25 February, 2012

Review - FRINGE 4.14: ‘The End of All Things’


"The End of All Things" brings us some answers that we maybe don't need and creates questions that still seem to have obvious answers. I really want to be wrong but the writers keep making me right.

First of all, as I said last week, the whole falling-in-love and Peter going to rescue his dearest love story line was happening way too early in the season and so of course they pulled back on that last night, as if operating straight out of the will-they-won't-they playbook.

Peter's logic is so forced that it feels unnatural. He has never been told he's in the wrong timeline by the Observers, so why is he so confident that he needs to get back there? In fact, in the show's biggest reveal, we find out that the Observers are human scientists from the future (and some timeline or another). Outside of not really needing that much information (I prefer not knowing the details of mysteries like this) it revealed something that should have made Peter think about his in-the-wrong-timeline theory.

September reveals to Peter that Fauxlivia gave birth to Peter's son, Henry, and that it was a product of the Observer's mistake. Apparently Peter was never supposed to have a child with Fauxlivia, but by trying to fix his error, September put into motion a series of events that resulted in the wrong girl giving birth to Peter's love child. It was a nice touch to call back to something most fans thought had been brushed under the rug, but will it have any impact on the grand story line? Unfortunately, it seems to have been only introduced to further confuse Peter's perception that he has to remain loyal to what he believes is his Olivia.

So if September has been trying to correct a mistake and that mistake is the death of Peter, and by correcting that he created the past and present situations, then logically Peter IS THE TIMELINE. He is the constant. If Peter exists, then everyone around him exists. He's not in the wrong timeline. Everyone else is in HIS timeline. And September tells him that the reason he tried to correct things is because Peter is special. So why does Peter jump to conclusions? Why doesn't he just ask September "Am I in the right timeline but everyone else just forgot me when I got erased but I am so important to the future of mankind that time simply keeps reinserting me back in?" Instead he inserts his own theory into what he's being told, even though September has never acknowledged it as being accurate.

It is infuriating. Sure, most people probably won't even think about it while watching the show, but we are now 10 or so episodes into this Peter-needs-to-get-back-home bullshit even though it seemed obvious when it was first introduced that he's IN THE RIGHT PLACE. I would love to be wrong and I will eat crow if I am, but I'm not. And by making it so obvious, the writers make potentially really good episodes, like last night's, into something that ends up irritating me the more I think about it.

Should I even mention how badly they telegraphed that the Nina with Olivia was not the real one? Nah. Let's just let it live on its own.

Look, the episode was enjoyable at times and could have been great, but by giving us an answer about the Observers that isn't all that interesting (much like what the Final Five were in BSG, or what the numbers meant in LOST, no spoilers) and then returning us emotionally back to where we were two episodes ago, isn't something I want to applaud much.

The only real positive movement, if you can call it positive, is that Olivia is now going to be in full pursuit mode to convince her dearest love that she's his. But I don't know how exciting it will be to watch Peter shoot her down over and over while guiltily pining for her as he thinks he's supposed to be with someone else. It feels like something that could wear thin pretty quickly unless you are a 13-year old girl.

I didn't really touch on the rest of the episode because, until we get a clearer picture of what David Robert Jones is up to, there isn't much to discuss. He obviously has a plan and it's probably sinister as hell but this episode didn't leave much meat on that bone. The only thing his involvement did was reveal how much Olivia is affected by Peter and how his presence motivates her power. It's kind of romantic and all but in the end is just part of the general stalling tactic to bring us to Peter's eventual realization that she is his Olivia.

The really big question the episode left out there is: if Peter was so important to his universe that September had to save him, and that his having a child with Fauxlivia was so wrong, then if he wasn't meant to cross over, why is this Olivia his dearest love? Unless Olivia was always meant to cross over to the other universe, meet Peter, and have his babies there. I guess time will tell.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

78 out of 100

Yes, I did a lot of complaining about this one but there were moments when I enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it loses points for Peter's continued refusal to just ask simple and obvious questions either of himself or September. And I wouldn't even mind his idiocy if his behavior was better, more believably, written. Plus, the one step forward two steps back mentality is used like a crutch by every writers room on this planet when running out of good ideas. That worries me that the eventual payoff will fall flat by the time we get to it.

Season 4 has had some good episodes and may end up having a great payoff, but it has been one long stalling tactic and that's rarely a good sign on any show.


30 comments:

  1. I am with you on that one brother, great review. The same thing happened on Chuck in season 3 (my favourite season). They were stalling left and right to keep Chuck and Sarah apart that it felt a little hollow when they got together. I mean they had Chuck go around and ask everyone if Sarah was the right girl for him, lol. Compared to season 2 where he was working day and night to get that damn computer out of his head....but on to Fringe.

    Yeah I have to agree that this season has had some good episodes like 4.02, 4.06, 4.09, 4.11, 4.12....but the stalling has been noticeable. I mean did anyone miss how Peter never told Lincoln or Walter that Olivia had memories that he never knew about in his timeline therefore whatever happened to her was not his fault?

    The comic books are supposed to be part of the cannon so why did Peter not mention that he has already had this kind of one on one with an observer before when he was in the machine?

    They never got to why him entering the machine vanished him and then reappeared him where no one rememeber him. Plus Fringe is spending way to much time delivering exposition with the music cranked up to cheesy, the moments just feel hollow.

    The show is struggling badly to answer its own questions and that is also concerning as well as them stalling.

    Dan Fienberg and Alan Sepinwall one posited that the only way to enjoy Fringe is to ignore every question they raise and enjoy the what they give. I am starting to see what they were talking about, these expectations for answers are becoming a drag I suppose and that is my fault as a viewer, I expect them to give some answers..they do not have to.

    Enjoyable episode considering everything. Ryan McGee is getting a roasting by his commentators for voiceing his disatisfaction with the season...this was a brave review...coodos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I call it like I see it... I am never going to jump on any bandwagon. I am not going to praise a show just to be a "good fan" and I'm not going to attack it just because that's the cool thing to do.

      And this season isn't my least favorite (that would be season 1) but I am finding it all too obvious at this point... and I really want to be wrong so I can look back on this season and feel like all of its seemingly pointless stalling was there for a reason... and not just to... pointlessly... stall.

      Delete
  2. wow your so negative. i guess i'm always easy to please and call most episodes "EPIC" and "amazing". But still, i enjoyed reading your thoughts. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think most people fall into that mindset. We, the nitpickers, are probably in the tiniest minority of viewers.

      Delete
  3. This is a convoluted version of "the Butterfly Effect". September's original sin was interrupting Walternate at the moment that he should have discovered the antidote to Peter's illness. That was the beginning of the whole domino effect on both universes. September also indicates that Henry is critical to their future and that Henry's death was a by product of trying to correct his original sin.
    My confusion lies with Jones and what his motive is at this point. And why didn't Olivia just shoot the machine as Jones was crossing over and cut him in half again ???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had started a paragraph about how Henry could play into the story as a whole but then erased it because I'm not buying the ruse!

      Delete
  4. Agreed. The whole episode felt like tease, stall, and hype in various amounts. I guess if you are going to tout the episode as answering all questions, you should probably try to answer more than one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This delay in giving straight answers to the characters about something we already know is something endemic to Fringe. See how long it took them to explicitly show that Peter was from an alternate universe and for him to realize the truth.

    I can rationalize why Peter backtracked on the Olivia thing. Walter and Lincoln ganged up on him, berated and blamed him for robbing them of their Olivia and for hurting her. He only had the flimsy proof, that he wasn't projecting his Olivia onto this one, because of the Semtrex (or whatever she called it) reveal, but that could have been a memory from the amber universe, too. I don't know why Peter was so convinced because of that in the first place. The current Olivia, understandably, doesn't behave exactly like original Olivia, that should give him pause. And then September had to play a number on him with the Henry reveal. Peter was in shock and I can't really blame him for reacting the way he did.

    However, that doesn't make this plot any less annoying. I think they should have confirmed what timeline they are in by now, so that the story can move forward. Last year we had a similar phase with Olivia and her insecurities: I don't want to be with you!/I'm hiding my longing for you/We can get through this :-)/She has feelings for him/Oh no! He has feelings for her/I want, but I can't :-(/Here's some whiskey and SEX! I was also able to rationalize her behavior, but that story was excruciating! They are doing the same now and it's obviously a another turn of will they/won't they, BECAUSE SHE IS CLEARLY HIS OLIVIA.

    You know, I agree that Peter is very stubborn and he jumped to conclusions like home = timeline, but for a scientist from the future, September doesn't seem to have a scientific brain. He speaks like an oracle most of the time, with vague phrases, that could be open to interpretation. How hard is it to say: "This is your timeline, this is your Olivia. Enjoy all the sex!" "Go to your house, that's how you'll find her." Well, not exactly that, but you know what I mean. He is not specific and clear, like a scientist should be.

    What I want to know is, since September was able to go back to the past and choose not to save Peter, why didn't he go a little further back and choose not to interrupt Walternate? That was the original sin, why not fix that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "but that story was excruciating! They are doing the same now"

      I found it a tad overdone, not excruciating. At least their conversations made sense. She felt betrayed. He knew he had wronged her. This is not that type of plot device. So, they are not doing the same now. In this one, the whole going back home shit is, if I am right, a mistaken assumption based on a lack of critical thinking. And that's not believable. This is Peter not some dumbass from the streets. Sure, the WTWT is there again, if that is all you meant, but how they are approaching it is silly.

      I can suspend disbelief when it is done well. I can't when it is done sloppily. And every time Peter says "I have to get home" or "I have to get back to the other timeline" I want to throw something at my TV.

      Delete
    2. The chemistry between Olivia and Peter has never been great say like a Chuck and Sarah or Roger and Joan or a some other awesome tv pairings....so the WTWT never really bothered me. I mean the body language is so awful, lol. I think that might be the problem now with Fringe these last 2 seasons, if a fan does not buy this soapy crap then they actually focus on the plot and dialogue. What I do not get is why they are making Peter so dumb or so freaking noble. Peter is a con man, a liar, a gambler and a man who lived a hobo lifestyle. All the sudden he has to tell Olivia the truth about fauxlivia or he has to do and say certain things while everyone craps on him? Or he has to avoid asking basic question when needed. Basically the writers lack of intelligence is showing in the characters and that is becoming problematic. The story is losing it's coherency a little and the million questions they have raised they have put themselves on Lost territory...based on how fans reacted to that...Shieeeeeeeet!

      Delete
  6. "Peter is a con man, a liar, a gambler and a man who lived a hobo lifestyle"

    Did you watch season 3 with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears? He lived an entire life, to middle-age, with Olivia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean the exposition heavy finale that contained one false dramatic scene after another? You mean the finale that was all tell and no show? So Peters whole character metamorphis happened while he was in a machine and we never saw any of it, awesome!

      Delete
    2. Wahhh! Me no like exposition! Wahh!

      Delete
  7. I'm disappointed that now we have the long break. It seems like pacing wise these last few episodes finally got the real story in motion again and now we have weeks to wait. Maybe it's some of what you mentioned above with the writers using stall tactics. I don't think it's going to help the ratings any though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The observer said that by him interrupting red universe Walter from finding the cure he started a war between the two worlds because blue universe Walter crossed over and caused the universes to tear apart. That lead to many things including Peter having a child with the wrong Olivia. But correct me if I am wrong but if September did not interfere red walter from finding a cure and blue walter never crossed than which Olivia could Peter have a child with? Nice try writers, lol. There logic to clear away plot lines that they could not answer does even not make sense for one episode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can't really say "nice try writers" until you see how it all plays out. You CAN say that once the season, or this story, plays out IF the writers don't explain it.

      An easy explanation is that Olivia was always supposed to cross over, but not Peter.

      Delete
    2. I do not know if Olivia being able to cross universe is an easy explaination. I mean in season 3 "Subject 13" Walter tells his wife that they are using these kids to try and cross universes so that he can find a way to return Peter without causing damage. In season 1 Walter told Olivia in the Diner that they experimented on her because they were predicting a war. Both times we have seen Olvia in Jacksonville she is different ages, 4/5 and 9/10. They say that she can only cross over because of cortexaphan, if you go by season 3 story then she only be able to do that because Walter crossed over because of septembers interferance and he only experiments on kids because he needs to get Peter back. If it is the season 1 answer that she was experimented as a little girl because a war was coming not related to Peter....than what war?

      What war were Bell and Walter preparing these kids for 20 plus years ago?

      Delete
    3. Sigh...

      Eventually, somehow, Olivia was always going to cross over to the other universe, meet Peter, and have his babies. They were destined to be together and the universe is simply righting a problem that the Observers have screwed up. No matter what September or the other Observers do, reality will continue to reinsert Peter into the equation.

      Or so the "easy explanation" goes.

      I tend to be right about these things but there's always a chance I'm not this time.

      Delete
    4. Olivia had been treated with Cortexiphan way before Walter kidnapped Peter. The trials began, when she was about 3 years old. At that age, she was able to identify objects from the other side (and she also burned a room). Subject 13 takes place a few years later and Walter was trying to use those children to return Peter, but Peter wasn't the reason those trials started.

      Delete
    5. Thanks, Newton. I thought that was the case but couldn't be bothered to look it up. ;)

      So, my scenario works.

      Delete
    6. Therefore Walter and Bell was preparing them for a war, but what war? The war between universe makes no sense because Walter crossed later and if it was just a general war I.e. A war in our universe between the US and some other country then why not clarify that with like 2 sentences? We knew Walter and Bell did most experiments for the army...bad storytelling.

      Delete
    7. It can't be bad story telling just because they haven't answered it yet. It isn't bad story telling UNTIL THEY DON'T TELL YOU AT ALL. So, if they never answer this burning question of yours, before the show is cancelled, then you can talk about it being bad story telling. Until then, you are jumping the gun.

      Come on, use your brain for something other than stacking your negativity.

      Delete
    8. They didn't say from which moment they started preparing them for the war. The experiments were meant to enhance the natural abilities those children had. Let's say W&W were just experimenting to see what came of it. Olivia, being the strongest one, had several abilities, like creating fires with her mind and crossing unverses. However, there was no war going on, until Walternate learned from little Olivia herself, that there was another universe and that this other universe had his son.

      1985 was the year that Peter was stolen and the year that Walternate published his version of ZFT (W&W's version could have been published that same year or maybe a little later). I suspect W&W decided to prepare the kids for the upcoming war, when they realized Walternate knew about the blue universe and that he was PISSED OFF.

      Delete
    9. So W & W just experimented on kids to see how a drug like cortexaphan would effect them? There was no war or desperate measures that made them do it they just felt like pumping 4 year olds full of unknown drugs?

      Awesome! If Walter has to die I have no problem since he is a sicko, who would do that to kids for no excellent reason?

      Delete
    10. You seriously don't pay attention when you watch the show, duder.

      Delete
    11. ZAYAFOAMCST, of course, Walter was a psycho. JJ Abrams said so in a recent interview (he also said he was many other things and that made him a fascinating character).

      You just have to go back and check the first half of S1 to see he didn't care much about fellow humans. As long as they were of use to him, their wellbeing was of no importance to him. Peter (and to a lesser extent Astrid and Olivia) humanized him.

      In Grey Matters, when Newton connected the extracted brain pieces to Walter, what kind of man did you see, when Walter recovered his memories? He was reveling on the damage he himself caused to the alternate universe. He was terrifying, just like Walternate (after all, they are the same person).

      Delete
  9. Theory

    The observers eliminated red Henry because Henry must be born from blue Olivia and red Peter so that......Henry has the ability to cross universes and time travel and thus become the first......observer.

    Oh and it is good to see Walter tearing into Peter again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't work. The other Observers wanted adult Peter to not exist, meaning Henry never existed. Unless September is the only one who realizes this, but that's unlikely.

      Delete
    2. Unlikely but still could be done. I guess this episode and the recent series proves that the observers are human and therefore infalible. But I see your point, it is too obvious an answer, I kind of agree with ZAYAFOAMCST because in the season 3 finale Olivia had powers like Telekonesis (I know bad spelling) and who knows whatelse....the observers can catch bullets and have other special powers so....but it kind of makes up them just erasing a baby.

      Delete
  10. Wow! Finally someone that noticed too! All this talk of her not being his Olivia pisses me off. She must be because he erased himself from his reality...he didnt go to a new one. WTF.

    ReplyDelete