I don’t have time to do a full-blown, in-depth review of Fringe this week, so I’ll offer some brief thoughts about this week’s fun but nonsensical episode after the jump.
“Nothing as It Seems” saw the new timeline’s Fringe division examining a similar case to that of Season 1’s “The Transformation,” with a man named Marshall Bowman turning into a ferocious beast, wreaking havoc, and then dying. It was a gimmicky setup, and for the fist ten minutes of the episode, this proved to be a hindrance. (The fact that Bowman happened to be on the same flight, speaking the exact same dialogue to the exact same people, just four years later in this timeline, kind of ruined my suspension of disbelief.) Not helping matters was the case itself, which was turning out to be more boring and pedestrian than the average Fringe case, and Olivia being told she had take a forced vacation. (Of course she was going to end up working with the team again before the episode’s end.)
For some weird reason, Fringe decided not to deal at all with how Peter and Olivia felt about being back together. (If their love was strong enough to erase Amberlivia from existence, you’d think it would be deserving of a little more focus.) Instead, we got a weird scene about Lincoln’s crush on Amberlivia, which was necessary but difficult to care about, seeing as Lincoln has all the personality of a lampshade. Winston on New Girl gets shat on for not having a personality (which misstates the problem, in my opinion, but that’s for a future entry); however, I can’t name a single salient personality trait of Lincoln Lee. He’s not even a cipher. He’s just there. He merely exists. I can’t care about this guy if the show doesn’t give me anything to care about, so making him the voice of the people who miss Amberlivia, instead of, say, Astrid or Nina, was a mistake.
But things got much better once Lincoln became infected. He might not have a personality, but at least he was a lot of fun bouncing dialogue off Walter. The case made itself more interesting as well by just becoming completely batshit insane, giving the porcupine-beast wings so that he could fly around the city undetected. Then, it was revealed that Bowman was a member of a mysterious cult, led by David Robert Jones, that was turning itself an army of sentient super-animals. (A television rule of thumb: cults make everything better.) Sure, it was total nonsense, and this point, Fringe is practically verging on self-parody by not giving the audience a fucking clue what Jones is trying to do. But at least it was a lot of fun.
So Fringe doesn’t make any sense anymore, but I’m at the point where I honestly don’t care. As long as I’m having fun, it doesn’t matter whether the show is legitimately great or sort of a guilty pleasure. Yes, I’m frustrated with Amberlivia being brushed aside in favour of Oldlivia, and as far as I’m concerned, both Olivia and Peter need to get back home now, to their timeline. But if they’re going to stay in this timeline to fight an army of killer human-tarantulas instead, then break out the popcorn, I say.