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Info:

  • TV Series: Fringe
  • Episode: The Bishop Revival
  • Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jaskika Nicole, Lance Reddick
  • Written By: Glen Whitman, Robert Chiappetta
  • Directed By: Adam Davidson
  • Network: Fox
  • Series: Fringe

Fringe: The Bishop Revival Review

The Nazis versus the Bishops

By Kent Ninomiya     January 29, 2010


Fringe Review
© Fox/Bob Trate

 

The Nazis have always made ideal bad guys. They are purely evil and universally disliked. The problem is that they are yesterday's bad guys and out of place today. This episode of Fringe challenges that, and raises the bar for using the Nazis as bad guys in a modern program. Don't expect anything like the ridiculous antics of the 1963 film “They Saved Hitler's Brain.” This is an ingeniously weaved story combining science, mystery and history.
 
It all starts at a wedding where the groom's family is Jewish and the bride's family is not. A guy who looks like Hitler without the mustache is standing menacingly in the corner when he is spotted by an old woman who is a Holocaust survivor. Apparently she recognizes him and starts screaming. Suddenly all the Jewish people die as if they are being gassed. Everyone else is unaffected.
 
The Fringe team discovers that it is a man made bio-toxin designed specifically to kill people with certain genetic traits. Walter points out that Josef Mengele did research on this even before the discovery of DNA as a way to achieve “the final solution.” After closer examination of the genetic makeup of the weapon, Walter knows who created it.
 
It seems that just about everything the Fringe team confronts can be traced back to something the Bishop family did years ago. This time it isn't Walter, but his father Dr. Robert Bishoff. The family changed the spelling of their name when they emigrated to America. Apparently Walter's father was a brilliant scientist himself. He worked in Germany during World War II but was a spy for the Allies.
 
In a classic Bishop family dysfunctional twist, Walter's father hid the formula for the toxin in books he left to Walter when he died. Peter later sold those books while Walter was in the asylum. It was his way of getting back at Daddy for abandoning him. So the weapon created by the grandfather, that was supposed to be guarded by the father, is released to the world by the son. It is now the Bishop family's task to fix what they screwed up. Doesn't it seem like all the ills of the world are both caused and cured by the Bishops?
 
If the Fringe team fails, the toxin could make Hitler's dream come true and kill everyone on Earth who he did not consider in the “master race.” They track the Hitler wannabe to a conference full of people of every ethnicity advocating world peace. There could not be a starker contrast between good and evil. Just before the Nazi can kill everyone in the room, Walter storms in with a brilliant solution to save the day. Justice prevails, the Nazis are defeated, and Walter is the hero. It's a nice piece of scriptwriting that with an unexpected twist at the end.
 
As a bonus, the episode leaves you with a mystery. It is never fully explained who the Nazi bad guy is or how he knew so much about Walter's father's research. The final shot deepens the question. Top to bottom, this episode of Fringe is masterfully crafted. It is one of the finest stand alone episodes the series has produced.
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 9 of 9
1 
fenngibbon 1/29/2010 12:15:35 AM

 It's a standard for genre shows:  when in doubt, Nazis!

 

At one point in the episode, when Walter is discussing what the Nazis were researching, there's a blink and you'll miss it bit that explains Nazi guy and makes me wonder if more Nazi guys may pop up in the future.

Darkknight2280 1/29/2010 4:26:22 AM

I thought this was a GREAT episode. I think fringe this year has been great. However, they havent been doing many episodes about the pattern and the other universe. True next weeks "winter finale" goes back to it but, what im wondering is why the future soldier that took over Olivias old partners body, why isnt he still trying to kill her? And whats his deal? Well i hope to get some answers next thursday.

djcgmcse 1/29/2010 4:41:24 AM

Very much enjoyed this past three weeks of Fringe, high quality stuff.  

Another thing that didn't seem to get explained was how the Nazi guy stayed so young, maybe I just missed that part.

LittleNell1824 1/29/2010 6:41:18 AM

Kent, I agree. It was unnecessary to revert to the Nazi bad guy - sure, mention Mengele as the father of the technology, but use a more current conflict: Tibetan/Chinese, Palestinian/Jew... 

Even better  - focus on Middle Eastern immigrant communities in the West. Even though we've had more acts of terror in the West by non-Muslims, the presence of  Muslim communiteis still makes people uncomfortable. That's a great example of painting a group of people with a broad brush and labeling them all expendable.

TheMovieGuy28 1/29/2010 8:16:33 AM

 

I'm friggin retarded. Ever since the start of the new year, I keep forgetting to set my DVR. I've missed now an entire months' worth of fringe, even including the special old episode from last year on a monday night....

 

 

Anyone else but me think Fringe and The Human Target or House should be on the same nights? Seems like a brillaint idea

 

myklspader 1/29/2010 8:54:46 AM

 I really wanted to see this episode expanded into a two parter or even Fox giving them 2 hours to show it. I think there could have been some really cool things done with the Nazi character and his journey to the present time or perhaps that he was part of The Pattern.

I think yeah: Nazis are a crutch for the genre, but like I said if they would have made that guy work within the show's overall theme and arc I think it would have been cooler. Hopefully the show will start to return to each episode relating to the overall arc, I know it is probably hard for the writers to do that since I am sure the network wants more stand alone shows to help attract viewers in, but I am always hopeful that the production team can prove that stand alone stories mixed with over all arcs can happen in each episode (look at ‘Lost’, ‘Buffy’, ‘Firefly’ and even BSG).

MrJawbreakingEquilibrium 1/29/2010 11:32:57 AM

Dark Knight, are you talking about Charlie?  He's dead, he was a shapeshifter and Olivia killed him in the third episode of this season I think, maybe fourth or fifth. 

I don't think we're done with this Nazi guy or Walter's father's story.

I don't think it was just Jews this guy was targeting in this episode, just first.  There were all kinds of different people in that coffee shop - he targeted people with brown eyes.  And then at the world peace thing he was going for the whole shebang.  I think he just tried out the one just for the Jews then fiddled with it later after seeing that it works.  He even had one just for Walter remember - but how did he get Walter's sweater? Hm, is there something else to that?

 

As far as the Pattern is concerned I think they are going to focus on it heavily at the end of the season on all seasons with a few sprinkles of it up front and a few stand alones towards the back - if that makes sense.  I just hope that Fringe stays with us a long, long while.

 

Madmardegan 1/30/2010 12:07:05 AM

DarkKnight-I agree with you bout the seasons direction, seems weird its just been a standard open case close case episodes lately. 

I did really like this episode though, best of the season.  They kinda jacked up this season by not having consistancy with the main storyline, Dunham's ability to see other realities has seemed to disappear over night and I think this is a main reason why the show has lost some viewers.  IMO first season is way better so far.

  

xpaladinx45 2/2/2010 1:14:44 PM

I wouldn't necessarily agree that the episode left us with a big mystery.  They clearly show an old photo with the nazi guy in Walter's father's lab, which shows exactly how the nazi knew about the experiments....he was there.  The only real mystery is how he's managed to keep from aging, though one would presume it's another experiment.

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