Fringe "Wallflower" TV review


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Now you see him, now you don’t...

4.07 “Wallflower”

Writers: Matthew Pitts, Justin Doble
Director: Anthony Hemingway

THE ONE WHERE An invisible man is killing people, and stealing their pigmentation. Meanwhile, Olivia’s suffering from migraines and Peter’s trying to put the Machine back together.

UNIVERSE Over here – orange version.

VERDICT First off, a moan. How can we be watching a midseason finale just seven episodes into a new season? This isn’t even a third-of-a-season break! Plus, “Wallflower” isn't quite good enough to be the last new episode of Fringe we get until the new year. Yes, we know it wasn’t supposed to be – that episode eight was meant to be the one that sent us into the hiatus until baseball got in the way – but even so, you can’t escape the feeling of anticlimax as the credits roll.

To be fair, it’s a decent enough case of the week. There’s a couple of scary moments as invisible Eugene stalks his victims, and a real emotional heart to his story. He’s a guy who’s spent his whole life mistreated by the system (particularly a subsidiary of Massive Dynamic – we’re sure Nina knew more about the experiments than she lets on), and the fact that his motive for murder is making himself seen – a process that’s slowly killing him – is strangely touching. His death scene in the lift after finally talking to the object of his affection – the one he stalks in slightly creepy, Hollow Man -style – is a great way to end his story.

With Peter sidelined for most of the episode, under de facto house arrest and playing around with blueprints for the Machine, it lacks some of the – for want of a better word – “banter” that’s lifted the show since his reappearance from oblivion. Walter also feels rather peripheral, making huge, ridiculously fast leaps of logic as he solves the case without having to raise a sweat. On the plus side, at least he’s being funny again.

Less time with the Bishops means more with Olivia, and we get an interesting examination of a character who suddenly realises that her ability to take the very, very weird in her stride is highly unusual – even Astrid sees a shrink. It’s also great to see more of this universe’s Lincoln, as the chance to see him “off duty” reveals new facets to the new Fringe Division recruit.

But the scene that lingers the most comes right at the end, as Olivia’s drugged at Nina’s behest. What’s the Massive Dynamic boss up to? And is she shaping up to be this season’s Big Bad? Can’t wait to find out – January seems a long, long way away...

THE SEX FILES Fringe ’s web of romance gets yet more complicated as a mutual attraction between Olivia and Lincoln seems to be developing – and Peter’s cool with it, because this is “not my Olivia”. Sigmund Freud would love this!

SPECULATION Nina says that Olivia’s going to have one hell of a headache when she wakes up. With the benefit of hindsight, can we assume that Olivia’s migraine at the start of the episode was Nina’s doing?

DID YOU SPOT? It’s unlikely to be a coincidence that the final shoot-out takes place on the 23rd floor – especially given the way the camera lingers on the sign. (The “23 enigma” suggests that the number links many important events – as in Jim Carrey movie The Number 23 .) It is also, of course, one of Lost ’s famous series of numbers.

SPECULATION Why did Peter give Lincoln those new glasses? Was it purely to make him more appealing to Olivia? Or are they technologically enhanced in some way? (The more pertinent question, however, is how did Peter know Lincoln’s prescription?)

NITPICK Please, please, please can we go back to the other universe soon?

OBSERVING THE OBSERVER A tricky one to spot this week, but that trademark trilby can be seen in the crowd outside the building where the Fringe team attempts to apprehend Eugene.

Peter: “I’ve been investigating Fringe events for three years. I never thought I’d become one.”

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Richard is a freelancer journalist and editor, and was once a physicist. Rich is the former editor of SFX Magazine, but has since gone freelance, writing for websites and publications including GamesRadar+, SFX, Total Film, and more. He also co-hosts the podcast, Robby the Robot's Waiting, which is focused on sci-fi and fantasy.