Devin’s Thoughts On Fringe Season 4
If there’s one thing I’d say about this season of Fringe is that it takes risks. They aren’t afraid to throw away character and plot development that has been building for seasons. They aren’t afraid to change the focus of the show. Now these changes aren’t necessarily good. I’ll break down my thoughts, and let you know when spoilers enter into the picture.
The show has a rough start, it’s never bad but it’s hard to get into it. This is because since Peter never existed in this timeline a lot of things are back to the way they were way back in season 1. Olivia’s cold, and Walter is scared to leave his lab. Lincoln is added for a male lead to fill in for Peter, and his role adapts as the series goes on. His addition is a good one; he fits in nicely and is played quite differently from his alternate universe version. The alternate universe people are no longer the enemies we knew in Season 3 for that matter. The two worlds are now working together to rebuild.
Like I said the season gets off to a slow start with mainly monster of the week style episodes for the first few. Then Peter comes back as we all knew he would, except no one remembers him. Once this happens the show is able to refocus as we investigate where he came from, and attacks from a new(old?) villain.
Best Acting Yet
Season 4 showcases the best acting these actors have done throughout the whole series. They are really in-tune with their characters at this point and it just works. Anna Torv in particular acts her two persona’s very well and very believably different. I think they use all the characters this season better than ever before as well. Broyles gets a story arc in the alternate universe while still being very predictable and boring in the main universe. Astrid gets a bigger role, and actually gets some of the best moments in the season. Nina’s role is given a needed refresh by having her be Olivia’s adopted mother in this Peter-less reality. All of the changes in roles and backgrounds are their to create more opportunity for good conflict and drama, but at the same time it’s hard to adjust to such an abrupt change.
Judging from the beginning of the season I would have thought Season 4 a good jumping on point for people who haven’t seen Fringe before seeing as how everything old is new again, but as the season develops I learned I could not be more wrong. If you aren’t feeling the beginning of the season, I implore you to keep watching – it gets quite good. Spoilers ahead.
Science was never really all that important to Fringe but Season 4 just kind of throws out trying to explain a lot of things by just saying “Cortexifan did it!”. This is fine, I’m all for what makes it a better show and after Peter comes back Fringe kicks back into full swing. David Robert Jones(one of the good parts of Season 1) is back as the big bad and he does a fine job of being scary and enigmatic.
This season does an awesome job of tying almost everything together by the finale. So we can talk about the last few episodes and get at the whole season. The flash-forward episode following the guy who played Desmond in Lost is a great episode(and the basis for season 5) but it’s placement is really odd. That is it’s right before the finale. It’s sort of throwing away a bunch of buildup in my opinion, and I think it would have worked better as a surprise last episode. If it weren’t for a few lines of dialogue it would have almost no connection to rest of the season. But then again those lines of dialogue do peek your interest. If that episode is like what we can expect in Season 5 then I’m very exited however I hope they can bring the alternate universe into the mix as well.
The finale itself starts out painfully slow. Right after they close the gate, thus separating the two universes(for good?) they think they have beaten Jones. So the first 2o minutes of the finale are just played like a regular episode of Fringe. Then Olivia’s powers start going all Superhero, and we learn that Bell is behind everything. It’s strange because I’m not crazy about Nemoy’s performance, but at the same time Bell is a great villain, and we get to learn about the loose thread of what Walter had cut from his head way back from season 2.
Olivia gaining her powers is great because we as the audience have been waiting to see more of her powers since half-way through season 1! And they found a way of showing off her powers while keeping it contained in a few episodes.
I’m slightly disappointed that Astrid didn’t die in the finale, because that would have really made me hate Bell. Instead they just went for the shock of her being shot. Still a great moment for Astrid, but not as good as it could have been.
That said I’m really looking forward to what they do in season 5 with character death because it is their last season. I’m expecting a grand showing. We only have to wait a few more months to see if they go that direction, or if the Alternates come back for season 5. No matter what they do, the grand finale should be amazing if season 4 is any indication as the Fringe writers know how to build a story that wraps ever so nicely.