28 April, 2012

Review - FRINGE 4.20: 'Worlds Apart'

Both teams fight for the same cause; shocking developments related to the Cortexiphan children arise.

Following last week's awesome episode, this one was bound to not feel as epic or good. And it didn't disappoint.

And by that I mean, it did disappoint because it couldn't possibly live up to the sudden rise in expectation. It is funny how these things work out. Three weeks ago, I would have been thrilled with an episode like 'Worlds Apart' but then 'Letters of Transit' had to come along and spoil the whole bunch.

Kind of like how 'The Empire Strikes Back' ruined Star Wars by being so good --all the other movies seem lame when compared to it.

That's not to say this latest episode was bad. In fact, I liked a majority of it. It wasn't too obvious, or too heavy handed (that's not to say it wasn't obvious or heavy handed). I wasn't screaming at the TV for most of it, cursing the writers for treating its audience like half-witted monkeys. Instead, I simply felt a twinge of interest about where things were going, and suddenly thankful that FOX just renewed the show for a 5th and final season.

Oh yeah, that happened this week. Thank Warner Brothers kids, because apparently they gave away the licensing rights for 13 more episodes for so cheap, that FOX couldn't say no. Though no announcement has been made about the schedule, I wouldn't be surprised to see them burn the show off from September to January, much like what NBC did with the 13 episode fifth and final season of CHUCK. Though, if we are fortunate, the FRINGE writers won't tell their best story arc in seven episodes and then limp home in the final six.

But I digress.

So what happened? To put it simply, in the pursuit of Jones and his dastardly plan to destroy a universe or two, the gang discovers that the evil doctor has been using those super powered kiddies from Walter's old X-Men school of Cortexiphan to cause earthquakes to create ripple effects in the fabric of time and blahblahblahblah. The team ends up capturing one of these agents of evil, who then tells Olivia that Jones has convinced the Cortexiphan kids to fight to save this universe because the other side is gearing up for a war. Olivia seemingly convinces him that Jones has been lying but stupidly allows him to trick the team and escape. Come on...

In the end, the decision is made to shut off The Machine to cut the ties between the two worlds and save everyone.

Lincoln, the pussy left standing, decides to go with the alternate universe people since he now feels closer kinship to them (good riddance). And despite Walter's fears, Peter doesn't go all Pacey Poof on him again.

Could I have written more about the plot? Sure. But why bother when this was clearly just a setup for the final two episodes. Now we will see how much of an effect shutting off The Machine will have on Jones' plans. And how their most recent actions somehow leads to the world we saw in last week's episode. Unless, of course, we never see that (which I doubt).

Broyles: So I'll ask what we're all thinking. If this is indeed how Jones intends to collapse our universes, how many more quakes will it take to make that happen?
Walter: Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't already.
Pacey Poof: *gulp*

If I had to rate this episode, and I don't, I'd give it:

78 out of 100

It wasn't terrible. I actually liked some of it. But following what was clearly a far superior episode, and for being nothing more than an interesting setup, this one earns its lower score. And I think it is one of those episodes where it seems more interesting while watching than it does once you are done with it. Though, and I didn't mention this in the main part of this review, John Noble always impresses me with his ability to create such totally distinct characters in the same scene, that I never think of them as the same actor while in-scene.

I doubt this is the last we will see of the alternate universe. But if it is, then this show officially sucks!


  1. After reading a couple of fanboy reviews I'm happy to see yours because you don't kiss ass. Its like the only people other than you still writing reviews for this show are all trying to get in good with the showrunners. I loved last weeks but this one was totally obious and boring.

  2. Read another review that gave it a 5 out of 5. Made me think, if that was a 5 out of 5 what was last week's? 10 out of 5?

    1. If everything is awesome, then nothing is...

  3. My reaction at the end of the episode was: wow, that was boring! It wasn't bad, but it had very few remarkable things to enjoy.

    I'm not going to pretend I'll miss the alternate universe, I mean, Lincoln is staying over there now, that deducts cool points automatically and as much as I liked Altstrid and Walternate, the latter didn't have much to do this season. Add to that AltBroyles in jail. Good riddance! If S5 is going to take place in the future, the alterverse would be fat litter.

    For all the praise Olivia Dunham gets from Walter, the cortexiphan kids, Broyles and basically half the world, she is dumber than a box of rocks. Even if she didn't have her memories from a previous timeline, how on earth could she leave him alone, when a few minutes ago he explained, how his sister died.

    Rainbows? Really? I get it, they didn't count on a S5 and they thought they'd give as many happy endings as they could, but they should lay down the cheese and step away as quickly as possible.

    The highlight was the W/W scene, it was a showcase for John Noble, but... emotionally, it didn't affect me, as it would have if they had worked on it to this point, from that moment right before the reset. It could have been so much more! They should also have had more scenes together this season, IMO.

  4. Did anyone really think that the writers would have the balls to kill off or disappear Peter again? I mean that thought never even occured to me when they were deliberating to turn off the machine. So Lincoln decides to stay behind! They did not exactly put a lot of nuance and good character motivation for him to do this just a couple of heavy handed moments and episodes and bobs your uncle he decides to go!

    The best things about a villian is really understanding their motivations, their convictions, their thought processes. Why does Jones want to collapse the universes, why does Jones want to create a noah's arc type universe? What exactly happened with Bell? Why follow or manipulate ZFT and not another manifesto? What makes him a meglomaniac?

    I will say this about Shaw from Chuck a least they threw in a couple of images of his wife to show that he was pissed the CIA fucked him up the ass and it kind of made sense because the way agencies work it is something they would do. Jones makes no sense and so when they defeat him there will be no satisfaction, he is just a cartoon villain in the end.

    That is the thing about tv villains, you know that the good guys will win but knowing the villain inside and out and maybe sympathising with them or not makes the drama all the more compelling. Fringe is too fucking lazy.

    Where do all these character arcs take us? Every character has been up and fucking down all season and series. A story starts and then they abandon that progress for a shitty plot. A Peter season? Like fuck! He was barely in it, I have a feeling that Josh Jackson has checked out mentally and physically this season. It is like he has struck a deal to do less work and go off and make movies in return he will get money for every episode and not bad mouth that he has no fucking story lines and promote the show to the nines when he gets the chance. I mean his character has been fucked badly...just terrible.

    Well I could go on and on about how this show sets stuff up and never pays off and is a failure but anyone with half a brain knows that so whatever.

    1. For all the shit "fans" flung at Shaw/Routh, he ended up being the best, most believable true villain on the show BECAUSE we believed his motivations.

      Jones is just a background villain at this point. Maybe they will save it in the final two episodes... and maybe season 5 will be killer...

    2. If the writers had just set aside the love interest bullshit then Shaw would have been more effective, bit I digress.

    3. wait...that sounded like a crazy shipper jab! What I meant is if they just concentrated on the love and dedication Shaw had for his wife and his job in serving his country than the story would have been more potent. Here was a man who by variations was similar to Chuck but not if you know what I mean. He was kind of geeky and he was in a relationship with a woman who shared the same interests and job and that should have been the focus. Chuck could have been him, it was a lesson for chuck to learn..what could go wrong if you choose to be in this job and be in love with someone who did the same dangerous job.

      As Jess said in your American Hero podcast they ruined Shaw by forgetting just exactly what made him a sympathetic villian in the first place, Shaw did nothing wrong and he did not deserve the bullshit the CIA handed him. But all crazy ass fans could see is that he touched or kissed Sarah..whoooo! lol. Fedak and Schwartz can be fucking numpties at the best of times they really can.

    4. I think part of the problem is the 'formula' network shows have to abide by. A network will let a show have serialised episodes at the begining, either side of a break in the season and at the end of the season. In between every episode has to be procedural, there must be a villian in every episode and so every episode has a begining, middle and end where the villian is taken down. The problem with that structure is that all the character work has to be jammed in and around those elements and therefore a lack of nuance creeps in. I mean 3.01 of Chuck desperately needed Chuck and Sarah to spend 42 minutes discussing what they were going to do since they had spent 3 years in love and not being able to do anything about it. Giving that only like 2 minutes out of the 42 just smacked of lack of due care and attention. The same goes for Fringe, shitty on the nose dialgue and stuff like that does not help the overall story and comes off as half assed. It makes a show look like they do not know what the fuck they are doing and it comes off as they do not care about fans and the investment fans put into a show. This is Network problem (broadcast problem) that Fox, NBC, ABC and CBS need to look into desperately. Otherewise fans will just not invest in the storylines if character comes second to plot. It is hard to blame fans when there is clearly this huge problems that cable dramas have fixed.

  5. anna torv , the meryl streep of tv.

    all the awards, PLEASE

    1. Oh thank goodness. I thought I was the only fan who wasn't gaga over Torv. I mean, I like her, but she doesn't "make" the show for me. Walter and Peter. That's where it's at.

  6. anna torv overrated??

    the ONLY one who we will hear of after fringe is done, take it from me.

    it looks like she is going to be af famous as nicole kidman and naomi watts (also fram australia).

    and why do you think she is overrated?

    1. Take it from you? WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?

      Anna Torv is the fifth best actor on that show. Right after corpse #7.

    2. An actor or actress has usually broken into Hollywood in their very early 20's like Jenefer Lawrence, not mid 20's or in Ann's case early 30's. Jenefer Lawrence will be the next Streep or Foster or Winslet not Torv. I think HGF has said this before on this or his old blog (Chuckgasmic.com), Actresses normally have a smaller window than actors for some reason.

    3. whatever, will see.

      anna torv has signed a 2-picture deal with fox. so, she is already a step ahead from her cast -members.

      anna torv IS the best actress of our generation.

      BUT having said that, i know that anna is starting to look old. so she doesnt have a lot of time anymore to start a career.

      joshua jackson on the other hand, whose acting i'm no so fond of, still has that boyish look on him.
      he looks very young. he is without any doubt a very, handsome man, that's for sure.

    4. If Anna Torv is the best actress of our generation, we are screwed.

    5. As I wrote in my first ever review of FRINGE (covering seasons 1-3), I think Anna Torv is a capable actor who, when given the right material, can be great.

      But also, watching her this season, I realize that she isn't like some great actors who can rise above the material. She's limited. And season 1 especially shows this.

      Of the Australian actors, she's not going to be the most successful. Yvonne Strahovski doesn't even need to try to be more successful. She will get parts handed to her left and right... AND SHE'S YOUNGER, which is what matters most in this town.

    6. As for Torv getting a 2-picture deal with FOX... of course she did. Because her uncle OWNS THE COMPANY.

  7. While we're being brutally honest... LETTERS OF TRANSIT was NOT THAT GREAT OF AN EPISODE!

    Don't get me wrong, it was fantastic and game-changing and I'm really looking forward to next season and 2036 now. BUT... it was not a great Fringe episode in and of itself. Like the overrated ENTRADA, people are confusing game-changeyness with actual grade-A quality. There wasn't much to LETTERS OF TRANSIT besides Agent Obvious (Etta being Peter and Olivia's daughter was predictable the minute she appeared on screen) and Desmond, with 30 minutes of Walter acting like a retard (didn't enjoy that) until he got his brain infusion which turned him into Pricky Walter (much more enjoyable).

    Important, game-changing episode. NOT a great one. But it didn't have to be. Game-changing is enough.

    On to this week's, which started very slowly and blah but then became quite meaningful and intense. So, Geekfurious, I love how you tell it like it is, but you're off base on slamming this one so hard. It wasn't a disappointment. It was yet another high quality Fringe episode.

    1. It was "that great of an episode" when compared to most of this season.

      We're not confused.

      And how am I slamming this one? I gave it a 78. They can't all be A's or B's. At least I didn't give it a 68. I just thought about it overnight and accepted that it didn't do anything that affected me much. I'm not still thinking about it. And that deserves a C+ grade.

  8. This was clearly a set-up episode, but I wasn't overly disappointed by it. It was pretty obvious from minute one that they would wind up shutting The Machine off and severing the bridge between universes, but they managed to make things interesting enough. Also, they made up for it with some good character moments. The scenes between the Olivias and the Walters pretty much made the episode worth it. And I'm definitely intrigued to see where things are headed. I am confused though about the future we saw last week- do we know for sure that's where things will end up? I thought the crew stopping Jones's plan was part of preventing that future from happening? Did I miss a step? Or were the Observers going to take over no matter what?

  9. Bottle episode, so they have obviously saved money for the finale.

    1. Bottle episodes exist mostly in one space. This one had several spaces.

  10. All I can say is that these final two episodes this season better clear up some shit I'm having trouble grasping.

    Who the fuck is the bad guy in this story?! Is it DRJ? Is it the Observers? Are they connected somehow?

    What are Jones' motivations? Why did it take 20 fucking episodes to get to this point?

    Will Fauxlivia get to see rainbows?! Will Lincoln make Fauxlivia see rainbows or will he pussy out?

    Are Pinkner and Wyman taking too much of Walter's LSD and completely lost as to what they're doing?

    These are questions I need answered!

    1. "Will Fauxlivia get to see rainbows?!"

      Funniest thing I've read all day.

  11. I liked the follow up with "will Lincoln make fauxLivia see rainbows?" Will he?! Doubtful. Alt-Lincoln could have though. How could he be so much sexier than our bland Lincoln?

    No alt-Lincoln. No alt-Charlie. Done with the other universe.