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+.


This AMAZES me. Joshua Jackson was always the one who didn't get much material while John and Anna, who WON awards, was given 4 years of material and now, when the writers give josh his very own arc where he doesn't need to rely on Walter or Olivia, fans TRASH on josh? Im not surprised, poor josh, he will never get the respect that he deserves, all because Anna torv fans are selfish. I'm sick of this. Josh is JUST as much a vital actor as John and Anna are but fans want to hate on josh. Anna torv had her moment in the sun in season 3, John noble, season 2 but oh no! Joshua Jackson can't have his own moment in the sun. I swear this fanbase makes me sick to my stomach.


Aeana, I totally agree with your anaylsis of the current season. I admit that I do miss the kickass Olivia, but I'm loving this more emotionally open Olivia. I love your comment that Olivia is now the glue and support for the Bishop boys, as Peter has always been that person to the family. I'm loving this season and looking forward as the series makes its way to the end game.


I've been asking the same question you're asking. Where the hell is Anna Torv's material?




Olivia lost Etta, but in Fringe mothers do not feel they are there to take care of their men, see Olivia, see Elisabeth.
Peter and Walter Bishop arrogant, egocentric, horrible bastards, Season 5 now gives me the Fringe I hate most: all about the Men centre and the big emotions and knowing everything blah blah. Olivia in the 1 scene with shooting the Observer, that Olivia made Fringe for me and Over There.
Olivia the BAMF, strong, independent, intelligent, Proactive the fighter. No wonder Anna Torv at Comic Con was only talking about the show, not her character, she must wonder what she did to be treated like this.


Olivia Dunham, now the concerned little woman of Peter, starting midseason 3 after Firefly, only storyarc for her Peter, but at least she was FBI agent, Season 5 do they still write for her, she gets the same lines and treatment as Astrid.
So Olivia now has a great jacket , I swap for the suit if that means she will get her Active status back,
I feel sorrrry for Anna Torv, awesome actress every second on screen, underused in S1 and S2, used in S4 and S5 final season she gets this.
Anna is treated like Olivia by the Bishops. And J.Noble and J.Jackson really only care for each other and their characters, just as egocentric as Bishops Peter and Walter.


Loved the episode, but I have a question.
Last season Walter didn´t remember Peter (only Olivia did), but in this episode, when they are talking at the end of the episode seems that he remembers. Am I missing something?


@kelly oohh! that's right, Kelly! thank you for pointing that out! it gave me other perspective on olivia character.


the olivia character was always about the bishops. She crossed the universe for peter and it was walter who dosed her with cortexiophan.
And she is not that independant at all. She seems to always need a man in her life. oliva in the pilot was again about a man. We have been introduced to her character when she was in love. She needed walter and peter at the time and she still does. All the storylines in fringe about olivia where about peter or walter. She doesnt have a storyline on her own without the Bishops.


olivia dunham: no FBI agent, no powers and no care anymore. Olivia arc is over and out

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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.