I love Fringe to pieces, but last night's episode "The Bishop Revival" was surprisingly meh. Immortal Nazi scientists are always fun, but not when it turns into yet another reveal about the Bishop family of mad scientists.
Again, don't get me wrong. I like all the weird family revelations about the Bishops, with transdimensional kidnapping/adoption and all the rest. And I really wish the show would bring back the subplot about how Olivia's own childhood is tangled up with Peter and Walter - she was one of the kids given the experimental cortexiphan drug that gives her interdimensional powers (as well as other TBA powers). But! That said, I thought last night's revelation about Walter's father being a Nazi scientist/Allied spy (see clip) was just too much. We didn't need that extra backstory on Walter; we didn't need to make this monster-of-the-week personal. In fact making it personal, to my mind, made the episode feel cliched rather than grossout fun, which is what a monster-of-the-week should be.
So last night's Little Bad was a Nazi scientist who once worked with Papa Bishop in his mad scientist lab where he developed terrible things for the Nazis, but all in the name of helping the Allies, so it was OK. One of his inventions was a toxin that targets specific genotypes - so it can kill every black person in a room, or every member of a particular family. As Walter points out, it's perfect Nazi tech because it helps out with the Final Solution and the Master Race and all that stuff.
Little Bad was doing tests of his toxin in various places, first killing off people from a Jewish family at a wedding, then killing people with brown eyes in a cafe. As Olivia and the gang try to track them down, they realize they have to follow the trail of some old German books that used to belong to Papa Bishop - and which Peter sold in a snit back when Walter was locked up in the mental institution because bad guys had removed several parts of his brain. There's this random and sort of great subplot where it turns out the guy who bought the books has nothing to do with Little Bad. He's an artist who does really bad collages of Hitler and Nazi symbols to show the meaninglessness of everything. Artboy even has a weird swastika t-shirt that's sort of sparkly. Why isn't there more of Nazi sparkle motion guy, and less family melodrama?
At last Walter figures out that the Little Bad is this century-old Nazi (why is he a century old? better left unexplained, explains Walter). And all his experiments are leading up to doing a mass-extinguishing at - and I kid you not - the annual meeting of the "World Tolerance Initiative." Which is basically a room full of people of color and feminists and people vaguely referred to as having "lifestyles." I guess Little Bad has whipped up a batch of toxins that kill based on a genotypic lifestyle, which is super advanced stuff.
While the world's silliest speeches are being speechified in the background - "The oppressed need to get out from under the tyranny of vague concepts!" - the gang tries to figure out where the toxin is located and remove it before World Tolerance becomes Global Slaughterhouse.
Luckily Walter has gone rogue and whipped up his own version of the toxin, perfectly targeted to Little Bad's genome. Poof! Dead immortal Nazi!
But I'm not going to let this slightly lackluster episode get me down. Next week's pre-Olympics Haitus episode looks to be a seriously thrilling dose of mega-awesome. The two dimensions are colliding and people are growing extra limbs and there's a whole lot of bad craziness, Fringe-style. Bring it!