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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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Pt2: Take Nina Sharp for example. She was always suspicious, mysterious, maybe-evil. But finally it was revealed, that she wasn't the enemy, at least not for now and that made her character much richer and deeper. She is still mysterious and a step ahead of everyone, but she isn't just a plain villian. If we now witness a timeline, where she actually is the enemy ( we don't know that yet ), the villian, that's a nice twist, but it is hardly deepening her characterisation.

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It's not that i don't like the new versions of the characters, some of the new insights are great, especially Walter at the beginnig of the season or the new dimensions of Olivia. But there are these new plotlines inolved in all this, new background-stories that just don't feel like the real deal to me. As a fan-pleaser, an alternate version they are great, but i don't want all of this to stay. I can't appreciate that the whole rich and complex history of our characters could be erased for a "lighter" one.

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omg! what a wonderful episode! The Astrids are the sweetest things! Can hardly wait for Friday again.
Great review Carissa! Keep up the excellent work!
Always right on the money with your thoughts!

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It was amazing to see more personality of all of the characters. I have always liked Altlivia, but now I really like her a lot. It was fun to see both Olivias talking about Peter. The way they looked at him made me think that maybe Olivia could fall for him in this timeline. Then what would happen? It's really fun to watch and try to figure out, but without reading other people's comments, I think I would be lost, and I have never missed an episode. I'm afraid if you haven't watched Fringe before you would not understand anything, so I am going to have to loan out my DVDs to my friends to get new viewers. Still the best show on TV. Can't wait to see future character developments.

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Part 2 (read below first) The Olivia "rescue mission" and subsequent kidnapping/replacement makes no sense without Peter. And how is it alt-Broyles is still alive? Nor do changes before Peter make sense, like Wm. Bell, the cortexaphan experiments, or Olivia not shooting her step father. The less they refer to that period, the better off they are, because it hasn't been all that thought out. The Observer device used this ep was not in any other. Why they couldn't just take it from the perp, I dunno. And how is it September kept his 'secret' so long? Astrid's father may have resembled the one alt-Astrid lost, but the "much like" comparison ended there. Obviously, Astrid lied to her opposite about what her own father was like, so alt would stop feeling guilty for being unloved. The last two episodes were not only precog orientated, but also about anticipating one's own death. Metaphor for the series? Good character centric episode.

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True. Some of the endearing Season 4 events may not have happened had Peter not disappeared, but there could have been even better moments and relationships otherwise as well that grew out of the previous events. Some of these characters may be "lighter"; Walter, alt-Broyles, and Nina certainly are not. To some extent the writers wrote themselves into a corner with the Fauxlivia pregnancy, vengeful Walternate, and the full bloom romance of Olivia/Peter. That didn't leave much room to grow. The reset was a convenient way out, but left engaged fans somewhat abused and abandoned. Gradually, the show is moving back to where they had been before in terms of relationships and personalities. But the damage is done in lost time and audience. As satisfying as that movement is, there's a sense of 'been there, done that' that colors it.

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Last Part:
Thanks to AltAstrid and especially Fauxlivia the PoorWalter was only here when AltAstrid had to talk about the son, how did she know?
But AltAstrid is motly what she says she is, and the Asperger is a tool, only in this episode seems gone most of the time.
So Jasika Nicole as two Astrids are lovely, and they are may be second in the double, but is mostly in what they say, not how they act. High very high above that on the very top spot are the two Olivia's.
We know nothing of this Alt/Fauxlivia but she is completelt rounded character, love or hate her ( great courage to dare to play someone not easy to like) and like Olivia basd on virtually no backgroundinfo.
What Anna Torv does with all these versions, truly awesome.

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In two parts:
The episode I liked it but had some flaws especially concerning Alt?fauxlivia Over here and Olivia being kidnapped.
We were told that Olivia was kidnapped for two weeks, how , why, what, never came, chance tonight, still nothing.
Fauxlivia was two weeks in the lab with Walter, 4.02, he knew who she was, he needed all the drugs in the world to cope, so Astrdi knew as well, and the FBI folks, How, why? Nothing.
And OLivia back does not blame a person, only Walternate and mostly Fauxlivia.
Writers, Walter has told us his Sad losing his son and wife story this season alone at least 10 times, to much to have Olivia talk about her kidnaptime once?
The two Astrids lost their mother young, like Olivia, big chance to finally have Olivia talk about her mother, with Astrid, nothing.
AltAstrid OverThere does everything via computer calculating, and now in a strange world she knows everything without any help?

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What about the heart-breaking reveal that Astrid lied to her alternate about not being close to here dad to spare her feelings? Great ending to the episode I thought.

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?