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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fringe Season 4 Premiere: Our Top 5 Favorite Things About Fringe’s Return

Author: Steve West

Season 4 of Fringe starts up in just a few days, and we have questions galore. With one of the biggest WTF endings in recent memory last season it stands to reason that the premiere would be packed with answers. Well, you’ll get no spoilers here (I would never do that to my fellow Fringe fans) but the truth is that there’s more to do than have everyone sit around asking where Peter went. After all, none of the characters even know that a Peter Bishop existed.

I can’t wait to share thoughts and theories with everyone after season 4 premieres this Friday, but for now I wanted to share my top 5 favorite things about Fringe’s first episode back. Don’t worry about spoilers, I have no plot spoilers in this story, but if you want to know absolutely nothing about the episode you should turn back now.

Without further ado, here are my 5 favorite non-plot spoiling things from “Neither Here Nor There.”

Observers as Greek Chorus
It’s fantastic how in a modern sci-fi show such an old method of exposition is utilized. And not in a throwaway, we have no better idea, kind of way. The Observers are integral to the plot; we’ve figured that out. The season 4 premiere has them acting as the audience’s anchor to Peter Bishop, and it’s a genius way to solve the problem of an absent Peter. Fringe is also aware that they need to be getting new viewers, and the Observer Chorus in the premiere is used to explain how the universe now works with the original timeline erased from existence.

Walter Without Peter Is Untethered
Sure we all love quirky Walter, with his love of candy. But there’s a genuine depth of emotion when it comes to the connection between Walter and his son Peter. Without Peter the genius scientist who is the brains behind Fringe division isn’t the same. The interesting thing is that it has nothing to do with controlling or calming Walter, a task that Astrid and Olivia prove to be quite capable of handling. A world without Peter is incomplete for Walter.

Lincoln Lee Steps Up To The Plate
New Fringe division team member Lincoln Lee steps in without a problem. With his geek chic Cillian Murphy inspired look and demeanor, the man is perfect for this show. He’s so good that even if we lost Peter forever, I think the series would survive. Lee is a geek through and through, he just happens to be an FBI geek. It’s a fantastic idea to bring him further into the fold, and the character is a wonderful bridge between the crazy fringe science and investigation aspects of the show.

Is This A Wonderful Life
The audience experiences Peter’s absence, but the other characters really don’t. Fringe is doing something wonderful by not having the erasure of Peter mean that the whole universe is changed. Everyone is still working at the job they had, and you have to truly watch to see the changes. It’s so subtle that the Observer Chorus mentioned above is required for anyone new to the show. No one is learning a lesson about what they mean to the world.

It’s A Monster A Week
Probably the most divisive thing about the premiere is that it’s a tried and true monster of the week episode. I’ll go no further than that, but it was a surprising choice that took guts by the creators. Especially considering how rabid we sci-fi fans can be.

Season 4 of Fringe premieres Friday, September 23rd at 9 PM ET.