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Fringe 2.21 – Northwest Passage


Grade: B+

After last week’s, uh, distracting episode of Fringe, we’re back to the meat of the story. If you forgot: Peter has run away from Boston after learning a bit about who he is (and since most of you probably haven’t seen the show, I’m going to avoid as many spoilers as possible). As he travels through Washington state, he uncovers a mystery that may have links to Newton and his shape shifters.

Full review is after the jump. As always, I’m going to recommend that you watch Fringe. Bear with the first half of the first season. What starts out as a rather boring procedural quickly turns into a fun and ultimately rewarding show. Did I mention that it’s from the creators of Lost?I was a little wary going into this episode, seeing as Peter was going to be interacting with entirely new characters in an entirely new setting with only three episodes left. We just got the throw away Brown Betty last week, so I believe I was justified in my trepidation.

Thankfully I was wrong. The episode mostly centers around Peter and the only new character that was really introduced was Sheriff Mathis (Martha Plimpton). Plimpton plays her part surprisingly well – a tough sheriff of a small town that has a flair for the supernatural. She’s obviously untrustworthy of Peter and knows her stuff, but a level of curiosity allows her to let him in. It also allows the writers to actually tell the story realistically, but we’re just going to forget that part.

There’s very little of Walter, Olivia and AstroAstrisksOstrich Astrid this week. Walter chastises a man in a supermarket for selling Poptarts that have a poisonous chemical in them to the chagrin of Astrid (I believe the line was something about killing us with deliciousness?). He’s obviously disturbed – sad for Peter and frightened he might be recommitted to St. Claire’s. He attempts to find Peter, but purposefully stops short, believing that if he finds him he might not want to come back. And honestly, that might be worse than Peter being missing.

Though they were only featured in a few minutes of the episode, Jasika Nicole (Astrid) and John Noble (Walter) did an excellent job. They are easily the best actors on the show, and each balanced sadness, longing and fear perfectly. Fear for Peter, fear for Walter, and longing for when it was all just one big happy weird family (and look Happy Town – you can infer that without an expository monologue!).

The only issues that I have with Northwest Passage are that there are some questions left unanswered. Obviously this is a Fringe staple, but the resolution at the end was unsatisfactory. Why were the people being taken? To find Peter? But what about the second girl? What did that have to do with Peter? Who was the guy that owned the milk farm?

Ultimately, these nagging issues didn’t detract my enjoyment of the episode. I look forward to the last two episodes of this season wholeheartedly. Also: remember to stay for the very end of this one. You won’t believe the twist.

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