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Bound to a Star: A Quick Early Look at Tonight's Episode of "Fringe"

Just a few quick words about tonight's episode of Fringe ("Bound"), which is more or less the second half of a two-part episode that began last fall, in which we saw Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) kidnapped for reasons unknown by the nefarious Mr. Jones, who managed to escape his German prison by, well, teleporting out.

Those looking for some answers as to Mr. Jones' plan or, well, whereabouts will be sorely disappointed by tonight's episode, but "Bound" does feature perhaps the first real example of serialized storytelling in the series to date. With Olivia seized and bound, there's no way to have wrapped up the previous episode's storyline in that very same installment so it's nice to see things spill over more than just a bit. (New viewers will have the benefit of catching a rather exposition-laden recap of the events so far at the outset.)

"Bound" also picks up the pieces of various other dangling subplots over the last few weeks but also manages to tie them up very quickly by the time the episode ends, though there is a significant hint that not everything may be as it seems in the world of Fringe, leaving us to wonder just what some characters' true motivations really are.

Fans of J.J. Abrams' Alias will at least appreciate the rather Sydney Bristow-style ass-kicking that Olivia metes out to her captors in one of the more exciting and gripping sequences in tonight's episode. While we've seen Olivia run after suspects (and in the pilot leap off of fire escapes), we've never really seen her physically dole out punishment with the dangerous precision of Alias' Bristow. The scene in the building where Olivia is being held beautifully demonstrates Olivia's brutal survival skills, all the more haunting for the fact that she's just been operated on. (Yes, operated on... but I'm not saying why.)

Tonight's episode also features the first appearance of Ari Graynor (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) as Olivia's emotionally overwhelmed sister, who arrives in Boston for a visit, with her kid in tow. Viewers had better get used to Graynor's Rachel as she'll be sticking around for at least three episodes. While Rachel's appearance in this week's episode is pretty tangential to the overarching plot, it's good to see Olivia show some softness and familiarity for a change and it's clear that she has genuine feelings for her sister and wants to help her. Just how Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman plan to use Rachel remains to be seen.

As if Olivia doesn't have enough to deal with already, there's also a governmental review of the Fringe Division by the man Olivia thought she put away for molesting three women back in the military (remember him?)... and a killer who is striking at epidemiologists with a rather unusual instrument of death (let's call it bitter irony).

What else can I say about tonight's episode of Fringe?
  • Shoes provide a clue.
  • Olivia enjoys digging.
  • Some encounters are more forceful than they need to be.
  • Has anyone ever found a cure for the common cold?
  • Walter's food cravings know no bounds, even in the face of some rather disgusting discoveries.
  • Broyles may not really have control of Fringe Division after all.
  • Olivia is bound, not once, but twice.
  • As expected, Olivia turns out to be a much better aim than, well, someone else.
While this episode lets Lance Reddick's sorely underutilized Broyles have a little more investment than unusual in the proceedings (slightly anyway), the maddeningly frustrating fact is that Jasika Nicole's Astrid Farnsworth is still a complete cipher.

Here's to hoping that the February soft "relaunch" of Fringe will include some much needed character development for the notoriously one-note lab assistant... and perhaps some added doses of serialized storytelling.

Fringe airs tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX.


Anonymous said…
It's about time they let Olivia do some serious ass-kicking! I look forward to seeing that and to seeing Ari Graynor in the role of Olivia's sister.
CL said…
This is my favorite episode so far, I think. It's the first in a while that dwells on the characters more than the mad science.

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