TV On My Terms: Fringe Crosses Too Far Over

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Fringe finally went where I had hoped it would never go on "Os", an episode that crossed a line and, frankly, let me down.

As a show that I always believed was meant to explore scientifically unusual cases, often including the unexplainable, it has still always managed to keep those cases concisely within the grounds of scientific possibility, no matter how remote. Every single incomprehensible event has fallen just shy of the realm of the supernatural.

But now that Olivia Dunham has been taken over by the soul of William Bell, I'm sorely disappointed. It feels like a cheap stunt, the type of storyline I would expect from one of The CW's dalliances with the occult, not from my beloved, science-based Fringe

I choose to avoid anything that dabbles in the paranormal and having Walter ring a bell which suddenly calls the soul of William to inhabit the body of another certainly qualifies as such. It bothered me when Smallville followed a similar, far-fetched path on several occasions.

Sure, there have been previous displays of reanimating the dead on Fringe, but never in such a way where the person is completely brought back to life, as if by some method of enchantment, or in a normal state as if nothing ever happened. It has typically involved tapping into a person's brain, reminiscent of trying to retrieve data from a damaged hard drive; it has never come across like any form of mysticism was involved.

Perhaps my stand seems a bit hypocritical to some, given that I am a superhero fanatic. Admittedly, most superheroes are capable of unimaginable feats, but I am only fond of characters who either have no real superpowers (Batman, Green Arrow) or came by those abilities based on some scientifically explained, if still unrealistic, method, such as being bitten by a radioactive spider or molecularly influenced by the rays of the sun.

If a character, such as Zatanna or Hellboy, achieves their abilities via magical or demonic sources, I'm out.

I realize I'm in the extreme minority here and that most found this latest Fringe event exciting. I'm not here to rain on anyone else's parade but to express my feelings on what I personally feel is a copout move from a usually brilliant show. Honestly, this the first time the series has ever let me down, and I can only hope that once Bellivia is a thing of the past, this is a topic that never, ever finds itself reanimated.

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


i think you really jumped the gun here. since watching the episodes, i think they have been excellent. it is ridiculous to think science does not venture into the realm of miracle is insane. there are plenty of scientists that believe in a higher being. you can think there is no soul, but nobody can possibly know. i think they've done a great job at exploring what is a massive hole in science; the possibility of something beyond. i believe you decided on your opinion before even seeing the episodes. you can;t judge something by the 20 seconds on one episode. and i'm sorry, unless you secretly have a degree in advanced science, i don't know how you can say that the search for souls is not scientific at all. there might be a god, there may be miracles, there may be souls. i think, as nobody can prove it one way or another, it's good that fringe in exploring it


This show is FICTION guys. I am just soooo enjoying the ride. There are very few shows that follow either this science or spiritual path. It's doing a great job (I think) if it's opening up a dialog between those of either belief set. As with Lost, I have to suspend my need to understand "right now" and yes, trust the story. I hope it's going to be renewed. Oh, and Jeff is just the messenger stop yelling at him.


we gotta believe in the writer of Fringe, its only the begining, we dont how this Belivia thing will go. Most importantly, Fringe still not yet renew, all the fans no matter how you think about this storyline, just keep watching. We come so far that I cant stand it will be cancelled. Please keep watch it live, I am in Hong Kong, i cant help


@Louis Sytsma - That is not remotely scientific. There is no soul. People are bags of mutated genes and environmental experience. A soul cannot exist. You are your brain. A lobotomy changes who you are on a deep level. Every thought you've ever had, every memory, every opinion, is the result of synapses and neurons. To talk about "energy" does not make it a scientific explanation. The show seemed to embrace science, but it's now obvious they merely do it for convenience and it's a fantasy/horror show more than sci-fi. If it was a proper sci-fi show it would be harder to write stories each week, but that doesn't forgive the lazy emotional fantasy bs they're pulling. The alt-universe and anti-gravity chemical isn't hardcore science, but it's still intellectually curious. This soul catcher bs is not, it's nauseating and the writers should be ashamed of themselves. Also, Olivia and Peter together is one of the worst romances I've ever seen on television. Please make it stop.


Really isn't the first time Fringe has delved into the nonsensical. A couple of weeks ago they had an episode about an elderly couple who were damaging the universe with their tragic love for each other. I feel like they have 2 writers, 1 who is into intellectually intriguing sci-fi concepts, and 1 (probably female) who indulges the fantasy bs. I wish they would sack the latter. It's so sad when they seem to embrace supernaturalism. It's been there since the first season. None of the alt universe stuff makes sense either. The universes split over a century ago and there have been huge changes, but conveniently all the same people are alive and work in the same places etc. The difference between fantasy and sci-fi isn't the superficial exposition where one is powered by batteries and the other is powered by magic. It comes down to the type of storytelling. Sci-fi has a higher level of realism and respect for the craft that appeals to the intellect. Fantasy is just whatever nonsense they can put together that will appeal mostly to the emotions. Fantasy is never as immersive or memorable or thought provoking.


I just wanna say that it was never really declared Bell was officially dead. True he went away but he may of been stuck between the two worlds with his atoms in a mess and by walter ringing the bell(what a pun) that he was able to put himself back together because of how strong the relationship is with Walter and it drove him back to our side. It is purely based in science, not in some mythology or anything like that.


I completely agree... it was very disappointing. I know Nimoy is a ratings magnet, perhaps this was a way to capitalize on that w/o him being there? Putting aside the overuse of Olivia as a creature to be experimented on and injected, and the silliness of soul magnets, the return of the soul, into another person, is just lame. I was embarrassed to see it. They could have "found" his notes and documents, his key to the shapeshifter hard drives, in his office. This also has the effect of dumbing down Walter even further, confirming that he needs Bell because he hasn't got his brain. That too is embarrassing. But then having a brilliant scientist who is trying to increase his intelligence, not decrease it, getting stoned on dope all the time is also backwards....... there are a lot of other drugs Walter could be synthesizing that may increase intelligence, instead of making him stupid. So..... several sad geek-fails here.


@Emmy - Thanks for the compliment! :-)


I'll admit I am not that much of a fan of the SL either because I'm tired of Olivia being used in experiments and I feel the only purpose is so that Walter can communicate with Bell. If I was Olivia I would have a mega problem with Bell using my body as his soul magnet. But Fringe likes to push the limits of science and the abnormal so doing a SL like this doesn't surprise me. It's pretty realistic that they would do (in their own way) a SL of what happens to the soul after death. For me, a lot is going to depend on what they reveal in the next episode. Why make Olivia his soul magnet? Where is her soul?


This article has fallen just shy of the realm of the supernatural. It certainly isn't journalism.

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Fringe Music

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Song Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson iTunes
Dear mr fantasy Dear Mr. Fantasy Traffic iTunes
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