I know I have said this numerous times in perhaps most of my season two reviews of Fringe, but some things are just meant to be repeated: this show is getting better with every passing week. Yes there are occasional fall-backs, but overall, the growth is positive, and the rest of the season is looking more and more appealing as the weeks advance.
Last week’s episode, "August", was a great way to advance the mytharc while maintaining a certain monster-of-the-week appeal. When the Fringe team examines a surveillance tape depicting the kidnapping of a young woman in Boston, they realise that the person they thought was The Observer is actually another Observer. And, during the course of this episode, we find out that there are a lot more Observers, and yet we are not privy to their names.
How in the name of sci-fi am I going to keep track of them in the course of upcoming reviews? Dear God.
In any case, this particular Observer does have a name: August. And now that they are hot on his trail, Fringe Division comes across evidence collected by a Massive Dynamics symbologist (no, not Robert Langdon) who has identified the Original Observer in many paintings depicting major events throughout history including the Boston massacre of 1770, Marie-Antoinette’s execution in 1793, and the shot taken at Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in 1914 that started World War I.
This symbologist has an interesting theory with important implications: that The Observer appears to observe important events, and as the frequency of Observer sightings have increased in the last couple of years, that something big is about to happen.
This concept of time and how special the time we are currently living in is was quite intriguing, all the more so that there are so many references to these ‘special times’ in countless TV shows. And dare we forget the importance of December 21, 2012? And what with all these shows and movies going on and on about how now is a special time, it makes you wonder – it is a special time, or is it just us hoping to be special? On the one hand, there has been an exponential increase in human achievements since the 1850s, and this has been charted. So in a way, the last 160 years or so have been really special, ever since that day that the first telegram has been sent, back on May 24, 1844. And so it does beg the question: why did it start in 1844? What is it about now that makes us special? How come, after thousands and thousand of years, in a relatively very short time, we have been given so many tools to potentially achieve so much? And even more puzzling, how come now that we have everything it takes to make peace and prosperity for everyone a reality, we are at the brink of destroying ourselves? Perhaps this is the curious phenomenon The Observers are keen on watching.