Fringe Review: A Blast From The Past

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Now THAT was what every Fringe episode should be like. "Nothing As It Seems" was head-scratching, question-inducing fun!

Revisiting an old case that ended differently was something I originally expected to take place between the two universes. While it was a bit disheartening it didn't happen with the doppelgangers and we had to wait for Peter to disappear and reappear, it was rewarding nonetheless.

Add to the case the mystery of Olivia's changing personality and Peter's opening feelings toward everyone after his realization he wouldn't be investing his time unwisely, and it was a solid hour of programming.

Visiting a Bookshop Owner

Since Olivia was, in effect, losing herself, the FBI didn't believe she was fit for duty as she wasn't the same person they licensed. Did anyone else find that odd? I mean, at least they knew her and the knowledge she had already panned out. Peter came back from nothing and was allowed to ride along on cases with less information than their own agent. Like she said, they do work for Fringe Division, so weird was a matter of degree. But if they hadn't sidelined her, it wouldn't have given Lincoln a chance to rise up as he did.

I knew Peter's advice to Lincoln about Olivia would come back to bite him in the ass. The two of them handled the awkwardness with maturity, despite Lincoln's obvious disappointment. The woman he was falling for was disappearing before his eyes. I don't know if that would make it easier or more difficult for him to watch her and Peter together. With Lincoln infected with the porcupine virus, he let Olivia work the case even though she wasn't sanctioned. He didn't have to do that, but everything he knew about Peter, and now about Olivia, gave him the faith to trust them.

Through Peter and Olivia working cases together with Olivia as her former self, they were able to work in an old friend, Ed Markham, the used bookstore owner who helped them a on a lot of cases. He was integral to findingĀ The First People, which was determined to be written by one of my favorite characters, Sam Weiss. How long until he makes a comeback? Soon, please! The possibilities their renewed partnership opened up are endless and very exciting.

Lincoln proved himself to be an undeniable and indispensable member of the Fringe team. Frankly, it's difficult to remember the team without him. Even providing something as simple as being a worthy chess opponent for Walter sets him apart from the rest. Seth Gable was great in the role and he had a lot of fun with the part as Lincoln was inducted into the "I've been infected" club. He was able to say a lot with the tiniest facial tic. I loved that.

Finally, I thought it was a very creative way to treat the old case by fleshing out how it would have happened if the plane hadn't crashed. Olivia was right about how crazy were those people had to be to sign up to be mutated into those creatures. On the boat at the end, was that an indication that they didn't know what kind of creature they were signing up to become, and if it wasn't the intended creation they were caged and shipped around the world for eternity? Seemed like a hell of a risk for people whose lives looked well above average.

Other things to love:

  • The look on Walter's face when Peter hugged him
  • The look on Lincoln's face when he realized Olivia didn't remember their old conversations
  • The look on Lincoln's face as he was drinking the human fat and wheat grass concoction
  • That Olivia called Broyles so Lincoln wouldn't have to
  • Broyles' speech to Olivia about a 60% Olivia still being better than 90% of all the agents he's ever worked with

One thing I'm not sure about is where Walter stands in all of this. He clearly loves seeing Peter and Olivia together and knows something is up with them. Was his ripping open Peter's old birthday gifts his admission that he had "his" Peter back? With Walter, it really can be that subtle and easy.

In the Fringe Round Table this week, it was thought he could either just easily go with it, or completely deny it. I sincerely hope it was a gentle catharsis for him to lose the painful years without his son and just accept him back by sharing those gifts. No more pain for our Walter!


Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (101 Votes)

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


hold on, isn't this still the shapshifter broyles?
why would he be comforting Olivia???


Ok, anyone else see this as Jones creating his own ark and new world?


very strange ending. is jones drugging these people to make them sign up for that? so is it gonna ll take place in this universe now. since peter fixed the rip in the universes, is that story line done now? this is a good season i just wish i knew what the past 3 seasons has to do with monsters in training on a boat. 5 star ep though.


"I just have to say Who Signs Up for That?!! I mean come on I understand it would be people disenchanted with the world and the guy was in love with the girl so he just followed her crazy. But come on, Peter practically told her that her brother was so horrifying he didn't even want to show her a picture!
End Rant." Come on! Bowmans sister wasn't Hicks' wife. They were even played by different actresses. Confused much?


I just have to say Who Signs Up for That?!! I mean come on I understand it would be people disenchanted with the world and the guy was in love with the girl so he just followed her crazy. But come on, Peter practically told her that her brother was so horrifying he didn't even want to show her a picture!
End Rant. Anyways, I've noticed that Fringe division on this timeline is much more open. Sure it's not to the level of Show Me's, but its not double secret probation secret either. As Fringe fans, I think we're all bracing for the rug pull that happens every year. It's nice to get an episode where things go well for our Scooby Doo team. P.S. Yes that was two references to 60's era comedy.


Yet another great episode! This felt like the "old" Fringe, yet our characters are all coming to terms and adjusting to their new reality. The only thing that bothers me is the title. I know Fringe always has reasons behind their episode titles; it is not a random choice. "Nothing as it seems". I do hope that the uplifting feeling I got from the happiness of our characters, especially Walter, is "real". It all seemed almost too good to be true, like the kiss between Peter and Olivia in the last episode. PLEASE don't take all this away from the fans, Fringe! Let us have this moment. I don't want to see the light in Walter's eyes go out again. I don't think I could bear it. Looks like next week's episode will take place in both universes. YAY!


It was great. All of the creatures at the end though were creatures from Fringes' past. There was the worm, there was the eel like thing, there was the hybrid creature with the snake tail and bat wings from like season one....


Another awesome episode of Fringe. You don't see that many shows that keep having that level of quality after four years, and I really hope we'll get to see a fifth season, because I just love this show. Everything from the cases to the deepness of the characters is great and worth watching, and if I had to choose only one show to renew this year, it would be this one.


Excellent show and excellent review as ususal............keep up the good work Ms. Pavlica! You manage
to relay the entire shows events with clarity and feeling. Go girl!


Wow. Just Wow. A great episode all around. Fringe is the best thing out there and if Fox doesn't renew it then it will disappoint a lot of fans.

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Fringe Season 4 Episode 16 Quotes

Why should I expect that because you and I are back together that everything is going to be fine and that the world is going to live up to my every expectation?


Forty percent of all the information you provided is not correct. Which as far as the tenth floor is concerned means you are not the agent they licensed.