Fringe Series Overview

After watching all five seasons Fringe starting last summer and going through December, I can say without a doubt I am a fan. I was evangelizing the show even when I was only in the first season, believing so much in the potential it showed. And it met most of that potential. I will have to say that despite how much I love this show overall, that other than the absolutely perfect emotional closure I got in the series finale, the show never quite gave me everything I wanted from it. But it did give me a lot. Since the show is so unique, I wanted to focus on some on the aspects of the show that really stood out, as well as favorite characters and episodes.

There are spoilers sprinkled throughout, SO what you will see is SPOILER the spoiler written in white that you can highlight if you’ve seen all of the show and then END SPOILER. Everything else is CLEAR to read!

Favorite Episodes by Season

Season One

While watching the series, my favorite episode of Season One hands-down was “Bad Dreams.” I just found the story fascinating, I loved meeting another Cortexiphan kid, and it would definitely still have to be my favorite case-of-the-week episode from the first season. But if I look back at the series as a whole, it would probably be one of the more mythological episodes, but I won’t know for sure until I re-watch. But here are some possibilities/runner-up favorites: “The Arrival,” “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones,” “The Equation,” “Ability,” “Inner Child,” and “There’s More than One of Everything.” Overall, even though I did not give season 1 one of my two 4.5 star rankings (I mostly gave it 4 stars because I didn’t think the John Scott storyline was handled well after the pilot), I think I would consider it my second favorite season.

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Season Two

When I looked back at all the episodes from Season Two, it was clear to me it was my favorite season of the series. I think season two was the closest to being exactly what I wanted Fringe to be. My absolute favorite is “White Tulip” for all its wonderful symbolism, but I have several other episodes I love a lot too: “Dream Logic,” “August,” “Jacksonville,” “Peter,” “Northwest Passage.” and “Over There (Part Two).” Also extremely noteworthy: “A New Day in the Old Town” and “Brown Betty.”

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Season Three

Season Three is a strong season for the mythology of the show and for the character development, but it stressed me out and aggravated me SO FREAKING MUCH! Because of this, it was a little harder for me to determine a favorite episode, but I think I’ll go with the finale, “The Day We Died,” because it was so intriguing. Some other episodes I liked: “The Abducted,” “Entrada,” “Subject 13,” and “Bloodline.”

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Season  Four

This season was another frustrating one for me that I honestly think I could only bear because of my unbounding love for Lincoln Lee. Every other character was just acting so frustrating with the SPOILER timeline reset affecting them END SPOILER! Overall, it might be my least favorite season, despite Lincoln Lee. My favorite episode is probably either “Everything in its Right Place” or “Letters of Transit,” and a couple others I liked pretty well were “Wallflower” and “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” (the former mostly because of MILD SPOILER cute Olivia-Lincoln moments). END MILD SPOILER

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Season Five

Season Five was feeling pretty grim until the last five episodes, which I love all so much I just have to consider them a collective favorite: “Black Blotter,” “Anomaly XB-6783746,” “The Boy Must Live,” “Liberty,” and “An Enemy of Fate.” They finally delivered on what I had been waiting the entire season for!

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Favorite Characters by Season

Season One: Peter

Season Two: Peter

Season Three: Olivia

Season Four: Lincoln

Season Five: SPOILER September/Donald END SPOILER

I loved me some Peter in the first two seasons, but he got really frustrating in season three. In hindsight, I also have to give some love to Charlie in the first season. In season three, with so much crap hitting the fan, I found the one person I was most concerned about and rooting for was Olivia, and she completely won me over as a favorite. In season four, all bets were off when Lincoln Lee arrived in his good guy glory. At that point, I wanted to stop watching regular Fringe and watch a Lincoln Lee spin-off show instead! And then in season five, as mentioned before was not a favorite season of mine, and so when we finally get to what I consider “the good stuff” and finally figure out the mystery with SPOILER where September is and that he is actually this mysterious guy Donald they have been looking for and that he has humanified and is now even more awesome than ever before!!! I was just so excited!!! END SPOILER.

When I look at the series as a whole, I think Walter definitely has to be the most intriguing character with the strongest arc, and John Noble did a crazy amazing job playing like 50 versions of the character (OK, maybe not 50, but I did lose count!) with just little nuances to separate them.

Characters that were definitely underutilized: Astrid sadly never really got to rise to the occasion, which I hated so much because Jasicka did a great job and she deserved more screen time. But the relationship between her and Walter, I loved. Their scene together in the finale made me cry.

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I definitely would have liked more Charlie. And Gene the cow… duh. We always need more Gene.

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The Glyphs

You know those symbols that come up for each commercial break (and are also sprinkled throughout the show as Easter eggs)? They’re there for a reason! If you’re a die-hard fan you already know, but for the uninitiated, these glyphs are part of a code. Each one stands for a letter, depending on both the symbol and the placement of the the yellow orb around it, and when you put the glyphs together for each episode, they spell out a word pertaining to either the current episode or foreshadowing something for the next episode. Sometimes they’re vague, sometimes they’re obvious, but they’re fun! If you’re going through the series, you can download the Fringe glyph add for iPhone or Android to crack the code every episode. I think this was a really unique twist to the show that just adds another layer of intrigue to it.

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The Title Sequences

You know how most shows just have one basic title sequence that looks the same week after week, year after year? Not Fringe! They had several! Since everything after the initial blue sequence contains spoilers for plot points in the show, I made all of those white.

Blue Sequence: This is the first title sequence we get, which lists a plethora of fringe sciences, many of which would be included in the show.

Retro Sequence: For the two episodes set in 1985, “Peter” and “Subject 13,” where we learn more about Walter discovering the alternate universe and the immediate consequences, a retro-looking version of the Fringe title sequence rolled out the fringe sciences of yesteryear, many of which are now a reality. 

Red Sequence: The red title sequence represents an episode that prominently takes place in the alternate universe, AKA the Redverse. In “Entrada,” we see a mix of the blue and red sequences as the two universes got more equal episode time. This sequence also includes what is considered fringe sciences in the Redverse. 

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Gray Sequence: The gray sequence was for the season 3 finale episode “The Day We Died,” in which we see a possible future where the Redverse has been destroyed and the Blueverse is on the brink of going down the same path. This sequence includes what is considered fringe sciences in this possible future timeline. 

Amber Sequence: This was for season four, to indicate an altered timeline where Peter actually died as a boy. Most of the fringe sciences listed are not too unlike those from the initial sequence, though they are new words. 

Future Sequence: This is the sequence for “Letters of Transit” and all of season 5, set in the future where the Observers have taken over. It’s scary to think that things like “private thought” are considered fringe in this future. 

The Storylines & The Message

There were so many… where does one begin?! I will now get my biggest gripe about Fringe out there now, and that is that I think it had the tendency to bite off more than it could chew. Sometimes it tried to set something up, only for the “answer” to feel weak and incomplete (First People, Sam Weiss, Mr. X, John Scott, ZFT, etc.) or to not be followed through at all (Olivia’s stepfather, Big Eddie, Rachel and Ella, Etta on invasion day, etc.). And then there were things that they tried to build up as really epic (SPOILER Peter is completely erased from the timeline! END SPOILER) but then it turns out to not be nearly as big as we thought (SPOILER Well not so much erased but more like he died when he was a boy after all so you guys never knew him, but he’ll come back because love conquers all… END SPOILER). As much as I loved so many of the intriguing story arcs throughout the series, most of them honestly did not deliver as fully as I would have liked. In fact, entire seasons were dedicated to many of these plot points, and while they all ended on pretty high and mostly satisfactory notes, I was still left with more questions than answers.

But this series is very much about one thing, and it’s good to know this if you haven’t started watching yet: it’s about LOVE.

The love between a father and son. Between friends. Between lovers. Between a mother and  daughter. It’s about how far you would go to save someone you love, or to be with them.

And it’s about humanity. This is something you’ll especially see as you get to the end of season five, that the show is asking questions about what makes us human. And that’s why it’s good sci-fi, a good show, and worth investing your time in it.

The characters are wonderfully flawed and quirky and intelligent and caring. And when the show’s over, you honestly feel like you’ve become disconnected from an amazing group of friends.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take Walter’s word for it. Watch Fringe…

because-its-coolAnd I still feel like I have only scratched the surface here! What about Massive Dynamic and Nina and Broyles and William Bell and Brandon and the shapeshifters and LSD and the Observers and everything else?! There’s just so much!!!

May I also recommend The Fringe Podcast as a supplement to your watching? It’s wonderfully fun, informative, and insightful. My experience would not have been the same without it.

Also see: Fringe reviews for seasons 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Are you a future Fringe fan or a current one? (There are no other options, BTW.) Tell me what you love about the show or what about it has piqued your interest! 

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Review: Fringe Season Five

I can’t believe it’s over. That I finished Fringe and have seen all that there is to be seen of the dynamic team of Olivia, Peter, and Walter. I’ll admit, I was slugging through this last season, only 13 episodes long. Maybe because it was accepting the end, maybe it was because I was watching TV shows live again (mostly that), but there was also the fact that for quite a while, I wasn’t motivated to watch season 5 because I felt sort of meh about it. Thankfully, the last few episodes and the finale finally delivered. WARNING: Don’t read further if you haven’t watched the series. THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW!

fringe-5So this is how season four ended…

they-are-comingI knew that the season 4 episode “Letters of Transit” was a glimpse into the future world that we would be visiting for season 5, so September’s words were certainly ominous. The Observers were coming, but why were they going to be so evil? September seems pretty nice! I was curious to find out, but cautiously optimistic. The world portrayed in “Letters of Transit” was quite grim, after all. And that definitely did not stop once season 5 got kicked off. The Fringe team, having been trapped in amber for 20 years, is reunited thanks to Etta, Peter and Olivia’s now grown daughter who they lost the day the Observers invaded.

Rant #1: Peter and Olivia spend a lot of time asking each other, “What happened to Etta that day? Where did she go?” BUT THEY NEVER ASK HER! At least, not on-screen, and they should have, because I wanted to know too! Obviously someone raised her, and she was raised as such that she came to hate the Observers/Invaders and joined the Resistance. But we NEVER find out what happened to her!

Walter hid tapes in the ambered Harvard Lab that would reveal the details of the plan to defeat the Observers.  The Fringe team must retrieve, watch, and follow these tapes to the letter. So for several episodes, they are basically on a scavenger hunt with a vague objective in mind, meanwhile Peter and Olivia struggle with their relationship and with how to relate to the daughter they barely knew.

I never felt the connection to Etta that I wanted. When she died, I was sad, but I wasn’t devastated, and in fact, I felt that the story really picked up after she died. I guess her death was motivation to help the Fringe team stop their lollygagging around, but still, I think I was supposed to be more emotionally connected. I mean, there were definitely some nice moments between Olivia and Etta, but there could have been more, or at least stronger, moments. Though the running theme with the bullet was poignant.

etta-bullet

Rant #2: For a 13 episode season that was described by the show’s producers as being essentially “one long movie,” it has terrible pacing.

The first episode that I think REALLY piqued my interest a lot was episode 6, “Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There,” the episode where we learn that the boy from the season one episode “Inner Child” is an important part of the plan and the Fringe team travels to a “pocket universe” to retrieve him, but instead end up with a radio.  Then I felt the story lagged for another couple of episodes (though there are some nice moments in “The Human Kind”) where we have to deal with

Rant #3: the Peter-becoming-an-Observer-and-it-is-really-dangerous-and-scary-but-the-only-after-effects-from-it-are-a-couple-bad-headaches subplot,

until “Black Blotter.” That’s when, despite Walter’s LSD trip induced state of mind that provided some unnecessary weirdness (along with a very necessary emotional check-up of Walter’s subconscious), we finally seemed to move forward with the story. They get the boy! They call him Michael! He’s an Observer anomaly who was never fully matured and was set to be destroyed! They find Donald! AND DONALD, AKA SEPTEMBER WHO IS UNOBSERVERFIED AND HAS HAIR NOW, IS HIS FATHER!

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Feels…

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Michael, I am your father…

Needless to say, “Black Blotter” through the end of the season easily get 4.99 stars for me for being so awesome and emotionally satisfying.

Speaking of emotionally satisfying, “Liberty” brought the Redverse back briefly (which I hated so freaking much in season 3 but thanks to season 4 did not hate anymore…) and just look how cute Fauxlivia and Lincoln are!

fauxlivia-lincolnleeI’m so glad I got to see Lincoln Lee one more time.

So the finale. It tied up all the loose-ends from season 5 (except I’m dying to know what happened to William Bell. Was he left in amber without a hand? Or did the Observers get him out when they got Simon? If so, what happened? Was he interrogated? Is he running around ready to cause havoc to the timeline all over again?). It did not tie up all the storylines and questions from throughout the series though, which I sensed would be the case basically from the first episode of season 5, when the focus was clearly not on the past. So while I’m disappointed I will never fully understand the deal with ZFT, The First People, Sam Weiss (though I was glad he was at least alluded to this season), John Scott, Olivia’s stepfather, and more, it wasn’t disappointing enough to say that the finale wasn’t the right ending for the series, because it was.

My first reaction to the timeline reset: I wasn’t surprised. I had expected as much, especially thanks to The Fringe Podcast I listened to along the way where they theorized this frequently. But I kept thinking that a reset in the park didn’t make sense if the Observers ceased to exist, and that the timeline change for our Fringe team members would have to start in 1985 with September not showing up in the lab to distract Walternate. And then that would change EVERYTHING and invalidate THE ENTIRE SERIES (of course, only the fourth season really means anything now, though I am SO GLAD that Walter got the memories Peter and Olivia have of seasons 1-3, even if it all still seems convoluted to me). But also thanks to The Fringe Podcast, I heard some different ideas of how this might work and some explanations of time paradoxes and such, but it’s all too much for my brain to truly comprehend.

But there the very final moment made it all worth it for me.

white-tulip“White Tulip” is easily  one of my favorite episodes of all of Fringe, and how the writers used the symbol throughout the show and then tied it all back in the end was just WOW. It was the most fitting, perfect, beautiful ending Fringe could have given me.

Random Star Trek: Enterprise Rant: Brannon and Braga and Rick Berman: I hope you watched Fringe and took notes.

Season 5 was not perfect. It needed more Astrid. It needed better pacing. It needed more answers about Etta. But the finale did deliver and while it did not do everything I wanted for the series, I think it probably did everything I needed, and I can’t really imagine it being any other way.

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Though I can’t deny I was hoping for a little bit more with Gene…

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What were your thoughts on Season 5 of Fringe? Also, I’ll be doing a recap post of the entire series sometime in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned, Fringies! 

Review: Fringe Season Four

Two words for season four: Lincoln Lee.

lincoln-lee-blueWarning: I can’t talk about this season without talking spoilers. So don’t read this unless you’ve already seen Fringe season 4. Seriously.

fringe_season_4Season 4, how I love you. And yet I also hate you. I don’t hate you as much as season 3, which I guess doesn’t actually exist anymore thanks to you, but did you have to go and erase seasons 1 and 2 too? White Tulip, one of my absolute faves, means basically nothing anymore? But oh, thank you for more Lincoln Lee, and specifically Blueverse Lincoln.

agent-lee-i-presume

Red Lincoln and Blue Lincoln meet.

At the end of season 3, Peter disappears and no one remembers him. We find out that he’s been “erased from the timeline,” as the Observers put it (which turned out to be total bull – dying early does not constitute being completely erased from time, but I digress). So season 4 starts with the Fringe team, without Peter. Everything feels off. Walter is even a little more nutty without Peter there, and Olivia actually seems a bit more confident but also a little empty, and Astrid is basically the same but the role she plays is a little different. Things carry on with glimmers of Peter trying to get back, or at least that’s the way it seems (later we find out it’s really love conquering all). Meanwhile, they work on a shapeshifter case that kills Blueverse Lincoln Lee (who apparently they had not met in this timeline)’s partner, and he ends up coming in  to work with the Fringe division. Before Peter appears, Olivia says “no way” to Astrid about dating Lincoln , but then she seems to be reconsidering, even after the mysterious Peter that no one remembers returns…

And somehow, I, who have been Team Peter and Olivia since Season 1, suddenly found myself seriously shipping Lincoln and Olivia. He was so shy and cute and sweet around her I JUST COULDN’T HELP IT. Seth Gabel, the writers, the directors, the producers, THEY DID IT TO ME. (Sidenote: I specifically wanted this version of Lincoln to end up with this version of Olivia. I still wanted Peter to be able to go back to “his Olivia.”)

power-of-cuteness

Lincoln around Olivia.

Needless to say, I was frustrated when September told Peter that he was in the right universe/timeline/whatever-the-crap-this-amber-colored-title-sequence-place-is, that he had no where to go back to. “A Short Story About Love” was obviously supposed to make me feel happy but instead it made me feel like this:

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I’m pretty sure this is how Lincoln felt too.

But we’ll get back to this whole Lincoln subplot thing. I want to address other issues I have with this season. Like, the fact that for everyone who isn’t Peter, and sort of Olivia, it erases everything we’ve seen about them before on the show. And then for Olivia, that she forgets about this whole other life where she got away from her crazy and abusive stepfather and was raised by a nice Nina. And then poor Walter, he doesn’t have the same benefits of knowing this Peter and knowing that God’s forgiven him.

And then the crazy weird inconsistencies this created when we decide to re-do cases from season 1, where somehow magically, the same guy wearing the same shirt with the same people on the same flight of the same plane has almost the same thing happen to him four years later than originally when Peter was around. What? I try to justify it happening later due to a change of plans with David Robert Jones and William Bell due to Peter’s premature death, but that still doesn’t justify SAME CLOTHES SAME PEOPLE SAME FLIGHT SAME PLANE other than the obvious reason: budget.

But let’s talk about something positive this whole catawampus storyline shift did, and that is the return of David Robert Jones.

fringe-DRJonesDRJ is a great villain, and I felt his first story arc in Fringe was a little unsatisfactory, so I was happy to see more of him. So yay for more DRJ! But I am still a little unsatisfied with the conclusion of his overall story, especially since we never get the answers to his connection with ZFT (does it still exist is this timeline, or did Peter somehow change that too? Or does this come up in season 5?). However, having his second demise somewhat reflect his first was great. And I don’t really understand how the shapeshifters were going to play a role in Jones’ and Bell’s new world.

Speaking of that, what is up with totally whacked-out crazy William Bell?!

William-BellI hope there will be more answers about Bell in season 5. I really liked the old Bell better though…

Now, back to another positive thing about this season with the new timeline: Walternate and Fauxlivia are much nicer! Guys, in season 3 I hated Fauxlivia with a passion. I hated her at least as much as I hated Walternate. I don’t think Fauxlivia was inherently more evil in season 3, but she quickly chose to take that turn, I think largely because of Walternate and Newton’s influence. (Sidenote: I found Newton’s end in season 3 also unsatisfactory. Basically, I don’t like the way Fringe ends the storylines of their villains. Except Harris.)

So, this brings me back to Lincoln. After Redverse Lincoln dies, he decides to stay in the Redverse, presumably in part to see how things go with Fauxlivia. And while I wanted Redverse Lincoln and Redverse Olivia to hook up, and I wanted Blueverse Lincoln to feel wanted and needed… as a compromise… I think this might be OK with me.

lincoln-faulivia

How you doing?

Mostly, I want Lincoln to be happy. I’m just sad he isn’t a regular in season 5. *Cries*

lincoln-peterYou’re a good guy, Lincoln Lee. *Cries again*

Here’s Gene with a FBI hat to make me feel better:

fbi-geneI don’t know how to rate this season. Some of it I really liked, but some of it frustrated me. I gave season three, which I felt the same way about, 4.5 stars, but I still can’t decide if I like this season more or less than season 3. I do want to give kudos to a finale that really wrapped up the season nicely, and that even made me like Peter and Olivia being back together again (after basically hating them being together from “A Short Story About Love” up until “Brave New World Part 1,” minus “Letters of Transit,” in which we don’t actually see them together but we see their daughter). It’s either 4 stars or 4.5, but I don’t know which quite yet. So I’ll just leave us with this still from the season 4 gag reel:

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Joshua: “Welcome to the gag reel, Seth Gabel.”

Help me out with my rating! How do you feel season 4 compares to the others? Were you as frustrated by new timeline stuff as I was? Are you a Lincoln Lee fan? 

Review: Fringe, Season Three

Two words for season three: roller coaster. This season was filled with some serious up’s and down’s. There were two episodes that made me extremely upset, to the point where I almost wanted to give up on it all, and yet by sticking through it there was a pretty decent pay-off. The pay-off at the end of this season wasn’t quite as stellar as, let’s say, Babylon 5’s season three, but it did help me realize that the writers really did know what they were doing.

Fringe-season3Basically, it would be impossible to talk specifics about the story line of season three and not give anything away, so I’ll touch lightly on a few episodes and characters I enjoyed this season. As far as new (or fairly new) faces go, I really enjoyed Henry the cab driver and Lincoln Lee.

henryHenry initially appears in the first episode of the season, “Olivia.” And though he’s a major part of the episode, it’s easy to assume he won’t be seen again. But thankfully, we do! And it’s amazing how such a small character role can have such a good character arc. In the few episodes we see Henry, we see his compassion, how his concern towards Olivia grows, and he discovers things about the world that not everyone knows, even if he doesn’t know all the details. He might be just a cab driver to most passerbyers, but we as the audience get to learn about him as a person, and he’s pretty awesome.

lincoln-leeWe are introduced to Lincoln Lee at the end of season two, and he seems like a decent guy, but that was pretty much all I thought of him for a while. But then the episodes “Stowaway” and “Bloodline” made me really start to love him as a character. Spoiler in white (highlight to see): Stowaway introducing our side’s Lincoln Lee was definitely huge for me. I just loved how different he was from the other side’s Lincoln Lee, and yet saw the similarities as well. I really loved that ours was so straight-laced though, and how he interacted with Peter. And then in Bloodline, when we went back to the other side’s Lincoln Lee, I saw how great he was too; how compassionate and loving he was underneath that tough exterior. 

Subject-13The first half of the second season deals with the story that left off in the season two finale, and the second half of the seasons deals with the consequences within the interpersonal relationships of the characters. “Entrada” was a favorite of mine as it seemed to resolve so much, only for some of it to somewhat unravel on me again! “The Firefly” was a fascinating look at repercussions caused from the decisions we make in life. We got more background in the characters’ lives with another flashback episode reminiscent of “Peter,” with “Subject 13.” I found “Bloodline” strangely moving for someone who was not a fan of “Immortality” for… uh… reasons (hopefully this will make sense for those who have seen the season; I’m just trying to stay vague!). “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide” was not a favorite but it was an out-of-the-box sort of episode that ended with an interesting twist that I’m still waiting for more answers on at the start of season four.

fringe-lsdAnd same with the last three episodes of the season, which felt like one arc that launched us into season four with some half-answers that left me still wanting more! And while it was a good, solid pay-off, I still cannot help but forget some of the frustrations of the season. While this season is clearly better than the second in many ways, it also angered me more. Perhaps this could be seen as a testament of the writers’ amazing ability to get under my skin and give me ALL THE FEELS (not to mention the amazing acting done by everyone on the cast), but I have decided to dock it half a star and go with a 4.5 star rating, the same as last season.

4-5stars-editI’m only two episodes into Season Four and basically nothing has been resolved, so I’m really anxious to see how it all turns out. I’m also becoming more and more glad I can watch these episodes back to back and without hiatuses!

If you’ve seen season three of Fringe, tell me your thoughts! Did you have as much of a love/hate relationship with it as I did?

Review: Fringe, Season Two

How can I even begin to describe the awesomeness of Fringe, season two?

2x01-131Gene the cow in a birthday hat is pretty awesome. But it does not even begin to cover the amazing continuing overall story arcs and character arcs. Questions are answered. More questions are raised. I grow to care more and more for the characters with each episode. The feelings I have experienced this season can be attributed to some amazing storytelling.

Fringe-season2Every character grows, the plot thickens, and the relationships between the characters grow more complex. And just when all seems right between two people, something inevitably happens to make things go awry again. Really, it’s so hard to talk about this season without spoiling anything, but every episode added to the characters, to their interpersonal relationships, and the overall mythology of Fringe that becomes more and more fascinating, especially at the halfway point of the season, from the episode Jacksonville on.

In Jacksonville, we get more of Olivia’s back story. In Peter, we get more of his back story. We learn more about Walter in both too, as well as in other episodes, such as White Tulip, when we see just how haunted Walter has been over the years by decisions he has made. And just when things get super tense, we are offered a reprieve with the episode Brown Betty, a slightly musical episode (really, it’s quite light on the music) where Walter tells Olivia’s niece Ella a story that seems to have some basis in reality, or at least Walter’s perception of reality, but is a charming, fictional tale where old and new meet.

And then we get Northwest Passage, where we get back to the present tense, and Peter must come face to face with his own demons.

And then the two-part finale… with the second part seemingly wrapping things up well then BAM! I can’t elaborate any further, but it’s intense.

Seriously guys, I love this show. Just watch it.

Season two was better than season one, but I am anticipating that the best is yet to come.

4-5stars-edit

If you’ve seen Fringe, what are your thoughts on season two? If not, do you have questions about the show that I can answer for you? 

Review: Fringe, Season One

Holy crap.

fringe-season1

Part of me wishes I had discovered this show sooner. The other part of me is glad I’m watching it now, after having seen and enjoyed more science fiction and after all the seasons are out on DVD. But regardless, my co-worker loaned me the first season, and after it sat around our house for a while, my husband and I finally started watching it. And we quickly became hooked. The first season has some flaws, which I will get to, but it was incredibly strong overall and I have thoroughly enjoyed the creative story and the characters.

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Fringe has a very fascinating story line, with most episodes based on a certain element of the “fringe” sciences, which include the likes of teleportation, pyrokinesis, hypnosis, etc. The show centers on FBI agent Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv), who is assigned to work with the fringe science division as more and more instances involving the fringe sciences occur in Boston, New York, and the surrounding areas. These events are a part of something referred to as “the pattern,” and the goal of the division to figure out what exactly the pattern is and who is behind it, that they might be stopped. To help her, Olivia recruits fringe scientist and genius Dr. Walter Bishop (played by John Noble), but before she can recruit him out of the mental institution where he has lived for the past 17 years, she has to first recruit his son Peter Bishop (played by Joshua Jackson). She finds Peter in Iraq, who reluctantly agrees to sign Walter out of the mental institution only after Olivia tells him she knows what the FBI has on him, and she will do something about it if he won’t help. Over time, the three truly become like a wacky, dysfunctional family that you can’t help but love.

I really like Peter especially. It’s probably because of my love for The Mighty Duck movies, but he always has an intelligent quip or sarcastic remark at hand. He’s got a little bit of a shady past, but he grows throughout the season and clearly comes to care more about his dad and the others in his life. I love especially how he is always watching out for Olivia (and I hope this will turn into something more later in the show), who probably doesn’t think she needs the help; but no matter how strong a person is, they cannot stand on their own. In a way, I think Peter and Olivia need other (at least platonically) because they both have been so independent.

Walter grows leaps and bounds in the first season. He goes from being in a mental institution, to learning how to cope with the real world, to growing more happy, but at the end of the season he comes to grips with what he did in the past and how it is affecting what is happening now, and trying to cope with that. He too cares about Olivia, and of course for Peter, even if Peter doesn’t feel that way from Walter’s long absence in his life. He’s also hilarious and is always craving some food he hasn’t had in 17+ years.Olivia is extremely serious about her job and works very hard at it, not leaving room for much else in her life. Once she did open up her heart, and it ends up burning her, and it affects her throughout the season. Yet she does seem to trust Peter and Walter, as well as fellow FBI agent Charlie. We also get to see some interaction between Olivia and her sister and niece, which shows a more familial side of her. She is exactly the kind of female character I enjoy.

All the minor characters are complex and interesting too, with the exception of one who is just so annoying it’s not even funny, but let’s just say they take care of it on the show. Several of the major and minor characters seem to operating in various shades of gray, and it will take time to see their true colors. One character that I really like but feels a little flatter than some of the others is Astrid, a junior FBI agent who’s always in the lab with Walter. Thankfully, her character is on the show for all five seasons, so I imagine she will continue to grow.

Oh yes, and there’s a cow named Gene. She’s awesome. 🙂

I don’t want to say too much more about the overall story line, because it’s so much more fun to discover it on your own. Let’s just say that just when you think the show is getting a little formulaic (still very interesting, but formulaic nonetheless), they throw you some curve balls and plot twists, and they really shake things up at the end (though sadly I kind of knew some of it was coming, partly due to listening to speculations from a podcast called The Fringe Podcast and partly due to the show being out long enough and having apparently picked up on at least a couple of spoilers accidentally). Season One is clearly just the beginning of a story that continues for four more seasons.

I do have one really big beef with season one in how one particular story arc and character arc was “resolved” and handled. I don’t want to get specific, but it starts in the pilot episode and the “resolve” happens about halfway through the first season, and it feels extremely inconsistent. I am hoping it’s not the actual end and that it will come up again, because it really did not feel right at all. With this in mind, as well as with the hope that the subsequent seasons will just get better and better, I am going to rate season one of Fringe four out of five stars.

4stars2This is an extremely strong first season for a show, and I would highly recommend it. I will warn it can be a little gory sometimes, but just look away for a little while and you’ll be fine. It’s worth it to watch this show play out. It’s intelligent, funny, and dramatic all at once.

Have you seen Fringe? What are your thoughts on it? (No spoilers please, as I have only seen season 1 and the first two episodes of season 2 thus far!)