The Return of Fringe

(Spoiler alert)

Last night saw the return of Fringe for its fifth and final season.  On first impressions it’s going out with a whimper instead of a bang.  When we last saw our intrepid Fringe team they were battling David Robert Jones and trying to prevent the destruction of two universes ours and the alternate one.  The big reveal was that William Bell was the mastermind behind the drive to create a new world populated with new species.

Instead of picking up the thread of this plot,Transilience Thought Unifier Model-11 throws us once again thrown into the future, 2036 to be exact. This dystopia world is controlled by the Observers and a small band of rebels are fighting for their freedom.  Olivia, Peter, Walter and Astrid have been encased in amber for decades and are now freed and helping the resistance movement in its fight. For unknown reasons, the Observers are destroying our world (paving over the earth and polluting the sky) and keeping the population under tight control.


This isn’t the show that I know and love it. One of the central elements of the first four seasons relates to science and morality. The tale of Walter, played by the always effective John Noble, has been a major the key piece of this lesson.  His love for his son Peter coupled with his intelligence and scientific curiosity brought two universes to the brink of war. The experiments of both Walter and Walternate and the repercussions on their lives, their loved ones and even strangers have been fascinating to watch.  We see both sides finally come to an understanding and work together to save themselves only to see the story jettison for a war out of no where.

Science Fiction fans are known for fanaticism and their adherence to cannon and the Sci Fi Maven is no exception.  Since its inception, the Observers have always been portrayed as a group that watches important events in history and limit their interaction with any given timeline.  We seen a few instances where September and August have broken protocol for their own motives whether it is to clean up a mistake they have made or to change a course of history out of love.  The other Observers have frown upon them stepping outside of traditional behavior.  Now, not only do we have a group of Observers who seek power and control but are willing to torture to get the ends that they seek. Maybe there is an interesting resolution to this story but it isn’t why I tune in every week.

I hope that TPTB do not waste the last few precious episodes on this storyline.

Top Women of Sci Fi – part 5 – UPDATED

Olive, you were always the strongest – Nick Lane

Olivia Dunham

I was hesitant to add Olivia Dunham to my list of Top 10 Women in Science Fiction because her story is incomplete with the addition of a final Season five but she is too compelling of a character to ignore.

When we first meet Dunham, she is an inter-agency liaison with the FBI investigating an horrific event that happened mid-air on a flight from Hamburg, Germany to the United States. During the course of the investigation her partner is gravely injured and she puts to get a team of eccentric people to save him and to aid the investigation: Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop and Agent Astrid Farnsworth aka Astro aka Aspirin.

The following exchanges with Peter in the pilot episode shows what a strong and resourceful person Agent Dunham can be.

Olivia: You heard of Flight 627
Peter: The Hamburg flight of course
Olivia: You may be able to help us with that
Peter: I think you got the wrong guy
Olivia: Your father is Walter Bishop
Peter: The last time someone asked me that it was an accusation
Olivia: He is the man who we are looking to speak with but do to his current status. You’re the only one that can provide us access
Peter: What possible help could that man be to you? And what exactly are you expecting me to do? Hop on a plane with you back to MA. I just here honey…
Olivia: …Your father maybe able to save someone who is dying. Someone I care about very much
Peter: Sweetheart, we all care about someone who is dying. I can’t help you. I’m sorry.
Olivia: I know why you are here. I have your file.
Peter: What file?
Olivia: The one the FBI would say doesn’t exist. And it has everything: where you’ve been; what you’re running from and what you need while your here. So, either you come with me or I let certain people know your whereabouts.
Peter: When do we leave?

Peter: What are you asking me to do? No, Guardian? No forgot it.
Olivia: He’ll do it
Peter: No I’ll will not.
Olivia: One phone call that’s it takes. Coz I got my phone in my pocket.
Olivia: Now it’s out of my pocket
Peter: You wanted my father – now you got my father which falls in the category be careful what you wish for. Sweetheart.

Peter: Tell what else tom the file say about yours truly? How bad was it.
Olivia: I’m not at liberty to discuss it.
Peter: why don’t you go ahead and liberate yourself because I’m here now and I kind of feel like I deserve the truth. Don’t you?
{long pause}
Peter: There is no file
Olivia: I needed you back here
Peter: That was what- you were bluffing
Olivia: I was desperate
Peter: I’m usually good and reading people that’s sorta what I do.
Olivia: I could see you were in trouble anyone could see that
Peter: I could have stay, I could have stayed in Iraq…

While these exchanges are simple in nature, the direct and passionate way in which Olivia delivers them gets her whatever she needs from information to personnel. Olivia has been shaped by her past experiences (her relationship with her family and being experiment on as a child, specifically) and it has prepare her to lead the Fringe team.

Over the course of four seasons, the team learns a lot about themselves and each other while they investigate unusual events. Standout episodes include: Inner Child, August, Northwest Passage, Peter, Worlds Apart,

With story arcs that span and entire season that dealt with patterns, human experiments, trying to understand the motivations of the Observers and dealing with mad geniuses, Fringe has been one of the best shows on TV. While the show has moved to a weak storyline that has Peter and Olivia destined to be together romantically, the ultimate plot is Olivia journey to find out who is she.

Fauxlivia gets an honorable mention. With the introduction of the alternate universe in season three, we get to meet Fauxlivia. Her load in life has been an easier one, quick with a smile and love for her job and colleagues, Ann Torv has create the polar opposite of Olivia.

To learn more about Fringe secrets






With the conclusion of Fringe, I felt the need to revisit one of my favorite characters.  The final season did a disservice to the once powerful women of the show.  Olivia, Astrid and Nina were all reduced to standing in the shadow and acting only to propel the relationship between Walter and Peter.   From being an active and intelligent FBI agent fighting to solve unusual cases and saving the world, Olivia was reduce to moping first over the death of her daughter and then over Peter’s quest to avenge her death.

The overarching theme of the show seemed to be should there be limits to the pursue of science.  In addition to Walter’s struggle to come to terms with the consequences of his research and actions, Olivia’s journey also seemed equally important to this theme. From being experimented on as a child by Walter and William Bell, to being kidnapped by Walternate and having her personality altered by drugs, Olivia has been the face of the ethically struggle of science. This season, she has been strangely passive.   We don’t get to see the original bad-ass Olivia until the penultimate episode.  The season suffered from her mis-use.

Boo on you show runners!

Fringe Rewatch

I’m in the middle of re-watching Fringe. I love all of the little tidbits that I am catching upon my second viewing. In the episode “The Road Not Taken” (air date May 5, 2009), Olivia and Peter are off to interview a conspiracy theorist, Emmanuel Grayson, regarding video of people spontaneously combusting. As he explains his theories of what going on, he mentions the upcoming invasion by a group of rogue Romulans bent on attacking the Federation. Nice shout out to the Star Trek movie released later that year.