Review: Fringe 1.16 - "Unleashed"

This will also be online over at Television Zombies. Please stop by and check out all the reviews and listen to the show.

Olivia is reading the Burlap Bear to Ella. Rachel says it's bedtime as a call comes in from Peter, he wants to talk to Rachel and Olivia finds it odd. (PS, Burlap Bear doesn't exist, but whoever they got to draw it made it look interesting.) Rachel laughs on the phone and Olivia continues reading. Ella asks if monsters are real, Olivia says "Of course not."

Immediate "GAH!" cut to screaming monkeys. A group of youngsters have broken into a lab to release animals. One of them strays to the back with a big door. A man gets a phone alarm that wakes him up and he takes off in his car to the lab. The man arrives at the lab more afraid of what's in the back than worried about the activists. He asks if the door in the back was opened and then yells at them all to get out, then he's snagged and there's blood. The kids rush out but one is nabbed. The remaining three drive off screaming when their car is flipped and they crash. The survivors are attacked and we hear a rattling sound.

Open credits.

Peter brings Astrid coffee and goes to eat an omelet but Walter says not to because inside the omelet is an ear he's growing to test something. Peter gives him the, "You live in a society with other people" speech. Olivia calls the crew in to meet Charlie and Broyles to the crash site. They find the victims had a large claw and fang wounds. Victims have no IDs and some lock picking tools. Olivia sees four drinks but only three bodies. They trace the food back to a place near MIT. Agent Dunham heads to a frat house to ask some questions of Carl, who is really happy the hot FBI agent is there to ask questions. Carl says Chris (the forth missing student) was an animal rights activist. An autopsy at the lab shows a fanged bite four inches apart and lion like gashes. They investigate animal lab break ins.

An animal control van goes to investigate a "monster" sighting. The two traipse off into the woods. Olivia asks Peter about Rachel and he says they're friends. Walter goes through a box of his files and sees something he doesn't like. Olivia goes to meet Charlie and Walter says be careful. Charlie finds the Animal Control van and investigates. There's blood all over and one of the men is in the car gutted; he calls in for back up and hears a monster sound. Gun drawn he goes farther into the woods and sees the other man. A segmented tail drops down behind him. Dunham arrives, hears gunshots and Charlie screaming. She arrives to see him wounded but not bad. He says whatever did it was big.

EMTs extract a stinger barb that Walter takes. He asks Charlie some questions about the creature. He says they may be dealing with a transgenic species, accelerated Darwinism. Astrid calls with info on animal labs near the first crime scene. Dunham heads to Swift Research and talks to Robert Swift. They test pharma and cosmetic products on animals. She tells him about the attack, he doesn't seem to know much. He denies doing any genetic testing on animals. He also says she needs a warrant to look around. Astrid zips up a body bag, Dunham asks Walter what he'd need to create a transgenic. Peter asks him to focus and he shows him the book with a drawing of a creature with the body and head of a snake with spider legs. He says the creature out there wasn't his, but he tried to make one. His work was with Kelvin Genetics for the Army. The body bags starts to move and when they open it, the wounds are pushing out larvae (that look like maggots.) They deduce the creature plants eggs when it stings. Olivia realizes Charlie's been stung. At the Francis residence Charlie and his wife Sonia are getting ready for bed and Olivia shows up to say he's in trouble.

Walter does an ultrasound on Charlie and sees a lot of little larvae. Walter doesn't have a treatment idea and he freaks out a little. Peter helps him focus and decides to try and poison them with trichloramide. (A note on this, I can't tell if trichloramide is real or not. There's tricholormine, or a nitrogen trichloride, which is basically an ammonium salt plus chlorine, or the reaction you get in a chlorinated pool if you pee in it. But, in concentrated amounts, it's highly explosive. However, I'm unable to find much on trichloramide that doesn't appear to be a misspelling. So it's either completely made up or Walter just misspoke.)

A mom and kid are at a playground and we see a segmented rattle tail moving into a playscape tunnel. Broyles gives Dunham some information about Kelvin Genetics and they talk about the missing forth victim. Peter calls with an update that the larvae have been poisoned but so has Charlie and the bad news is the larvae act like parasites, feeding off Charlie. Walter has an idea that transfusing the monster's blood with Charlie's will cause the larvae to self destruct. Mom and her boy at the playground barely escape monster, screams heard around the playground. Dunham and Peter try to fix a pattern to the monster's movements, possibly underground; the sightings are all near storm drains. Walter has a little breakdown and Charlie screams in pain as the larvae start getting bigger which we can see crawling around his stomach.

Charlie is stable but Dunham gets news that the latest sighting isn't near a storm drawin, no pattern. Carl from the frat house calls Dunham saying that a classmate hasn't shown up for a while, one Jonathan Swift. Dunham goes to Swift Research and talks to Dr. Swift about his son and his activities. Dunham pushes past his lawyering up saying it's already killed five people. The doctor breaks down, saying it actually killed seven. The monster came from his lab and that he was working with another guy, Cameron Dagelman the one killed first at the lab. It was his work, not Walter's that was being done. Plus the combination of animals in the monster is a hela monster, wasp and bat. The bat's immune system makes it possible to combine many animals without their parts rejecting each other. But it doesn't help Charlie. They decide to bait it with the larvae, bats are very maternal, as long as they can bring in 50cal incendiary rounds. They pack up, Walter grabs some more of that trichloramide, Dunham says bye to Charlie.

Peter, Olivia and Walter crawl into the sewer, find a good point to conduct the sound and wait. Charlie calls his wife and makes small talk, fighting to remain calm during the pain he's in. It's a sweet moment and one that usually indicates the character is going to die. She doesn't know he's in trouble. Back in the sewer, Walter says he has to go pee. As he moves beyond the bucket of bait, he closes the door and swallows the chemical, saying Peter is right and that he has to own up to his mistakes. The monster will get him, but it'll be poisoned if it does and then they can get the blood for Agent Francis. Plus there's an antidote back at the lab. Peter and Olivia try opening the gate but can't and Walter walks off into the tunnels.

Walter wanders around singing and hoping to lure the monster to him. He reaches a dead end and the monster drops in from above. It's a fairly wicked creature looking like something from a Star Wars movie. Before it gets to Walter, Peter and Olivia show up and distract it. It knocks Walter down and runs after the others but is dropped by a couple shots from Walter. They head back and after a montage of chemistry busy work, push a blue liquid into Charlie. The larvae die and Peter says his dad was very brave.

Charlie goes home to his wife and crawls into bed. Olivia goes home to find Rachel and Ella asleep on the couch. She goes to bed but hears a whining sounds like the wind through a pipe. She turns the light back on.

Complete procedural. Nothing in "Unleashed" gave us any arc information and the broader story of Fringe was not advanced. This was a character episode for Walter, Peter and Charlie. Peter had to confront Walter. Walter had to take ownership of his past dealings. Charlie had to be shown as more than a sympathetic agent with a gravely voice.

This was literally the "monster of the week" episode and there was very little to uncover or discuss after the fact. No new questions, no answers, no twists. It wasn't exciting and the ticking clock for Charlie was the only thing in doubt. Having heard no news of Kirk Acevedo leaving the show, I knew he wasn't going to die. This isn't a Joss Whedon show where people get killed left and right, this is a show built to run a long time and you don't do that by killing people off.

Peter and Rachel are friends; that was the biggest nugget of information we get from "Unleashed," and it's one we saw coming. Seeing as the Glyph Code spells out PETER, I'm left to wonder (after watching it twice) what part he played or what tidbit I missed. As far as I could tell, he was merely a grounding rod for Walter. He's always been that. Despite Peter's shady past, his role so far has been that of comedic exposition and Walter Bishop caretaker/interpreter. Does this mean he has a larger part to play?

Not having any of the mythos of the show involved really upsets me as a viewer. I could deal with monster of the week episodes as long as there is a touch of the full arc involved. The problem with "Unleashed" is that it could have been a Doctor Who episode, or Supernatural or X-Files or even CSI: Everville. (Obscure?) It didn't have to be Fringe.

Two and a half randomly chosen glyphs.

No comments: