On last night’s Fringe there was a vibrating metallic object (that’s what she said) and a machine that allowed you to read people’s thoughts, but most importantly there was a weird bald guy. Who is that weird bald guy? What’s his deal? I will tell you what his deal is. His deal is being the thing that finally pushes Fringe over the edge into full-on X-Files rip off. He’s 2008’s “Cigarette Smoking Man.” Which means he’s 2000 and Question Mark’s loose end. I promise you this, we will never learn who the bald guy is and we will never understand what’s the deal with him. Every time J.J. Abrams wants to add another wing to his indoor pool he comes up with some mystery that he knows he doesn’t even have to bother solving. This bald guy is going to keep eluding us for years or at least until next spring, depending on whether or not this show actually gets picked up for a second season.
But the question is, does the world need another Cigarette Smoking Man?
Maybe. Maybe the world needs that. But the thing about Cigarette Smoking Man that made him a compelling character was that he was a craggy old HUMAN BEING. I don’t know what the fuck this bald guy is. It’s problematic when the most interesting things about a character is his MAGICAL BINOCULARS FROM OUTERSPACE.
His sandwich that is TOO SPICY!
and his dream journal.
The other thing that made Cigarette Smoking Man a good character (although fuck you to whoever came up with the name because now I have to write it with a straight face and I am an adult) was his inscrutable allegiance. Sometimes he seemed to helping Mulder and Scully but sometimes he seemed to be HURTING them. I’m pretty sure the only allegiance Mr. Clean (I am nothing if not clever and original) has is to being super quirky and not making any sense. Then again, what can we expect? It’s hard to trust the emotional intelligence of a show that introduces soaring music when someone is awarded their Civilian Consultant to Department of Homeland Security Badge. “Oh my God, I never thought I would have my own Civilian Consultant to the Department of Homeland Security.” “Yeah, you did it, you’re a total hero.” What was that all about? Forget the bald man, that was the real mystery last night was what the hell was that all about?