The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones," the seventh episode of the Fox series, "Fringe."
"Where does the gentleman live?" That's one of countless questions plaguing the world of "Fringe." Though we sometimes decipher answers from the show's plots, more often the mythology rapidly deepens to cloud our theories.
"Little Hill" is the answer serving as the catalyst for the events of "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones." We don't learn much here, including the significance of "Little Hill," but it's clear this episode serves as a setup for major events gathering on the horizon. The fact J.J. Abrams co-scripted the episode is suspicious enough.
The episode opens with FBI Agent Mitchell Loeb (Chance Kelly) suffering an apparent heart attack. As doctors perform emergency surgery, they find his heart in-circled by a strange, almost alien, parasite. It maintains a rigid hold, and menacingly constricts when threatened with removal.
Agent Olivia Dunham and the Bishops are called in to investigate this bizarre development. Dunham acquires Loeb's personal effects from his wife while Walter and Peter try to make sense of the creature's origins.
One of Loeb's possessions is a coded paper, revealing a mole operating in the FBI. The investigation lead to another "pattern" player, ZFT. Thankfully, Dunham demands answers and Agent Phillip Broyles finally offers some insight. It's interesting how Broyles continues to resist making matters clear to Dunham. At this point, you have to suspect he covering someone's tracks.
According to Broyles, ZFT is a privately funded cell, one of 83 known to the intelligence community. They traffic in scientific progress. Some of the past episodes' "weird science" are key examples. These mysterious occurrences offer assurance a scientific theory or experiment has merit. Once again, we are reminded the world is "the pattern's" lab rat.
To save Loeb, Dunham travels to Germany to interrogate Mr. Jones (Jared Harris), a prisoner who may hold the key to successfully removing the parasite. However, in return he demands the answer to the question, "where does the gentleman live," from a man named Joseph Smith. The problem is Smith was just killed during a FBI raid.
Leave it to Walter to take Smith's recently deceased body and hook it up to Peter! Through a "Frankenstein" caliber experiment, Walter charges Smith's brain with enough electricity to allow Peter to learn the answer Mr. Jones seeks.
Delivering the answer "Little Hill," Dunham gets Mr. Jones to reveal the chemical composition neces sary to kill the parasite. But as the episode closes, not all as it seems, as a recovering Loeb and his wife show their true colors.
Walter continues to entertain. Actor John Noble's mad scientist routine grows sharper by the hour. His rants prompt Broyles to confront Peter this week in one of the episode's best moments. Peter's cool retort to Broyles' concerns are both poignant and humorous.
The creepy parasite with a fetish for pumping hearts is another interesting "pattern" phenomenon. The creatures ultimate design objective remains unclear. After all, there are easier and cheaper ways to incapacitate or kill someone. Hopefully future explanations of this critter are coming.
Finally, Dunham gets more character development in Germany as she meets with former co-worker Lucas Vogel (Billy Burke). A romantic past is revealed and almost rekindled before Dunham abruptly pulls the plug. What is evident here is the need for additional scenes to elevate her character to the heights Peter and Walter enjoy. Though the Vogel encounter may not be the best example of juicy back story, it's a start.
What Didn't Work
Again, this episode maneuvers to set up bigger events, leaving little answers to digest. Though that may be a negative point now, let's hope the payoff justifies the ride.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Fringe" stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, and Kirk Acevedo. "In Which We Meet Mr. Jones" was written by J.J. Abrams and Jeff Pinkner, and was directed by Brad Anderson. "Fringe" airs on FOX Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.
Bryant Griffin is the Lead Designer and a Staff Writer of Airlock Alpha, writing out of the Tampa, Fla. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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