Fringe Review: Do You Believe In Love?

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"A Short Story About Love" was a long time coming. I don't know that I was ever as excited about the return of a program from hiatus as I was for this particular episode of Fringe. It literally felt as if I was waiting for the world to start spinning again. I had to know what was going on with Olivia and Peter. It might sound ridiculous to someone who doesn't watch Fringe, but it was an actual physical need to see it.

The week focused mainly on Olivia as she came to grips with her fading memories, and what would happen to her as time went on. While the thought of losing yourself would seem problematic, she only saw the benefit of being with Peter again, consequences be damned. Until the realization that she could be faced with a world in which she loved a man she would never have, she didn't give a second thought to letting go.

Peter on the Prowl

With a reach of her hand, Olivia was able to make Lincoln feel for her exactly what she felt for Peter, and yet she was unable to see the similarity of their situations. In her defense, she was rapidly losing her memories, so her thoughts had to be worlds away from remembering how close she and Lincoln were once becoming. The scenes with she and Lincoln were well played, the tangibility of Lincoln's own position very clear.

Given what was going on with Olivia and Peter and their intense love for others, the case of the week was particularly disturbing. A severely burned man was essentially stealing the life out of men passionately in love with women and then using their essence to capture and kill their wives and girlfriends. This won't be PC, but it amazed me that not one of the women he encountered initially screamed when they saw him. He was a strange man in their house, and he looked like he was out of a horror movie. Within seconds he had them kissing him. Could condensed pheromones really be that impossible to resist?

This was an incredibly emotional episode of Fringe. The scene between Olivia and Nina, when Olivia chose to go with love, even if it meant giving up the life she new, to feel something that so few have had the opportunity to experience, was out of the park sensational. I don't want the relationship between them to disappear completely, as it grounded Olivia in a way that allowed her to be vulnerable as she otherwise might have found impossible had Peter not been erased. Their discussion, some of which is detailed in our Fringe quotes section, was tear inducing.

Which leads us to the ultimate fourth season moment. Walter was able to stop Peter from leaving town and found an implanted document of some sort in Peter's eye. This discovery led Peter to the September's room and finally Peter found out he had always been home. He was erased, and through no scientific explanation other than the strength of his love and the love of those for him, he was unable to be eliminated.

HAPPY DANCE! I didn't give up the fight. I never lost hope. I believed in the love of Peter and Olivia, and I believed that the Fringe team would never truly tear our couple apart. I am not, by nature, a faithful person, but damn if I wasn't proven right in allowing myself to feel it. I've watched the last ten minutes several times and every time I get as choked up as if I was watching for the first time.

But what about you? Were you able to keep the dream of Olivia and Peter alive? Did you appreciate that Fringe was invoking the power of love by not introducing another timeline, and merely altering, through great sacrifice, the one they were in? Because it was Peter's love for two universes and his desire for them both to flourish that he lost his life, and it was the love of those he left behind that brought him back. It was ultimately simplistic, but real love like that depicted is so rare that some were unwilling to accept that there weren't other factors involved.

It was for this simplicity and certainty that I gave "A Short Story About Love" five stars. It gave me hope.

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
  • 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (159 Votes)

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

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Modwild

I think September meant the Olivia she had become must die, and she is dying. My hope is that there is enough love to save who she was without Peter as well as who she was before.

Fortyseven

Great episode. Peter was brave. I half expected an accident several times in the apartment and with the beacon. September left out the part where he was supposed to erase the traces of Peter. I think September looks like Peter :)

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Loved this ep. I am enjoying this seasons tendency to use earlier seasons cases and expand upon them.
I always have fun looking for the little hint and clues that are hidden within the episodes, the things that may not have anything to do with the case or even seem to be discussed. So this may be a little out there, but when Peter was at Septembers apartment did anyone else notice the calender on the wall was on the month of January. It could have actually been the timeline of the episode or a hint towards a new Observer. Any opinions?

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Power of love? Bleh, what a letdown.

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I keep replaying the last ten minutes of this episode. Watching Olivia and Nina together made me weepy and watching Peter and Olivia finally get together this season had me applauding at the end. I think September is a descendant of Olivia and Peter and that is why he cares so much and why Peter could activate the beacon and bring September back. I also think we still have to deal with September's prediction that Olivia must die no matter what timeline she is in. So I guess that means baby Henry will be raised by Walter and Peter and their extended family of friends. Whatever happens, I am along for the ride until it ends.

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Damn last 10 minutes almost had me weepy :) But all kidding aside.
This ep is the classic portrayal of the agony and ecstasy of true love. If they are going to cancel the series this ep would be the best one to finish up on.
Hoping the give Pete and Oliver a few eps to simply be happy together before they smash em apart again.

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Somehow I doubt that September is given to metaphor. I think he meant exactly what he said: Olivia has to die. (This may be connected to Mr. X from 3.19, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.) We just don't know why yet. And it's always possible that September may have missed something; the Observers have proven fallible in the past. That said, it's crossed my mind more than once that September may have simply been lying - he appears more and more to be something of a rogue agent. It's just possible that whatever future he wants to enact requires Olivia to believe her death is both imminent and inevitable. Without knowing exactly what his game is, though, it's impossible to be sure. All I'm certain of is that September is up to something. I'm inclined to believe he's on our heroes' side, but all things considered, I trust him about as far as I can throw him.

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From the beginning, FRINGE has been based on the power of love. Walter's love for Peter enabled him to blast through 2 universes, with unfortunate consequences. Perhaps what September meant about this Olivia "dying" is exactly what happened - her memories of everything without Peter are being erased, essentially removing the previous Olivia from existence. Alzheimer's comes to mind. When memories fade, and nothing replaces them, it's very difficult for family members to deal with who is left. Who is left? But, Olivia is different because memories of her previous existence are emerging. She is being "reborn" while the previous Olivia is "dying."

Niks4u

Loved the episode. There is noting more powerful than love.

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oh and the fact that Peter couldn't be erased because of love just kept reminding me of Harry Potter and the fact that the love Harry's mother had for him lived in him, protected him and never died. Love that!