This was, hands down, probably one of the best, if not the best episodes of Fringe in a long time. The last episode for 2009, “Grey Matter,” was full of the compelling elements and action packed scenes that make Fringe so wonderful, along with revelations (finally!) and great plot structure.
This episode finally gave a name to the cryogenically frozen head (now man) that William Bell warned Olivia of. Thomas Jerome Newton, though just an alias, is the villain that is out to re-build Walter’s door to the alternate universe. “Grey Matter” begins with T.J. and his associates rounding up what seems to be insane people and taking a small portion of brain out of their heads. After this piece was removed, each person became sane again.
You all probably saw it coming, but as soon as Peter discovered that Walter had a scar too, it was pretty obvious that those pieces of brain were Walter’s. Pieced together by T.J., the memories that have teased and taunted Walter for years would finally come back together for a moment, just long enough for T.J. to learn the way to open the door.
The doctor responsible for implanting these pieces of brain into the different patients eludes the Fringe team, only known by the name of Dr. Paris, a person who seems to have ceased to exist. However, in classic Fringe reveal fashion, who other than William Bell could have been Dr. Paris. Brilliant enough to realize what Walter had created, brilliant enough to realize what would happen if that information was found, and brilliant enough to come up with a plan to hide it. Somewhere along the way, a flaw happened in this plan. How did T.J. know where to find the pieces of brain containing the memories?
I’ve always cherished the Walter moments of every episode, and he has been the redeeming factor in the episodes that fell short. This episode was Walter’s shining moment. John Noble gave one of the best performances as Walter this show has ever seen, making the episode believable, heart wrenching, and of course, humorous. I also loved the interaction between he and Peter, really expounding on the father-son connection and how human the two of them really are.
As a Fringe fan, I couldn’t have asked for more in this episode. It was balanced, flowed well, gave us answers and excellent performances, all done in classic Fringe style. “Grey Matter” leaves me excited, on the edge of my seat wanting more. I can’t wait to see where the show goes from here, but if this momentum stays, it’ll be something great.