Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fringe: So, Alcoholism Runs on Both Alternatives of the Bishop Family

(3.14, "6B" and 3.15 "Subject 13")

I had a dream last night that I had a long conversation with an alternate version of myself.  When I woke up, instead of being frightened by the amount of sci-fi I watch, instead of pondering whatever deep psychological stress is causing me to have such a dream, instead of anything else (like work, Lent, laundry), I remembered that I was an episode behind on Fringe and immediately after my shower went about rectifying my error.

So, because of involvement with a woman whose grief for her husband is so great that it shreds the bounds of reality, Olivia has decided to give it a go with Peter, but low and behold, they have been together since childhood!  What the what show?

I really wanted "Subject 13" to be a good episode, but honestly, I'm really unhappy about it.  Am I the only one who thinks "young" Peter and Olivia were just a bit too old?  Those kids didn't seem like they would just forget everything that happened to them.  I don't think that it's plausible that Olivia would trust Dr. Walter enough to confide in him about her abusive step-father and then when she was an adult be shocked to find out that he experimented on her.  Did she later receive some sort of head injury from her step-father (we know he didn't stop abusing her because eventually she shot him, and quite frankly, Walter did a terrible job of trying to protect her) that erased all her memories?   Peter wasn't hoodwinked one bit that he was in the care of the correct set of parents, and at the end of the episode it was quite clear that Peter was choosing to accept that he would be staying in this world and willing to participate in the deception that he had not been kidnapped but was in fact Walter and Elizabeth's natural son.  This episode calls into question every slow reveal, every uncertainty, and every struggle over the last 2 1/2 seasons.  Either we are supposed to believe that Peter lied to himself so well that he believed the lie to be the truth and that Olivia was too traumatized to remember her time in Jacksonville, or we are supposed to ignore all of this and pretend that those kids were much younger than they looked and behaved.  Plus, why give a new explanation for why Walter did the Cortexephan research?  It has made perfect sense thus far that Walter and William were trying to conjure up some psychic army to protect us for thems fiends over there.  It is totally unnecessary to now say that Walter was really trying to get Peter back to the other side.  Walter is a beautifully human and sympathetic character, but here it's like they flattened out all his complexity and approached him like he's just a nice guy trying to do the right thing.  I was waiting for him to say "ah shucks."

I get what this episode was trying to do thematically: trying to establish an epic-ness to Peter and Olivia's relationship, (because they instantly bonded the moment the laid eyes on each other a children and understood each others art and she can change the weather, blah blah blah), and at the same time trying to establish the similarity between Walter and Walternate as that of love being their truest motivation.  I also understand that this episode failed, on both fronts.  More than failed.  Last season's "Peter" filled in the details of what we already knew, and was an exceptionally well done episode.  "Subject 13" tried to fill in the details of one storyline (how did Peter adjust to his new home) with another completely separate one (what was Jacksonville like for Olivia), and in doing so botched both of them.  This is why flashback episodes are such a tricky thing to do, and should probably be avoided, because you run the risk of detracting from, or possibly ruining, what has taken place on the show.  (Angel ended up with this problem and The Vampire Diaries is in great danger of doing the same.)

Can I just ask: it is supposed to be a joke or was it just a terrible oversight that Walter's wife and Peter's mom is named Elizabeth Bishop?  I have to think it was just a huge mistake, because they never say her full name.  It seems to me that the reason to do another episode set around the events of Peter's kidnapping would be to learn more about Elizabeth, but essentially, we didn't.  We learned she snoops around on desks she comes across and that she drinks when she's upset.  (Note to Fauxlivia: your baby is predisposed to becoming an alcoholic based on both his father's nature and nurture.)

But the 80's-fied opening credits were cool, so that's something.

The TV Girl

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