Hello Fringe fans,
It truly has been a long summer. One that I will never forget, first I was able to get my Fringe fix on by going to Comic-Con 2012 and now by partaking in the brilliant first episode of the fifth and alas final season of one of my favorite shows ever.
To say that this season will be hard to watch is an understatement; it will be hard, but also exhilarating at the same time. I have a faith that Fringe will definitely go out with a bang and not a whimper.
The preview for next week’s episode looks intense, with some hint of humor of course, provided once again by Walter Bishop and his acid line. Leave it to Walter to always infuse humor in this show. More fun is Georgina Haig discussing her role and joining Fringe.
With each episode that airs we get closer and closer to that final one that will be the end…for good. It can be a little heartbreaking, but also memorable. I am so thankful to the powers that be that gave us this fifth and final season to let the swan song happen. I found it interesting that this episode was directed by two directors, Jeannot Szwarc and Miguel Sapochnik both fantastic film directors, it certainly shows in this episode.
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Now…on with the show. This first episode, as I stated, was amazing and I suspect that it will only get better and better. I love that the episode starts with such a wonderful memory of the Bishop family being happy and carefree.
As the scene progresses this innocent scene gets shattered by the appearance out of nowhere (literally) of The Observers and the havoc that they unleash on the unsuspecting people in the park. The utter fear and terror on Peter and Olivia’s faces is frightening.
Once again Josh and Anna do what they do best, as we will see later on. The opening scene makes me think of the Nazi’s storming into any number of European cities during World War II and just devastating the lives of everyone around them.
In this episode I think that Joshua Jackson has done some of his best work. I will mention this later on, but it is nice to see him being able to use those great skills he has acquired over his many years acting. The scene when Peter wakes up from that nightmare, he realizes that he was just a dream, but goes and checks up on Etta (Georgina Haig)…such a dad thing to do.
It is great to see Peter playing the dad role, because now the shoe is on the other foot. For so long he had been the son, now HE is the father and can relate somewhat to how Walter feels towards him. This scene shows the dynamic between fathers and sons is vastly different than between fathers and daughters. Peter understands in a way what Walter went through in the fact that he has lost 20 plus years of Etta’s life, so he now has to make up for it and he intends on doing just that.
The egg sticks are, well quite frankly, gross! To think that may be what we have to look forward to in the future is scary, I fear if they did that to eggs, what they did to bacon! When Walter enters, without pants, it seems like a normal day for the Bishop clan. When Walter is lucid he is LUCID, no holds barred. I love that Peter says that no one wants to find Olivia more than him, well maybe Etta.
This episode paid homage to a few iconic sci-fi movies and I will mention them as the review progresses.
It is not surprising that Olivia was the one to go and retrieve the element that Walter needed, because she is still who she is. She has her abilities because of the Cortexiphan that still runs through her. She is fearless and always puts others above her own personal safety.
The funniest part of this scene is when Walter takes a bite out of the egg sticks and then spits it out. The reason I found it so funny is that Walter and food are like conjoined twins, he rarely turns down food and will eat anything (well maybe not Pop Tarts). So to have him spit the egg sticks out means that they are truly foul. His line about ‘What a miserable future’ seems to be thematic in this episode, but like Fringe, nothing is always as it seems.
Josh’s scenes in this episode are definitely powerful. His scenes with Etta and Walter and then finally with Olivia all show the enormous talent this man has honed over his many years as an actor. Fringe is so great to watch, because at times he is often overshadowed by John Noble and Anna Torv, both being forces of nature regarding their acting. I especially love it when he is playing ‘dad’ with Etta. That makes me smile, because we the fans long to see him and Olivia as parents.
The scene when the team goes out to try and find Olivia and we see the devastation that the Observers left behind, it gives me a chill. It almost reminds me of something Walter said in a previous episode about choices and what September (Michael Cerveris) said about possible futures.
The ambered building is great to see, because it harkens back to older Fringe episodes and what we know of amber. The amber gypsies line is funny especially the expression on Walter’s face.
The scene at the black market are great, they reminded me of Blade Runner, especially the Japanese woman sitting in the rocking chair. Leave it to Walter to make a snarky comment about his time in Japan. It is also interesting to see what became of the survivors of the invasion.
What they had to do to survive, again it reminds me of the war and what the refugees had to do in order to survive. The walnuts are wonderful; the fact that it is currency in more ways than one is telltale. Georgina Haig was wonderful in that scene and the next one with Walter. I will expound more on her and her brilliance later…
Walter and Etta sitting and talking is one of a number of scenes that are my absolute favorites. It is such a quiet scene between two fine actors, but also between a grandfather and his granddaughter.
The way Walter is reminiscing is heartbreaking, but brilliant at the same time and that is due once again to the sheer uber-talent of John Noble. It is a subtle scene to behold and with Georgina there to help it along, it brought a tear to many (myself included).
It is not often that a television show can move me to tears, but this episode did, upon the second viewing. I have a feeling that in the course of the next twelve episodes remaining many tears will be shed.
The one thing I found interesting about that scene as well is that Walter says how he will always remember her as a little girl. He said something similar to Olivia, how he will always remember her as little Olive. I think that is always the way that Walter seems to associate with the ‘kids’ in his life, to remember them as more innocent and carefree than burdened by life and the world around them.
I very much enjoyed the scene of Peter and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) looking through the slabs of amber as they come across one that may be Olivia. The look of hope on Peter’s face is wonderful, alas it is not her, but he will not give up!
Now comes one of the strangest, but coolest scenes in the episode. Markham (Clark Middleton) is back! It is so great to see him again! He is one of those characters in the Fringe world that you have grown to love over the years. How creepy (but cool) is it to have him using Olivia’s amber slab as a coffee table? I mean really!
I bet before long there will be one featured at IKEA and every Fringe fan will want one for their house. It is kind of sad, though, because Markham fell in love with Olivia and he knows he doesn’t stand a chance with her as he is what and who he is. It reminded me of Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and The Beast. I also laughed out loud when he starts reciting this false story about how Markham ‘died’ a hero saving children and many people were sad, well done Clark well done.
The look Peter has when he finds Olivia is so wonderful. Again Josh shines in this from the moment he kicked down the door to the way he commanded getting Olivia out of there. Georgina Haig was magnificent when she knelt down and looked at Olivia. Her scene to shine comes soon after this. It really gives her a chance to show the talent she has and that uncanny ability to be both a Bishop and a Dunham.
Etta has waited so long to see her mother, she almost has her family back together, a fractured family that needs one more piece to complete the puzzle. United we stand divided we fall and when the Bishops unite…well let’s just say it is a force to be reckoned with.
I love love love the fact that they had a little nod to one of the most prolific sci-fi writers in the twentieth century…Isaac Asimov. I suspect that he was a BIG influence on Joel and the other writers on Fringe. One book in particular which I shall name later as the season progresses (thanks to Kenn Weeks for introducing me to said book). Walter’s comment about trying his hand at sci-fi writing is fun, not surprising though.
Here is where it gets serious. With an Observer showing up and Etta shooting at him, things are getting a little more volatile. It is great to see Etta channeling her mother in this scene, because the Dunham genes certainly kicked in when she shot at him. Like mother like daughter, she has that fearlessness that Olivia has, that instinct to save others and Georgina does it flawlessly. Walter escapes, but does unfortunately get caught and knowing that resistance is futile; he raises his hands up in surrender.
The scene with Olivia being un-ambered is amazing for all parties involved. Anna Torv is a freak of nature. She is so perfect in this scene that it is astonishing to watch. Her reaction to being out of amber and seeing Peter again is sweet, but what clinches it for me is when she sees Etta.
This is the scene where you really see Georgina’s immense talent shine through. The tears in her eyes as she looks upon her mother for the first time in over twenty years is so incredible, the emotion that she shows on her face and in her body is evident.
When Peter says to Etta ‘kiddo come and meet your mom’ your heart skips a beat. The family is back together, the Bishop/Dunham clan reunited. Peter’s line is so precious, again the typical dad thing to say.
Once again Anna Torv is tremendous in this scene, the way she examines Etta’s face and body, the way she has the look of wonder and love in her eyes is perfection. Anna’s talent for subtly is tenfold in this scene. Her eyes speak volumes, when Olivia says ‘you’re beautiful’ and Etta tells her the same thing it is such a perfect mother/daughter moment.
When she tells her that the last time she saw her she was three years old and not a day goes by that she didn’t think about her. Three years, one month and five days…a line that will become one of the most iconic in Fringe world. The tears that Georgina has in her eyes are perfect, her body language is visceral, and you can see the hesitation melded with anticipation.
When Olivia and Etta are interacting it is such a special scene, the one that I know many fans cited as their favorite and I am sure brought a tear or two. It is such a perfect scene that to explain it more is useless, just watch it and you will understand. One last thing about this scene, you see Peter holding onto his necklace, which I have a theory that it holds his or maybe both wedding rings, there are also butterflies in the background as well.
Now comes acting at its finest, the scenes with Walter and Windmark (Michael Kopsa)are masterpieces. They are such powerful scenes, scary and harrowing and John Noble plays them with perfect pitch. The music in this scene, Zbiginew Preisner’s “Song for the Unification of Europe” is a perfect mix and it fits in well. Walter’s comments about music are right on the money, how many times has music been used in Fringe to help easy someone’s mood.
Music is very powerful and Walter knows that better than anyone. Especially what he says about how music helps you shift perspective as we see in the final scene of the episode. When Windmark brings up hope, you almost think he may have some heart in him, but then his line of ‘nothing grows from scorched earth’ is interesting. That line is proven false as we will see again at the end of the episode.
Windmark’s line also makes me think about how even after a fire there are still things living in a forest that things still grow and hope still thrives, even in the face of utter decimation and destruction. That a phoenix will always rise from the ash, that nothing in Fringe is ever truly dead, that even in the darkest of hours, the dawn will always come. It is almost like reincarnation, it keeps coming back again and again and again.
Now is Josh’s Marionette scene. I use that past episode as a reference because as Anna was astounding in the scene in Barrett’s garden, so is Josh in this one. This is a scene that Josh was born to do, it is proof positive that all his years as a child actor has given way to his enormous talent.
The interaction between Josh and Anna is as it always has been; they have a chemistry that is rare in television. It is the kind of chemistry that resonates off the screen, which screams volumes and has prompted many fan fiction stories.
I know that some people were fearful that this scene means a wrench has been thrown into the machine that is Peter and Olivia. Let me stress to all those worrywarts, Peter and Olivia will prevail. Joel Wyman himself has said that he is the biggest advocate of Peter and Olivia, more so than I think the fans are. Besides epic love stories are epic for a reason.
There is no black and white in epic love stories there is every color imaginable and then some. Nobody wants to watch a boring love story, it’s the epic ones that we remember and that fill history after history of story books. Have faith that this is only temporary that our beloved duo will find their way back to each other, they are twin flames after all and that definition by itself should be good enough.
This scene is both of their moments, but Josh owns this entire scene because every once in a while we get to see him shine. It is so great when he does, because he always seems to be in the silhouette of two immense talents. He has become a very, very good actor. A lot of times when you have child actors that go on to become adults in this business they lose something, their luster or maybe their talent has been tainted by life.
Joshua Jackson has been lucky and held onto that talent he had and has improved upon it exponentially. Especially with this scene, which is such a heart wrenching scene to watch? Here are these two people who are the loves of each other’s lives, who come from two different universes and are one of the most epic couples in television history. Their part of in the lexicon of epic love stories is forever cemented by this and many other past scenes.
This scene proves that just because they are splintered right now, does not mean that they cannot find a fix for their situation. It does not mean that they stopped loving each other; it means that they just needed to do what they do best and be by themselves for a while. It has happened before, when Peter ran away in Northwest Passage or when he gave Olivia time to heal after her Marionette speech in the garden.
It is normal in relationships that are that forged that closely to be able to let the other be. It is what makes them stronger, it’s what will always bring them back, I think their relationship hit a snag and got a little frayed, but their tether is still there, just waiting to be repaired stronger and tighter than ever before.
I know that Peter and Olivia are not as happy as they should be in this scene, but love is fickle and often times painful. It reminds me of the line from Dangerous Liaisons “I’m sorry to say this, but, those who are most worthy of love are never made happy by it… So to hope to be made happy by love is a certain cause of grief.” That is the very definition of an epic love story, it may be tough at times, but worth it in the end, for love cannot exist without pain.
So to conclude this scene, bravo to Josh and thank you for giving us the gift that is you and your amazing talent. You showed us your vulnerability, your pain, your shame, your sorrow and your bravery all in one scene and for this we are truly grateful for it. Thank you for showing us your soul and your heart and giving it back to Olivia, metaphorically and for real soon enough. I know that Etta will have plenty of opportunities for you to protect her, so remember that!
All the scenes with John and Windmark are creepy and brilliant, the control that John has is incredible. Windmark must have ice through his veins, because for an actor to not have any kind of reaction is difficult, it goes against everything you are taught as an actor. Bravo to both for such an amazing job.
The rest of the episode is great, because the suspense and the pace was quicker and the urgency amped up. The strength that they all show in this episode is great and a testament to how talented they all are. Especially Georgina Haig, her talent is immense; she must have studied Anna Torv well because there are times when you cannot tell the difference.
Their Trojan horse idea is great, I love that our heroes in 2036 call them “baldies” too, that cracks me up. What Aneil (Shaun Smyth) said about “killing our enemies is one thing, but saving the world is another” is the perfect reason for them to continue.
Rescuing Walter becomes difficult toward the end of the episode, but luckily it pays off and Walter gets rescued, a little banged up, but still fine. Once back at home (I guess that is where they are) he cannot remember the plan. Windmark must have either erased it or Walter must have himself. Hope it seems is lost…or is it? We do see Windmark watching the rescue unfold on a device that reminded me of Star Wars.
The end is beautiful, when all hope is lost; Walter sees this glimmer on the wall and decides to follow it. It leads him, sans pants again, to a makeshift artistic display with broken cd’s hanging from it. Walter pulls out a bag, inserts a CD and sits back and enjoys the song “Only You” by Yazoo. Perfect end, because he sees hope in the form of a sole dandelion growing out of the scorched earth, the hope and promise that all hope is not lost.
Excellent start to what I assume will be a fantastic end. It will be hard to write each and every review knowing that it will be closer to the end. Thanks for reading and I would love to hear from you!
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Until next time,