I've said enough bad things about the show in the first few weeks that I really need to tell you when I like it, and last night I liked it. Last night, I thought Fringe delivered a really solid episode. Plus, as an added bonus, I think I've identified the biggest weak points – Peter and Walter Bishop.
Last night, so many things about the show were right. There was a good story – it was nice and creepy. There was the addition of a new, weird, mysterious character – the bald, roast beef sandwich-eating guy (I don't care for his moniker on the show). Last night, even Olivia Dunham was compelling. It was all so right. I think that if they just get rid of Walter and Peter the show will be just fine.
Okay, maybe that's going too far, maybe they should just get rid of Walter. He is just plain annoying. I don't for a moment believe much of his weirdness. To me, it feels like he's playing at being foolish in order to be able to do things that he might not otherwise be allowed to do.
No, I'm not playing with you, and yes, I understand that a ton of the show is built around his character. I think John Noble is a perfectly fine actor. I think the trouble with the show has nothing to do with Noble. I think that the character, as written, is just plain annoying. Every time he does anything, whether it's milking a cow, going for a root beer float, or solving the mystery of the week, I want to climb into my TV and smack him around. It's his way of divulging (or not divulging) what he's doing. It's his incessant talking at night. It's his refusal to speak in a clear manner (and I'm convinced that's not due to his imprisonment). It's pretty much every little facet of his personality.
That's terrible isn't it? I don't want to feel that way about some old guy on my TV screen. That's not appropriate. He's intelligent, he's helping save the world, and… he's old. I shouldn't want to climb into my TV and hurt him. But, I do. I really, really do. It makes me feel bad, I don't want to be someone who hurts the elderly, but Walter Bishop inspires that sort of hatred in me. That's not good, is it?
It kind of makes me feel like House. I imagine that when House watches television (except for during his stories) he gets angry and contemplates the best ways to eliminate the characters he doesn't like. Okay, maybe he does that during his stories too, who am I to say?
All I know about last night's episode is that I'm so happy Taub was wrong about our sick painter having chemicals stored in his fat and it being his weight loss that was making him sick because it was causing his fat to decrease and the chemicals to be released. Oh sure, that sounds like a perfect House-type story. The reason it sounds like a perfect House-type story, though, is that they used it in season one (they may have used it in other seasons too, but my viewing of old episodes has only covered seasons one and four thus far). The only thing that disappointed me about Taub suggesting it is that House didn't say something snide about the fact that the painter couldn't have that as his problem as he, House, had already solved that case. See, that would have been funny.
Lastly, but not leastly, I know we didn't talk about it yesterday, but in case you're wondering, I'm giving two thumbs up to the season opener of Chuck. It was funny, full of action, and featured some Huey Lewis. Good stuff.