Fringe Review: What Is Normal?

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"Making Angels" continued the incredible fourth season trip and reexamination of characters we thought we knew and introduced new layers and variables we might never have seen if the Observers hadn't erased Peter Bishop. I know many disagree, but I feel as though I owe the Observers a big thank you. First for making the decision to erase him and then for somehow allowing him back.

In meeting Alternate Astrid, it was the first time Walter ever admitted he knows that he uses incorrect names for Astrid. Given that their relationship isn't what it was in the former timeline, I wouldn't have thought the game would have continued. How wrong I was. He called her Astro, Aspirin, and Asterisks. I probably missed more, but he never once faltered on properly calling the alternate Astrid.

Making Angels Scene

The interpersonal relationships this season continue to impress me. Would the former Fauxlivia have offered to cross over to get Alt-Astrid? You could tell how much she cared for her when she volunteered to go get her friend. Alt-Astrid's observations about Astrid and Walter, that he talked through her like they were one person, was something that only she would have picked up on, and it was touching that she thought it must be pleasant to have that.

Olivia and Fauxlivia working together was so much fun to watch, mostly because both Olivias are so much brighter than their former selves. I enjoyed Fauxlivia checking out Peter, imagining him like Walternate, slouching in her chair and scrunching up her face. She also had quite a good time goofing with Walter. Their dynamic of quasi-dislike was so animated and upbeat. If Peter had not been erased these scenes would have never occurred.

With Lincoln out of town and Astrid working with Alt-Astrid, Peter and Olivia were working together on a case. The suspect, Neil, was taking the lives of people quickly to keep them from suffering horrific and painful deaths. He somehow seemed to have unlocked the secrets of the Observers and their ability to see through time. That's two weeks in a row we've had cases dealing with someone's precognitive abilities.

I frequently get so wrapped up in the bigger picture that I miss the details of Fringe. I'm not a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on show names, titles, specific events and what has happened on what episode. That's why I was surprised the device the man was using wasn't found by Fringe division and that it was September's Observer gizmo. I don't recall seeing one before. What does it do? Somehow Neil was able to see the past, present and future with it, but when he shone it in the eyes of his victims, they died.

Through all of this, Alt-Astrid and Astrid got to know each other, not just through their own contact but through witnessing their interactions with others. Somehow, connections with Walter always trump those with anyone else. The same held true here, with both Alt-Astrid and Fauxliviia sharing their best moments with Walter.

My love for the alternate universe was reinforced. I prefer both alternate girls to the ones in our universe. How on earth did Fringe manage to make so many double characters so incredibly wonderful, whether good or bad?

It's hard to believe that we've never seen where Astrid lives. When she first walked into the house, I thought she was at Walter's. Instead she saw her father, no doubt much like the one her double just lost. I'm sure walking into that home and into his arms held more significance on that night than on any other of her life.

The Observers know now that September did something that allowed Peter to drift back into our world. Was that confirmation that we are witnessing the world we left last season? That Peter is home? I think it was. What that means for the future is anybody's guess at this point. The one thing I know is that I do not want the new personality traits of my beloved characters to disappear. Whatever happens, I want these lighter, less encumbered versions to stay with us. What do you want?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (117 Votes)

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

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Watch it live people!! We want a season 5!!!!!!

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Carissa, Thank you for a wonderful review. I agree with you on everything. I loved all the interactions. I also like the nuances of the amber timeline characters--they are less encumbered, even Olivia which is huge. I don't think 'our' Olivia would have told Peter he was a good partner . . . With that said, I do miss aspects of the original characters and look forward to see how the writers incorporate them back on some level; without losing aspects of the new versions. Finally, whether we go back to season 1-3 timeline or not, I do not believe we've wasted time or that the 1-3 timeline is lost because of this slightly tweaked version. As a huge fan, I like that the writers are willing to take risks. My only complaint is that the Lincoln Lee character on this side is so darn boring; he adds nothing to the equation, at least not yet. I .

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I absolutely LOVE Fringe - my #1 show!! But I am tired of it inserting its liberal, left-wing, Obama-loving crap in the show. Can I just watch a show that doesn't have to push it's politcal agenda? Keep up the great story line but remove the political BS!

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I don't like this season because either the last three seasons hasn't happened, and i feel like it was a waste of watching, or this isn't real, and thus why would i care about these characters? It's annoying, and as a viewer i feel like we've kind of been cheated. I either want the memories from the other world to come back, or for peter to go back.

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cont'd from below:
Also, I disagree that the Olivia-switch could only have been prompted by Peter. Fauxlivia's mission in the original timeline was to locate those parts of the machine that were missing Over There. So even though the rescue mission for Peter didn't happen it's completely feasible that shapeshifters from the other side abducted Olivia and replaced her. Actually, it's more plausible because it would mean that the switch was minutely planned. How they were able to conceive, plan and instigate the switch in the short period William Bell was unconscious has always been one of the biggest stretches in my suspension of disbelief where Fringe is concerned.

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@Roberto: I don't see the notion of an alternate timeline in S4 as a 'convenient way out' because the writers had written themselves into a corner. To me it's the next step after previous season finale revelations that an alternate universe exists, and that the two will start interacting. Adding another universe would have been boring, adding a different timeline was a new twist. And do you remember all the hue and cry from the fans last season over the 'over there' episodes? How they were deemed 'lost time' because we didn't get to see our familiar characters? Still, today most people claim S3 was their favorite. I think most of the complaining is fear because we don't know what kind of resolution TPTB have in mind, and whether it will be a satisfying one. All I can say is that I have never been disappointed before, so I still have faith that we'll get the answers we crave, and that S4 will end up a well-rounded package.

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Agree with Roberto that the Bo-Olivia (Bogus Olivia) impersonating our Olivia storyline doesn't make sense without Peter and it's frustrating that that was brought up so much in this episode without further context. You can't rewrite the history of the show and continue to use the storylines you employed in an alternate timeline! Bad Fringe! Good, however, to finally give Astrid more screentime, even if she didn't really relate to the case much. This was more fun to witness the interactions of our core cast. Our take: http://wp.me/p1VQBq-oy

Fortyseven

Great. I agree with the review. I hope they clear up the Olivia/Fauxlivia kidnapping/mole storyline.

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okay i have to ask: how can you like fauxlivia? she's a terrible person. she stole someone's life! she stole her life and then mocked her about how easy it was. how can anyone like her? and why do they keep shoving her down my throat, trying to make me like her? and why does no one hold her accountable for it?

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And they are still many things in the old time-line to explore. Some of them are being adressed in the new timeline as well, such as the Observers and the two sides working together, but others are completely gone like the man in Olivias mind, that she thought is going to kill her or Fauxlivias son. I just wish they find a satisfying ending to all that, sadly fringe is a show that never knows if it will have another season, so they should plan their story well as they did in the past. If they would get a definite end-date, like LOST had it, they could do wonderful things, but sadly they won't get that chance.

Fringe Season 4 Episode 11 Quotes

I always wondered why nobody does that.

Olivia

Walter: How about you and I share some delightful scrambled eggs, Astro.
Alt-Astrid: It's Astrid.
Walter: That's funny. You never correct me. You're not you, are you?

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