Fringe – S04E10 – “Forced Perspective”
As Olivia looks into the Observer, haunted by his foretelling of her impending doom, a young woman with precognitive abilities appears on her radar. What could have been a cheap ‘on-the-nose’ episode is faced head on and turned just enough on its head to be interesting. Props go to the writers but in the end, “Forced Perspective” is an average episode that while entertaining, gets us almost nowhere.
Score: 3 1/2 of 5
In some ways this episode is rather brilliant. The writers recognized that having a precog episode so soon after Olivia being told she ‘has to die’ was a receipt for triteness and smackatude (yes, I just made that word up, it is wanting to smack a character continuously). So the show takes the high route and embraces the connection, heading it straight on.
They start with Olivia specifically mentioning how finding a precognitive girl cannot be a coincidence. There are no long speeches except for one which is scene appropriate, Broyles giving Olivia the look that the audience is giving the screen. There is a wonderful level of self-awareness throughout the episode which lends to softening the blow of groan-worthy tropes.
What also helps is that we have a family fully aware of their daughter’s ability from the get go and are completely on board with doing whatever it takes to keep her out of the hands of scientists and the government. Gone are the awkward learning curves and angry siblings clichés. This is a real family helping each other.
But all this does is make a bad episode good. The plot was thin as its only purpose was to further along the Observers ominous warning, Nina’s secret agenda, and reuse old material from previous seasons. Other than learning that the future can be changed and some really good effects regarding the explosion, there isn’t much to take away from this episode.
A drop in form for Fringe but still, only they could pull this episode off and make it work.