Today, TV Fanatic's end-of-season Report Card series continues with Fringe.
In a season where you've just witnessed the best and worst of almost all of the characters, not to mention story lines complex enough to send your brain into spasms, merely compiling a Fringe report card proved daunting a task.
We persevered, however, and here it is:
Best Character: The Olivias. Yes, I'm picking them both because they are, in essence, the same person living in different universes (note this logic will not hold true down the line).
Both characters are full of such life, and the reason I had to pick both is because when they switched worlds, and were acting as each other, touching upon their unique differences essentially changed each forever. For Olivia we were given strength heretofore unseen, and Fauxlivia was given compassion in the same manner.
With each stunning new development, their characters become more equal in terms of being a heroine, and that makes them impossible to root against.
Worst (Most Despised) Character: Walternate. I admit I had one or two episodes where he almost had me fooled. He showed some humanity when he said absolutely no experimentation on children, and when he used this line:
"If you had asked me a week ago, I would have told you I would do anything to save our world, when in fact, there are lines I simply cannot cross. Does that make me weak?"
I believed him, until he used Henry's blood to ignite the doomsday machine. I thank the powers that be that Walter has not yet found a way to unscramble his brain, because it scares me that he may be more like Walternate than expected, and I don't want him to make this list next year.Best Episode: I'm sure many of you would pick "Entrada," as I believe the show themselves did for Emmy consideration. "Entrada" brought to light that Peter had fallen head over heels for the wrong Olivia, sent the Olivias to their rightful homes, and we lost AltBroyles along the way.
But for me, the best episode was "Bloodline," when Fauxlivia gave birth after a rapidly stimulated pregnancy, lost most of her "our world over theirs" sentiments, found out AltLincoln loved her and met Olivia's saving grace in her world, Henry.
He also turned out to be her saving grace, and she named her son after him. Fauxlivia needed to understand her world to get a better feel for the one she recently left, and that was achieved with great fanfare during "Bloodlines."
That's the day we had to decide what to call her, because she was now just as much Olivia as Olivia herself (I'm sticking with Faux, just to make it easier).
Most Surprising Character Development: Sam Weiss. To hear the producers talk, he was a man not to be trusted and you never know what the reality might be. Turns out he's just a guy (and a funny one, at that), who has had generations of knowledge passed down to him from many others named Sam Weiss.
Hardly a big bad, and I hope upon hope that he will be back for season four with more entertaining lines like, "Sam Weiss, patron member since '82."
Character Most Deserving of More Screen Time: Lincoln, both worlds. He made friends with Peter in our world and is in love Fauxlivia in theirs. We must learn more about him!
Best Storyline: Peter and Olivia dealing with the aftermath of his affair with Fauxlivia. Thanks to the strength of character she gained while being Fauxlivia, Olivia was able to finally let go of her pain and give herself completely to Peter. Peter never lost hope that she would understand that he, too, had been deceived. The change in Olivia's attitude, the easier smile, the flirting, all made the romance so believable. Unfortunately, we no longer know if Peter exists, so it may have been all for naught.
Hopes for 2011-2012: The elephant in the room is where's Peter. Will he still be Peter, or will he be someone else? My hope is that he is Walter's Peter, and he's still meandering out in the world like a gambling playboy. At least that would give him a chance to become the man he was. Otherwise, I have no guess on his status, although showing up as Pacey Witter would not upset me in the least.
I hope we learn the new reasons for the two universes to be at odds, what event caused the rift between them and that the hatred doesn't go so deep that it keeps both from working together, because I'd love to see more screen time wherein they are together on screen.
Overall Grade: A. Every year I think back to how incredible the series was as I watch the final scene of the season finale. I admit that I was one unhappy camper as Peter faded away, but not every finale can leave me with shivers as did season one when Olivia looked out upon the World Trade Center. Some of what goes forth must anger me so I want to tune in for them to prove my lack of faith to be overstated.
Outside of that final moment, I cannot think of one scene I didn't enjoy while watching. If that doesn't earn a show an A, I don't know what does.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.