Fringe – The Same Old Story

Some random thoughts about “The Same Old Story”, Fringe’s episode tonight.

After watching tonight’s Fringe episode, “The Same Old Story”, I’m not sure if the show is going to be a huge hit, or whether people are going to turn away from it complete disgust. I refer to the complete lack of a warning that should have said “WARNING! EYEBALL SURGERY! BARF-O-RAMA! REALLY! IT’S GROSS!”. Yeah, I rewound to check… Nope, no warning like that.

I’m not sure what to make of this episode. Nina Sharp, the apparent spokesperson for Massive Dynamic, talking with Phillip Broyles, the guy from Homeland Security? Are the people at Homeland that stupid that they don’t suspect Massive Dynamic? Maybe it’s a case of “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” – I don’t know.

Then you have the whole “I wonder what Scott was up to” thread that Olivia is following. You have Walter acting crazy milking cows, and doing eyeball surgery to get retina pictures. On top of all that, you have the mystical, magical computer laptop that can take an image, correlate it to a 3D wire frame, and pinpoint within a block where a building in Boston is.

And, just when you might have thought they’d be subtle and imply that Peter (that’s Walter’s Son) might have a relation to Walter’s work, they go the extra mile and slap you right in the face with “I assume you read about Peter’s medical history – You didn’t? Oh, nevermind”. Up to that point, when Walter was describing what working back during his original work was like, they dropped enough hints that there might be more to Peter than meets the eye. They really didn’t need to hit us over the head with it.

Finally, they had a half-second glimpse at a lab somewhere in Massive Dynamic (probably) that showed THREE versions of the same guy that killed those women. Ok, we can infer that maybe the guy that died of old age at the end wasn’t the original guy that Olivia was chasing all those years ago. The killings did stop for a while, so it’s reasonable to assume that whichever clone did that, he ended up dying. Otherwise the killings would have continued because of his need for the pituitary glands.

If it were me, I wouldn’t have shown that. I would have shown them in that lab a few shows later, just briefly, as someone walked by that lab at Massive Dynamic. That would have at least given fans something to find, and make the connection. People are pretty good at seeing things like that and talking about it. LOST fans are REALLY good at this sort of thing. They don’t need to be hit over the head with hints, the way Fringe is doing.

I just get the feeling that Fringe is trying much too hard to jam the backstory and weird things that are happening down viewers’ throats too fast. This show’s been compared to the X-Files. At least on that show, there was a slowly developed storyline that drew people in. On Fringe, it’s all about the “Hey! Look! We’re doing weird stuff! Check out the huge evil corporation! Weird, huh! Look at the eyeball surgery! Ha! We should have warned you about that, but too late!”

OK, ok, ok… we get it. Just give the viewers a bit more credit.

2 thoughts on “Fringe – The Same Old Story”

  1. I;m wondering if this is the pendulum swinging the other way. I know a lot of people who have simply given up on Lost, because if you aren’t a fanatic, some of the subtleties pass you by and it doesn’t make sense. This may be a case of making things more obvious in order to gain a larger core audience, and make it possible for the casual viewer to stay involved.

    That said, I couldn’t stay awake through it all – went to bed about halfway through. Thanks for the eyeball surgery warning…

  2. I dunno, Steve. I wasn’t impressed with the pilot and last night’s episode did nothing to change my mind… It’s a pedestrian version of The X-Files and those guys already burned me, I’m not looking for another blister.

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