FRINGE: The Ghost Network -

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  • TV Series: Fringe
  • Episode: The Ghost Network
  • Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble
  • Written By: David H. Goodman, Roberto Orci
  • Directed By: Frederick E.O. Toye
  • Series: Fringe

FRINGE: The Ghost Network

There's a Ghost in this Machine

By Stephen Lackey     September 25, 2008

The Fringe Team Investigates Strange Deaths on a Bus in FRINGE: The Ghost Network(2008).
© Fox
We’re three episodes into Fringe and it appears to really have found its stride. The episode isn’t perfect – some character development and story balancing remains to be done. The mix of humor and darker storytelling is starting to meld into a series that’s dark but not as pitch black as The X-Files or Millennium was. This truly is the creators of LOST riffing on The X-Files. LOST has darker moments but there’s a good bit of humor in that series also, coming in particularly from Hurley and Sawyer. In fact, some of the best humor of LOST comes from one of the darkest characters: Sawyer. In Fringe, the humor comes from one of the most pivotal characters in the mythology and in each weekly case: Dr. Bishop. In a nutshell, one of the biggest issues with the series is starting to come together nicely.
Many fans are complaining about the huge titles but they actually play along with humor and other elements of the show to set the style for the series. Speaking of style, the show featured a bit more color this week than in previous blue tinted episodes. In particular, an aerial shot features lots of bright sun and crisp flashes of green in the city. While the color pallet choices here don’t play an important role in the story, it’s nice to see the series get away from the hospital blue color filters once in a while so the show doesn’t look too much like a music video.
The story this week is a good one and it isn’t just a case of the week, it’s also tied directly into the mythology of the series. Actually, every case of the week is tied to the mythology but this week’s story is directly connected to the shady people that the Fringe team is searching for. By the end of the episode, they mystery becomes extremely compelling and finally Fringe hits that special place of TV series addiction reserved for shows like LOST and Battlestar Galactica.
The best parts of the episode are actually those sequences that further develop the mythology and the characters. Peter still needs a real reason for being around other than just taking care of his father. He doesn’t necessarily get that development this week but he does get even more mysterious when he has to deal with a photographer that’s tailing him. For the last two episodes, Peter has been tasked to get some old object that his father stashed prior to getting committed to the institution. This may feel a bit ridiculous with too much use so hopefully it doesn’t get abused every week. Olivia is endearing but she still needs a back-story and finally the assistant FBI agent in the lab could probably use a bit more to do.
It’s exciting to see this show find its way and get better with each passing week. Fringe is so far meeting the challenge of crafting a story of the week for each episode and twisting in bits of mythology that gets more and more intriguing. Fringe may be the best new series of the year if it can continue to improve each week.


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hanso 9/25/2008 8:17:44 AM
I'm sorry but Fringe has not hit that "special place of TV series addiction reserved for shows like LOST and Battlestar Galactica." LOST is so far and beyond this it's not even funny. The episode was good, I'll give you that. I liked more than last week's.
galaga51 9/25/2008 10:27:32 AM
Stephen, you make some great points. My favorite part of this show is the doctor and his relationship with his son, which really isn't the plot of show. At some point the plot will need to advance beyond, "Hey... this is connected to Massive Dynamic!" but I am in no hurry, sometimes revelations and/or major events happen too fast. Olivia definitely could use more development. Best of all, it does seem to get a little better with each episode. I'm enjoying it and definitely will stick with it for a while. Can someone at Mania fix this white-out problem? It happens on about every other article I view. :(
joeybaloney 9/25/2008 12:38:44 PM
What hanso said.
LittleNell1824 9/25/2008 1:15:49 PM
I totally missed this episode because I was sick, but I don't feel like I've really missed anything. I didn't even bother to ask my husband to DVR it. Hmmmm...
joeybaloney 9/25/2008 1:43:58 PM
Spoiler Alert LittleNell: Something creepy and deadly happened that tied into one of Dr. Bishop's experiments from the 70's or 80's or early 90's and it turns out it is connected to The Pattern and Massive Dynamics, but we don't know how... again.
LittleNell1824 9/25/2008 3:25:19 PM
Cool, Joey... Ok, now I'm interested. LoL I love the experiment angle. What was that line from Surface (and Art Bell) "We did it because we could. We didn't stop to think that we shouldn't."
LittleNell1824 9/25/2008 4:57:37 PM
All right, even though your spoiler was meant to be sarcastic, Joey, it did remind me that I do like the premise of the show. So, I just watched it online. Favorite quotes: "He's psychic. I would like to prove it." "How do you propose to do that?" "Do I have to keep hiim alive?" and "It's time for some intracranial penetration." This episode pushed my buttons because I have a phobia of MRI machines and brain surgery. So, it was a little more scary for me. I also now wonder if there's something special about Olivia and whether she was an experiment as well. I still like the show and want to see how it develops.
joeybaloney 9/26/2008 6:36:50 AM
Sarcasm? Me? I tease the show cuz it’s easy. It isn’t really breaking any new ground and I definitely see a pattern (pun intended) developing with its Old Bishop Experiment of the week cliché. Even the tag line for the show is a little silly: The Answers are the Question. Ooooo. That said, each episode is an improvement so far and I am enjoying watching Bishop’s and Peter’s relationship develop. It hasn’t really grabbed me like X-Files or Lost but I am tuning in. The experiment of the week thing is a dangerous device for the show to rely on. I think there’s a big risk of silliness and shark jumping opportunity with it as the writers get around the table and try to decide how they're going to top last week. I’d rather see the show become a little more serialized. Absolutely none of the Pattern incidents would be solved as quickly as they have been. I’m curious as to why you think Olivia might be a former experiment? Because of Agent Scott telling her to question why she was chosen or has there been something else that I missed? Peter’s definitely been experimented on and I even wonder if he’s Bishop’s real child.
syxxblade 9/26/2008 7:19:04 AM
I'm going for the clone angle. He's a clone of Bishop and his DNA has been altered so he's a supergenius. If you're going to spin off X-files (Mulder's Sister) and Star trek (Bashir's genetic manipulation), you might as well do it right! The show is only 3 eps old, and we already have people ready to tear it apart and use the term "Shark Jumping" should it seem to falter in the slightest? man...what a cynical TV audience we've become. You want crap? Go watch Knight Rider. Who recieved funding for a turd like that?
joeybaloney 9/26/2008 8:01:19 AM
It took years of TV viewing to turn me this cynical syxxblade. I don’t want crap so I won’t be tuning into Knight Rider but I DO want to like this show. I see potential there which is part of why I’m being so judgmental. It hasn’t jumped the shark but opening every show with a Pattern incident increases the risk in my opinion.
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