This week’s Fringe, titled ‘One Night in October,’ gave us a psychopath-of-the-week case for the Fringe teams in both universes on which to focus their energy. Over there, John Louis McClennan is a brain-freezing, happy-thought-stealing serial killer. Over here, he’s a professor who studies the behavior of serial killers and does some profiling work on the side. He’s super smart in both universes and is constantly battling the darkness within, making him very dangerous and hard to track down. Fauxlivia asks for help with the case from our Fringe team, and we get to see more of the dichotomy between the two Olivias.
First, we must hit our beloved home-sweet-lab, as Walter rants to Lincoln about the ‘loathsome, hateful, immoral’ behavior of those from Over There while covering up all reflective surfaces in the lab (to stop seeing Peter, of course). He was particularly annoyed at “that awful woman”, Fauxlivia, who “pranced around my lab” buying his innocence with baked goods so she could steal pieces of The Machine. I love a good Walterism! For the record, I can also be bought with baked goods ;). Also, he called Lincoln ‘Kennedy’, which I found hilarious. It doesn’t necessarily bode well for Lincoln that he’s named after an assassinated president – we shall see how that plays out! Astrid, meanwhile, is trying to fix Olivia up with poor, lonely, cute Lincoln. Olivia refuses, prompting Astrid to speculate that perhaps her ‘type’ just doesn’t exist. Haha, writers. We see what you did there.
After Olivia rather reluctantly recruits the professor from Over Here, who isn’t told where he is being taken to do the profiling, we see Fauxlivia getting into her role as Olivia, adjusting her blond wig and joking with AltLincoln. Our McClennan does his job very well, and his walking around the house providing insight into the killer’s mind is juxtaposed nicely with Killer McClennan scoping out his next victim at a nearby gas station. I liked the pacing of this scene as well as the producers’ misdirection – you thought he was focusing on the little girl, but instead takes her mother. I’m not really sure how he did this at a crowded gas station with no one at all noticing…I guess we are suspending disbelief for this one. That aside, I found this to be a rich role for guest actor John Pyper-Ferguson as he got to play two sides of the same coin. Obviously, the super smart profiler was going to figure out something was terribly off about the house he was wandering through, and it didn’t take long for him to find a photo of his abusive father and completely freak out. Olivia hops out of the van and he sees both her and Fauxlivia, as well as the amber down the street, and continues to wig out. Olivia connects with him a bit by sharing that she came from an abusive home, but that doesn’t stop him from bolting out the bathroom window to find his serial killer self so he can share what helps him control the darkness. Something tells me that won’t help very much!
Oh, and later Olivia tells Fauxlivia that she killed her stepfather. Interesting! Something a little different for the Peter-less Reboot.
Also different was that Colonel Broyles lives, and we got to see Lance Reddick showing off his biceps in that t-shirt at the Fringe Division headquarters. AltAstrid is still a number-crunching machine as they try to figure out where the McClennans have gone. Olivia figures it out relatively quickly based on the license plate from the tractor in his dad’s photo, and Fauxlivia is left looking annoyed and rather stupid at Olivia’s superior problem-solving skills. She makes a pretty priceless face:
We end with a showdown in a creepy basement, as these cases often do. The Professor had tried to convince the Killer that life didn’t have to be this way, but he just wound up getting punched and hooked up to the brain freeze machine. Killer McClennan steals the happy memories from the Professor and then kills himself. The Professor winds up in the hospital back Over Here, unable to remember the woman who loved him and gave him the courage to control his darkness. He’s certainly a changed man, and we’re all worried he’s going to start with the killin’. Time will tell! If this show has a long run (unlikely, but X-Files had 9 seasons so you never know), I can see him coming back and causing mayhem. Pyper-Ferguson did a great job, especially in the basement scenes when all he is playing off of is himself. A feat for any actor! Anna Torv also did a very good job in this episode. She’s gotten much better over the last four years, and I like seeing the differences in the Olivias. Is it wrong that I kind of like Fauxlivia? She’s quicker with a a smile and a joke, and banters better with her coworkers than Olivia. Her past is not as troubled as Olivia’s, lacking the abusive stepfather, the Cortexiphan trials (did they happen in the Peter-less Reboot? They haven’t mentioned yet!), the dead mom. I hope we get more information on that front soon.
Once again, the episode concludes with Walter going to bed only to be tormented by Peter. While there are no uncovered reflective surfaces, we hear Peter yelling Walter’s name and saying “I’m right here, Walter!” Peter appears to be trapped in some sort of limbo, which is what the glyphs spelled out this episode. More Peter, please! I want the gang to figure it out and help him out of limbo! I don’t think that will happen until Olivia sees him, much like he was part of her memory when she was brainwashed and trapped Over There. I still want to know how she escaped. Can we get a flashback, please? That shouldn’t be too hard in this JJ Abrams world!
This episode was a solid Fringe outing with great acting by all, but did very little to further the Peter situation. So that was kind of frustrating. And there wasn’t any Fringe science, no Walter exploding fruit in the lab to get to the bottom of things, which meant very little Astrid as well. I missed that dynamic. I was left wanting more, which is a good thing in terms of storytelling.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did you see the Observer? Can you wait for next week’s “Alone in the World”? Me neither!