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!


Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (714 Votes)

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


I have to agree with the review. I love all the characters, but I feel the show is at it's strongest when focused on Olivia. I find it strange that she has taken such a back seat so far, especially when you consider how it was in the earlier seasons. I'm not saying that the other character shouldn't have storylines, but I've always thought of Olivia as the main character so it seems weird for her to be sidelined. Thats just my opinion, I know some will not agree. And unlike the reviewer I haven't lost faith.


Why do I get the feeling somewhere down the line we're going to get the "Altered States" scene with Peter banging down a hallway morphing out of Observerhood and finding salvation in Olivia's arms (I just pray that don't have Aha's "Take On Me' as the soundtrack to the scene).


Well, this is not a review, more a rant. So I call this comment review of this review: Fringe isn't story about one character, it is more about characters influence on each other and consequences of their own decisions. Walter and his primer sin, Peter and his lost world and Olivia as glue and product shaped by actions of Bishops boys. She is in between and story in this final chapter called season 5 finally coming in full circle of consequences. Asking for AT material is your right as fan of her work, which was in course of 4 year nothing more than amazing (she deserves 10 emmys!), but now is time for closure and there is more to Fringe than Olivia Duhnam. John Noble, Joshua Jackson, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick and Blair Brown as actors all deserves closure to their character which they gave five four years of own life to shape them. And we as fans also deserve this closure. I want closure on Olivia, on Peter, on Peter AND Olivia, on Walter AND Peter.And I want writers to give us final closure - it's up to Wyman and co. to give US world in which our beloved characters can live in hope ...but to quote my favorite guest character (Orla Brady):Sometimes the world we have,is not the world we want." So I will enjoy these last seven episodes, and just appreciate ALL actors and their passions and love for the show in these last five years.


I thought this was one of the better eps of this season. Can't wait to see what happens to Peter.


I'm not a fan of this review either. I guess I see this final 13 eps differently in that I'm loving where they have taken Olivia's character in the first five episodes. She has become a much more open character emotionally now, which is a direction I think they needed to take her. Olivia is the stable one at the moment, so I see her character becoming the rock for everybody else. I'm sure there will be consequences for Peter with what he has done, eventually. Grief doesn't make you think rationally and Peter is completely broken. Plus there is the parallel that he is doing exactly what Walter did in grief. "Be a better man than your father" ( a phrase brought up quite a few times during the seasons), is probably what this arc will end up addressing and Olivia will be the one that will bring Peter back. So, I can see them further down the track fighting the fight together, but only when Peter confronts his grief and what he has done. All three characters will complete their character arcs for the series in these 13 eps, we have been told, as well as finishing off the story. They don't have alot of time to do all of that, so I don't think they have the time to delve into the development of the characters this season, like in previous ones.


John, your comments are welcome. Please make one. Rion, Peter has had many stories. He was the savior of the universes. The key to everything. He's always been important. Wouldn't it have been nice if, as you call them, POLIVIA could have fought this fight together? One episode he was trying to pull her back to the world, the next she was in it and he flew away. They're killing the characters I've loved, and I've loved them equally and together.


This review was only 50% BS. The season is, however, 90% BS.
Peter FINALLY gets a storyline where he is not collected like a lost umbrella--yet---but it trashes him and Polivia; switching to more Olivia worship, or the altverse, won't help. And dear God if they get a movie deal, don't let it be a continuation of this.


This review was complete BS. Please don't write more.

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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.