“This is the last one. Then I am gone.”
–Peter Bishop.

Title: “The Arrival”

Cast and Crew

Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham
Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop
John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop
Lance Reddick as Philip Broyles
Jaskika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth
Michael Cerveris as the Observer
Michael Kelly as Scary Deranged Killer Guy

Synopsis

An MiB-type observer conducts the most conspicuous surveillance in history at the site where a Mysterious Object appears. Our heroes try to determine what this object is, Dr. Bishop once again proves he’s connected to everything weird in the Fringe-iverse, and good and bad people seek the Mysterious Object.

Then, it goes away.

Since that isn’t an interesting enough ending, one of the main cast receives an unexpected visitor in the final moment of the show.

High Point

Whereas last week’s high point involves its humorous scenes, this one works best as the high-budget, poor-scripted imitation of The X-Files Abrams obviously intends the show to be. It’s better overall than some of the past episodes; it’s just not good enough to keep me watching regularly.

At least the chase for the mad science-object did not require them to draw heavily upon additional mad science.

Low Point

The fact that Joss Whedon struggles to get his stuff on the air, and real SF rarely receives decent adaptations, but the TV powers-that-be will throw millions at a bad-to-mediocre series derived from a 90s cult show.

When this crap fails and Heroes‘ ratings continue to plummet, the message they’ll take away is, “see, that SF/fantasy trend on television is dead,” instead of, “build a good genre show and the nerds’ll tune in en masse, tell friends to watch, buy crappy merchandise, and keep the flame burning for years.

The Scores

Originality:. 2/6 Everyone is after the mysterious McGuffin, the nature of which is never explained. Hero saves partner at the last moment.

Effects: 5/6.

Story: 3/6. A mystery without an explanation can work for an episode (especially as we can assume the mystery will be explained in time), but it requires better acting and directing than this show delivers.

Acting: 4/6. I kind of liked the Observer. Dr. Bishop remains good; Boyles handles the limited range they’ve given the character well. I cannot take the rest of the main cast seriously. Astrid Farnsworth at least gets some emoting to do this week, after the crack FBI agent gets knocked out by an awkward old man.

Production: 6/6.

Emotional response: 4/6.

Overall: 4/6.

“The Arrival” receives twenty-eight out of forty-two.

Questions

1. Who is the Observer (referred to as “September” in the credits)? An alien? A member of yet another secret organization? A transdimensional travel agent? A time-travelling future version of one of the Bishops? Gary Seven‘s eccentric uncle?

2. Did anyone record this episode? I looked to my beverage for a moment during the graveyard scene, and a second later caught what appeared to be the name “Petrelli” on a headstone. Did my mind invent this?