Fringe Season 2 Promises a Great Show Yet It Doesn’t Always Deliver
The Second Season of Fringe opens up really smartly. It follows up the previous season’s finale directly while still not giving you all the answers about what happened due to that finale. The show felt immediately refreshed upon this episode after not being so keen on some of what the first season had to offer. The episode opens up a whole new range of possibilities and teases at even more. But that’s also a problem. I noticed that Mr. Abrams himself was a co-writer on this episode and while that was undoubtedly a good thing I also believe that since Abrams knew he wouldn’t have to clean up the “mess” he made he could just tease a whole bunch of weird crap that the writers would have to explain, or as the case rests just never mentioned again.
That’s OK. I mean they all but dropped anything to do with Olivia’s old boyfriend at the end of the first season. But I could see these things get out of hand really quickly if their not careful(I think their slipping in Season 3, but all the same I think it’s the best season yet). So after teasing the “other side” and then crossing over finally we learn what all this stuff is about…eventually.
I should mention that the show is more tightly paced, it’s been cut down to the standard 43ish minutes instead of the 53ish it was before. That’s good because the episodes could overstay their welcome before. There’s a reason that’s the standard. Plus they do more with their time this season. They devote at least some of every episode to developing the over all plot or characters or both.
The first half of the season feels like it’s being held back. Now I still think the quality is improved from the first season but their still sort of plugging in the same variables to make their crime episode. Clearly it works since every show has been doing it for more than 20 years but it hurts because you see in that first episode what this show is capable of. The series continues even placing in an un-aired episode from season 1(don’t watch it) that doesn’t even make sense in terms of the overall narrative.
So it’s a relief to know that the series turns it around after the mid-way point. From the episode Peter forward things are pretty great. Peter itself is an episode told entirely in flashback complete with a delightful retro intro that sheds light on pretty much everything you’ve been wanting to know about for the past 20 episodes. OK that’s a bit of an overstatement but it’s also very well acted and it’s completely separated from the formula that Fringe works so closely from.
Then there’s the season finally which introduces us to the other sides Fringe team. The two parter isn’t the best episode in the season but it does introduce all of the major pieces that will be moved around in season 3, and it has a cool cliffhanger. The implications of what the finale sets up are pretty awesome. Basically in two episodes Fringe goes from having lead cast to having 2 lead casts. And while it’s not entirely working out that way in season 3 it’s pretty close. If you think the other side is evil or immoral you gain a lot more sympathy for them as the show continues. I’m getting ahead of myself here, but I don’t want the two sides on this conflict to fight and if that’s not cool I don’t know what is. Plus this finale has perhaps my favorite line in the series, “Who the hell is Jackson!”. I don’t know why but I find that endlessly funny.
All in all the second season is a great improvement on a show that had potential if it wasn’t already there. The second season introduces more sci-fi into this more or less crime show with sci-fi twang and that’s awesome in my book.