"Unleashed" (1.16)

Before I begin discussing this episode of Fringe, I will warn those who have not seen Fringe but would like to see it to not read any further, as this blog entry does contain spoilers. I think that this episode is one of the better "stand-alone" episodes. It deals with Walter's past, setting the stage for the final part of the season during which time two major secrets are revealed, secrets that Walter has kept, the first being the fact that Walter was involved in administering Cortexiphan to Olivia and the second being that Peter is from the alternate reality. Although this episode has nothing to do with either, it does have to do with Walter being tormented by his past and the decisions that he made in the past, which I think is important. Also, we get a great deal of character development from Charlie's character in this episode. In fact, in those regards, I don't really see the episode as being a true "stand-alone" episode, not in the sense that, say, "Night of Desirable Objects" (2.02) is, in which the case has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the mythology or with the characters. There is really only one episode during season one that I consider "stand-alone," and that would be "The No-Brainer" (1.12) an episode that received a rating of four, the lowest rating that I have ever given a Fringe episode so far. I am ultimately pretty happy with this episode and give it eight pregnant Charlies.

Something that is immediately clear in this episode is that Olivia is jealous that Peter calls to talk to Rachel, and this made especially obvious when Peter tells Olivia why he called to talk to her. He tells her that he discovered the title of the song that goes, "if you like Pina Coladas," and Olivia says, "So, you two are friends now?" Peter smiles and says, "Does that bother you?" It is easy to see that he is pleased that it bothers her, that he wants it to bother her, but, hey, that's just the Oliver inside of me talking, most likely. Anyway, moving on, the beginning of the episode, when the kids' car flips over only for them to be torn apart by the creature, reminds me so much of the film Cursed, and considering the fact that that film stars Josh Jackson, it may not be coincidental. I wonder why it is that Walter and Peter are suddenly fighting like brothers in this episode, although I do have to admit that I would be pretty angry about the ear omelet, too, speaking from Peter's perspective, that is; that is pretty disgusting, and he almost eats it. I love how Peter sarcastically suggests that the team is looking for Big Bird, and Walter says, "Don't be ridiculous; perhaps, a pterodactyl." It's as if that is any less ridiculous, and Peter consequently rolls his eyes.

"Oh, forgive my son," Walter says after Peter lashes out at him for eating the food found in the crashed vehicle. "He's been in a mood all day." Then, not too long after that, Broyles brings up Peter having falsified his degree from M.I.T., and Walter says, "Yeah, Peter, why commit to anything when you can just fake it?" Like I said, they are really at each other's throats throughout this episode, and I don't know why. Are they seriously in such battle just because of Walter's ear omelet? Walter also gives us quite a bit to laugh at during this episode, as he almost always does. Peter talking about the creature on the loose, asks if "this thing has the claws of a lion and the fangs of a snake," and Walter says, "Reminds me of a woman I once knew in Cleveland." Then, a little later in the episode, we see one of my all-time favorite Walter moments to date. Flustered, Walter wanders back and forth talking to himself, and he says, "Damn it, how can I concentrate with you running around?" Seemingly concerned, Astrid asks, "Walter, are you talking to me?" to which Walter replies, "No, just thinking out loud." Lastly, there is Walter's usual having topics come to mind, with at least one of them having nothing to do with the case. This time, he tells Olivia and Peter that he needs to "tinkle" and asks to be directed to the facilities." However, based on the look on his face after he asks this and Peter tells him that he's in the facilities, I have to wonder if he is just busting hump.

Despite Peter and Walter's bickering in this episode, though, this episode is yet another episode that makes it clear that Peter cares a lot about Walter. When Walter tries to get rid of the creature himself by consuming poison in case the creature eats him, Peter vehemently says to him, "I don't want you to do this!" and at the end of the episode, he makes it clear that he is proud of Walter, something that he does quite often. I love how every time Olivia needs Astrid for something, Astrid almost always knows what Olivia is going to ask her for and therefore finishes Olivia's sentences before she finishes them herself. Olivia is her usual self in this episode; for example, when she returns to Swift Research to confront Robert Swift (played by David Pittu, who I personally feel does a terrible acting job in this episode), she is told that she can't simply walk back there to confront him, but, of course, she does, anyway. However, Olivia is also compassionate and caring and has a huge heart, and that is made obvious in this episode, too. Charlie tells her, "Don't get hurt for me," and Olivia says in response, "Well, that's not really fair, considering you would do the same for me." Speaking of Charlie, why, I wonder, doesn't the creature kill him? Walter says that he was spared in order to give birth to the creature's offspring (and I love how Charlie says, "Are you trying to tell me that I'm pregnant?"), but I really feel like I'm missing something, because larvae are found bursting out of the chest of one of the victims, so even though the creature kills this man, he still seems to be impregnated.

As previously stated, we see a lot of character development out of Charlie's character in this episode. Although he probably is not intending to be funny, he does convey humor in this episode, something that, although we have seen before ("I wasn't going to tell you this, but he said he loved me, too," referring to episode 1.03, "The Ghost Network"), we don't see all that often. Walter asks Charlie if the creature felt rough, like a rhinoceros, and Charlie says, very sarcastically, as it should be added, "I haven't felt any rhinos lately." Then, when Walter presses further, Charlie says, "I didn't get a good look at it; it kept on knocking me on my ass." We see a great deal of Kirk Acevedo's acting ability in this episode, as well, which is closely linked to the character development that we get. The scene involving Charlie talking to his wife on the phone, for example, is really sad (he most likely assumes that that is the last time that he will have the opportunity to talk to her) and is amazing acting on Acevedo's part. I can't believe, though, that his wife can't tell, from his tone of voice and such, that something is wrong; I certainly would have been able to tell, and it's so sad when Charlie tells Olivia that he and his wife have recently been talking a lot about having a baby.

Of course, we now know, from "A New Day in the Old Town" (2.01) that the Charlie from this reality is dead, and what makes it even harder to think about is the possibility that his wife did in fact end up getting pregnant with a child that will now never know his or her father. As previously stated, Kirk Acevedo does an excellent job acting in this episode. Still, the best that we've seen him is the scene in "Momentum Deferred" (2.04), during which he plays the Shapeshifter that took Charlie's form and buys thermometers so that he can consume the mercury, most definitely the absolute best acting that we have seen from Acevedo on this show. I had a feeling that since Charlie comes so close to death in this episode that he actually would die in the future, since that is exactly what happens to another character named Charlie on another show created by J.J. Abrams, and, of course, I was right. I also think that the creature is very cool-looking. I was on the edge of my seat during the scene involving the young boy at the playground, since I thought for sure that that kid was going to end up dead. I love how the episode ends, since it ties into the following episode, "Bad Dreams" (1.17), with Olivia turning her bedside lamp on before she goes to sleep. Overall, this is a very decent episode, in my opinion.

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