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Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

When an electromagnetic interference downs an airplane, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate but it seems the crash is the least of their worries. Stopping in the nearby town of Westfield, the team discovers that the entire town has gone insane, some on murderous rages in an eerie Silent Hill style manner. “Welcome to Westfield” is creepy, disturbing, slightly predictable, but downright intense. This is the kind of Monster of the Week episode Fringe does best.

Score: 4 1/2 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Westfield, otherwise known as Silent Hill aka The Twilght Zone.

When a show gets into its fourth season it’s harder to do Monster of the Week episodes because there is so much of a long-plot going on that MotW’s come off as ill-placed filler. The smart move is to connect the MotW to the long-plot thought not make it completely reliant on it. This is what “Welcome” does.

First you have this electromagnetic disturbance which you think is going to affect the drivers, but instead a plane crashes ala LOST style. This is enough to call in the gang who immediately figure out that something Fringe-y is going on. In what is almost a 360 move, Peter, Olivia and Walter go to the nearby town of Westfield to get some pie on their way back to the lab.

Is there anything creepier than an empty town? I would argue probably not a lot. Add the dual personality of the restaurant owner, not to mention the dead body behind the counter and the guy bleeding to death in the freezer and you have a perfect episode of Silent Hill meets Twilight Zone.

If you’ve ever watched Silent Hill, and let’s be honest, you should, “Welcome” is very reminiscent of that style. The fluctuations, the random people walking around bloody and seemingly insane, a few lone survivors hiding out. This is the kind of episode that reminds me why Fringe fills that hole that X-Files left.

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Peter, Walter and Olivia help a victim of the town's temporal mergance.

Of course when Olivia starts having original Olivia’s memories we know exactly what is happening, the two worlds are colliding. She gets the shakes but is physically fine compared to the other victims, also, her double shouldn’t have any reason to be in Westfield. But then Olivia is special, isn’t she. It comes as no surprise at the end that she suddenly acts like Peter’s Olivia but at the same time we’re almost as surprised as Peter. That’s the sign of a very well done scene.

It would have been nice to find out what happened on the Other side when this occurred but it’s not enough of an issue to push this one down at all. The constant movement and intensity of the episode is what really keeps it going.

Still no word if this will be the last season of Fringe or not, so let’s hope that if we don’t get a season five that the finale is as intense as this episode was!

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Television

 

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Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Altrid crosses over so she could meet her alternate and Bolivia comes to fetch her because no one can believe Altrid is doing anything malicious. Walter has to face his hatred of Bolivia as well as his feelings for Peter while a man runs around killing individuals who will either die miserably or ruin the lives of others. Some wonderful interactions don’t save this episode from the fact it’s another precog story line and a dull one at that.

Score: 3 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Astrid meets her alternate.

Altrid crosses into our universe just as a man predicts what will happen to a cancer patient and literally saves him the trouble of dying a slow, painful death. My initial thoughts were that this was going to be a case of statistical game theory where the villain of the week was able to predict what was happening and somehow Altrid stumbled across the statistical improbabilities and took it upon herself to do something about it. That would have made this episode so much more interesting.

Instead, Altrid’s father had died and she couldn’t quite cope so she went to her alternate who is ‘normal’ to try to understand if her father loved her even though she was ‘different’. Great touch with Astrid’s scream at seeing her alternate, as Olivia put it, why don’t people do that more often? Walter shows his softer, fatherly side, being kinder to the autistic Altrid and calling her by her real name. Though, we all know he keeps messing with Astrid’s name as a sign of affection.

Bolivia crosses over to fetch Altrid and ends up being stuck there until the case of the mercy killer and is solved since Altrid comes in handy at these kinds of things. Wonderful interactions between Bolivia and Walter as he calls her a Mata Hari viper woman. Bolivia is able to eventually win Walter over to at least neutral respect. Bolivia also gets Olivia thinking about Peter, he is a fine looking, intelligent, strong specimen of a man. Okay, she didn’t really say that but we’re all thinking it.

Speaking of Peter, as in the last episode he doesn’t have much to do except stand around as window dressing. There is a moment where he is literally seconds ahead of Walter in what to do regarding the case and this riles up Walter. Altrid is very astute, nothing that Walter loves Peter, or at least loves him as much as he would want to love his son should he have survived. Peter does have an effect on the people around him, but he doesn’t show any more signs of not wanting to leave.

Fringe – S04E11 – “Making Angels”

Observers communication device.

Also, the Observers are given a bit more transparency. They have communicators which I’m sure someone out there is feverously trying to decipher but not me, cause I can’t make heads or tails of it. Our favorite Observer, September, is obviously the rogue of the bunch in any universe. He’s lied to the others, again. How could they not have noticed Peter was back? And not sure I like the idea of giving them technology to explain their Observer-ness. Will have to see where they go with this.

Lastly, Peter and Olivia knew about the rod… yet they didn’t think to check the house for it and find the quite obvious safe? Fail.

The episode has some nice character development but the sub-par story line relegates this latest Fringe to blah-ville. Important to watch for the details but overall not worth rewatching.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Television

 

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TGIF: Yes and No

There is a special place in ratings analysis for Fridays. Shows are allowed to survive at lower ratings because the consensus is no one is really watching tv on Fridays because, well, it’s Friday. Movies premier, functions occur, nightlight hops, etc. But lower ratings mean less advertising dollars, so a show needs to balance that budget between expense and profit just as closely as weekday shows.

But this isn’t a discussion about that, more like a commentary on my life as Friday is the biggest night for tv for me with four shows all airing at 8pm. What is a girl to do?

CBS CSI: NY
CW Supernatural
FOX Fringe
NBC Grimm

This is when I miss my dvr.

Well, I am not a nelson home nor do I have a dvr so what I watch has no impact whatsoever, otherwise I’d pick the one with the biggest chance at being canceled as to help it out.

CSI:NY is a pick up show, can watch any time and not lose context plus it’s got great syndication.

Grimm is new but so far good and NBC trends to have the episode online pretty quickly.

Supernatural has plenty of one-off episodes but seven seasons in the show has become complex enough that I have to make sure I don’t miss any episodes.

Fringe is very complex and you never know when something important is going to flash across screen in a seemingly innocuous moment.

As you can probably guess, Fringe wins. It’s not a show to get behind on and it’s always noteworthy to talk about. However, if there is a guest star of note on Supernatural then I might choose it over Fringe.

Of course this is just the 8pm CT slot. SyFy usually had something on at 9pm worth watching and there used to be Chuck at 7pm.

So either Friday is where great tv is dumped or according to studios I need to get my priorities straight. I vote the former.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Blog

 

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Fringe – S04E10 – “Forced Perspective”

FOX's Fringe

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

>Spoilers<

Fringe – S04E10 – “Forced Perspective”

Olivia and Broyles study the Observers.

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.

Fringe – S04E10 – “Forced Perspective”

A spectacular effect and highlight of the episode.

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.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Television

 

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Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

FOX's Fringe
Spoilers from previous episodes.

Peter has agreed to be emissary for Walternate in return for his help on the machine and wants to cross back over but Lee wants to stay and work on the shape shifter problem. When past enemy David Robert Jones (Jared Harris) is brought in to be interrogated, Peter has second thoughts. Peter is a variable that Jones hadn’t planned for but that doesn’t stop him from causing havoc. Meanwhile, Peter’s Other mother does what she has to in order to save this version of Peter and that means going to an unlikely ally. Great episode which carries the momentum of last week’s electric mid-season premiere.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

David Robert Jones (Harris) returns.

I think the writers have it in for AltBroyles, earlier before the merge he was killed off to save Olivia and in this time line he’s dead and replaced by a shape shifter. He does a wonderful job of playing AltBroyles in character even though his boss has been brought in for questioning, etc. This is mostly because he knows that Jones has planned for this and he doesn’t have to ruin his cover in order to rescue him.

Harris, for his part, plays Jones like a James Bond villain, Peter being Bond when he walks into the interrogation room and starts telling Jones stuff he couldn’t possibly know. Peter has killed him once, he can do it again.

One of the best lines of the season is spoken right before this, when Peter wants to return to Our Universe (is it really ours anymore?) and Lee wants to stay and help.

Lee: I lost a partner.
Peter: I lost a universe.

It could have been really cheesy but played just right. That’s the hallmark of this show, the ability to make all the tough choices to keep the cheese at bay and really make this a fresh take on classic tropes. Case in point, the hand on the window at the hospital, we’ve seen it a million times before but when the skin slips off, it’s a whole new level of sickening realization that is a small but effective topper for the scene.

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

Peter helps to locate Jones.

However, Jones’ escape isn’t as quite fresh and new (LieLee slipped a tracker into his drink and Jones used decoy money to spread the signal then drank something to make his tracker inert) but it does let us see AltBroyles really being able to act the part to the point of not being questioned by the rest of Fringe Division.  In fact, the back half of the episode is a bit of a basic ‘hunt for the bad guy’ faire and if not for the B-Plot it would lose a lot of its momentum, proving that B-Plots do matter.

Peter’s Other mother wants to help Peter, Walternate wants to help too, but it’s really Walter who is the best person to do this because he kind of started the whole thing. So she goes to Walter to ask him to help Peter. They haven’t seen each other since Walter stole Peter and Walter hasn’t seen his wife (any version of her) since she committed suicide not long after the whole incident.

Once again, could someone PLEASE give John Noble a freaking Emmy/Gold Globe/SAG already???

Fringe – S04E09 – “Enemy of My Enemy”

Elizabeth Bishop vists Walter.

In what is a really touching moment, Mrs Bishop tells Walter that she has forgiven him, a long time ago, for what he did. He was trying to save Peter after all. And in her mind, somewhere, there had to be realities where Peter did live and grew up happy, married, had kids, etc, and that is what kept her going. She would have never considered this had Walter not proved the existence of multi-universes. She asks him to please, help this version of their son.

It’s interesting to note that in this version of events, Walter never got his White Oleander sign which signaled his forgiveness by god (to him at least).

The end of the episode is Walter going to Peter, telling him that he will help him because his mother is the most wonderful of women, every version of her. Peter is probably the happiest he’s been since coming into this universe, not because Walter is helping, but because this Walter is exactly the kind of man he should be… read… he is just like his father who he loves so dearly and trying to get back to.

Does this mean that Peter might be considering staying in the new universe? What about his Olivia? With this show, you never know how things are going to spin next. And considering Nina Sharpe is either a shape shifter or otherwise involved in Jones’ plan means anything is possible in this new time line.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Television

 

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Fringe S04E08 – “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe S04E08 – “Back to Where You’ve Never Been”

Spoilers for Previous Episodes

Fringe made a pretty gutsy move at the beginning of the fourth season by erasing Peter from both universes, and that has paid off in bits and pieces, but it’s in the mid-season premiere “Back to Where You’ve Never Been” were Fringe fans really get the ‘money shot’ as it were. As the trailer promises, Peter travels over to the Other Universe in order to speak to Walternate and ask his help but that’s only the tip of the little nuances buried around this episode. Acting from John Noble is top notch, as always, cumulating in one of the best exchanges of the show’s run. And the ending is worthy of LOST and almost as frustrating. Definitely one of the best episodes this season, a great start to what hopefully won’t be the end of the series.

Score: 4 ½ Ratings Star

>Spoilers Ahead<

Peter wakes up.Peter awakes to Water cooking pancakes and Olivia greeting him with a morning kiss, all is right with the world, except that the waffle machine is broke. The waffle machine is a euphemism for the rift machine used to hold the universes together (I believe) and Peter wakes again to realize it was a dream. He goes to Walter to ask for help and the scene is stunning. From Walter’s reaction to Peter’s stoic plead, and Walter’s explanation… he tried to help Peter once and ruined two universes, lost his sanity, and his wife committed suicide. He simply can’t help Peter again because the cost is too high.

Peter then turns to Olivia who has her own reasons for wanting to get to the Other Universe covertly, to track down the shape shifters. They use Walter’s original rift machine at the theatre where the Olivia’s were switched before. Lee pretends to be himself and is pretty close to getting Peter to Liberty Island but is stopped by LieLee and Bolivia. Before this though, Lee admits that he and Olivia have their own plan to try to get information about the shape shifters, an act which could ruin Peter’s chance of getting Walternate to help him. Peter once again sees the divide between this Olivia and his Olivia growing wider and wider.

Plot point hint was dropped where Peter mentions Olivia can pop over to the other Universe any time she wants… but she doesn’t know that… maybe this will come up later?

A tale of two Lee's.During Lee and Peter’s transport to Fringe HQ, their driver gets a call, shoots his partner, then is going to kill Peter and Lee but of course they manage to get away. Lee leads LieLee and Bolivia away while Peter goes his own way. Wonderful first interaction between Lee and LieLee, you can see the similarities in the characters and how they really are the same person, just one more reserved than the other. Nice call back to Joe Flannigan’s character who was killed off in the season premiere, hopefully this means we might see him again too.

Peter has headed to the one person he knows who can help him, his mother. Of course she’s not really his mother, she understands that, and the underlying tone to the scene is very heartbroken. Joshua Jackson who plays Peter took an interesting turn in this episode, playing the whole thing straight faced, stoic even. He’s trying really hard to tell himself that these people don’t matter to him, they aren’t his people, but methinks he protests too much. They are affecting him more than he cares to admit.

Peter’s mother takes him to see Walternate and a wonderful exchange is made between the two men. Peter knows how ruthless and cold Walternate can be and Walternate has a possible enemy of an unknown quantity in Peter. Peter accuses Walternate of being behind the shapeshifters, but Waternate proves in one shocking move (literally) that he is not.

Walternate tells Peter that he is the only person he can trust because he has no allegiances to either side, he only wants to get home, and so asks Peter to help him by letting the other side know that he is not the bad guy. Then follows one of the best exchanges of the whole series:

Peter: You aren’t exactly the kind of man I thought you were.
Walternate: You are exactly the kind of man I thought you’d be.

Absolutely wonderful scene between father and sorta-son. Fringe fans couldn’t ask for anything better.

Of course, that isn’t all! An old enemy returns from the dead and LieLee and Bolivia head into an ambush because the other Broyles is a bad guy, probably a shapeshifter!

As for that ending… Olivia waits in the theater for Lee and Peter’s return only to have The Observer show up, shot, dying, and telling Olivia that he has seen every possible outcome and it’s inevitable, she has to die. Well… hell…Olivia waits.

 

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Television

 

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