Fox, 30 September, 7 October
In the two different worlds, the same man is a serial killer and a professor, while a lonely boy befriends a killer fungus.
The slow-burn start to season four of Fringe continues with two episodes that could very easily have slipped into The X-Files at its height. The brain-freezing serial killer who experiences his victim’s moments of happiness in One Night in October would not have foxed Mulder for long, while the relationship of a lonely young boy with a killer fungus in Alone in the World would have been obvious to Scully.
Exploring the differences (and the similarities) between the doppelgangers that exist in the two worlds of Fringe has not been done all that often, so it’s worthwhile for the series to devote an episode to this theme. John Pyper-Ferguson is great as the two John McClennans, exploring the nurture/nature divide—does the Over Here professor have the roots of the Over There serial killer within him?
Alone in the World’s stand alone nature is welcome, but while it’s great to get an early X-Files buzz from the look and feel of this episode, it is perhaps too much of a throwback. Nice to see Fringe tackling Outer Limits’ style proper monsters, though.
Laced through both episodes is the ‘missing Peter’ arc story, which is core to Walter’s focus so far this series, and his connection with the fungus kid plays well into this. He thinks he’s being haunted (and he is), while Olivia has dreams of a mysterious man she has sketched. Something needs to happen soon on this front before it becomes tedious…
Verdict: Two episodes very reminiscent of the best of The X-Files.
Episode 2 ‘One Night in October’: 7/10
Episode 3 ‘Alone in the World’: 7/10
Brian J. Robb