NB. Ben Matern and Dave Owen will be sharing reviewing duties on the fourth season of Fringe.

To quote Homer, “Sweet merciful crap”. This week we got some of our science back, some seriously insane scenes and an interesting take on an old case (revisited at a different time in a different timeline).

It’s not wholly surprising that shows occasionally have similar themes or tread familiar ground, what is odd is that it doesn’t happen more often. What is interesting is that the two shows that shared ideas this week were Fringe and 30 Rock. Both looked at repeating storylines from previous episodes, 30 Rock’s was of course meta and ridiculous beyond belief and Fringe’s had more to do with the malleable nature of reality and time… and of course giant porcupines.

For those who have followed Fringe you’ll remember this particular episode from season one, “The Transformation” (and for those of you who didn’t there was a not so subtle “Previously on Fringe”) where a man on a plane looked like he was on drugs and then morphed into an enormous porcupine and smashed out of the toilet cubicle.

There’s plenty I could say about that episode and it’s parallels here but Noel Murray at the AV Club does a good job and has the word count so go check that out. What I want to talk about it where this leads us for the season finale.

It seems unlikely that this cult, obsessed with the ‘guided evolution of man’ will be a one off storyline left to drift into a dark night aboard a ship driven by a guy who looks like a haggard Walter White, at least I hope not. It’s exactly the kind of superficially cool and potentially bottomless organisation that can be affiliated with and responsible for almost any one and anything. The perfect way to guide what could be the final episodes of the show.

But this episode isn’t simply a set up for a pay off in episodes to come. It was, on it’s own two feet, a hugely enjoyable and fun episode. It may have lacked some of the ‘gravitas’ of the previous episodes with their revelations and emotional beats but to be honest I didn’t connect with any of those moments as strongly as I connected with the Fringe team investigating a case that had fun science (albeit only moments) and a cool monster.

This episode could be the real turning point of the season in my mind and while it might be a little late it is more than welcome.

Previous Episode: A Short Story About Love
Next Episode: Everything in it’s Right Place