You know, I was watching episode 11, season 2 of Fringe, and it was one of the unaired episodes from season 1. Fringe is back after the holiday break and the unaired episode has Charlie Francis back as the cast member in the series. Obviously this episode took place before his unfortunate death, where is real body was burned by the shapeshifter, in which in turned, assumed the role of Charlie to gain access to information found within Agent Dunham.
Charlie’s unfortunate death no doubt caused a stir within fans who lived the show. Here we have somebody who is second in command in Fringe division, who is a reliable and trusted partner of Agent Dunham, a loving husband with a strong willed personality only to die in the beginning of the second season.
In my opinion I feel that his death was quite uncalled for. I feel that his character means a lot to the main cast of the series and having a field agent doing the brunt (or brawl) for all of Agent Dunham’s investigations makes for a great partner. A partner where Agent Dunham trusted so much has been killed suddenly during the start of the second season. It was very shocking, considering the pinnacle role that he could have potential played as the series progressed. He is the kind of character, who epitomizes what a professional agent would do out in the field. He may not be as informed or as tolerant to the ‘mystique’ of Fringe science as Agent Dunham, but his trust towards her is admirable. He was done nothing but deliver in every investigation done so far and technically, his acting skills are pretty good too. His departure was sorely missed when it was revealed that he would no longer be acting in Fringe anymore.
I feel that the dynamics between agents and their partners are perfect in this show as illustrated between Agent Dunham and Agent Francis. Sure, Peter Bishop could have easily filled in that role, but I feel that it is a little bit unrealistic of having him in constant danger, in situations where real police officers and FBI agents should deal rather than a civilian like Peter. Granted, he is a genius. He knows lots of stuff, but it doesn’t really justify the means of taking matter in is own hands. As ‘advisors’ to the Fringe division, solving paranormal cases with his father, having him side by side with Agent Dunham when his opinions (or his dad’s) matters is a role perfectly suited for Peter and Peter only. While out on the field, Charlie should fill that role instead. Im not saying that Peter should not be in the thick of the action, but I think that should be reduced a notch down a little bit.
Charlie’s character could have fleshed out so much more, especially on the episode where he was a victim of some organism within him after being bitten by some chimera out in the wild. That episode is a shining example of Agent Dunham trying all her best to keep him alive, because she knows that he is an indispensable partner. After what Francis has done for her, saving his life was the only way to return the favor, as partners. That personal bond that was blurred between a partner out in the field and as a friend looking out for each other was the moment where both their characters were brought to new heights. Suddenly it wasn’t about saving the world, but simply saving a friend. And boy was she so glad when he was finally ok.
Overall I feel that Charlie’s role in the series could have been brought forward into the limelight a little bit more. I’d rather see him act in the main role in Fringe, rather than just a supporting one. He certainly could have the potential to add an additional dimension to the character building in Fringe.
What do you think? If you have your own opinions, feel free to comment.