Fringe Review: Hardened

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The differences between Etta and her family were highlighted during "In Absentia."

Etta is hardened to the ways of the world and not easily swayed at taking the long way around what she considers an easy problem. But her ways of dealing with so-called easy problems are also uncaring and far from compassionate. 

Looking For Power

The time frame between when the Observers took over and when the Fringe team were ambered was only a few months, and watching Olivia, Peter and Walter try to reconcile the short period in their minds with the lengthy one they've missed is equally intriguing and sad. Where we have our team doing their utmost to protect those who may be innocents caught in the crossfire, we have Etta unconcerned with their innocence or guilt.

She's only concerned with the team they chose, not their reason for making the choice.

For Etta, things are black and white. It's not yet easy to feel for her, because we don't have the decades of knowledge of this strange new world in which she lives. For the first time, our Fringe team is at the disadvantage. They need to trust their daughter, that their genes were strong enough to permeate whatever the universe threw at her and that she would benefit from the very best of them and her own horror of what she has lived through.

The truly incredible thing about this particular route to the story is Olivia was never thought of as exceptionally emotional. She was the skeptic and the brain, Peter the heart and soul. Adding Etta gives new dimension to Olivia and it's so natural. As much as she tried to deeply question the Loyalist, her heart got in the way. Etta knew he was manipulating her, and the pain Olivia felt at the realization of what Etta suffered in her lifetime her lift gutted her.

The Loyalist lied to Olivia until the end, and Etta was right all along. The Observers changed our world far more than our Fringe team could grasp.

How long will it take for for her to be back in the presence of her family for the emotional aspect of being a Bishop to drip onto Etta? More importantly, how will that harm her? As much as I'd love for her to feel something that would provide her a genuine emotional connection with her family, that affection could lead to her letting down her guard and get them all killed. Even when she saw Simon's head, her despair was shown through anger and the need for vengeance rather than rather than something softer. What a shame if it's a means of survival and Etta never gets to feel that familial connection she has searched for her entire life.

Seeing Simon in that way was definitely not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to see him again. I guess there is little room to explore avenues in such a short season with so much to cover, but that was downright shocking. A lovely reveal would have been William Bell's head next to Simon, carrying on a conversation with him. That could still be coming, I suppose, as could many other things. I don't have hope for the positive, however, as the future seems to be an ugly place.

Just a quick note about Walter and his Betamax message. Was I the only one who felt like we've now entered into a game of Myst or something? We'll have a series of puzzles to solve and at the end of each one will be a video that will tell us how to get to another section of this new world and there will be something else to solve and at the very end we'll be treated to a roller coaster ride that will take us back in time and erase the atrocities of the Observers.

Hey - it could happen!!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (933 Votes)

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

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Caddguy6

On a lesser note, didn't Walters Betamax tape look an aweful lot like a VHS tape?

Fortyseven

A commenter elsewhere thought Manfreddi lied to Etta about not having a son because he couldn't convince her anyway.

Snakethecritic

★★★★☆TV

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In addition, it has always been Peter, along with his father Walter, the brain. Peter that he was initially skeptical, but he has always had a brilliant mind. Let us remember that he and his father have the qi of 190 and 196 and they have proved several times. Often when talking is difficult to understand what they say.

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her heart*

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Sorry there is mistake in my comments: I would like that Olivia, at the beginning of season four, lost her empaty, for disappearance of Peter that had left a huge hole in his heart, but as he returned and are back together, Olivia returned to the person always

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Olivia has always been emotional and compassionate, as rightly write other people before me. It leaves me a bit 'puzzled that the reviewer has instead written to the contrary. And it's a pity because the review in itself is very beautiful: it is understood that the person who wrote love and know the series very well. Nice comparison between the world of Etta and the world of our own. The girl's feelings and those of his family of origin. Perhaps the reviewer refers to Olivia the start of the fourth season where, because of the death of Peter, he had lost his empathy: remember how she attacked James Cameron.

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"Olivia was never thought of as exceptionally emotional" Huh? Couldn't agree less. Olivia is exceptionally empathic - it's her major strength as an investigator, not to mention in her relationships with everyone else - she understands both Walter and Peter better than anyone, and is always to first to understand what any subject is thinking or feeling. It's only her own emotions that are locked away, controlled. Etta is hardened because she grew up without a support network - she doesn't need one anymore, so a few days or months with Olivia and Peter isn't going to change that.

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I'm a bit worried about the fake address the loyalist gave to Olivia. She will keep her word and go there to find his son, but then is it a trap or something??!

Saad702

What I don't get is what happened to the alt universe? I know they closed the portal. But did the observers take over there or is it just in the prime universe? We need answers! Asap! .