Friday, September 28, 2012

Fringe: Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11

So let me get this straight... he was using
her as a coffee table?!
Possibly the wonkiest season opener title EVER.

This week sees the return of Fringe for its final outing, which will consist of a fifth season of 13 episodes. Last season we saw Olivia and Peter finally come together as one and separate the two universes again after they'd been joined, but right before the end of the season was a standalone episode called "Letters of Transit." Set in 2036, we were told the Observers took over the world in 2015 after they had destroyed their own, and had incited a "Purge" of the native humans. Etta and Simon (aka Desmond My Desmond) were part of the rebels fighting against the Observers, and they managed to de-amber Walter and help him get his memory back. Then they found Peter, Astrid, and William Bell together in a chunk of amber, but they were running out of time to get them back, so Simon pushed himself into the amber to push Peter out. Astrid was removed, and Walter was forced to sever Bell's hand. Olivia was nowhere to be seen.

Turns out, if there was one episode you saw last season, that had better be it, for this season we are suddenly back in that time zone and continuing the story on from there. Which makes perfect sense, since the storyline from last season had pretty much been wrapped up.

I LOVE the new direction this season, and it's a fascinating new world that once again we have to move around and try to understand. We've gotten to know parallel worlds with zeppelins and earpieces, and then that world was joined to ours and everyone changed again. Peter was there, then he wasn't, then he was, then he wasn't. Then he was ours, then he wasn't. But now that everything has found stability in that universe, it's time to flashforward. On Lost they went ahead three years. Here, it's 24. Eep.

John Noble once again steps up as one of the best actors on TV (sadly unrecognized every awards season in a world of Don Draper, Walter White, and Sgt Brody) in a truly tense interrogation scene. And the only glimpse we get of Olivia and Peter from before (in 2015, which is three years after we left them last) is gutwrenching when we see their little girl skipping through Central Park before an army of Observers suddenly appear behind her, and Peter and Olivia — as if in a nightmare — are running in slow motion and can't make their legs move any faster to get to her in time. We learn that losing Etta drove a wedge between the two of them, as Olivia became part of a movement to stop the Observers and Peter became solely focused on getting his little girl back.

A great return for the final season, Fringe once again shows us how amazing television can be when you put together a terrific ensemble cast.


  • Astrid playing some sort of Scrabble and bitching at the computer that "Naugahyde was a very popular premium pleather!" 
  • The look on Walter's face when he tries an egg stick. "What a miserable future." 
  • Walter seeing Astrid and referring to her as "Avril." 
  • "Amber gypsies." I just LOVED that idea. 
Not so Highlight: 
  • The "resistance is futile" line. As if they had to highlight that they were exactly like the Borg. Also, Etta says she's heard that line before: when would she have watched Star Trek? She doesn't have any real memories of before the Observers. Perhaps, like the bookstore guy, she watches contraband television? 

Did You Notice?:
  • The glyphs going into the commercial breaks spelled the word DOUBT.
  • Observer graffiti ALL LOOKS THE SAME. Haha! (Also, it looks like Banksy did it.) 
  • The opening credits once again reflect the world we're in, and this one flashes words like joy, freedom, personal thought, imagination — all things that have been taken away from the people. 
  • Walter's excitement about finding the Isaac Asimov book: in the butterfly episode he refers to Asimov as a personal friend and quotes him often. (However, it was strange that he said he hadn't seen one of his books in years... in amber, 20 years would have felt like a snap of the fingers to him. Granted, someone was talking in the room during that scene, and I think I may have missed something.) 
  • Central Park is just a giant grid with a single aboveground train moving across it. 
  • Peter is lefthanded, and Etta is righthanded, so while holding up Walter, they made the perfect shooting machine. 
  • The song Walter is listening to at the end is the 1982 song "Only You" by the British band Yaz. 


mgkoeln said...

Yay! Fringe is back and I really love the dark future setting! I still hope, though, that the plan to save the future involes the alternate universe somehow. Even though they gave that plotline a great sendoff last season I can't stand the thought of not seeing the alternate unviverse characters again before the show ends.

What I didn't get was the way they saved Walter. So, they smuggled Peter into the building by using the oh-so-sacred pseudo-death-device... just to open the backdoor for Olivia? Couldn't have Etta opened that door without Peter's help and let both of them in? Did I miss something?

Oh, and did anyone notice that Lance Reddick's and Blair Brown's names weren't in the credits. Until now all the main cast has always been credited, even if they weren't in an episode. Maybe ommiting the names is just a way to save some money on the contracts? Or have Reddick and Brown been degraded to guest star status? We'll see once they show up!

Michele said...

Yaz - I remember them - also known as Yazoo. Alison Moyet has a great voice.

John Noble is consistently amazing in every episode. the interrogation scene had me in tears for him and the ending brought a smile to my face just watching him listening to music. he is seriously under-recognized as an actor.

mgkoeln said...

Yazoo is the band's original UK name. As there was also a small American rock band using the name, they shortened it to Yaz in the US after a law suit threat. But the rest of the world still knows them as Yazoo.(Thanks, Wikipedia :-))

Marebabe said...

I felt my heart squeeze when I first saw the opening with the words "joy, freedom, imagination", etc. And the razor wire! That opening sequence leads my personal highlight reel. Absolutely devastating!

The Question Mark said...


Ditto on the John Noble love. I especially was impressed by his little snicker of triumph when the Observer tells him it will take some time to find technology that matches Walter's exact biology. Brilliant.

Page48 said...

This show has come a VERY long way since those dreary freak o' the week days in S1 and early S2. Patience, although frequently tested, is being rewarded right here and now.