Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm so confused!

OK, I've watched almost all the way to the end of Fringe, and I have to say that I suspect it may be one of those shows that everyone thinks is way more complicated than it is. BSG was like that too, there were so many little bits of the puzzle that all the fans meticulously recorded and endlessly debated, but in the end, it turned out the writers had no clew at all what they were doing. There was no plan.

I think that Season 4 of Fringe is going to turn out to be like that. Peter comes back from non-existence after the Observers decide that he has served his purpose and erase him from history. How does he come back? At the end of the Short Story About Love episode, September tells Peter it's because the people who loved him couldn't let him go... uhmmm... ok. I spose. But doesn't that mean that the whole "erased from time" thing wasn't actually true, because if he had actually been erased, if September had allowed him to drown in Reiden Lake in 1985 (and rescued Walter, but no one mentions that) then none of them would have any Peter to have loved and to whom their ... um... souls, I guess, cling. So their love, for someone they've never met, dragged him back from the oblivion of non-existence, or death, or something, even though they'd never known him. OK. I got it. If that's all there is to it, sure, I'll bite.

September tells Peter also that he has been "back" in his normal timeline/universe the whole time since swimming to the surface of Reiden Lake. This means that (as I had suspected) these weren't actually new people or a new universe or timeline at all, they were the same people in the same universe and same timeline, but just without having had Peter's influence. Like Mary never having got married and Harry never rescuing the crew of the aircraft carrier during the war because George Bailey had "never been born" after he met Clarence. So that's fine, I guess. And it's nice to see someone helping Walter get out of the lab now and then.

But they're starting to leave me behind now that Olivia is remembering things about her relationship with Peter, and her life as it was affected by him. (How Peter never having been there means that Rachel is still married to the awful whatsisface I don't quite get.) Now Olivia is remembering the other life and forgetting the stuff in her life-without-Peter, like having been raised by Nina Sharpe and about Rachel's second child. And the whole thing about the Cortexiphan trials being sort of muddled up now - after the show spent a year explaining it all... so people who have been watching this for three years must be annoyed. So, how is that happening? Is it Peter's pheromones or something that is making her forget her new existence and remember her old with-Peter existence?

I could buy that Peter popping back into reality would eventually (if not instantly) shift everyone back to the way it was, but then that would seem like a bit of a waste, dramatically. If that was all they were going to do, then why bother having Peter be "erased" to start with? Did they really hate the ratings that much? But if it was just Peter's re-existence making her switch naturally back to her old memories, then why isn't it happening to everyone? Why only Olivia? Why not Walter, who certainly loved Peter as much as she did, and for a lot longer?

Anyway, I think that if you haven't seen the show, my little puzzling over it will give you the idea. It's absolutely jammed with interesting stuff to make you think about. And they have a good time playing around with some good old fashioned sci-fi tropes, like time travel paradoxes and parallel universes. Some pretty imaginative stuff for their stand-alone episode ideas too. All very X-Filesey and fun. Plus, there's a cow. So that's good.

But now that I'm almost at the end, and people say that the series is going to be cancelled (a whole season doing the It's a Wonderful Life with Peter hasn't helped the fans stay loyal), I am wondering if I should just do the whole thing again, so I can figure out the plot, or just leave it. I don't trust TV writers ever since the ending of BSG. What if they haven't got a plan for this one either?

But at least now that I know to look for them, I can amuse myself by going through and finding all the foreshadowing, piecing together all the little hints and clews, spot all the places where the Observers are standing around in the background. Like all the other rabid fans are doing.

If only I had more time to waste!


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