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+.


@valerie I am not trying to upset anyone. I apologize if I upset you or anybody else. But, personally, it's just that the past 4 seasons was mainly the reason why it felt odd this season because I was just so used to that set-up and it's just not that easy for me to adjust to this set-up. I do love Peter. But, this is the final season so I just want ALL 3 characters to have their own focus.


Gosh, after 5 seasons, Peter finally gets his time in the spotlight.


@izz How about all the past 4 seasons when the show focused on olivia and walter the majority of the time and Peter was just on the background.
But when the writers dare to put the focus on Peter for a couple of episodes, then YOU complain??


I'm really upset by the majority of anna torv fans who just can't enjoy the episode and who want anna to be central all the time. Can't you just give joshua jackson a break and enjoy his arc. It will probably last just until 508, so why are you guys, spoiling it for the rest.
Her fans dont like the observer story ,beacuse anna is not the central focus. If they had made olivia turn into an observer, her fans would have like it very much. It's like when Belly possesed Olivia. Her fans were so happy about it even if it was stupid and badly done.


I have to agree with this review. I love all of the characters and I believe that one can't exist without the other. I'm glad that Peter is having this big storyline (and Josh's nailing it, btw.), but, I just hoped that it doesn't sidetracked all of the other characters, esp. Olivia and Walter. Through out the 4 seasons, Olivia has been this leader of sorts and the active one. Maybe, I just miss her BAMF-ness. Though, I love the emotional arc given to Olivia at first (and Anna's doing a fantastic job!),but now, I just hope that she will regain her BAMF-ness before the series ends. It just so odd to see Olivia being sidelined. We are half way through the final season and we have been told that they are focusing on the odyssey of the three characters, but, frankly, it felt like they are only focusing on Peter's odyssey. Can someone enlighten me if you are seeing where they are taking Olivia and Walter's odyssey? This is just my opinion and I know a lot won't agree.


Joshua jackson gave yet again a wonderful performance. Great actor!


I think now the effects of the implant will materialize really fast. At the end of the episode, right after Peter's emotional moment with Walter, his expression changed radically, and we saw what he saw in his brain, like a computer. And then, it's like we saw all emotions disappear from his eyes. He's becoming an observer, emotionless. And I agree they should have used Anna Torv more, after all she's the star of the show.


I bet the kid they were looking for in the pocket will turn out to be September and will explain the reason why September saved Walter and Peter.


...upside down hallways) that are only significant because they tell us they're significant. I can't engage.


"Where is Anna Torv's material?" THANK YOU. I've been saying that all season. They've made her introspective and depressed. She barely speaks above a whispers, and she's always dealing with some quiet inner turmoil, while Peter does all the actual stuff. This whole episode she just followed Peter around. She's the only one of the three with actual FBI training - she should be more proactive than the writers are allowing her to be. When Walter started talking about hubris at the end I thought "please, no more personal crises!" The WORLD is ending! Surely there will be time for tears and therapy later? I want STORY! All we got this week was a glimpse of The Child (potentially awesome) and a brief moment of sheer thrill when Peter fought the Observer. I love this show, and I love the concept of the Fringe team fighting an Observer-led dystopia in 2036, but they need to give us a good story. The videotape scavenger-hunt is too slow, and it introduces new elements each week (magic rocks, upside-down hallways) that are only significant because they tell us they're supposed to be significant. I can't engage.

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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.