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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

TV Show: Fringe

Image: Fanpop wallpapers

Spoilers Galore. Bewaar.

So, I finished watching Fringe last week. Finally, is the word of the week. Two Tuesdays ago, I had only just started watching series two, so to say that I CONSUMED this five-series show, with me not much liking TV, would be... well, I suppose somewhat accurate.

I remember years ago when my Mum and sister were hooked on it and telling me to watch it, and my response was 'meh'. And now I've watched it in my own time and of my own free will, I'm even happier that I did wait for a time I could appreciate it best. One thing in particular is that it wasn't as predictable as many other sci-fi shows I have seen. It has been compared to the X-Files and in all honestly, I watched that when I was a kid and can't remember much about it.

Fringe tells a tale that stretches so far that looking back is really just unbelieveable. There's one quote in particular that I like, I can't remember who by, but the essence was that you get to season 3 or 4 and a new character comes in, and their bewilderment and incredulous remarks reminds you just how far the rabbit hole you've gone. That was a great quote because you reach a point where a character will make serious suggestion about travelling to the alternate universe and that doesn't even strike you as odd, let alone CRAZY.

The aftermath of it is that I spend a lot of time thinking about what we consider to be real and also what we consider to be acceptable. To say a lot of people die is a understatement in a big way. Some methods and reasonings used aren't that far away from what you might see in CSI, which is a bit creepy. I'd be lying if I said it hadn't made me a bit paranoid of the people around me, glancing around suspiciously on the train with shifty eyes.

The series takes you on such a ride that it is easy to find those unanswered questions from season one slipping away from you - unless they suddenly remind you of it in season 4, that is. I thought they were never going to bring back the light box, or the cylinder, or David Robert Jones, actually, and when they did I was actually cheering and whooping at my computer screen (Fringe was courtesy of Netflix, by the way). There were bits that made me cringe, that made me feel on edge, bits that made me burst out laughing too, thank you John Noble.

I must say though, the sense of loss is so immense, particularly at the start of season 4, when you know that everything's going to be alright - and yet, the history from season's 1 to 3 has been entirely erased, only to be remembered by Peter and Olivia. And then again at the start of season 5, when the Observers have taken over the world... not a comforting thought.

Anywhoo, I could do a series by series breakdown but I'll just do a list of Favourites. :)


Favourite character: Olivia Dunham. It just had to be. And alternate universes was a sly way to show us how diversified Anna Torv's acting skills are. The William-Bell-possession should have made me cringe, but actually I quite liked it. Awesomeness.
---> I must also say though - Sam Weiss, Charlie Francis, Lincoln Lee (and Nina Sharp in Season 5), I ADORED. It was nice to see so many strong male characters. Usually I side with the females in a sci-fi because the males are often stereotypical and boring. Many characters had their highlights, especially the main team, but I liked a lot of the side characters in Fringe.

Favourite antagonists: DAVID ROBERT JONES, I love this guy! I was thinking in Season 3 - I would've loved to see more of that guy. And then it got to Season 4 and we did. David Robert Jones has an impressive intellect made creepier by his unwavering calm and patronising smile. The only part for me when the mysticism began to fade was discovering that he did all of this just to prove himself to William Bell. Not for some hard-to-understand higher purpose, or a quest for power, but to say I Told You So to a father-figure. I dunno about you, but that kinda killed it for me. Emphasis on kinda.

Favourite Series: This is quite difficult. I want to say Season 2, because the revelations about Peter seriously gripped me. But ultimately I must say Season 3, because the alternate universes was done so well. Despite that the risk of upping the ball game could bring the delicate balance of the series crashing down, Fringe pulled it off. Having seen it all, I can quite confidently say - it always does. And let me make it clear that I was VERY DOUBTFUL about Season 5. But somehow, Fringe did it again.

Favourite Episode(s): 'A New Day In the Old Town', first episode of season two. I was just getting into to the swing of the series and that was was so dynamic with so much going on. I loved the addition of the shapeshifters, how for some unknown reason Olivia was reduced to a paranoid, frenzied state, even the new agent introduced, even though I was wary of Agent Jessup at first. I was soooo angry that Charlie died, he was such an awesome character, and his alternate. I really liked Lincoln Lee too, though he had a cheat head start because the first time I saw him I mistook him for Alternate Nick Lane. Don't ask me how, I kind of scratch my head embarrassedly at that.
---> I also loved the episode 'Peter', mainly for its answers and revelations but also for it's INCREDIBLE speech between Walter and his lab assistant, that was repeated in 'Black Blotter' of Season 5. It was a truly a phenomenal scene, so emotive and powerful and, at that point and time in the series, incredibly significant. The crazy '19th' episodes were an entertaining break from the norm, they don't fall into my favourite list though.

Favourite Object: There's two. Cylinder thingy that is allegedly the 'beacon' that helped September find his way back to the timeline... but more than that, the light box. That light box fascinated me from the moment it was introduced the first time. The main reason for that it, Jones said the light box was the First Test, so somehow I assumed that there would be a series of them, increasingly difficult in solvability (LOL. Is that a word?), but it just turned out that it was the prep before the Life-Or-Death scenario that was the bomb. After that, I was thinking about that light box for ages. In series 3, I made a hopeful prediction that maybe the interface of Walter's Weapon was like the light box, so Olivia could turn it off/on with her mind. As it turned out, it wasn't that far a throw because she had to end up doing something of the sort to get Peter inside. Later on, the adjusted timeline DRJo brought it back and I was like 'YAY!' only... y'know. It wasn't revolutionary. [sigh] Oh well.

Favourite 'Over Here' and 'Over There' Doppelganger Interaction: Astrid and Alternastrid, that was priceless.

Favourite Cortexiphan Ability: In all honesty, Olivia's, even though to this day it is not clear what that is. When it got to Season 4 and she started being able to possess peoples bodies, I kinda threw my hands up, swore at the screen and lost faith in the whole thing. I loved cortexiphan when it was hard to control, logical when used but otherwise a mystery. But then I felt like it was used to explain away some pretty unbelievable shit. I mean it's Fringe, so I'll take it. But honestly. I just don't even know. Come Season 5, I was thinking - if this cortexifan ever comes back... GAH. (By the way, it did. Second to last episode of season 5. I was just... urgh. SO disappointed.)

Favourite WTF?!: The episode Jacksonville (Season 2) when the two dimensions began to overlap. Of all of the Fringe events, that one had me reeling for pretty much the entire episode. And if I may, I would also like to include the episode Earthling (Season 2) where people turn to dust via being shadow-alien possessed (sigh) and the first generation of shapeshifters, because that was pretty messed up. The second gen are boring tho.

Favourite Twist: Season 5, finding out that September is Donald! That was like WOOO!!

Favourite Cliffhanger: The episode (end of Season 3) when Peter was erased, because for the love of me, I just couldn't figure out how that dimension could still exist at all without him. They made it work though. That's second. The very first, the one that made me scream aloud at my computer with shock, was the end of series 2, realising that the Over Here Olivia was trapped in the alternate universe.

And I must say, the final final episode (S05E13) when they storm the Observers HQ was truly something to admire. So many familiar Fringe events, all under one roof. And that lasting image, the White Tulip, pheww. It was so subtle, I couldn't hardly believe that was how the show was going to end. But then I guess, like Walter's disappearance for the rest of the team, it doesn't really hit you until later.

Ashana Lian .

P.S. I have been slacking with this blog. In all honestly, going into all the reasons is a bit painful at the moment, so let's just say it is a chapter passed. My health is improving, so that is something. Also, the Summer Fantasy Challange has started! I'm reading 'Tigana'.

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