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Fringe 2.14 – The Bishop Revival


Yes, that is a Swastika. It's from the episode. I swear.

Grade: B+

Now, there’s one show that you’re not watching that you desperately need to. It’s called Fringe. What is it about, you ask? Oliva Dunham (Anna Torv) is assigned to the “Fringe Division” of the FBI, where she explores cases that involve Fringe science. Along with Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his eccentric father Walter (John Noble), the three take on anything that stretches the limits of the imagination. Fringe is a modern-day X-Files in some sense (both which are on FOX), yet has its own unique mythology. I have to admit, I was quite bored with the show for the first part of the first season. It was kinda boring and went on without any real overarching storyline. It wasn’t until about the 7th episode where the show finally started to find its footing and get somewhere.

So now I write to you about the 14th episode of the second season. It’s not the episode that aired last night – that was the 20th. I’m still a little behind but hopefully I’ll catch up in the next week or so. If you’re interested in the show, there are plenty of places you can watch it online and I highly recommend it. Now, onto the episode…

Fringe has an interesting history of stand-alones. Most of them aren’t that great. Stand-alones can work very well when done right, but Fringe tends to drop the ball unless the episode is based on its storyline arcs. In particular, the season 2 stand-alones have been almost as bad as the first season’s. Little character development, boring overall plots… there hasn’t been much to write positively about (that’s not to say that the season has been a mess. Again, the mythology-based episodes are as great as ever).

The Bishop Revival is probably the best stand-alone episode that the show has done, along with Snakehead which aired earlier in the season. Though mostly self-contained, the episode gives good insight into the development of Peter and Walter’s relationship as well as a good episode-centric villain.

As you’ve probably noticed from the picture, this episode is about Nazis and begins at a wedding. All of the Jewish people in attendance mysterious choke to death without any explanation how or why. Nazis? Mass deaths of Jews? There must be a connection.

And there is. But while the A story plays out at a relatively brisk pace (though oddly not as suspenseful as other Fringe episodes), it is the B story between Peter and Walter that really shines. Now, I’ve been hard on Joshua Jackson’s acting since the show’s conception and I’ll stand by my opinion that he’s the worst actor on the show. After this episode however, I don’t think I gave him as much credit as he deserved. The Peter and Walter dynamic has always been one of the more fascinating aspects of the show but The Bishop Revival is one of the first times that we see Walter (justifiably) angry at Peter for the majority of the episode. It’s extremely realistic (well, on a show about a Nazi killer) and is played wonderfully by both Noble and Jackson.

Another solid outing for Fringe. I’m especially content with the fact that the show seems to be able to hold its own, even when it’s not doing story heavy episodes. It’s a sign that Abrams and co. have finally found their stride when it comes to the show’s tone and writing.

Fringe airs Thursdays at 9pm on FOX.

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