Fringe season 2 episode 2 review

Billy wonders why Mulder and Scully are still on TV in their Fringe disguises…

2.2 Night Of Desirable Objects

After a somewhat lumpy first episode, Fringe comes back with Night Of Desirable Objects, which in retrospect is a return to a decidedly X-Files monster-hunt platform.

It’s fun enough, but I kept thinking that maybe it’s time Fringe shrugged off that particular tendency rather than promoting the similarities.

The spooky start has some construction workers working near a field of corn when one of them notices something blue in the dirt. It looks a little like a hand. He goes to pick it up and is pulled into a subterranean system by a less than friendly creature.

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Fringe become involved because of the number of missing persons in that area, and the monster-hunt is on. And soon, the cameo fatalities come thick and fast.

The first familiar face we meet is the redoubtable Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti, The Untouchables) as Sheriff Golightly, who in these types of stories is there to resent the appearance of the FBI on his patch. He’s followed rapidly by the first and only suspect, Andre Hughes, played by film and TV stalwart John Savage (The Deer Hunter, Dark Angel). His character’s track record is to have lost a wife and son in childbirth, but an exhumation of the graves reveals the boy wasn’t dead and tunnelled out of his coffin.

Hughes hangs himself in jail, as people are allowed to do there, apparently, and it’s up to Olivia and Peter to investigate his creepy old house and what might lie beneath it.

The fact that I’ve spun through this whole adventure in less than 250 words speaks volumes, as there just isn’t much meat on this particular cadaver. The whole shape-shifter sub-plot from last week gets a little development, but not so much that it fixed some of the obvious problems of the previous finale.

It’s evident at the end that the shape-shifter has been told to keep a watching brief on Olivia, and not kill her yet. They need her to remember what happened in the other dimension it appears.

So what has the Night Of Desirable Objects got to do with all of this? Very little, indeed. The term is a reference to a fishing lure that Sheriff Golightly has that Peter once owned, and bought to go fishing with his father. And, it returns at the end of the main story for them to do some long overdue father/son bonding. I guess it was better than calling this one ‘The Attack Of The Scorpion-Gopher-Boy’, but only marginally.

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A sub-plot which is given the last five minutes of this lightweight episode is the impact of the dimension shifting on Olivia, which, among other things, appears to be endowing her with super-hearing. Nina Sharp directs her to go see a man called Sam Weiss (Kevin Corrigan), who has expertise in this arena and runs a bowling alley.

After the mess at the end of the season opener, this story was disappointing in other ways. There wasn’t enough Walter Bishop, they’re still giving Astrid nothing to do and Peter’s role now appears to be to look cow-eyed at Agent Dunham irrespective of how close she gets to accidentally killing him. I was also annoyed that, despite being promised this, we got no trans-dimensional frogs, only big fat catapulted ones.

Fringe needs to step up a gear, and stop with the X-Files emulation, I’d suggest.

Read our review of episode 1 here.