monster?'. I love when characters seem to know what's going on around them.
I think this show is hitting it's stride, and if it makes it past the scariness of Cuts Season, I can't wait for the next season, after everything is all set up!