Fringe Season 4

I was really excited about this season going in.  The last season, although disappointing in parts, ended on a pretty high note.  The entire season was about how to use Peter to fix two worlds because he is the only one of the two worlds.  Once they got there (with a few rough patches of Fauxlivia having a baby, William Bell inhabiting Olivia’s body via a soul magnet, and an entire episode set 20 years from now), it got pretty interesting toward the end; that is, Season 3 started off uninteresting (where it also seemed like the writers didn’t much care about the audience or our intelligence) and ended with me wanting more.  Season 4 is the exact opposite.

At the end of Season 3, Peter fixes the two worlds via a bridge that Walter made.  The instant that’s done, he disappears from the earth.  The next shot is a field full of Observers watching the event as if it’s the most important in history.  One comments that Peter “never existed”.  Fringe has commented on paradoxes before, so I was intrigued with where they were taking this.  How could Peter fixing things invalidate his existence?  How does fixing a whole in the universe caused by his father 25 years earlier in an attempt to save him make Peter simply vanish?

At the beginning of Season 4, as expected, no one remembers Peter.  Walter is a little different (slightly different hair, for some reason), Olivia is a little different (a little more tan, for some reason).  They talk about how they both feel some sort of emptiness that they can’t describe and suddenly this Peter-like apparition appears.  Does this mean the machine turned Peter to a different wavelength?  Does this mean he exists but cannot be seen?  Is he invisible?

Eventually the apparition becomes a reality and everyone is dumbstruck when Peter seems to know so much about their lives and the Fringe cases.  It’s explained that, for some reason, our Peter died 25 years ago instead of being saved by an Observer. Has Peter stumbled into a third universe?  Is he in a different timeline?  Do Observers not exist here?  Has using the machine negated their existence, and in turn, negated his own?

As the season progresses more and more of these questions pop into my head, but only one really matters: How does Peter get back to where he’s from?  A little over half-way through I find my answer: he doesn’t.  Olivia magically remembers her old life so now she and Peter can get it on.  And I guess that’s supposed to be good enough for the audience.

Here’s the thing, writers: your choice to reset things INVALIDATED THE ENTIRE FUCKING SERIES!  The last three years were spent getting to know everyone and learning about their pasts and watching Peter get over the resentment of his father and watching Walter become normal after the horrific stay at the mental institution and watching Olivia open up to everyone while simultaneously getting over the death of her partner and participating in this weird new “Fringe Team”… it’s all gone.  GONE!  We have to start from scratch.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why it was done. Fringe started off with a lot of cool ideas while trying their best to mimic The X-Files (for proof, watch the “bonus episode” in Season 2 – direct ripoff); that is, a lot of set-up without any real resolution.  We had the elusive William Bell – is he a good guy or not?  Oop!  He died.  We had Robert David Jones – why is he doing such awful things?  Oop!  He died.  We had a lot of mutation episodes – why are there so many new invasive species?  Oop!  They stopped.  Olivia was doused with Cortexiphan – what kind of “untapped potential” are we talking about?  She can teleport… and other stuff.

Now, with a reset, we can be decisive.  William Bell is a bad guy – a deranged version of Walter.  Robert David Jones is a lackey, but he works for Bell.  The many mutations is because of Bell’s master plan.  Olivia gets apparently every superpower ever with Cortexiphan.  We even get to know that Nina Sharp is a good guy now because she raised Olivia from an early age.

But I don’t want any of that.  I just that feeling I got in Season 2 where I said, “This is really starting to come together” or the feeling I got in Season 3 where I said, “Where can they possibly go with this?”  Instead what I got was a feeling where I said, “This is the solution?!  Peter doesn’t get back to anything because there’s nothing to go back to.”

I am not looking forward to Season 5.


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