Fringe 4.04 "Subject 9" Review

The first three episodes of Fringe season 4 were absolutely delightful, but “Subject 9” was where the season really kicked into high gear, bringing us the long-awaited return of Peter Bishop with a resounding (and confusing) bang.

In undeniably the best outing of the season yet, Olivia and Walter investigated a mysterious electromagnetic presence that seemed to be haunting Olivia. As I’m sure most of us were able to guess the first time we saw the big glowing blue cloud, that field was actually Peter apparently struggling to regain corporeal form. Walter’s other theory, which centered on the titular Cortexiphan kid Cameron James, was ultimately a red herring, though it provided for some significant worldbuilding and character development. After all, we found there to be a strangely maternalistic relationship between Nina Sharp and Olivia Dunham. We also found out that events of episodes like “Bad Dreams” and “Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver,” didn’t happen in this Peter-less timeline.

Except it isn’t Peter-less anymore, is it? Peter returned to Fringe tonight, and none too soon. Seeing him surface from Reiden Lake was one of the most satisfying moments of television since Nikki and Paulo were buried alive on LOST. His return is a fantastic set-up, considering that no one else remembers him — but he remembers everything. When the show returns after the dreaded upcoming two week break (which will probably see a drop of even more viewers), we’ll probably get to see Peter seriously confusing our heroes as they try to determine who exactly he is (and then, of course, it’ll be fun to see them actually figure it out).

The only other question really left in my mind from this episode is fairly straightforward: who was listed as Broyles’ boss? While I’m fairly sure that it’s supposed to be the president, given Fringe Division’s increased importance following the creation of the bridge, why didn’t they just say “Barack Obama,” or even “the President.” I don’t to be a poster child for apophenia, but could there be something to that vagueness?

All in all, “Subject 9” was a great episode that, more than any other episode so far this season, reminded me just how brilliant of a show Fringe can — and will — be. A

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