‘Fringe’ Episode 2.09 Recap: ‘Snakehead’

Episode Title: “Snakehead”

Written By: David Wilcox

Synopsis: When a boatload of Chinese refugees washes ashore in Massachusetts — apparently killed by four foot long worm-like parasites — the Fringe Team is understandably called into action. Throughout the investigation, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) strives for independence from his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) and lab technician Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), though his desire to be on his own leads both Peter and Astrid into harm’s way.

Don’t Drink the Worm: I’m not sure that tonight’s episode of “Fringe” surpassed my irrational fear of alien chestbursters, but it sure came close. There’s absolutely nothing appetizing or fun about the idea of massive worms growing inside you and then bursting out of your face. On that front alone, I give the latest “Fringe” a major pat on the back for delivering an absolutely grotesque mystery of the week — even if the actual plot surrounding the worms was thin and unimportant in the long run.

Walter’s Big Day Out: As hideously fascinating as the worms were, the best part about “Snakehead” was John Noble’s performance as Walter Bishop. Noble has been the highlight of “Fringe” since the show first debuted, and his latest performance proved why that’s the case — he kills you with laughter just as easily as he kills you with tears. It was nice to see him out of the lab for an extended period of time, so hopefully we get more of that in the coming episodes.

Astrid’s Accident: One character that probably shouldn’t leave the lab is Astrid Farnsworth. I’ve always thought that Astrid’s importance to “Fringe” was questionable at best. This latest installment pushed that point further, as every moment involving her character would have been better if focused on Olivia (Anna Torv), who had virtually no plot throughout the episode. “Fringe” succeeds largely due to the holy trinity of Olivia, Peter and Walter, and tonight was just a reminder that extraneous characters like Astrid slow the show down. Hopefully the writers can give Astrid a legitimate reason to be on the show — if not, they should send her off to be with Charlie Francis in that big old “Fringe” graveyard in the sky.

Walter’s Weekly Wisdom: “The initial burn is quite something. This is… this is rather pleasant.” — Dr. Walter Bishop

Conclusions: “Fringe” sure has a pattern alright — take one excellent plot-propelling episode and follow it up with a complete waste of time. The only worthwhile development in “Snakehead” was Walter’s decision to place a tracking implant in his neck, which will undoubtedly pay off in a future episode. Aside from that, some solid performances and a gag-inducing mystery of the week, the latest “Fringe” episode was entirely pointless in the grand scheme of things.

Next Case: Walter gets captured by soldiers from the alternate universe, which should lead us to his rumored face-to-face encounter with Dr. William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), the Massive Dynamic founder and Walter’s old colleague and rival.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!