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Fringe Recap: Episode One, "Pilot"

Fringe Rundown: Episode One, "Pilot"

In this weird TV season, Fringe has been one of the few shows to get any buzz — partially because of the talent involved, partially because it leaked online, and partially because it's one of the only pilots critics got to see. With the 95-minute first episode out of the way, I can't wait to hear what you all made of it. Is it the next great sci-fi show — or a ripoff of The X-Files and all others that came before it?

A couple of nonspoilery thoughts first: I think Fringe would have been fine with a regular hour-long pilot. Parts of this supersized episode dragged for me — though, granted, the draggy parts were sandwiched between a strong opening and a ridiculously action-packed ending. Also, if there's a hero of the episode for me, it's Joshua Jackson. His character, Peter, is a genius with a gambling problem, daddy issues, and a sarcastic attitude. And he's also a total badass! He takes down a key suspect by punching him in the face, then elicits a confession by crushing the dude's hand with a coffee mug. He's the most fun character to watch so far.

Now, to talk about the mysteries of Fringe, just


So, here's what (I think) we know so far: There's this thing called The Pattern, a bunch of incidents happening worldwide that involve various bits of fringe science: chemical compounds that dissolve flesh; people coming out of comas and suddenly writing down top-secret codes; children disappearing then reappearing years later without having aged a day. The flight from Hamburg to Boston that kicks off the episode is one of them, and that's how Olivia Dunham gets herself roped into the story — but her boyfriend and partner was already somehow involved, and that will be one of our mysteries going forward. There's also a possibly evil corporation (Massive Dynamic) that may be responsible for some of these scientific developments, and its leader once shared a lab with Dr. Bishop, providing the link that ties everyone together.

A few things that jumped out at me:

  • Maybe it was intentional, but Dr. Bishop seemed to veer between being harmlessly daffy and completely off his rocker. Did practicing science help restore his sanity? Because the guy who peed his pants and had a scalpel-shoving outburst seemed wildly different from the one who cheerfully watched Spongebob Squarepants while eating Chinese food with a cow.
  • Regardless, he's good comic relief in addition to being a mad scientist. "The only thing better than a cow is a human. Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow."
  • Olivia, on the other hand, gets some really cringey lines. "I just want to go back to before"? Ugh.
  • After Joshua Jackson, my second-favorite actor/character so far is Blair Brown as Nina Sharp. She's completely chilling — I get shivers when I think about her saying "question him" — and she's got one of the coolest robotic arms I've seen in a while (I guess that's what a $10 million pilot budget will buy you). The Massive Dynamic plot line in general is a big draw for me; I do love a good global conspiracy.
  • Another breakout star: Jean the cow. Heh.
  • How do you think that big budget panned out special effects-wise? The translucent skin looked pretty fake to me, but the stuff on the plane was more realistically gory. On the low-tech end, I loved the old-school look of Bishop's Harvard lab. Were those Bunsen burners and beakers I spotted?
  • I know Fringe is a series we're not supposed to overthink, but what's with the leaf/frog/apple icons?

Did Fringe do enough to hook you? Or did it seem too much like something you'd seen before?

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
amloveaffair amloveaffair 9 years
I really liked it but I felt like it went on too long. Hopefully it doesn't get crappy and doesn't get canceled like most JJA shows tend to do.
aoitenshi aoitenshi 9 years
The pilot was great! I actually liked all the characters - Olivia's gorgeous, and Peter is a perfect role for Joshua Jackson. I actually thought the doctor's swings between insane ramblings and lucid moments were pretty on-point. I'm definitely looking forward to the next episodes.
DCStar DCStar 9 years
OMG - this show was amazing. I was scared out of my mind at the beginning and stayed riveted through the rest of the episode. I think the 2hr pilot was awesome, and love the unlikely trio of crimesolvers, I'll definitely keep watching.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 9 years
I wasn't planning on watching, but my boyfriend TIVO'd it and I thought I'd give it a try. I definitely liked it, and I'm going to keep watching. Plus, I agree that cow + Pacey + robotic arm = fun show.
tiabia tiabia 9 years
I finally had the chance to watch it last night and I love it. I do think 95 minutes was a tad too long, but boy did I love those commercial breaks (nice and short). I love Joshua Jackson and his character. I will say that I kept having LOTR flashbacks whenever Dr. Bishop talked about "my son". Olivia did do the "perplexed" look a little more times than necessary. But I definitely am in for the ride. Tuesdays just got a bit more interesting for me!!!!
NatUK NatUK 9 years
Absolutely brilliant..all of it, but as soon as Peter asked Olivia "When do we leave"...I thought to myself, anytime you like! Joshua is HOT!
SapphireSky SapphireSky 9 years
eghhh...not impressed. Had high hopes as I love his other shows. Will try another episode or two maybe I'll feel more drawn to the characters/storyline.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
caryatid — I know, right? JJ's done a lot of interviews talking about how this is a show you don't have to follow as closely as his others. I guess we'll see ...
Classy101 Classy101 9 years
I was completely plugged into this show within the first five minutes. To be honest I was only going to watch for Joshua Jackson but it totally appealed to my Alias, X-files hole that I miss terrible. Sooo good, can't wait till next week!
wednesday_adams wednesday_adams 9 years
There was something weird with each of the pictures, like the hand having more fingers. There was a greek phi on the back of the frog, and the apple seeds had fetuses in them.
mailed39 mailed39 9 years
I loveeeed it ! Tuesdays are now one of my favourite TV days ! from the very beginning I was hooked.
pickle pickle 9 years
I really liked it but my favorite part was when Olivia called Peter thinking she would have to coerce him to keep helping her and he was like "we'll meet you out front". It (he) was cute. And the pilot is repeating this Sunday for anyone who missed it.
caryatid caryatid 9 years
we're not supposed to overthink a jj abrams show???? looks like i missed the memo. liked the hand with 6 fingers and the collapsing jaw. awesome.
AmazonChick AmazonChick 9 years
@avacado_seed: THANK YOU I thought I was going nuts! The whole time it was ... that looks like Toronto, no no, I don't remember hearing that they were shooting here - but that has to be U of T! Hmm, I might have to do a little snooping soon to see if I can find Joshua Jackson's fav coffee shop ;)
katedavis katedavis 9 years
fireyelectra- the apple thing is awesome! I didn't notice that. The seahorse has a Golden Spiral on it. Not sure if there's anything special about the leaf....
sparkggl sparkggl 9 years
it was okay. i'll have to watch a few more episodes to see if it gets better. i guess i just expected more from a j.j abrams show. i knew right away that they'd kill off the bf so that olivia can get with pacey. (sorry, he'll always be pacey to me) :)
desertbanshee desertbanshee 9 years
I thought it was terrible. I couldn't get into the characters like I could on JJ Abrams Lost, or even Alias. My two teens walked out to do homework. :?
Allytta Allytta 9 years
totally hooked.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 9 years
Buzz, the apple icon, at least, has human embryos inside the seeds. I don't know what that means, but it's interesting.
bchicgrl bchicgrl 9 years
Wow I must be the only one that thought this show was absolutely ridiculously stupid. I got through about 25 minutes of it before i got soo bored i had to find something else to watch.
Sailormoon88 Sailormoon88 9 years
My husband and I watched this last night and OMG, it was very, very good for TV! Such great talent and it was very fun to watch...thouroughly enjoyed it!! This will be our new number 1 show!!
tellmemorex2 tellmemorex2 9 years
I really liked it, I can't wait to see more !
luminousfae luminousfae 9 years
I watched it and loved it, def. in my must see list of shows. And I second that Pasekitty, I too will follow Joshua Jackson anywhere :)
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