Sometimes it is nice to be wrong.
It is no secret that I have a somewhat strained relationship with J.J. Abrams. I cannot truly dislike someone who gave me Felicity and (the first two seasons of) Alias but I would rather be stuck in a room with a rampaging chimp than watch an entire episode of Lost.
So a couple of months ago I was struck by some serious nostalgia and borrowed Dawson’s Creek from a friend and all my love for Pacey came flooding back. As I rode the tide I decided to give Fringe a chance and watched all the episodes available online at the time. I was interested, but not quite hooked. There were many elements I enjoyed, but once bitten twice shy, so I was resistant to growing too attached. A while ago, trolling Hulu for something to watch, I decided to catch up on the end of the season. (Star Trek softened me up a lot on my Abrams issues.)
And I am so glad I did.
There is two big reveals in the season finale: one very personal, one very universal. The personal one an observant viewer will have guessed based on hints throughout the season, but even if you know what it is, the moment is still so poignant it will make you cry. The universal one is genuinely surprising and I can only hope is handled with delicacy and thought in the coming season.
The joy of joys on Fringe is Walter Bishop (John Noble), the mentally unstable, genius-man-child, scientist. While keeping dark secrets from his past, because he cannot remember, (but we know he remembers more than he is admitting to) Walter explains unimaginable scientific phenomenon, usually through some association to his favorite foods. It is hysterical and tragic all at the same time.
The slow progression of healing between Walter and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) is heartwarming without being overtly manipulative or soppy. Peter has lived a life of duplicity and avoiding responsibility, due in large part to his anger at what he perceives as his father’s abandonment, but week by week he grows to see his father more as a person and less as a monster. The lovely symmetry is (of course) as he must act more like the parent Peter becomes a better child.
Olivia Dunahm (Anna Trov) took a while to grow on me. Initially she behaves very much like the beautiful-but-brilliant-and-tough-as-nail-with-emotional-complications type of female law enforcement agent that litters the TV landscape at the moment. Once the storyline involving her former partner wraps up and her unintentional involvement in “The Pattern” begins to be revealed she emerges as more of a character and less of a type. Her cool and slightly sarcastic persona plays really well with her boss (Lance Reddick) as well as with fellow FBI agent Charlie.
The death of this show will be ANY attempt to unite Peter and Olivia in a romantic relationship. Not only do the actors not have that kind of chemistry whatsoever, but also considering the “history” between Walter and Olivia, it would be really ridiculous for any sort of functional romance between her and his son. I vote for Peter and Astrid, the FBI agent who assists Walter in his lab.
Unlike with other shows, the best I can hope for is that Fringe will maintain internal logical consistency, because I doubt it will ever actually make sense. I don’t grope around for “big answers” in the way I did during the last season of Battlestar Galactica, leaving me free to just enjoy the scary stories and light banter.
This show will be near the top of my viewing schedule in the fall.
The TV Girl
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- I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.