This review may contain spoilers.
It's rather surprising that the first 'Fringe' episode of the new year isn't even all that new.
"Unearthed" is a straggler from the series' shortened first season, and one has to wonder just why Fox would even air this episode. The cliff hanger at the end of the episode could imply that the show will return to this plot point later in the season, but it's really just a standalone until proven otherwise.
This is an episode that tackles religion, particularly religion versus science. When 17-year-old Lisa Donovan mysteriously comes back from the dead, she returns with a few new skills, like the ability to spontaneously start speaking Russian or see dead people. The Fringe Division -- complete with a living Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo) and a first season hairdo-sporting Astrid (Jasika Nicole) -- eventually finds that Lisa has become more or less "possessed" by the spirit of a very angry military man named Andrew Rusk.
If you think that all that's missing are a couple of super religious characters to get in the Fringe Division's way, you thought wrong. The episode had that too.
After some back and forth with Olivia (Anna Torv) about the concept having faith, Lisa's mother allows the Walter (John Noble) and company to "exorcise" the girl.
This backfires slightly, and we discover that Andrew Rusk was angry -- rightfully so -- because his wife had him murdered. It all gets a little awkward from there, if you can imagine a teenage girl acting (and sounding) like a pissed off older man. But the Fringe Division saves the day, with Peter (Joshua Jackson) connecting with the Lisa part of Lisa.
John Noble continues to give an amazing performance as Walter Bishop, especially in the scene where he verbally destroys a priest. It's a lot less sacrilegious than it sounds.
What Didn't Work
While it's usually nice to see Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, those who had no idea this episode was from the first season probably spent the entire time scratching their heads. The ending didn't help to make an already lackluster episode seem interesting. If anything, it led to minor annoyance that there is any possibility for this storyline to continue.
For some reason, Peter's connection with Lisa constantly looked like it was one step away from being full-blown flirtation. Considering the character was supposed to be a junior in high school, it was rather disturbing.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
'Fringe' stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. "Unearthed" was written by David H. Goodman & Andrew Kriesberg and directed by Frederick E.O. Toye.
'Fringe' airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
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