Fringe Review: Haven't We Been Here Before?

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"Through the Looking Glass and What Walter Found There" brought us so close to the alterverse, but all Walter did was wander into a pocket universe. Whatever that is.

No doubt it's something that allows for as little extra makeup, characters and excitement as possible. The poor guy he found roaming the halls there thought he was in purgatory. I'm beginning to think I'm in Hell. 

Walter on a Search

To say I was disappointed we weren't immediately hit with consequences to Peter's self-implantation of the Observer tech is putting it mildly. At the very least, a damned infection seemed to be in order. Who else could have pulled a dirty, bloody unknown gizmo out of a living neck and them jammed it into their own without one, tiny bit of misfortune because of it?

I think of the number of things Olivia went through and how every time she was faced with consequences. Every tank dump to try to enter the mind of her first partner, John. The last time she was dosed with cortexiphan her two worlds split in two and she lost the life she knew in the new timeline, thinking she was going crazy in the process. And that was from a drug that was already present in her system.

What Peter introduced to his was foreign, unclean, unsafe and unproven. 

We still have the new, improved Olivia Dunham. She no longer runs from her feelings, but faces them head on, almost revels in them and is willing to help Peter confront whatever he is feeling as well. She spent years trying to pretend nothing could hurt her, and now she's somehow the pinnacle of mental health.

Where is Anna Torv's material? As the many facets of Olivia, Olive, and Liv in this universe and the alternate, as herself and Liv playing her and so on and so forth, she's made Fringe sing. Her reward in the final episodes is to become a supporting character. I don't understand.

I was worried early on about the Myst-like premise of searching for video tapes and putting them together like a puzzle. Puzzles take time. Time is something we really don't have. We're still finding the corner pieces and are halfway through the board. That's a lot to build upon for the middle of the puzzle, and it will still take a long time to get a clear picture of the full plan. 

To top it off, we've been here before. Last year, in "Brave New World, Part 1," Olivia exhibited some of the same superpowers from her cortexiphan trials that Peter got via the implant. Remember, she was stopping nanites and controlling Peter like a Wii. Does that mean there is some connection between the two? Maybe. But when the Observer finally started punching Peter around it apparently knocked the last pin into place because that was what he needed to notice any change whatsoever from the implant.

We wondered in the latest Fringe Round Table what or who the Observers are now that we know there is some tech involved. Do they all have it? Are they born and then enhanced? Are only those in the Army enhanced? So many questions, but none of them are even close to being answered. Seeing Peter doing things Olivia did when she was at the height of her powers does make me wonder if the tech doesn't also infuse some cortexiphan or equivalent into the host's system. 

I'm losing my faith that we will have answers as the show comes to an end. Perhaps they're playing their cards close to the vest in the hopes of getting a movie deal instead of finishing things off on television. There's no doubt I'm going to watch until the conclusion of the series. I won't miss an episode. But the faith I had at the beginning of the season is gone.

Could they throw a Hail Mary pass? Sure. Let's start with utilizing Olivia. Oh, wait. They're filming the last episode. Any input is too late. I hope Walter's talk about hubris and becoming the man he didn't want to be again after his brain was put back together wasn't some sort of secret message about the series. Help me keep the faith with some dazzling comments!


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


Could someone please tell me how Observers reproduce since there apparently are no females in fedoras.


@Olivia Dunham i think that anna torv is back to her wooden acting from season 1&2. But for me, she was always THE example for wooden acting. I think that Joshua jackson leads the way on those romantic scenes between peter and olivia. Joshua is the one who shows emotions, but anna just stands there and lets joshua take the lead. For me anna torv always had a limited range as an actress on fringe. When she plays olivia, she only shows one emotion: sad. And when she played fauxlivia: happy. Kinda boring!


Also, I can't say I appreciate all of the mindless shooting/killing that has been going on this season. Nor do I like the fact that the observers are being presented as such completely one-sided villains!


I agree with most of what you are saying, especially when it comes to Olivia. However, in general I think this was a really good episode and I haven't lost my hope for the rest of the season yet!


Peter has had an active storyline in season 2 and season 3 and season 4, I do not like how they made Olivia the victim (horrible end S4) and the girl. Peter with 2 guns and being the sharpshooter and the bomb man and the only technician and the only one doing everything is ridiculous. Olivia had her gun , FBI, and her ability when to save Peter, she was normal intelligent, that was it, Josh Jackson is the example of wooden acting, Anna Torv is the example of how to express with your face in multiple ways different set of emotions around one storyline. She really is doing all the work in this Olivia/Peter part.


Well I think that the writers are doing what they said they wanted to do which is to give the fans what they wanted last season by making Peter into an observer. Sure they still have a lot to explain about what is happening this season like why did the observers took over the planet after years of just watching and we still don't know how their abilities really work and I agree Peter should have shown some signs that he may have been even a little affected by the tech after putting it into the back of his neck or even shown some signs of discomfort by it. The thing is pleasing the fans is one thing but at the same time they can't just make certain things happen in an episode and not expect us to question it. I don't mind the tape thing to be honest with u but I do have to wonder just how good the loyalist are at their jobs or how accurate the observers abilities are. Maybe the observers aren't as perfect as we all thought they were. Perhaps their abilities is really limited which is why they can't always tell what is going to happen. Even September has shown that he can't foresee every future at once. I am still holding out hope though, there is still 7 episodes left so we'll see. I too hope that we get to see Olivia front & center again.


To Sam: Olivia Dunham was the FBI agent in season 1 and 2, that was her role and gobetween for Walter and Peter. All the writing went to Walter and Peter, Olivia was being called boring, I love the Olivia from the beginning,
but the real writing for her was Over There the first half of season 3, strangely enough after J.Jackson went to the emdia, Olivia was reduced to his girlfriend. We had plenty of storylines for Walter and Peter about their past and relationships,
we never had Olivia dealing with her childhood or abuse,
that is IMO not writing for a character. And most of the lines Olivia has gotten since endseason 3 were around Peter,


I think this season Josh is going to kill it big time. He’s a great actor, though he hasn’t been able to shine among the others because of his “normal� roll. He was awesome the other day.


pffffffffffff, OMG there are even fans who complain about the fact that peter didnt let olivia leave the pocket universe first, he left her behind. REALLY???????? What's next? oh yes, how about that scene were peter threw his back at olivia! What an asshole, right?!!LOL How old are the majority of the anna torv fans, is what i ask my self all the time! Maybe they are sexually, frustrated teenage girls/feminist. They just hate it when olivia gets it on with a man.


Joshua is doing a great job juggling Peter's three A's - agony, anger, and arrogance, and it's great to see him with something meaty to do. He's nailing it.

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Fringe Season 5 Episode 6 Quotes

Don't you see Peter? I'm not safe. It's my mind. Ever since the pieces of my brain were re-implanted, it's been changing me back into the man I was before. Bit by bit, I'm losing myself Peter. I'm losing the man that you helped me become.


Walter: Please son, whatever happens, don't let me go.
Peter: I won't dad, I promise.