Friday gave us a particularly good episode of ‘Fringe’ that focused on one of the show’s supporting characters who doesn’t often get the spotlight. It also has a brief, almost throwaway moment at the end with unexpected layers of depth and complexity behind it.
In ‘Making Angels’, the alternate universe Astrid crosses over to the main universe without authorization. Her father, a cold man who never understood her (Asperberg-like) condition and never showed her much love, has died. Her feelings about this are very confused, and she seeks out her opposite hoping for insight. Fauxlivia crosses over as well to bring her back. While here, they stick around for a bit to help with a case.
A TSA agent (character actor Chin Han, who appeared in both ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Contagion’) has the ability to see the future, and has been confronting people he forsees as being doomed in order to put them out of their misery early. First he kills a man with cancer, then an alcoholic woman, and finally attacks (but isn’t able to kill) a man who will be crippled in a car accident. While chasing the last victim, the man is hit by a car and winds up crippled anyway.
When the Fringe team investigates, they find that the killer was formerly a brilliant MIT professor who dropped off the radar. His colleagues believe that he lost his mind. They track him back to a house on Reiden Lake. It turns out that he retrieved a device that was lost by the Observer who tried to save young Peter (and failed in this timeline). The device allows him to see all planes of the past, present and future. He believes that this was a gift from God, who wants him to act as an angel of mercy. In the end, he pulls a Death-by-Cop and forces Olivia to shoot him. Afterwards, other Observers take back their device.
This episode has a lot of terrific character moments. Walter takes an instant liking to alternate-Astrid (he even remembers her name!), and announces that he favors her greatly over Peter. Fauxlivia has a lot of fun taunting Walter, who she knows hates her. Eventually, she manages to win him over a bit.
Near the end, regular Astrid tries to comfort alt-Astrid by explaining that her own relationship with her father has been strained. Whatever issues alternate-Astrid had were not her fault. However, Astrid then goes home, and we see that her father is actually very warm and loving to her. Clearly, she lied in order to make alt-Astrid feel better. But this also suggests that her father could very well have developed into a different man had she been born like alt-Astrid. Does this put everything she knows about her father into doubt?
Two things about this episode bothered me, though. The first is a really obnoxious bit of product placement for a Nissan hybrid car that painfully stands out from the rest of the episode. The other is the fact that, when retrieving their device, one of the Observers has to explain to the other Observer that Peter has returned. Aren’t they omniscient? Shouldn’t he have already known?