06 October, 2012

Review - FRINGE 5.02: 'In Absentia'


Hardcore fans of any show can easily turn into ass-kissing douchebags or hate-everything assholes once it has been on long enough (my often mentioned post-season 2 phenomenon). And it is difficult, as someone who finds himself trying to be objectively critical, to not side with the haters more often than I do the ass-kissers. But being someone who prides himself on being able to maintain objectivity even when show writers make it difficult to not dive headfirst into negativity, I definitely root for quality.

In this episode, quality emerged with a vengeance.

Trying to shy away from the hyperbole of feeling blown away by something just watched, I am going to stop myself from proclaiming this "one of the best episodes in the series."

Fuck it, I just failed.

THIS WAS ONE OF THE BEST EPISODES OF THE SERIES! HOLY SHIT!

One of the things that made this show something of an addiction was the excellent acting and well written characters/dialogue. Throughout the history of the show, those things have trumped the stories, even when they were worthy of praise.  But something happened on the way to season 4 and everyone seemed to, more often than not, lose their focus. As I mentioned in the latest podcast, FRINGE had become a show with characters and situations I loved, but without the intrinsic quality that made me fall in love.

Somehow they rediscovered it in episode 89.

What made it so great? Let me just bullet point it because I am too exhausted from the intensity to recap shit.

  • It's a break-in episode and those rule!
  • It's a grand plan episode and the origin of those ideas are often so much better than the eventual payoff (yes, this probably means the resolution will suck but we live in the now people!).
  • The individual interactions between Etta and her parents were pretty much perfect, with so much unshared pain and frustration between them, yet with love holding them in a bond.
  • Walter being the Walter we all know and love with nutty and hilarious dialogue.
  • A side-story involving an enemy that goes well beyond anything one could have expected (give that man an Emmy nomination!).
  • A somewhat Star Wars like infiltration into the enemy base minus a wookiee and this time to turn the power on.
  • One of the most powerful scenes in show history (when Etta loses her shit upon discovering what had happened to her partner) that is still giving me chills.
  • A powerful ending that ran the gamut of emotions.
  • And all the things I forgot to mention because I'm on such a high right now.

Bravo writers. Superb work. If this is what is to come this season, then I will weep when the show ends.

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

98 out of 100

What did you think?

61 comments:

  1. Just watched it for a second time. It is their Mitt Romney moment. Went from dead on arrival to alive and well.

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  2. My Little Pony BoyOctober 6, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    Easily the best episode since season 3. That scene with Desmond's head made me scream. Horrible yet awesome.

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  3. I'll save the details for the cast but a powerful episode.

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  4. Eehhh... It was an improvement over the last episode and it had very nice moments, but I wouldn't call it one of the best of the series. Heck, Walter wasn't an asshole, which automatically made it tolerable and Etta is all kinds of awesome, but the final scene between the loyalist and Etta talking about how Olivia's enormous specialness can work miracles was too mu.

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    1. I expected you to be even more negative, proving it is one of the best. :)

      And while I could have rolled my eyes at the whole "look in her eyes" bit, it worked for me because they had won me over with everything else working so well.

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    2. Olivia is the hero of Fringe after all. Heroes need to be special.

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    3. Heroes need to special, NOT flawless and perfect. I want my hero to make mistakes, have people disagree with them (without the hero acting like she is the victim), have powers but not act like she is superior. Olivia is THAT. BTW, since when do heroes have to be special? Dorothy from The Wizard of oz wasn't a FBI agent, have powers or people falling for her..she was a child who was transported to a land and with the help of her FRIENDS (wow, it's it amazing how some heroes have friends?) and saved the day WITHOUT the need of powers or being "special".


      I have seen heroes like Buffy, The Charmed sisters, who make tons of mistakes AND have friends who have THEIR OWN PERSONALITIES AND WHAT MAKES THEM SPECIAL. The fringe writers want to give Olivia all the big moments, all the powers just to make the fans think she is BETTER than everyone else. Buffy had so many colorful characters that didn't take away Buffy's "specialness"
      They made Willow a witch. Spike was a vampire, Dawn was "special", etc. They made the "hero's" friends SIGNIFICANT unlike fringe that gives out the message that if you are not crazy like walter or have powers like olivia, you are nothing.

      So maybe if people would stop comparing Olivia to every damn character, maybe there wouldn't be countless Peter vs Olivia wars.

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    4. Olivia doesn't get all the big moments. But the show is clearly focused on her so she gets a majority of them.

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    5. Too bad the show focuses on Olivia, who is the cause of much Peter hate. I mean, her fans bash Peter all the time if he doesn't kiss her ass.

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    6. Too bad people can't just watch a show without choosing sides that have nothing to do with the context of the episodes.

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    7. Well hey don't blame the viewers for the stupid Peter/Olivia/fauxlivia storyline that divided the Peter/ Olivia fans. I mean, there wasn't much of this until the stupid altverse storyline overshadowed EVERYTHING on this show.

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    8. Loved the alternative universe stuff. Perhaps it is not the writers who are "stupid" but some of their viewers.

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    9. You only liked it because John and Anna gave such "Emmy worthy" performances, right?

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    10. You have clearly never read my reviews before since I have often said Anna Torv is overrated and sometimes wooden and even puzzlingly bad.

      So get over yourself.

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    11. Let me also add that those who have read my reviews over time know that I am a huge Joshua Jackson fan.

      You are the worst representative of his fan base I have ever known.

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  5. I didn't watch the episode and probably won't since it's all about how special Olivia is. Puh-lease. Wake me up when Joshua jackson actually does something meaningful and people quit their Walter and Olivia ass kissing.

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    1. You'll never wake up then :D

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    2. You should never watch FRINGE ever again.

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    3. Don't bother to see the episode. It was all about walter and mary sue aka olivia.

      Peter was yet again just standing there (looking hot), being used as a plot device.

      i was actually really looking forward to this episode, because i saw some set pictures and joshua was going undercover. I really thought joshua was going to get some material to play with, but it was nothing like usual.

      So i have NO hope anymore for joshua on fringe. I reas several articles about the upcoming episodes of fringe and they talk about a game changer for peter. Peter will have a arc of his own.

      i say: Myyyyyy Assssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!

      i dont believe non of that! it will all be about anna and john! always have and always will!!!

      and that's why i'm happy the ratings suck big time!!!

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    4. Thank you!!!! I'm sure whatever game changer Peter will get will be half-assed that people will spend more time praising Olivia and Walter and will complain about whatever Peter is doing or worse yet, don't even talk about it.

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    5. In fact, maybe it won't be as bad since after looking at some set pictures, we won't have to worry about Peter being overshadowed by Walter and Olivia!!!!

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    6. But her fans will find something to complain about, oh trust me on that!

      If they give joshua any screentime without miss perfect in it, they WILL complain.

      Remember the first episode last week? did you go to fringebloggers or seriable? man, oh, man, they were insulting joshua jackson non-stop. It was too much.

      Just because joshua was crying in a scene, had a gun and had more screentime than anna.

      But now that joshua had practically no lines in this episode, her fans are clearly happy.

      i have to say, i have been a fan of joshua jackson for a long time. He started in a lot of movies and in a very long running hit tv-show, BUT i never saw so much hate towards him until he started on fringe.

      And that is saying a lot........


      (BTW, dont be fooled by the set pictures, it doesnt mean shit. they will probably give him some shitty material, like always)

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    7. this is two fans of JJ,or the same fan talking to herself.

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  6. who else finds anna torv acting HORRIBLE this season (actually more than usual?
    She acts like a robot!!!! UGH!!!!

    I mean anna has never ever really cried on fringe. She had some dry tears, but never some real tears coming down her face.

    Im still waiting for that scene, anna!!!!!
    But it's all good for her delusional fanbase.

    And anna torv has aged a lot! She looks 38 years old! What's up with that!

    i sincerely hope she finds a man after fringe and decides to have a baby, so i'm not going to have to deal with her for a couple of years.

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    1. oh no, did you too fall in love with anna torv? Where you looking into her eyes, was she giving you hope?

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    2. No, but you don't have to be a dipshit about it. I am all for being a silly fucker every now and then but you are just trolling now.

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  7. poor Joshua Jackson was given the exposition duty once again this week

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  8. I have seen some annoying fandoms but the Anna vs Joshua factions are easily the most fucktarded in history of television.

    I love my Pacey Poof and would love to see him get to stand out but fuckin' move on. Get over it. The writers are not writing for him anymore. This is the Olivia show and if it butt hurts you so much, then why are you still watching?

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  9. anymore??
    when did they ever write for him in the first place?

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    1. So you have been watching the show for 4+ seasons angry that they haven't written for him?

      Are you insane?

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  10. no, but i'm a fan and that's what you do when you're a fan, you keep watching and hoping they write something for joshua.

    and WTF is with the pacey poof?? He's name is joshua jackson!!!!

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    1. His name is Pacey Poof around here.

      And if being a fan means acting like a twat all the time, then I turn in my Joshua Jackson fan card.

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  11. turn it in! It's not like you're going mise it anyway. There is nothing to write about him anyway.

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    1. Oh, it is turned in. Next week, nothing but shitting on Jackson's performance and praising Anna Torv.

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  12. next week? Sweetheart, you already started!

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    1. I have yet to shit on Joshua Jackson so...

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    2. Please stop feeding this troll. She has been fangirling in a very strange manner over Joshua Jackson ever since the Dawson's Creek days. It is just one person doing all this posting, her screen names are legion, she posts EVERYWHERE, and she basically will keep doing this throughout Josh Jackson's career, until she drops dead.

      BTW "Patty," we know you accidentally left some identifying information over on IMDB and if you EVER make threats online against any of the actors, law enforcement will know how to reach you. So I suggest you take your meds and shut the hell up.

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    3. I doubt it is just one person posting all this shit. Maybe MOST of it but not all of it.

      In any event, without any counterpoints to her trolling, she kind of gets to run things.

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    4. Nope, it really is just ONE person. Her M.O. is well known over many years.

      Sometimes she even trashes Joshua Jackson himself because she is disappointed with his project choices. She really is a scary flake.

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    5. So she is also pretending to be like 5 dudes and responding to herself?

      That's... a bit nuts.

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    6. HGF, it is really the same person and she is really nuts. She even harassed Jasika Nicole on Tumblr, that's how crazy she is.

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  13. The show has a lot more problems then who has more screen time or stories. Even though John noble and Anna torv have had more story most of it has been spent on being a million different versions of themselves and ultimately do not matter at this point, this show was supposed to be about the affects of a brilliant man who tried to play god and ultimately screwed the world for personal desire...now that story is down the toilet and the show is about bald men we know jack shit about...awesome! Stories have been created and dumped so much that it is hard to know what to invest in anymore (the pattern anyone? ZFT? Is William bell noble or evil or a pioneer or a Gillian or....I do not know and neither does the show anymore?????) and the same goes with character arcs (Henry?). They just kept pulling the rug and resetting everything...poor storytelling.

    But like HIMYM I will out of a suicidal nature stick with the show till the bitter end. John Nobles acting deserves at least that!

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  14. You know what, none of you will ever understand what it's like watching your favorite actor given little work to do, doesn't win awards, doesn't get a decent storyline that isn't always about Walter or Olivia, having to put up with constant criticism of josh, none of you. If the same was given to John noble or Anna torv, people would be the same way.

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    1. No, Patty. I understand it perfectly. What you don't understand is that it's not a life altering issue, that it has nothing to do with you personally and that there is nothing you can do. Move on, stop watching, find a more famous actor to obsess over. You are not justified in your behavior. The thing is that you know this perfectly well, but you can't help wanting attention, like now. This was a thread about a Fringe episode and now it's about you. You suck.

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  15. Wow. Is it really that hard for some people to be unbiased and try to enjoy the show as a whole? When you have three main characters sometimes one will get more screen-time/focus than the other. Deal with it.

    I liked this episode better than the premiere. Great performances and character development. Next week looks really interesting.

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  16. oh, PLEASE, what about the previous week when anna torv fans began to bash joshua jackson (go to fringebloggers and seriable, the hate comments are still there) , but none of you complaint about it. BUT the minute somebody starts to defend joshua jackson, then it's "trolling".

    HYPOCRITES!!!!!!

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    1. i never saw any hateful comment about joshua in fringe bloggers or seriables

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  17. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? You kada be kiding me!!!!!!

    Just go back and READ it, you cant possible not see it. The hate comments are still there!!!!

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  18. You are trying too hard, Pacey Poof fans.

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    1. and you are NOT, mary sue fan

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    2. please! Don't act like you don't know who am talking about.

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  19. You know what, I am done with fringe. If at the end of all of this. Olivia is the ONLY one doing stuff, i will not be sad when this crappy show is off the air. I am sick of watching josh be this insignificant character just because that bitch aka Olivia is the damn hero. Screw that. I'd take iron man over this blonde slut.

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    1. Let's see how long you stick with that.

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