Fringe Review: Haven't We Been Here Before?

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"Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" brought us so close to the alterverse, but all Walter did was wander into a pocket universe. Whatever that is.

No doubt it's something that allows for as little extra makeup, characters and excitement as possible. The poor guy he found roaming the halls there thought he was in purgatory. I'm beginning to think I'm in Hell. 

Walter on a Search

To say I was disappointed we weren't immediately hit with consequences to Peter's self-implantation of the Observer tech is putting it mildly. At the very least, a damned infection seemed to be in order. Who else could have pulled a dirty, bloody unknown gizmo out of a living neck and them jammed it into their own without one, tiny bit of misfortune because of it?

I think of the number of things Olivia went through and how every time she was faced with consequences. Every tank dump to try to enter the mind of her first partner, John. The last time she was dosed with cortexiphan her two worlds split in two and she lost the life she knew in the new timeline, thinking she was going crazy in the process. And that was from a drug that was already present in her system.

What Peter introduced to his was foreign, unclean, unsafe and unproven. 

We still have the new, improved Olivia Dunham. She no longer runs from her feelings, but faces them head on, almost revels in them and is willing to help Peter confront whatever he is feeling as well. She spent years trying to pretend nothing could hurt her, and now she's somehow the pinnacle of mental health.

Where is Anna Torv's material? As the many facets of Olivia, Olive, and Liv in this universe and the alternate, as herself and Liv playing her and so on and so forth, she's made Fringe sing. Her reward in the final episodes is to become a supporting character. I don't understand.

I was worried early on about the Myst-like premise of searching for video tapes and putting them together like a puzzle. Puzzles take time. Time is something we really don't have. We're still finding the corner pieces and are halfway through the board. That's a lot to build upon for the middle of the puzzle, and it will still take a long time to get a clear picture of the full plan. 

To top it off, we've been here before. Last year, in "Brave New World, Part 1," Olivia exhibited some of the same superpowers from her cortexiphan trials that Peter got via the implant. Remember, she was stopping nanites and controlling Peter like a Wii. Does that mean there is some connection between the two? Maybe. But when the Observer finally started punching Peter around it apparently knocked the last pin into place because that was what he needed to notice any change whatsoever from the implant.

We wondered in the latest Fringe Round Table what or who the Observers are now that we know there is some tech involved. Do they all have it? Are they born and then enhanced? Are only those in the Army enhanced? So many questions, but none of them are even close to being answered. Seeing Peter doing things Olivia did when she was at the height of her powers does make me wonder if the tech doesn't also infuse some cortexiphan or equivalent into the host's system. 

I'm losing my faith that we will have answers as the show comes to an end. Perhaps they're playing their cards close to the vest in the hopes of getting a movie deal instead of finishing things off on television. There's no doubt I'm going to watch until the conclusion of the series. I won't miss an episode. But the faith I had at the beginning of the season is gone.

Could they throw a Hail Mary pass? Sure. Let's start with utilizing Olivia. Oh, wait. They're filming the last episode. Any input is too late. I hope Walter's talk about hubris and becoming the man he didn't want to be again after his brain was put back together wasn't some sort of secret message about the series. Help me keep the faith with some dazzling comments!


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


@ sam totally agree with you.


funny, because I never bought anna torv as an actress and I'm not buying it now.


Just so everyone knows, these comments against Joshua/peter fans are all written by the same person who just keeps changing her name. She would probably murder Jackson if she ever saw him in real, that's how much she hates him. Don't take her seriously. But to be honest: we, the anna torv fans, are jealous, because we don't like the peter arc, just because we want to see olivia central. We are a very selfish and hypocrite fanbase. if you want more about the peter/joshua bashing, go to annatorvbloggers. oops, i mean fringebloggers


This season is showing Torv's/Olivia's fans true colors more than ever. At least some of them. I remember when fans wanted Peter to be part of the story, to be as front and center as Walter and Olivia and the response they got was "Shut up and enjoy the show!". Now that he's finally getting some of the spotlight and doing an amazing job, her fans are getting downright hostile against Joshua Jackson and the character he plays. It's sickening. This is not a review, it's more a rant, that I think is completely unjustified. Where is the writing for Olivia? Are you kidding me? The second episode was almost completely devoted to her and her daughter, as was the third episode. Peter only got some of the spotlight last week and it was shared with Olivia. Today it was about Walter with a side of Peter and Olivia. She has been kicking ass since the season premiere, going out on missions and shooting baddies. She's as front and center as ever, just in a more reflective way. She's being allowed to grow up, to become more human and to enjoy the process. This is character development, in case you missed it. If people miss her being in charge, that's their problem. In this season's setting, no one is in charge, her previous role hasn't been usurped. I wanted this episode to focus on the consequences of Peter's actions, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little. This was Walter's episode and that's fine.


I never bought him as an actor and I'm not buying now.


Oh and the Anna torv troll isn't doing the same thing to josh/Peter fans? HYPOCRITE!!!!


I do have to compliment Joshua Jackson. I never really bought him as a bad ass in past seasons but he's completely convinced me this season. He was great in the battle with the Observer and the look on his face at the very end was chilling.


Just so everyone knows, these comments against Anna/Olivia fans are all written by the same person who just keeps changing her name. She would probably murder Torv if she ever saw her in real, that's how much she hates her. Don't take her seriously. What some people are forgetting is that we have a mere 7 episodes to go. This is the last time we get to see all of these wonderful characters so sidelining anyone to keep the main focus on just character will not sit well with everyone.


that quite clearly. now in season 5 we get peter acting like he is a bad ass but we see truth through his obscured vision. he is not invincible and I think they are only beefing up his story to set up for him possibly turning badserver on us and Liv. My point is just relax and watch the episode unfold...we only havee 7 new episodes on 6 more nights til its over. Once it's over if it sucked I will be the first to yell grab the pitchforks and fire:) but I have faith in a show that pulled me in and made me love it from the first episodes.


People are seemingly forgetting one important piece of information. Yes Peter is brought forward just a little but it's not a good forward. Something bad is happening to us...and to Olivia and she just doesn't know it. My theory is that peter is whether that means full on bad peter or just brainwashed peter I'm not sure. The main point is they aren't building him up to be the hero here! They are building him up so that Olivia has to step up and possibly (I hate myself for even saying it) kill Peter!! Olivia has been our hero and sometimes we get badass Peter but it's only episodes later that things change. Season 1- Peter gets his few beat up random guys looking for him story...that went absolutely nowhere. Season 2 we get Peter turning to walternate...only to choose Livia(well alt livia went back but he choose Olivia) and come home. Season 3 he gets all mad and kills some shapeshifters...Then he stopped. Season 4 every ep seemed all about him, but most weren't and showed it happily:p. My point is for 2 episodes we have gotten Peter (who must have had complications upon entering pocket universe thus enabling him to find the portal...he saw blue) who seems like he may be super strong but he is anything but invincible and they showed that through his observer point of view (blued up with lines matrix style;)) So the point is let the story play out and just enjoy it. We have like 7 episodes left and only 6 new fringe night so lets just see what they give us and then crucify them if it sucks. Until then lets just watch and figure out if anyone else may die before the end of it all. Sorry its so long.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 6 Quotes

Don't you see Peter? I'm not safe. It's my mind. Ever since the pieces of my brain were re-implanted, it's been changing me back into the man I was before. Bit by bit, I'm losing myself Peter. I'm losing the man that you helped me become.


Walter: Please son, whatever happens, don't let me go.
Peter: I won't dad, I promise.