Fringe

2008, TV Show

Fringe Episode: "A New Day in the Old Town"

Season 2, Episode 1
Episode Synopsis: The Fringe division comes under congressional scrutiny in the second-season premiere, which also follows Olivia's incredible return to her familiar environs and the pursuit of a mysterious entity that will stop at nothing to find her.
Original Air Date: Sep 17, 2009
Guest Cast Ari Graynor: Rachel Dunham Tegan Moss: Rebecca Simone Kessell: Nurse Adrian Holmes: Forensics Chief Christian Vincent: Surgeon Meghan Markle: Amy Jessup
Full Episode
click to playclick to play
Season 2, Episode 1
Subscription | Netflix
Length: 43:43
Aired: 9/17/2009
Also available on iTunes, Amazon Prime and VUDU
play more info

Fringe Episode Recap: "A New Day in the Old Town" Season 2, Episode 1

Fringe returns for its second season in typical fashion, with bizarre villains, weird science and, of course, a ton of new questions. Olivia returns from her meeting with William Bell in arguably the strangest car accident of all time, Broyles fights to keep Fringe division open, Peter tries to sort out all the weirdness and Walter makes some custard!

It feels good to have this show back, doesn't it? The first season may have been a bit of slow going at first, but, man, once it got going, it turned into quite a ride. But enough of last season, let's talk about this wonderfully weird new episode, shall we? We open in Manhattan with a car accident. There's a strange man fleeing said accident and using some sort of device to shape-shift into the poor man who just happened to open his door. (Did you catch the glimpse of The X-Files on the TV? A nice nod to Fringe's forbearers.) It also appears our beloved Agent Olivia Dunham was involved in the car accident, only she's nowhere to be found. Cut to everyone's favorite father and son duo, Walter and Peter Bishop, innocently shopping in a grocery store before getting called in to consult on the bizarre accident. They, and we, are introduced to Agent Amy Jessup, an attractive FBI agent (is there any other kind?) who clearly has no clue what is going on. Walter fiddles with Olivia's wrecked car when the electronics go haywire, and a knowing look passes over his face. The car falls silent just before Agent Dunham bursts through the windshield and rolls to a stop in front of Peter and Agent Jessup.

That is how you kick off a premiere! From here we're supposed to believe that Agent Dunham is brain dead and beyond saving. We know that this cannot be; we are after all Fringe-philes (Fringe-freaks? Doctors of Fringe-ology? What do we call ourselves?). But, okay, let's follow along for a little bit. While Peter drowns his sorrows with whiskey, the terminally stoic Phillip Broyles joins him, only to drop the bomb that Fringe division is being closed. Peter returns to the hospital, and after a nice little character moment with Olivia's sister, Rachel, says his good-byes to Olivia. Naturally, Olivia opens her eyes, rambles in Greek and sits up in terror; as the brain-dead often do. Of course she has no memory of what happened to her; the one thing she does know, however, is that she needs her gun. There's the Olivia we know and love!

Peter teams up with Agent Jessup and the two track down the man who escaped the car accident, only the man is dead and has been for days. Walter examines the body and demands he be transported to his lab. This provided one of the great Walter moments that I've missed oh-so-much this summer; he gets to ride with body (yay!), only Peter tells him not to steal any drugs from the ambulance (boo!). From here, our mysterious shape-shifter gets access to a typewriter, a typewriter that hasn't been used for six years. This isn't the first time we've gotten hints that things of this nature have happened in the recent past. Last season, Nina Sharp hinted that the bizarre goings-on were occurring with a frequency that has happened before. I think we can assume that typewriter was probably being used quite a bit the last time weirdness ran amok. Anyway, the shape-shifter learns he failed in his mission and that he should kill Olivia. Dun-dun-duuuun!

Meanwhile, Peter takes Agent Jessup to Walter's lab. Look there's Astrid! With a haircut! And the cow! Ahhh, it feels good to be back here. But before long we're soon whisked off to a nice, quiet scene with Charlie and Olivia. It's always nice to see Charlie, and Anna Torv and Kirk Acevedo were typically strong in the acting department, but this scene was largely extraneous. Let's get back to the action! Walter has a theory after seeing the three holes in the victim's soft palette and digs up a video of a past experiment in which a drugged-up girl recounts a lovely tale of a device that allows people to shape-shift.

In Washington, Broyles gets slapped down by some senators who believe Fringe division to be largely expendable (despite a ham-handed speech from Broyles about how much Fringe division does for this country). We're then treated to our first scene with Nina Sharp, in which she makes it clear that Fringe division must not close and there's little that Massive Dynamic can do to help the situation. She says all this right before laying a big wet one on Broyles! There have been hints that their relationship was more than platonic but never this overt. Anyone else eager to see a flashback of a young Broyles saving a young Nina from imminent danger? Just me? Okay, fine.

Back to the freak-of-the-week, Peter and Agent Jessup figure out the shape-shifter has taken on another identity and realize he's probably on his way to pay Olivia a visit. The shape-shifter does just that but not before taking over the identity of Olivia's nurse. The shape-shifter grills Olivia for information on her missing memories, but all Olivia can recall is that "something's hidden." When she's not able to come up with a location, the nurse begins to strangle her; fortunately, Agent Jessup arrives in time to shoot the shape-shifter; unfortunately, the bullets barely phase it and it jumps out the window. A chase ensues with Charlie, Jessup and Peter hot on the shape-shifters trail. Charlie encounters it in the boiler room and opens fire, seemingly killing it. Whew, case closed (case not at all closed)!

Peter and Olivia discuss the crazy happenings and Peter tells her Walter thinks the shape-shifter was a soldier from an alternate dimension. Time for some theories: So now that Olivia has been to one alternate dimension, are these soldiers going to be the "big bad" for the season? Are they ZFT members with way better technology? Who's the leader? Anyone think it could possibly be a bizarro Walter? These are the questions to ponder this season, my friends. Anyway, Peter informs Olivia that the Greek phrase she woke up saying was something his mother said to him every night, "Be a better man than your father." Very mysterious, indeed. From there, Peter gives Broyles the shape-shifting device and tells him to use it as collateral to keep Fringe division open. This was my favorite scene of the episode, not only because Peter really stepped up and took control (as opposed to being the guy who bemoaned having to watch his father last season) but it hinted at shape-shifting super soldiers in our dimension!

The episode ended with Olivia loading her gun, which I'm thankful for. If the premiere suffered from one thing it was the lack of Olivia. She is, after all, our main character. Then we saw Charlie returning to the boiler room where he killed the shape-shifter; only it's the other way around. Charlie is dead and the shape-shifter has taken his place! Anyone else who knows J.J. Abrams' late, great spy series Alias had to immediately think of the "Evil Francie" storyline from that show. But I'm fine with the recycled plot device if they milk it for as much suspense and drama as that show did during its second season.

So what did you think of the premiere? Awesome? Good? Poor? Did you spot The Observer? (Hint: He's in the first few minutes). Here's some things to ponder after this episode:

• Agent Jessup may have been treated with cortexiphan like Olivia. She is an army brat like Olivia and she told Peter, 'I think I've been waiting for you people all my life." That's mighty portentous! Also, what was with her relating the previous cases to the Bible? That has me worried; it's always a little hokey when storytellers tie religion to sci-fi but let's see where that goes before we judge too harshly.

• There were several references to the whole "Peter died and another Peter was taken from a different dimension" plotline (Peter never liking custard as a child, Walter checking his breathing as he sleeps, etc.). For how long can they tease this out? They've all but blatantly said that's what occurred, and it's going to get old if they keep dropping hints without addressing it sometime soon.

• Lastly, what the heck happened in Olivia's meeting with William Bell? Leonard Nimoy doesn't return until the fourth episode of the season, so until then I think we can only guess. Welcome back Fringe, we've missed you so! show less

Fringe returns for its second season in typical fashion, with bizarre villains, weird science and, of course, a ton of new questions. Olivia returns from her meeting with William Bell in arguably the strangest car accident of all time, Broyles fights to keep Fringe division open, Peter tries to sort out all the weirdness and Walter makes some custard!

read more

Related Links

Other Links:
Fringe
Tags:
FOX

Are You Watching?

Loading ...
Premiered: September 09, 2008, on FOX
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (5,431 ratings)
Add Your Rating: 1 stars2 stars3 stars4 stars5 stars
Premise: A drama with sci-fi elements following the FBI probe of mysterious deaths aboard an airplane that landed at Boston's Logan Airport. But the deaths aboard Flight 627 are only the beginning of the story. Executive producers include J.J. Abrams ('Lost') and his 'Mission: Impossible III' co-screenwriters, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Cast

Shop

Fringe: Season 2  [Blu-ray]
Buy Fringe: Season 2 [Blu-ray] from Amazon.com
From Warner Home Video (Blu-ray)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $16.96 (as of 2:36 AM EST - more info)
Fringe: Season 5
Buy Fringe: Season 5 from Amazon.com
From Warner Home Video (DVD)
Usually ships in 24 hours
Buy New: $14.96 (as of 2:36 AM EST - more info)

More Products

TV GUIDE Users' Most Popular