Last night's episode of Fringe reminded me why I've fallen in love with this show: You've got your gooey mega-virus attacks, scary conspiracies, and Olivia fist-fighting her way through underground research facilities. Spoilers ahead!
The more I ponder it, the more I like the overarching premise of Fringe - that there is a secret network of bad guys who sell "scientific innovation" on the black market. Of course the scientific innovations are things like teleportation machines and viruses that make your head explode. And it's hard to tell who is a good guy and who is bad in this world of double-crossing scientists, secret labs, and guerrilla experimentation. Is giant company Massive Dynamic, which feeds on underground science, a bad actor? Or just amoral? Is the government, which runs the Fringe Project, trying to stop the bad guys or just steal their science?
All we know for sure is that agent Olivia Dunham is a good guy, and so is her boss Broyles. Her mad science sidekicks are also (mostly) good - Peter is an underground science guy who now breaks the law for great justice, and his father Walter is a completely bonkers genius who doses caterpillars with homemade LSD and craves cheesesteaks while dissecting monsters.
Last night's episode helped solidify our scoobies, while also wrapping up a conspiracy plot from a few episodes ago. Agent Mitch Loeb, who is somehow involved with innovation terrorist Jones, has been conspiring with his wife to do . . . something. And now we know what it is. He was building mega-viruses - giant versions of the cold virus that grow inside you ultra-fast, and kill you when they bust out of your mouth like gooey tentacles that (let's face it) look sort of like blow jobs in reverse.
Speaking of reverse blow jobs, there was a lot of gleeful perversion in this episode, including when Olivia was gratuitously stabbed in the near-ass with a giant needle when she was being held captive early in the episode. Turns out that old Mitch likes to strap people down and jab them with things in his secret warehouse lab, and though we know that he was making the megaviruses we're still not sure why he was poking Olivia. So what I'm saying is that though one conspiracy has been uncovered, there are still others to come.
We still don't know why Mitch was trying to kill epidemiologists with his mega-viruses. We do know that the two he killed had been tapped by the CDC to be on some sort of secret anti-epidemic taskforce. And we also know that after he was captured, he told Olivia that he was trying to "save" her with his back-jabbing needle and that she has no clue what is going on and which side is the right one. Is he secretly a good guy?
Or is Peter secretly a bad guy? In this episode, his got to do more with his role as "the tough dude who breaks the law." When Olivia's colleague wanted to do an illegal wiretap, he didn't just call up the NSA like he would have under the Bush Administration - oh no, he couldn't do anything illegal. So he asked Peter to wiretap Mitch's phone, and Peter asked some underground science friend of his to pull strings at the phone company. Lucky they got that illegal wiretap because they heard Mitch telling his wife to kill Olivia.
Which led to Olivia's second awesome fist fight of the episode (the first was when she fought her way out of Mitch's secret lab) and the death of Mitch's wife.
But what comes next, Fringies? Olivia will continue unraveling the Jones mystery, Peter will continue being badass, and also there's a whole new group of people to menace because Olivia's sister and niece are staying in town. I predict sister kidnappings. Also, there's this whole festering problem with a guy named Harris from DHS. Harris hates Olivia for prosecuting him for sexually assaulting several women, and has just gotten his conviction reversed and taken up his old job at internal investigations. So sexual assault guy is investigating whether Olivia is competent and the Fringe division is worth spending cash on.
Menaced by government bureaucracy, menaced by outlaw science, menaced by giant corporations, and assaulted by mega-viruses! Fringe is back, kids. Get ready to spew some tentacles.