Although Fringe got off to a rocky start last week with the two-hour pilot about weird viruses, this week's episode was quicker and more fun. In many ways it felt like the real pilot, with all our characters being reintroduced along with the show's central conceit: There is a "pattern" of pseudo-science weirdness going on, and it can all be traced back in some way to the creepy corporation Massive Dynamic. What I liked about this episode was that Massive Dynamic itself became a much more complicated player. Plus, there were rogue brain surgeries and grody eyeballs! Spoilers ahead. This episode, called "Same Old," dealt with (not surprisingly) father-son dynamics between a scientist and his weird creation/son, a man who has to eat brains in order to prevent himself from growing old in like five minutes. The episode begins with our brain-eater accidentally getting a woman pregnant, and her freaktastic birth scene after the baby grows from zygote to dead old man in about 5 hours. Awesomely disgusting. I know it's a cliche — everybody does the super-fast baby thing from Species and XTRO to Abraxas and Anne Rice (those walking babies in Taltos? WTF?). What I'm saying is yes it's a B-movie staple, and I love it every time I see it. Even better was the way more and more B-movie tropes got larded on to the point where it felt like I was entering schlock shock. The brain-eater is also a serial killer, and he also has to eat pineal glands, and it turns out his "dad" (the scientist) was involved in the same scary experiments as mad scientist dad Walter Bishop — who then later admits to Vague Agent Olivia that his kid Peter also has fringe science health issues. It was like a father-son LiveJournal melodrama with concept design by Brian Yuzna. "Same Old" also hinted at a pattern in the way every episode is going to be laid out in terms of plot structure. There will be a fringe science mystery, perhaps part of The Pattern or perhaps not (last week: freaky virus; this week: freaky pregnancy). Then Walter Bishop will step in and engage in some kind of fringe experiment to solve the mystery. Last week it was the telepathy/LSD/sensory deprivation tank thing. This week, Walter used a special light gun camera to take pictures of the dead eyeballs belonging to one of the brain eater's murder victims. On her eyeball, the gun revealed images of the last thing she saw while alive! And this helped the Scooby Gang use Google maps to find their murderer's death warehouse. No, really. The eyeball thing was only slightly creepier than Google maps, actually. The other major throughline we encountered in this episode that I think is likely to get carried through for the whole season is Olivia's professional entanglement with one of the VPs of Massive Dynamic. You can see the oddly chilling scene, above, where the VP offers Olivia a job basically by saying that Massive Dynamic is more powerful than any government. I like the idea that the Big Bad here is a corporation, rather than the government ala X-Files. That, more than anything, marks Fringe as a post-Cold War, fully contemporary spookfest. Also, I like how Olivia has workplace drama while Walter and Peter have domestic family drama. The lady works while the men squabble over parenting issues. Tune in next week when everyone on a bus becomes frozen in ice . . . cliches from Speed mixed with Johnny Snow! Plus, I hope we get more corporate fascism from Massive Dynamic. I want to see them use those "private armies" to fuck shit up in some made-up country where everybody is psychic.

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