Fringe: Brown Betty Review (Mania.com)
By:Kurt Anthony Krug
Review Date: Friday, April 30, 2010
Sorry, people, but you really couldn’t classify this episode of Fringe – called “Brown Betty,” which is the Über-weed John Noble’s Walter Bishop smokes at the beginning – as a musical episode along the lines of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Once More With Feeling.”
It really didn’t have that much music in it. Sure, you had the Singing Corpses (cute), and regular cast members Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, and Anna Torva strut their vocal talents, but it was only for a few bars, contrary to the musical numbers they’re supposed to perform per the ads. “Once More With Feeling” had multiple musical numbers, where the cast members sang full-out songs more than once. What’s a shame is that Reddick and Nicole have beautiful singing voices, putting some of the “Buffy” cast members to shame (Torv’s is nice too, but you really don’t hear her sing that long, unfortunately). The scene where Rachel was singing Tears For Fears in Walter’s voice before it cuts to Walter singing was funny, but that was really it as far as singing goes.
The hardboiled, Chandler-esque feel – a tribute to film noir – works. Anna Torv is a beautiful woman and her beauty was accentuated with the period clothing she wore, along with the ruby red lipstick, a stark contrast to the drab clothes she usually wears on the show. There were plenty of anachronisms, such as the roadster and the laptop.
The scene where Pepper Potts… er, that is Olivia has to jury-rigged Tony Stark’s… um, Peter’s chest with batteries in order to keep him alive after his artificial heart was stolen was straight out of Iron Man. This also was reminiscent of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, who has no heart.
Leonard Nimoy, who has a recurring role as William Bell, contributed a voiceover to this episode. Another nice touch was Olivia lamenting her broken heart as she looked at a photo of John Scott (former cast member Mark Valley, who now appears on The Human Target. Torv and Valley met on the set of Fringe and were later married, but it was recently announced that the two have split, which doubtlessly gave this scene more weight).
All in all, what was supposed to be a fun filler episode before the question of where Peter went at the end of the last episode when he found out he was the Peter from an alternate reality – one of the turning points in the show’s mythology – fell flat. Thankfully, we get back to that next week.
Mania Grade: C
TV Series: Fringe
Episode: Brown Betty
Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick
Written By: Jeff Pinker, J.H. Wyman, Akiva Goldsman
Directed By: David Seith