TV Review: Fringe Season 3 Episode 22 ‘The day we died.’

 

Fringe comes to the end of its third season and despite the Cast’s Atlas like efforts to shoulder the increasing weight of the show’s mythology one can feel a strain. If anyone shrugs they’ll notice spoilers aplenty in what follows.

The perfunctionaries of plot are that Peter is thrown forward in time by the Doomsday Device where we see both the positive and negative consequences this has had for various characters. Some of these compressed plot arcs echo earlier seasons others take characters in whole new directions. For instance it was excellent to see Astrid as a field agent. Walter is a hairy prisoner wrestling with his own conscience… well we’ve been there before.

In the future we are treated to set of scenes which simultaneously push the envelope of the believable both in practical terms (blatant telekinesis) and emotional (poignancy scenes which may as well have someone with a gong following behind banging it saying BOING! ‘This is poignant – pay attention so you feel sad later.’ BOING!) The whole thing feels a little rushed almost as if the makers had expected another couple of episodes – which one could have been patient with had it not been for some week episodes after the mid-season break that could have been excised.

Which all sounds very negative but I did enjoy the episode – once again the performances make the show. Even with certain blatantly manipulative and sign posted scenes one felt for the characters and with this jaded old cynic that’s an acting achievement.

We end the season on a both a solution and a problem. The solution beggars belief but potentially can produce some great performances and some great character drama to look forward to. The problem is Peter’s future absence – which not only produces a paradox of head-scratching annoyance but in the vacuum left might make for a misbalanced show and a 4th Season that spends too much time trying to extradite itself from that narrative mess.  I hope not but this is my fear – I never got sucked into the Lost addiction sensing that satisfactory answers where never coming – Fringe  might have drawn me in with it’s veneer of science and the plausible, skilled and likeable cast & characters.

The Third Season overall started with almost sublime thrill of week episode and a dynamic driving sense of a well realised plot in the background. As is so often the case, the second half struggled with the burden of delivering on that earlier promise. I’ve still had a rich viewing experience but feel an unreasonable sense of trepidation over what the future holds…but I WILL be watching.

3.5 /5 stars

0 dry slaps

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