This review may contain spoilers.
The previews for the episode didn't make it look that interesting. It actually seemed ridiculous based on these previews. Few shows - especially genre shows - can have a Nazi-related plot without it coming off as just plain bad. 'Fringe' proved itself to be one of the lucky few with "The Bishop Revival." In fact, at the risk of sounding mildly offensive, it's kind of sad to see the "Nazi stuff" go. Especially since it brought us one of the best villains of the season (and possibly, the series), Alfred Hoffman.
So of course he only lasted one episode.
But enough about Hoffman; this episode was about -- not all that surprisingly -- the Bishops. Young Peter (Joshua Jackson), Father Walter (John Nobel) and Grandfather Robert. As it turns out, Robert Bishop - formerly Bishoff/Bischoff - was a Nazi who worked as a double agent for the allies. He was also a scientist who managed to create a toxin that could target people with certain genetic traits. While that's all well and good, the fact of the matter is that Hoffman - the same Hoffman that was going all around Massachusetts - was a lab assistant for Robert Bishop/Bishoff/Bischoff/Surname, and he got his hand on the toxin for his own evil purposes.
And if you too shouted out "master race" at your television screen before Peter even mentioned the idea, more power to you.
You probably also noticed that Hoffman hadn't aged since World War II. Usually, the show reserves that for our friendly neighborhood Observer, so here's hoping that closure of some kind happens in regards to this little gem.
So what happened with the rest of the characters this episode? I couldn't really tell you.
It was surprisingly refreshing to not have a Victim of the Week. Most of those characters get annoying far too quickly, and whole episodes focusing on them just go on forever. "The Bishop Revival" actually managed to create emotional connections with the victims of Hoffman's attacks without drawing them out for long periods of time.
This episode had a couple of references to other Bad Robot productions. The first was in the opening teaser: the obvious "Cloverfield"-esque scenes at the wedding. It probably wasn't even a reference to the film, but no one can get away with having a handheld-shot scene anymore without someone mentioning "Cloverfield." The second was a bit harder to find (despite being hidden plain sight), but it was seriously gratifying to all who saw it: a Dharma Initiative tea bag.
What Didn't Work
Really couldn't tell you what happened with the rest of the characters this episode. They were a level above props this week. Last week's episode, "What Lies Below," seemed to have a perfect balance of all of the leads, which is why it was a bit jarring to have Olivia (Anna Torv), Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Broyles (Lance Reddick) all pushed so far back into the background this week. Sure, the episode was clearly supposed to be Bishop-centric, but the rest of the season so far had managed to keep the Bishop family relationship intriguing without overpowering everyone else.
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
"Fringe" stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole. "The Bishop Revival" was written by Glen Whitman & Robert Chiapetta and directed by Adam Davidson.
"Fringe" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox.
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