The Fringe ride continues with Season 3’s second episode, entitled “The Box”, in which a seeming monster-of-the-week plot quickly turns out to be entwined closely with the show’s mytharc. Altivia (Anna Torv) is in our universe and, with Newton’s help (played by Sebastian Roché), she gleans more information about our Fringe Division and infiltrates it even more. Working the case brings her closer to Peter, albeit unwillingly, and we start seeing little mistakes Altivia is making, mistakes which will hopefully clue the Fringe team in sooner rather than later.
While the production team seems to still be taking its time in giving us elements of the plot fans are anxiously waiting for, it is doing so brilliantly, teasing its audience with little bits and pieces as it has for the last two years. As a result, the episode manages to balance well giving its audience enough action to keep it interested while also teasing it just about enough with glimmerings of information. This is typical of Fringe’s rather unique and, at the end, satisfying storytelling.
While the nature of the show demands a constant flow of new concepts and storylines, it also calls for some level of repetition. For example, we had the return of the same neural stimulator that Walter used in Season 1’s "The Ghost Network" (Episode 3) and "Inner Child" (Episode 15). There was also the return of a highly familiar sound effect, i.e. that used in Season 2’s “Of Human Action” (Episode 7). In both episodes, when the characters' hearing is affected, an interesting dampening effect is used that eerily simulates the sound I recall while my ears were plugged during a recent underwater expedition. There was also the effect The Box had on its victims, which paralleled a little bit what happened to victims of the computer program created by Dempsey in “The No-Brainer” (Season 1, Episode 12).
I also love the recurrence of certain themes in Fringe, including perception, duality, evil and destiny. We are shown various facets of their inner complexity, which allows deeper exploration – and hopefully, understanding of those ideas.
I like the hints that we are going to be seeing more of Newton, who is, like David Robert Jones, quite the polite baddie. But I like Newton’s rather dry sense of humor as well:
Man in subway: What’s this?
Newton: It’s a box.
I’m really looking forward to more of these one-liners.
The Observer was spotted in the subway station. Newton has just left the box behind and is exiting the premises when September comes in. As for the glyphs, they spelled out ‘Alert’. Is it simply a continuation of last week’s ‘Amber’? Or rather, is it a word to be taken on its own? I still remain convinced that there is more about the words we have yet to figure out, and am still waiting for a stroke of genius to hit me (hopefully not hard enough that I won’t be able to write about it!).