Archive for episode five

Fringe(S01E05): “Power Hungry”

Posted in Fringe, TV with tags , , , , on October 18, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: B

The thing that sets Fringe apart from most mystery-of-the-week series is its stricter adherence to ongoing plots and a continued attention to building up a unique mythology for the show, centered mostly around the fictional mega-corporation, Massive Dynamic. However, this could be a weakness as well, if Fringe veered too far from its cases and sunk in too deep with conspiracy theories and gasp-worthy twists. This episode attempts to ease any fears of this scenario by presenting a Massive Dynamic free hour, but ends up falling into the old predictability trap I thought it had strayed from. That said, the case is interesting and the characters are still growing more likable every week, so all-in-all it’s another solid episode for any fans of the show, but probably not good enough to woo many new ones.

My biggest gripe at the moment, and one I felt had been assuaged by last week’s episode, is the too-formulaic setup of the standalone cases. The show is all about something called The Pattern–a string of mysterious and unexplainable phenomena happening all over the world–but there’s another very obvious pattern developing as well. This pattern goes as follows: An incident occurs, which Walter reveals could be based on old ideas he had studied, but that have been taken and perfected in the years since, and he then has a theory that Olivia pursues relentlessly until she reveals what she knows to her boss, who then reveals to her he’s known more than he let on all along and shares new, key information that advances the scenario into its final legs. Most episodes have contained some or all of these parts, and while it doesn’t make the value of the mysteries any less, it does take some of the fun out when you can see a blueprint of what’s to come without even trying.

The case this week is one that might have the Heroe’s writer’s jealous they lost all their creativity long ago, with a man whose brain has been altered so that he can cause electromagnetic disturbances. The whole kerfuffle gets started after this guy accidentally causes an elevator to plummet 20 some stories, killing everyone inside except himself. But he’s not a bad guy, just a guy with some semi-stalkerish tendencies who’s having a bad day and just happens to have powers he doesn’t understand and isn’t able to control. When he gets emotional, he doesn’t write angry poetry, but makes sparks fly and pacemakers die–which is how his own mother ends up dead. It’s nice to see the people Olivia and co. are chasing aren’t always plain bad guy, like the prostitute killer and this guy, but victims of ambitious, shadowy figures. One of those steps onto the scene tonight, performing inhumane tests to advance whatever agenda he has, and is clearly the one to direct any anger toward.

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Heroes (S03E05): “Angels and Monsters”

Posted in Heroes, TV with tags , , , on October 15, 2008 by scenescreen

Grade: C

A few weeks ago, I made the resolution to lower my expectations for Heroes, hoping it would help me to better enjoy the show from a standpoint of pure fun with no analytical strings attached. Four weeks and five long hours later, though, and I’m forcing myself to sit through an entire hour’s worth of eye rolling, stifled yawns, and the repeated reminder that this show, for me, will probably never return to being the Heroes I used to enjoy so much. “Angels and Monsters” offers a few noteworthy moments, but those continue to be lost in the rubble of a rapidly crumbling foundation, barely held up by the many broken characters and an annoying habit of using plot twists as a replacement for good storytelling.

The theme of the season is villains, and Heroes really wants to let everyone know it, and essentially everyone gets to act a little bit evil in “Angels and Monsters”, even when it makes little to no sense. Peter tries to slice open his mom’s head, Sylar style, and gives a fine example of overacting when he shouts in her face “Tell me all your secrets!, Claire decides to enact taser justice on the escaped criminals of Level 5, Suresh is killing drug dealers and cocooning people, including Maya, on the walls of his apartment, and even Hiro has an unexpected evil itch to scratch. I appreciate the concept of an overarching theme that ties stories together under a cozy umbrella, but this just feels suffocating.

The biggest offender might be the whole Mohinder story, where a boring character has been taken and made evil with the hope that would, in turn, make him more interesting. Not so much. His character has taken a 180 degree turn, killing people, making animal love to women, and performing strange experiments with people held captive in larva looking pods, but it’s all just a little too weird and hard to swallow. My suggestion would have been to write the character out, but making him a hybrid of The Lizard, The Beast, and The Fly was probably not the right way to make this character more likable amongst fans.

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