‘Fringe’ – ‘Over There: Part 2’: Pure energy!

Senior Television Writer
05.21.10 39 Comments


There have been questions lately about why I stopped reviewing “Fringe,” and I thought I’d take the occasion of the season finale to go into more detail about that – and to discuss the episode briefly, and of course provide you guys with an opportunity to do so. All those thoughts coming up just as soon as I pick a new place to hide my key…

So here, in a nutshell, is what happened with me and “Fringe”: because of the Thursday schedule pile-up (and then the amount of time spent on Fridays reviewing what I’d watched the night before), I often found myself getting to “Fringe” days late. Also I found that I had little to say about the episodes that would be worth doing a review the Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday after it had first aired – and I had little to say because the show wasn’t doing a whole lot for me.

Even these post-hiatus episodes where the producers have very clearly responded to fan criticism – spending more time on the coming war with Earth-2, and on Walter/Peter emotional stories, than on uninspired Monster of the Week shows – have not, frankly, engaged me on the level they have many of you. I recognize all of the things that “Fringe” does well (specifically, standing back and letting John Noble act), as well as the things it’s done better of late, but I don’t find myself invested in these characters, their stories, or this world (or these worlds, rather).

It happens sometimes. You can have two shows that, if an objective measurement could somehow be made, would come out rated the same in quality, and one hits me in the sweet spot and one doesn’t. I respect what “Fringe” is doing but don’t much care about it, and I doubt I’ll be writing about it much (or at all) next year.

Still, I was glad to finally get some quality Walter/William Bell time before Leonard Nimoy retired from acting, and the scene with Olivia and alt-Charlie in the car did a nice job of humanizing the Earth-2 characters. Last week’s episode made the fight seem far too unbalanced in their favor in terms of their tech and knowledge, but here we see how much worse the fringe events have hit their side than ours, and that they’re at least as scared of us as we are of them. The inevitable Olivia-on-Olivia fight lived up to expectations, and as Anna Torv seems to be having more fun playing alt-Olivia, I like the set-up for next season with her impersonating our Olivia while the “real” one is trapped in the dark by Walternate.

So enough of me being grouchy. What did everybody else think?

Props to a commenter in Ryan McGee’s more thorough recap for the subject line. If you’re not as old as myself or Jared, listen to this song.

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