Fringe Review: The Arrival

“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?

16 replies on “Fringe Review: The Arrival”

  1. sjaskow says:

    Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s Gun
    My biggest issue with the episode is the fact that Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s gun seemed to kill only when the plot needed to. For example, he killed the agents at the warehouse with it but didn’t kill the guy from Quantico.

    Oh, yeah, I watched an interview with Anna Torv on Hulu.com and she sounds much less weird with her native accent. They really should have let her be an Australian ex-pat turn FBI agent.

    I had hopes for this show, but if the writing and acting doesn’t get better, it’s going to get canceled.

    • Fez says:

      Re: Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s Gun

      My biggest issue with the episode is the fact that Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s gun seemed to kill only when the plot needed to. For example, he killed the agents at the warehouse with it but didn’t kill the guy from Quantico.

      SDKG’s gun, if it were some advanced piece of technology, might have a "stun" and "kill" setting. Or perhaps he just didn’t speak a killing word. :-)

      I wonder if that will ever be mentioned again, as it should have been recovered at the site. That is, if The Observer didn’t grab it.

    • Damien says:

      Re: Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s Gun

      My biggest issue with the episode is the fact that Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s gun seemed to kill only when the plot needed to

      Shoot once for stun, twice for kill. Or it’s telepathic and senses whether the user’s intentions are to leave the subject alive for future probing, or just simply "die mofo".

      Damien

      • Nickvotrobeck says:

        Re: Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s Gun

        My biggest issue with the episode is the fact that Scary Deranged Killer Guy’s gun seemed to kill only when the plot needed to

        Shoot once for stun, twice for kill.

        If he zats shoots them a third time do they disintegrate?

  2. Fez says:

    Headstone

    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?

    I deleted it from my TiVo, but it should still be recoverable from the ‘recently deleted’ folder. If I can remember tonight, I’ll retrieve it and check it out. (Unless someone else can look it up faster…)

    • Fez says:

      Re: Headstone

      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?

      I deleted it from my TiVo, but it should still be recoverable from the ‘recently deleted’ folder. If I can remember tonight, I’ll retrieve it and check it out. (Unless someone else can look it up faster…)

      The headstone in question said "Casey Peretti / 1902 – 1990"

      That’s the only one I saw that looked anything like Petrelli.

      • Timeshredder says:

        Re: Headstone

        The headstone in question said "Casey Peretti / 1902 – 1990"

        That’s the only one I saw that looked anything like Petrelli.

        Well, dangnabit, "Petrelli" would’ve been funnier.

        • J_W_W says:

          Re: Headstone

          The headstone in question said "Casey Peretti / 1902 – 1990"

          That’s the only one I saw that looked anything like Petrelli.

          Well, dangnabit, "Petrelli" would’ve been funnier.

          "Peter Petrelli" would have been the best.

  3. sflory says:

    ?!!?
    What nothing was a part of Mad Doc’s research?!!? Of course now I’m even more that his research was influenced by a 3rd party.

  4. zonk3r says:

    I hope this show gets canceled
    And makes room for something better. Like static. Or commercials.

  5. octa says:

    ouch
    You guys are being really brutal. I didn’t mind the episode much. It definitely was the weakest one to date but that doesn’t mean the show is bad.

    I guess I’m used to this being a fan of LOST. You’ll get "setup" episodes that don’t have much substance but sprinkle a lot of stuff that will be referenced in future episodes. There’s a lot to work from here and I’m looking forward to it.

    • Sir Geek says:

      Re: ouch

      You guys are being really brutal. I didn’t mind the episode much. It definitely was the weakest one to date but that doesn’t mean the show is bad.

      I guess I’m used to this being a fan of LOST. You’ll get "setup" episodes that don’t have much substance but sprinkle a lot of stuff that will be referenced in future episodes. There’s a lot to work from here and I’m looking forward to it.

      It was the same way for Babylon 5. There’s this neat writers tool. Its called "Character Development". Introduce things early on that make people go, what ? Then slowly solve those and introduce new mysteries.

  6. TwistyHat says:

    Like it!
    Well I like it. It has a nice vibe to it.

Comments are closed.