Fringe season 2 episode 14 review

Billy clicks his heals in delight at the latest Fringe. And the Nazis have just turned up too...

2.14 The Bishop Revival

If you’re going to have bad guys, don’t go for the conflicted variety or those for who are unwilling participants in the evil doings. No, instead pick a foe that’s entirely beyond redemption, I say. Go for the Nazis!

That’s the logic that’s applied to The Bishop Revival, where the team stumble into the ongoing final solution and uncover some darker aspects to Walter’s family background. That’s not to suggest that the thick paint of melodrama is applied too thickly here, because Fringe is on something of a winning streak for me currently, and this turned out to be another workmanlike episode.

It starts with a mass fatality at a Jewish wedding, instigated by a stranger who seems dressed for a different era, and of German extraction, perhaps? He’s not wearing an armband, but the hint is that he’s on some sort of mission that might have historical reference.

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It turns out that the people who died all had common DNA markers, and the pathogen used to kill them had been programmed to select them from other people. Another killing spree in a coffee shop strikes those with brown eyes, and the team realises that the grisly experiments being performed here are the direct result of work done by Walter’s own father, who we’re told was a double agent working for the Americans with the Nazis.

The big clue to the family connection is a unique molecular marker, the shape of a seahorse, which was the signature of Walter’s dad. This all plays out at brisk pace where Fringe must find the man responsible before he trials this on a much larger collection of people, or even an entire ethnic group.

The twist, and it’s a good one, is that to stop the man Walter uses his own DNA makers, recovered from a fingerprint, to target him in the same fashion as his victims. It’s not an elegant solution, and technically Walter is a murderer, but it gets the job done. It hinted at the darker side to Walter’s personality, without making him out to be a complete monster.

There’s also an unexplored narrative thread about the true age of the assailant, who appears the same age on period photographs from 70 years ago. I was actually slightly relieved that they didn’t go down this path, as it quite possibly lead to the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, and, ultimately, Hellboy.

What we got in the end was a tight little story that dug a little into the origins of Walter, and allowed for some nice character interactions between Walter and Peter, and also Walter and Phillip Broyles at the conclusion.

Using a Nazi nemesis did seem clich├ęd, but it turned out to be more interesting than the premise initially suggested.

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However, the strength of this standalone story doesn’t make me think that Fringe should leave the bigger story arc alone too long. It’s about time we got back to that, and I’d also like to know more about Astrid than we’re been given so far.

Fringe is getting stronger and the viewing figures reflect that. Can it swing a third season?

Read our review of episode 13 here.