I needed to watch Friday's episode of "Fringe" a second time before reacting to it, because the first time I watched, I kept waiting for a moment that I'd convinced myself was going to be in the episode, but never was and really never had any reason to be. Upon second viewing, when taking the "The Firefly" in for what it was, it was pretty damn good.
The end of last season and the beginning of this season showed us some of the major universe-altering effects of Walter taking Peter away from his home dimension. However this episode focused on the smaller effects, the ripples within the show's primary universe that might have gone unnoticed if not pointed out by The Observer.
Throughout the first two-plus seasons of "Fringe", The Observer has been the show's most mysterious character, and even the few bits of his story we've seen seem to be muddled. Friday's episode was no exception, particularly when it came to the meetings between the two observers. But as the episode progressed, you could see the puzzle of The Observer's actions falling into place, even if his motivations were still shrouded in mystery (until the final, ominous scene).
Christopher Lloyd's guest spot as former rocker Roscoe Joyce was surprisingly subdued, in a good way. We're so used to Lloyd playing his manic Doc Brown style of character that it's easy to forget he's capable of doing something else, and in this episode he was spot on. In fact, the only thing that didn't really work for me was the Peter-Olivia stuff, which just didn't quite pack the punch of the Peter-Walter stuff that was going on around it. I'm glad the writers are taking things slow with the two of them, given what they've been through, but it -- like the rest of the episode, really -- lacked that one moment that just made you sit up and say "wow."
One last note on this week's episode, and really the series as a whole. The move to Fridays has obviously been taken as a bad sign by the fan base of the show, but what I found interesting is that this episode relied heavily on past knowledge of the series. Usually a time-slot or day change -- particularly after an extended break -- is seen as an opportunity to introduce the show to a new audience. But this wasn't an introduction episode by any means, and it seems as if the creators of the show are more concerned with making episodes their existing audience will appreciate, rather than pandering to a new one. And for those of us that have been watching all along, that's a VERY good thing.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.