Fringe, TV Review

TV Review: Fringe, Seasons 2: Hiatus Reflections of a Deprived Fan

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Fringe is a show so rich in content that the hiatus is a bonus of sorts. Yes it’ll be hard to tough it out before seeing what is going to happen (how is Peter going to find out that he is ‘glimmery’, and how will he react? Will Walter become more like his older self, and what part of the new and improved Walter will he retain?), but come on guys – it’s a great way to carry us through the rest of winter, by staying inside, rewatching the episodes from Season 1 & 2 and pounding away furiously at our keyboards as we exchange theories and reflections.

Geek nation, you make me proud.

Another great thing about the hiatus is that I finally have the time to explore the other various quality reviews and sites dedicated to the obsessive and fascinating deconstruction, analysis and theory-building of every Fringe episode there is. You think girls are bad when it comes to deconstructing fashion? You have never witnessed geek girls deconstructing episodes of their favourite TV shows after they have put together an awesome outfit.

I wonder how geek guys are handling this.

In any case, one specific thing I finally had the time to do was to watch The Fringe Report, which was not only fully enjoyable (especially the part where the boys were desperately trying to pronounce my name), but led me onto many more questions and theories of my own. If you are a Fringe fan, then The Fringe Report is definitely something you have to add to your weekly schedule.

And so I decided to kick off the first week of the Fringe hiatus with a post of random and not so random Fringe related posts. For those of you who watched last week’s episode of The Fringe Report, you will notice that many of the thoughts posted below are directly inspired by some of the reflections that were shared by the boys. And, knowing them, they are going to take these and push them further in future posts and broadcasts.

Ouh, the thrill of geek talk.

I’m also planning on re-watching all the mythology related episodes from this season and season 1 in hopes of zeroing on more clues. And – I am being really optimistic here – I’d love to do a more in-depth Fringe vs The X-Files comparison (if I convince my friend Flo to help me out with this one) just because I love the latter and will take any excuse to talk about it.

Never get in the way of a geek girl on a mission.

Topic 1: Peter 2.0

There are a lot of questions about how Peter 2.0 was brought over and what happened to re-establish the balance between the two universes, especially after the rather violent way balance was established during the last episode.

Here are some thoughts: since Peter 2.0 was brought over in particular conditions, i.e. when a) Walter was distraught over Peter 1.0’s death, and therefore not thinking straight, and b) when Walter was still his old, arrogant self, I’m thinking that the most probable and logical thing that happened is that, well, Walter just brought Peter 2.0 over and didn’t quite care how balance was reestablished. And so, Olivia and Peter will run a research and will discover that, around the same time Little Peter 2.0 was brought over, another little boy around the same mass – or perhaps, in a twist, a small woman with the same mass as chubby little Peter 2.0 – just disappeared one day.

Topic 2: The Observers

In the same vein, i.e. the balance between the two universes, a question that has risen up in many fan forums is that of The Observers and their movement through time and space. I am of the opinion that, since The Observers are not limited by the law of time, they would not be limited by the law of space, and they are probably able to flit around as they please. Or perhaps they simply work in tandem – so for example, August 1.0 and August 2.0 switch sides at the same time, hopping in sync from one universe to the other.

Topic 3: Olivia’s fear as a weakness or as a strength

This has got to be my favourite topic of the hour, and I especially love dropping it in the middle of a chat room where there are both guys and girls.

What can I say – I like to liven up parties.

In the last ten days since ‘Jacksonville’ aired, everyone I talked to agrees that Olivia is a really strong woman, despite her almost-breakdown at the beginning of the season. However, the debate is regarding is her recent reacquisition of the ability to fear is going to help her or not. I am of the opinion that the entire first half of the second season was leading, inevitably, to this: to Olivia opening up to feelings that are related to weakness.

But you know what? While fear is considered a weakness, in the right place at the right time, it’s a strength. It’s the same thing with love – yes it can be a potential weakness, making us sign deals with demons (Supernatural, anyone?). And I think it bothers me that many fans – and not just guys – talk about how love and fear and all the more a weakness for so-called ‘emotional’ women.

Oh I hate that stereotype.

Being vulnerable is not the same as being weak. It takes strength for a person to open up to an emotion that will make you vulnerable. And to embrace it is a sign of becoming stronger. Maybe I get this because I’m a girl… And maybe this is why the main character was chosen as a woman and not a man.

Walter himself might have given us a hint as to this when he said: “The way we feel affects the way we see the world”. What if Olivia’s burgeoning love for Peter might as well be the extra ‘oomph’ she’s going to need to make her even stronger than she already is? After all, experience has shown that Olivia’s abilities come out under duress, and falling in love is a form of emotional duress. As for the fear that Olivia is starting to feel again, perhaps it is going to add enough pressure on her that, constantly feeling under duress yet having Peter to support her, she is going to be able to focus her ability on dealing with the war of the worlds (pun totally intended).

Topic 4: Misuse of children, or not?

Did anyone else think of Ender’s Game at all during ‘Jacksonville’? I couldn’t help but pull out my own copy of the book, as I started reflecting on the concept of using children in an almost cruel way for the greater good. It might at first seem black and white, but I forced myself to look at it from Walter and William’s side, and suddenly, a thousand shades of grey appeared. Is it the fact that W-squared used children that is bad, or the way they did it? Think about it… If there is a war coming and the only hope is the children, then is it smart, for the sake of these very children, not to train them?

Let’s push this a little further. Imagine if tomorrow, you wake up amidst a war with whomever. And while you witness the world collapse, you find out that you could have made a difference had scientists done some tests etc on you, in the process stealing your childhood from you.

Personally, I would be really upset.

But it doesn’t mean that I would have wanted whatever to be done to me. I would have wanted the responsibility be explained to me to the best of my ability, and to be treated as a child, not as a soldier.

It kind of reminds me of what my parents did for me. I don’t have (shucks) any special powers, but my parents did tell me that, as the child of middle class parents, with a good family and access to education, I have a responsibility to the poor children of the world, to use all these gifts I have been blessed with, to help them because they are not being given the same chances. It was a huge responsibility to lay on the shoulders of a 6 year old, and the weight of it did make me really mad at times – especially in the hey days of my teenage years – but now that I‘m older, I’m so grateful that, as of the age of 6, I was geared towards helping better the world and that I really did do what I could, and consequently have the ‘ability’ to do more than the average person who is my age.

Just food for thought.

And that’s enough for now. I’d love to here some thoughts from fellow Fringe fans! And stayed tuned for more Fringe-related thoughts – there are a lot more where these ones came from!

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0 thoughts on “TV Review: Fringe, Seasons 2: Hiatus Reflections of a Deprived Fan

  1. Your reference to Ender’s Game really grabbed me – I just might have to crack open my old copy during the break. The parallel with child-soldiers is spot on, especially with the theme, “do the ends justify the means?”

    I also like your theory about Peter and the balancing of mass, that maybe someone was pulled to the other side in exchange for him. Here’s my thought on the idea. Exchanging one building for another is easy; the mass doesn’t ever change. A growing human being, however, changes mass from a small child to an adult – how would that affect the original “exchange” made, and the laws of physics as a result? Does the universe have to rob Peter (haha) to pay Paul, and “steal” the difference in mass from somewhere else? Finally, how would that manifest itself in the physical world?

    Anywho, great post, I’m looking forward to more during this long, cold hiatus!

  2. Let me know what you think once you’ve reread Ender’s Game. I’m going to reread mine for sure, but I can’t do both EG and rewatch all of Fringe S1&2 🙂

    Your comment re: how a building’s mass is static is an excellent point. If Peter was exchanged for another child who didn’t grow as much as Peter did, or who grew more than Peter did, does it mean that the universes are going to pull something else from one side to the other? Or are such differences so minute that the universes will just compensate by, say, pulling in a little extra surrounding material from the next swap?

    I need to go hunting for that formula…

    Thanks for commenting, it’s so much more fun to exchange rather than to simply monologue away 😉

  3. Hey Sahar!

    Your comment over on WormholeRiders led me here – thank you for said comments! – and wow, great read!

    I read Enders Game a couple years ago, so it’s pretty fresh for me. And as soon as you mentioned it, I was like… YES! Exactly! That’s a spot-on comparison..

    And when you think about what Walter and Bell were doing, *yes*, it was unethical, but you also bring up a very good point – and I hadn’t really ever considered it that way before – that watching your world disintegrate around you, knowing that you could have done something if only they had done something to you as a child… It’s a very intriguing view…

    And I definitely agree with you on the point of Olivia and emotions. I’ve actually had the same thoughts myself, about whether it’s really a *weakness*. You definitely hit the nail on the head!

    I too am going to be rewatching Fringe S1 over this hiatus – for the n’th time 😉

    Do you have a Twitter account?

    Thanks again for the great post!

    Nadine
    (naddycat)

  4. Thank you Melinda & Chris for your kind comments! I look forward to reading more of your comments!

    Nadine:

    I’m really glad you enjoyed the post, all the more that I enjoyed yours 🙂 (Melinda and Chris, check her out at wormholeriders.com, it’s well worth the read).

    Ender’s Game is one of my favourite books and it’s on my ‘special books’ shelf right in front of my computer, and as soon as the whole concept of child-soldiers was mentioned, I grabbed my copy to read it again 🙂 I love Fringe all the more that I can refer to both my favourite TV show (The X-Files) all the time, and now, to one of my favourite books ever. JJ Abrams, I love you 😛

    It’s a rather tough situation – to test on these children or not? The thought of it makes my skin crawl, but again, if it were me, I would be really miffed if I found out as an adult that I could have helped if only I had been trained as a child.

    It’s because we’re girls that we get it re: Olivia and emotions 😛 And I don’t mean it in a patronizing way, I really think that women’s ability to feel is their biggest strength, and that guys have more trouble actually understanding that concept. It’s up to you and I, lady, to set things straight 😉

    I do have a Twitter account – twitter.com/Saharou. I’m adding you now!

    I’m looking forward to talking to you again about all this!

  5. Followed some links and ended up here. Awesome reflections 🙂

    And after reading all of the above, here’s what I’m wondering:

    Re: Peter.
    – if, or when, Peter decides to return to Alt-U, what happens to the child/smallperson who was exchanged for him? Does s/he return back here, or someone else equal to Peter’s mass now?
    – is there a connection at all between Peter 2.0 here and William being stuck there?
    – by the time of the abduction, W² would’ve already found out about the balance issue between the two universes, right… so, could Walter have exchanged Peter 1.0’s dead body for Peter 2.0, or is that too much?

    Re: Olivia
    – is Olivia afraid of being afraid?
    – does Olivia herself feel she’ll be weaker if she feels fear?

    I think all season (2) Olivia has been feeling fear, she’s just very good at thinking of it as something else, at not facing it. A great defense mechanism, until she’s told it’s what she needs to save the day (& the world). IMO fear could easily be a weakness, for men and women, some are paralysed by it, but I doubt Olivia is one of those people. I think she’s the type to just get p’d off about being afraid.

  6. “And – I am being really optimistic here – I’d love to do a more in-depth Fringe vs The X-Files comparison (if I convince my friend Flo to help me out with this one) just because I love the latter and will take any excuse to talk about it.”

    Admit it, the only reason you put the link to this page on your comment on blogcritics was for me to read this 🙂 Manipulator!!!!! LOOOL

    The truth is, you’re in luck it you want to talk about “The X-Files”. I got the whole series on dvd and watches them often. On the imdb message board I posted reviews of many episodes and I still got notes from others that I didn’t posted yet.

    here is a link to one of my review :
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106179/board/thread/99938263?p=6&d=156984572#156984572

    and here an episode I particularly like:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106179/board/thread/76125203?p=6&d=149919430#149919430

    Your project is interesting, I guess we could do something like that.

    Okay back to the topic, really great post. Lots to think about. What happened when William went to the other side? is there a William 2.0 somewhere in our world?

    I don’t think Olivia is weak. I think she fears the fear itself. It is very wise but can be dangerous if it makes her shut down too much.

    What if the obervers were a representation of ourselves? What is there were souls or some kind of spirits?
    I thought of this when Peter met one in the first season and the observer could practically anticipate what Peter said.
    What if, somehow, he was not just IN Peter’s mind but WAS, at this time, Peter’s mind.
    They are called Observers because they are witnesses of great events of all time. Maybe they are the materialistic representation of all the human witnesses of all these imortant events of all time. I don’t know if I’m making myself clear. Anyway, just a thought.

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