Fringe 401 – Neither Here nor There

“It’s been there as long as I can remember.” (Olivia)

Fringe is back, continuing past what might be the greatest season-ending cliffhanger since “We have to go back”! All throughout the Summer, we were left wondering what the five final minutes of season 3 would mean for the fourth season. Have all memories of Peter Bishop been erased from existence? Does he still exist somewhere? And what about the two worlds? Have they merged into one or is the room with the machine a mere bridge between the universes? Many of these questions – if not all – were answered in a spectacular way, and we got a nice case-of-the-week for free.

Peter bishop has not been entirely erased from existence. It appears our observer – the observer – grew attached to Peter. He wanted to make things right, but in the end decided against it. So Peter exists somewhere, somehow. Walter seems to see him in reflections (which I find strangely poetic). But then again, Walter’s not really exactly the same anymore without Peter. The man got a whole lot crazier.

One of the things this episode did brilliantly was to use Lee in order to get us up to speed on the rules of the new universe. Because Lee had never met Olivia (a plot device clunkily explained by the observers, but that aside), Olivia had the opportunity to open up to Lee and tell him everything. In those moments, we learned what changed and what didn’t in this new timeline. Using Lee for this is a great decision: he’s very likable and he might make for a good love interest for Olivia down the line.

I have to say: the relationship between Olivia and Peter is one of the craziest in the history of television. Usually, TV series spend one season to show us why two people might fall in love and the rest of the seasons keeping them apart. For some series, like LOST, this quickly turned into a repetitive hassle. Fringe uses its absurd plot devices perfectly though. Peter couldn’t be with Olivia because he was in love with alt-Olivia. And now he can’t be with her because he can’t… well, be. I can understand the drama and I can understand his pain.

Thoughts and things

  • I loved the fact that Walter had his own room at Harvard. It was very fitting; thinking of details like that makes the new universe seem very real.
  • Great use of Lee to show us that the worlds haven’t merged, but that a bridge has been made. Lee’s response to the two Olivias was hilarious. It made me realize how far this series has come and how much we’ve grown to swallow.
  • Anna Torv is a wonderful actress. It’s the little things that show me how much she throws herself with every take. Jon Noble’s a gem aswell, but he hasn’t really had the chance to truly shine in this episode.

In all…

Very happy to have Fringe back. I have a feeling this will be the last season – it was a rocky road getting the fourth one, too. I hope the writers are prepared for things to end. But I also hope they can keep getting better and better like they are right now. Just compare the first season to the third. Fringe has turned into the Mad Men of science fiction: it keeps reinventing itself.