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Fringe plot line hits key episode

Fringe (Citytv, Fox, 9 p.m.) is still trying to establish itself on the fringes of Friday-night TV viewing, with mixed results. In style and tone, though, it established itself long ago as one of TV’s more eerie, hard-to-read supernatural mysteries.

Fringe is murky and unpredictable, and yet strangely alluring. Its ongoing tale of parallel worlds and characters who cross over from one world to the other can be inexplicable and hard to follow at times, yet it’s strangely rewarding. Fringe is one of those rare TV science-fiction tales that is more about the inner mind – the thoughts, feelings, drives and motivations of its characters – than outer space.

That’s why longtime followers of Fringe – and they are some of the most devoted television fans – are both anxious and hopeful about tonight’s episode, aptly titled Subject 13.

The story is part companion piece, part followup to last season’s flashback episode, Peter, in which John Noble’s mad-scientist character Walter Bishop crossed over to the other, “alt” world to kidnap his alt-world son and snatch him back to this world, because his son in this world, still a child, was dying of an untreatable ailment.

Subject 13 picks up with Walter’s son, played as an adult by Joshua Jackson, and Olivia Dunham, Anna Torv’s character, as children. Walter is conducting experiments on his own son, in other words, with potentially tragic and longlasting consequences.

The episode is meaningful to longtime fans of Fringe, because it shows how the origins of Peter and Olivia’s on-again/ off-again romantic relationship may be buried in subconscious, childhood memories.

– Fringe can’t catch a break, it seems. The fine supernatural mystery series Supernatural (The CW, 9 p.m.) – also filmed in Vancouver, also followed by devoted fans, and shown at the exact same time on another, competing channel – features a clever, altworld tale of its own with tonight’s episode.

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