'Fringe' Returns Better Than Ever
'Fringe' Returns Better Than Ever
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
After a long hiatus, Fringe returns tonight at 9pm on FOX for the first of its final eight episodes of the season.  With a third season renewal already confirmed, Fringe is poised to move in the right direction.  This return episode, "Peter," is easily the best the show has produced, and sets a very clear tone and direction for the rest of the season and series.

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That new tone was previewed by star John Noble when I visited the set of Fringe in March.  "I can't see how we can possibly go back to the monster of the week too much, to be honest with you," he said.  "I think now we've decided to go to the mythology."  He wasn't just talking about the rest of season 2, he was alluding to the future of Fringe.

This is an important decision for Fringe, because while the show has tried to balance being a mythology-based sci-fi series and a procedural drama, it's been slightly difficult for fans to dedicate themselves to it the way they've dedicated themselves to Lost.  With that J.J. Abrams show leaving, Fringe is poised to pick up where Lost leaves off, giving viewers a well-written, well-acted, complex yet fascinating original story involving a parallel universe.

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In tonight's episode, Fringe also does something fans will truly love: it answers questions.  The last episode ended with Olivia learning that Peter is actually from the alternate universe on the series, raising a million questions.  "Peter" shows Walter trying his best to answer those questions, explaining the story of how Peter crossed over.  The result is a satisfying episode that gives us answers while raising a lot more questions and offers an exciting glimpse into the alternate universe.

There are clever jokes (especially if you're familiar with the career of Eric Stoltz), but the star of the episode is John Noble, who dominates the screen and appears in about 95 percent of the scenes.  He delivers an Emmy-worthy performance that is dark, tragic and deeply emotional.

This episode of Fringe isn't just a return to television, it's an announcement that the show is here and can not be ignored any longer.  There's no doubt that Fringe is the new Lost, a show so rich in mythology, so beautifully grounded in emotion and so expertly paced that you won't be able to stop watching.  It's best to get invested now, because when this season is over and everyone is talking about how Fringe is one of the best shows of the year, you'll want to know why.

(Image courtesy of FOX)