Fringe Midseason Report Card: B

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Far too many of our favorite TV programs are on hiatus at the moment, with no new episodes airing until 2012. That's the bad news.

The good news, however? Now is an ideal time to gauge where these shows stand, Midseason Report Card style! We've already graded the first half of The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle. Up now: Fringe.

What has worked this season: Taken in pieces, how they have established a timeline void of Peter Bishop has been extraordinary. Much like the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life, we (and Peter) have an opportunity to see the lives of our favorite characters if he had never existed as an adult. It isn't pretty. This is most true for Walter, who never got over the loss of his son, and despite his best attempt he wasn't able to save alternate Peter. It's true, Peter's presence made a different in their lives and his absence means these aren't the characters we have come to love.

What hasn't worked: First, the pacing. While I understand these types of plots take time to develop, viewers don't have the staying power that the writers do. While it's entertaining, especially the time jumps, learning about Olivia's completely different life and how the Fringe division has become an elite division of the American government, it's just not moving fast enough. It shouldn't have taken Olivia seven episodes to realize she meant something to Peter in "his" timeline.

Second, the missing alternate universe. Peter gave his life so the two worlds could work together to fix all of the wrongs that were tearing them apart. After a strong start and a brilliant partnership in "One Night In October" they've barely been mentioned. Some of the strongest moments of season two occurred over there. It's sorely missing in season four.

Best episode: "Subject 9." At that moment it seemed we had opened up the giant gift box from which our greatest wishes would come tumbling out. Peter was back, Olivia and Walter both recognized him from their dreams and visions; it seemed they would be willing to discover what the appearance of this man meant to them.

Worst episode: "Wallflower." After the promise of the best episode, we made little headway toward understanding how Peter came out of the ether, where he was or how he was communicating with Olivia and Walter. Granted, baseball had some play in why we were left at this point for midseason, but we only have this. Peter is absolutely certain he isn't meant to be where he is, while the rest of us have no idea what to believe. To top it off, the idea of Olivia and Nina sharing a lovely life together was torn asunder by an unscrupulous deed.

Hopes for 2012: More answers. More alternate universe. Tell us if Peter is meant to be here and put his life back together or if there is someplace else to get back to. What are The Observers thinking as all of this unfolds? We've never even learned for certain whether or not Fauxlivia has Henry. I'm ready for the blanket to be ripped off the bed. Even if what I find leaves me cold and shivering, I'm ready to face the music. Are you?

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.


I like Fringe and it is still a show I am willing to watch no matter how disappointed I feel. The first two shows of the season were great starts. What makes it hard to watch and it could be just me is the fact that Friday nights are nights when my brain is close to dead. Yes, I do DVR the show but to think of the plot lines and the "confusion" of a 3rd universe with some rehashing of previous stories, the brain can only take so much after a week's worth of real life. I am not part of the Nielsen family but I can only imagine for the people that are, Friday's brain tend to be a bit dead. I liked Fringe when it was on earlier in the week because I was willing to understand and decode some of the plots also, the anticipation factor worked. I didn't watch American Idol but couldn't wait to watch Fringe. Now, I have watch incompetent restaurant owners with no common sense before Fringe is on. I am more irritated than ever and the flow of watching Fringe isn't as smooth. I do hope the show goes on although at this moment it seems a bit slim but miracles do happen and the possibilities with Fringe is endless.


Fringe hasn't been up to its high-standards of last year...let's hope it comes back with flying colors!


@ Review.....You can not possibly take Peter out of an entire season after fans devoted all of their time watching for 3 seasons & him being part of the equation. Yes, there were times when he wasn't in some episodes but you still knew he was there so you would just know by the end of the episode that he would be in the next one but to have an ending like Season 3, you just want to see him back & THEN the story to start. You can't say that the only reason why people are so hyped up about the return of Peter is solely because of the media. It takes at least a little bit of intelligence (being sarcastic) to follow this show & be able to keep up with the story lines so I think it is safe to say, fans developed their own opinion on wanting Peter back without the media's influence.The 3 main characters, Walter, Olivia & Peter, were introduced to all of us from day 1 & we have followed & invested time in their lives so you can't possibly think you can take one of these characters out & not see an impact. Peter IS the main focus. Walter creating a device to save Peter, crossing universes to save him & that is what started the entire thing to begin with ie Walter & Bell experimenting on kids. And YES I am a Peter (Josh) fan but if you have read all of my reviews as you claim, you would also see that I LOVE the entire cast! They picked the 3 most perfect people (actors) to play these characters & part of the reason why Fringe is still on the air is because as the producers & writers have said, you can have brilliant writing but it also falls on the actors to convince you & pull the story off...they have to go hand in hand. Anna Torv is an amazing actor as well as John Noble. And all 3 have said that the reason why they all can tell the character's story so well is because the other two are on the receiving end & they play well off of one another. So you definitely can't claim that I am only saying what I am saying because I am a Josh Jackson fan.


Um, the reviewer said that this season was season 3. When it's actually season 4....


Actually, Review, if I had to choose a favorite character on the show overall, it would be Fauxlivia. I also prefer the alternate universe to our own, where there is no Peter at all. I am in awe of Anna Torv and her ability to be so many characters in so many different incarnations. Love love love. However, I also think people overlook the difficulties Joshua Jackson has interacting with both sides while remaining the same character. Finally, the facts of the show are that Peter is important to both universes. That doesn't take away from my love for all of the other characters, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point it out. Go back and read my reviews from last season. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Jennifer, as the ratings dwindle, I panic. I am living in the real world where people get impatient. I would be happy to let Fringe play out in it's own pace, for years to come. I ADORE the storytelling and the way it unfolds. But others do not, and that frightens me. I don't know that Fox has the patience, and for that reason, I want to know as much as I can as quickly as I can, so I can write about it and do my part to bring the viewers back! :-)


This season had 4 episodes more or less to show us mainly Olivia and Walter without having known Peter or adult Peter before Peter returns.
Most of the focus was on Walter,and not having been able to rescue the red Peterm was bad for his ego and much of his being different is because of his Phobia, and I have never seen Peter as his caretaker, that was more Astrid, and in an other way Olivia. The entire Peter is so important thing has been hyped upon us since the finale by the media and the showrunners. Olivia's different life was being given by some facts, one sentence here one there, and she has never met a Peter, so no idea why you complain about her not knowing that an Olivia has been important to him, he is a stranger to her, he jumps in their life and she has to know him completely?
I was surprised how quickly she trusted him , and he was given the house to live in etc. I would have loved to see far more episodes or the entire season of life without Peter without Peter, see the new relationship between Walter and Olivia, 1 episode and gone because Peter is back. Or Olivia and Astrid. Or a real built up relationship between Olivia and Nina instead of the few facts, so Nina having other plans with Olivia would be a major player instead of a sub sub plot. You are a Peter fan, that is clear from each and every review, you think Fringe is nothing without him, wrong.
The best episodes last season were those with little or no Peter, the worse with him central.
That is also the problem this season, all characters have been made to look less because peter has to be central. For me the weakest episodes are 4.5 and 4.6 with Peter being the super super everything, and therefore reducing the rest to puppets.
From the spoilers it is clear this will continue. The opposite was true in season 3 , when Olivia was a prisoner the way Anna played it we all learned to care for people who were her guards so to speak, they were new characters, no one complained about investing in people who will be gone, because you were drawn in. This season , because the way it has been promoted, all focus in Peter and the actor, and part of the critics keep going on about he being the star whatever, and how in the series Peter has been made far more importnat then he ever was, we now have people saying things about this Olivia simply because they want to see that and because Peter says that. This OLivia is warm, caring, direct, more open and emotional in a different way then Other Olivia, yet you and all Peter fans call her cold, and why?
Because she does not run after Peter in a needy insecure way like they made Olivia do from 3.10. The best episode this season was One night in October, brillaint double from Anna Torv, and then comes 4, 1 and 7. I loved Oliva and Walter on the road, and Wallflower had great moments. In the first episode I loved the new characters introduced and Olivia/Fauxlivia, bit to much Lincoln. The absolute standout this season so far is Anna Torv, she is awesome, she manages from a few facts to create another beautiful Olivia Dunham, and I will be watching Fringe just to see where that goes, with the Nina plot. I also hope to see the Observers mixed in with that, see promo 4.08.
Over There and Cortexiphan are the best storylines on Fringe, I only wished that they would give Olivia more to confromt Walter, he abused childres, damaged their lives, they never had a childhood, but Walter is only being shown as Poor Walter.


I have to say being an obsessed fan of Fringe & all the characters, that this is what has captivated me throughout all the seasons....pulling out the clues & putting the pieces together. Even though I would absolutely love to see the trio back as they were, I know that this is part of what has proven the brilliance of the show..having the patience to go along with them & pull the clues out to try & figure it all out as they reveal the mysteries. Too many people are forgetting why they started following Fringe to begin with & that is being able to engage your mind with the unpredictable changes that in the end will result in a satisfying ending that will be all the more EPIC & fulfilling. All I have left to say is if you are wanting answers immediately then maybe you need to go back to watching the predictable shows so that you get your ending without the wait & brilliance.

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Fringe Quotes

I feel fine, hon.


Afro, do you have any music?


Fringe Music

  Song Artist
Song Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson iTunes
Dear mr fantasy Dear Mr. Fantasy Traffic iTunes
Blue bayou Blue Bayou Roy Orbison iTunes