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"Fringe" Neither Here Nor There (2011)

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Reboot in a Reboot

10/10
Author: XweAponX from United States
23 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My last question for S3E22 was "how will the Fringe writing team dig (or write) their way out of this new situation?" The answer seems to be, to have a "reboot of a reboot of a reboot" kind of storyline. And so, Fringe has been "Rewritten" all the way back to the very first episode of the series, events having played out differently because all of the elements were not quite in place. Events that transpired in the Pilot ep are different, because "The Man in the Mirror" was not there to set Walter's feet on Earth (to paraphrase what Olivia says about Walter in this episode).

We have a whole new history, with the old history converging on it because of Peter's inordinate flickering into existence at various times in this ep.

As a Fringe episode, the pacing of this new story satisfied my addiction to the type of storytelling which usually occurs in this series. Which was a relief to me, because all summer long I have been waiting for this, wondering how the basic storytelling of the series would change due to the removal of one of the key participants of the last three seasons. And now I know: I am NOT disappointed. This is virgin territory, The X-Files laid the groundwork for these kinds of stories, Lost experimented with multilayered plots, and now Fringe with multilayer plots and "story rebooting" - Like the episode with Peter Weller where he could go back in time and change the story slightly, we now have a new experience learning the way the story played out without Peter to hold Walter on the ground. What are the differences? Obviously I don't care about the things that others had said, made this a bad Fringe episode/Case - Because those things are all "Peter-Centric" - Since Peter "Never Existed" then you have to accommodate that fact in these new episodes. Also, the character of Lincoln Lee is a strong character. He's not the same Lincoln Lee of the "Other Side" or of the Peter-Timeline's Past, and because of this, he's never worked with the Fringe team before. Also we have a cameo by Stargate Atlantis' Joe Flannigan, I just liked the small part he had.

This is a Fringe episode with all of the things I expect in a Fringe episode: A new mystery, a new question. And I cannot WAIT for the next episode! Bring it on!

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

"Decaffeinated" Fringe

8/10
Author: VladimirSkywalker from Serbia
24 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am a little bit disappointed. Without Peter Bishop, the story suddenly loses great deal of its remarkable vividness - without him as a "grounding" element, Walter Bishop is a mere mad scientist stereotype, Olivia is a "get-a-life" workaholic FBI smart ass, and Lincoln Lee, although a fairly clever character, can not fill the gap and replace Peter's nearly genius remarks and equally important - nearly genius humor.

The confrontation between Olivia and Folivia are dull, as always it is when one actor plays two characters at once and there is "I against I" situation. It would be much more fruitful if the two Olivias would cooperate, and there is enough motivation for such development in previous season, where both were "voices of reason" and peacemakers. We still don't have explanation how Folivia, who was arrested by Walternate for "treason" suddenly walks free and meets Olivia.

If Peter Bishop never existed, then why Walter ventured to the other universe at all? If Observers erased/rearranged all Walter's private life since Peter's death at the age of 7, why would he even go to St Clair's and appear as a mentally disturbed person? Should we not have a mentally stable Walter Bishop, equal to Walternate?

It is still Fringe, but devoid of many, basically emotional ingredients.

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7 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Failed new character introduction, conventional story with a twist, intriguing teasers, freaky villain, questionable and reashed stuff but Walter is a sex bomb

Author: igoatabase from France
24 September 2011

Season 3 catapulted Fringe among sci-fi stars like The X-Files. From beginning to end it was a stellar journey the audience isn't ready to forget. I had expectations but they weren't high. My only wish was that season 4 would be at least as good as the third. Indeed I really didn't see how they could possibly top its blue mind and red space bending formula. Sadly when Olivia, season 3 first episode, was brilliantly executed this premiere had many flaws that prevented the fan within from clapping his hands once the session was over. Hopefully some other elements were more satisfying but in the end it just didn't feel like a premiere. However considering how creative and talented the individuals behind the show are I'm convinced the upcoming episodes will gradually improve and wow us with all these jaw dropping moments season 3 was filled with.

My first major complain would be about Lincoln Lee. In the past installments I didn't mind Seth Gabel's character and performance as he was only recurring but apparently he's now a regular. Of course they had to fill the gap now Peter Bishop isn't here or there but Lee's introduction was awkward and forced. His geeky look isn't engaging but it's really his role that disappointed me. It felt like the Fringe division had no security, when it's supposed to be top secret, unaccessible and not an open bar. In fact part of the story felt like a lazy recap to help newcomers comprehend what it's all about. Olivia had similar elements and as I skipped season 2 they were welcome but here they encroached the main story.

It leads us to the freak of the week recipe that was back when I had imagined something more original. The investigation was conventional and only a light twist saved it from joining some season 1 episodic apples. Peter opened a portal between the two universes but I really hope it didn't affect the brave souls running the show. Still the few scenes featuring both Olivias were exciting because it felt like a dream coming true and their editing was well executed. It was smoother than in Ringer for example and the last sequence should even wow you if you're picky when it comes to visual effects. Otherwise all along I questioned Anna Torv's acting as Prime Olivia because it was like Peter never vanished. Shouldn't she be sad or something ? She could have done mistakes betraying what was really going on inside her for instance. Of course I'm conscious she's supposed to be the perfect special agent but come on, it's Peter we're talking about.

Am I too demanding ? Maybe the truth is that I had very high expectations. Now I'm even skeptical when it comes to my judgment so it shows how much this premiere confused me. But as an optimistic and fan I think it's wiser to finish this review by enumerating what went right. First at least two season arcs were introduced and both of them have potential. One was puzzling and only covered for a few split seconds so I can't wait to learn more about it. As for the other I have to admit that it increased the episode re-watchability because once it was over I realized that the writers had left plenty of breadcrumbs to guess what was really going on. So in a way it offered two layers, one for dummies like me and an other for supreme beings. The second thing you should enjoy is the villain of the week because its frightening make-up and visual effects were in the same vein as the ones in episodes like Marionette and Immortality. Plastic ? Not so fantastic ! On the third floor we have the Observers. They brought enough mystery to make us believe that season 4 could be quite… mysterious ! The fourth element that I liked was the anecdotic role Bolivia had and also the absence of Walternate. It made me curious about the upcoming episode. Will they serve us with a green title sequence considering this one was orange ? What about a Walter versus ? Both naked and fighting to the death in a mud pool ! Seriously as expected John Noble's performance was both impressive and delightful. Some of the jokes were reashed but overall Walter's strange and gentle crazy behavior increased this premiere entertainment factor.

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