Fringe: Unearthed Review -

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  • TV Series: Fringe
  • Episode: Unearthed
  • Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Jasika Nicole
  • Written By: Josh Singer
  • Directed By: Joe Chappelle
  • Network: Fox
  • Series:

Fringe: Unearthed Review

An Exorcism Should Be Performed On This Episode

By Kent Ninomiya     January 12, 2010

Charlie's Back... or is he?
© Fox


It was a rather unsettling seeing Kirk Acevedo's character, Charlie Francis, working cases like nothing ever happened. Charlie was killed off by a parallel universe assassin earlier in season two. While people coming back from the dead would be par for the course with Fringe, that was not part of this episode. The episode “Unearthed” was actually meant for the end of season one before Charlie was killed. It was held over until now.
I can understand why FOX decided to pass on this episode for season one. For the most part, it is forgettable and does little to advance the development of the characters or overall story arc. In fact, Charlie's presence messes with the heads of Fringe fans and makes it feel like a repeat even though the episode is new.
The plot revolves around brain dead teenager who is taken off of life support and allowed to die. While her organs are being harvested for transplant, she suddenly wakes up scaring the living daylights out of the doctors performing the procedure. She screams a stream of numbers that turn out to be highly classified military codes. She also speaks in Russian and talks like a transvestite. It turns out that the teen is channeling an old sailor who speaks fluent Russian and was murdered.
This did not seem like a typical Fringe script. There was little mystery or compelling drama. The teen was possessed and the Fringe team was trying to help get rid of the guy possessing her. So what? That plot has been recycled since they burned witches at the stake for allegedly causing possessions. A predictable murder whodunit twist is clumsily thrown in, but it got solved way too easily. The perp's confession was ridiculously fast. The agents didn't even have to say “please.”
I did enjoy watching Walter Bishop bare his teeth and angrily argue with a priest about the existence of spirit possessions and exorcisms. It is refreshing when Walter flashes his dark side. The interchange reminds us of the underlying theme of Fringe which is the struggle between science and faith. The writers show their clear preference for Walter's brand of scientific faith when the girl's religious mother turns to Walter for help instead of her priest.
On a side note: if you recorded the episode, fast forward to the scene outside the church where Olivia is talking with the girl's mother. You can see the Observer walking behind Olivia in one of the shots. Don't let the guy with the hat and the beard throw you. The bald guy wearing the hat is definitely there.
The sad truth is that “Unearthed” is a stand-alone episode crammed into a January slot so that FOX can boast that it is showing a new episode as they roll into the February ratings period. FOX tried to pass it off as a special event by showing it on Monday. If the intent was to attract new fans and excite their core fan base, the effort likely backfired. The episode showed little of Fringe's characteristic quirkiness and only disappointed faithful followers. However, Fringe fans should take heart and not judge the rest of the season by what they saw in this episode. Once Charlie is back in the grave, the plots should get better.


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fenngibbon 1/12/2010 1:18:22 AM

I'm glad to have the explanation that this one was a holdover from season one, because Charlie's presence was confusing the heck out of me--at first I thought it was some weird Sixth Sense thing, because Charlie didn't seem to be interacting with anyone except Olivia, then I noticed people looking at him.


As for the episode itself, I thought it was fine, but wasn't there an X-Files with a similar theme of a young girl possessed by a murdered man?

xpaladinx45 1/12/2010 7:52:15 AM

the whole Charlie episode became the fixation for me...i even went online after i watched to see if i'd missed some episode last week or something showing him coming back from the dead.  The scene he first shows up in, i got about halfway thru, did a big WTF....while my g/f, whom also watches, was trying to figure out whta my deal was.  I then proceeded to replay that scene 3 times and then watched the rest of the episode, obsessing about Charlie every scene he appeared in.

So ya, i love this show, but this was a dumb idea.  I'd give this a D just for showing this out of sequence, especially when one of the characters is DEAD in the current line of the show!

djcgmcse 1/12/2010 12:03:20 PM

Yeah, that was really screwed up.  I kept thinking maybe this whole episode was from the alternate reality and maybe Charlie was still alive on that side.  Episode was fine though, I enjoyed it. 

Thanks for the explanation though...

markeetundra 1/12/2010 4:06:48 PM

yea. I also thought it was an alternate reality or olivia was getting crazy

fft5305 1/13/2010 2:34:01 PM

Yeah, when I saw Charlie walk in, I stood up and said out loud (to an empty apartment), "WHAT THE FUCK??!?"  Then I went to the computer and looked up the show and figured out that it was an unaired episode from season 1.

Other than that, I thought it was a good episode. I didn't think it was missing anything as far as feeling like a Fringe episode, or anything.

SelectiveRealism 1/15/2010 7:46:07 AM

 Once I realized that my DVR was set to record a new Fringe episode for last night I knew this episode had to have been a leftover from earlier in the series. 

And yes, it was a snoozer.



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