Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/29/09

I knew I could expect something fun when this week’s episode of FRINGE opened with the strains of Bauhaus’ goth classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” in a clear homage to Tony Scott’s 1983 vampire movie, The Hunger. But the show also set viewers up for a clever inversion — we were led to believe that lady killer Bob was an actual serial killer of ladies (and maybe he was), but Bob got his neck graphically snapped by this week’s menace, a gorgeous bar pick-up with preternaturally blue eyes and an insatiable thirst for spinal fluid. (her Hunger, right?) The woman turned out to be juiced with an experimental drug that turned her into a spinal-fluid-drinking monster as punishment for her husband, Dr. Nicholas Boone, trying to leave the Z.F.T. organization. Irony alert: Boone worked on the XT-43 substance that transformed his wife into a monster. Boone was also the guy who developed the rapid-skin-growth toxin seen in a previous episode, “Ability.” Boone revealed that Z.F.T. wanted him to create the toxins “to show off” for other scientists. Well, so much for The Pattern being some grand design, eh? Unless Boone was lying. But he was certainly a part of Z.F.T. as his exchange with Walter indicated: “I know very well who you are,” Boone said. “That makes one of us,” Walter replied. And, in the video that Boone made, he revealed the movement is being funded by none other than Massive Dynamic founder William Bell.

Meanwhile, on the home front, Olivia had to comfort sister Rachel, whose husband has filed for divorce and sole custody of little Ella. (What do you want to bet that we see that matchmaking service for mismatched people, “Two Singles Together,” again? And in a bad way?) Liv actually asked her boss, Broyles, if he was “satisfied” with his divorce lawyer. Speaking of grumpy Broyles, he actually got off the line of the night (possibly the week): “I can just about remember when a suspect being human was a given, not an option.” That even topped Walter’s “Where would the fun be if we already knew all there is to know?” And now we know Walter has the entire lab hooked up to the Clapper. Hilarious.

The horror of Sept. 11, 2001 continues to be a soul-crushing weight on RESCUE ME, but it also serves to ground the series, in contrast to wacky plots like the boys opening a bar and Tommy and Janet encouraging daughter Colleen to have sex with her boyfriend to derail her marriage plans. This week, Tommy was convinced he saw dead cousin Jimmy on video footage recorded after Jimmy was believed killed. Tommy began to wonder if he really knew the truth about his cousin’s death. Lou finally blasted Tommy for behaving like he was the only one at Ground Zero. I’m finding the scenes in which the normally-flippant Lou releases his pent-up rage and sadness to be quite moving, and the weekly mixture of the sacred and the profane makes this basic-cable series one of the best shows on TV.

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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