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The Fringe Files: 1×02, “The Same Old Story”
2009, December 21, 10:40 am
Filed under: teevee, the fringe files | Tags: , , ,

And, indeed, that it is.  Because this episode, the second of the series, is a calque of the second episode of The X-Files, “Squeeze.”  For real.

No, seriously, for real.  Well, he steals pituitary glands instead of livers.  But for pretty much the same reason, in a similar pattern, barring some of the gimmick of Tooms’ special ability.  The only real conceptual change here from “Squeeze” is that the embittered old cop who couldn’t get him before is Olivia.

At this point, I think, the show was still trying to force us into thinking specific things about the characters: that Walter Is Crazy, that Olivia Is A Badass, that Peter Is Gonna Bang Olivia, that Astrid Is Insignificant, and so forth.  So everything, in these early episodes, gets turned up to eleven: Walter sleeps inside a closet and needs someone to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to him so he can sleep, is obsessed with seat warmers, and is borderline-catatonic when he’s thinking; Olivia is tormented by her failures with John and with the case in the past – and her “I told her you were gonna give me a raise” line didn’t help; Peter is much more vocally skeptical about everything that happens; Peter is tormented by Walter for not having an imagination and banging Olivia.  But, then, I think pretty much every show goes through this sort of tuning – certainly, it’s a lot more natural by the end of the first season, although I can’t name a specific turning point like “Beyond the Sea” was for The X-Files.

That being said, this episode introduces a whole lot of interesting concepts that are pretty crucial:

  • The Pattern is mentioned for the first time – and in this season they’re still trying to tie everything to it, something which appears to have been jettisoned for the time being.
  • Fringe’s version of the Syndicate (henceforth “the Fringedicate”): the shadowy organization that Nina and Broyles lead to still unknown conclusions.
  • The notion that Walter is at the root of the Pattern, and that the Fringedicate knows it.
  • Plus – and this has yet to be brought back – Something Happened to the predecessors to the Team.

Oh, and Olivia has this weird dream where she gets pregnant with John Scott’s fast-growing baby that’s sort of shocking but, I mean, it’s not like much comes of it.  And the Peter Revelation comes up for the first time, which is a bit menacing, but, again, not much comes of it.  But like all good things, it would get better as it goes.


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