04 February, 2012

Review: FRINGE 4.11 - 'Making Angels'


This Astrid heavy episode also revealed a bit about the Observers, or at least hinted at it, while delivering a somewhat interesting case of the week.

The case of the week involves a man who works for the TSA, who was once a MIT professor, who is running around with an Observer device putting people whose lives are doomed, out of their misery. Meanwhile, Fastrid, grieving her father's death, leaves her universe to come meet Astrid.

The case reveals a couple of things about the Observer story line. First, that the Observer who saved Peter and Walter is named September (this was revealed before by FOX but I don't think has ever been stated in an episode, so this should be the first time a majority of FRINGE viewers hear it). Second, the head Observer now knows that Peter still exists (this should finally settle what I've been saying for weeks, that Peter is definitely in HIS universe).

The Astrid/Fastrid story line may not have been very important to the show as a whole (I guess we will find out if it is addressed again in future episodes) but it allowed the actor to get the kind of focus we haven't seen before. And she does a pretty good job giving us two distinct characters who are at times similar, and who have both lost a mother but experienced a very different relationship with their father. I am sure there are FRINGE fans who won't appreciate this seemingly one-off character display, but it existed to demonstrate how these two people, who have lived with similar loss while still having their fathers in their lives, became such different people.

When Fastrid reveals that she had a difficult relationship with her father due to her own issues with expressing her emotions, Astrid tells her alternate that she has a complicated relationship with her father too. But at the end, we realize this is a lie as the two seem to have a very warm relationship. Astrid, being hyper empathetic as she is, said what Fastrid needed to hear. Telling her that she had a great relationship with her own father would have only wounded Fastrid more.

Walter gets a lot of interactions in this episode, mostly with Fauxlivia, Fastrid, and a bit with Peter. For some reason, Walter forgot about the previous episode and is back to being bitchy toward Peter. However, he is very intrigued by Fastrid and seems to enjoy spending time with her as the others shoot around town on missions. Though, he distrusts Fauxlivia because she pretended to be Olivia (I have questions about this plot line but I'm avoiding it now), but she is very bubbly and happy to see him and seems to want to make him like her.

There's a whole little bit about Fauxlivia and Walter making amends through candy. Walter and Fastrid making a connection through their mutual strangeness. And Walter getting closer to warming up to Peter when Fastrid suggests it would be logically beneficial for his mental health to just accept Peter as his son. And Peter and Olivia working well together as partners while Lincoln is away.

As a mostly case-of-the-week type episode, it is surprisingly engaging, entertaining, and character building. It has taken the writers some time to build up to these episodes but I feel the last few have finally gotten us to a place where I truly care about these characters again, and this episode was one of the better at doing that.

Now, let us see if they totally toss that in the garbage in the coming weeks and backtrack on all this forward momentum with the characters.

If I skipped anything of importance it is because I am writing this without the episode to reference, because I am super lazy.

Anyway, if I had to rate this one, I'd give it:

94 out of 100

It had some grander arc elements but nothing too exciting. However, as a case-of-the-week episode, it was surprisingly heavy on character interactions/development and effective at that. Let's see if they build on this in the coming weeks. If there is a gripe in all of this it is that we haven't heard a thing from Olivia's perspective about her kidnapping. I realize we saw it in season 3 but there should be some differences based on the fact that Peter wasn't in her world.


48 comments:

  1. Yeah that was a little frustrating that Walter agreed to be more pleasant and helpful to Peter and then that gets thrown out the fucking window, lol. For a show built on resets that kind of makes sense to them.

    The Olivia kidnapping storyline was convoluted because as you said we do not know the context.

    The show runner proclamed "Peter Season" has yet to start, I doubt it will, they are full of shit.

    The actress who plays Astrid/Fastrid killed it in this episode. I heard she has a sister who has autisom in real life so she covered the nuances very well.

    Learning about the observers and how they have technology instead of knowledge to aid them in predicting the future is an interesting development.

    The directing and editing was a little poor, e.g. the close up of the Gin bottle and the fact that they first half of the episode was massively different from the second half.

    The character who was the bad guy this week was a little ill defined and had to rely on way too much exposition in that final scene with his mom.

    How did the Fringe team not open up the safe in the house? They knew the technological item existed and did not bother to comb the whole apartment from to bottom? is that a plot hole or contrivance?

    Olivia after one episode now deems Peter a good partner...came out of nowhere, lacked nuance..i.e. Perfect Fringe...but at least they are moving this bullshit forward and getting to point as the author says...this is Peters timeline.

    It took the observers who are all seeing and all knowing and at every event that every Fringe team and Peter is at 11 episodes to find out that he is now back...wow observers talk about dropping the ball.

    An ok episode but one that proves that the cable network model is better. tighter plotting and no wasted episodes make them more coherant.

    65/100.

    Awesomecakes.

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    1. You seem hell bent on disliking shit. It's actually very amusing.

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  2. I was confused by a few things, particularly the observer device and its function, I'll have to watch again, but this won't be a hard task, since I found the episode highly enjoyable.

    My favorite parts were all of Astrid's scenes, both versions. I think Jasika did a great job, I love Astrid and Altstrid, how different they are and how they connected, in spite of this. Both of them are adorable!

    Bitchy Walter wasn't that fun and I'm getting tired of him. I know he doesn't love or like Peter, but nobody is asking him to. The sooner he gets the job done, the sooner he'll get rid of Peter, why he isn't working hard and fast to help him go home is beyond me. I'm saying this knowing Peter is in the right timeline, but he and Walter don't know it.

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    1. The problem in this episode with Walter, Newton is that same problem with the show...I.e. Procedural versus serial. Serial Walter is supposed to be kind to Peter and help him because alt Elizabeth asked him to. Procedural Walter has to be nasty because alt asteroids dad was nasty because Peter and alt astrid for whatever reasons could not get along with their dads. I explained it crappily but basically the episode had a theme and the characters had to play a part to create a symetery even though in the grand scheme of things the fucking characters should be doing something totally different. That is the problem when a procedural show like this gets too ambitious....characters become inconsistent and over time irrelevant.

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    2. It was obviously a problem, having Walter essentially forget the last episode, but it's less a case of procedural vs. serialized and more a case of the writers feeling it necessary to hammer the point home for those too dumb to figure out already (that Walter needs his son).

      It is kind of weird how much the writers think they have to hammer the same point home over and over, as if they have some Nielsen report that says 90% of their audience is a bunch of idiots. However, this didn't really take much away from the episode for me, just annoyed me for a few seconds.

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    3. And it's not like I even wanted him to be nice to Peter. I'd be completely fine if Walter chose to ignore him or just be civil, but why be so nasty? It drives me up the wall! If they are trying to drive the point home that Walter needs Peter in his life, they are getting the opposite effect on me. I'm getting to the point I want Peter to send him to hell. I don't like this childish Walter and the writers need to move on from "WAH! YOU'RE NOT MY SON! I DON'T LOVE YOU! WAH!" Because nobody is saying Peter is his son, not even Peter!

      It's a minor quibble on an otherwise great episode. Jasika carried her part of the episode beautifully and although I expected they'd give her a gun and let her catch the bad guy, I'm glad they wrote both Astrids realistically, letting them do, what they do the best.

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    4. I think you may be missing something... he is supposed to love him. That's the point of all this. He is resisting because he is afraid of losing him again.

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    5. OK! So you mean Walter already has feelings for Peter, but helping him means losing him and that fear makes him behave like a petulant child. That's a possibility. I took the whole thing from the point of view that the only reason he tolerates his presence is because Elizabeth convinced him to help Peter. Remember he regards Peter as a "punishment". If you are right, I totally missed something, but since Walter has mostly treated him with contempt and coldness, I don't think I can be blamed.

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    6. "OK! So you mean Walter already has feelings for Peter, but helping him means losing him and that fear makes him behave like a petulant child"

      Yes. He is resisting in an effort to not feel the same loss when Peter eventually finds his way back home... which of course he won't because he IS home.

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    7. What makes this more difficult (Walters behaviour) is that we never see Peters side of things. This show can recontexulise Walter and Olivia a thousand times to keep getting their emotions but Peter kinda just gets jammed in and around the edges of the story. So this storyline comes across as an abusive father shitting on his son. What did Tony the tiger say? Grrrrrrrrrreat!!!!!!!!!

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    8. Yes, he is home. I wonder how long it will take for everyone to realize it.

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    9. Let me see... 22 episodes... 11th episode... so... in 6 episodes.

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    10. I think if that happens it will be most likely in the series finale....so episode 22. I mean they need to save it for the sweep stakes month of May, got to get those ratings up for a potential 5th season.

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    11. Nah. They will have him realize it and then try to figure some shit out. Definitely not in the finale. The finale has to be about some big choice he has to make. Most likely a sacrifice.

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    12. You mean they will give Joshua Jacksons Peter more than one episode to carry his arc! OMG! That is too good to be true!

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  3. If Walter does manage to get Peter back to wherever, let's assume that this is not his timeline or universe, will he not automatically forget that Peter was here? I mean will he not gain or lose memories if he helps Peter not exist in this timeline.....man I had a question but am having an incredibly tough time articulating it.

    If that happens, he forgets Peter as soon as he leaves. So even if he does help him leave and gets attached to Peter he most likely will not remember it or as Broyles said in episode 2 this season, some people leave an indelible Mark on your soul so Walter is screwed that way or he is afraid if Peter is stuck here Walter would rather reject Peter before Peter rejects him or ....

    Who the fuck knows.

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    1. If getting Peter back to the original timeline means deleting him retroactively from this one, Walter wouldn't remember him at all, so he wouldn't suffer any loss. I don't think Peter would leave an indelible mark, he hasn't been in the new timeline that long.

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    2. There won't be any forgetting anyone any more. This is a setup for them to remember, not forget. And for Peter to realize where he is and to begin to try to make them remember. The final handful of episodes will most likely revolve heavily around Peter.

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    3. @HEAD GEEK FURIOUS, how can you be really sure that the last handful would be heavily around Peter? I am thinking it would all about Olivia
      "superwoman" Dunham.

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    4. I think it is pretty obvious based on how they have been framing this story. It is how these guys writer. They foreshadow shit for too many episodes, then deliver the obvious and toss in a twist.

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  4. Fringe latest ratings are at.... a 1.1! Whoa! Wyman and Pinkner are totally fucking awesome! How awesome are they! Whoa!

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    1. Ratings have what to do with the show runners? Plus, they've put out a few good episodes in a row. WHY DO YOU EVEN WATCH THIS FUCKIN' SHOW?

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    2. I thought that the ratings are indicative of how fans respond to the material a show puts out on screen, the material that is determined by the show runners.

      Season 3 they tried to make Olivia the center of the show and their ratings just died and so I would have thought that the show runners would have learned and changed course and made another character the center in order to stop the rot or become more like season 2 and more procedural...fans were primed for Peter due to the whole "Where is Peter Bishop?" momentum gained over the summer. The show runners decided "Peter who?" and fucked themselves up the ass by throwing that momentum down the drain and wasting it.

      I still watch because I want to see just how far these guys are going to fuck themselves by being ignorant and stupid. So far so good, they are on the brink of cancellation and are still coming out for interviews saying "be patient" and "answers are coming" and generic bullshit that just drives fans nuts and decide not to bother investing in the show that has no respect for their time.

      I thought Chris Fedak, Josh Schwartz, Damon Lindleloff and Carlton Cuse were the masters at being vague and being rebels without a cause that enjoyed fucking with their fans through dry humour and sarcasm but on some level their shows at least delivered on what they promised. Wyman and Pinkner make them look like the most truthful and competent show runners of all time.

      I wonder what effect this all has on network tv's future with mythology/serialised based scripted shows. It cannot be good that any network who decides to invest in those types of shows can only look forward to crappy ratings and fan discontent. A genre is dying and that is sad. I love Community, Parks and Recreation. I loved Lost and Chuck and lesser Fringe. Yikes Network Tv is gonna die! well no but I pray that "Awake" kicks ass, I really do, please do.

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    3. "I thought that the ratings are indicative of how fans respond to the material a show puts out on screen, the material that is determined by the show runners."

      Except the majority of people watching a show are first-timers. That's a fact. That's why shows, especially lowly rated ones, feel the need to constantly explain themselves, or "reset" character developments between episodes etc. They don't want to confuse the incoming viewers too much.

      But probably more important than how the audience felt the previous episode is what was happening on television that night. As you can see by the ratings, GRIMM also tanked at the same hour. So, those audiences went somewhere else. The Live+7, even if an unimportant stat for renewing a show, will tell the tale. FRINGE still seems to enjoy a massive time-shifting audience (when compared to live). When that audience disappears, then we can talk about the show runners having turned off the audience with the last few episodes.

      Until then, I'd say we have no way of knowing why the audience dropped. Hell, the other likely scenario for FRINGE is that Nielsen had some loyal FRINGE viewer in a major metro area who had a family of eight young adults living in the household and they were taken out of the system. That's just as wild a supposition as you are making that it is about story. I mean, why would the audience leave NOW? Nothing about the previous week's episode was very off-putting.

      You just have a hatefest going with Wiman and Pinkner and want to blame them for everything. I still don't understand why you are wasting your time watching a show that makes you so unhappy nearly every week.

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    4. As HGF said, Fringe has viewers. They just don't watch on Friday night. They wait until Saturday or Sunday and show up in the Live + 7's.

      It may sound odd--because Chuck didn't have huge ratings either--but I wonder if the declines we saw for Grimm and Fringe were somewhat caused by Chuck being gone as a compatible "lead-in" to either show. I use "lead-in" loosely because it can apply to watching something time-shifted on the same night as well as live.

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  5. ZAYAFOAMCST, Josh said it best, He is a plot device so we are NEVER going to see peter's side to anything nor see any type of reaction out of Peter about what he is going through.

    So, pity to Josh fans, its been 4 years and Josh STILL hasn't had an episode where he shined, where he see him show he is emotional. John had his, Anna had hers, Jasika has hers but Josh? Forget it, he is a device.

    It's funny, they spent 4 episodes without Peter, they had a "where is Peter Bishop?" "here is peter bishop" campaign and this is the THANKS we get from the Walter/Olivia/lincoln obsessed writers.

    But I digress, although I really dislike having joy in another person's utter misery, I really enjoyed Jasika's performance and she was cute and funny!

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    1. You guys read too much into what Josh was saying, as if it was him telling fans he was going to get fucked out of his role this season. Jackson motivated the lot of you by what he said while shooting the first four episodes. He has since adjusted his position, but you guys haven't. You continue to spew rage over the shit he said back in the summer. His latest interviews are not saying the same shit that he said in the summer, but you guys take every word and twist it to fit your gloomy view of the future of FRINGE.

      It's like watching democrats and republicans rip each other's words apart in their own circles.

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    2. Because show runners are the face of a show most fans get a hard on for them instead of the faceless studio and network executives who probably have some sort of defining input that dictates a seasonal arc. So this bullshit season could be not the how runners fault, but what cannot be defended is the Los that these particular show runners tell. Why lie? What is the point? What does it accomplish for your show? How in any way will it not come back to bite them in the ass?

      Just come out and tell fans that this isour show and the story is there story and they will do he best they can. This is the Olivia story so fans who care about other characters should fuck off

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    3. We read much into what Josh says cause its also happening ON-SCREEN. What main character, who was only in 3 scenes in one episode, spends those 3 scenes giving a character who the writers act like is the male lead glasses? I suggest you read this article

      http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/popcornbiz/Joshua-Jackson-If-Fringe-Is-Forced-to-End-This-Season-Itll-Still-Satisfy-the-Fans-138534549.html

      Which is dated 2-4-2012 no less so it's probably recent. He says how his character drives the plot forward but doesn't have a "story" and he says how exact wording

      "But because the Peter character, as I understand him now in Season Four, is mostly a device that reflects the other characters back to themselves, I feel like there’s so much interesting stuff that we’ve introduced about Peter that we’ve never really explored. We never really get inside Peter’s emotional life. He’s the guy that other people talk to, but he doesn’t have a buddy to be like, ‘Oh dude, I’m so screwed up because I just went through da-da-da.."

      Now you understand why Peter fans are upset? They force feed us all the drama Walter and Olivia get and their constant "woe is me" crap but Peter has many bad things happen to him and they are not going to spend ANY TIME on Peter's emotional journey? (it doesn't have to be A-plot for crying out loud, just GIVE US SOMETHING)

      Now watch the episodes, besides a few "subtle" moments of emotion, have we EVER gotten a big emotional blowout for Peter? Where was Peter's big monologue that the writers annoyingly keep giving to Walter and Olivia?

      So yeah, but you have to be a Peter fan to fully understand, head geek furious.

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    4. One of the hardest things a show can do is balance the character arcs out over a whole season. Good shows like Breaking Bad, Justified, The Wire, Mad Men, etc manage to do this and do it well. Shows (even ones that I love like the one I am about to mention) like Chuck struggled to make Sarah and Casey relevant throughout and they rarely got more than one episode per season to explore their characters. Everything was seen through Chuck's eyes, the same goes for Fringe....they rarely show the other characters emotions and thoughts that are not Olivia and Walter. Does that limit the effectiveness of their show? In Chuck's case I would say no, but that was a personal opinion for me because I loved the chemistry that Chuck had with Casey and especially Sarah that I did not mind that everything was seen through his eyes. But with Fringe Walter is great but Olivia is a real hit and miss for me...no matter how much they try and sell me her character I only ever felt something for her in season 3 and that was it. I would much rather see Peter's journey but that is because his character is just more interesting to me.

      But it all comes down to personal opinion, I loved Chuck as a character but not Olivia as a character so...it is all subjective viewing. If these two were better shows that they would do a better job but they are not and so we have to accept what they put out or do what they author of what this site suggests and quit.

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    5. I have never said I didn't understand why Peter fans were upset. I'm the dude who wrote the article where I took the writers to task for not utilizing him enough early this season. I'm the one who pointed out that Anna Torv is related to the owner of the fuckin' company. What I am saying to you people is that you have created a whole enemy in the show runners, and a worse scenario for your character, based on what Josh has said in interviews and then you have reinforced that belief, even when there was no reason to, with every episode.

      You guys just sit there and pick every single thing apart so that it FITS your doom and gloom view of your character. Just quit the fuckin' show already if you truly believe what you keep saying. Because if it is that bad, and you don't believe the show runners will right it, then stop watching and let the show die.

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    6. "Why lie?"

      Josh, they are show runners. You shouldn't believe anything any show runner ever tells you.

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    7. Yeah you should never trust show runners but at the same time when they do say something in an interview sometimes it is not a lie or they do not know it will become a lie due to circumstances outside of their control. For example, Chris Fedak told Mo Ryan during their post Other Guy interview that he intended to rid the Buymore. Now at that time I am sure he wanted to do that but behind the scenes and HGF told us this after season 3 rapped the studio told Fedak that he had to keep the Buymore because it helped pay for the show. So when he said that he wanted to move forward without the Buymore he meant it but that statement became a lie because the studio overruled him.

      So show runners do lie a lot of the times and it is for many reasons:

      1) Calm down irrate fans.
      2) Reduce the pressure on themselves and their writers.
      3) Out of thier control
      4) They like fucking with the fans
      5) They are just inherantly assholes

      And a 100 other reasons.

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    8. "So when he said that he wanted to move forward without the Buymore he meant it but that statement became a lie because the studio overruled him."

      Yep... and there is an unspoken rule that you don't tell anyone what the studio or network tells you to do while the show is still on the air. At least when it is negative. If you do, you may not be around long.

      Hollywood in general frowns on people who tell the truth. Be they show runners, actors, editors, or even bloggers. Hell, ESPECIALLY FAN SITE ADMINS! That's why if your favorite fan site owner goes on set, or hangs out with the cast, you can forever discount their opinion. They have now been bribed to feed you bullshit.

      Which is why I've never interviewed anyone and never gone on set. I won't be bribed (granted, I will never publicly say anything negative about Zac Levi, ever... just more proof that even an opinionated dick like me is corruptible).

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    9. That said... I do not know whose decision it was to write so shitterly for Josh's character but I know it was not Fox because it was leaked that the Where is Peter Bishop fan campaign freaked them out and they dragged Wyman and Pinkner in to show them the video and demand answers such as...when will he be back? What is his arc? Etc. Obviously Fox has limited input or they were ignored because....this seasons been shit from a Peter perspective but.... So they are very weary of fans opinions and feelings. So this crap is either Warner Brothers or the show runners.

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    10. " it was leaked that the Where is Peter Bishop fan campaign freaked them out and they dragged Wyman and Pinkner in to show them the video and demand answers such as...when will he be back?"

      I call bullshit on that "leak." Sure, the network may have worried that a fan campaign could reflect badly on a lowly rated show, publicly, but that they didn't know when Peter was coming back? That's laughable. The show runners pitch and get approval for their story lines BEFORE THEY GO TO SEASON.

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    11. Let me expand on that... not just before they go to season, before the previous season even finishes. There is no possible way that the "dragged them in to explain themselves" story is true. At best the network did what all networks do when they bring the show runners in to hear how they are breaking the next season, and then some executives asked them what the plan was with Peter. And they may have pointed to a fan video or some shit. But if this happened before the season was broken, the FOX executives would be FUCKIN' THRILLED that fans were reacting.

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  6. either way, it would not effect anna torv future plans.

    i 'm 100% that anna torv will be the next nicole idman/naomi watts.

    anna WILL have a great career ahead of her , after fringe.

    I predict that she will become very, very famous, A MOVIE STAR.

    anna has it all; the looks , the acting AND she signed a two-picture deal with FOX. so that will help her, for sure.

    But i'm afraid anna will be the only one who is going to have success after fringe.

    i'm not her biggest fan, but you have to admit that she has everything going for her after fringe.

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    1. Anna Torv will have a career as long as her uncle keeps giving her work, no doubt.

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    2. Her uncle owns Fox...why does'nt he just tell Kevin Reilly to renew Fringe?

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    3. How do we know he hasn't been doing just that?

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    4. So season 5 is a go then?

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    5. I wouldn't be shocked if they get a limited season 5 (like CHUCK did).

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  7. This is not the only site where things have turned ugly. Certain Podcasts that have been released are now calling out Fringe for wasting viewer time on procedural fodder when they would much rather see the serialised stuff. Some say the procedural has grown old which is a fair point. Ryan McGee is having it out with a commentator called Old Darth...hehehehe. The AV Club has fans going back and forth and the IGN critic is called a fool weekly by fans who do not understand his low grades.

    This is getting nasty and it is not only the crazy ass Peter nut job obsessed fans who are going for the jugular or blood or whatever....I wonder how far this is going to spiral downwards. The end cannot come soon enough for some I suppose.

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    1. Old Darth and I used to do a podcast back in the day... he also abandoned that show. I thought he was a full blown FRINGEaholic.

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    2. As for when the end blahblahblah... online comments don't represent the majority in most cases. They are usually the tiny, angry minority. So far, those live+7 numbers (posted on this site yesterday) seem to indicate that the audience hasn't checked out. They just stopped watching it on Fridays.

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  8. The blahblahblah approach is something the fans that are angry should be weary of, if you check out the twitter pages for the show runners, lol, they ignore all of those fans, hehehe.

    They answer fans that shower praise and love on them but ignore all the fans who are disgruntled. So you are right, the angry bunch of fans are in the minority.

    Also those twitter accounts should be indicative to fans on how much a show runner cares about their small and pathetic grumbalings...they just ignore it and hear what they want to hear and see what they want to see and that is fans telling them how awesome their show is....ignorance is bliss.

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    1. Something fans seem to forget about show runners:

      THEY ARE HUMAN BEINGS.

      So, if you think about how you would respond if someone said the same shit to you, then that's likely how they will respond. Think about what someone would need to say to change your mind, and then say that. Not that dumb shit you have been saying (general "you" not... you).

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