"Concentrate and Ask Again" Review
I know this review is a little late so I’ll try and keep it short. Regardless, I want to put it up before the new episode airs tomorrow night! Apparently we’re returning to the alternate universe, and I’m excited to see that unfold.
“Concentrate and Ask Again” was a fairly typical episode of Fringe. The show is starting to slip back into Season 2’s case-of-the-week format, but that’s not really a bad thing. And after seeing the preview for next week, I don’t think there’s much to worry about. Fringe won’t be staying with the case-of-the-week format for very long.
Even so, “Concentrate and Ask Again” has a fairly substantial amount of connective-tissue that taps into the Fringe mythology. Chiefly, we’re provided with a great deal of insight into Olivia’s complex relationship with Peter. Before getting into that, I’d like to first touch on the standalone story.
“Concentrate and Ask Again” starts with a creepy doll that shoots out a poison gas that makes all your bones decompose. It was just as creepy as it sounds. As the episode continues, we’re introduced to a mind-reader - a former patient of Dr. Bishop also treated with Cortexiphan. The inability to control mind-reading has been done to death before (on the Twilight Zone, and on a strikingly similar episode of The 4400 titled “Voices Carry”). So while the source material wasn’t quite original, it led to some great moments - specifically, the reveal that Peter still has feelings for Alternate Olivia.
It was nice to find that out because now Olivia knows definitively that he doesn’t love her; she’s likely finished trying to project those lingering feelings onto herself. Olivia’s constant reference to the relationship (while understandable) is wearing a little thin. Lines such as, “she’s like me, only better,” are heart-breaking bits of dialogue, but there’s only so many times she can say it before it becomes an annoying character trait.
I also hope that Nina Sharp continues to take on a larger role in the remaining episodes of Season 3. It was nice to see her find out about the first people (from Sam! I forgot about him). The revelation that Peter’s relationship status will determine which universe survives is interesting, no doubt… but it sounds a little cheesy on screen. Regardless, I have faith that the writers will make it work.
I promised I’d keep this short, so I’m going to cut myself off here. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Are you looking forward to tomorrow night’s episode, too?