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The Ghost Network: Communication and Corpses on "Fringe"

I enjoyed last night's Fringe ("The Ghost Network") but I didn't think it was quite as good as the series's second episode, though it did advance the twin plots of The Pattern and the mystery surrounding Agent John Scott (Mark Valley), whose involvement with The Pattern and Massive Dynamic took a turn for the weird at the end of last night's installment.

I'm seriously intrigued why Olivia Dunham is so important both to Broyles and to Massive's Nina Sharp, when she only has three Pattern-related cases under her belt and doesn't even have the clearance to know half of what either of them already knows about the strange global phenomena that they are tracking. Could it be that Olivia herself is connected to the Pattern in some way, more than just her relationship with John? We know next to nothing about her past, save that she wanted to go into law enforcement since she was nine years old. But who are her parents? What experiences shaped her past? And why was John's mother staring at her at the funeral?

Broyles lifted the veil of ignorance from around Olivia against her will in the series' pilot but he wanted to be sure that he was the one feeding information rather than her getting it from Nina, who appears to be Broyles' rival in some way. And yet there they two of them are this week, thick as thieves, as Broyles decides not to go "through channels" but to take the crystalline disc they recovered directly to Nina... who then brings it down into the lab housing the body of John Scott as they attempt to decrypt his memories. Hmmm...

Meanwhile, Peter revealed that his mother could still be alive after all of this time (though apparently, she's in no hurry to see Walter--released, we're told for the zillionth time--after seventeen years in a mental institution) though he refrained from telling Olivia just where she is, saying that it was "a story for another time." Could she be connected to the Pattern?

And what was up with the man following and photographing Peter at the diner? The one who said ominously that Peter was supposed to "check in" before he came home. Methinks Peter has more than just gambling debts keeping him away from Boston. I did, however, really appreciate the fact that Walter did see this exchange take place and waited until later to confront Peter about it. It's character development like that which puts the series outside the realm of standard procedural; while Walter still has a long road ahead of him in terms of his mental recovery, it was good to see that the man is not only not obvlious but is in fact rather perspicacious.

I'm not sure why Evelina Mendoza, the female DEA agent killed in the bus incident, was involved with the Pattern or how the disk can gotten inserted into her palm... without the forensic team (or the medical examiner performing her autopsy) noticing any surgical scars on her palm. What her connection is remains to be seen.

But I do hope that observer Roy McComb (Zak Orth) does turn up again as the season progresses; the result of a lab experiment carried out years before by Walter Bishop, McComb is able to receive images and sounds from the Ghost Network, a sort of secret radio communication network that McComb is able to unwittingly tap into, thanks to the iridium compound in his bloodstream.

What did you think? Were you as entranced by this week's episode as the last? Are you intrigued by the teases offered by the series' writers about the Pattern? Discuss.

Next week on Fringe ("The Arrival"), Broyles tasks Olivia, Peter, and Walter with investigating a strange cylinder mysteriously found at the scene of an explosion in Manhattan that seems to be causing any number of strange phenomena; Peter is forced into field duty; Walter takes matters into his own hands.


I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as last week's but feel that it did set a lot up for future storylines, including what happened to Walter's wife and who is following Peter and what Olivia's history is...not to mention the possible return of John (or at least his thoughts). Personally, I would love to see them bring John back somehow. And I would really love to know what was up with John's mother staring at Olivia. Creepy!
Anonymous said…
I liked this episode better than last week's episode. Last week's was too X-Files.
Anonymous said…
my favorite part about Walter noticing the diner altercation was that he was facing the wrong way and dealing with the vibrating phone at the same time....
Page48 said…
"Fringe" is working on the mystery/conspiracy thing, but what about the danger/action aspect.

I used to be afraid to leave the room when "Alias" was on for fear of what could happen to Syd or Vaughn or Jack in my absence, but "Fringe" has yet to push the fear button. No sweaty palms, no edge of the seat.

Lab work and chemical reactions won't hold viewers attention for long. "Fringe" is billed as a sci-fi thriller. They've got the science and there's not much doubt it's fiction, but where oh where are they hiding those thrills?

"Alias" personnel may be driving this bus, but so far the tires seem to be a little soft.

BTW, fringebloggers are drawing attention to a mysterious bald guy that has apparently been in each episode. I gotta say, I haven't even noticed him.
Jace Lacob said…
Page48, Yep, that would be the observer. I've known about him for a while now but can't say more than that. Let's just say that discussing the observer is verboten right now.
Jon88 said…
Y'all are much more tolerant than I am. I feel like I've seen the same episode of this show three times now. Next week's show will be critical to my continued viewing.

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