There isn’t a show on television like Fringe. It’s reaching the halfway point of its third season, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down, creatively. Viewership isn’t good, but bar that Fringe is only getting better. Season two was a drastic improvement upon season one, and season three is looking to be the same on its predecessor as well. Case in point: December 2’s episode, “Entrada.” I got to watch an advance screener of that episode a few days ago, and I have to tell you, it’s the best episode of Fringe ever.
Don’t worry; I won’t be spoiling you on anything that happens in the episode; if you want some spoilerish clues you can head on over to my Fringe Spoiler Q&A. Folks have been scratching their head over those for a while now — maybe you can figure them out!
“Entrada” has the best pacing of any episode of Fringe. A lot goes down in this episode, and it goes down incredibly quickly. Not quickly enough for the episode to feel rushed, mind you, but quickly enough for the episode to be pure, visceral action. It’s a full hour of tension that will have you gripping the armrests of your chair in white-knuckle suspense, even during the commercials.
The main trio is fantastic as always. Peter, after his paralyzing discovery of Altlivia’s deception, finally springs into action and delivers an on-the-warpath performance that Jackson still manages to infuse with his characteristic sarcasm. Walter is sort of morose for the entire episode, but he at least gets to deliver a few zingers. However, he’s unfortunately on the sidelines for most of the episode due to the frantic nature of it all. It’s not Walter’s most shining moment, because this episode really belongs to Peter and Olivia. Thankfully, the writers don’t try to force Walter in where he doesn’t belong; his role is perfectly sized to fit the story’s need, and not vice-versa. Another great performance comes from the always brilliant Lance Reddick as Broyles, who has some very interesting moments throughout the episode that will profoundly affect his characters for the rest of the series.
The episode is, on the whole, satisfying. In fact, it’s more than satisfying. It’s everything you’ve wanted from this season all rolled into one, with some major surprises and shocks right after the other. The pacing is brilliant, the acting is even more brilliant, and the final two scenes are both incredibly heartwarming… and incredibly frustrating.
Will it be worth your while? Of course it will. And when you’ve calmed down a bit and can walk into public restrooms without eying everyone nervously (one poor lady meets a pretty nasty fate in a train station washroom), you’ll look back on this episode as quite possibly the best episode that Fringe has ever churned out. A+
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