Fringe 3.10 “The Firefly” Review

It wasn’t the massively groundbreaking episode that I’m sure we had all hoped it would be, but “The Firefly” was certainly one of the more mythology-centric episodes of Fringe‘s third season. Unfortunately, I think all the hype that was associated with the episode due to the move to Fridays made it just a bit of a letdown in terms of scale.

Let me clarify: the episode was above average, even for Fringe. Ultimately, though, it was just a good episode in terms of scale. There wasn’t anything definingly special about it, which I would be much less disappointed with if, again, so much promotional energy hadn’t been put into the episode over the past month. The character development, though, still adhered to Fringe‘s incredibly high standards.

The episode itself was a sort of throwback to an earlier episode “The Plateau,” which featured a similar storyline of future prediction. Is that a coincidence? Of course not, this is Fringe. If anything, the episode took concepts established in “The Plateau” and advanced them to a new level so that our two Observer friend September could get to his butterfly-effect style predictions without to much of an expository holdup.

Speaking of the butterfly effect, the fact that the Observer was perhaps his most vocal in this episode was fun to watch, especially during the walk in the park, where he described one of the consequences of Walter’s kidnapping of Peter from the other end of the universe. Sure, one pedestrian’s death isn’t quite the same as the breakdown of an entire universe, but perhaps this is what the episode is implying: that small incidents like these, occurring an infinite number of times due to the swapped presence of Peter, are causing the universal breakdowns. Maybe that’ll get explained more, but it feels like that puzzle piece is nearing its niche more and more.

Christopher Lloyd’s performance wasn’t the one I expected (I was thinking crazier, along the lines of Doc from Back to the Future), but I think I enjoyed his more subdued, dramatic role much more. Lloyd really is a good actor, and his chemistry with John Noble (no pun intended) was the best part of the episode.

As far as the episodes overall arc goes, I can’t wait to see how the revelation that he would let his son die will affect Walter. He knows just as well as anyone else that this was a test, and I really can’t believe that he’s totally buying into the fact that the Observer was just offhandedly trying to tell him that his brain-regeneration potion wasn’t any good.

The Peter and Olivia dynamic, however, clearly continued from what we left in “Marionette” without becoming repetitive or frustrating. In fact, we started to see the two inching closer to at least the warm friendship they had before, if not more. I’m not expecting any sudden reconciliations (nor am I expecting there to be no more wrenches thrown in the works), but I’m happy that the Fringe writers let Olivia’s emotions evolve instead of keeping them stretched out over several episodes.

And what exactly was that the Observer said to Peter before he shot him with the air gun? Was he referring to how hard it was for Walter to be a father, or was he perhaps hinting at something else involving Peter (one of those aforementioned wrenches, hmm…)?

Ultimately, while “The Firefly” wasn’t as great as, say, “Entrada,” it was still a solid episode. It’ll keep me coming back for more Fringe Fridays in the future. That’s more sure than anything the Observers could predict. B+

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